Disclaimer's in the first chapter. It still stands, darn it.
Christmas Brownies, pt. 2
"Down, get down!"
Dean didn't know who'd shouted that, Sam or Ross, as something clattered above them. He did know who let out a sharp, high-pitched squeal, though that wasn't easily distinguishable as fear. It almost sounded happy, which sure as hell made the chaos around them even more surreal. The lights flickered on and off, the table moved back and forth, and every drawer in the place kept opening and shutting. And little Sophie seemed to be having the time of her life. So much for this being a normal family. He held on to her, kept her under the relative safety of the table. A Corelle plate fell to the floor and rolled around a bit.
"What the hell is going on?" That was Sam. "Dean, can you see anything?"
There wasn't room under there for all of them. Sam and Ross were out there, unprotected by table and chairs, while he, Sophie and Gwen huddled closely. That wasn't right. He shoved Sophie into Gwen's arms, met her terrified stare and knew this had never happened before. He wanted to apologize, feeling that just by being there he had brought this on them, but he only shook his head a little and clambered out into the open.
"I got nothing, man."
The basket of garlic bread levitated off the table and launched itself at him. He ducked, but one buttery slice clipped him on the left cheekbone. Dean glanced wildly at Sam, who was covered in chocolate frosting, then Ross, who had a piece of romaine tucked behind his ear. If things weren't going to hell, he'd find it all a bit funny. Attack of the killer dinner. It had started with the brownies, which had seemed to fly right out of Sophie's hands and circulate around the room. He swore before he dove for cover, some of them had splatted against the far wall and created a smiley face. He looked there now, saw a chocolatey grin looking back at him.
"Sir, has anything like this happened before?" Dean said, feeling like an idiot because he really did want to laugh now. That romaine on Ross' head was killing him. A spoon smacked him in the rear. He clutched his wounded cheek. "Ow, hey, watch it!"
Yeah, because supernatural entities always followed orders.
"No, I swear. I'm sure Gwen explained we've been having a problem with the wiring, but this…ow."
Ross took a cup to the head, not hard enough to break but probably hard enough to hurt. Dean winced. Sam flailed toward him, slipping and sliding across the gooey mess of chocolate brownie on the floor, with his arms out and waving. Dean couldn't help it, he snickered. Sam looked like a gigantic newborn foal trying to ice skate…with a dollop of frosting on the end of his nose.
"Dean, it's not funny. I have fudge between my toes."
"And that's not funny at all," he said, still laughing. The refrigerator door opened. Dean stopped laughing. "Uh oh."
He, Sam and Ross managed to simultaneously hit the floor. Dean landed right on top of the green beans, probably some kind of karmic payment for laughing at Sam. He glimpsed a look at Sophie's delighted face. At least he wasn't the only one who thought this supernatural food fight was somewhat humorous. He just wished he could see whatever was doing this so he could give as good as he got. Wine flowed off the table, the bottle apparently tipped over, right onto his head.
"It can't be a poltergeist, we would have banished it."
"What, did you say poltergeist?" Ross said.
"They're he-ere!" Sophie said, cheerfully grinning. "Lots of them."
"Oh, she didn't just say that," Sam said in disbelief. "Tell me she didn't just say that."
"She just said that." Dean rose up on his knees, ducked back down as an entire carton of eggs flew across the room. He turned to Sophie. "Who's here, sweetheart, can you tell me what they look like?"
"The little brown men. They're around all the time. I don't think they're happy tonight. I think they don't like you and Sam very much."
Dean was not overly fond of them himself, whoever they were, and he thought his soft spot was well and truly cured; a kid'd never sucker him in again. Little brown men, little brown men.
"Dean, do you have Da…do you have the journal? Maybe there's something in there."
"It's in my jacket." Little brown men. He thought maybe they didn't need the journal. "Sam, think brownies."
"Hard not to, they're all over my face and in between my toes."
"No, Sam. Brownies. As in elves. Goblins."
The table rattled, stuff from the fridge hurtled at them at increasing speed. Dean shoved Ross under the table, which wasn't really providing much protection anymore but at least the family would be together. He looked up in time to see the bread knife sliding across the countertop and fly towards Sam. He shoved his brother down and landed on top of him. Oh, now he was just pissed. Flinging food was one thing, but wielding sharp, serrated knives against Sam was a different story altogether.
"Oof, get off me," Sam said. "You weigh a ton."
"Dude, I just ate a gigantic meal, give me a break, and we've got other things to deal with right now besides my weight."
