Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh, o'er the fields we go laughing all the way…
The tune rattled through Dean Winchester's head AGAIN. It was a nice image, though he'd rather be riding in a horse-drawn sleigh with some buxom brunette snuggled up to him.
Instead he was dashing…literally…across a snow covered field—cemetery: Running in snow was damn hard. The only brunette in sight was Sam, who didn't count and wasn't exactly what he had in mind. If his overgrown, freakishly long-legged brother would shut up and run, not try to talk and run, he'd be able to run a lot faster. Instead Sam always tried to run and talk, talk and run. It never worked. Dean watched fascinated as his breath froze in front of him, wafted along and mingled with Sam's. There was more of Sam's frozen breath; it was all that running and talking.
Sam was crappy at running and talking.
So, trying to help, Dean gave him a shove between his shoulder blades in an effort to move him along faster. "Ya know Sam, if you'd stop yammering while you run, you could outrun this thing faster."
"Run faster than you." Sam huffed, more air froze in his wake, fading away as fast as it formed. Bits of falling snow clung to his hair.
"No. I just stay behind to be sure you get out okay."
They took a sharp left, heading toward the Impala parked on the road opposite the cemetery. Once there, they'd be safe until sun up. Dean skirted around some low fencing; Sam hurdled it like a jack-a-lope.
"This was supposed to be simple, Sam. 'Just set it up and wait, Dean. Nothing can go wrong Dean.'" When no sarcastic, self-defending reply came from his kid brother, Dean threw a glance over his shoulder.
He was talking to himself.
Sliding to a halt in the deepening snow, Dean did a slow three-sixty. "Sam?" Cold, crisp air bit at his nose. "Sammy?"
No monster either, which was good. No Sam, which was bad.
Movement back the way they'd come grabbed his attention. He squinted into the dark, shotgun at the ready. No monster….good. No Sam…bad.
Turning another circle, not sure where the muffled word came from. "Sam?"
Yep, that was Sam. No one whined his name quite like his kid brother. His apparently invisible kid brother.
"Where the hell are you?" Dean's eyes widened, he sucked in a cold, frosty breath when the snow a few feet from him mounded up. Leveling his shotgun at the encroaching wave of snow, he readied to take it out, should it attack. In the next instant Dean doubled over, laughing so hard he had to wipe the tears from his cheeks before they froze there.
"Not funny." Sam mumbled, rising up out of the snow like Nessie breaching the waters of Loch Ness. Snow piled in his hair turned it white, it mounded on his shoulders and covered most of his face. He wiped some out of his eyes, somehow managing to level a glare at Dean at the same time. Sam's head and shoulders were the only things sticking out of the ground. He'd jumped into a snow-filled open grave.
"Get out of there before big and ugly comes back." Dean waved one hand in the air, again turning a slow circle, scanning the area. "Quit your screwing around."
Sam's glare turned into something more akin to an overworked, much under loved Malamute left too long out in the snow. "Can't. 'M stuck."
"On what?" Dean moved forward to peer down at his half snowbound brother.
Puffing some noise halfway between a bark and a sniffle, "If I knew that Dean, it's likely I'd not be stuck and could get myself out."
"Well…stick your hand down there and feel around."
"What if there's a dead body down here?"
Scratching the back of his neck, Dean chuckled, "Gee Sammy, cemetery, dead body? Sure wouldn't see that coming."
"I don't think I'm stuck on anything, I just can't get a foothold." Sam tried pulling out of the hole, sliding down farther. "It's slippery." He looked up, the picture of defeat.
"See, Sammy this is what running and talking gets you." Dean swung one leg over the fencing, then the other and carefully set his shotgun next to the hole.
"Could ya just get me outa here before my dick freezes off?" Sam slapped the snow with one hand, soft, sparkling flakes poofed up in shimmering cloud, mostly to settle in his hair and eyebrows.
Stopping mid-reach, Dean froze. After a moment's consideration he straightened, holding both hands out defensively. "Whoa there dude. Just stop. Your dick freezes off, I am not sewing it back on, stapling it back on or gluing it back on. You're on your own with that one."
Sam flipped him off.
"Now Sammy be nice."
"Dean, I'm COLD!"
