Written for the April UnGen 'Prank Wars' fanfic challenge over at Supernaturalville dot net. Go read the winners, and everyone else who entered. I'm telling you man, pure comedy gold, and just what we need before an angst-ridden season finale.
The day started the usual way:
"Dean. Come on man, get up."
"Mmm-hmm mm-mm-mm-mm hmm. Hmm."
"Dude! I don't speak Pillow! Get your ass out of bed! We have bones to find!"
Then it had taken a sharp left turn into the town of Specious Fun, population two, as Sam decided he had waited more than long enough.
So he peeled off the toothpaste label and gave it a nice new home, placing the tube back on the counter in the bathroom. He walked out and watched innocently as his brother sleep-walked his way into the small room.
The younger Winchester sat on his adopted bed, cross-legged and radiating a kind of peace Yoda would have found hard to match. He listened. He waited. Because in the end, timing is everything.
The sounds started the usual way:
Toilet flushing. Sink taps running. Assorted sniffing and muttering sounds. A zipper on a toiletry bag. A running tap. Sounds of brushing.
And then it came.
"Whatheffinghellisthishit?" – all muffled and gargled, spilling into full-blown guttural cries of anger and astonishment. The sounds started again: of taps suddenly running full blast. Of spitting and gagging. Of curses and gurgles, sucking and spitting.
Sam let his face crack into a grin that, left unchecked, would have displaced most of the county in a very short time with its sheer size and ferocity.
He cleared his throat, leaned over to the bedside table, and picked up his phone slowly. He sniffed, still trying to keep the laughter from erupting, as he pressed the menu buttons idly.
Dean flew out of the bathroom, still just in his shorts, his face now dripping cold water on his chest and his eyes blazing like Kryptonite.
"Sam!" he raged, brandishing what he had mistaken for the toothpaste tube and marching over to stand in front of his sibling's bed.
"Dean," he said politely, pausing to look up at him. His mouth twitched. Just slightly. But it was enough to make Dean hurl the tube at him and then point at him menacingly with his dripping toothbrush.
"Bengay in the toothpaste?" he demanded angrily.
"Yeah. So?" he countered, serenely smug.
"Seriously?" Dean accused. "Are we doing this? Right now?"
"I think you should get dressed first," Sam pointed out pleasantly. Dean opened his mouth to reply, then paused, his gaze flicking slightly to Sam's right. Sam waited, grinning now.
Dean's anger put in a collect call to his brain, hoping to incite it into launching the rest of him into a body-slam that included his younger brother. But the nice receptionist on duty – a brunette young slip of a thing with a dirty laugh and a kink for yoghurt – informed it there would be a short delay in processing, and put it on hold. She then blocked further calls, especially from ears, and stopped all inward and outward bound comms while Dean's brain analysed sensory information from his tongue and the roof of his mouth.
"Aw cawt fee ma mou," Dean managed, putting his empty left hand up to scrub at his jaw.
"Oh dear," Sam said nicely, watching his older brother's face turn to alarm and then panic. Dean pinched at his lip, then opened his mouth and stuck a finger in hastily. "Dude, don't do that," Sam said, effecting a prissiness designed to anger his brother.
Dean withdrew his finger from whatever it had been tapping.
"Aw cawt fee ma mou!" he repeated, eyes wide in shock. "Aw cawt spee!"
"Excellent. Maybe we won't be listening to any more of your lame-ass jokes for a bit," Sam replied nicely.
"Bengay!" Dean managed. He gasped and looked at Sam with eyes that no longer blazed. Instead the green flecks chased each other around, hands in the air, screaming their heads off in abject heebie-jeebie hysteria.
Sam's smugness took a knock. He was unused to this look in Dean's eyes. At least, not over toothpaste.
"And?" he asked warily, determined not to be drawn into anything.
Dean's chest started to heave and he dropped the toothbrush. He clutched at his throat, clawing and wheezing.
"Allergic!" he gasped. "Med-kit! Med-kit!" He coughed and spluttered, but Sam just folded his arms.
"Really, Dean. Just admit it, I got you this time. That was for the Nair," he added flatly, sniffing and unfolding his arms to pick up his phone again.
"Med-kit!" Dean wheezed, and a horrible racking cough made Sam hesitate and look up from his phone.
"Dean?" he asked slowly, eyeing him. Dean spluttered and suddenly spat blood. He went limp and simply collapsed flat on his back on the carpet, arms out wide. "Dean!" Sam gasped, leaping off the bed and landing on the carpet with a thump. He scrambled over on his hands and knees to Dean's head, grabbing it quickly and rolling his head upright. "Dean!" he called desperately, slapping at his cheek lightly.
