Battle of the Bulge
Summary: Sam and Dean are trapped on a farm with some unusual residents…
Disclaimer: The Supernatural people own every blessed thing about these characters.
Well, since everyone so patiently allowed me to work through my AHBL issues with the last story, you are hereby presented, Gentle Reader, with this story. A giant, giant puff piece.
Dean slammed on the brakes and braced himself against the steering wheel. Sam, too, braced his arms on the dash to keep from bashing into it.
The car slid for what felt like forever, then rocked back, finally coming to a halt. Dean's heart was thundering in his chest and he was breathing like he'd run a race. He scrubbed a shaking hand over his face and stared out the windshield at the thing standing less than a foot from the front bumper.
"Dude, that is the biggest dog I've ever seen."
"That's because it's a cow, Dean," Sam said, letting his hands fall away from the dash.
Dean just stared at the animal standing in the glare of the headlights as it stared back at him. "Shouldn't a cow be… I don't know… bigger?"
They both jumped as a man knocked on the passenger side window. "Everybody ok?"
"Yeah," Sam called out, his voice still unsteady.
Dean got out and walked around the front of the car, giving the cow a wide berth. It watched him as he moved and Dean fought the ludicrous urge to go for the gun he had tucked into his jeans beneath his shirt. He'd never really been around farm animals. Or any animals for that matter. Maybe cows watched you.
"Sorry about that," the man said as Dean stopped in front of him. He appeared to be average height and weight, in his forties, wearing jeans and a checked shirt that looked like it had been hastily buttoned.
Sam, too, got out of the car and came to stand beside Dean. The man's eyes traveled from Dean up to Sam and stopped. Dean thought he saw the faintest hint of distaste cross the man's features, but it quickly disappeared and Dean thought perhaps he'd imagined it.
"The animals got outside the fence somehow," the man explained, slightly out of breath. "We're trying to gather them all up, but I couldn't get to the road before you guys got there."
"Need some help?" Dean offered. So far the cow was still parked squarely in front of his bumper and they weren't going anywhere until it moved.
"I wouldn't say no." The man gave a wan smile. "My wife and I have spent the last hour trying to corral them."
Dean turned, fully intending to start with the animal that would have totaled his car had he not managed to stop in time. "Pardon me for asking," Dean frowned, "but… uh… isn't your cow a little… small?"
"It's a mini-moo," the man said indignantly.
Dean blinked and turned back. "Come again?"
"A mini-moo," the man enunciated carefully, as if explaining to a simpleton. "A miniature cow. I breed miniatures for pets, show animals, petting zoos…"
"A mini-moo," Dean nodded. He shared an incredulous look with Sam who was trying not to smile. "Got it."
"I raise miniature horses, pygmy goats, pot-bellied pigs…"
Dean looked behind the man and realized the cow wasn't the only animal in sight. Other small animals were spread out across the grass. A house was set back off the road and he could dimly see several sets of fences around it as well as several barns.
"Well, let's start-" Dean shouted involuntarily, feeling a vise-like pressure on his right hand followed by a nearly burning sensation. He tore his hand away, already feeling blood cross his palm. "Son of a…" He whirled and stumbled back, realizing the cow had snuck up behind him. "It bit me!"
He protectively cradled his bleeding hand close to his chest and glared at the black and white cow, once again fighting the urge to go for his gun. Mini-moo or not, the thing was going to be hamburger if it took one more step.
Sam jogged to the car and rummaged in the car's glove compartment for several seconds before hurrying back with a little flashlight kept there for reading maps. "Let me see," he said, sounding like he was talking to a skittish six year old. Dean bit his lip not to tell Sam where to stick his flashlight. Instead he held out his hand, frowning as blood dripped from it onto the ground.
Sam shone the dim light onto it and grimaced. "How bad does it hurt?"
Dean knew that was Sam-speak for 'Can you wait until we get to the motel for me to stitch it up'. The cow had bitten into the meaty part of his hand, below the wrist, but above the fingers. The most annoying thing was that it was his gun hand. Dean spared the cow another glare. Freaking thing had to pick his gun hand to chomp on.
"It'll hold," Dean said through clenched teeth.
The cow's owner bent over him looking at his hand. "That doesn't look so good. You'd better come inside." Before Dean could decline, the man turned and shouted, "Annie!" An answering shout came out of the darkness, though they couldn't see anyone. "Annie, find the first aid kit!" he yelled, then turned back to them. "My wife's behind the house. I'm Tommy, by the way. Tommy Henderson."