"All right, all right," reaching down, sliding his hands under Sam's shoulders, "C'mon Yeti, let's get you outta there." Hauling up while Sam scrambled out of the hole, a minute later Sam stood in front of him, snow-covered, looking rather….pissed. Dean gave him a lopsided grin, brushed snow from his brother's shoulders. "I thought Bumbles were supposed to bounce." Sam glared while Dean brushed snow from his hair, then off his face. Dean's finger wiped snow down the slope of Sam's nose, then curled away fast when his brother's teeth snapped together.
When Sam pulled in a fast breath, eyes widening, Dean straightened. "It's behind me, isn't it?"
"A possessed cartoon abominable snowman?"
Sam shook his head. "Nope." Snow flew off him like one of those weird snow globe storms.
"Enchanted, not possessed."
"Whatever." Dean hissed, pinching the bridge of his nose between a finger and thumb. "What now?"
"Ayy think its Frosty."
"The snowman?" Leaning down slowly, Dean's fingers curled around his shotgun.
Dean sighed. "Great. A freaking possessed snowman."
"Enchanted," Sam corrected.
"What…" He pulled the shotgun up, spun around and fired. "…Ever." Evaporating in an explosion of snow and ice the seven foot, round, smiling snowman blew out in all directions. His carrot nose hit Dean's chest, his scarf fluttering down to drape over one side of Sam's head, flowing down one arm.
Turning back to his brother, another snicker escaped Dean's nose since he was trying really hard to keep his lips shut. Winding the scarf around Sam's neck while brushing more snow off his shoulders, "Ya know, when you were, like, five you had this snow suit, it'd take me, I don't know, hours to get you all bundled up. You'd walk like-" Dean did his best Frankenstein imitation, which almost got a smile from Sam. "And then spend about three minutes outside before you'd want to go back inside."
Sam arched one eyebrow and glowered.
"Yeah, ok never mind." Scratching the top of his head, Dean turned around, but not before tugging on the scarf. Sam made some noise sounding suspiciously like more curse words. Shotgun slung casually over his shoulder, he hiked back over the fencing, walking toward the cemetery border. "So, lemme get this straight. We left the crystal on the altar, in the center of this cemetery because when the sun comes up tomorrow—"
"On the Winter Solstice," Sam added.
"Right on the Winter Solstice, at sunrise, the sunshine hits the crystal and altar, the elf is sent back to wherever, and all this funny, scare the crap out of folks visiting the dearly departed goes away?"
Squinting at the sky, "It's awful cloudy." Dean observed. Sam shrugged and adjusted his backpack higher on his shoulder as they walked. Sam's hand thumping against his chest with an audible thunk stopped him. Following the line of Sam's arm, Dean looked off to his left. "Nuunngh. Now there's something you don't see every day." The shotgun was pulled down, now gripped loosely at his side.
"Nope, it's sure not."
"A whole herd of the things. Ya know, they're sorta cute, in a demonic—"
"Enchanted," Sam corrected.
Nodding, "Right, enchanted, evil bastard sort of way. They all have glowing red noses."
Sam's nose crinkled, he lifted one shoulder, dropped it again, "At least their eyes aren't glowing red. There sure are a lot of them. Maybe we can just quietly walk around them and they won't notice us?" Sam nudged his side, making Dean sidestep a few paces to keep from getting run over. "Why do you suppose boobs and antlers are both called racks?"
"All we have to do is get to the road, we can watch from the car, right?" He purposely ignored Sam's rack question.
"Yep." Sam was keeping a wary eye on the herd of reindeer milling around not so terribly far from them.
"What's wrong with making Keebler cookies, now elves have to haunt cemeteries too?"
"I don't think it's technically a haunting if nothing is dead," Sam pointed out. He tugged on Dean's jacket sleeve. "Uh, Dean."
A half glance sideways at Sam, "I'm sick of cold and snow."
"What now?" He stopped, pivoted on his toes to face Sam.
"I…uh….I think they're herding this way."
"Herding this…? Oh crap."
The reindeer were no longer cute. In fact they no longer even looked alive. Fur and flesh dripping off translucent skeletons, their antlers pale against the dark winter sky. An entire herd of glowing red noses, beeping like reverse driving semis, headed in their direction. Running in their direction. None of them were talking while they ran.
