A/N So when I wrote my entry for the Prank War challenge – Retribution - on Supernaturalville, I referred to a hunt gone wrong with amusing results. I didn't think anymore of it until Cookie6 asked about a prequel which showed just how it happened.. And the idea grew from there! So this is the result, which I hope you will all enjoy. It's just a (fingers crossed) amusing bit of fluff but hopefully it will add even more to the events that followed. My thanks to Cookie6 for suggesting the idea in the first place.
Oh, and if you haven't read Retribution then please do feel free to check it out when you finish this..
And finally (yes, really..) this is for bhoney, who jokingly asked for a story to make her feel better – hope you like it!
"Hey, Sam – have you seen my.. Wait, never mind."
In the other room Sam looked up from the laptop and shook his head.
"You know if you didn't leave your stuff everywhere it wouldn't take you an hour to find everything each time we leave a motel."
Dean came out of the bathroom carrying the razor he'd been looking for and shot Sam an evil look.
"Shut up. Just because we aren't all neat freaks like you."
"I'm not a neat freak, I just like to know where everything is."
"Right. You do know neat people are just too lazy to look for things?"
Sam raised his eyebrows.
"Oh yeah, cos it's such productive use of the day wasting an hour every time we have pack."
"Are you done? I thought you wanted to go check out this water thing on our way to Lynchburg?"
Sam gave him an exasperated look.
"I do! Which is why I was ready half an hour ago!"
"You're grouchy today, aren't you? What's up, Samantha, wrong time of the month?"
Sam shut the laptop and grabbed his jacket off the back of the chair.
"Just load the damn car, Dean, while I take the key back."
Smirking at his brother's now even worse mood Dean casually sauntered out to parking lot and opened the Impala's trunk. Dropping the bags inside he shut it again and leant against the car, appreciating the pleasant sunshine for a moment. He grinned when he saw Sam walking back across, still with a face like thunder.
"Ah, beautiful day isn't it, Sammy?"
Sam looked at him across the roof of the car and frowned.
"Dude, there is seriously something wrong with you. I say it's a nice day and you think possession? Maybe you need to take a few days vacation."
"Yeah, cos my brother turning into Julie Andrews is totally normal. You sound like you're about to break into 'The Hills Are Alive'."
Dean gave him a blank look.
"The hills are what?"
"It's from – look, never mind. Can we please just get going?"
Shaking his head at the bizarre way Sam's mind worked, Dean got in and started the engine.
After a few minutes of driving in oppressive silence Dean nudged Sam with his elbow.
"So come on then, quit sulking and remind me what this thing is we're looking for?"
Grudgingly Sam glanced over.
"According to the report I read, it sounds like a water sprite."
Dean raised an eyebrow.
"A sprite? Seriously? It sounds like something out of a Disney movie."
"Well, it's not. These things are actually really vicious. They're not that big but they've got pretty sharp teeth and fingernails, and they like to lure people into the water then hold them under till they drown."
"Ok then, more Quentin Tarantino than Disney. I get it. But surely if these things are that small they can't drown a grown adult? Hell, even you could fight off Tinkerbelle's psycho cousin."
"Thanks, and no, they don't usually kill adults although it's been known if there's a large enough group of them. Mostly its kids they lure in, which is what happened with this one last week. Little boy aged eight said he got dragged into the water by this 'creature'. Parents wrote it off as hysteria from the fact he nearly drowned."
"You mean he didn't?"
"No, his father came along and saw him in the water and dragged him out."
"Did the father mention seeing anything?"
"Not in the newspaper report, no, but we should go talk to him."
Dean checked the road sign they were approaching and moved to take the turn off.
"Ok, so these things are vicious and have been known to kill, but what makes you think it's one of them this time?"
"The description the kid gave, plus the fact this area is a known spot for them."
Dean glanced at him.
"It is? I've never even heard of them."
"Dad had. There's a page in his journal mentioning them, although he didn't actually hunt any. I think he must have come across the legend when he passing through on another job."
Dean took another turn, heading down a quieter road surrounded by trees on both sides.
"So does this legend tell you how to kill them?"
"Sort of. There's a ritual I came across, but it's a little unclear what actually happens, just that it makes them disappear."
"Disappear? That doesn't exactly sound permanent. I don't want to end up playing hide and seek with these things just cos some ancient ritual is a little vague on the details."
"Well, if you can find something better then be my guest, Dean."
"What about Bobby? Did you check with him?"
"He's on a job, remember? Doesn't get back for another few days."
"Alright, looks like it's just us and this half assed ritual of yours then. Lets just hope it does the job, I really don't wanna end up with 'death by sprite' on my tombstone."
Sam nudged him with his shoulder.
"Great, go ahead and jinx us why don't you?"
Dean smirked at him and turned his attention back to the road.
A short while later Sam smiled at the woman as she showed them out.
"That's great, thank you. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us."
He waited until the front door had been closed behind him before hurrying after Dean, who was already halfway to the car.
"Dude, would you slow down? We're trying not to look suspicious here, remember?"
Dean glanced back at him, pulling his tie off with one final yank and shoving it in his pocket as he undid the top button on his shirt.
