Written in 2007, right after the episode "Heart." It wasn't intended to be Sam/Dean, and I don't see it as such, but I'm gonna go ahead and slap on a warning that some people see incest in this fic. Other chapters are just snippets of times they get transformed again.
"The little one won't stay," the Indian says and grins like a skull. The man is old and withered, on his last legs if John's a judge of anything, and he'd started laughing as soon as he'd seen Dean and Sammy. Dean's got an arm curled protectively around his little brother's shoulders, glaring at everything that moves, while little Sammy draws runes in the dirt and laughs.
His boys are eight and four, and he thinks he knows them better than any washed up medicine man ever will. "What do you mean?"
"The bigger one, he protects. Wolf," the man says, still smiling, "Loves his pack; he'll stay with you forever. The little one now, he's something else."
John's gut does a sudden nosedive, because he's been afraid of something like this since Mary; the fire had started in Sammy's nursery, like something had wanted his son, like his baby was different from his other child. "Something like what?" he asks, dread coloring his tone enough that Dean looks up and narrows his eyes.
The medicine man laughs again and moves to squat down beside his sons. Dean looks like he's wishing for the knife John's just now letting him practice with, but Sammy just gives him a wide, easy smile and asks what his name is.
"I don't think you will be able to pronounce it, little cub," the man says. He gives a sharp bark of laughter when Dean slides smoothly in front of his brother (John's heart swells with pride at that) and looks into his oldest boy's face. "Don't worry, Wolf. I would not hurt the spotted one."
"Sammy doesn't have spots," Dean mutters. He stays put.
John squats down beside his sons and nudges Dean's shoulder. The man isn't a threat and he needs his help to complete this hunt. There's no need to piss him off before hand. "I dunno, sport, Sammy can get pretty dirty…"
"He's not spotty!" Dean objects, rounds, and grabs Sam's arm so that he can march his brother away. John watches him go with a raised eyebrow. That's not normal, he knows, and he's gonna have Dean running extras for talking to him like that tonight.
"I gave him a bath this morning," Dean continues, oblivious, and lets go of Sam so he can plop back in the dirt. "He's clean."
The man cackles and inches his way over towards his sons again. "Oh, he'll have spots, mark my words, little wolf. Spots and tears and black lines inked into his skin."
That sounds vaguely ominous.
"He'll be a tall one, your Sammy," the man says, loud enough that it seems like he's talking to Dean rather than John. Dean just glowers back at the man and puts one small hand on Sammy's messy curls. "Very tall, very fast. He'll stay with you, wolf, brothers for life, but you…" The man turns and grins again, like death, "His kind do not have fathers."
"He'll always howl louder than you," the man says, almost wistfully, while John's trying to figure out what the hell's gotten into his boy and just how long the old man's been smoking the peyote, "The little one, he'll hear his brother's howl and come. He can't hear you, can't feel you like the other does. A sad, sad state."
He turns abruptly to Sam. "Tell me, cub, do you run fast?"
Sammy blinks. Dean glares hard enough to curl paint.
"You're a crazy, stupid, stinky old man," Dean tells him solemnly, "Sammy doesn't like you. Go away."
"Now, now, pup," the shaman says, "None of that. Wolves that bite too hard wind up as skins."
John stops being amused by the situation pretty damn fast. "Are you threatenin' my boy?" he asks dangerously. Dean tugs on Sammy's arm again, getting them out of the way in case things go sour and John feels a flash of pride.
"I would never threaten a wolf-soul." The old man reaches out one knobby hand like he's going to touch Dean. Dean, who on good days throws temper tantrums in the street when anyone other than John or Sammy so much as brushes against him.
Dean's tensing like he's going to start hollering and kicking any second now; next to him, Sammy's got one chubby finger in his mouth, dark eyes watchful. Whatever upsets Dean upsets the hell out of Sammy, and John's going to have a crisis on his hands in about two seconds.
John's hand snaps out to grab that weathered old one before it can get any closer to his sons. It almost feels like holding a sack full of tiny bones, the skin is so loose, but he just tightens his fingers until the skin stops slip sliding over the man's skeleton.
"You keep your goddamn hands to yourself," he says, low as his voice can go. He's about fed up with this man. "Now, you're gonna tell me what I need to know and then we're going to leave. You don't look at my boys again and you don't talk to them. We clear?"
He should have seen it coming, he figures. The Indian had been too helpful after that, too eager to help. John'd only been relieved by it, especially after they'd left and he'd realized Dean had stashed a knife in his hoodie pocket.
The ghost had been happy with his skull being brought back to his tribe, which was good, since John couldn't find anything more than that and burning only the skull would have been a waste of time.
In the triumph of a hunt gone right, John'd forgotten for a bit about the nasty gleam in the old shaman Indian's eyes.
He remembers it pretty damn fast the next morning.
John rolls over to check on his boys, piled into the same bed, and is met with glowing eyes. The eyes blink laconically at him when he says, "Jesus Christ" and reaches for the shotgun propped up next to his bed.
A low chirping noise follows a second blink from those eyes and then they disappear. There's a sound like a dog breathing out slowly and the wet sounds of an animal cleaning itself. John gets a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
The shotgun is steady at where he'd seen the eyes, but instead of shooting he slowly reaches out and turns the light on.
A dog blinks rapidly at him from his son's bed. No, John realizes after a half-beat of looking at it. It's not quite right through the ears, a little too wild across the muzzle, a little too feral looking for all that it was cuddled up to a lump in the blankets. Not a dog. A wolf.
There's that sinking feeling again.
The wolf barks once and its stubby little tail wags on the sheet. There's another grumbling noise from under the sheets and Dean (oh, God, that's his boy in there) turns his attention back to it with a single-minded focus.
John's willing to bet his best gun that Sammy's under there. Chirping. Like a bird. What had the shaman said? Spots and tears?