Grabbing Sam's shoulders, spinning him around and shoving him ahead, Dean shouted, "Run Sam. Don't talk and run, just freaking RUN!"
They sprinted around a line of trees, the ghostly reindeer with glowing red, bleating noses gaining ground with every stride. Sliding behind a raised grave monument situated near a small drop off with a frozen water fall at one end, Sam's feet sent another spray of snow into the air. It mingled with the freshly fallen snow, covering both of them. Dean dove in next to his brother, shoving him farther back as the herd leapt over the line of graves. Running off the edge of the small cliff, the reindeer took flight, disappearing into the billowing gray clouds.
"That's gonna give some poor kid nightmares."
"How many of those stupid shows did you watch last night?" Sam climbed to his feet, brushed snow from his legs and bitched all at the same time. Dean figured it was a talent.
"There was a marathon."
"Did you have to watch them all right before we go hunting an elf on enchanted ground?"
"Me?! ME?! I'm not the one who every time I tried to change the channel bolted up in bed, out of a sound sleep, begging don't change the channel Dean, I like this one now am I?"
"Did so." Dean poked Sam's chest. "And you fell asleep without having the hot chocolate and popcorn I made you."
"Did not." Sam backed up a step.
"I suppose I should be happy the friggin Wizard of Oz wasn't on, or I'd be being chased by those damn monkeys and you'd still be hiding under the covers."
"Those monkeys are freaky. They're scary!" Sam turned, huffed something sounding like two words, first one starting with "F" and stalked a few steps. He stopped so fast Dean ran into his back.
"Sam." It was more a growl than a word.
"What?" Sam spun to face him.
"We're getting farther from the car."
They both looked at their feet when the ground creaked, moaned, shivered.
"Crap," Sam grumbled.
The snow at the edge of the small cliff gave way. Dean made a grab for Sam's arm, but down he slid, taking Dean with him. Landing with a crack to his chest—yeah that hurt—Dean's breath was forced completely from his lungs when Sam landed on top of him. Somehow he'd managed to pass up his brother during the slide down to the little frozen stream's bank. At least the snow was fairly soft.
"Ya'll right Sammy?"
"Nothing broken? No gaping wounds?"
"Nope, I'm good, Dean, thanks. How're you?"
"Good, now get your heavy ass off me."
"Can't." Sam rested his elbow on Dean's shoulder blade, his chin cupped in his hand. The fingers of his free hand drummed against Dean's back.
Blowing out a loud breath, Dean didn't want to ask, but had to. "And why not?"
"On WHAT?" Dean would deny to his dying day his voice raising and cracking.
"Again, Dean, if I knew that, it's likely I'd not be stuck and could get myself out." Sam's hand lay against the back of Dean's head for a few seconds, then he shoved Dean's face into the snow.
Twisting around, getting one arm free, Dean elbowed his brother's side eliciting a nice, endearing, gratifying ooommpppfff.
"Oh for the love of…"
"My feet are stuck."
"Well quit leaning on me," Dean grumbled, shoving his way free. Sam folded his arms on the ground, chin resting on them, and pouted. "Can you roll over at all?"
Attempting such brought a grimace, and more pouting. "It hurts."
Exhaling long and loud, Dean used the butt end of his shotgun to shovel the snow from Sam's legs, his ankles and feet tangled in a mess of branches and undergrowth. Dean looked at it for a minute.
"How bad?" Sam grumbled into the snow.
"I don't think we'll have to cut a foot off or anything. Can you move at all?"
Sam shook his head, crystals of ice soaring in all directions, fluttering lazily to the ground.
"Sit still, I'll cut this away in no time, cause we sure don't want any little Sammy-cicles." Dean wiped the snow that somehow appeared on the side of his head off and pulled out a knife. When Sam squirmed, Dean reached back and pinged the top of his head with two fingers. "Can't you sit still for two minutes?"
"Need my gun." Sam managed to pull his pistol free of his jeans, resituated himself so he was propped on both elbows.
"Need your gun for…oooohhhh."
