Warnings: CRAAAAAAAAAACK. AU. Wee!chesters and John. Much silliness and nonsense. Mild ludicrous peril.
Disclaimer: Kripke owns Supernatural and all things associated with it, ' I Can Has Cheeseburger' owns the first two graphics I used as a prompt, I just slapped the rest together.
Summary: Something weird happens. A lot.
A/N: So help me, a lolcat mailing list called 'I Can Has Cheeseburger' delivered a big ol' crack-fic prompt to my inbox yesterday. This is the surprisingly long-winded result. The LJ version of this has pictures...
Anything But Ordinary
John returned to the motel to find mayhem already in progress.
"No pets in rooms!" the motel owner shouted in her indeterminate accent. She was outside John's motel room door, clutching at a trembling and yipping doberman pinscher that served as the motel's guard dog.
Frowning, John got the rest of the way out of the car. He'd left the boys alone in the motel... Had they found some animal and brought it inside as a pet? "I'm sorry, we don't have a pet."
"You cannot tell me this! They have marred my Fritzi's beautiful nose! And you have left them alone in the room! If they have made the mess, you will pay the cleaning of it!"
Holding out his hands in placation, John reassured the owner that whatever the problem was, he'd deal with it. The owner stalked away with her dog, muttering about animal shelters.
What the hell are you up to, boys?
John went to the door of the room and listened.
"Shh, someone's coming!"
"Better not be that dog again or I'll neuter 'im!"
Sounded like Sam and Dean... only... not quite. John opened the door.
Amongst the rumpled blankets of one of the beds sat two kittens. No sign of Sam or Dean. The kittens were splotch-tabbies, and John would be damned if he knew how he knew what to call the stripey-patches-on-white markings on their fur. One was standing with a fierce 'come and try me' glare, and the other was peering out from behind him.
The angry kitten relaxed and spoke. "Oh! It's just dad! It's okay, Sammy."
"I wasn't scared," sulked the other kitten, casually stretching as he stepped out from behind the first.
John blinked. His sons were talking kittens. Okay. Still not the strangest thing to ever happen to them but pretty high up there.
He turned and shut the door, then suddenly found his ankles under attack. Well, not attack exactly. His sons were head-butting his shins and batting at his shoelaces. John smiled crookedly, watching them. They were cute as hell, but this was all so very, very wrong. "Back on the bed, boys, I don't want to step on you."
Dean and Sam, hopped, scrambled and clawed their way up the motel blankets and sat facing John.
"So. I hear you scratched the motel owner's doberman?"
"He barked at Sammy, Dad, I had to. He was like Cujo or something."
"I could've taken him," Sam said, washing a paw with great deliberation.
"You could not! You were all-" Dean-kitten puffed his fur out to twice his size and hissed, "and he was all barking and drooling, and I was all-" Dean yowled and clawed at the air in front of him, "and then he was all 'Yipeyipeyipe!'" Dean bounced around on the bed.
Sam-kitten giggled. "That was cool!"
John cleared his throat.
"Huh? Oh. Sorry Dad." Dean sat on the bed, feet placed precisely in front of him, the tip of his tail looped over his paws.
"You boys have any idea why you're... uh... kittens?"
"Nope!" Sam rolled over and waved his paws in the air, batting at dust-motes in a sun beam. "It's fun though!"
"I dunno, Dad," the tip of Dean's tail twitched. "We kind of dozed off watching cartoons and when we woke up, boom! Meow-city."
John frowned. "I can't think of any witches or curse-slingers I've pi-" he cast a glance at his sons' very huge and fuzzy ears, "er, annoyed enough to do something like this."
Sam turned his attention from the dust-motes to Dean's twitching tail, settling down into a predatory pouncing position. Dean pretended not to see him. "So, what do we do?"
"First we- well, I guess I, pack up and get us all out of here before the motel owner calls animal control on the dangerous animals that attacked her precious guard dog."
Dean looked down at his paws. "Sorry, Dad."
"No, don't be sorry. I'm sure he deserved it."
Sam's ears radared around and his hindquarters wiggled, telegraphing an imminent attack on Dean's twitching tail. Dean kept pretending to ignore him.
