Haiku! (God Bless You)
Sam was still in the line of fire.
All Dean could do was watch as the nukekubi aimed for his brother's jugular, a bitter haiku aftertaste in his mouth. Jesus, the thing had huge teeth. Shooting was not an option as long as Sam was in the mix, but one way or another this thing was going to die tonight. He set his Colt down, wildly searching for something else to use. A muffled cry of pain from Sam spurred him on before he could grab anything. Screw it, he'd beat it to death with his bare hands.
He rushed forward, throwing a punch that hit only air. The nukekubi darted away, moving with unexpected speed. Of course this wasn't going to be easy. It stopped howling, throwing silence over the morgue, and disappeared. He stayed alert, but made his primary focus Sam, who was hunched over slightly holding his left arm close to his gut. Dean tugged at Sam's sleeve, looking for himself. Son of a bitch, that thing had gnawed through jacket and shirt.
"It's okay, Dean. Barely a scratch," Sam said. "Where'd it go?"
It was more than a scratch, but Dean let it slide for now. He lifted a finger to his lips, gesturing for quiet. He strained, but all he could hear was his and Sam's ragged breathing, a faucet plinking a slow leak and … air. He turned toward the last sound, spotting an open window. He pointed before skirting carefully to it. He reached to shut the window, figuring he'd either lock the nukekubi out or trap it in. Either way was a win. He latched it and hurried back to Sam. They crouched next to the refrigerated corpse drawers.
"Do you think it's still here?" Sam asked.
"Invisible risks," Dean said, wishing he could rip his tongue out just to make it shut up. He was pretty sure it was his tongue that made Sam's reaction slow before. "Sometimes bet on a bad hand. Know your opponent."
Sam looked at him blankly.
Dean stared back blankly. He knew what he meant, but he didn't have it in him to try again. The haiku had to end. Now. He'd said it before, but this time he really meant it. He kept an eye on the surroundings as he looked for a towel. He supposed it wasn't all bad – they had plenty of supplies here if they were in for a long standoff. He snagged one off a metal table, wrapping it around Sam's bleeding arm. It was hard to do, because Sam kept moving.
"Take this," Sam said, handing him an odd looking, long instrument. "I figure guns are a last resort. Confined space."
Sam himself held a long tool with a small circular blade on the end. Oh, gross. Dean recognized that one – it was the thing they cut into bone with. Still, better the nukekubi than them. He nodded toward the door, then jerked his head sharply left and right, hoping Sam would figure it out. If they split up as they made for the exit, one of them might draw the flying head monster out into the open, presuming it was still in the building.
Dean got four steps out when the silence was broken by another unearthly screech. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a dark mass moving toward him. Instinct and adrenaline took over. He pivoted, weapon up and swinging. He both heard and felt the impact, and the screech ended with a dull thump. The head went flying in the opposite direction, where Sam stood with weapon up and ready. The nukekubi revived and changed course when it was about halfway to Sam. It zigged and zagged all around the room, crashing into cabinets and knocking things off shelves, howling all the while. In the chaos, he and Sam ended up back to back in the middle of the room.
They were sitting ducks, but Dean wasn't worried, not with Sam at his back. This motherfucker might have baited them here like fools into a trap, but it was the one that wasn't coming out of this fight alive. It screeched some more, a tactic that would work on regular people. It was piercing. But he and Sam were not regular people and it didn't scare them. He lost sight of it in the dim light and bedlam until it circled at them again, its path growing closer and closer. Their swings met air. It was too damned quick.
"Dean, the – " Sam cut off with a grunt, listing to the right for a second as the nukekubi dive-bombed him.
Dean heard ripping cloth, the thing chewing on Sam's arm again. He spun quickly, whipping the instrument he held, catching both the head and Sam's arm with it. Shit. He heard Sam swear and duck away, still moving okay. The blow Dean had landed hadn't done much, but it had distracted the nukekubi from his brother. That meant he was now the focus, and he was okay with that. The thing rammed him before he could regain his stance, a vicious head-butt that had him seeing stars and hearing bells.
"Dean," he heard Sam say faintly. "You okay?"
He shook his head to clear it, then quickly nodded. Dean had no idea fighting without being able to speak would be such a pain in the ass.
"I'm going to draw it to one of the empty compartments," Sam whispered, huffing out a breath as he swiped at the nukekubi before it could smack into Dean again. "When I open the door, do you think you can hit it in?"
Sure. It'd be like golf. Or baseball. Or baseball golf, with a moving target that had gargantuan piranha teeth. Piece of cake. Dean snorted, giving a quick nod. He'd rather be the decoy, but he also knew Sam used to suck at sports when they were kids. Probably still did.
His brother didn't waste any time, scurrying to the wall. The flaw in the plan, of course, was immediately apparent. The nukekubi followed Sam and was therefore out of Dean's batting range. His mind blanked, but he knew he had to do something. The thing was gunning for Sam's throat again, and Sam was too focused on opening the door to even know it.
