Are Supposed To Bounce
Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh,
o’er the fields we go laughing all the way…
tune rattled through Dean Winchester’s head AGAIN.
It was a nice image, though he’d rather be riding
in a horse-drawn sleigh with some buxom brunette snuggled
up to him.
he was dashing…literally…across a snow covered
field—cemetery: Running in snow was damn hard.
The only brunette in sight was Sam, who didn’t
count and wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.
If his overgrown, freakishly long-legged brother would
shut up and run, not try to talk and run, he’d
be able to run a lot faster. Instead Sam always tried
to run and talk, talk and run. It never worked. Dean
watched fascinated as his breath froze in front of him,
wafted along and mingled with Sam’s. There was
more of Sam’s frozen breath; it was all that running
was crappy at running and talking.
trying to help, Dean gave him a shove between his shoulder
blades in an effort to move him along faster. “Ya
know Sam, if you’d stop yammering while you run,
you could outrun this thing faster.”
faster than you.” Sam huffed, more air froze in
his wake, fading away as fast as it formed. Bits of
falling snow clung to his hair.
I just stay behind to be sure you get out okay.”
took a sharp left, heading toward the Impala parked
on the road opposite the cemetery. Once there, they’d
be safe until sun up. Dean skirted around some low fencing;
Sam hurdled it like a jack-a-lope.
was supposed to be simple, Sam. 'Just set it up and
wait, Dean. Nothing can go wrong Dean.' ” When
no sarcastic, self-defending reply came from his kid
brother, Dean threw a glance over his shoulder.
was talking to himself.
to a halt in the deepening snow, Dean did a slow three-sixty.
“Sam?” Cold, crisp air bit at his nose.
monster either, which was good. No Sam, which was bad.
back the way they’d come grabbed his attention.
He squinted into the dark, shotgun at the ready. No
monster….good. No Sam…bad.
another circle, not sure where the muffled word came
that was Sam. No one whined his name quite like his
kid brother. His apparently invisible kid brother.
the hell are you?” Dean’s eyes widened,
he sucked in a cold, frosty breath when the snow a few
feet from him mounded up. Leveling his shotgun at the
encroaching wave of snow, he readied to take it out,
should it attack. In the next instant Dean doubled over,
laughing so hard he had to wipe the tears from his cheeks
before they froze there.
funny.” Sam mumbled, rising up out of the snow
like Nessie breaching the waters of Loch Ness. Snow
piled in his hair turned it white, it mounded on his
shoulders and covered most of his face. He wiped some
out of his eyes, somehow managing to level a glare at
Dean at the same time. Sam’s head and shoulders
were the only things sticking out of the ground. He’d
jumped into a snow-filled open grave.
out of there before big and ugly comes back.”
Dean waved one hand in the air, again turning a slow
circle, scanning the area. “Quit your screwing
glare turned into something more akin to an overworked,
much under-loved Malamute left too long out in the snow.
“Can’t. 'M stuck.”
what?” Dean moved forward to peer down at his
half snowbound brother.
some noise halfway between a bark and a sniffle, “If
I knew that Dean, it’s likely I’d not be
stuck and could get myself out.”
your hand down there and feel around.”
if there’s a dead body down here?”
the back of his neck, Dean chuckled, “Gee Sammy,
cemetery, dead body? Sure wouldn’t see that coming.”
don’t think I’m stuck on anything,
I just can’t get a foothold.” Sam tried
pulling out of the hole, sliding down farther. “It’s
slippery.” He looked up, the picture of defeat.
Sammy this is what running and talking gets you.”
Dean swung one leg over the fencing, then the other
and carefully set his shotgun next to the hole.
ya just get me outa here before my dick freezes off?”
Sam slapped the snow with one hand, soft, sparkling
flakes poofed up in shimmering cloud, mostly to settle
in his hair and eyebrows.
mid-reach, Dean froze. After a moment’s consideration
he straightened, holding both hands out defensively.
“Whoa there dude. Just stop. Your dick freezes
off, I am not sewing it back on, stapling it
back on or gluing it back on. You’re on your own
with that one.”
flipped him off.