"Once we get packed up and make sure the room is clear, we head straight for Bobby's."
Sam suddenly sat up, bright-eyed. "Uncle Bobby's?"
Dean took the opportunity to pounce on his brother with a theatrical 'Rawr!' Sammy jumped half a foot straight into the air and bounced away behind the nightstand, giggling.
John sighed and started packing.
As it turned out, the curse was more involved than just turning a man's sons into talking kittens. Sam and Dean had fallen asleep in the back seat, curled up around each other in a fuzzy kitten pile, and the next time John had looked... well. Kittens had been bad. This was much worse.
"I'm not touching you!" chirped a far-too high pitched voice that was still unmistakably Sammy's from the back seat.
"Knock it off!" twittered Dean.
"But Deeeean!" Sam's tiny voice Dopplered to behind John's head. He felt the hair on the back of his neck ruffle from the rapid beating of Sam's tiny wings. A blur zipped back and forth across the airspace of the back seat.
"Yeah! I'm not touching anything at all!"
"Smart-ass, I'm so gonna-"
And then the two tiny voices got lost in what sounded like an aerial Daytona, buzz of tiny wings filling the back seat.
All the windows were closed, but the last thing John needed was for one of his currently literally bird-brained sons to bash himself into the windshield and knock himself senseless or break his fool little neck. Or fly into the back of John's head and send them all in the ditch.
"Right! You two! Take a perch somewhere and settle!"
John peered in the rear-view mirror to see two slightly abashed-looking tiny red-throated birds, twitching and nudging each other with their wings.
Feeding his hummingbird-sons that Coke at the last pit stop had been a very poor idea. They'd been hungry though, and what little John knew about hummingbirds amounted to 'need to eat sugar constantly'. He did not know that caffeine and hummingbird metabolisms did not mix, although really, he should have guessed.
"Any chance you boys can get some sleep? Maybe you'll change into something else?"
"Can'tsleep, toowired!" Sammy vibrated.
Dean hopped up and down a little, and accomplished a movement something akin to nodding. "I feel like I'm gonna explode, Dad."
John looked at the area of country-side they were driving through. It was one of the back roads that barely ever saw traffic besides the local farmers. Fields as far as the eye could see stretched on either side, some kind of crop with bright yellow flowers.
"You know what, boys? I could use a break. We can stop here for a while, you guys can, uh, fly around and get the buzz worn off, and then we'll keep going. All right?"
Dean did the hopping-nodding thing again, missed his perch and half-slid down the seat back before snapping his wings out to hover.
John pulled over, then turned to the back seat. "Now. Rules. Don't fly so far I can't see you, and remember, you boys are tiny right now, so closer is better. Make it a hundred yard radius. You see a hawk, a big bird, any kind of predator, you come straight back here immediately, fly inside. I'll leave the window open wide enough for you to get in. You feel tired, like sleeping, you come straight back here, because there's no telling what you might turn into. Half an hour tops. Hear me?"
"Yessir!" they chirped together, then sailed off into the sky as John rolled the window down four inches.
John watched them chase each other, diving down into the fields and popping back up, swirling around through the air. High-pitched giggling wafted on the breeze. John smiled. Aside from the weirdness of it all, he supposed eight and twelve were great ages to be able to fly. He watched the boys zip around the fields, wings invisible in the sun.
He hoped the message he'd left on Bobby's machine would catch him. Singer didn't do much in-the-field hunting anymore, but with their luck he was out of state. Another hour or so and they'd be there. Once the boys got their wings stretched.
Try as he might, John could not stay awake. It had been a long night before he'd gotten back to the motel and he was bone-tired. He drifted off, watching his boys fly.
John grunted and looked over at the slightly open window where Sam and Dean were perching, tilting their heads at him. "What's up?"
"Uh..." Dean bobbed his head a bit. "It's been half an hour and uh... you're a walrus."
"What?" John barked, reaching for the rearview mirror and finding his flipper didn't reach nearly far enough. Flipper. "Son of a-!"
Sammy fluttered on his perch. "Nuh uh. Dad's not a walrus, Dean. Walruses have tusks and they're waaaaay bigger, like the size of the whole car. Dad's a seal."