"Hey, fugly rabbit," Dean yelled. "You belong in a hot stew! Pass the fork and spoon."
Sam spun around and looked at him like he'd gone nuts (again), but the nukekubi seemed enraged by the shout. It ignored the easy, gaping target that Sam was and zoomed at Dean instead. He barely saw Sam straighten and open the drawer, but it was all he needed. Dean smiled at the hideous face snarling at him, pointed to the proverbial outfield and swung. It was a hole in one. A homerun. A friggin' grand slam. With the sound of a watermelon being split open, the nukekubi splatted against the back of the drawer. And the crowd went wild.
Before the monster head thing could roll its way out of the confined space, Sam shut the door and rested his head on the handle for a second. He flipped, pressing his back against the wall.
Dean raised his arms in victory.
Sam stared at him, blinked, and broke out into a wide grin. Then he ruined it all by starting to laugh, and not in the yay-success-we-survived kind of way but in the ha-ha-funny kind of way, gasping out, "P-pass the fork and sp-oon." He slid down the wall as he laughed. He landed hard on the floor, which seemed to jar the laughs right out of him, but not the grin.
Thank goodness for small favors. Dean still had enough adrenaline coursing through him that he might have actually thrown a punch if Sam kept up with the hysterics. He was very tired of being laughed at.
"That was awesome, Dean," Sam said. "Seriously, good thinking – pissing it off with a haiku insult."
Okay, now Dean felt like a jerk for wanting to knock Sam's block off. It didn't matter that he hadn't planned on saying anything in particular, it had worked. And, he admitted, it was a little funny. Despite being sick to death of this fucking curse, Dean started to smile. He fought it, not wanting Sam to know he wasn't pissed as hell. He failed miserably.
"It's diminutive," Dean said, cracking a full smile and pulling up a seat next to his brother. "Just a few powerful words: the mighty haiku."
"Oh, man, you're killing me again." Sam's smile grew, and he seemed on the verge of laughing again. "I can't take it."
The nukekubi, as if it heard them and disapproved vehemently, screamed and thudded against the door of its prison so hard the handle rattled. It only made them look at each other and chuckle. The more they laughed, the more the monster head hit the door. The image of that bodiless wonder rolling around in there was somehow the funniest thing ever. They carried on for a few minutes, allowing themselves the reaction. Eventually the laughter died a natural death, and the morgue was relatively quiet again.
"Do you think we should open the door and, uh, kill it?" Sam asked, looking squeamish.
As much as Dean would a) get some answers out of that head and b) make it explode, he was right there with Sam. It was way too likely they'd end up chasing the bastard down again or with bits and pieces splattered all over them. He wasn't in the mood for a bloodbath. He shook his head. They could kill it by just waiting.
"Then I suppose we should stick around until sunrise to make sure it doesn't get out." Sam yawned. "We'll have to clean up so no one knows we were here."
Dean agreed, but instead of doing that he wanted to check out Sam's wound. There was no telling what kind of nasty germs the nukekubi had. Before he could, though, Sam scrambled to his feet and shuffled away. Standing, Dean's head spun and started throbbing. Now that the action was over, the head-butt he'd gotten started to hurt. The loud screams coming from the nukekubi weren't helping. He prodded gently at his forehead as he followed after Sam, fingers tracing the outline of a large bump. Ouch.
"Here," Sam said, cracking open an extensive first aid kit and pulling out an instant ice pack. "That looks like it hurts."
He wasn't the one who'd been a midnight snack.
"A ravenous man," Dean said, pointing at his brother. "Shows no prudence about food. A chicken drumstick."
"Did you just call me a chicken?" Sam's mouth twitched, but he didn't laugh.
Dean took the ice pack, gingerly pressing it to his forehead. With his free hand, he rooted through the medical supplies himself, pulling out some antiseptic. He lifted it up, waggled it and pointed it at Sam's arm. He expected an argument.
Sam only sighed, unwound the makeshift towel bandage and took off his jacket. He rolled up his sleeve and held his arm out like a martyr while Dean cleaned the ugly bite and found a wad of gauze to bandage it properly.
Once they were all put back together again, he and Sam started wiping down any surface they might have touched. It was a laborious job. During the chaos, they could have left evidence of themselves pretty much everywhere. On the plus side, it kept them occupied for a long while. The nukekubi screamed on, though after an hour it had started to sound hoarse.
"God, I wish that thing would shut up," Sam muttered, tossing his towel into a deep sink. He glanced at Dean. "Do you think the curse will lift once it's dead?"
Dean couldn't think anything else. There wasn't any other option. All he knew was that if he was still spewing out haiku at sunrise, he was going to cross right over into batshit crazy. He nodded at Sam and climbed onto a cold metal table, pretending the last person to use it hadn't been a corpse. Sam sat, leaning against the wall directly below the nukekubi's final resting place.