Dean's too busy licking the top of whatever Sam's turned into's head to pay attention to his old man anymore. John slowly gets up, shotgun still in hand because he'll be damned if he's taken by surprise if that animal turns out not to be his boy. Dean looks at him out of the corner of his eye when he gets closer, growls under his breath and then looks stunned that he'd done it.
John knows the feeling.
"Dean-o? I need to see if Sammy's turned into something too, alright?" Dean doesn't nod like John was half hoping he would; he actually starts growling again, his ears hanging in the universal expression of hangdog "I don't mean it but I can't stop."
His son doesn't lunge for his hand when he touches the little lump in the blankets. John counts that as a victory, even if Dean's lips have peeled back from his teeth. He keeps his movements slow and easy, gently lifts the corner of the blanket Dean's been shoving his face into.
Sammy's a kitten. A fluffy little gold and black kitten with a mohawk of straw-yellow fur running down his back. Tiny dark eyes blink at him; Sammy chirps again and Dean noses his way under John's hand without hesitation, pink tongue coming out to trace a path down Sammy's mantle.
John rocks back onto his heels and rubs a hand across his face, careful to keep it slow and even because the last thing he needs is for Dean to bite him. He doesn't know which one of them would be more upset about it, but for right he's content to let Dean... wash Sammy down.
Dean's making little content grumbles under his breath and Sammy's... purring, loudly, licking at Dean's jaw with happy little noises even as he wriggles his little body this way and that to give Dean better access. It's slightly disturbing, is what it is, and John looks to the side before he tries to separate them.
He's not all that sure Dean wouldn't savage his hand off.
"Boys," he finally says. Dean's nudging Sammy towards the edge of the bed by now, but he looks up and makes eye contact, cocking his head slightly to the side even as he corals Sammy between both front paws. "I'm gonna go find out who did this. Then I'm gonna beat the holy hell out of them until they fix it. Alright?"
Dean bends down, clamps his jaws around the back of Sammy's neck, and jumps off the bed. John just about has a heart attack watching him do it, but Sammy docilely tucks his legs up under his belly and hangs trustingly from his brother's mouth.
"Okay," John mutters.
Dean drops Sammy on the ground. He pushes and noses at the little ball of sleepy looking fluff until Sammy's safely hidden under the bed. Then Dean wanders over towards the door and sits.
"Hell, no, kiddo," John says once he's realized what Dean's done. Dean looks at him, crouches down to look pointedly under the bed, and looks back at him like John's too dumb to know anything. John's been counting on another five years, at least, before he gets that look, and he's rubbing the skin between his eyes with sudden agitation.
He can handle his boys turning into animals. Hell, Bobby'd warned him about stuff like this going down with hunters all the time and at least it's not a gender based spell. What he can't handle is Dean looking at him like he's playing with the short stick while he listens to Sammy snuffle and purr under the bed.
He's gonna get that Indian.
"I don't care if Sammy's hidden or not, you're not comin' with, Dean," John explains. "Stay with your brother." Dean growls dangerously in the back of his throat. John gives him an unimpressed look and uses the shotgun to shove his skinny little puppy bulk out of the way. "Take care of Sammy. I bet he's hungry, huh?"
There's a package of hot dogs somewhere in the tiny motel fridge; he likes to think they're complimentary, though Dean's informed him that they're a week past their sell-by date. Much as he hadn't wanted to go out to a diner last night, he wasn't gonna feed them to his kids. Sammy, at the very least, would have hurled. Boy has a delicate stomach.
Animals though... John wonders if it would make him a terrible parent to feed his boys turned carnivores slightly off meat. "You boys can eat the hot dogs in there," he says, making up his mind and pointing to the refrigerator with a vaguely guilty half-smile, "If you get hungry. I'll be back soon."
Dean lets out this mournful little whine when John hefts his duffle and reaches for the doorknob. Under the bed, Sammy stops making noise.
"I'll let Pastor Jim know what's happened; if I don't get back in a few hours, he'll come, alright?" Dean's still whining softly under his breath and the floor beneath the bed is ominously silent, but John's not gonna let either of those things stop him.
He ruffles the fur between Dean's ears in his usual goodbye and walks out the door.
A day of searching gives him a whole lot of nothing.
The old man had skipped town sometime last night according to his son. The son had given him a slightly commiserating look when John had bitten off just what the man had done to his boys. "He used to do that to me when I was young. They'll change back," the son had said, "It shouldn't take more than a week or so."
John unlocks the door to their suite already dreading what he's going to find.
The first thing that registers is the smell. John drops his duffle by the door, raising one hand to turn the lights on even as his eyes water a little bit. There's an odor of shit and piss in the air, something he's been intimately familiar with since becoming a father (Dean'd had legendary dirty diapers. He'd been potty trained at thirteen months out of sheer self-preservation). It's never been quite this... potent.
"Dean?" he calls, "Sammy?"
There's a muffled thump from under the bed. A little (relatively speaking) spotted kitten comes tumbling out a second later, chirping happily as it haphazardly attempts a run at John. John crouches down after the initial disappointment at not finding his boys, well, boys, wears off.
"Hey, Sammy," he says softly, "We have an accident or two today?" Sammy looks at him with huge kitten eyes and makes a noise stuck somewhere between a purr and those odd chirping sounds.
Dean inches his way out from under the bed while John's debating whether or not he wants to risk Sammy deciding his fingers are to be attacked.
The wolf, John notes, looks decidedly unhappy. His ears are hanging low, close to his skull, and his tail's wagging in the slow doggy position of universal fuck up. John doesn't even bother to ask what it is that Dean's ashamed over; the smell's enough to clue him in.
Of course, the bathroom door is also closed, and that's his fault. John blows out a breath and watches Sammy's little streaking form as he makes a beeline straight for Dean. Dean leans down and nudges him back in John's direction. Sammy goes easily enough, falling over before he can make his legs turn towards John, and Dean follows behind him.
"Problem reaching the bathroom?" he asks the both of them.