"Whatever." Dean waved a wing at his brother. "Um, Dad? If you're a seal, how are we gonna drive to Bobby's to get back to normal?"
John leaned over to look at himself in the mirror. Slick grey fur, muzzle, stiff white whiskers standing out to either side of his black nose. Big, glossy, black eyes shone back at him mournfully. A seal. Son of a bitch. "I don't know." He looked down at his pale furry belly and feet-flippers dangling in the air far above the pedals of the Impala. "I really don't know."
"Can you get out?"
John wiggled around and slid under the steering wheel to reach the door handle, glad for the first and only time in his life that the Impala's doors could be easily opened from the inside by something with flippers.
He pushed the door-release lever down. Nothing. Again. Nothing. He looked back up to where his sons perched on the edge of the window and back down a bit to the door lock. Locked. Why on earth had he locked the door? He looked over at the passenger side. Locked too.
John flopped out from the driver's side footwell and back onto the seat. "Uh. I think I'm stuck in the car, boys."
Sam jumped up and hovered, "Go back to sleep, maybe you'll change into something that can drive?"
John flopped around on the front seat until he was laying in a more seal-like position that didn't hurt his spine. "What are the odds of that?"
"I could go get Bobby," Dean said, straightening his stance on the window's edge. "Get him to come back here?"
"Me too! Me too!" twittered Sammy.
Dean shot a look at Sam.
"I can too, Dean!"
"No," barked John.
"C'mon, Dad! We can do it! We can fly really fast!" said Sammy, demonstrating with a split-second lap of the car.
"And we can fly straight there and not have to follow the roads, so it'll be quicker. I've got, like, this feeling. Like a compass in my head. I know that this way-" Dean zipped to in front of the Impala and back to the open window, "-is North. If you tell me what bearing it is to Bobby's, I can get there and not get lost."
"I said no." John started nosing around in the car. "Talking hummingbirds? Even if some predator didn't catch you before you got there, Bobby'd shoot you."
Dean zipped in through the open window and hovered over the steering wheel. "We're fast Dad, and we can zig-zag all over the place. No way he'd hit us."
"The answer is still no, Dean." John reared up and slapped his flippers onto the back of the front seat, peering into the back seat. Back doors were locked too. What the hell?
Then he remembered; loading the boys as kittens into the back seat and locking all the doors before he went to settle up with the motel owner. He hadn't wanted anyone to see the boys and let them out of the car, or take them. The boys hadn't left the car using the doors, so they were all still locked, and he must have locked his own when he fell asleep, shoulder sliding sideways into the protruding button. Sometime before he turned into a seal.
He slapped himself in the face with a flipper. He was getting a headache, and he could really use a drink. Any kind of drink, actually.
"Dad, what're you looking for?" asked Sammy, perching back on the open window.
"A way out, or something that'll help. And something to drink. I'm powerful thirsty."
Dean bobbled in mid-air. "How thirsty?"
John blinked, eyes feeling gritty. "Like I almost can't think of anything else."
Dean flew around to perch on the seat back next to John, hopping over 'til he was next to John's slit-like ear. "Um, Dad? You're a sea creature. You need to be in the ocean to live. You're stuck in a black car on the side of a back road in Wyoming. I think we need to go get Bobby, now."
"We can't drive, we can't unlock the doors, we can't even roll down the window the rest of the way. We can't get you to the ocean, and I don't know what we might change into if we sleep again."
John tried to chase an argument through his head but all he could think was where the hell did his holy water flask go when he changed into a seal because it would go down damn good right now.
"Me and Sammy can fly right now Dad. If we turn into something else it might be something that can't fly. I can do it. And I'll watch Sammy. We'll be careful. I promise." Dean's little round head was tilted earnestly, and he was shifting foot to foot, clenching the seat back between his tiny claws. Worried.
John huffed, whiskers vibrating, and rotated his head around to look at Sam, who was flitting back and forth through the open window and trying to seem like he wasn't trying to overhear the conversation. John turned back around to find Dean hovering in front of him.
"Please, Dad. Let me help?"
