Title:The Utterly True And Mortifying Story of Why Witches Really Suck
or, How Sammy Winchester Got His Laptop
Author: Squirrel
Summary: The Winchester family is on a hunt. Seems ordinary, right? Wrong. There are witches. Nothing is ever normal when there are witches. (Pre-series, gender-bending, humor.)
Rating: PG-13. For language.

--
John hadn't intended to scare the witch when he came in; rather, she frightened him, jumping up from behind a sofa and hurling a vase at his face. Only Dean's shout of, "Dad!" and quick reflexes kept him from being taken out by pottery, but by that point the witch had darted past them all and ran down the stairs into the basement.

"Dean, back-up!" John snapped, snapping the safety off his gun and keeping it down by his side. Dean promptly arrived be his side and John added, "Sammy, you watch the hall, make sure no one else is going to sneak up on us."

Sammy, already sixteen and too tall to look comfortable in the low-hung ceilings of the witch's house, nodded curtly, looking concerned. From the way his jaw was clenching, John could just imagine what he was thinking. Probably something about how he could do more to help, really, and Dad, didn't the witch look a little young, but for all of his head-butting and teenage stubbornness, Sam was not going to start an argument in the middle of a hunt. John had raised him better than that.

With a sharp nod of his head, John and Dean moved in unison down the stairway. He didn't trust the witch not to launch another surprise attack, and from the look of her previous victims, he suspected it wouldn't just be a vase this time. Three young men, all just past college-age, had been found mauled to death in the surrounding towns over the course of a year. It wasn't too hard to figure out that they had all gone to college in this city, and from there, seeking out the vengeful women with powers wasn't too difficult. He would have expected more defenses on the house itself, but John supposed that maybe the witch had considered herself too powerful to be caught by any kind of authorities. Well, she was about to get a thorough lesson on that matter, at least.

They reached the bottom of the staircase, but the witch was nowhere to be seen. The basement itself was fairly large, with two large bookcases full of old books along the back wall. There were multiple boxes crowding most of the space, dusty with disuse and serving as props for a few full-length mirrors on the right wall. But it was the altar on the right that caught John's interest. He glanced at Dean, who nodded his head in the direction of some photos pinned up on the wall; the three recently deceased men's faces stared back at him, and John's eyes narrowed. Saying nothing but gesturing quickly with his gun, John urged Dean to maintain the lookout as he turned to look up the staircase. There Sammy stood in the doorframe, gun at the ready and looking tense. At John's unspoken question, he shook his head; no one else was in the house. John nodded and gave his head a quick jerk toward the basement, giving Sam the approval to join them in the basement. Sam began to quietly make his way down the stairs, but John turned back toward the hunt.

He stepped forward and began, slow and low, "Look, lady, this'll go a lot easier if you just come out instead of running from what you did." He listened for a moment, but could only hear the soft breathing of Dean beside him. John nodded, and as Dean made his way toward the pictures, John veered near the mirrors. Sammy had made it to the base of the stairs but didn't move otherwise, watching for any movements that John and Dean might miss.

"All right, now—" John began, but he didn't get any further before the witch jumped up from behind the altar. He bought his gun about to bear, but she was ready with a spell on her lips, and John had to dodge before he could get a solid aim on her. The mass of power, looking like lightning tinged with green, shot past his face as John fell to the ground, landing heavily on his shoulder. Through the sudden pain, John heard a pained yelp from the stairs, and he twisted to see the energy hit Sammy and knock him into the stairs. Just above John's head, the mirror was shattered, and John cursed himself for not thinking about ricochet. Yet another thing about witches that just fucking pissed him off.

Despite the abrupt attack, Dean had kept his wits about him and had launched at the witch, who was now pinned beneath a tight-faced Dean, arms secure behind her back. She was snarling at him and struggling, but she was also roughly 110 pounds and skinny, and couldn't find purchase.