Sammy be nice.”
right, all right,” reaching down, sliding his
hands under Sam’s shoulders, “C’mon
Yeti, let’s get you outta there.” Hauling
up while Sam scrambled out of the hole, a minute later
Sam stood in front of him, snow-covered, looking rather….pissed.
Dean gave him a lopsided grin, brushed snow from his
brother’s shoulders. “I thought Bumbles
were supposed to bounce.” Sam glared while Dean
brushed snow from his hair, then off his face. Dean’s
finger wiped snow down the slope of Sam’s nose,
then curled away fast when his brother’s teeth
Sam pulled in a fast breath, eyes widening, Dean straightened.
“It’s behind me, isn’t it?”
possessed cartoon abominable snowman?”
shook his head. “Nope.” Snow flew off him
like one of those weird snow globe storms.
Dean hissed, pinching the bridge of his nose between
a finger and thumb. “What now?”
think its Frosty.”
snowman?” Leaning down slowly, Dean’s fingers
curled around his shotgun.
sighed. “Great. A freaking possessed snowman.”
He pulled the shotgun up, spun around and fired. “…Ever.”
Evaporating in an explosion of snow and ice the seven
foot, round, smiling snowman blew out in all directions.
His carrot nose hit Dean’s chest, his scarf fluttering
down to drape over one side of Sam’s head, flowing
down one arm.
back to his brother, another snicker escaped Dean’s
nose since he was trying really hard to keep his lips
shut. Winding the scarf around Sam’s neck while
brushing more snow off his shoulders, “Ya know,
when you were, like, five you had this snow suit, it’d
take me, I don’t know, hours to get you all bundled
up. You’d walk like-” Dean did his best
Frankenstein imitation, which almost got a smile from
Sam. “And then spend about three minutes outside
before you’d want to go back inside.”
arched one eyebrow and glowered.
ok never mind.” Scratching the top of his head,
Dean turned around, but not before tugging on the scarf.
Sam made some noise sounding suspiciously like more
curse words. Shotgun slung casually over his shoulder,
he hiked back over the fencing, walking toward the cemetery
border. “So, lemme get this straight. We left
the crystal on the altar, in the center of this cemetery
because when the sun comes up tomorrow—”
the Winter Solstice,” Sam added.
on the Winter Solstice, at sunrise, the sunshine hits
the crystal and altar, the elf is sent back to wherever,
and all this funny, scare the crap out of folks visiting
the dearly departed goes away?”
at the sky, “It’s awful cloudy.” Dean
observed. Sam shrugged and adjusted his backpack higher
on his shoulder as they walked. Sam’s hand thumping
against his chest with an audible thunk stopped
him. Following the line of Sam’s arm, Dean looked
off to his left. “Nuunngh. Now there’s something
you don’t see every day.” The shotgun was
pulled down, now gripped loosely at his side.
it’s sure not.”
whole herd of the things. Ya know, they’re sorta
cute, in a demonic—”
“Right, enchanted, evil bastard sort of way. They
all have glowing red noses.”
nose crinkled, he lifted one shoulder, dropped it again,
“At least their eyes aren’t glowing red.
There sure are a lot of them. Maybe we can just quietly
walk around them and they won’t notice us?”
Sam nudged his side, making Dean sidestep a few paces
to keep from getting run over. “Why do you suppose
boobs and antlers are both called racks?”
we have to do is get to the road, we can watch from
the car, right?” He purposely ignored Sam’s
Sam was keeping a wary eye on the herd of reindeer milling
around not so terribly far from them.
wrong with making Keebler cookies, now elves have to
haunt cemeteries too?”
don’t think it’s technically a haunting
if nothing is dead,” Sam pointed out. He tugged
on Dean’s jacket sleeve. “Uh, Dean.”
half glance sideways at Sam, “I’m sick of
cold and snow.”
now?” He stopped, pivoted on his toes to face
think they’re herding this way.”
this…? Oh crap.”
reindeer were no longer cute. In fact they no longer
even looked alive. Fur and flesh dripping off translucent
skeletons, their antlers pale against the dark winter
sky. An entire herd of glowing red noses, beeping like
reversing semis, headed in their direction. Running
in their direction. None of them were talking while
Sam’s shoulders, spinning him around and shoving
him ahead, Dean shouted, “Run Sam. Don’t
talk and run, just freaking RUN!”