John rested his chin on the back of the seat. "Bobby's place," he opened and shut his dry mouth, furry muzzle smacking, "Bobby's place is... almost due north east of here. If you see a military base, you've gone too far. Tell him the car's on Section Line Road off the 450 West of Newcastle."
"Dean," John raised his flipper like he was going to put a hand on Dean's shoulder before realizing flippers weren't as effective in making such gestures and Dean didn't exactly have shoulders right now. He let the flipper rest against the seat back.
"Stay low, watch out for predators, and watch out for your brother, okay?"
"Yessir!" chirped Dean. "C'mon Sammy!"
John watched his sons fly out the window and slumped down into the shade of the passenger-side footwell.
Bobby had his head under the hood of a '78 Volvo, removing the valve cover gasket, when he heard it. A faraway, high-pitched noise, getting closer fast. It sounded a little familiar, too. It sounded like...
"Uncle Bobbe e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e eee e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e!"
Something small and fast shot past Bobby, buzzing, going about sixty if he was any judge.
Another small something veered in under the hood, around the hood support and then out again. "What the-" Bobby reached for the gun in his tool box.
"Uncle Bobby! Uncle Bobby! It's us!" Bobby looked around to see a hummingbird hovering two feet away at head-level. "Don't shoot!" A talking hummingbird. One that sounded sort of familiar.
"That was awesome! Woooo!" twittered the first small something that had zoomed past, also a hummingbird. Also talking. Also familiar...
Suddenly the odd elliptical phone message from John Winchester made sense.
"Hi Uncle Bobby!" Sam chirped, zooming in front of Bobby's face for a second before zipping away again, twittering about something Bobby couldn't make out.
"What turned you two into rejects from a Disney movie? You look like you should be helpin' Cinderella get ready for a ball. Where's your Dad?"
"Dad was bringing us to ask you but Dad's-"
Sam zipped through again. "Dad's stuck in the car! We out-flew a train!"
Bobby flinched back a little as Dean flew in under his hat brim. The breeze from his tiny wings made Bobby squint. "Sammy doesn't really know Dad's in danger, he just thinks we were racing and that Dad's stuck, but really he might die and you have to come right now and help him! Please, Uncle Bobby!"
"Whoa, whoa, what happened to your Dad?"
"He's stuck in the car on Route, um. On Section Line Road off the 450 West of Newcastle. He's a seal and-"
Dean bobbled in mid-air, "Like the kind that lives in the ocean, only there's no water and he's stuck in the car and he's really thirsty-"
"Okay, okay, let me get some stuff and we'll go get him, alright?"
"Hurry, please! Sammy! Get in the tow truck!"
June was a bad time of year to be a seal in Wyoming.
John hadn't fallen asleep and thus hadn't changed into anything that wasn't in danger of dying from dehydration. He couldn't sleep. His boys were teeny tiny little birds flying out in a world full of hawks and eagles and jet engines and car windshields and Bobby's shotgun and...
He was only half-aware of the sound of a truck pulling up when the Impala's door opened, and he suddenly found himself lolling in Bobby's arms.
"You are one heavy son of a bitch, John Winchester," grunted Bobby, staggering over to his tow truck.
"Where're m'boys?" John rasped.
"They're asleep. In the cab of the truck." Bobby elbowed passenger door open wider. John rotated his head around and blinked gummy eyes clear to see two little hummingbirds snoozing inside a spare trucker cap, buckled into the seat through the hat's adjusting strap.
"Flight tuckered 'em out. This distance, can't say as I'm surprised." Careful not to splash the sleeping birds, Bobby slid John into a large ice-chest in the passenger-side footwell full of water. Salt water.
John ducked his head under and drank deep, stopping only when he started to care that he was drinking water he was sitting in. He poked his head out of the water reared up out of the ice-chest to look the boys over. No injuries, just sleeping. One of them twitched and ruffled his feathers. John slid back down into the ice-chest.
To his credit Bobby did not laugh until after the Impala was hooked up to the tow-truck. He got in behind the wheel and smirked. "You know, John, I always thought you were a Marine, not a Seal."
"Shut up, Singer." John barked, ducking his head under the water again.
"You're welcome." Bobby said, shifting the tow truck into gear. "What in sam hill did you piss off this time, Winchester?"