Dean gave a huge gasp and his shoulders bucked off the floor. He started coughing and wheezing again and Sam held him down.
"Don't panic, Dean! Hold on! I'll get the med-kit!" he said urgently. He let go of his brother and skittered round, racing over to the duffles on the tables under the window. As he tipped it out and began rifling through the assorted miscellanea, he heard a familiar chuckling sound.
It turned into a full-on belly-laugh and Sam froze. He let his eyes close and his shoulders sag, shaking his head slowly in disappointment.
"Dude!" Dean laughed out loud, and Sam opened his eyes and turned round to find Dean sitting up off the floor, laughing like a maniac and pointing at him. "You lose!"
"Jerk," Sam managed, turning back to the bags and putting everything back in again.
"Me?" Dean said, getting to his feet and wiping his mouth with the back of his forearm. "You're the jerk who put deep heat rub in the toothpaste. My mouth's going numb," he complained. He looked at his arm. "And I drew blood with that toothbrush after the first sting got me."
"Yeah? Well you wouldn't get up," Sam protested.
Dean just shook his head, then his wet hands too, and went back into the bathroom.
"So hurry up already! This corpse ain't going to salt and burn itself!" Sam called after him.
The Impala started the usual way:
Sam. Dean. Sam and Dean – they slid into supple seats made warm by the mid-morning sun.
"So it wasn't the old man, then?" Dean asked his younger brother, with a mouth still slightly numb to the world and its own muscles from the Bengay assault the morning before. "We dug up that dude for nothing last night?"
"Seems that way," Sam allowed through slightly gritted teeth. "At least now we know for definite that it's the dead mother, not the father. So all we have to do is find her and do the necessary."
"Huh," he snorted, with enough derision to sink a battleship. The subsequent glance he glared his brother's way communicated all too well how much he trusted his brother's judgement on anything else that included corpses.
While Sam flicked through his notes, Dean's gaze was drawn back to the interior of the Impala and he appreciated the trim over the dash, the dials set behind the steering wheel. He let himself relax as he looked forward to the healthy glug-glug of her engine. He turned the ignition key.
A split-second later came the deafening roar of sound.
'Some find it in the faces of their children, some find it in their lover's eyes–'
Dean jumped about six inches from his seat, the ear-bleedingly loud wall of cacophony making the very knobs in the door locks rattle.
"Saaauum!" he bellowed, reaching for the radio and grabbing at the knob to turn the volume down. But it came off in his hand.
'Who can deny the joy it brings? When you found that special thing, you're flying without wings!' bawled out from the cassette player and Sam started to laugh.
"Sonnuvabitch!" Dean managed, wrestling with the player until he could pinch at the stalk exposed by the missing button. He snapped the volume down and then pushed rather harshly at the eject button. The tape shot out and bounced off the seat, landing in the driver's footwell.
Dean cursed and spat as Sam revelled in the hilarity, his feet lifting off the floor as he laughed loud and long. Dean grappled with the tape. He raised it to find that Led Zeppelin's 'Houses Of The Holy' album had been hijacked with small amounts of Scotch tape over the gaps in each end, thus enabling one Samuel Winchester to record over the precious metal within.
Dean glared at the cassette, then turned his head deliberately to look at his brother. He waited. And waited. Because in the end, timing is everything.
"You done?" he managed.
Sam dragged in a breath, before sobering and looking back at him. "Ah… hold on…" he began seriously. "No, not yet!" he laughed, breaking out into another raucous example of complete and utter amusement.
Dean simply stared. And stared.
The corner of Sam's eye caught the look being sent his way from the potential Incredible Hulk in the driver's seat. It spread the word to the rest of the eye, and then decided it would really be better for all concerned if it were passed on, and so alerted the other eye too. In doing so the news sizzled across his subconscious, which of course gossiped it round his conscious brain faster and more efficiently than girls standing at a water cooler in the office. The ticker-tape of newsflash went something like:
Angry Eyes imminent whup-ass! Too far, Sam! Step away from the defiled rock tape!
Sam straightened his face swiftly, clearing his throat and looking away from the simmering vessel of rage and resentment that currently passed for his brother. He looked out of his passenger window, whistling quietly to himself. But when he looked back round, Dean was still staring at him with a look that suggested he was calculating the cleanest and easiest way to flay the flesh from Sam's bones.
They looked at each other for a long, silent moment.
"Westlife?" Dean accused.
"I'm reliably informed it's also a classic," Sam said innocently.