"Dean, don't worry about it. I'll get it cleaned up and make sure the bathroom door's open next time," John reaches out to scratch at that weird line of scruffy fur down Sammy's back, "Why don't you guys use the bathtub from now on?"
Dean inches closer, plopping down next to him.
"Bad news is unless Bobby or Jim come through with something, you guys are gonna be stuck like that for a while." Sammy doesn't look like he's gonna mind that much; he's studiously licking one of Dean's paws. Dean on the other hand... "Good news is that it shouldn't last more than a week."
Dean unwinds enough to wag his tail at that last bit of news. Sammy doesn't give any sign that he's heard a word John's said, but that's not all that unusual.
That smell wafts up again on a current of air conditioner and John can't ignore it anymore. "Which one of you wants to show me where that smell's comin' from?" Sammy toddles forward, head held high, so John crouches on the floor and follows him, feeling ridiculous.
There's three piles of shit under his bed. Almost directly under where his head would go. John sits back on his heels and turns to raise his eyebrows at Dean, who's looking decidedly less hangdog and more satisfied with himself. Petty vengeance at being left behind, the wolf eyes seem to say, or just the fact that I'm stuck in a wolf's body with animal instincts?
John skips his gaze from Dean to the rest of the motel room.
The fridge door is almost torn off its hinges. The remains of packaging that used to surround the slightly turned hot dogs is a sad chewed pile of plastic on the carpet in front of the boy's bed. John reaches over, picks it up and isn't too surprised to find that all the juice has been licked out of the package.
There are scratch marks about knee high on the wallpaper all around the room. The blanket that should be on Dean and Sammy's bed is half-shredded, pulled mostly under their bed. There's a huge chunk of carpet missing in front of the bathroom door where it looks like Dean tried to dig his way in in desperation before he resorted to crapping on the floor.
John comes to a decision.
"As soon as it gets dark, we're leaving."
Wouldn't be the first time he skipped out with a trashed room in his wake.
Sammy and Dean are surprisingly well behaved in the Impala. This could be because Sammy promptly crawls in-between Dean's front legs and passes out. Whatever it is, John's not going to jinx it.
The next motel room they get has hardwood floors and a mounted head theme. Sammy would have screaming nightmares if he were human, but barely even looks at the bear head before he's off investigating under the nightstand. Dean crawls under the furthest bed, dragging the ratty emergency blanket from the Impala behind him.
John slips out the door for food while both the boys are occupied.
He brings back a bag full of hot dogs and lunchmeat for the boys, a hamburger with chili fries for himself. Dean falls on him like a starving wolf, stamping his feet impatiently as John opens all the packages and dumps the meat onto one of the low chairs.
Dean doesn't even wait for his fingers to clear the pile before he's snatching up three hotdogs and rounding away from him. "You're welcome," John sighs. He's gonna have a talk with his boy later about manners and his lack thereof.
His son's tail is wagging, John notices while Dean walks away. He shakes his head, picking up two more hot dogs and some of the lunch meat to hand over to Sammy, who's gotta be starving by now. Boy's a bottomless pit sometimes.
He goes down on his elbows when he gets to the bed. Dean's been pretty adamant about not letting Sammy wander out from underneath it. Sammy seems pretty content to be dragged back under by his scruff when he gets too far away, but John's still a little disturbed by it all. It's nice to know that Dean'll look after Sammy even if he gets turned into a wolf. It's a little strange to see his son carry his brother around in his mouth, sharp little puppy teeth clamped gently in the long fur of Sam's back.
Dean's already under the bed, or, at least, his front half is. He wriggles over good-naturedly to let John shove his head under there with them.
He's shredding the hot dog, John sees, and then he sees why. Sammy crowds in close to Dean's forepaws and starts to scarf the pieces down with a lack of anything remotely concerned with grace.
John watches for a little while. "Don't forget to eat too, Dean," he finally says with a sigh, planting his hands on the carpet so he can push himself back out from under the bed. "Don't let Sammy eat all of that. You know he'll just puke when he gets too full."
Dean makes eye contact for a fleeting second and goes back to feeding Sammy.
There's five days left before his boys turn back into children. John stands up with a stretch and a grimace. He's got to make some notes in his journal, might as well get that done while Sammy and Dean are too distracted to cause problems.
The journal's on the nightstand, along with a pen and a sheaf of papers regarding animal transformation. Might be useful one day, you never know, so John goes about getting it down while his sons shred meat under the bed.
After a half-second of thought, John pulls his journal to him and writes out a note in heavy dark ink. He underlines it twice.
Sam hasn't been sleeping well lately. He doesn't think it's the demon like he knows Dean's scared of; it's just normal nightmares, Jess on the ceiling asking him why, Madison on the floor, blood bubbling between her smile. It's been a crappy few weeks.
What this actually translates to is that he is mostly a huge, useless decoration for hunts. Bobby's helping them out, actually, sending them on things he thinks will keep Dean from going stir crazy while letting Sam try to force himself to sleep.
Their current one is actually pretty par for the course from Bobby; ghosts and whispers of Native American curses a hundred miles south of Bobby's house. It's supposed to be an easy hunt. It's just a shame that Sam can't stay awake for any of it.
They know there's a man and his son staying in this motel and they know he's the one everyone's pointing to as behind their "visions." Sam's just happy he didn't accidentally fall asleep on one of the witnesses.
He manages to get out of the car without tripping on his feet. Of course, that means that he starts to fall over because of sudden, intense vertigo, but that's his life.
Dean catches his arm when he starts to list to the side. "Whoa there, Sammy," Dean grunts. Sam tries to lean a little bit more weight towards the Impala's sturdy door and Dean just yanks it right back into him so he can wrestle the door open. "Dude, get back in the car. Take your afternoon nap, you big baby. I've got this one."
It's a mark of just how tired he is that he agrees without a second thought and clambers over the bench to spread out in the backseat.
"Are you alright, cub?"
