A/N: Hi, peeps! This story was originally published as a (winning!) entry at the weekly SPN fic contest over at chappedassmonkey on tumblr. (Y'all should check it out - I think she's still accepting prompts and writing volunteers!) Now that my weeks over I figured I'd share it with y'all. Just a little Christmas cheer to tide you over until I can finish GTSOTR (IT'S ALMOST DONE, I PROMISE).
Much thanks to my gorgeous betas, SewOnAndSewForth and Pickwick12. I owe you both pie.
Sam looked up from The Marvelous Land of Ozto see Dean storming up from the kitchen with a pumpkin pie in his hand. Christmas was still a week away, but his brother had been buried in Betty Crocker for days – trying a different recipe each morning, on the hunt for "the perfect Christmas pie." Now he was dressed in a vintage polka-dot apron, cradling that morning's experiment like it was the body of a dead child. Kevin poked a curious head between the upper-story railings.
"Whatever it is, it wasn't me!"
Dean gave an exasperated sigh and side-eyed both of them.
"If either of you get the urge to pre-game it in my kitchen,use a knife and fork like civilized thieves, and keep your dirty frigging fingersout of my pie!"
"What the hell, Dean?" said Sam, getting up to examine the carcass. "Nobody touched your pie."
"Besides, I'm allergic to pumpkin," said Kevin, Dean turned a horrified face up at him, but Kevin just stuck out his tongue and disappeared back into the upper reaches of the library.
"Allergic to pumpkin," said Dean under his breath, shaking his head. "God is a cruel, cruel bastard . . ."
"These weren't made by fingers, Dean," said Sam, looking up from the pock-marked pie. "See the serrated edges? They're tiny teeth marks. Looks like we might have a mouse problem."
Dean's eyes widened. "The Men of Letters locked this place up tighter than Fort Knox and we have a mouse problem?"
"I'm pretty sure the mice were here first."
"Oooh, no – that kitchen is my territory now." Dean looked down at the ravaged pie. "Nothing is standing between me and the perfect Christmas. This is war."
"Okay, so, if you haven't found signs of mice anywhere else, it's likely they're nesting somewhere in the kitchen," said Kevin, looking up from his computer. "This site says their territory is generally 6-20 feet in circumference."
Sam closed the Encyclopedia Brittanica on the Mus Musculus entry. "Any advice on repelling them once we get rid of the nest?"
"One sec . . ."
"Any luck?" Dean walked up the stairs from the basement carrying a water-stained cardboard box labeled "Pest Control." He up-ended it on the table, scattering corroded cans stamped with hazmat symbols and several contraptions that reminded Sam of medieval torture. Sam picked up a hex bag from the mess.
"You sure they don't mean a more supernatural kind of pest? Half of this stuff isn't labeled – I'm not sure it's safe to use."
"Welcome to Christmas on the home-front, Sammy," said Dean, winking and pulling back the trigger on a mouse trap. "War is supposed to be ugly."
Sam woke from troubling, holiday-themed dreams – Abbadon had been forcing him to eat an entire vat of cranberry sauce before Dean drowned in it – to a muffled shout and a crash from the kitchen.
"COME ON, YOU BLACK-EYED BASTARD! IS THAT THE BEST YOU GOT?"
Another crash. Sam, still half in a dream world of black eyes and demonic laughter, grabbed the gun from his bedside, sprinted out the door, and stumbled down the stairs. Rounding the corner into the kitchen with his gun at the ready, he spotted his brother – fire-poker in hand – chase something into the walk-in pantry.
"Dean! What the –" Sam took one step forward and heard a click, followed a sickening, wet crunch. A crushing pain traveled up his right leg, and he hit the floor with an anguished yelp. Breathing through his teeth, he grabbed his foot and examined the big toe – bloodied and broken between the sharpened teeth of a rat-trap the size of a bicycle pedal. Sam closed his eyes and tried not to scream.
"Sammy? SAM?!" Dean dropped the fire-poker at the pantry door and rushed to his brother's side – Sam could hear several other traps snap at Dean's heels as he crossed the space.
"Oh, God, Sam – I'm so sorry." Dean hissed as he took in the damage to his brother's foot. "I was trying to get the mouse-"
"So you set a fucking bear trap?!"
"It's for rats, actually – pretty old school . . ." His words died at the look on Sam's face. "Sorry. Here – let's get you out of the line of fire . . ."
Dean hooked an arm around the back of Sam's shoulder and pulled his brother to his feet.
"Dean, stop!" said Sam through gritted teeth. "Look."
A little grey mouse sat on the counter, pink tail curled around itself as it contentedly nibbled on what looked like an Oreo crumb. Its little black eyes squinted up at them with a gleam of triumph.