Creeping out of the brush along the cliff edge, it was maybe four foot tall, green with a pointed chin and a V-shaped maniacal smile. Bright yellow eyes with red pupils darted to and fro. Hooked around one foot as it toddled on bent knees was a line of strung popcorn and cranberries. Twice it stopped to bat at the garland slithering through the snow in its wake. Spying the brothers it rubbed its hands together in sheer, evil glee. Its red hat with the white leaf tassel tip bobbed in time with its movements, occasionally bumping its small, green, button nose. A small brown, floppy eared dog with one antler tied to the top of his head trailed behind.
"Dean." Sam hissed.
"I see it." Dean sawed and cut furiously at the bramble holding his brother captive. "Sit still so I don't lop off a foot."
"Just shoot the damn thing Sam." More grumbling and squirming ensued from his brother. Dean smacked the back of Sam's neck. "Sit still!"
"Was trying to get a clear shot at—"
Dean finally got Sam's ankles cut free, pulling thin, thorny branches and leaves away from the kid's legs. Twisting around to watch the newest arrival he scooted back a bit to let Sam kick free and plop back down to sit in the snow, all the while his pistol trained on the intruder.
Dean grabbed his shotgun, but before either of them could get a shot off the Bumble picked that instant to make an appearance. Charging down the slope it stepped on the little dog, flattening him before drop kicking it into orbit.
Before the Grinch could make another swat at his garland he was scooped up in the Abominable's huge arms. Bending over its prize, long, slightly curved, glistening white Bumble teeth sunk into the back of the Grinch's neck. Held secure in its jaws, the Bumble gave a hearty shake. Cranberries and popcorn flew out in all directions. The red hat with the fuzzy white trim and white leaf tassel slapped the side of Sam's head before dropping harmlessly to the ground.
A spray of greenish goo plastered the ground, trees and snow as the Grinch's head was separated from his body with a loud crunch. Dean barely had time to shove against Sam's shoulder, duck and cover his own head before being hit with a wave of green, foul smelling Grinch goop. The Bumble jumped up and down, squealing and grunting, holding his catch over his head to show it off to the Winchesters, forest creatures and world in general. One final victory shout and it was off, running in huge strides, carrying off the remains of the Grinch.
"That's just…" Dean shook glop from his hands, wiped it off his face and out of his hair.
"Gross." Sam finished. Taking the scarf he tried wiping the green slime from Dean, really only managing to smear it around more. Dean smacked his hand away, only succeeding in doubling Sam's efforts.
Lumbering to his feet, pulling on Sam's arm to help him up, Dean shed the offensive jacket and shook it out. Globs of green ooze spewed across the snow and frozen stream. "Freaky bastard deserved that after stealing Christmas and all." He grinned at Sam, "Bet they'll be celebrating in Who-ville now. Let's get back to the car. These things are killing each other off."
"They'll be gone at sunrise. We just have to keep anyone else from coming in tonight." Pulling a long, ropey strand of gunk from his brother's back, Sam flung it at the trees. It stuck and hung there like ghoulish tinsel. "Hey, look at that." Tucking his pistol in its spot behind his back, Sam climbed the embankment. When Dean made it back to the top he found Sam waiting for him, pointing out some new attraction. "A gryphon."
"King of the Island of Misfit Toys." Pointing up, Sam's gaze followed Dean's outstretched finger.
"Aww…damn." Sam darted away as dozens of garish, patched, multi-headed and missing-limbed toys floated down on parachutes, clustering around their feet, banging off their heads.
What looked like a mailman, clad in a red suit with shiny gold trim, appeared from nowhere. Pulling mail from his bag, face split in two with a wide grin, he whipped envelope after envelope at the toys, singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town the entire time, dancing too, Dean noted. The long, rectangular projectiles hit the toys. Each grounded toy sent up a fountain of snow and ice to re-mist the cemetery. Envelopes bounced off Sam. Grunting he turned away so they deflected off his shoulders. One wheeled through the air, cracking the back of Dean's head, eliciting an angry snarl.
More toys descended from the sky. Flinching instinctively away from the loud crack from Sam's pistol as he picked a few toys off before they landed, Dean grabbed his brother's arm. "There's too many. We gotta get out of here." Dean groaned, "Which means more running."
"Over there." Yanking on Dean's collar, Sam sprinted away from the incoming toys.