Sam's only drowsy, reciting Latin rituals in his head because he can't get to sleep, when the voice cuts into his hazy thoughts. Immediately, his head clears and he's automatically reaching for the pistol he's got stashed underneath the Whopper wrapper on the floor. He swipes his eyes clean with the loose sleeve of his jacket and narrows them at the man looking into the half-open window.
He's ancient, is Sam's first thought. The man's face is nothing but a patchwork of wrinkles and leather; he's leaning on a cane, skinnier than what could be considered healthy even for a ninety-year-old cancer patient. Sam thinks, alarmed, that he looks like a stiff breeze would knock him over, and he's opening the car door and offering his help before he can think about it.
"Thank you," the man says when Sam catches his arm and offers to help him where he needs to go, "But I can arrive on my own. I'm in no hurry, you see. That's for your kind." The man laughs once, a sharp bark of sound, before he shakes Sam's hand off.
He looks at Sam for a long minute, while Sam's hand is hovering over his arm, and then he smiles. His wrinkles deepen and spread until he looks like cracked earth and Sam looks away from his face, dizzy with something. "You've grown into your spots."
"Your spots. You must have been a gangly little thing," the man says. He laughs again, reaches up to pat Sam's cheek.
Sam finds himself moving out of range with a quick, jerky motion. "Do I know you?"
"Your brother, he still howls. Silly little wolf. He thinks the louder he howls, the longer you'll stay," the man lets his hand fall, turns to look back in the direction he'd come from with another one of those not quite right smiles. "A wolf without tact.
"You should sleep more," he suddenly says. Sam's getting a headache. "A wonderful thing, sleep is. Time for a vacation, hmm?"
"Hey!" Dean's voice.
Sam breaks away from drowning in the man's (Native American's?) eyes and looks for his brother like he's a lifeline. Dean's hand comes down on Sam's shoulder and squeezes hard, once, Dean code for "you'd better be alright, little brother, or I'm going to have to kill something. You think the knife'll work, or should I pull out the shotgun?"
Sam shrugs out from underneath it, little brother for "I'm fine, stop hovering." Even if he was still a little shaken. He's tempted to blame it all on the lack of sleep, but he's not stupid. Something is weird about that old man.
Dean turns to look at the still smiling man and scowls. "Thought I told you to beat it back to where you came from?"
"No harm," the man says, peering at them both through his wrinkles, "I just wanted to see you all grown up. Wolf is still protecting your spotted hide, cub."
"Okay, you know what? Out of here. Shoo." Dean makes a motion like he's sweeping away the trash and Sam chokes on his tongue. "Get out of town. Go find somewhere else to be creepy, alright?"
The old man grins at them one last time before he shuffles off towards where Sam can now see a sour faced kid leaning against a car.
"That's the guy doing it?" he finally asks. For some reason, that doesn't seem to make any sense. At all.
"That's him. He's kinda harmless, though; I think he was just doing it for shits and giggles." Dean slides across towards the driver's door while he talks, keeping an eye on the old man as he goes. "I set him straight."
Sam's getting this horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach the more Dean talks. "So, he was cursing the people to see ghosts?"
"So he was cursing people and you made him stop by...?"
"I totally took care of it, Sammy. They're gonna think twice before they start that shit again." Dean looks so proud of himself that Sam almost doesn't have the heart to ask the horrified question bubbling up in his chest.
"Oh my God," Sam says, like Dean's just admitted he likes to streak naked in front of little kids or something, "Tell me you did not go in there and threaten him."
Dean scratches at a spider bite on his thumb and shrugs a little. He doesn't see the big deal about it. He threatened, they did what he wanted, no more mysterious ghost visits telling people to get off the land or die, case closed, move on to a beer and celebrate. Whatever. "Sure did, Sammy. Want to go get something to eat? Man, I could go for some onion rings."
Sam starts sputtering. Dean taps happily on the steering wheel and tries to figure out where the nearest greasy diner is in.
"You didn't." Sam's expression seems to say that he's in denial, so Dean leaves him be. He'll figure it out and then he'll start shouting about it. On cue, Sam's face scrunches up. "Dean! Did you ever even read Dad's journal?"
"I know it better than you. Is it just that time of the month or are you freaking out for a reason?"
His brother reaches for the leather journal in the backseat and spends a couple minutes muttering to himself as he flicks through pages. When he finds what he's looking for, he cracks his neck and looks up at Dean through his bangs. "Look, right here. August 1987. Don't fuck with the Indians. Ever. Neither Sammy nor Dean are potty-trained as animals. Sammy's cute as hell. Dean snarls and snaps a lot. Make nice next time instead of threatening."
Dean takes his eyes off the road long enough to glance at where Sam's jabbing his ginormous finger at the journal and sees something that might have been writing at one point.
"I remember that," he says eventually. Yeah, he maybe has some weird memories of washed out colors and dragging a squirming bundle around in his mouth. Maybe. "You sounded like a bird, I think."
Sam blinks. "I was a bird?"
"Nah, you were... something. I don't remember. A cat, maybe? Anyway, don't worry about it. What are the odds that two separate Indians," here he ignores Sam's muttered correction on what the Indians were called, "Use the same curse? Pretty damn nil. Relax. I want onion rings."
"You totally just jinxed us, man," Sam says in this appalled voice. "I felt something when that guy got near me, Dean. If he cursed us, I'm gonna kill you."
"Pfft, like you could even land a punch."
When he wakes up and he's got four paws and fur, he thinks that Sammy might have had the right idea about dealing with Indians. No way in hell is he going to say that, though, because aside from the fact that opening his mouth produces nothing but a pitiful little whine, there's also the fact that Sam's a know it all little bitch most of the time anyway.
He's not gonna give him any ammunition.
Shoving his way out of his blankets takes someone on the range of five minutes. It takes another few seconds to realize that, no, trying to stand up the normal way is just not gonna cut it right now. As it is? He maybe lands face first on the floor anyway.
