This was written for Summer Santa fic exchange for the wonderful Kaly at SFTCOL(AR)S, who has been very patient! I'm so sorry this was late, and I'm afraid I haven't even got a good excuse, but I thought about you every day this was late! All your prompts were so good that I started a fic for each of them before I settled on this one. I hope this was the prompt you were hoping for and that the wait was worth it!
Thanks to Faye and Gem for organising the exchange. So sorry I was late!
Must also thank my little sister for Daphne! Hope you feel better soon :)
"Tell me, why are we doing this again?"
As they pushed their way through the thick, dense wood, Sam's voice was sounding dangerously close to cranky. And a cranky Sam was never a good thing. The whining always gave Dean a headache.
"Mysterious stuff's been going on here Sam, you can't tell me it's not worth checking out" Dean said sternly, as he popped some M&Ms like they were aspirin. Modern medicine had nothing on Dean.
"I'd hardly call a heatwave in winter our kind of mysterious, Dean. It's probably just some freak weather phenomenon."
"Yeah, and what about that storm where newts fell from the sky?"
"Like I said... weather phenomenon."
"They don't even have newts in North Dakota!"
Sam frowned. "Yeah they do."
Dean shook his head, "not this kind man, these were European crested newts. I'm telling you, it's weird."
At that Sam turned around to look at him, smirking.
"Since when do you do research?"
Dean shrugged, "whatever, man".
Sam kept looking at him.
"Look, newts are just cool, okay?"
Sam snorted. Dean gave him a shove but Sam just turned away, his laughter floating on the brisk morning air.
They were both rather more subdued by the time they finally stumbled free of the dense undergrowth. Scratched, dishevelled and grumpy, Sam shook himself off rather in the manner of a dog, and looked around. Dean was busy picking bits of bark out of his shirt when Sam's "huh" caught his attention, and he looked up.
They stood on the edge of a lush field, encircled by the wood, the grass almost unnaturally green and looking as though it had been mown yesterday. Daffodils nodded gently in the wind, and above a wild bird hovered in the bright blue sky. White, fluffy clouds drifted overhead, and as they watched a soft brown rabbit hopped in to view, twitching its nose slightly and looking up at them as if to say: "love me".
Dean looked nauseated.
"Wow" Sam said, "It's like Disney come to life".
They stood there for a minute. "What were you expecting to find?" Sam asked finally.
"I don't know – something supernatural? This was the centre of those weird storms, and I just thought, you know, we'd find a witches lair or something."
"I can't see any tumble-down shack, broom or black cat, do you?"
"Shut up." Without discussing it further they spread out, surveying the pristine field with suspicion. Sam stepped gingerly onto the grass, feeling as though any moment a rabid caretaker was going to emerge and scream at them for ruining his masterpiece. It really was a beautiful lawn.
In the middle of nowhere. Silently, Sam agreed with Dean. It was weird.
Dean felt uneasy. There was something about the unnatural, cared-for look of this place that just didn't feel right. Something intangible drifted on the air – it felt like menace, and it made his skin crawl. Surveying the ground around him, Dean wrinkled his nose. It was littered with violets, brilliant purple and standing stiff and still, like soldiers standing to attention.
Dean hated violets. He had given some to a girl once, and it turned out she knew a lot about flowers. Violets meant "modesty", and she had thought he had thought... well, the evening hadn't turned out the way he had planned.
Glancing over for the requisite little-brother check (and Sam seemed fine, wandering over undulating green), Dean noticed that the sky had begun to darken. He looked up.
Dark, roiling clouds had begun to gather, blotting out the sun, and the wind was picking up. The trees encircling the field were beginning to sway, and leaves began ripping from their branches to swirl in eddies across the field.
Dean looked over at Sam again, meeting his eyes as Sam looked up in surprise. Far away in the line of trees beyond Sam, Dean saw a branch rip off in the wind, its rapier-thin point aiming for Sam like a javelin.