"Sam, no talking, just running."
They slipped and slid in the newly fallen snow. "Whatever Dean." Nearly going down on a patch of ice as they rounded the side of a building, Sam reached out to the first available thing to steady himself. He flipped around to face the opposite direction without warning, then skittered sideways. "Deeeeaann."
Sam really did suck at running and talking.
Shotgun up and ready, Dean skidded to a stop when Sam was jerked back the way they'd come. "What? Where is it?"
Straightening, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand, his other arm was swallowed by an enormous, frost covered blue spruce bush. "I…ah…um…."
"What Sam?" Dean relaxed his stance, casting a watchful eye over his shoulder at the singing mailman turned enchanted toy ninja fighter, before turning back to his brother, quirked an eyebrow and spread both hands wide.
"Um…it seems that, um." Scrunching his eyebrows together, looking like an overworked, underfed, far too much under-loved Malamute, "'m stuck." He slouched down a bit, dug one toe into the snow piling along the side of the building, head down, he looked up at Dean from under wet, dripping, bangs with ice bulbs forming on the ends. Tugging futilely at his arm, he tried to extract it from the confines of the bush.
Stepping closer Dean gently brushed more frosty moisture from Sam's cheeks, off his arms. "You know Sam, you're my brother and I love you more than anything." He poked Sam's chest. "I've never told you this before, because I'd never want to hurt your feelings, but damn you've got to be the most," another jab, "uncoordinated, clutzy…"
"I know it's not your fault, but…"
"Now what?" He shouted, yanking his Bowie knife out, stepping around for better aim at the offending bush.
"Hey. NO!" Holding his free hand out, Sam backed away. "Not my arm." Ducking to the side and under Dean's outstretched knife, Sam sucked in a breath, blowing out frosty, sharp exhales, and stumbled to the side as his arm slipped from the clutching bush.
"I wouldn't cut off your arm Sam, that'd take way too long." Dean snickered, didn't even try to hide it this time. His senses leapt to full alert when Sam backed up against the bush.
"Behind you." Sam pulled more insistently on Dean's arm, dragging him toward the building. "Elf with dental tools."
Reaching to one side, Sam pushed the door open, shoving Dean through, slamming it shut a step before the gingival scraper-wielding elf was inside with them. It bounced off the door, making it vibrate. Sam pressed his back to the same door, feet sliding along the floor in an effort to keep it shut. The wood jumped and trembled as the elf battered at it from the opposite side.
Dean scrambled to find the lock, "There's no lock. Hold on." Running down the center aisle of the mausoleum he found a chair, was back to Sam's side in seconds. "Aww…crap!"
"You've GOT to be kidding me!" Sam sputtered.
"Piece of too short shit ass chair." Dean flung it to one side. Leaning one arm against the door, it bounced and jerked partly open again. A glance at Sam, who was reaching behind his back again for his pistol. Raising his shotgun slightly, "Ready?"
Sam nodded spasmodically.
Dean tipped his chin once, hand moving to the door handle. Sam straightened, turning on his toes, pistol up, taking aim. Stepping sideways and opening the door fast at the same time, they both cleared the threshold simultaneously. Twin echoes, one from Dean's shotgun, one from Sam's pistol, erupted the chilly winter night air.
One elf-turned-dentist exploded in a downpour of blond hair, cheerful elf clothing and curl tipped slippers. Dental tools clattered to the walkway, littering it for mere seconds before evaporating along with their owner.
"I hate possessed dentists," Sam muttered, replacing his pistol.
"Enchanted—" Dean corrected. "Like I said, elves should stick to making cookies."
Pointing to the solid stone wall several hundred yards away, Dean sighed. He was cold, wet and tired. "The road is just over that wall, we can walk around to the Impala. Do you think you can get from here to there without falling, slipping, or getting stuck on anything?"
Sam smirked and flipped him off…with both hands.
"Real nice Sammy." Setting an easy pace, Dean jogged toward the cemetery border.
Sam followed along. "Just tell me you didn't watch The Ten Commandments too."
"Why? Afraid you'll get your ass smote, smitten, smited…whatever?"
"Ha, ha…of the two people here I'm not the king of sin."