There's a strange chuffing sound from the other bed; huge eyes blink at him and Dean abruptly remembers just what little Sammy had been. Freakin' figures that Sam's bigger than him even when they're animals.
Sam makes another weird noise, something that really sounds like it should have come from a canary or something equally sissy, and fumbles his way off the bed. Dean sniffs and turns his head sideways when Sam manages to land with something approaching grace. Stupid little brothers.
A second later he's whipping his head back around though. Sam had not just freakin' licked him, except, of course, he really, really had, because turning to look just meant he gets a good view of Sam's tongue as it flattens out a portion of his own fur that's standing weirdly.
Dean opens his mouth again to say something to the effect of, "Uh, dude...?" He ends up snapping it closed again though, because he can't talk and, also, Sam sees that motion and takes it as permission to start, um, lapping at his mouth. A half second later, Sam's rubbing his black striped cheek against Dean's and that's just.
Dean is pleased to note that he's actually got eyebrows he can raise.
He grumbles and pulls his face out of range. Sam blinks slowly, like Dean's just insulted him or something, then shakes himself and steps away.
Sam's a weird looking cheetah, Dean realizes. He's got stripes where he should have spots and he's sort of... blotchy. Figures Sam has to be a special cheetah, not just any old regular one. He noses one of the long stripes on Sam's back, trying to point that out so Sam puts his mind on something other than: a. freaking out, or b. licking him some more. Shit was just weird.
While Sam's investigating his stripes, Dean's trying to figure out how the hell they're going to get out of the room, haul ass back to the goddamn Indians, and get uncursed.
Two feet in front of him, Sam crashes to the ground following an attempt to see his own belly.
Dean's howling with amusement when Sam manages to get his feet back under him. Literally, his brother is howling like some kind of demented... wolf (way to make a metaphor, Sammy, the snide voice of his eighth grade English teacher whispers in his skull), sitting back on his haunches with his head tilted up to the ceiling.
Sam wants to immediately hide under the bed until the threat is gone.
He pauses in the act of slinking back towards the bed, catches the guttering growl he's aiming at Dean's still howling face, and thinks, "I'm bigger than he is; the hell would I want to run away for?" That doesn't stop something inside him from insisting that Dean's calling the pack and Sam needs to abandon whatever it is he's doing and leave before they kill him.
I am his pack, he thinks grumpily, and purposefully sits down next to his brother.
Dean's eyes are a little wild when he turns to look at him; Sam's paws start itching, like he wants to take a swing at Dean and then run as fast as he can. Playing, Sam understands. The cheetah instincts say Dean wants to play when he looks like that and running is the best method of play ever invented.
Sam pulls his top lip up and turns his head.
The longer he looks at Dean, the more he wants to fix his fur. His brother's a mess, fur sticking up in twelve different directions, and Dean doesn't seem to care. Sam does. He hadn't even realized he was licking the fur into order and spreading his scent on it until Dean had pulled his face out of range.
He's seriously hoping Dean'll forget about that, but he's not gonna hold his breath.
The sound of claws against wood make him tilt his head back the other direction so that he can watch Dean attempt to... wear a hole in the door? Sam wants to scrunch up his face and ask him what the hell he's doing, but instead finds himself twitching his ears back and swishing his tail.
Dean ignores both motions and starts whining. Dog whines, Sam's pleased to note. He stores away that noise for careful consideration later, when he has time to think of bitch jokes. It's not everyday that he can turn the tables and use one of Dean's favorite insults.
The window overlooking the parking lot is actually cracked open. Sam's a little reluctant to point that out to Dean ("You never leave a window open at night, Sammy. I don't care if it's sweltering inside, keep that damn thing closed; too many things like to creep in and steal little boys," Dad's voice says in the back of his head, and his own meek little eight year old voice responds with a smart, "Yes, sir."), but he figures it's better than getting caught by the motel manager looking for the source of Dean's really high-pitched frustrated whimpers. Or someone wondering about the earlier wolf howl.
The only problem is getting Dean's attention.
Saying his brother's name in his head just produces a weird bastard child of a sound somewhere between a purr and a chirp. Dean doesn't even look up from his furious scraping, so Sam reaches over and hits his flank with an open slap.
Once he's got Dean's bristling attention, he hops back onto the bed. He was trying to hop, at least; what he really ends up doing is getting his front feet on the bed and then scrambling blindly with his back ones in an effort to get them up onto the bed as well.
Sam figures Dean finally takes pity on him after a few moments of wildly clutching with his claws, because a second later there's fur bracing his back legs and he's got the traction he needs to get up onto the bed without pulling the blankets down onto the floor. He doesn't need Dean's peanut gallery whuffles of amusement from below though. He'd seen Dean bite it when he tried to climb off the bed.
Of course, as soon as Sam's got both of his unnaturally long back legs on the bed, Dean jumps up with no problems. It even looks a little graceful, if Sam's inclined to tilt his head and let Dean blur. He's not inclined.
He puts his ears back, wedges a paw into the opened window and heaves. The window inches slowly open and Sam turns to share a triumphant look with Dean.
Dean doesn't look triumphant. Dean looks like he's trying to make his mouth move so that he can form words like irresponsible and Dad said. Sam huffs and sticks his head slowly out of the window to check for people.
Get back to the Native American. Get uncursed. Then kill Dean.
They're freakin' lucky it's still dark outside.
As it is, Dean body-checks Sam to the side and sticks his own head out the window to make sure there's nothing out there; after all, Sam's stupid enough to have left the window open at night, even after all the shit they've been through. He's obviously not to be relied on.
Sam yowls like an offended cat. A very big offended cat who shoves his brother out the friggin' window for no good reason, and Dean's going to tear his throat out. Or, at the least, he's gonna take a nice big chunk out of his weirdass sissy stripes.