John got to his feet sorely, calling out, "Sammy?" Getting no response, he confirmed that Dean was doing fine with the witch and made his way over to his younger son. Sam was crumpled along the bottom steps, gun hanging loosely from his hand. Seeing no blood, John quickly checked him over and found a growing knot on the back of his head that explained the unconsciousness, but otherwise could see nothing wrong. Adjusting him a little for comfort, John left Sam there as he went back to question the witch.

"He's fine, just hit his head," John answered Dean's unasked question, and Dean's shoulders relaxed, expression going from worried to blank in the span of a second. Immediately, they both turned their attention to the skinny woman pinned to her own altar, who stared up at them with a nervous expression. "Now," John said, but could get no further before the woman burst out in terrified tears.

"Oh, god, don't kill me!" she pleaded, struggling anew in Dean's grip. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, really, just please don't kill me, please don't--!"

John stared at the sobbing woman, and then exchanged mildly bewildered glances with Dean. "Excuse me?" he asked, for no other reason than to buy himself more time to mesh the psychotic murdering witch they had been chasing with the trembling, crying girl in front of him.

While he was puzzling this new development out, a small groan from near the stairs alerted John to Sam's apparent revival. He still didn't move, not willing to risk if this change was real or just a ploy.

"I didn't mean to kill them!" the witch claimed, eyes red with hysteric tears. "I swear, I had no idea that they were going to die, I'm sorry, just please don't kill me, please!"

This last plea, combined with the sluggish movements he could hear from Sam's direction, made John's decision for him. Sighing, he gestured with his head and said, "Dean, let her up and go check on your brother." Dean immediately complied, and looked mildly relieved to be able to look over Sammy's wound for himself.

To the witch, John said, "You, keep your hands where I can see them." The woman stood up, hands trembling in the air beside her face, and she looked a lot less dangerous than she had just minutes ago. Despite this, John kept the gun leveled solidly on her chest, and he curtly asked, "What's your name?"

"Diane," she said quietly. She had stopped crying, but her lip quivered threateningly for a few moments.

"All right, Diane," John began as conversationally as one could get while holding a gun on a person, "What exactly did you mean by 'I didn't mean to kill those boys'? 'Cause from what I could tell, you summoned a spirit to drive them out of town and tear their innards out. How exactly does one accidentally do that?"

"I didn't translate the spell correctly," Diane insisted, using a shaking hand to tuck her curly hair behind her ears. "I, uh, I thought it was just going to get them out of town, y'know? Because Bobby raped my sister, but she's way too chickenshit to even try to press charges, and he's the captain of the football team, y'know? I just wanted to drive him away, ruin his perfect little perverted life, and that's what I thought the spell would do! And then, well, it worked on Bobby, and then Mark, oh my god, he totally cheated on me, and Terrence tried to molest my roommate Karen. And I didn't even know that they had died until I ran into Mark's mother in the grocery store and—"

"Okay, stop," John said, holding a hand up, and Diane shut up like a faucet being turned off, still staring with wide eyes at the gun.

John glanced over at Dean, who was standing by the stairs supporting a pale Sammy. Looking back at the witch, he asked, "What the hell is your spell going to do to my boy there?"

"What?" Diane queried, momentarily confused. At John's pointed look, she started. "Oh! Oh, that! Umm. I… don't really know." John's expression hardened, and Diane continued frightfully, "No, really, I don't! I just, um -- said the first thing that I could think of from the spells I memorized. It probably won't even work, to be honest. I had to practice, like, five million times just to get the first spell to work, and even that failed twice before it took." Diane paused a moment before adding, somewhat pathetically, "I'm a really crappy witch."

At this, John fought the urge to sigh and possibly give the girl a time-out. In any case, Sam didn't look any worse for wear, and from her tear-streaked face, Diane was probably scared as normal as possible. Hell, she was probably considering becoming a nun as they spoke.

"Well," John said, and let himself smirk a little. "Have you learned your lesson?"

"Yes," Diane replied, voice squeaking. She added after a moment's pause, "Are you going to… call the police? Or. Something?"