"Duck!" Dean yelled over the noise of thunder, and Sam immediately dropped to the ground, the branch skidding over his back before crashing to the ground just metres from Dean's feet. Dean, buffeted by the wind so badly that he almost couldn't stay upright, scurried over to where Sam was picking himself up from the ground, looking bewildered.
"You okay?" Dean asked gruffly, hauling him up by one arm as Sam dusted himself off.
"Yeah, I think so, but it got me across the back... ow!" Sam winced as he turned around and twisted his head over his shoulder, craning his neck to see if he could get a look at his back (he couldn't). There was indeed a scratch across his back, a raised white welt with a thin red line down the centre, but it was definitely not going to be fatal.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Don't be such a baby, Sammy, you'll live".
Frowning, Sam complained, "It stings!"
Dean raised an eyebrow.
"Whatever, man, lets get out of here before we die in a tornado or something" Sam huffed, and strode off towards the edge of the clearing. The wind was rough, and Sam had to duck his head against the current of air, his clothes flapping viciously about his arms and legs. Dean followed in his wake, groping around in his pockets – surely he had more M&Ms? With his head down, eyes screwed shut against the wind, he ploughed straight into Sam's broad back and staggered backwards, his skull ringing with the blow. Rubbing his forehead irritably, he leaned forward, peering over Sam's shoulder to see why Sam had stopped.
There in Sam's path, among the now violently waving violets, a soft yellow duckling tumbled in the wind, quacking miserably, looking up at Sam in despair before it again was tossed head over webbed feet by the wind.
"Ummm..." Sam stared at it. "Did you see any water sources around here Dean?"
Dean shook his head mutely.
The duckling quacked again, and Sam's expression softened. Don't even THINK about saying it Sam... Dean's internal warning sounded, before Sam blurted out:
"It's so cute!"
Dean threw his hands up in the air. "You are such a freakin' girl sometimes Sam, I swear!" He slapped Sam roughly on the back, and Sam immediately yelped and spun around furiously. "See what I mean?"
Sam scowled. "I wish you could be me for a few seconds so then you could feel my pain and I could laugh at you! Jerk."
Dean didn't get to answer that, because the next second a lightening bolt struck the field not three feet from them, and everything went black – although, for a second, he thought he heard gleeful laughter.
For a while everything was hazy, and Sam could feel the cool grass beneath him and something fuzzy against his cheek. He almost wondered why he could feel grass when he was clearly in comfortable asleep in bed, but didn't let it bother him too much. The scream, however, was hard to ignore.
Opening his eyes all Sam could see was yellow fluff. That was until he plucked the duckling off his face where it had nested, and sat up – too quickly it seemed, because as a consequence the world swam and he sank back into the grass with a groan.
"Are you okay?" he heard Dean say worriedly, and he cranked one eye open, but couldn't see his brother. His eye drifted shut again.
"Yeah" he said sleepily, "you?"
"No!" Dean wailed, his voice sounding odd, yet strangely familiar. "I'm hideous!!" That got Sam's attention, and he sat up, turning around.
And stared himself straight in the face – brown floppy hair, hazel eyes, everything.
"Aaaaaahh!" Sam cried, scooting away on his rump, eyes popping at the sight of his own face looming over him. He looked down at himself. Flannel shirt, jeans jacket – everything he had been wearing this morning. But him – the other him – had a leather jacket, a black T-shirt. Definitely not his clothes, they looked more like something Dean would...
Gingerly he reached a hand up to his face and ran it over his hair. His short, spiky hair.
"I'm you? Yuk!"
Some minutes later, calmer although still as disgusted as ever, Sam and Dean sat beside each other on the field, a happy little duck between them, staring up at Sam adoringly.
"What happened to the storm?" Sam asked, staring up at the clear blue sky. There wasn't a cloud in sight.
"I don't know."
"What happened to us?"