John slipped back down into the ice-chest. "Nothing, so far as I know. I figured you might be able to shed some light on it."
"Run across any Aztec tricksters?"
"Nope. There was that minor one in the swamp a few years back, though."
Bobby snorted. "He wasn't Aztec. And he wasn't much of a trickster, either. Step on any pixies?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"What were you hunting before this started?"
"Ghost, standard salt-and-burn a few miles out of Las Vegas."
"Ghost wasn't some kind of animal activist or something?"
"Nope. Cement truck driver."
"Hunh." Bobby slowed for a stop sign then did a double-take at the seat beside him.
"Dad!" A floppy-eared reddish-brown head peered over the edge of the truck seat.
"Hey, Dean." It kind of disturbed John that he recognized his son so easily as a puppy.
Dean's tongue lolled out and he licked his father's face, then pulled back. "Sorry, Dad, that was, um, kind of like an instinct thing."
John smiled. He didn't know what his seal-muzzle face might look like, but it felt like smiling. "It's okay. I don't mind."
"I'm stuck, Dean! Help!" yipped Sammy. Dean disappeared over the edge of the seat and John pushed himself up out of the ice-chest to see Sam filling Bobby's spare cap entirely, with his hind leg tangled in the seatbelt arrangement. Dean had grabbed the seatbelt between his teeth and was growling at it.
Bobby, who'd been sitting blinking bemusedly at the sudden occurrence of puppies in his tow truck, put the hazard lights on and disentangled Sam's leg. "I didn't even see it happen. They went straight from bird to puppy in an instant."
"Does that give you any clue as to what might be causing this?"
Bobby turned off the hazard lights and proceeded through the intersection. "Maybe."
Bobby squatted by the edge of the pond hidden in behind his junk yard and John swam over.
"You know, I've got a tin of sardines in the kitchen if-"
"Bite me, Singer," barked John. "You figured out what the hell's going on here yet?"
Bobby took off his hat and rubbed his head. "Near as I can figure it's something called 'wild magic'. No one knows why, just every so often, random impossible things happen. This is worse than anything that's been recorded to date, as far as I can tell."
John's muzzle twisted sourly and his whiskers vibrated in irritation. "Thanks. That's really gratifying to know."
"It goes in cycles, like sunspots. Last cluster of wild magic outbreaks took place in the sixties. Mostly on college campuses. No one really noticed."
John huffed. "This just happens?"
Bobby shrugged. "It's like every once in a while the universe decides there isn't enough weird crap going on and dumps a bunch on some poor sap. Or sometimes some poor sap and his family."
"But how'd we wind up-" John gestured at himself with a flipper. "Overdosing on weird crap?"
Bobby shrugged. "You're a hunter. The universe needs to overcompensate to fill your lives with more weird crap than they ordinarily are."
"Great. How do we end it?"
"You don't. It just kind of ends on its own."
"Couple days, maybe?" Bobby shrugged again.
"A couple days?" John barked. "I'm gonna be rolling around in this puddle for days?"
"I imagine once you fall asleep you'll change into something less inclined to rolling in ponds."
"I can't sleep out here, it's too open, and this water is wrong!" John slapped the surface of the pond with a flipper, splashing greenish water on Bobby's boots.
"Hey, you said you'd rather be outside."
"I've changed my mind. This is ridiculous." John waddled out of the pond and towards Bobby's house. "I'm taking over your guest bathtub."
Bobby followed his slow-moving aquatic friend back to the house with a smirk. "Suit yourself. I'm not expecting any other company."
As John flolopped across the wrecking yard, Dean came tearing past. At the sight of John, he skidded to a stop, paws flailing.
John nodded. "Dean."
"Hi Dad, did Uncle Bobby- Ooof!" A brown-red flop-eared blur of Sam came racing around the corner and crashed headlong into Dean, tumbling the both of them over and over in the dusty yard like a fur-bearing tumble-weed.
"I gotcha Dean! You're it! Oh. Hi Dad!" The puppies disentangled themselves, Dean sitting at doggy-attention and Sam half-sprawled on the ground.
"You're not giving Bobby any grief are you?"
"Nossir!" the boys barked in chorus.