John shook his head, clicking the safety back on his gun and tucking into his holster. "They wouldn't believe me even if I tried. You weren't anywhere near the killings, and as far as I can tell, you didn't have any idea what you were doing in the first place." He didn't quite have the will to tell her that any karma she was going to get would come in the form of a demon owning her soul; John didn't think the girl could deal with such a revelation at the time, and he had no energy to be her counselor.

He nodded to Dean, who let Sam lean against the staircase and walked over. John continued, "We are going to destroy your altar, though. You're not casting anymore spells."

"That'sfine," Diane replied so quickly it sounded like one word. She added, "Seriously, I'm done. Really. I think I'm going to church tomorrow and everything. And maybe then enlist in the army."

"Whatever," Dean said, digging in his pack for the kerosene and matches. He grinned up at John. "Hey, can I burn the ritual stuff? There's a metal garbage can over there and everything."

"Sure," John muttered in reply, already working through where they would need to go after this. The sooner they left the crazy witch's home, the better.

--

John did not wake up to the screaming.

No, he had already been awake for a half hour at least, and was in the middle of frying some bacon when terrified shrieks sudden came from the bedroom. The pan jerked and bacon grease splattered on his hand.

"Shit, fuck!" John cursed, and immediately grabbed his gun.

In the bedroom, Sam was upright and screaming, voice pitched in a way reminiscent of his pre-pubescent days. He clutched his blanket around his chest and was staring down at himself, horrified. On the other bed, Dean was moaning, "Duuude, shut UP," and burying his head into his pillow. Other than that, John could see nothing wrong.

"Sammy," John called, hoping to make his son aware of the world. When that didn't work, he snapped, "Sam, shut it!" and the commanding tone clearly clued in some survival instinct in his son, because Sam immediately ceased and stared up at John with wide eyes.

By this point, Dean had given up trying to sleep, and was now sitting up crankily in his bed. He reached over to either comfort Sam or punch him (John couldn't tell), grumbling, "Dude, what is your probl—oh my fucking god."

"What?" John said. Sam looked like he was going to cry.

"Dude, you got boobs," Dean said, completely ignoring John. He stared at Sam in amazement for a moment, and then immediately began tugging at the blanket around his brother's chest. "How the fuck did you get boobs? Holy shit, do you have, like, other shit too? Are you a straight up girl?"

Sam squawked and started shoving at Dean, shrieking, "Get off me! Stop it! DAD! Make him stop!" His voice was nowhere near the baritone it had been, and John was abruptly hit with the fact that his youngest son had just been turned into a girl.

"C'mon, lemme see! Stop being such a little prude!"

"DAD, DEAN'S TRYING TO MOLEST ME!"

John really fucking hated witches.

--

After getting Sam wrapped up in enough layers to at least make his chest less noticeable – not that it stopped Dean from snickering at him, which only served to make Sam turn bright red and refuse to leave the bathroom until John ordered Dean to cut it out --, the three of them loaded up the car and made their way to the witch's house.

He really should have noticed something was up when Dean started going through his tape deck halfway there, but it wasn't until Dean ejected the tape just after "Paint it Black" and inserted another tape that John started to think that maybe he should be controlling his older son.

The opening cords of "Dude Looks Like a Lady" started blaring out the speakers.

"DEAN!" Sam snarled from the backseat as Dean cackled madly, leaning forward to avoid Sam's swiping arms.

"Dean," John said coolly, and both boys paused to look at him, Sammy bright red and Dean's face frozen in a grin. Unable to help himself even in the face of Sam's plight, John said simply, "Be nice to your sister."

Dean nearly fell out of his seat laughing and Sam was the very picture of mortified injustice as he yelled, "Seriously, Dad?!" before proceeding to pummel Dean in his seat.

--

"Oh," Diane said, upon opening the door and being appraised of the situation. She looked as though she hadn't slept very well, messy brown-blonde hair pulled back in a pinned cluster at the back of her head. Then she took a second look at Sammy, who was standing opposite of Dean, looking disgruntled and rather mussed from their fight. Lips twitching in a pleased smile, she said, "Oh! Oh, you're just darling!"