"I don't know!"
Sam turned to Dean. "We have to fix this. There is no way I'm going to stay stuck as you".
Dean nodded darkly, "likewise man, likewise."
They both nodded, and silence fell again.
Then Sam burst out, "SO???"
"What are you going to do about it?"
"Me?? What about you? I have no idea how, but I'm sure you got us into this mess!" Dean cried, chucking the grass he had just spent the last three minutes pulling absently out of the ground into Sam's face.
"Me!" Sam shook his head vigorously, shaking off the grass, and then visibly gathered himself. "Research. I need to do some research. Right, lets get back to the car, back to civilisation, and then we will see about fixing this mess". He climbed to his feet, roughly brushing down his clothes. His now considerably too big clothes. His shirt and jacket sleeves hung down past his hands, and his shoes felt much roomier than they had this morning.
"I never realised just how much of a midget you were, dude".
Dean scowled, an expression that to Sam seemed oddly familiar on his own face. Did he really look like that?
"I'm not short, I'm fun-sized. And anyway, I for one always knew you were that much of a dork – can we switch clothes or something? I would really hate for, you know, people to see me looking like that."
Sam glared at him. "And what's wrong with the way I dress?"
Dean cracked an evil grin, that somehow didn't seem quite so evil coming from Sam's cherub face (Sam shuddered slightly at that word - cherub). "Nothing dude, nothing. You look exactly like what you are – geek boy. Anyway, gimme your shoes at least" Sam glanced down and noticed that Dean had already pulled his off. "If I keep using these, I may never walk again".
Rolling his eyes, Sam kicked off his shoes and pulled off his jacket and shirt, shivering in the chilly winter air as he waited for Dean to do the same. Pulling on Dean's boots, black t-shirt and jacket felt very strange – although, much more comfortable.
Dean looked at him in satisfaction. "Much better. Now the chicks won't run screaming"
Sam snorted. "From me. You still look like a geek boy, remember?"
While Dean was still mulling that over, Sam bent and tenderly picked up the duckling from between his feet. It quacked joyfully.
Dean noticed instantly and his face took on an expression of alarm. "No way, man. No way are you putting that thing in my car!"
Sam strode off, calling over his shoulder "don't you mean my car? It looks like my picture on the license matching the name of the registered owner, Sam."
"Don't Sam me, bitch. No ducks!"
"I'm calling her Daphne" Sam said fondly, and disappeared into the trees.
Muttering darkly about curses and justifiable homicide, Dean followed.
Walking was a rather startling business when you suddenly found yourself four inches shorter. Striding at his usual speed, Sam was quite horrified when Dean caught up with and then passed him with ease, smirking at him over his shoulder. Sam quickened his pace to a trot.
Being short sucked.
Trailing behind ginormous Dean (and was he really that gangly? And kind of... hunched over?) Sam called out "So, what do you think did it?"
Dean slowed – but only slightly. "Were we struck by lightning? Maybe this freak weather thing is freakier than you thought."
"Hmm... maybe" Sam said doubtfully, absently stroking Daphne who snuggled blissfully into his palm. He thought he knew something else, which flittered frustratingly just out of his grasp – but it wasn't to do with weather. The next moment the Impala came into view through the trees and, glancing at Dean, he took off at a jog.
"Hey!" Dean yelled as Sam passed him.
Thirty seconds later Sam was seated in the driver's seat. He dragged one of Dean's shirts out from the back seat and made a little nest for Daphne in the open glove compartment. Then Dean strode up.
"You are beyond lame Sam. I'm serious.
He swung open the door angrily and attempted to fold his enormous legs into the passenger seat, but it was easier said than done.
"OW!" Sam winced at the sound of Dean's head making contact with the top of the door.
"You have to duck" he said helpfully.
"Thanks Sam. Thank you so much for that." Dean's voice was icy.
"Be careful, alright? That's my head you're messing with."