"I'm not looking suspicious, Sam, I just wanna get out of this damn outfit. Why do we always have to use the aliases that make us get dressed up in these monkey suits anyway? You know, that's it – we're getting some new IDs and some cool uniforms. I don't care what they are, just something that doesn't make us look like we're on our way to a funeral."
Having reached the car Sam shook his head and opened the passenger door.
"If you're done with the fashion update? Were you even paying attention in there?" he said and Dean shrugged as he got in.
"That's what you're here for."
Sam rolled his eyes.
"Great, glad to be of use. Ok, for those of us who weren't paying attention, that thing the Dad admitted seeing? Definitely sounds like a sprite. We should find somewhere to get changed then head straight down to the river. If we get this done fast enough we can still be halfway to Lynchburg before it gets too late."
"No argument from me. This place isn't exactly buzzing."
Half an hour later they were trekking along a forest path, Sam carrying all the stuff they needed and Dean carrying a bag of M&M's.
"You sure those aren't too heavy for you, Dean?"
Dean glanced over his shoulder.
"No, I'm good."
Glaring at his brother's back and muttering under his breath Sam adjusted the weight of the bag for the third time and wished more of the things they hunted would be kind enough to hang out near a decent parking spot.
Crunching another mouthful of candy Dean slowed down and waited for Sam to come alongside him.
"So you think there's just one of these guys here this time?" he said, offering the bag to Sam.
Sam reached in and took a handful, nodding as he put some in his mouth.
"Sounds like it. If there was more than one then the kid would have seen. There hasn't been any real activity for a good few years, that I could find anyway, so it sounds like this is just a lone sprite."
"Dude, you make it sound like some sad little orphan wandering around. If we're gonna kill something it should at least sound blood thirsty and vicious, otherwise we just come off like the bad guys."
Sam raised his eyebrows.
"You're not telling me you feel sorry for these things?"
"No! I'm just saying, they don't sound all that scary. I'm not even sure it needs two us for this ritual of yours."
Sam shook his head.
"You know just because the name sounds cute, don't underestimate these things, Dean. It's like the pixies they have in Europe – the legends got dumbed down and fluffed up to make them more appealing but the truth is these creatures may only be small, but they can do a lot of damage. And they do kill, if they get the chance."
"Fine, whatever. Dangerous ankle biting killing machines – got it."
Sam really did wonder why he bothered sometimes.
A few minutes later they reached the river. Sam dumped the bag on the floor and pulled out the pouch of herbs and a notebook that he'd scribbled down the ritual in. He tossed the pouch to Dean.
"That has to go on the sprite while I say the ritual, ok?" he said and Dean nodded.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. You told me a couple of hundred times in the car, Sam."
Sam ignored the griping and looked round cautiously. He saw Dean doing the same further down. Joking aside Dean always took the job seriously when it came down to it, and Sam knew that underneath the smart comments his brother had been paying attention when Sam had described the ritual to him.
The whispered call made him turn round, and seeing Dean gesturing for him to come over, Sam quietly jogged across the clearing.
"What?" he whispered, when he got close enough, and Dean pointed.
"That look like one of those nest things you were talking about?"
Sam peered round him and saw a tangle of branches and twigs hidden just above the waterline and below the bank. It was too big to be for a bird, or even a beaver or otter. He nodded.
Dean scanned the water.
"Ok, so if this is it's nest then where the hell is it?" he hissed, just as Sam felt something hit his boot.
Looking down he came face to face with a small, blueish creature. It was about the size of a small toddler, with skin that shimmered like water. It had a mass of wild curly black hair, slightly pointed ears, and long talon like fingernails. It was these which it was using to swipe Sam's boot, although it was having no effect on the tough leather. Big black eyes regarded Sam with an evil glare and it opened it's mouth to show row upon row of razor sharp teeth.
"Uh, Dean?" said Sam and Dean looked at him then followed his gaze downwards. He blinked.
"Oh, come on – seriously? That's it?"
"No, Dean, I think it's a beaver with a bad hair day."
Dean whacked him on the arm.
"Alright, smart ass, then what are you doing standing there gawping at it? Let's get on with this."
Sam nodded and took a step back, slightly disconcerted by the way the thing was trying to shred his boot and the evil look it was still giving him.
"Hey, you – fugly Stitch wannabe. Why don't you come over here and leave the nice man alone, huh?"
Dean backed away from Sam slowly, watching as the sprite shifted it's glare from his brother to him. It hesitated then began to stalk towards him, it's hands extended like claws and it's teeth still bared.
Dean stopped and let it get closer, then in one fluid movement opened the pouch and dumped the contents on it. The sprite shrieked, shaking it's head and jumping around, but the stuff caught in it's hair and stuck to the skin on it's shoulders. Sam quickly began reading the words for the ritual as the sprite moved a step closer to Dean.
"Ah, Sam? You want to hurry it up there? This thing might not be dangerous but it's seriously giving me the creeps."
Sam didn't stop but shot him a look that clearly said he was going as fast as he could. The sprite was ignoring Sam now, still fixated on the person who'd just covered it in a sticky herb concoction. Without warning it grabbed hold of Dean's ankle with both hands and pulled.