sprinted around a line of trees, the ghostly reindeer
with glowing red, bleating noses gaining ground with
every stride. Sliding behind a raised grave monument
situated near a small drop off with a frozen waterfall
at one end, Sam’s feet sent another spray of snow
into the air. It mingled with the freshly fallen snow,
covering both of them. Dean dove in next to his brother,
shoving him farther back as the herd leapt over the
line of graves. Running off the edge of the small cliff,
the reindeer took flight, disappearing into the billowing
gonna give some poor kid nightmares.”
many of those stupid shows did you watch last night?”
Sam climbed to his feet, brushed snow from his legs
and bitched all at the same time. Dean figured it was
was a marathon.”
you have to watch them all right before we go hunting
an elf on enchanted ground?”
ME?! I’m not the one who every time I
tried to change the channel bolted up in bed, out of
a sound sleep, begging don’t change the channel
Dean, I like this one now am I?”
so.” Dean poked Sam’s chest. “And
you fell asleep without having the hot chocolate and
popcorn I made you.”
not.” Sam backed up a step.
suppose I should be happy the friggin Wizard of
Oz wasn’t on, or I’d be being
chased by those damn monkeys and you’d still
be hiding under the covers.”
monkeys are freaky. They’re scary!” Sam
turned, huffed something sounding like two words, first
one starting with "F" and stalked a few steps.
He stopped so fast Dean ran into his back.
It was more a growl than a word.
Sam spun to face him.
getting farther from the car.”
both looked at their feet when the ground creaked, moaned,
snow at the edge of the small cliff gave way. Dean made
a grab for Sam’s arm, but down he slid, taking
Dean with him. Landing with a crack to his chest—yeah
that hurt—Dean’s breath was forced completely
from his lungs when Sam landed on top of him. Somehow
he’d managed to pass up his brother during the
slide down to the little frozen stream’s bank.
At least the snow was fairly soft.
broken? No gaping wounds?”
I’m good, Dean, thanks. How’re you?”
“Good, now get your heavy ass off me.”
Sam rested his elbow on Dean’s shoulder blade,
his chin cupped in his hand. The fingers of his free
hand drummed against Dean’s back.
out a loud breath, Dean didn’t want to ask, but
had to. “And why not?”
WHAT?” Dean would deny to his dying day
his voice raising and cracking.
Dean, if I knew that, it’s likely I’d not
be stuck and could get myself out.” Sam’s
hand lay against the back of Dean’s head for a
few seconds, then he shoved Dean’s face into the
around, getting one arm free, Dean elbowed his brother’s
side eliciting a nice, endearing, gratifying ooommpppfff.
for the love of…”
feet are stuck.”
quit leaning on me,” Dean grumbled, shoving his
way free. Sam folded his arms on the ground, chin resting
on them, and pouted. “Can you roll over at all?”
such brought a grimace, and more pouting. “It
long and loud, Dean used the butt end of his shotgun
to shovel the snow from Sam’s legs, his ankles
and feet tangled in a mess of branches and undergrowth.
Dean looked at it for a minute.
bad?” Sam grumbled into the snow.
don’t think we’ll have to cut a foot off
or anything. Can you move at all?”
shook his head, crystals of ice soaring in all directions,
fluttering lazily to the ground.
still, I’ll cut this away in no time, 'cause we
sure don’t want any little Sammy-cicles.”
Dean wiped the snow that somehow appeared on the side
of his head off and pulled out a knife. When Sam squirmed,
Dean reached back and pinged the top of his head with
two fingers. “Can’t you sit still for two
my gun.” Sam managed to pull his pistol free of
his jeans, resituated himself so he was propped on both
your gun for…oooohhhh.”
out of the brush along the cliff edge, it was maybe
four feet tall, green with a pointed chin and a V-shaped
maniacal smile. Bright yellow eyes with red pupils darted
to and fro. Hooked around one foot as it toddled on
bent knees was a line of strung popcorn and cranberries.