He struggles to get his stupid paws where they're supposed to go, because they've decided that it would be a totally awesome idea to splay out to either side of him. By the time he's got them in the vague place they should be and he's pushing up to stand? He's squashed by an incoming Sam.
It's just not his freakin' day; he's going to blame Sam for it, even if it's his own damn fault they're furry.
Sam doesn't even apologize. Not that Dean could actually understand him or anything, but his brother just heaves up and walks a couple of feet away, ears pricked forward and tail wagging slowly. After a half beat, he comes back to nose at Dean like Dean didn't just get five hundred million pounds of heavy little brother breaking his ribs because Sam's a gigantic klutz in that body.
If Dean were standing up, he'd whirl around and snap at the tip of Sam's stupid little snubbed nose. Instead, he waits until Sam taps his side with one paw and then he rolls over so that he traps it underneath his back. This actually puts him in just about the perfect position to strangle Sam, and he's reaching up with his jaws to do just that when Sam casually bats him with his other paw, letting his claws rake dangerously hard.
Dean yelps. Ten seconds later, he finds out, to his horror, that his paws can't actually cover his mouth like he wants them to. Holy fuck, did that noise just come out of him? It's alright for Sam to screech like a little girl or an offended cat. It's so not cool for him to do it.
He gives Sam a disgruntled look that Sam doesn't see because he's abandoned poking at him in favor of playing in the dirt with one paw.
"Bobby's?" the ground reads in big, wobbly, ugly letters. Dean's tempted to crack a joke about Sam's handwriting being better than that when he was two and still scribbling on motel room walls and bathroom floors, but, again, not the right vocal chords.
Dean cocks his head to the side, considering. Bobby's is actually closer than anywhere else they could get to, barring the forest behind them. They can't stay in the motel room until this thing wears off because they don't know when it'll go. They can't tromp through town to try to track down that pissy old Indian guy.
Sam's already starting to stalk off in a vaguely northern direction, away from the town. Dean's moving to follow him when he has a sudden, unpleasant thought.
His car. What are they going to do with his car?
Dean stands in front of his baby and growls. "Sammy," he tries to convey, "I know you are a giant, idiotic pain in the ass who does not understand even the basic rites of manhood, but we are not leaving my fucking car here."
Sam looks at him, looks to the Impala, gives a kind of coughing growl, and keeps walking.
Dean nips on the end of Sam's tail when he passes by; Sam just kicks out without looking, stalking away with his head held high and his ears back.
No way is Dean letting him get away with pissy behaviour like that, even if he can't quite figure out what the ears are supposed to mean. His wolf instincts say Sam is being fearful or maybe suspicious and Dean needs to go make sure there's nothing around to scare him. The big brother instincts say Sam is being a pissy little bitch. Guess which ones he's going to listen to?
Crouching on the ground is a whole lot easier on four legs, Dean finds out. Easier to balance. Also, it's totally easier to take Sam by surprise when he pounces.
Swear to God, Sam bleats like a sheep.
Dean's so stunned by that noise coming out of a big tough cat's mouth that he jerks back and slips. Sam twists around, pins him with flat yellow eyes, and takes two slow, stalking steps forward. Dean swallows nervously, scrabbling until he's got his paws underneath him where they belong, then he goes on the offensive and charges again.
Sam swats him, just reaches out one paw and hits him on the nose with a clear, "Stupid freakin' Dean," expression on his face.
Dean's ears pull back of their own accord and he starts growling, low down and dirty. Sam just growls right back, spitting at the end, and flexes his claws in the grass.
No way in hell is he gonna let Sam get away with growling at him, let alone spitting. Dean shifts all his weight onto his back legs and shoots forward before Sam can do more than start to hiss.
What follows is kind of hard to keep track of and he's in the friggin' middle of it. He dodges Sam's next swipe and knocks his shoulder into Sam's chest, pushing; Sam rears back a little bit, settling onto his hind legs so he can brace his front one's on Dean's back and bite him. Dean yelps again, jerking automatically backwards. Motherfucker! He's gonna freakin' kill Sam for biting. They have rules about that shit.
Sam, meanwhile, manages to tumble his lanky ass sideways far enough that he loses his footing, and then, well. Dean's not proud of what he does next.
When Sammy's throat comes into view, Dean forgets all about wrestling, leans in, and licks it. He ignores Sam's bitchy little push with his back legs and plants himself so he can swipe his tongue across Sam's throat again. He can feel Sam's heartbeat under his tongue, which, awesome. His brother's alive and breathing, blood pumping through that big artery like it's never gonna think about stopping.
After thoroughly washing that nice spot of fur, he mouths lightly at Sam's shoulder, manages to smear spit all over one ear, and chews consideringly on Sam's cheekbone. Sam rumbles a low purr and tilts his head up to give better access and that's when Dean realizes what he's doing.
What the fuck, man? he thinks, stunned. How the hell had he gone from trying to eat Sam to, to. Ew.
Stupid goddamn grooming instincts.
He keeps it up for another few seconds, just so Sam can't say he's a pussy or something (heh, pussy) for jerking away, and then he hops off Sam and tries to convey, "That totally wasn't what it just looked like. Bitch."
Okay, so the licking is less weird when he does it. Still doesn't mean he has to like it.
They're stuck over a hundred miles from where they have to be and Dean's worried about the damn car. It figures, Sam thinks sourly, and grunts. Dean's at least stopped... grooming him, for lack of a better word, and if Dean's willing to pretend it didn't happen than Sam is completely willing to blank it from his mind for eternity.
His fur is standing weirdly, though. Dean hadn't known what he was doing or he really stunk at it or something like that, because his fur's driving him nuts. He can feel it, like this itch in the back of his skull that's chanting, "Fix it, fix it, fix it, oh my God, fix it," hysterically.
He doesn't know what it says about him that he promptly sits down and starts to lick his fur back into place.
Dean gives him a look that clearly says he's a freak of nature.