Dean slid off Sam and peered around the room. The lights stopped flickering and just stayed all the way out. The fridge light and a bare colorful glow from the family room were all that illuminated the kitchen. He thought about getting the Wittwers to relative safety, but then figured the Brownies would just follow them and torment them in other rooms. The cupboard doors flew open. Dean saw rows and rows of canned goods. Jeez, it was like these people were ready for a nuclear war or something. A can of tuna whizzed toward him. Sam rose up a little and got in the way.
"Shit, ow. My eye."
This needed to end. A tuna can was damned small compared to the gigantic tin of yams edging its way to the edge of the cupboard, and Sam looked like he was going to have a shiner just from that. Or it could just be the brownie on his face.
"You're supposed to duck," Dean said. "But thanks, that would have caught me on the forehead."
"Duck. You think, really?" Sam glared at him, but the chocolate-covered effect was still on the funny side. "I guess this explains why the banishment didn't work. You remembered Brownies. I don't suppose you remember how to get rid of them."
"What is going on?" Gwen said.
"We'll tell you later," both he and Sam said at the same time.
"It's just the little men, Mommy. Can't you see them?"
Seeing is believing…believing is seeing. Dean did believe in Brownies, and now he knew what to look for. He used a chair as a shield and gazed out over it. Damn, they were all over this place. The Wittwers had a bona fide Brownie infestation. The ugly, grinning, sprite-like creatures littered the cupboards, table and fridge.
"Sam, are you seeing this?"
"Yeah. Holy crap, they've been here the whole time."
Ever the eloquent one. Dean wracked his brain. Brownies were supposed to be benevolent creatures, helpful even. That would explain the organized drawers, but what was up with the flickering lights, and what was up with this attack? They didn't just have a Brownie infestation, they had a deviant Brownie infestation. Merry fucking Christmas indeed. He turned to Sam and found him playing with his cell phone.
"Now's not the time to check emails, Sam."
"I'm seeing if I can get Internet connection, Dean."
"You won't have much luck with that, I'm afraid," Ross said. "We've got a computer with dial-up, though."
There went the yams. He ducked but he was pretty sure they hit the wall hard enough to dent. Dial-up access was not going to be fast enough. Dean knew how to get rid of these things, he just had to think. It was hard to do that with all this canned fruit soaring around the room. He noticed Sophie wasn't laughing anymore; she was cowering against her mother. Dean drew his lips into a tight line.
"It'll be all right, kid," he said. "You'll see."
"Dean, look out."
Sam tugged at him. The Brownies had moved up from bread knives to steak knives, the little bastards. He did a visual recon of the room. There were way too many of them for him and Sam to take them out alone. With Ross' help, maybe, but Ross couldn't see them and his kid could. He didn't want to traumatize her any more than she already had been. She'd started out liking these fugly things, and just because she was scared now didn't mean she needed to witness them ripping the Brownies to shreds. The creatures started squealing a little, laughing. He wished he could remember where he'd heard about Brownies. He looked at Sam, who was busy looking out for unidentified flying objects.
"I've heard about these things before," he said.
"Congratulations." Sam grunted as a can of black olives smacked into the back of his head. He was about to tell Sam to cover himself, but then realized Sam was intentionally putting himself in the line of fire. Protecting him. "Just hurry up and figure this out, okay?"
"Sam, you don't…"
"Just think, Dean. Let me be the brawn this time." A jar of spaghetti sauce clocked Sam right where the tuna can had hit. It flew against the wall and splattered messily, but the red stuff on Sam's face wasn't sauce. "Ow, damnit. Think."
No way was Sammy getting pummeled to death by canned vegetables. Dean hated to do it, but he scooted halfway under the table and thought hard. He thought of cinnamon and pine and happy parents, all things he understood on some base level were about Christmas. He thought of his mother, smiling and pretty, as he toddled around the house with decorations. He thought about the ugly little figurine he didn't like, until she told him all about it. Vague memory sharpened.
"Sam, do you have any money in your wallet?"
"Twenty bucks, I think."
"Give it to me." Sam stared at him, disbelieving behind all that gooey frosting and blood. Bigger objects were being hurled now. The bottle of Dawn hit Sam's shoulder. "Don't ask why, just do it, Sam."
Sam pulled out his wallet and handed him the money, and Dean pulled all his cash out as well. He had no idea if this would work, but he figured the more they had the more likely it was. Wouldn't want to insult the Brownies. Or, actually, wouldn't want to not insult the Brownies enough. Dean nodded to Sam, who looked baffled.
"You win, guys," Dean said, raising his voice as he stood. He held the wad of bills out. "Look, we'll pay you for all the hard work you've done."
A collective, outraged yowl sounded, piercing and painful. Sam hissed in discomfort, and Dean heard Sophie sob harder, her parents exclaim in confusion. The lights came back on and the Brownies all spit on the ground in front of them, with spirit, but stopped tossing things around the room.