Twice it stopped to bat at the garland slithering through
the snow in its wake. Spying the brothers it rubbed
its hands together in sheer, evil glee. Its red hat
with the white leaf tassel tip bobbed in time with its
movements, occasionally bumping its small, green, button
nose. A small brown, floppy eared dog with one antler
tied to the top of his head trailed behind.
“Dean.” Sam hissed.
see it.” Dean sawed and cut furiously at the bramble
holding his brother captive. “Sit still so I don’t
lop off a foot.”
shoot the damn thing Sam.” More grumbling and
squirming ensued from his brother. Dean smacked the
back of Sam’s neck. “Sit still!”
trying to get a clear shot at—”
finally got Sam’s ankles cut free, pulling thin,
thorny branches and leaves away from the kid’s
legs. Twisting around to watch the newest arrival he
scooted back a bit to let Sam kick free and plop back
down to sit in the snow, all the while his pistol trained
on the intruder.
grabbed his shotgun, but before either of them could
get a shot off the Bumble picked that instant to make
an appearance. Charging down the slope it stepped on
the little dog, flattening him before drop kicking it
the Grinch could make another swat at his garland he
was scooped up in the Abominable’s huge arms.
Bending over its prize, long, slightly curved, glistening
white Bumble teeth sunk into the back of the Grinch’s
neck. Held secure in its jaws, the Bumble gave a hearty
shake. Cranberries and popcorn flew out in all directions.
The red hat with the fuzzy white trim and white leaf
tassel slapped the side of Sam’s head before dropping
harmlessly to the ground.
spray of greenish goo plastered the ground, trees and
snow as the Grinch’s head was separated from his
body with a loud crunch. Dean barely had time to shove
against Sam’s shoulder, duck and cover his own
head before being hit with a wave of green, foul smelling
Grinch goop. The Bumble jumped up and down, squealing
and grunting, holding his catch over his head to show
it off to the Winchesters, forest creatures and world
in general. One final victory shout and it was off,
running in huge strides, carrying off the remains of
just…” Dean shook glop from his hands, wiped
it off his face and out of his hair.
Sam finished. Taking the scarf he tried wiping the green
slime from Dean, really only managing to smear it around
more. Dean smacked his hand away, only succeeding in
doubling Sam’s efforts.
to his feet, pulling on Sam’s arm to help him
up, Dean shed the offensive jacket and shook it out.
Globs of green ooze spewed across the snow and frozen
stream. “Freaky bastard deserved that after stealing
Christmas and all.” He grinned at Sam, “Bet
they’ll be celebrating in Who-ville now. Let’s
get back to the car. These things are killing each other
be gone at sunrise. We just have to keep anyone else
from coming in tonight.” Pulling a long, ropey
strand of gunk from his brother’s back, Sam flung
it at the trees. It stuck and hung there like ghoulish
tinsel. “Hey, look at that.” Tucking his
pistol in its spot behind his back, Sam climbed the
embankment. When Dean made it back to the top he found
Sam waiting for him, pointing out some new attraction.
of the Island of Misfit Toys.” Pointing up, Sam’s
gaze followed Dean’s outstretched finger.
Sam darted away as dozens of garish, patched, multi-headed
and missing-limbed toys floated down on parachutes,
clustering around their feet, banging off their heads.
looked like a mailman, clad in a red suit with shiny
gold trim, appeared from nowhere. Pulling mail from
his bag, face split in two with a wide grin, he whipped
envelope after envelope at the toys, singing Santa
Claus is Coming to Town the entire time, dancing
too, Dean noted. The long, rectangular projectiles hit
the toys. Each grounded toy sent up a fountain of snow
and ice to re-mist the cemetery. Envelopes bounced off
Sam. Grunting he turned away so they deflected off his
shoulders. One wheeled through the air, cracking the
back of Dean’s head, eliciting an angry snarl.
toys descended from the sky. Flinching instinctively
away from the loud crack from Sam’s pistol as
he picked a few toys off before they landed, Dean grabbed
his brother’s arm. “There’s too many.