It was actually kind of horrible, listening to the screams as they dwindled and weakened. The thing never stopped, though, relentlessly beating itself into the unyielding door. He wished he could ask it a few questions. Like was the haiku just for kicks, or all about distracting them. Or maybe it had taken a supernatural fancy to sweet, sweet Candy and hadn't like Dean putting the moves on her. No human words were coming from it, though, only raging screams. He supposed it didn't matter, as long as the curse was broken when the thing finally died.
Dean tried to tune the caterwauling out, staring at the ceiling for a while, then closing his eyes and dozing. Sleep was impossible, but it didn't take long for him to hit that phase where his body could get some rest while he remained alert enough to spring into action if needed. The hours passed hazily, and quickly. Before he knew it, the room brightened with the rising sun, and the nukekubi fell silent at last.
Two seconds later, Sam appeared above him, peering down at Dean with a hopeful, puppy-dog look on his face. "I think it's over. Say something, Dean."
Dean wasn't sure he wanted to. He was worried that the monster was dead, but the curse was not. He swallowed and sat up, swinging his legs off the gurney and sliding off of it. He moved to the morgue drawer, opening it and double-checking the thing was out of commission for good. Met with a gruesome, bloody, unmoving head with a frozen snarl on its face, he closed the door again and wiped his prints off with a sleeve.
Clearing his throat, Dean said, "Testing, testing. One, two, three." It took a second to sink in, and then he followed up with a resounding, "Thank fuck."
"It's good to have you back, man," Sam said, looking a little dewy-eyed.
"Dude, please. Control the waterworks. We're not making this a candles, roses and mood-lighting moment, okay?" But of course Dean was secretly pleased by his brother's reaction.
"Wait, wait. I missed dealing with this?" Sam gave him a shove. "Bring back the haiku."
"Don't even joke about that, Sam," Dean said. "Come on, let's get out of here."
Sam didn't utter any more smartass remarks. He just smiled, and kept on smiling the whole way back to the motel. They got there just as Audra, the front desk clerk with questionable taste in men, was getting off shift and heading for her car. She saw them and stopped. Sam's smile apparently rendered her temporarily mute or something. She looked weak in the knees as she waved at them.
Dean rolled his eyes and waved back. He was completely ignored.
"You boys out for a morning hike?" Audra asked, still only looking at Sam.
"We sure were. We're, uh, checking out today," Sam said awkwardly. "Thank you for your hospitality."
Sam Winchester: Ladykiller.
"Oh, it's been my pleasure. Trust me," Audra said. "Have fun on the rest of your road trip. If you're ever in this neck of the woods again, I hope you'll remember me. Us. The Virginian."
Oh, God. Sam was blushing. Audra the Implacable was blushing.
Dean mumbled a curse only he could hear and tromped up the stairs to their room, Sam straggling behind him slightly. His brother must be dazed by the female attention. It was adorable, really.
"I think we have time to clean up, maybe take a nap," Dean said as they entered the room. He tossed the keys on the nightstand. "Wouldn't want it to look like we were rushing out of town. Maybe you even have time to hook up with the old lady."
"Dude, she's not that old," Sam said, blushing again. "But it's like she's always undressing me with her eyes. It makes me uncomfortable."
"Right, uncomfortable. Is that what you kids are calling it these days?" Dean grinned lewdly. "In that case, it sounds like you need to hit the shower first."
Dean hoped he didn't sound too obvious about the offer. He usually ran to get in before Sam could use all the hot water. Okay, mostly so he could use all the hot water and irritate Sam. His brother kept looking at him like he was making sure he was still there and speaking English. Dean almost felt bad for what was about to happen, but then he remembered how Sam had kept laughing at him these past few days. Turnabout was fair play.
"Thanks," Sam said, apparently too tired to notice the change in MO. He draped his torn jacket over the back of a chair before rifling through his bag for fresher clothes. "I'll be quick."
Dean smiled as his brother shut the bathroom door. He lay down, hands clasped behind his head and waited for the fruits of his labor to come to bear. While Sam had been busy being Encyclopedia Brown yesterday, he'd made a trip to a local printing shop with a certain book on Ute mythology. He heard the rustle of the shower curtain pulled back, then a yelp, scuttling footfalls and a thump against the wall. He turned as the door opened and the life-sized cardboard cutout he'd had made of Siats the cannibalistic clown monster arced across the room. In two pieces.
"Dean," Sam said with a definite growling undertone, glaring at him. "That is not funny."
"Oh, Sammy," Dean said, chuckling. "I don't think you could be more wrong about that."
Big brothers always got the last laugh.
The end has now come
No more haiku for poor Dean
'less Sam curses him.
A/N: Thanks for reading, you all! I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I had building it. Many thanks again to LdyAnne for the read-through -