"Oh, you are so gonna pay for this," Dean said thickly, bending his elbow with a flick to chuck the tape over his shoulder and into the back seat carelessly.
"After we've done some saltin' and burnin'?" Sam asked cheekily.
"Oh yeah," Dean said, with a kind of relish that made a whole truckload of worry dash up Sam's spine and slap him in the back of the head for having pulled the prank in the first place.
Dean took a deep breath, let it out gradually, and put a slow hand out to smooth the Impala into Drive. He spared the parking lot a relaxed inspection before pulling out onto the road with exaggerated care.
Lunch began in the usual way:
"What can I get you boys?" the waitress asked hopefully.
"What've you got?" Dean beamed suavely, his humour inexplicably much recovered from the assault on his beloved Led Zeppelin the day before.
Sam tutted at him, then looked at the waitress. "He'll have today's special," he said deliberately, interrupting the eye-play going on. Dean's smile didn't shift, and she nodded.
"I'll bet," she said gamely, then looked at Sam with a polite, though thoroughly professional, smile. "And for you, sir?"
"Coffee and the toasted ham, please," he said pleasantly.
"Right you are."
She bounced away as Dean watched appreciatively. Sam cleared his throat as Dean sat back up straight, looking at him with expectation written on his face.
"Well?" he asked.
"Well what?" Sam asked slowly. Dean put his hands out innocently.
"So find us a job already. I'm sitting here, starving from two grave-digging gigs in as many nights, and you've yet to pop the lid on your baby and do the whole 'ooh Dean, this looks interesting, you think it's a demon?' thing," he shrugged.
Sam spared him a glance before looking up and around the diner slowly. He leaned over and pulled out his laptop, sliding it onto the table.
Dean leaned back in his seat as the waitress came back with the two cups of coffee, depositing them on the table, smiling at Dean the whole time. Sam cleared his throat and Dean looked at him, then back at the waitress.
"Don't worry about him, sweetheart. We been together a long time, he gets jealous if I look at anyone else," he grinned.
Sam booted him under the table, but the waitress giggled as she walked away. Dean turned his emeralds on his sibling, still twinkling with amusement.
"Grow up, man," he said easily. He watched Sam pout and open his laptop, smoothing his fingers over the keys and getting to work.
Sam's face creased in a slight frown, then he harrumphed and sat a little straighter.
"Dean, you been playing with this?" he demanded.
"Uh-uh, not me," Dean shrugged. He watched Sam look at him, and met his gaze calmly. Dean's eyes went slightly wider, greener, and he pasted on his personal favourite: 'Innocent Dumbass Look of Naiivety Number Four.' He held it rock steady with the ease of the practised. I mean, shit, it's worked on like a hundred chicks.
Sam sighed, then looked back at the computer. He tapped a key and there was a beep. He gasped and rammed his fingers to the keys, hammering and swearing like a man possessed.
Well, not quite.
Dean simply watched, his US Government Patent-Applied-For 'Oblivious' look still serving him well. Sam cursed and slammed the laptop shut. He lifted his head to look at his brother.
"Something wrong?" Dean asked, trying to keep it together. His mouth twitched. Just slightly. But it was enough to make Sam hurl his fist down on the table with an earth-shattering crash that sent the entire diner into silence.
"Dean! Do you know what you've done?" he growled.
"Ah… half the chicks in Wisconsin?" he hazarded. Sam's lip curled slightly in utter ferocity, and Dean blinked, unprepared.
You've screwed the hard drive! You've let in some friggin' Trojan virus heap of shit and now it's attacked most of the core! Sam's mind screamed. How the hell do I explain that to his tiny pea brain? He thought for a long moment. "You broke it!" he managed.
"Awww, don't worry Sammy, I'm sure we can fix it," he grinned. His patronising tone and suave smile put Sam's teeth on edge.
"Yeah, right!" he shouted angrily. His raging brain continued unchecked: You've corrupted the operating system, screwed the registries and wiped the goddamned files I had on Hunts, demon movements, histories and just about everything we've done since the Impala was totalled! You irresponsible, empty-headed, useless friggin'—
"Hey there chief, before you get all riled up, try turning it back on," Dean said smugly. Sam fumed at him, his eyes glowing with hatred and frustration. "Go on, boy, turn it on," Dean urged, in a very close imitation of his father.
Sam dragged the laptop over to him with his left hand, his eyes not leaving Dean's. His elder brother simply watched him, waiting as Sam opened it and pressed the power button, already knowing it would do no good.
But Dean waited. And waited. Because in the end, timing is everything.