"You're just jealous cause I get laid about, oh, a hundred times more than you."
Sam grabbed his jacket, yanking insistently. "There it is."
"Think he saw us?"
"Gee, Dean, I don't know. We're standing out in the middle of flat, open cemetery grounds, and you're wearing a dark brown jacket against all this pretty white snow. Give me a few to think that over."
"I think someone needs a nap Mr. Cranky Pants." Dean was quite sure Sam would have flipped him off again if the Bumble hadn't screeched some ear shattering noise and charged them. "And newsflash Sammy, that blue denim stands out quite nicely against white too." He shoved against Sam's arm.
"I know, I know, shut up and RUN!" Sam sprinted toward the stone wall.
"Now he gets it," Dean muttered, running after Sam. Then just because he could, darted ahead, which pissed Sam off, but oh well. Hitting the stone fence two strides before Sam and at least a dozen ahead of the Bumble, Dean vaulted over, landing neatly on both feet on the far side.
Sam, muttering obscenities under his breath, obviously still hadn't really gotten it and proved yet again he was just plain bad at running and talking. Jumping at the stone wall he lurched to the top then flopped down on his back, groaning. The Bumble raced after its prey, throwing its entire body into the air after Sam who turned and ducked away, one arm thrown over his head. Shots rang out from Dean's shotgun, catching the Bumble full in the chest. The fuzzy beast's arms flew out to its sides, its body shoved backwards as if grabbed by an unseen hand.
Hitting the ground inside the cemetery, it bounced four or five times before withering to the ground. In a puff of ice and a gust of chilly air it vanished.
Propping up on his elbows, Sam looked over at Dean, his brother grinning stupidly.
"Hey, Sammy I guess they really do bounce." Turning to the road, Dean glanced over his shoulder at his brother. "Come on, the sun will be up soon and there's still a couple of cups of hot chocolate with our names on them back at the motel. I'm buying."
"Yeah, about getting over to the car." Sam's fingers moved along the back of his head, his eyes dropped to the ground, he sort of snuffled.
"I…um…I'm sorta…well…" Picking at a button on his jacket, scrunching his nose, looking like an incredibly overworked, much under-loved, starved, homeless, left out in the snow for too many days Malamute, Sam looked up at the sky. "It's not such a bad night out tonight."
"You're…on wha…oh fortheloveof…sonofa...SAM!" Dean pushed against Sam's shoulder, sitting him up, then shoved against his back to move him forward. "Well, ok, that's sort of a dumb place to put a hook." Pulling his Bowie knife out. "Sit still." Taking aim at his brother's belt loop, captured by a sturdy, metal hook embedded in the stone wall, Dean squinted in the dim night, sliding the tip of the knife along Sam's back.
"What are you…NO!"
"What part of sit still do you not get?" One quick, sure jerk upwards and the material separated. Sam tumbled off the wall, back into the cemetery.
Standing, brushing snow and ice from his arms and chest, out of his hair, Sam glared. "You did that on purpose."
"What's your point?" Reaching over, grabbing both Sam's arms, Dean helped haul him up and over the wall, out of the cemetery.
Uneventful hours later, still the only brunette in sight was Sam. Dean padded quietly across the motel room, clicked off the TV and set a mug on the table between their beds with a soft clunk. Sam opened one eye at the sound, still sprawled where he'd dropped on his back, sideways across the bed.
"You're not stuck are you?"
Sam stuck his tongue out and sat up, taking his mug in both hands. "Thanks."
Head ducked, Dean still saw the rebellious corners of Sam's mouth twitch to a smile. "Still snowing like crazy out there, think enough light got through the clouds to work?"
"Yeah, maybe, I hope so. Light hit the crystal, and everything seemed quiet after that."
"We might as well hang out for a day or two and make sure." Dean opened the bag of freshly popped popcorn, blessing yet again cheap motels that came with microwaves.
"I saw a Christmas village up the road. They've got real reindeer and people dressed as cartoon characters," Sam suggested brightly.
Dean emptied the bag of popcorn over Sam's head, settled back on his bed with his mug of hot chocolate and a copy of Muscle Car, because seriously red nosed reindeer, Bumbles, snowmen, the Grinch and his freaky little dog too were just scary.