Dean's evil grin was rather alarming.
They stopped at the first place with wireless access – to Sam's disgust, a bar – and armed with laptop and journal he hid himself away in the corner to do some research. Dean, in his words, "went to liase with the locals". As Sam checked on him every now and again (just to see if he was getting any information, of course) it seemed like the only local Dean was interested in was the hot chick behind the bar.
Sam shook his head in exasperation.
He was getting nowhere fast. He couldn't find any creature that routinely body-swapped people, nothing in the history of the town, no strange or unusual occurrences or other indications that remotely indicated something supernatural in the area.
He caught sight of his – Dean's – reflection in the glass window, and snorted. Right. Nothing strange or unusual.
Plus, the other waitress was becoming seriously annoying. She kept coming over to "See if he needed anything". He kept smiling and saying no thanks, but she kept coming back.
Obviously that charming smile of his brother's was more powerful than he thought.
Or maybe it was the small duckling in his jacket pocket, who kept sticking her head out every now and then for a look around. The waitress (was it Jasmine?) was enchanted.
"Oooh" she cooed "that is so cute! Are you a duck lover?"
"Aaah..." he didn't get any further, because suddenly Dean appeared and, with a dewy-eyed, shy and sensitive smile, sent her on her way with an order for a coffee. He then gave Sam a revolted look.
"This is just wrong. Me sitting there studying with a duck in my pocket?" he shook his head "if we see anyone I know I may never forgive you for this."
"Me!" said Sam, outraged. "This is your fault. And notice here how I am doing all the work to fix it. Did you at least get something from the bartender?"
"Her number – although that was tough, man. Obviously chicks just aren't as attracted to you, or at least she wasn't until I gave her a deep and soulful look." Dean sniggered. Sam snatched the napkin out of his hand.
"No dates. Not until you're you and I'm me."
Dean sighed. "Yeah, yeah. Anyway, I did get one lead. She said that there were a lot of Irish immigrants to this area over the years."
Sam waited, but nothing else was forthcoming.
"That's it. Look, just put your college education to good use and I'm sure you'll come up with something."
Sam stared at him. "Right. So, now we've narrowed it to the mythology or oh, just a whole country!!"
"But Ireland's a pretty small country, right?"
Sam shook his head in disgust. "Unbelievable. I can't even believe we're related – and are you sure that's my brain in there?"
Dean flicked the salt at him. "I doubt it, because I feel the urge for fun – right now actually".
Sam brushed the salt out of his eyebrows, growling, "Well I feel myself getting dumber by the minute."
"Maybe that's just you, Sammy."
"Shut up" Sam scowled. "Look, I found the name of the guy that actually owns that field, so I think we should go talk to him next."
"Someone actually owns that place? It's in the middle of nowhere!"
Sam shrugged and began packing up his notes that were scattered across the scratched and sticky table. "Yeah, it's some old guy whose ancestors have probably lived here for generations. If there's something weird going on, I'm pretty sure he would know about it."
Dean shook his head, causing locks of dark brown, wavy hair to fall in his eyes. "And did it ever occur to you that perhaps he was behind all this? We don't want to make this whole thing even worse" he growled, brushing his hair back out of his face in irritation. "Although I doubt it could get much worse. Dude, I am so close to just shaving all your girly-hair off."
Sam froze, horrified. "Don't even think about it!"
Dean turned away and stomped out the door. "Oh I'm thinking about it, Sammy. I think you'd look great with a haircut like mine" he called over his shoulder. "Or, you know, bald." He cackled and disappeared out the door.
Sam gathered his stuff hurriedly and dashed after him.
Sam settled for the passenger's seat this time, and gave a long suffering sigh as he watched Dean ask directions from a girl standing on the front steps. She seemed wary and backed away up a couple of steps until Dean glanced up at her from under his bangs and gave her a shy half smile, hands in his pockets. Then her face broke into a thoroughly-charmed smile and she pointed up the street, nodding and leaning over the piece of paper he held in his hand.
