As Castiel complies, Sam puts himself between Dean and the lake.
"I know what you're thinking, and no, thats not a good idea."
Castiel kneels, hovering over Dean, his eyes flashing between the two brothers, confused,
"I'm not sure I follow."
This doesn't deter Dean in the slightest. (Though holy CRAP he didn't know mooses...Meese, whatever, could possibly be this enormous!) he marched right under Sam diagonally so he was standing on the bank, at least three feet away from both of them. He was actually very grateful for the space, though if Sam had his way that wouldn't last long. He turned on his heel to face Castiel first, then higher up to Sam's bulky head.
"Look, you guys were roofied by flowers. A lollipop gave you Barbie wings- and you antlers. I got a bad acid trip from a piece of pie. And this..." He threw a hand up towards his moose brother. "I don't even know how THIS happened. But odds are, Gabe's spiked the lake, too."
"Dean!" This time Castiel reached for him? But it was too late. Dean waded in waist deep and turned over his shoulder.
"I'm already a happy meal toy, Cas. I can only go up from here," he reasoned aloud.
No. No. No. Sam was having a fit prancing back and forth at the edge. He wanted fingers. Now.
"Dean!" he shouted. The noise came out with exhasperated... adn sounded disturbingly similar to a whinny. Of all the dumb things his brother could do... this was by far the dumbest. For reasons Sam couldn't fathom, he rose up on his hind legs, sending his body crashing down. The moose-likeness seemed to become instinctual the more he became frustrated.
Sam leaned as far as he was able, which was almost close enough for him to grab Dean. The thought of him needing to use his mouth terrified him, but he was easily able to overlook it as he thought about all the strangeness that wading in the water could lead to. He just needed to get Dean close enough to grab....
"Dean, don't be stupid," we can figure something out, Sam looked down at his brother, unable to see anything different, but... maybe the water was sparkling more around him?? Sam couldn't quite tell... was the water becoming more reflective all of the sudden, or maybe he was just being paranoid....
The tremors rippled through the water. A shadow darkened his view, and Dean whirled to see what was one of the most disturbing views in his life. He yelped and fell back into the lake. He resurfaced a mere moment later, looking up at the same worried faces.
"There's a reason animal planet doesn't film in 3-D." He coughed, wiping water from his eyes, now standing chest deep.
"Dude, chill. I'm fine." ..And still tiny. A part of him had really, really hoped he would get lucky and return to his normal size. Heck, he wasn't beginning to look back on worrying over a miniature Sam with rose colored glasses.
"It's clean guys." He gave the all-clear with a hefty sigh of disappointment, lowering his eyes to the water at the feet.
Same hastily tested the water with a hoof. The whole situation seemed suspicious. He didn't like it. Nor did he like the idea of Dean swimming. With a sigh, Sam folded his legs beneath him, lowering himself as much as possible. He dipped his head infront of Dean, angling it sideways so his brother could used his antlers to get himself up.
"Get on," groaned Sam. His eyes flashed towards the angel who regarded the water with curiosity. "You too Cas,"
Castiel frowned, watching Dean wade over and grab ho of the antler. Did the younger winchester really think he would be able to carry him on his other antler? That was just ridiculous. He did them both a favor and awkward straddled Sam's back. This was extremely uncomfortable. Dean caught sight if the odd expression on the angel's huge face overhead and snorted In agreement. Now facing forward on the antler, dean felt a chill from his soaking clothes. Impatiently, he slapped the bony structure he sat upon.
"Come on, Mush!" Dean commanded.
Sam pursed his lips as much as his moosey-form would let him. Standing wasn't an easy task without passengers.. now with the added weight he was almost certain he'd topple over. Though, surprising both himself and his riders, he manged to come to a stand. The farther he walked into the water, the easier it was. His body seemed to let instinct do the work, and soon, he was swimming with ease.
Dean gripped the antler for dear life as it quaked with Sam's tentative steps. For a moment, he was sure that He had taken on too much, and would fall over. But Sam proved him wrong. He looked over at Sam's face. While it was harder to read his expression like this, dean recognized a familiar glint of determination in those glassy brown eyes. It reminded him so much of himself, he had to look away.
"Halfway there. Keep it up." He shouted.
Sam attempted to grunt a reply, but he was having a hard enough time keeping his head out of the water. Though, he wasn't sure it was actually water... He swore it had to be carbonated or something, as his skin seemed to prick and tingle as he paddled to the edge. Almost there...
It was was a rocky ride, accompanied by face fils of water every few strokes. At first he thought he was just bumping into the ridge of the antler, but soon it was apparent that it wasn't him-- the antler was compressing. "Whoa-" Dean murmured. He followed it to the base. The antler was shrinking back bit by bit, leaving him less and less room to sit on.