Sam just looks right back, opening his mouth slightly so that he can hiss. The noise is actually drowned out by the sound of tires on gravel; Sam's sidling over to Dean without a second thought.
There's a car coming around the corner of the motel. Sam narrows his eyes in the gloom, picking out even the license plate with ease. He relaxes and moves forward slightly even as Dean woofs and grabs the scruff of his neck in his jaws.
Sam, in the interest of keeping his skin, doesn't pull. With the grip Dean's got on his neck, he can't really turn his head to look at him either, but he stamps his front feet on the ground and hisses under his breath. He knows that car and Dean would too, if his eyesight wasn't apparently crappy as a wolf.
The car parks next to the Impala with a squeal of poorly lubricated breaks.
Bobby gets out of the car slowly. Sam sits there with Dean hanging incredulously on his neck, and tries to look both harmless and Sam-like at the same time. It would be extremely bad if Bobby decided he needed to shoot them.
A couple of seconds later, Bobby braces his hands on his knees and cracks up. Dean lets go of Sam's neck and makes a noise that lodges somewhere between a growl and a howl, stomping forward with his ears pricked forward and his back arched. Bobby wards him off with both hands, wheezing.
Sam stares at the sky and tries to think of what life would be like if he didn't have an idiot for a brother.
"I got the weirdest phone call last night," Bobby finally says, still chortling, "Old guy, talked like a shaman. You know him? He said he was giving you boys a weeklong vacation; something about a little spotted cub working too hard and his protector of a wolf being obnoxious?"
Dean growls in the back of his throat and turns his head away from Bobby. Sam snaps one paw out to hit him on the tail; he told him he shouldn't have messed with an old Native American man.
"Never can do things the easy way, can you?"
Bobby lets them camp out in the back of the Impala while he drives. Dean insists that Sam has to stay off of the vinyl and gets this across by the simple method of grabbing a mouthful of fur and yanking whenever Sam starts to put a paw onto his seats. No way in hell is he going to let one of them scratch the fuck out of his baby; they can sleep on the goddamn floor.
"You boys," Bobby had said while they clambered and shoved at each other to get into the back first, "Are more trouble than even your Daddy was."
Sam'd made this sort of indignant half growl, half spit and Dean had growled low in his throat and turned his head. It wasn't their fault that a creepy old guy had cursed them. Again, apparently. Jesus.
Sam ends up pushing and prodding and shoving until Dean's stuck on the smallest little piece of floor imaginable. And his baby isn't actually all that small.
Goddamn long legged freaks of nature.
He kicks irritably at one of Sam's paws and manages to almost rip his freakin' nails off in the process. Sam just grumbles pissily back at him, making this sort of weird snuffling noise that ended on a high note, and kicks him in the head.
Dean's got the leg in his mouth before he can blink, warning pressure on it enough to make Sam freeze and start growling.
"Boys," Bobby says warningly from the front. It's almost exactly the same tone that Dad used to use right before Dean got more than half of Sammy out of the window of the speeding Impala. What can he say? Sammy was obnoxious.
He spits out Sam's leg and levels a flat glare his way that he hopes communicates just how friggin' lucky Sam is that Bobby's looking out for him. Sam blinks slowly in the afternoon sunlight and sets his head on his paws. His ears tilt towards Dean, but that's about all he does.
Dean huffs out a long sigh and drops his head onto Sam's back leg. It's in his way.
Sam twitches once and slits open and eye to stare back at Dean, but he doesn't move like Dean was kind of hoping he would. Whatever. He's a bony little bitch, but it's more comfortable than trying to lay his head on the Impala's floorboards.
He's not thinking about the fact that his tail is thumping loudly enough that he can hear it over the wind. Sam's tail curves around his head and Dean's thumps against the side of the door harder for a half-beat.
The only part of being a cheetah that totally and completely sucks is the fact that Sam can't understand Dean. The other parts aren't really all that fun either (going to the bathroom alone is kind of gross and that's not even touching the sheer amount of small furry mammals he's ingested in the last week), but the real kicker is the fact that for the first time in his life he doesn't have the faintest clue what Dean's thinking.
It's like being set adrift, even when his brother is just right there.
Oh, logically he knows that when Dean's standing with all his fur on end he's upset, but Sam's instincts tell him that his fur just needs to be groomed back into place, that there's no danger here and wouldn't Dean be happier if he went and gave him a thorough bath?
He'd actually pinned Dean once, not really thinking about it, because his brother had smelled weird after going out into the woods and he'd wanted to fix it. Sam's still bigger than Dean, even as a weirdly skinny/heavy cheetah and Dean hadn't actually struggle all that much. His tail had tucked and he'd pawed half-heartedly at Sam's chest, but for the most part Sam hadn't had any problem keeping him down.
Even Dean's growls hadn't stopped him from licking the fur between his ears back into shape and rubbing his cheek against the grey hair affectionately after he'd finished.
Bobby clearing his throat and asking if they wanted a room? That had gotten through. Dean had avoided him for the rest of the day and Sam had slunk around trying to disappear. They were not going to talk about the fact that he had been purring at the time.
What's worse is when Dean comes over for a friendly sniff after Sam's finished lounging outside for the day.
Sam'll look up, call a greeting that sounds more like a baby bird got lodge in his throat than any kind of meow, and then pause. Other instincts will flare up and he'll suddenly be standing stiff-legged, every strand of fur on his body raised, snarling into Dean's face.
Something about Dean's posture, the low-slung head and wagging tail, makes all his hackles stand on end.
Then, of course, Dean stops and crouches down to meet him, tail pointing straight out, and Bobby has to come barging outside banging pots together before they tear each other apart.
It's better at night. Bobby's given them the run of their old room; it's been stuffed with old blankets and Dean's shredded them into something that approaches comfortable, especially since they're not allowed on the beds.
"Now, you boys are human up there," Bobby had motioned to their heads, shaking his own, "But you're gonna give the pup bad ideas if he sees you on the beds. Stay off 'em, alright?"