Bobby smiled and tousled the puppies' ears. "They're no trouble at all." Sammy giggled and rolled over on his back, kicking up a puff of dust.
"Good. Listen. Bobby thinks this'll all clear itself up in a few days, so we just need to hang on and wait it out. Okay?"
"Okay, Dad," yapped Dean, tail thumping.
"Okay!" yipped Sam, rolling to his feet and launching himself at Dean's ears. "I'mma get you!"
John sighed and continued flopping his way into Bobby's house, already starting to feel dehydrated again. His sons' cheerful barking drifted into the background of summer noises.
"Hey, I was 'it', so if you get me, that means you're 'it' again!"
"No fair! I call Dad interference!"
The light from the doorway shifted as Bobby followed John into the house. "I can carry you up the stairs if you want." He offered with a smirk.
John glared at Bobby, then looked back at the stairs and sighed again. "Whatever."
"You're payin' my chiropractor bill though."
Bobby knocked and poked his head into the bathroom. "You decent?"
John snorted, a burst of bubbles rising from his muzzle in the tub. He slopped around, sloshing salty water over the sides until he faced Bobby.
"What did they do?" John tipped his head towards the bathroom window, where sounds of his puppy-sons playing outside filtered in.
Bobby raised an eyebrow. "Nothing that puppies don't do. They've eaten a pound of hamburger between them though. Here." He set an open tin of sardines on the edge of the tub. "Thought you might be hungry."
John eyed the tin and then turned his nose away like it didn't smell like the best thing in the whole damn world. "No thanks."
"You don't have to be like this about it, John."
"Sulking. Being a miserable, humorless bastard."
"I suppose you're gonna tell me this wild magic crap only happens to miserable, humorless bastards who need to cut loose, and as soon as I relax and have 'fun' with it, it'll be over?"
"Nope. Completely random. A statistically average level of miserable, humorless bastards effected." Bobby squatted next to the tub. "But it's not evil. It's not good. It just happens. Your sons are having a blast. Frankly, so am I."
"Yeah, well, you aren't a pinniped, are you?"
Bobby smirked. "That's true. But look at it this way. It's happening, no changing that. You're benched for a few days anyway, why not make the most of it?"
"Technically, it's not. Wild magic is about as natural as it gets."
John eyed the tin of sardines.
"You can be a miserable bastard any day of the week, John Winchester. Why not enjoy being something else for a change?"
John snorted again.
Bobby left the bathroom. John absently ate the sardines out of the tin and then slipped under the salty water.
Bobby was back under the hood of the '78 Volvo, grinning at the antics of Sam and Dean; chasing each other around, sniffing after one thing or another through the weeds, chasing cabbage moths.
Maybe it was time to get another dog. Puppy-sitting was all well and good, but a junkyard needed a dog.
The screen door of the house banged open and Bobby looked up to see a dripping wet golden retriever. Bobby grinned and waved. John must have dozed off in the tub. Golden retriever suited him.
John watched Sam and Dean scamper back and forth for a bit before barking. "All right! That's enough!"
Sam and Dean skidded to a stop, tumbling over one another and looked up.
"Hey Dad! You're-"
The boys fell silent as John looked down at them, dripping.
"I don't know which one of you boys is currently 'it'-"
Sam and Dean looked at each other, cocking their ears in confusion.
"-but I'm 'it' now!"
Sam's tail thumped madly.
"Really, Dad?" yipped Dean.
"What are you waiting for? You've got a five-second head start. One!"
Both puppies disappeared in clouds of dust, giggling and scampering for hiding places.
Bobby grinned and called across the yard to John. "See? Doesn't hurt to have fun now and then does it?"
John trotted over next to Bobby, still dripping wet, and shook mightily. Sparkling drops of salt water flung off his long red coat, showering Bobby with wet-dog smell.
Bobby sputtered as John's tongue lolled out. "Nope. Doesn't hurt one bit."
John trotted away to find the boys, tail waving, warm sun drying his fur. Bobby smiled and turned his attention back to the Volvo, listening to the sounds of the Winchester family playing.
- - -
Post A/N: And before anyone asks, this is not part of my "Sam is a were-kitten" AU.