We gotta get out of here.” Dean groaned, “Which
means more running.”
there.” Yanking on Dean’s collar, Sam sprinted
away from the incoming toys.
no talking, just running.”
slipped and slid in the newly fallen snow. “Whatever
Dean.” Nearly going down on a patch of ice as
they rounded the side of a building, Sam reached out
to the first available thing to steady himself. He flipped
around to face the opposite direction without warning,
then skittered sideways. “Deeeeaann.”
really did suck at running and talking.
up and ready, Dean skidded to a stop when Sam was jerked
back the way they’d come. “What? Where is
rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand, his
other arm swallowed by an enormous, frost covered blue
spruce bush. “I…ah…um….”
Sam?” Dean relaxed his stance, casting a watchful
eye over his shoulder at the singing mailman turned
enchanted toy ninja fighter, before turning back to
his brother, quirked an eyebrow and spread both hands
seems that, um,.” scrunching his eyebrows together,
looking like an overworked, underfed, far too much under-loved
Malamute, “ 'm stuck.” He slouched down
a bit, dug one toe into the snow piling along the side
of the building, head down, he looked up at Dean from
under wet, dripping, bangs with ice bulbs forming on
the ends. Tugging futilely at his arm, he tried to extract
it from the confines of the bush.
closer Dean gently brushed more frosty moisture from
Sam’s cheeks, off his arms. “You know Sam,
you’re my brother and I love you more than anything.”
He poked Sam’s chest. “I’ve never
told you this before, because I’d never want to
hurt your feelings, but damn you’ve got to be
the most,” another jab, “uncoordinated,
know it’s not your fault, but…”
what?” He shouted, yanking his Bowie knife out,
stepping around for better aim at the offending bush.
NO!” Holding his free hand out, Sam backed away.
“Not my arm.” Ducking to the side and under
Dean’s outstretched knife, Sam sucked in a breath,
blowing out frosty, sharp exhales, and stumbled to the
side as his arm slipped from the clutching bush.
wouldn’t cut off your arm Sam, that’d take
way too long.” Dean snickered, didn’t even
try to hide it this time. His senses leapt to full alert
when Sam backed up against the bush.
you.” Sam pulled more insistently on Dean’s
arm, dragging him toward the building. “Elf with
to one side, Sam pushed the door open, shoving Dean
through, slamming it shut a step before the gingival
scraper-wielding elf was inside with them. It bounced
off the door, making it vibrate. Sam pressed his back
to the same door, feet sliding along the floor in an
effort to keep it shut. The wood jumped and trembled
as the elf battered at it from the opposite side.
scrambled to find the lock, “There’s no
lock. Hold on.” Running down the center aisle
of the mausoleum he found a chair, was back to Sam’s
side in seconds. “Aww…crap!”
GOT to be kidding me!” Sam sputtered.
of too short shit ass chair.” Dean flung it to
one side. Leaning one arm against the door, it bounced
and jerked partly open again. A glance at Sam, who was
reaching behind his back again for his pistol. Raising
his shotgun slightly, “Ready?”
tipped his chin once, hand moving to the door handle.
Sam straightened, turning on his toes, pistol up, taking
aim. Stepping sideways and opening the door fast at
the same time, they both cleared the threshold simultaneously.
Twin echoes, one from Dean’s shotgun, one from
Sam’s pistol, erupted into the chilly winter night
elf-turned-dentist exploded in a downpour of blond hair,
cheerful elf clothing and curl tipped slippers. Dental
tools clattered to the walkway, littering it for mere
seconds before evaporating along with their owner.
hate possessed dentists,” Sam muttered, replacing
Dean corrected. “Like I said, elves should stick
to making cookies.”
to the solid stone wall several hundred yards away,
Dean sighed. He was cold, wet and tired. “The
road is just over that wall, we can walk around to the
Impala. Do you think you can get from here to there
without falling, slipping, or getting stuck on anything?”
smirked and flipped him off…with both hands.
nice Sammy.” Setting an easy pace, Dean jogged
toward the cemetery border.
followed along. “Just tell me you didn’t
watch The Ten Commandments too.”