At night, Sam's too tired and lazy to bother figuring out Dean's posture.
He stretches out on the nearest pile of blankets and closes his eyes. His ears are flicking every once in a while, keeping track of where Dean is by the sound of shredding blankets and the soft breathing. With his eyes closed, it's almost like he's human again, listening to Dean tear old shirts into makeshift bandages in any crappy motel he can name.
Dean's chewing contentedly on Sam's ear when he wakes up. He utters a long, low chirp of protest and manages to bat Dean over far enough that he can pin his muzzle down with one huge paw. He makes eye contact in the dark, trying to get "dude, the ear is soggy and kind of hurts. Stop it," across to Dean, then rolls onto his back.
It takes Dean snuffling around his exposed throat for him to realize he's purring.
He can't help it. He's warm, there's a warm body immediately to the left of him and the cheetah is insisting that it would be nice to rub his face against it, share their scents. Dean is so going to laugh hysterically at him, when they've both got the ability to laugh again, at any rate. Sam can see years and years stretched out in front of him, every single one of them filled with crappy jokes on making pussies purr.
His brother starts to nibble contemplatively on the other ear. Sam purrs on the inhale and lets out a muffled growl on the exhale, nosing around upside down until he's got both ears buried under the nearest blanket.
Dean huffs and flops down so that he's squashing Sam's ribcage. The implied "bitch" is extremely clear; Sam stretches one of his back paws out and flails half-heartedly at Dean's flank, carefully keeping his claws from catching even if his brother's being a jerk.
When Dean wakes up in the morning, he's smothered under coarse fur and a very heavy cat. The first words out of his mouth are, "Oh, you fat bastard. Get the fuck off!" It comes out sounding something like a thin, wheezy whine, but Dean can't even freakin' breathe, let alone worry about the fact that it sounds like Sam's castrated him in the night.
Sam's rolling away with a muffled squeak before Dean figures out that, hey, he just talked out loud and wiggles his fingers. He opens his eyes and is pleased to note that those are actually fingers moving on the floor, not a wolf paw. His toes look like they should too, and everything in-between looks just as good as always and he's not ever going to fuck with Indians again. Ever.
"Cool," he finally says, loud as he possibly can. If he's awake and enjoying this, than Sam damned well better wake up too. Before he uses his newfound hands to dump a bucket of water on him.
Sam wiggles into the shredded remains of the scattered blankets and lets out an unhappy sounding noise that Dean's kind of amused to note actually sounds something like a deranged bird chirping. Sam's still a cheetah; if he had to guess, Dean would assume that Sam got turned last and now he had to wait it out alone until his time ran out.
He snorts. "Dude, get up," he says again, reaching out to poke at one freakishly long leg. The paw attached to it twitches, claws coming dangerously close to Dean's nice human hand, and then Sam opens his eyes and slits him an unamused look.
A second later both eyes are opening and widening into big copper pennies. Dean grins right back at him.
"Cool, huh? Guess I get to talk to Bobby first." He ruffles the fur on Sam's head and is surprised to find it harsh; he looks like he should be silky and Dean had figured that it was when he was a wolf. Kind of hard to tell the texture of something when you have heaps of your own fur. "You think he'd believe that this was all your fault?"
Sam baring his teeth? Is a lot scarier when Dean doesn't have an impressive set of his own to bare back. He pats Sam on the top of the head again anyway, scratching absently at that spot that he'd been chewing on last night until Sam had decided to be a little bitch and take it out of range.
Just like last night, Sam starts purring like a motor. His eyes slide half shut and he yawns, expansively. A second later, he pushes his face up into Dean's own. Whoa, Dean thinks, and starts to pull back. Sam's tongue comes out faster than he can move though, and rasps across his stubble.
It hurts like a motherfucker actually, and Sam does it again before Dean can get a hand between them. Sam just goes right ahead and licks that too, like Dean's a tasty all you can eat buffet. Which, he sort of is, but only for women with really great tits and an ass that won't quit.
"Fucking ow, Sam," he grunts, trying to fend off another attack of the sandpaper tongue.
Of course, that's when Sam's timer apparently tick-ticks down to zero.
Sam blinks at him from under his stupid messy bangs. "Uh."
"Awkward," Dean mutters. It'd been fine torturing his animal brother while naked. It's not like Sam hadn't seen it before and he'd been a cheetah anyway. Not like Dean couldn't, you know, see all of Sam's family jewels anyway.
Human, naked on the floor together, with Sam's spit drying on his cheek and hand? Not so fine.
"Uh, yeah, you think?" Sam mutters right back. He sticks out his tongue and swipes the back of his hand across it with a grimace. "You taste like ass," he informs Dean absently, already standing up.
Dean raises his eyebrows and grins, relishing both expressions a lot more than was probably strictly healthy. "Never knew you were into licking asses, Sammy. Kinky," he says easily. He's feeling magnanimous. He'll save the pussy jokes for a little later.
"What?" Sam asks. He's not quite altogether there yet. Dean wonders if that's the curse undoing itself, because Sammy's usually obnoxiously chipper in the morning, the earlier the better.
"Dude, ass. You said I--you know what, nevermind. Get something to cover your gigantor butt, Sasquatch. Trust me, nobody wants to see that."
Sam mutters moodily under his breath, but kicks at the blankets scattered all over the floor until he finds a piece big enough to cover his ass. "We leave any clothes at Bobby's last time we stayed?"
"It wouldn't be a problem if you were normal sized."
It's amazing how quickly he can get his own equilibrium back when he's torturing Sammy out of his.
Sam doesn't actually stomp out of the room before he's got the blanket secured, but it's a near thing. After he goes, Dean takes the time to fish out Dad's journal from the nest of blankets. Finding a pen takes a little bit longer and involves streaking for Bobby's library.
He carefully traces over Dad's old words until he can read them again. When they're clear as day, he underlines them three times and circles them for good measure.