Dean choked on the sidewalk, torn between uproarious laughter and being offended on his brother's behalf. Sam just stared in disbelief, and John, the amusement of this situation quickly becoming more of a pain than it was worth, settled on hitting the witch with a withering stare.

"Excuse me?" he asked, leaving the implied "say one more word about my son's new condition and I'm hog-tying you to a tree, woman or not" unsaid. Thankfully, Diane was not utterly unobservant.

"I mean," Diane said, "um, sorry! Really! I didn't mean to turn you, well—" she gestured to Sam and then John in turn, "actually, you, or any of you, really, into a girl. It's just the first spell that came to mind, honestly! I didn't even know I knew that spell." She took a closer, curious look at Sammy, whose face was masterfully icy. "Are you like, a girl girl? Down there and everything?"

Before just now, John hadn't been sure mental murder-suicide was possible, but from the look on Sam's face, John wasn't going to take any chances. Dean seemed to have given up the debate between loyalty and laughter, and was now staring at the witch with an incredulous expression, as though he hadn't just one hour earlier been trying to determine the exact same thing.

Laying a hand on Sam's tense shoulder – I know she's one step up from a demonic hell-beast right now, but murder is not going to help us –, John smiled tightly at Diane and suggested, "Maybe you should let us in." Before he had to pull out the gun again.

Diane made a tiny squeak, clearly terrified of anything having to do with John Winchester, and stepped aside.

Once in, Diane rushed about, grabbing sodas from the fridge before they could deny the hospitality and insisting they sit down on the living room sofa. Ironically, it was the exact same sofa she had been hiding behind just the day before. If nothing else, that simply cemented in John's mind the sheer inane quality of this stupid hunt. Not only did they have to go up against a ditzy, mediocre witch, but they had to be entertained by her the next day. He missed simple hunts. It was so much easier to just shoot shit and leave instead of having to deal with his son suddenly being a woman.

In the end, three unopened cans of soda sat collecting condensation on the coffee table while Diane stood nervously, hands wringing as she regarded Sam. For his part, Sam wasn't yelling at her, but John could tell that he really wanted to. John was quite grateful for the layers of clothing that Sammy had on, because it made it easier to ignore the fact that his son was now his daughter. Even if they were actively talking about the consequences, it was easy to pretend that they were just theoretically talking so long as he didn't look at Sam too long, ignoring the girlishly high cheekbones and slight dent in his sweater and the way he suddenly looked like a brown-haired version of Mary.

"I don't really know what to say," Diane said. "I mean, I've never cast this spell before. Or at least, it never, like, worked. I just kind of said it – y'know, I spent a lot of time in high school just memorizing whatever spell I came across, and I was panicked, 'cause you had a gun and everything." She started nibbling on a finger, clearly unaccustomed to the stares of three armed men (or two and one woman, if one was to be precise) on her.

"How can you fix it?" John repeated, already tired of the whiny way the witch tried to talk around the issue.

"Actually, from what I've read, it usually fixes itself," Diane said, suddenly brightening.

"Really?" Sam asked, looking a little more hopeful than he had in the past five minutes of listening to Diane's meandering excuses. "You mean I don't have to have a counter-spell or anything?"

"Oh, yeah," Diane said. Then she hesitated, adding, "It's, uh, not right away, though. Um. It happens after… awhile. You know, the spell only lasts for so long and everything, and eventually the body kind of remembers how it's supposed to be…"

John could see Sam's hope dying as quickly as it revived, and he watched worriedly as Sam started to mildly hyperventilate.

"How long?" Sam asked hotly, cheeks flushing.

Diane regarded him tensely for a moment before tentatively answering, "A… month or so?"

Sam promptly burst into tears.

Both John and Dean leaned back, staring, as Sam's face turned red and his eyes starting watering; through hitching sobs, Sam choked out, "I – I can't stop, what the fuck is wrong with me?" This revelation only seemed to prompt more tears and Sam looked like he wanted to hit something.