Sam rolled his eyes.
She turned, giving a little wave over her shoulder as she disappeared into the bar and Dean strode up to Sam's window, giving him a wink.
"You're getting a little too good at that, I think." Sam said in disgust.
"Yeah, well, I've spent twenty-four years watching you putting on the moves. If that's not practice I don't know what is, although I think ultimately that 'The Dean' is more effective"
Sam yelled through the windshield as Dean circled the car to the driver's side, "I do not 'put on the moves' – and since when do you refer to yourself in the third person?"
Dean responded with a sharp crack as his forehead connected with the Impala's roof. Wincing, he slid into his seat and glared at Sam.
"Don't say anything".
Sam grinned at him. "Smooth, 'the Dean' – real smooth"
Dean scowled. "Shut up."
Besides walking into everything above a certain level, the added height had more drawbacks than Dean had expected. Like when driving, for instance. He reversed the Impala out of her car space, drove up to the exit, and waited for a passing car to go by.
Then he stalled.
He saw Sam turn to look out the window, but his shaking shoulders were a dead giveaway.
Growling, he jammed his foot on the clutch and hit the accelerator, zooming forwards and fishtailing onto the highway as he wrenched the wheel sideways, then shooting off down the highway at breakneck speed. Sam yelped, and Dean announced jubilantly, "Now we're talking!"
Then he heard the siren, and saw the flashing lights in his rear-view mirror.
Cursing, he pulled the car over, looking rather shamefacedly over at Sam. Sam was not impressed.
"Don't give me that look! Your huge feet are a little hard to manipulate, okay?"
The highway patrol officer tapped on his window, and Dean rolled it down, shooting the paunchy, moustachioed guy a charming smile. He grimaced in return.
"You realise you were more'n 40 miles over the limit?"
"Yeah, sorry officer – it's my first time on a stick in a while, the accelerator's a bit more sensitive than I thought." He gave the little, shy smile this time. "It won't happen again".
The highway patrol officer was unmoved. "Licence and registration, please".
Dean met Sam's rather more anxious look at that, and groped in his jeans pocket for his wallet. "There you go, officer" he grinned again, guardedly, handing it over.
"No Dean, wait-" Sam was cut off by the officer's "harrumph"
"This ain't your licence, boy".
"It's – it's not?"
"Nope." He handed it back to Dean, and Dean looked at the picture. Of himself. His short-haired, devilishly smiling self. Not Sam, who he looked like at the moment.
"Oh. Right sorry, my bro- ah, my friend's wallet. We must have, you know, accidently switched." He looked over at Sam, who was holding out his own wallet, a strange look on his face. Dean didn't have time to work it out. He grabbed it and handed it to the poker-faced man. "Here's mine."
As the guy studied it, Sam actually tugged on Dean's sleeve. He didn't have time to shake his head in disgust, or, you know, work out what the problem was, because then the highway patrol guy stuck his head in the window again.
"You know this licence is expired?"
Dean stared at Sam. "It is?" he said flatly.
"Expired more'n a month ago. Mr-" he glanced at the licence "Mr Mercury, you know, you really have to keep on top of these things. I'm afraid I'm going to have to write you a ticket, and you won't be able to keep driving that car."
"It's okay officer, I'll drive it" Sam piped up from the passengers seat, and winked at Dean as he swung open the passenger door and climbed out. Dean exited much more slowly, taking the ticket from the officer with an icy, "thank you" and shooting daggers at Sam as he began to climb into the passenger's side.
And smacked his head against the door.
"Ouch!" The officer said helpfully, and then looked at Sam. "You drive careful now, and make sure your friend renews his licence. He gets caught again and it will be a much more serious offence."
"Sure thing officer. Thanks again!" Sam said brightly, and waved out the window as the guy walked back to his patrol car. They were silent until they heard the patrol car start up and saw it zoom pass them down the road, and then Dean turned on Sam.