Sam watched the screen light up, the Vista page flowing away as normal. He waited till it had fully booted up, finding that everything appeared back as it was, except for the missing folders. Then he noticed a small square in the top left corner. He clicked on it and it sprang into a full-screen picture.
There was the cover of the misfortunate Led Zeppelin album, with the words 'Pwnage: You're doing it wrong' written underneath in block capitals.
Sam looked up slowly to find Dean staring at him, his eyes fairly bulging with the desperation not to laugh.
"And all the lost files?" Sam asked hotly.
Dean lifted his right hand from under the table smartly, holding up a CD and wiggling it slightly. Then he couldn't stand it any longer. His eyes and mouth opened wide in delight and he hooted with laughter.
Again, the diner fell silent as people looked over at the strange pair. But at least this time one of them was in a much better mood.
The schoolyard fight began in the usual way:
"So another day, another graveyard defilement," Dean sighed, almost managing to look sad about it. But the glow of victory from the laptop incident the day before was still managing to throw bright sunlight on the slightly overcast late morning.
He threw his duffle into the boot of the car and closed it before walking round to the driver's door. He paused to see Sam watching him from over the top, leaning on the passenger door.
"Dean," he said stiffly, and the older brother checked his grin slightly.
"Ah… Look, I think this has gone far enough. I think we should stop all this prank stuff now. It never ends well," he shrugged quietly.
"Aw come on, man. You have to admit, I was pretty smooth with that computer, huh? Huh?" he grinned. "I mean, you weren't expecting that, right? From me? I'm still impressed I managed it myself. It wasn't easy to set up, I can tell–"
"Dean," he sighed. "No more."
Dean looked at him, but all he saw were the precious moments, the wonderful little slivers of Time during which he'd got one over on his sibling. He blinked them away.
"You sure? I mean, I'm one up, man," he said brightly. Sam nodded.
"Yeah. Are we going to stop this now?" he asked seriously. Dean ran his tongue over his bottom lip, looking round the parking lot and thinking. He looked back at his brother, but for once he didn't have an innocent expression on his face. He just looked tired.
Dean felt the amusement slip off him like rain: Sam was tired. Little Sammy was weary. Ergo: it had gone far enough.
"Sure," he allowed, a little quietly. "We'll call it quits."
"Ok," Sam said, nodding slightly. He opened the door and got in, and Dean sighed, opening his door. He paused to peel off his leather jacket, ducking in to throw it over onto the rear seat. He turned back to the driver's seat, catching sight of Sam's expressionless face.
Poor kid, he reasoned, just ain't got the stamina for this like I do.
He slid into the seat and there were several tiny popping, squelching sounds. He froze, feeling a very unpleasant cool sensation spreading out underneath him.
Sam burst into peels of laughter, banging the dash in complete abderian merriment.
Dean put his elbow on the window block, leaning on it to put his right hand under his arse. He found nothing so shifted the hand onto the seat next to him, lifting himself up. Something moved under him and he sat again, to fresh squirting sounds. He fished around under himself again and came up with a small plastic object. He peered at it as Sam's howls of laughter intensified. He leaned back and felt more squishing sounds.
"Dairy creamer!" Sam gasped in between laughing. "Back pockets!"
Dean felt a Bruce Banner moment coming on as he realised the cool, wet feeling puddling under his jeans and soaking into the seat was going to take a while to get shot of. He felt heat rising in his neck and face, adrenalin making his hand start to shake slightly as he hurled the small plastic pot out of the open window.
Sam's laughter echoed round the Impala. She in turn was dangerously unamused to feel wet, gloopy dairy products, which would start to stink her out in a just a few short hours, spreading under and around the backside of her favourite driver. She knew that, any moment now, that same driver would leap out of the aforementioned wet zone and fling himself at Laughing Boy in the passenger seat. She heartily looked forward to the sounds of scuffling, punching, swearing, cursing and general ass-kickery.
But she was to be disappointed. Instead she heard threats and curses, then both doors open quickly.
"You masochistic son of a bitch!" her driver shouted over her roof, then his door was slammed shut. "I am gonna kick your ass so bad not even Bobby's gonna recognise ya remains!"
She made out the sounds of Sam's lighter trainers retreating. Then the sounds of Dean's boots crunching and tearing off after Sam made her smile in all her squeaky little vehicular places. She knew any second now there'd be spectacular rough-and-tumble going on, and the knowledge made her warm all over, like a morning spent basking in the sun of a clear parking lot.
She waited for the sounds. And waited.
Because, in the end, Hell hath no fury like a Winchester pwned.