"Hormones," Diane replied. Dean and John turned to stare at her. Shrugging, she grabbed a tissue box from the counter and handed it to Sam, who looked mortified as he wiped his face. "They're a total bitch in emotional situations," Diane explained, like bursting into uncontrollable tears was perfectly ordinary.

Then again, John had never had to deal with a teenage daughter. Maybe they were. This entire situation was messed up beyond belief.

"Sammy – do your best to stop," John commanded awkwardly, and it was proof of Sam's preoccupation that he didn't even bat an eye at the nickname. "Actually, Dean, why don't you take your brother into the kitchen?" Noting the amused expression on Dean's face, John added, "Dean. Not the time."

Dean sighed long-sufferingly, but shrugged and grabbed Sam by the arm. "C'mon, bitch," he insisted, dragging Sam to his feet.

"I'm not a bitch," hissed a sniffling Sam, the whole turning-into-a-girl thing clearly throwing him off his game.

"Dude, Dad said I can't make fun of you, stop taking advantage," Dean griped good-naturedly. "Also, anyone ever tell you that you cry all splotchy and gross?"

"I hate you."

As soon as the two of them had vanished into the kitchen, John raised an eyebrow at Diane, who tried and failed to smile encouragingly back.

"You're telling me I have to put up with this shit for a month?" John asked her coolly.

She laughed nervously. "Um, well – actually, two months is more common."

From the kitchen there was a sudden bang and multiple cries of antagonism.

"You're a friggin' JERK!"

"Dude, I can't fight you when you have boobs! Get off me!"

"If you make ONE MORE penis joke I swear to god I'm going to rip yours off!"

"Hey, just 'cause you misplaced yours—"

"I'm going to kill you!"

John didn't bat an eye, maintaining eye contact with Diane as they both listened to his sons tearing apart the kitchen. There was the sudden sound of dishes falling and Diane winced.

She met John's eyes with an abashed expression. "I promise I'll make it up to you."

From the kitchen, Dean shouted, "Fine, you want to fight? HERE!"

"OW – did you – you punched me in the boobs! THE BOOBS! That fucking HURTS, Dean!"

John raised his eyebrows.

"Seriously," Diane added meekly.

--

In retrospect, letting Diane take Sammy shopping for new clothes to fit his girl-ified form was probably not the best idea. But clothes were expensive, and John had enough problems just trying to scrounge up enough to keep him and his kids fed and clothed normally. Curse or not, John was just not comfortable with the idea of forking over the money for an entire new wardrobe, despite the brand-new credit card he had just received in the name of Lestor Banes. Besides, Diane had proved to be no more of a threat than the average college student, if a little ditzy.

Still, as Diane led a betrayed-looking Sam through the lingerie section of the department store, even in the light of all the money he was saving, John felt bad. He'd make it up to Sammy somehow. Maybe he'd let the kid play soccer next summer.

"Dude," Dean said, grinning in his cocksure way. "You should totally make Sammy wear lacy underwear."

John didn't bother to respond with anything more than a dumbfounded glare.

"Seriously," Dean insisted. "He deserves it. Remember that time that my hair was cursed green because of that, god, what was it – that swamp creature thing? He called me Kermit for two weeks straight."

"I think this might be a little bit different, Dean," John said, and actively did not think about anything involving his son and lacy panties. There were some things that were so disturbing that John was thankful for his brain stepping up and providing a blockade for him.

Then he looked over to see a saleswoman smiling at his son and approaching him with a long cloth tape measurer. Sam didn't seem to notice until she was suddenly wrapping her arms around his waist, apparently measuring his—

"Let's go get food," John decided.

Dean gave him a look, and then snorted. "Hey Sammy," Dean called out. A petrified Sam twisted in the saleswoman's grip at the voice, expression pleading. Dean smirked and said, "We're going to go eat. Come meet us in the food court when you're done!"

