This is my last chapter so a little longer - woo hoo you might get an entire sentence this time. In fact (cue drum roll) this is officially the longest chapter I've ever managed. Apologies for the length of my earlier chapters, this story was going to be a short one-shot but then just kept going and going. Anyway I like to blame the short chapters on the fact that I've a teething 10-month-old baby and he can't talk yet so yep, let's blame the baby :
Thanks for the kind reviews and apologies if I haven't replied personally – that darn baby! A huge thank you & tasty baked goods to the wonderful Stand In Girl for agreeing to be my beta for this story...I really needed the help.
Okay. Sam is still Dean and Dean is still Sam and Dean is beginning to wonder if today can get any weirder because right now he's sat cross-legged inside a circle of candles on the hard wooden floor at Bobby's place. Seated directly across from him is his little brother, only when he looks at his little brother he sees himself. Dean's never been bashful about looking in the mirror, but staring at his own face right now he can't stop pondering over whether his left eye really is smaller than his right and crap, does he always squint like that when he's talking?
A few more things for the list of what's starting to piss Dean off about today; not to mention the fact that they're both shirtless. A strange array of symbols is drawn in lamb's blood on their naked chests, copied from an antiquated book that Bobby found in his collection. Dean can't even pronounce the title of the book but from the way Bobby and Sam have been jabbering on about it ever since they got here, Sam has almost certainly read the damn thing before, bought the T-shirt and seen the movie.
Shirtless and sat cross-legged inside a circle of candles is bearable and Dean is handling it quite splendidly until Bobby sticks a friggin' garland of flowers on both their heads. Consequently they now look like they're in competition with each other for the beauty pageant title of 'May Queen' or something, from a town which must be incredibly screwed-up with an inbreeding problem for him and Sam to even be in the running in the first place. Dean begins to question why incantations have to involve stupid flower garlands anyway. Perhaps the person who wrote the thing is just a sadistic bastard. Or maybe Bobby thinks this is funny.
Bobby has the stupid book open in front of him and he's not wearing flowers on his head or letting his chest be used as a finger painting canvas, but he doesn't look like he's laughing either. He looks deadly serious and Dean begins to realise that maybe this isn't going to work and that's more than a little disturbing.
Sam hasn't said much since he sat down in the circle of candles. In fact, apart from his book love-in with Bobby, Sam hasn't said a great deal period, which is ominously un-Sam-like. He's just sitting there, looking uncomfortable, and trying one way or another to hide his eyes. When Sam is in his own body, he lets his hair cover his eyes when he feels the need, like his hair is his own personal shield from all the evil going on in the world (and yep, Dean's still feeling like a shitty brother about that one). Only Dean's hair is kept short so Sam has had to settle for bowing his head and staring at his knees like he's never seen a knee before.
Bobby begins to read and Dean tenses in anticipation. There's a sudden strong gust of wind, which hurtles through the room blowing out the candles. Bobby's voice is getting louder, competing with the sound of rumbling which has started to emanate from underneath them. The room is actually shaking and Sam's not staring at his knees anymore. Sam's staring at the walls, which have started to crack.
Bobby shouts for Sam and Dean to join hands and Dean wonders whether they should sing a nursery rhyme or do a little dance while they're at it. They join hands and Bobby finishes reading, slamming the book closed with a bang. Then they sit there silent and waiting. They sit there for three hours. Nothing happens.
Dean isn't a happy bunny. He rips off his garland and stalks off in search of a beer. Sam shrugs sadly at Bobby and wanders upstairs to find Bobby's bathroom. When he gets there he trundles inside, locking the door behind him before walking over to look into the bathroom mirror. Quite simply, Sam does not hate this. How could he? When Sam looks at the reflection in the mirror he sees Dean. The one person he trusts, loves and admires more than anyone else in the world. When you've spent most of your life trying to meet John Winchester's standards and wishing you could be just a tiny fraction more like your big brother, having this happen feels like someone up there was listening after all.
The first thought, the very first thought that entered Sam's mind when he realised what had happened to him and his brother wasn't "oh crap." It was that maybe, just maybe, those hell hounds will be downright stupid enough to take him now instead of his brother. Sam's clutching at straws and he's smart enough to know it but clutching at straws is a damn sight better than clutching at nothing at all, which is exactly what Sam has been doing for the last six months. He's afraid of going to hell and isn't too proud to admit it. However Sam is strangely at peace with the idea. He feels afraid of going to hell, but he feels downright fucking distraught at the thought of Dean going.
Bobby, meanwhile, has been pouring over his books for hours now and he aches so much his back is contemplating whether or not to start a protest march with his neck. Bobby has books, lots of books but he'll be damned if he can find a solution. Maybe this time the brothers will just have to suck it up. It could be worse, they could have swapped bodies with women. Oh no, not again. Bobby shudders.
When Dean wakes up next morning, he doesn't need to look in the mirror to know that he's still stuck inside Sam. His feet are freezing. His newly adopted 6'4 frame meaning that his feet are sticking out from the end of the bed. Yep he's still in Sam's body alright.
