ONCE UPON A TIME

Chapter 12

A time for reflection before our intrepid band move on.

xxxxx

"You brought us here, to the Bleaklands." Sam shifted within the giantess' gentle grasp and looked up into her face as he spoke; "thank you so much."

Canting her head, she gazed down at him as if he were something rare and priceless; a precious jewel in her hand to be treasured and guarded. Sam regarded her face, it was glowing with an expression of warmth and love but he couldn't miss the undercurrent of sadness he noticed there.

Her huge blue eyes flickered across to the castle, then back onto Sam and the intense sorrow brooding in those eyes took Sam's breath away.

He hesitated for a moment before speaking; "did Grimwald hurt you?" He kept his tone deliberately gentle.

She nodded slowly, biting her plush pink lip.

Sam frowned and gripped the top of her thumb between his hands, giving it a comforting squeeze. "Then my brother and me, we'll hurt him back," Sam replied softly; "I promise you."

Her lips quirked into a soft and grateful smile as she cupped Sam in her hands and tenderly lowered him down to the ground beside Dean.

"Y'ok?" Dean asked quietly.

Sam nodded; "Yeah," he smiled; "been well looked after."

Dean scanned Sam's face which still seemed slightly flushed and crumpled from his time wedged against the buxom giantess' voluminous cleavage.

"So I see," he grunted.

xxxxx

Throughout the brothers' exchange, the giantess paid them little attention, busily rummaging in the front pocket of her apron. Seemingly finding what she was seeking, she slowly crouched down before Sam, uprooting at least two trees with the curve of her mighty butt and proudly presented him with something that Sam couldn't even hope to identify.

He stared at the mysterious object between her fingertips.

Green and smooth, it was round and kidney shaped. It looked no bigger than a nickel when compared to the huge fingers that grasped it, but in front of the brothers it was very nearly the size of Beauty's head.

The brothers stared at it, perplexed. They turned to each other with a shrug, then back to the unidentifiable green thing pinned between the giant fingertips.

"What the hell?" Dean squinted at it, brows furrowing as he tried to figure out what he was looking at.

Eventually it was Not-Bobby that spoke up.

"It's a bean, you idjits," he growled as he hovered between their clueless heads.

"A bean?"

The little faerie scowled, folding his stubby, hairy arms across his shimmering pink bodice. "Y'know, when someone gives you a gift, it's customary to say thank you," he grumbled; "not to stand there gawping at it like a pair of goddamn halfwits."

Ah.

"Yeah, It's great, thank you," Sam gushed expansively, looking up at the giantess' shy smile as he reached for the bean; "it's the best bean we've ever seen, uh, isn't it Dean?".

"Oh, well - uh, yeah," Dean joined in, squirming as his eyes darted furtively between Sam and Not-Bobby; "it's just what I've always wanted, thanks."

Not-Bobby rolled his eyes. Hovering over Beauty's head, he subtly mimed someone being violently sick.

"Look," Sam smiled up over the giant bean; "when we're travelling to Grimwald's castle, it'd be great to have you with us - we could really use your help, would you like to come with us?"

The Giantess looked down at Sam then back across the terrible expanse of the Bleaklands to the foreboding hulk of the castle on the distant horizon; an ugly black silhouette against a baleful red sunset.

Eventually, she turned back to look down at Sam, her pretty blue eyes swimming with tears. Her blonde tresses tumbled over her shoulder as she shook her head.

Sam nodded in acceptance as he effected his warmest, most sympathetic smile. He stood and watched silently as the giantess turned, giving him one last lingering look and strode back into the forest.

"What's wrong with her?" Dean asked, with a shrug.

"Don't know," Sam replied absently; but I think it's something to do with Grimwald."

He stood in thought for a moment; "I don't know why," he mused quietly, "but I think she's terribly, painfully lonely."

"I'm so gonna enjoy ganking this asshole," Dean rubbed his hands together with glee.

xxxxx

Sam looked down. In his ponderings he had all but forgotten he was clutching a giant bean. "Um, what are we gonna do with this?"

"Search me," Dean shrugged.

"Perhaps she thought it would feed us," Sam reflected, "I mean it doesn't exactly look like there's bountiful sources of food out there. Perhaps this is what giants eat?"

"Oh no, don't you get any ideas about eatin' it," Dean muttered darkly; "otherwise me an' Beauty will be ridin' upwind for the rest of the trip." He patted the black horse's neck and she butted him playfully, snorting an agreement.

Not-Bobby groaned; "you two dingbats don't read many friggin' faerie tales, do you?"

He was greeted by two vacant faces.

"We take it with us," the little faerie snorted, his stern expression indicating that the instruction was non-negotiable; "the mule can carry it – just make sure the greedy bastard don't eat it.

xxxxx

Sam tightened the strap on the mule's bean-stuffed pannier, "right let's go," he announced.

"Oh no," Not-Bobby replied; "it doesn't look far, but that's a days ride across to the castle. We'll be travelling across virtually impenetrable marshland and crumbling rockface; it's gonna be hard on us all." He bobbed up and down on a passing breeze as he paused to allow his words to register with the Winchesters, "so you're both gonna sleep," he snorted. "While you're sleepin'," he continued before either brother had a chance to protest; "the horses are gonna rest and I'm gonna see what provisions I can rustle up.

Dean wilted. "Please," he sighed; "no more freakin' apples."

Not-Bobby grunted non-commitally as he watched the Winchesters pull their roll-mats down from the mule's haunches and settle down on the forest floor.

xxxxx

When Dean opened bleary, sleep-muzzed eyes several hours later, the first thing that appeared in his line of vision was a pile of gleaming red apples.

"Right that's it," he groaned; "gonna puke. Don't say I didn't warn you ..."

xxxxx

tbc