"You--!" Sam gaped, but the saleswoman's grip on his chest via tape measurer successfully stopped him for long enough for Dean and John to start walking. Sam's face turned bright red, but John leveled him with a warning stare not to make a scene in public, and he settled for an exasperated, "God dammit!" instead, not following them.

As they walked away, Dean looked at John in amusement, lightly chastising, "That was mean. Sammy's gonna be pissed."

"Builds character," was John's response. "And if I had to watch my youngest son try on bras, I was going to gouge my eyes out. So let's go get pizza."

--

By the end of two hours, a large pizza, and two refills of soda, John was wondering what the hell was taking the other two so long. He briefly considered giving Sammy a call, but knew that if nothing was wrong, he would achieve nothing more than letting Sam vent over the phone for awhile before the real fight about how they had left Sam to his fate would begin. John figured he'd call if they weren't back in another hour or so.

It was a fruitless worry; Dean, who had been resting with his chin on his forearms, was the first to see Diane, and he sat up with interest, clearly bored with just waiting.

As John turned to see what his son was looking at, Dean barked a short laugh, calling, "Holy crap, you actually look like a girl!"

John hadn't quite accepted that his son was a woman until just that moment, because when Sammy was covered in two sweatshirts and walking around with his arms crossed over his chest everywhere, it was really easy to ignore the slight differences in facial structure. But now Sam was wearing a form-fitting shirt that emphasized his trim waist and rounder hips, along with a pair of jeans that were a lot more shaped than the pairs they usually picked up from Goodwill. It was definitely still Sam; his lips were twisted in a sulky frown, expression crossed between long-suffering exhaustion and righteous anger that was barely kept in check. But his hair looked different – the curls were angled in a way that emphasized his high cheekbones, and his eyelashes were suddenly very obviously framing his eyes. And dear lord, was his son wearing lip gloss?

"I stopped by a salon!" Diane chirped in explanation, stopping by their table with a heavy sigh of relief as she set at least ten different bags down on the floor. "I told you I'd make it up to you! Anyway, that's why we're late – Sam needed some touch-ups to pass as a girl, and I'm really good friends with some of the women there, so it worked out. Doesn't she look cute?"

Sam's jaw tightened even more, glowering at both of them from his position behind Diane, even more bags held by his sides. His nails were painted, and John resisted the urge to laugh hysterically. It was already bad enough that Dean was going to harass him; John should at least try to comfort his son. No matter how awkward and utterly messed up it would be.

"Um," Dean began, and almost seemed to suffer a seizure trying not to snicker. He had to physically bite his lip to stop himself.

John was pretty sure Sam was trying to kill his brother with his brain.

"Anyway," Diane continued, either oblivious to the silent threatening or ignoring it out of self-preservation, "I got her everything that she could possibly need, including a whole bunch of outfits and some other products, and I explained it all, so, uh…" Diane faltered, but continued, "Can I go? I'm really, really sorry, and it's just, I can't really, well, do much more, so…"

Letting her off the hook, John acquiesced, "We'll take care of it."

"Oh, thank you," she said breathlessly, shoulders loosing their tension.

"Don't curse people anymore," he commanded gruffly, eyes narrowing, and she made a small squeak in agreement before immediately turning around and darting away. John watched her go, waiting until she had turned the corner before looking back at his sons. Or rather, his son and daughter.

And it was just then that John fully realized that he and Dean were now alone with a newly boy-turned-girl who had just been through two hours of humiliating shopping. And that had been done alone with the ditzy witch who had cursed him in the first place, no less. Yeah. Sammy was beyond angry.

The moment dragged by painfully slow, Sam's face at the angriest John had ever seen it. He highly doubted a simple soccer season was going to make up for this, or even a promise of a consistent school year (especially since John couldn't promise the latter and Sam knew it.) Dean had cottoned on to the tension quickly and was now staring at John with wide eyes, as if he hadn't just been laughing at Sammy's plight and was utterly on his little brother's mortified side. So John did what any parent would in this sort of no-win situation.

He bribed.

"Want a laptop, Sammy?"

--
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