"Were you planning on telling me you were, I don't know, maybe an unlicensed driver!!! We're supposed to be deep, Sam, we can't go getting picked up on stupid stuff like that!"
"It was never a problem until now!" Sam protested, "It's not like I ever get to actually drive the car! We've been a little busy lately, and I haven't had the chance to fix up a new fake licence yet." Then he frowned. "Besides, if you hadn't been driving like a lunatic he would have never pulled us over".
Dean scowled, and turned to look out the window. "Whatever. Let's go find this old guy – the sooner I don't have to be you anymore, the better
Patrick Magee was a very strange old man.
His house was built into the side of a hill for one thing. As Dean and Sam stood at the door, a soft moo caught their attention. Looking up, a brown cow stood on the edge of the ridge above the doorframe, chewing some of the luscious green grass she had obviously plucked from the roof and leaning over, staring at them. Her nose was very wet, and as Sam watched, a glistening glob of trailing wetness slowly descended towards them, before detaching and landing with a 'plop!' on Dean's shoulder. Sam would have laughed, except that that was his shirt Dean was wearing.
Dean gave him a look of mute disgust, and rang the bell again.
The bell was an actual bell mounted on the door, the clapper attached to a long piece of rope which hung down and required the ringer to energetically yank it back and forth. Wincing slightly at the tremendously loud sound as Dean viciously swung the clapper back and forth, Sam wondered if maybe he was venting some unresolved anger.
Suddenly the door swung open and a tiny man stared up at them. Sam opened his mouth to say something, probably hello (although he really hadn't thought that far ahead), but as soon as the little man saw them he started giggling. Clapping his hand over his mouth in a futile attempt to suppress his giggles, he looked from one to the other and then burst into hearty guffaws, slapping his chubby red hand against his thigh.
Sam looked up at Dean, who was staring at him with what he presumed was an identical expression of bewilderment.
Suddenly the door slammed shut in their faces.
"Well" Dean said, pulling his pistol out of his belt, "I think I know how to settle this."
"Stop that!" Sam chided, grabbing the gun off him and shoving it back into Dean's jacket pocket. Then he leaned in towards the door.
Pressing his ear against the door, he could dimly hear the sound of gleeful chortling. "I can hear him chortling", he reported to Dean.
"What kind of person uses a word like 'chortle'?"
"Mr Magee? Um, my name is Sam and me and my brother Dean – we think you might be able to help us out with a slight problem we're having."
Mr Magee's cheerful voice echoed through the door. "There're few that would call what ails ye 'slight', lad!"
Dean and Sam stared at each other, and then Dean leaned forward and banged his fist on the door. "Come out here and fix us!" he roared. There was no response. Then he fell to his knees and wailed, "I can't go on like this!!"
Sam rolled his eyes, "overdramatic, much?"
Dean hissed at him, "You want to stay like this forever?"
A tiny window in the door slid open to reveal a round, red nose and sparkling blue eyes. "Even if I wanted to I couldn't fix ye, boys. Not here. Ye'll have to head on back where t'was ye were bewitched!"
The little door slammed shut.
"Wait!" begged Sam, "what do we have to do to change back?"
"I ain't tellin ye, laddie, if ye caint work it out yerself you'd best be stayin' as ye are!" there was a pause, then the voice came again. "The little one, she be a clue!" He guffawed again.
Then the entire house, hill and cow vanished.
Sam and Dean stood stunned in the middle of an empty field.
Then Dean turned to Sam. "Do you believe that it's something supernatural now?" he griped.
As Sam drove the Impala, Dean sat flipping through the journal; Daphne perched unenthusiastically on the palm of his hand. He stared at her.
"So what kind of creature are you, duck? Shapeshifter?" he narrowed his eyes.
Daphne blinked at him.