Sam woke up hours ago and did a little book pouring with Bobby before heading off for a shower. Only in the end, he didn't have a shower because when he actually thought about it, he's still inside Dean's body and the notion of taking a shower in his brother's body is verging on a side of wrong which Sam doesn't want to cross. Anyway, Sam's still too busy having difficulties taking a leak with his eyes closed.
They settle down for breakfast together and whilst Bobby is no Martha Stewart he's managed to cook some bacon and eggs without setting fire to anything. If you've ever been invited for dinner at Bobby's place, you'll already know that's no small feat.
Sam is watching Dean shovelling in slices of bacon and is beginning to worry about his cholesterol levels. Dean spots Sam's nervous gaze and picks up the syrup, yes syrup, and sloshes it all over his eggs before taking a huge forkful. He gives Sam a wink before shoving it in. He chews open-mouthed, full mashed contents on display. Sam pushes his own plate away.
There's a loud knock at the door, which takes them all by surprise because Bobby's place is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Bobby opens it to reveal the old Chinese lady from the nonexistent restaurant stood on his porch. She's all smiles, as though she's holding a winning lottery ticket. She doesn't say anything but shuffles inside and heads straight for the table where Sam and Dean are sat.
"You good now?" She asks them.
Dean chokes on his mouthful of syrupy eggs "'scuse me?"
"You get what you want, you good now?" She asks again, frowning at Dean like he's cracked.
Dean has to fight the urge to throttle her there and then but manages to chew a hole in his lip, Sam's lip, instead. "No, not good now!" Dean shouts, standing up as his fingers fidget to get at her throat.
Her frown deepens, like Dean just tore up her winning lottery ticket. She takes a seat, uninvited, at the table. "You wanted to be brother, yes?" She asks and looks straight at Sam.
There's a pause, Dean and Bobby's eyes flicking between Sam and the old Chinese lady as though they're watching a tennis match. "Yes." Sam says at last, his voice little more than a whisper.
"Whatthehellisshetalkingabout?" Dean splutters, really needing to take a breath but unable to remember what he needs to do to manage that.
"She gave me a fortune cookie at the restaurant. It said 'make a wish'." Sam mumbles and maybe Dean doesn't hear so well anymore because it sounds like Sam is confessing to something.
"So you wished to be me?!" Dean is all out of shocked facial expressions by now and has settled for wretched.
"I didn't think it was real, it was a fortune cookie." Sam replies and Dean gets a very clear example of exactly what his face looks like when he's miserable.
There's obviously way too much going on inside Sam's freaky head for Dean to contemplate but then Dean already knew that. "Can you fix it?" Dean says turning to the old Chinese lady.
"You are strange boys." She grumbles.
Dean doesn't disagree, but thinks that if they held a competition, a freaky old Chinese woman who can disappear from one place and appear in another without any explanation would probably win hands down. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out another fortune cookie, which she hands over to Sam. Sam holds it, staring miserably at it closed within his fingers. Doesn't he want to be himself again? Dean speculates, but then stops himself from going further because that thought is beginning to veer off into emotional territory. Sam finally cracks the cookie open. The message inside is the same as before: "Make a wish." Sam lets his eyes fall closed and wishes.
Bobby is a little disappointed because there is no big bang or flashing lights, just a cloud of wispy smoke, like someone really needs to shell out more money on special effects. He watches with baited breath as the smoke clears and Sam opens his eyes to look at Dean. Dean stares down at his body and starts patting himself as though he's unsure whether or not he's an optical illusion. Sam still looks miserable. He doesn't need to pat himself, he knows it worked. He looks over at Dean who's safely back inside his own body and that means, straws or not, the hell hounds are still coming for his brother.
The old Chinese lady has pulled a Houdini and vanished; there's no old lady and no fortune cookie anywhere in sight. But that's just one more strange thing on top of a whole heap of strange things as far as Sam, Dean and Bobby are concerned.
Sam's sat on Bobby's porch drinking a beer, watching the sun go down. Dean really doesn't want an emo moment in such an emo setting, but he wants to stop Sam from being miserable more, so he goes outside to stand with his brother.
Sam glances at him as he takes another swig from his bottle. "So, is it good to be back?" He asks Dean.
Dean sighs heavily. "Yep but you know, it wasn't all that bad being you."
"Yeah. I mean, I liked looking down on my Sasquatch brother for a change."
Sam smiles and as he and Dean exchange another brief glance, Sam knows his brother has a good idea of exactly what he was thinking when he made the wish. Dean of course does know and Dean loves his stupid pain-in-the-ass little brother for it. Loves him more than food, women, life—but that doesn't mean he's going to say it. Nope, as far as Dean is concerned, if he said it he may as well go fetch Bobby so they can all go inside, get their pyjamas on and sit on the coach together to watch "The Notebook." This is Dean Winchester we're talking about, so don't hold your breath people. It's never going to happen.
I hate writing endings so please forgive me if this one majorly sucked. Thanks for reading and hugs to those who took the time to review.