Afraid you’ll get your ass smote, smitten, smited…whatever?”
ha…of the two people here I’m not the king
just jealous 'cause I get laid about, oh, a hundred
times more than you.”
grabbed his jacket, yanking insistently. “There
he saw us?”
Dean, I don’t know. We’re standing out in
the middle of flat, open cemetery grounds, and you’re
wearing a dark brown jacket against all this pretty
white snow. Give me a few to think that over.”
think someone needs a nap Mr. Cranky Pants.”
Dean was quite sure Sam would have flipped him off again
if the Bumble hadn’t screeched some ear shattering
noise and charged them. “And newsflash Sammy,
that blue denim stands out quite nicely against white
too.” He shoved against Sam’s arm.
know, I know, shut up and RUN!” Sam sprinted toward
the stone wall.
he gets it,” Dean muttered, running after Sam.
Then just because he could, he darted ahead, which pissed
Sam off, but oh well. Hitting the stone fence two strides
before Sam and at least a dozen ahead of the Bumble,
Dean vaulted over, landing neatly on both feet on the
muttering obscenities under his breath, obviously still
hadn’t really gotten it and proved yet again he
was just plain bad at running and talking. Jumping at
the stone wall he lurched to the top then flopped down
on his back, groaning. The Bumble raced after its prey,
throwing its entire body into the air after Sam who
turned and ducked away, one arm thrown over his head.
Shots rang out from Dean’s shotgun, catching the
Bumble full in the chest. The fuzzy beast’s arms
flew out to its sides, its body shoved backwards as
if grabbed by an unseen hand.
the ground inside the cemetery, it bounced four or five
times before withering to the ground. In a puff of ice
and a gust of chilly air it vanished.
up on his elbows, Sam looked over at Dean, his brother
Sammy I guess they really do bounce.” Turning
to the road, Dean glanced over his shoulder at his brother.
“Come on, the sun will be up soon and there’s
still a couple of cups of hot chocolate with our names
on them back at the motel. I’m buying.”
about getting over to the car.” Sam’s fingers
moved along the back of his head, his eyes dropped to
the ground, he sort of snuffled.
sorta…well…” Picking at a button on
his jacket, scrunching his nose, looking like an incredibly
overworked, much under-loved, starved, homeless, left
out in the snow for too many days Malamute, Sam looked
up at the sky. “It’s not such a bad night
Dean pushed against Sam’s shoulder, sitting him
up, then shoved against his back to move him forward.
“Well, okay, that’s sort of a dumb place
to put a hook.” Pulling his Bowie knife out. “Sit
still.” Taking aim at his brother’s belt
loop, captured by a sturdy, metal hook embedded in the
stone wall, Dean squinted in the dim night, sliding
the tip of the knife along Sam’s back.
part of sit still do you not get?” One quick,
sure jerk upwards and the material separated. Sam tumbled
off the wall, back into the cemetery.
brushing snow and ice from his arms and chest, out of
his hair, Sam glared. “You did that on purpose.”
your point?” Reaching over, grabbing both Sam’s
arms, Dean helped haul him up and over the wall, out
of the cemetery.
hours later, still the only brunette in sight was Sam.
Dean padded quietly across the motel room, clicked off
the TV and set a mug on the table between their beds
with a soft clunk. Sam opened one eye at the sound,
still sprawled where he’d dropped on his back,
sideways across the bed.
not stuck are you?”
stuck his tongue out and sat up, taking his mug in both
ducked, Dean still saw the rebellious corners of Sam’s
mouth twitch to a smile. “Still snowing like crazy
out there, think enough light got through the clouds
maybe, I hope so. Light hit the crystal, and everything
seemed quiet after that.”
might as well hang out for a day or two and make sure.”
Dean opened the bag of freshly popped popcorn, blessing
yet again cheap motels that came with microwaves.
saw a Christmas village up the road. They’ve got
real reindeer and people dressed as cartoon characters,”
Sam suggested brightly.
emptied the bag of popcorn over Sam’s head, settled
back on his bed with his mug of hot chocolate and a
copy of Muscle Car, because seriously red nosed
reindeer, Bumbles, snowmen, the Grinch and his freaky
little dog too were just scary.