Dean sighed, and Sam shook his head. "Dude, I'm pretty sure she's just a duck. You know, an ordinary 'quack quack' kind of duck".
"But he said 'the little one was a clue!" Dean protested, "So there must be something weird about here. Maybe she's possessed. I'll do a little duck exorcism ".
The Impala screeched to a halt."You're not going to exorcise my duck!" Sam yelped.
Dean stared at him. "Dude, you're starting to worry me."
"Shut up. You drive, I'll research – and put her down, or I think she might bite you." Dean looked down, and noticed that Daphne was indeed giving him the evil eye. He gingerly lowered her into the glove box.
"What about your expired licence?"
"I'm willing to take that risk, if you are" Sam said. Dean paused, and then nodded. "Yeah, I'm a better driver anyway. And geek boy should do what he does best, right?"
Sam grinned. "Totally. I'll be back in a sec."
"Wait a minute, where are you going?"
"Behind a tree, to, you know..."
"Oh no you don't!" Dean bellowed, and Sam stopped in his tracks, turning with a flabbergasted look on his face.
"Because it would be way too embarrassing! Get your ass back here and hold on until we change back!"
"But I'll only be a second!" Sam whined, giving Dean his best puppy-dug eyes. Which totally didn't work coming from Dean's face. He grimaced.
"Eww. No way Sam, be a big boy and wait."
Grumbling, Sam trudged back into the car and shut Dean a filthy look. "I can't wait until you're you and I'm me, then you'll be..." he trailed off suddenly, and Dean glanced over at him as he started the engine.
"What is it?"
"Oh. My. God." Sam began flipping furiously through the journal.
"Ah ha!" Sam cried out, "Ah Ha!!"
"Would you quit that and tell me what the hell is going on?" Dean grumbled irritably, smacking Sam on the shoulder.
"I've got it! That guy, back there? He was a leprechaun!"
"A leprechaun" Dean said flatly. "A guy fairy."
"No – wait, what? Whatever dude, leprechauns aren't fairies. They're kind of like tricksters – and I'll bet this one was just hanging around waiting for someone to stumble into his leprechaun lair so he could, you know, play tricks on them."
Dean laughed. "Leprechaun lair? That's a new one. So, this little dude, he made the weird weather and stuff just to mess around?"
Sam found the page he was looking for. "Yeah, I think so – and when we wondered into his ring of violets-"
"Ring of violets, Dean" Sam's voice rose, "he used what I said to switch us over."
Dean thought about it, but couldn't place it. "What did you say?"
"I said, 'I wish you were me so you could feel my pain'-"
"Ha!" Dean shouted and Sam's head jerked up in surprise. "Sorry" Dean grinned, "It's just, you know, it was your fault. Told you so."
"Whatever" Sam mumbled, running his finger down the page on leprechauns.
Dean shook his head. Leprechauns. This was just too damn strange. Then he thought again about what the little old guy had said.
"Hang on, how did Donald over there-"
"It's Daphne." Sam interjected flatly
"Whatever. How is that a clue?"
There was silence as they both thought it over. Then, with a groan, Dean had it.
"Oh man. Lame!"
"When that stick was flying at you"
"It was a branch" Sam said, sounding offended.
"Whatever. When it was flying at you, I yelled out, 'duck'"
They both stared at Daphne.
"Wow, man" Sam said in awe. "You're a father."
"You created life." Sam said solemnly "a baby duck of your very own."
"Yeah?" Dean grumbled, "So why the hell does she like you so much?"
Returning to that damn field through miles and miles of scrubby forest was not something Sam would have chosen to do again. Looking down at the huge tear mark across the front of his shirt, he contented himself with the fact that the shirt was, in fact, Dean's.
Stumbling free at last into the green field, looking rather less picturesque in the dimming afternoon light, Sam heaved a sigh of relief. He couldn't believe that it was only this morning they had been switched. He fervently hoped the switch back wouldn't take too long – his bladder wouldn't be able to handle much more.