"Well? Aren't you gonna kill it?"
"What? No!" said Dean, pulling Sam towards the hall. "You're bleeding all over my nice, clean floor, Sammy. The mouse can wait."
An hour later, Sam was hobbling around the kitchen on his freshly-bandaged foot, helping Dean disengage all the traps he'd scattered.
"You sure you don't wanna leave a couple out?" said Sam, tossing a rat trap back into the box. "You might get lucky."
Dean shook his head, looking down at Sam's foot with a frown. "With my luck? Nah. Kevin's already lost enough fingers . . ."
Sam bent over to grab one last trap and stopped when something on the floor caught his eye. The pause on his sore foot overbalanced him and he stumbled awkwardly, catching himself on the refrigerator.
"Dammit, Sammy, I told you," said Dean, coming up behind him and putting a supportive hand under his elbow, "you really need to still be icing that toe. I can finish in here."
"No, Dean, look!" Sam pointed to a trail of Oreo bits leading across the kitchen floor from the counter to the refrigerator. "Hand me that flashlight."
Dean palmed it to him, and Sam got down on his stomach, sweeping the light back and forth underneath the fridge.
"You find him?"
"Shhh!" said Sam, handing back the flashlight. "Not him. Her. Well, them . . ."
He swept his hand underneath the appliance and pulled out the antique drain-pan. Nestled in the corner, on a carefully-lined pile of plaid-colored dryer lint, was a heap of baby mice - old enough to be covered in a light layer of soft grey fur, but still too young to see. The clutched each other with little pink paws and snuggled closer together in the early-morning cold. The mother mouse stood atop her hill of babies, baring tiny teeth and claws at the brothers.
Sam glanced at Dean, who stood bent over with his hands on his knees, jaw twitching slightly, a surprised look in his eyes. "Well?"
"Don't you have some . . . exterminating you were going to do?"
Dean looked at his brother with a furrowed brow. "No! Uh . . . I mean . . . not in the kitchen. Totally unsanitary to kill them in here. Might contaminate the pie . . ."
With that, Dean gingerly picked up the drain-pan and headed for the front door.
"Still one piece left . . . Sammy?"
Sam leaned back and shook his head, pushing his dessert plate away from him. It was littered with the remains of that day's Christmas pie experiment – dutch-apple, delicious and decidedly un-nibbled.
Dean looked over at Kevin, but their resident AP scholar's head was already resting on the back of his chair in a post-dessert stupor.
"Welp, more for me," said Dean, grabbing the nearly-empty pie tin and getting up from his seat. "How's the toe, Sam?"
Sam glanced at his foot and shrugged. "I'll live."
"Did you ice it like I told you?"
"20 minutes every hour?"
"More or less . . ."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Right. Get comfy – I'll grab you some more ice."
Once he'd ensconced Sam's foot in ice and pillows, Dean grabbed the tin containing the last piece of pie and headed for the staircase, winking at Sam as he left. "Pie in bed, Sam – being an adult is awesome."
Sam smiled and looked back down at The Marvelous Land of Oz. He hadn't read for but a few minutes, however, when he realised that he'd heard the front door open. Kevin had long before gone to bed. Dean had gone to his room – hadn't he? "Dean?" he called. "Kevin?" Was that wind her heard? Had someone left the door ajar? "Cas?"
Silence. But he was sure he'd heard the main-door's distinctive click. With a frustrated sigh, Sam unwrapped the ice-pack from his foot, grabbed a knife off a nearby shelf, and went to investigate.
He limped up the stairs and peeked around the corner of the door, which had indeed been left open a crack. In the light shining from behind him, Sam spotted his brother kneeling on the hill, hunched besides a heating vent under the eve of the entrance. He was tapping a fork on the side of the pie tin.
"Come and get it, you little bastards," said Dean softly. "Normally you'd all be choking down the third degree, you know. 'Specially with Sammy getting hurt." He shook his head and ran an agitated hand over his face. "Well, that was my fault anyway and it . . it didn't seem right . . . separating a family during the holidays. But - I go to all the trouble to relocate your nest, the least you can do is tell me you like my pie. And stay out of my kitchen!"
Sam wasn't sure what made him want to laugh more – the fact that Dean had rescued the mice, or the idea that he expected them to stay out of the Bunker on a pastry-based contract. He managed to choke down the giggle bubbling in his throat just in time to hear a few happy squeaks as the evidently-grateful mice found the pie.
"There you go," Dean said, standing up and wiping some stray crumbs on his jacket. "Merry Christmas, little motherfuckers." Sam could almost hear the smile in his words.
Happy Hallowyulegivingsmas and a Merry Kwanzmakuh too! ;-) May all your various holy days be full of joy. Love to you all!