"Tàmailt!" one of them said in a squeaky voice, and shook a tiny brown fist at Dean.
Then they all scuttled out of the kitchen, giving small huffs of indignation. Dean had actually expected some balking, since these were deviant Brownies, but he wasn't going to take victory for granted. He heard the front door open and closed and tried not to laugh at the Brownies' total civility. He heard the Christmas CD the Wittwers had put in at the beginning of dinner playing "We Three Kings." Beside him, Sam cautiously stood all the way up.
"What just happened?"
"Brownies get insulted if you try to pay them. They disappear."
"You bribed them away."
"Not really, Sam, we get to keep all the money." He looked over at his brother with a smug grin on his face, which immediately turned into a frown. "Dude, you look like shit."
"Uhm." A voice floated from beneath the table. Gwen. "Can you please not swear?"
Right, little ears nearby.
The Wittwers crawled out from under the table and surveyed the wreckage of their kitchen. The romaine was still tucked behind Ross' ear and Dean now saw both Gwen and Sophie hadn't escaped cleanly, but physically they all looked unscathed. Sam was the only one with visible signs of damage. The gash on Sam's head probably looked worse than it actually was, but Dean intended on having a discussion with his little brother about the whole using himself as a Brownie punching bag thing. After they both took showers.
"What happened?" Gwen said.
"Don't worry, ma…Gwen, we'll help you clean this up," Sam said.
The woman's mouth flapped open and shut a couple of times as she kept struggling to figure out what was going on. Dean didn't think anyone but Sophie would believe the truth. Gwen stared at Sam, blanching as she apparently caught sight of the blood amid all the dark frosting.
"Oh, no, your face."
"It's okay, really."
"Let me at least clean it up, put a bandage on that cut."
Gwen, still dazed-looking, led Sam away. Dean exchanged uneasily silent looks with Ross and Sophie while he waited. It didn't take long for the quiet to be unbearable, so he started setting the chairs right and picking up dented cans. Ross joined him, and even Sophie started clearing up what she could.
"You guys don't really sell life insurance," Ross said after a while. "Do you?"
"No, not really."
"I don't want to know what you really do."
Sam and Gwen rejoined them after a few minutes, and they all worked silently. The Wittwers didn't ask any questions, which Dean thought was kind of weird and definitely added to the awkwardness. He wasn't going to be the one to broach the subject, though, and it looked like Sam had a hell of a headache and just wanted to make like the Brownies and flee the scene so he was fairly sure his brother wasn't going to say boo either.
It took a good hour to clean up the mess the miniscule Brownies had produced. After it was all cleared and things somewhat back to normal – the brownie smile on the wall had left a faint grease shadow; they'd have to paint over the thing or live with a faint smiley face – he and Sam stood there in their spattered and sticky clothes. Despite the weirdness, he felt like they'd done some good. We two kings of Leon are, he thought crazily, fighting Brownies, we traverse afar.
"I can get you some clean socks, Sam," Gwen said. "You don't mind, do you, Ross?"
"No, no. Keep them." Ross laughed, in a this-isn't-funny way. "A Christmas gift."
Gwen brought their jackets along with the socks. Dean wondered if they should fess up to the punctured walls. A quick perusal of the Wittwers' confused faces made him think they should just get out while they could. If nothing else, at least he and Sam had made their holiday memorable. And safe. Sophie hadn't stopped staring at both him and Sam thoughtfully during the whole cleanup process. He smiled back at her now. She grinned at him, freckled face dotted with parsley flecks from the garlic bread.
They were mutely guided to the door, patiently watched as Sam put his fresh socks on and they put their shoes on. Dean thought about putting his jacket on, reconsidered when he looked at the soggy mess of his shirt. He could take the cold until they found a hotel. Ross skirted around them and opened the door wordlessly. He and Sam stepped out onto the porch, Sophie pushed forward.
"I've been thinking," she said, as she started shutting the door. "And I'm pretty sure they just wanted all the brownies for themselves."
The door shut, and he and Sam were left out in the cold and snow. Dean shrugged and exchanged a glance with his brother.
"Well, that could have gone worse," Dean said. "Could have gone better, but it could have gone worse. Don't play bait again, Sam. You have frosting in your ear."
"I can't promise I won't be bait again if it means protecting you. You smell like a winery. Merry Christmas, Dean."
"Merry Christmas, Sam."
A/N: Okay, so it's not the most fleshed out story in the world. It's what I can do in a little over two days. :) Hope you enjoyed, and I hope you had a very Merry Christmas...or, if you don't celebrate, then a really lovely Monday.