Dean looked over at him. "Well?"
Sam surveyed his surroundings, unconsciously patting Daphne's soft head as she nestled in his pocket."I think we should probably stand where we were when the switch happened – make sure you're in the centre of the fairy ring".
"Violet ring, I meant violet ring" Sam rolled his eyes. He felt the wind picking up and glanced skywards. Dark clouds were gathering.
"Hurry it up, Dean!"
They both dashed across the field, frantically surveying the surrounding trees to try and work out where they had been standing earlier. Glancing down at the ground, the stiff purple patch of violets came into view – and looking at it now, Dean couldn't believe he hadn't noticed it was a ring the first time around. Glancing up, he saw Sam standing, back against the wind, beyond the rise of a low hill. They both waited anxiously. A thin drizzling rain began to fall, and the wind was blowing hard.
Something smacked into Dean's face and he reached up gingerly to feel a horribly slimy welt. Repulsed, he tentatively felt around the edges. It felt warty and rough, and very much like...
"Gross!" he pulled it off, staring at the very disgruntled looking frog in his palm.
It hopped down from his hand and across the grass, and he could see more landing around him, bouncing all over the place, raising an enormous noise with their croaking. He looked over at Sam, who was kneeling on the ground shielding Daphne with his coat, and seemed completely unaware of the frogs surrounding him.
"Why couldn't it be newts?" he muttered grumpily.
Dean stared up at the sky. Come on... he silently pleaded with the universe – or more precisely, with Patrick Magee the leprechaun. Change us back... change us back...
In the split second before it happened he felt the air suddenly spark with electricity, and shielding his face with his arms he yelled, "Change us back!" before with a thunderous crack the lightning struck between them and the world went dark for the second time that day.
At first when he realised he was awake, Dean didn't want to open his eyes. He didn't want to know if he was going to be king-size forever, or if frogs were hopping all over his face. But after about thirty seconds the suspense was too much, and he opened his eyes.
To see Sam staring at him. Actual Sam, not Sam-in-a-Dean-mask Sam.
Then Sam grinned.
"Phew!" Dean flopped back onto the grass. "That was some wild ride Sammy!"
"You're telling me." Sam said, flopping down into the grass beside Dean. The sun was just setting behind the trees, and the full moon lay low on the horizon, bathing everything in a pale glow.
They lay there silently for a few moments, relishing the joy of simply being themselves. Then Dean jumped up. "Man, I can't hold on any more!" he dashed off into the trees.
Sam laughed and rolled over to look at Daphne. She was no longer staring adoringly at him, but at the bigger, female duck next to her who was leaning over her, making a noise which Sam assumed was the duck equivalent of cooing.
He would have liked to lie there a bit longer, but really, his feet were killing him. He sat up and yanked off Dean's shoes as Dean stumbled out of the forest, looking much happier.
"Can we go now? And, can I have my shirt please?" Sam said plaintively, pushing Dean's shoes towards him with a winsome expression – which, Dean had to admit, he was much better at that Dean was.
He chucked Sam's shoes at him and pulled off shirt, grinning. "I am as keen as you to get the hell out of here." Pulling on his own shirt, he noticed Daphne and the other duck waddling off towards the tree line.
"Hey, where's your duck going? And where'd that other one come from?"
Sam smiled. "Oh, I made another wish, that's all."
"What! What for?"
Sam ducked his head slightly, and smiled. "Mother duck".
Dean shook his head fondly. "You are such a chick sometimes, I swear" he said, ruffling Sam's very messy brown hair. "And you still need a haircut. But first, lets get the hell out of here." He climbed to his feet.
"Agreed" Sam said wearily, taking Dean's offered hand as he too rose to his feet. They watched the two ducks disappear from view, before heading back to trudge through the woods for the fourth time that day.
Dean sighed. He couldn't be happier.