"Nice to meet you," Sam said politely. "This is Dean. I'm Sam."
Dean merely grunted, concentrating on not jarring his hand, holding it with his other as they walked toward the house, although he did spare a look behind them to make sure the cow wasn't following. Stupid thing could have taken off his fingers.
As they approached Dean saw that it was a smaller house than he would have guessed, probably only a few rooms, one story with a low pitched roof. Tommy led them up the few steps into the living room and then through into the kitchen. At the same time they walked in, a woman appeared through another door carrying a small first aid kit.
"What happened?" she asked nervously, her eyes darting from her husband to Sam to Dean, still standing, holding his bloody hand.
"Tubby bit him," Tommy frowned, taking the kit from her and emptying it out on the kitchen table.
"Tubby?" the woman asked, surprised. "But she wouldn't hurt a fly."
"I don't know." Tommy shook his head. "Something has them spooked. They're all acting weird. This is Sam," he pointed, "and this is Dean."
He made a sudden movement to take Dean's arm, grabbing it above the wrist. Instinctively Dean used his uninjured hand, slamming it into the man's chest and knocking him back.
"Hey!" The man held up his hands. "Just… just trying to help," he said, rubbing his chest and visibly rethinking the decision to let them into his house. His wife backed up a step her eyes darting toward the nearest exit.
"Sorry," Dean muttered. "Surprised me." He couldn't think straight and the guy had startled him. His hand felt like it was on fire, which couldn't be right. He'd been bitten before. And by a lot meaner and uglier things than a mini-moo. It shouldn't be hurting this badly.
"Why don't you let me do that?" Sam said, taking the supplies from a still stunned and wary Tommy. Dean didn't bother to look, but he knew Sam was wearing his 'we're completely trustworthy' face. "I can patch Dean up if you… uhh… want to keep trying to get the animals put away?"
Tommy eyed them both worriedly, especially Dean, but then nodded. "Right," he said, letting out a slow breath. "Come on, Annie. We need to get the animals in."
"There are cloths in the drawer by the sink if you need them," Annie said timidly, then followed her husband out toward the front door. She was a tiny woman and Dean couldn't help thinking that Tommy had found a miniature wife to match his farm. She was shorter than average and positively anorexic.
"If I had two hands," Dean said, "I'd make that woman a sandwich… or forty. She could use them."
"Right now I'm more concerned with your hand," Sam said, gingerly setting his own hand beneath Dean's to lift it. Dean sucked in a pained gasp and immediately tried to pull away. Sam stopped him grasping Dean's shoulder to keep him from moving. "What is it?"
"Hurts," Dean hissed. And it was spreading. The burn was spreading up his arm. He grabbed his arm just below the elbow almost like a tourniquet as if he could stop the pain's march up his limb.
"Come here," Sam said, keeping a firm grip on Dean's arm and pulling him forward toward the sink. Sam quickly turned the water on and shoved Dean's hand under the faucet. Dean almost howled as the water made contact with the wound, but just stopped himself. He faintly heard Sam swear and then felt him pull back his shirtsleeve. A second later, Sam jerked him forward, pulling his whole arm into the sink. Dean was forced to bend at the waist, unable to see around Sam as he used the spray nozzle to douse his arm. It was an awkward position, but Dean didn't say anything since the burning sensation was lessening. Less burning was good.
After another minute of letting the water wash over his arm, Sam finally released him and let him stand back. Dean immediately saw why Sam was even now watching him worriedly. They looked like burns. Angry red weals stretched from the bite, up his arm to just below the elbow.
"Why do I get the feeling Elsie the not-so-happy cow has something to do with this?" Dean asked through clenched teeth. They certainly hurt like burns, though thankfully the movement up his arm had stopped.
"They look like chemical burns," Sam said, shaking his head. "How on earth did a cow do that?"
Before Dean could answer, the front door banged open and Tommy and his wife came barreling back inside. Sam and Dean hurried into the living room to see the couple both staring through the curtains out onto the front lawn.
"What's going on?" Sam demanded. Annie only pointed out the front window. Dean and Sam both rushed forward to look out and saw why the couple had run back inside.
Standing on the lawn, dimly visible in the light coming from the barns, they saw animal after animal, all staring back at them, their eyes glowing in the darkness.
"I knew it," Dean muttered. "I should have shot the mini-moo when I had the chance."