Dean's talked the talk. But can he walk the walk?
In the end it was fourteen months to the day that Sam and Bobby deemed Dean to be strong and mobile enough to head back out to Wild Acres and see to some unfinished business.
This was to be the first major physical activity the brothers had embarked on together since Dean's accident; Sam intended to use it to gauge Dean's readiness for going back to their day job which Dean was clearly keen to do. He figured this was a good, relatively safe experiment; there was only so much trouble anyone could get into hunting something as harmless as a deer, surely?
In fact, Sam was quietly surprised that Dean was even still persisting with carrying through his vendetta. In the early days, he had guessed it had just been Dean's frustration talking, especially as Dean had never demonstrated any particular talent or enthusiasm for killing animals in the past, especially 'cute' ones.
But no; his brother was adamant. They were going to treat Bobby to a sumptuous venison dinner for all of his awesome support, and that was aside from the small matter of Dean's catastrophically wounded body and pride. Yes, there was serious vengeance for a year of trauma to be had; it was shaping up to be a very bad day indeed for Bambi.
Thus it was that in the hazy pink light of dawn and armed with Bobby's best hunting rifle, complete with telescopic sight, the boys saddled up the newly rebuilt Impala and set off.
It took them several hours to make the journey back to Wild Acres. Several hours of Sam listening to an elated brother on how great the Impala's new paint job was, how smoothly her engine was running, how completely awesome it was to be driving her again, how fantastic it was that he could finally bend his leg enough to clip his own toenails (Sam agreed enthusiastically on this one) and whether he was going to have his venison medium or rare.
The lonely gravelled parking lot on the edge of the forest was a very welcome sight for Sam.
Clambering stiffly out of the Impala, they stretched the kinks out of their backs after their long drive and savoured the fresh fall breeze. "D'y need your walking cane?" Sam asked. Dean shook his head, shrugging the rifle over his shoulder; "nah, enough to carry already." Sam rolled his eyes, nodding in understanding, then took it along anyway.
The brothers had been picking their way through the undergrowth for about an hour, Sam noting gladly that Dean, having steamed off ahead, seemed to be managing admirably over the uneven terrain. He was moving with distinct purpose but, more importantly, with care; they both knew the consequences of something as innocuous as a turned ankle were too frightening to contemplate.
When it had first been removed from it's cast, Dean's left leg had been horribly wasted; a pasty, emaciated and weakened shadow of it's twin. Its frighteningly skeletal appearance made it appear, Dean noted with great umbrage, even more bowed than it did when its shape was thickened and softened with a healthy layer of muscle, and poor Doctor Potter had come in for a lot of abuse because he didn't think to 'straighten the friggin' thing while he was down there'.
It had taken about six months of dedicated work for Dean and his 'scary' physiotherapist who, over the months he had come to adore, to build the injured leg up to match the same stocky musculature of his other leg. Now, scars notwithstanding, any physical difference between Dean's two legs was practically invisible, and it was becoming increasingly more difficult to notice the difference in performance between them. Dean's formerly pronounced limp was barely noticeable now, only really coming to the fore when his leg became 'tired' as Sam was sure it would be by the end of today, and then Dean's hated cane would come into it's own.
Sam's train of thought was rudely derailed when he suddenly barrelled into his brother's rock-solid back.
"There," Dean muttered, seemingly unconcerned that Sam had almost garotted himself over his shoulder.
"Where?" Sam replied, rubbing his throat.
Dean pointed through a gap in the trees, and there in the centre of a small clearing was a young buck, standing relaxed in the dappled fall sunlight.
"There he is, the bastard," grinned Dean.
Sam studied the oblivious creature as it softly ruminated; "how do you know it's him? It's not like he's wearing a name badge or anything."
Dean turned, glaring at Sam. "He's the same friggin' species. That's good enough for me," he muttered sulkily; "some hairy douchebag's gonna pay for what Bambi did to me, so pseudo-Bambi here will have to do."
He grinned,"look at those freakin' haunches; we're gonna dine well tonight baby bro!"
Sam rolled his eyes. Revenge is a dish best served with baked potato, glazed carrots and a red wine sauce...
The brothers inched forward, creeping silently through the underbrush until they reached the edge of the clearing.
Never taking his eyes from the tawny creature in front of him, Dean slowly raised the rifle.
Sam held his breath.
Suddenly pseudo-Bambi looked up, straight into the eyes of his would-be assassin.
Glimmering green met liquid jet.
Glimmering green narrowed dangerously as a finger curled around the trigger; liquid jet gazed passively from under long, tawny lashes.
Glimmering green twitched; liquid jet gave a languid blink.
Glimmering green stopped glimmering and disappeared behind eyelids closing in exasperated defeat.
"Oh Jesus Sam; I can't friggin' do it! How the heck am I supposed to kill somethin' that looks like that? Huh? Huh?"
Sam stifled a chuckle.
"The hairy bastard's hypnotised me."
Sam shook his head, doubling over with gleeful laughter; "sorry dude, you were always a sucker for a soppy face. Did you ever really think for one moment that you'd be able to stand here and kill a deer in cold blood?"
"Yes," barked Dean indignantly; "I'm a freakin' hunter; killing stuff is what I do!"
"Not sweet, big-eyed, fluffy stuff," Sam grinned wickedly.
The brothers stood and watched as pseudo-Bambi lowered his head and briefly explored the primroses around his feet, then loped quietly away into the forest.
Dean turned and pointed aggressively toward Sam. "We are SO not telling Bobby about this!"
Bobby glanced at the clock and put down the book he was reading, smiling when he heard the Impala pull up in the yard under the dusky brown shadows of twilight.
His smile broadened when the brothers walked into the house, and twitched slightly when he saw they were empty handed.
Where's Bambi? he asked, watching as Dean snorted and trudged into the living room.
"Uh, we couldn't find any - uh - deer, they, um, never showed up," Sam responded unconvincingly.
There was brief silence.
"Tinkerbelle in there couldn't do it could he?" Bobby nodded in the direction of the living room.
Sam shook his head, biting his lip to stop himself from laughing.
"Just the thought of that soppy great lunk killing a deer..." Bobby grinned, shaking his head; "good job I just put a stew in the oven then, ain't it!"
Th-that's all folks!