Not having time to brace himself, Dean overbalanced and landed on his back, hard. Wheezing as the air was driven from his lungs, Dean barely had time to recover before the sprite launched itself and landed on top of his chest.
It was surprisingly heavy.
"Dammit! Hey, stop it!"
Dean grabbed the creature's wrists, struggling to keep slashing talons away from his eyes. The sprite was stronger than it looked and hard to keep hold of, as it's skin had a kind of slimy wetness to it like weeds under water. Despite his joking around earlier the thing had sharp enough fingernails to take out an eye at the very least, and Dean really didn't fancy being blinded. He tried to get a better grip and risked a glance at Sam.
"Hey, Sam – a little quicker, dude, if it's not too much trouble?"
Sam was going as fast as he could and although the situation was on some levels amusing – Dean wasn't looking his most dignified right now, wrestling on the floor with the sprite sitting on his chest – he was aware of the real danger that the thing could do serious damage with those sharp claws or teeth.
He quickly rushed through the last couple of sentences and then it was done.
As the last word left his lips the sprite froze. It's eyes widened and it trembled, all thoughts of attack forgotten. Dean didn't let go of it's wrists though, not being stupid, and he watched as the trembling increased.
"Uh, Sam? What the hell is it doing?" he said, nervously, and Sam started to come forward.
"I don't know."
"Don't come any closer!" said Dean, stopping him mid step. Whatever was about to happen, he didn't want Sam in the firing line. Not that he really wanted to be there himself but getting the damn sprite off his chest was proving more difficult than he would have imagined.
Just as the trembling reached a crescendo the sprite opened it's mouth and let out an ear splitting wail.
Sam ducked, covering his eyes, and when he looked back he stared in disbelief.
"Oh my god."
The sprite was indeed gone, leaving behind just his brother. Who was now covered from head to toe in what Sam could only describe as blue 'goo'. He took a step forward, slightly tentatively.
"Dean? Are you ok? Answer me, man – are you hurt?"
Dean reached one hand up and made an attempt to wipe some of the stuff from his eyes. He squinted at Sam, seeing everything through a slightly blue haze.
Sam swallowed, feeling a bubble of laughter rising as it became clear Dean didn't seem to have suffered any real damage.
"Yeah. I can see that."
"If you laugh, I am going to kill you."
Sam blinked and bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. It was the look on Dean's face that was doing it. It was a mixture of horror, surprise, disgust and outrage.
He wondered if he could get a quick picture on his phone without risking bodily harm.
"Are you gonna stand there all day and stare or are you gonna help me up?"
Dean was indeed having trouble getting up, since his hands kept slipping every time he tried to get a grip on the ground to push himself off the floor. He was glad he'd managed to keep his mouth shut and so far none of the stuff had gone in his nose or his mouth, but he could feel it dripping down the back of his shirt. And in his ears.
And in numerous other places that he so didn't want to think about.
Sam cautiously held out a hand and after a couple of attempts managed to get Dean on his feet. He looked at his hand in disgust and quickly wiped it on the nearest tree, then turned back to Dean and tried to think of something to say.
"Well, we got rid of the sprite." he said brightly.
Dean eyed the bag and wondered what other weapons Sam had brought with them.
"Yes, Sam, we got rid of the sprite. I'm thrilled. Really. This is just perfect."
Sam cleared his throat. Ok, clearly his brother was not in the mood to look on the bright side.
"We, uh, we should find a motel so you can get that stuff off you." he said lamely and Dean raised his eyebrows.
An effect which was totally lost on Sam since he couldn't see Dean's eyebrows underneath the blue goo.
"Ya think? Oh, I don't know – I thought maybe I'd look around a little more. Take in some sightseeing. It's not like this is the GROSSEST thing that has ever happened to me!"
Sam winced as Dean's voice got louder until the last part was shouted loud enough for people in Canada to hear.
"Right. Car it is then." he said and picked up the bag, striding off towards the Impala.
He could hear Dean following him, muttering stuff under his breath that Sam was kind of grateful he couldn't make out. He would've turned round to check he was ok but right now the only thing stopping him collapsing in his hysterics was the fact he could block the mental image, for now. He had a feeling he really didn't want to make the situation worse than it already was.
As they reached the car Sam turned to look at Dean and before he could say anything a pair of goo covered car keys flew through the air towards him. He caught them and grimaced, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiping them clean.
As Sam unlocked the trunk and dropped the bag inside, Dean came closer to the car.
"Grab me that blanket from the back there, would you."
Sam looked at him, concern overriding the need to laugh at the image in front of him.
Dean's glare could have melted lead, goo or no goo.
"No I am not cold, dumb ass, I just don't want to get this crap all over my baby!"
Sam looked chagrined.
He handed Dean the blanket, not commenting when it was snatched from him, and unlocked the doors. He got behind the wheel and deliberately didn't look as Dean got in, wrapping the blanket round himself carefully so that none of him was touching the actual seat.
As they drove along, Sam resolutely kept his gaze on the road.
"This stuff will come off, right?"
Sam bit his lip and put his foot down.
This was definitely going to be a long drive.