"Sa-am!" He tried talking over the bumpy ride, half-crawling, half running towards his head. The brown fur remained for now, but it receded from the ears, seeming to translate around into longer, shinier locks.
By the time they washed up to shore, Castiel was piggybacking a human Sam, and Dean's legs were tangled in his wet hair.
"Shit Dean!" yelled Sam, his voice raising an octave from the mixture of relief of returning to normal, and discomfort from Dean yanking wildly at his hair.
Setting Cas down, Sam attempted to untangle Dean from his hair to no avail.
"Dean!" Growled Sam, "Stop squirming!"
"Get your stupid hands out of my face!" Dean sputtered back. Sam kept turning his head, back Dean clung harder to the hair as he was bounced and rocked between open air and humongous fingers.
Between aggravated shouts and curses, Sam managed to turn to Cas, "A little help here?"
"NO!" Dean barked, fixing a minature death glare at Castiel. The angel froze with his hand halfway outstretched. "You and your giant hand stay OUT of this." He hesitated then, his green eyes noting the lack of plastic wings on Cas' back. So Castiel and Sam got cleansed by the magic lake. But he remained six inches high and thoroughly useless.
"Just...Fucking fantastic..." He hissed to himself as he reached for the strands of hair cutting into his blue jeans. Gabriel's smirk floated into mind, making his actions a bit more aggressive. A few more yanks and impatient detangling, and he was free. But not without a few more yelps of pain from Sam in the process.
"Pussy." Dean accused him with a roll of the eyes.
"Am I allowed to take you down?" barked Sam sarcastically, "Or are my stupid hands not allowed that close?"
Sam immediately regretted his spitefully shot at Dean, he knew all too when how uncomfortable it was to have a massive set of digits too close for comfort.
Heat rose to his little face.
"Just get me down from here before I decide to make you a bald spot."
Not wanting any added hair pulling, Sam placed his hands at the front of his head before tilting his head forward to help Dean debark. As his brother slid into his hands, Sam eyed the not so distant castle in attempt to estimate the distance.
"Doesn't look much more than 10 minutes away..."
"Then let's get a move on." Dean said. Not long after, he put a hand to his head. "Hey, drop me in your pocket, will you? Your hands are all sweaty." He added the insult as a way to justify himself.
Sam grumbled a snark comment before complying, gently tilting his hand so Dean could slide directly into his breast pocket. Castiel watched the whole procedure silently, his eyes follwing Dean with such an air of protectiveness it made Sam feel uncomfortable.
Sam walked at a brisk pace, following the road paved with giant suckers, shining brightly under the light of the sun. This world was so strange, and the sooner he could leave this diabetic dream, the better.
As he rounded a particularly large bush of cotton candy, Sam came face to face with a site that made his heart sink. Another challenge sign.
Though, different from the others this one had a table infront of it with a stack of cards. The instructions that layed on the table seemed simple enough, but Sam knew that nothing in this crazy world could be easy. As he read the instructions, it was almost as if he could hear Gabriel reading it to them,
"Pick a card. Or not. You're choice. It could come in handy. Or it could give you a hard time. One of them could change Dean back to normal. Another could give you his place. Only rule is one card each. Good luck."
Sam stared down at the deck and swallowed hard. Dean didnt need to know. He could fix Dean on his own... He could take the first card... Dean was already having enough problems...
The swift swaying motion of Sam's steps threw dean to the bottom. But it was darker in here. A bit damp, but then again Dean himself was sopping wet still. A faint amount of body heat seeped into the pocket. That, combined with the rhythm of walking, lulled him into a semi-doze.
Dean replayed his dream in his head,'looking for any hint that the archangel might have given away. But there was nothing... Nothing but dead ends every which way he twisted it.
The only thing he was getting out of this is that he was a burden on the people he cared about. Useless for anything but hunting. A tool.
The dull thudding slowed to a halt. Sam's heart picked up its tempo, hammering against Dean's back. He sat up and leaned away from it, but frowned.
"What's the hold up?" He shouted up towards the pocket flap.
"Theres a-" Castiel was interrupted by Sam's glare. Dean didn't need to know. He could fix his brother for once. Not the other way around.
"Its nothing Dean," began Sam as he placed his hand over the deck, "just, um, taking a break."
"Yeah, well, your heart's a freaking jackhammer right now." Dean waited for some type of response- a scoff, a poke... Something. But he got nothing. Curious and more than a little suspicious, he got to his feet and started climbing to the top of the pocket.
Sam grabbed the lip of his pocket and jostled it so Dean would fall back into the depths of the fabric.
"Don't worry about it Dean I'm just tired." Castiel shot a disaproving glare towards the younger Winchester, but did nothing to stop him as his hands spread out the deck of cards. He could only pick one... he couldn't mess this up...
His hands wrapped around a card...
"What the HELL was THAT?!" Dean bellowed from within the pocket. That had been deliberate! His cheeks were red with embarrassment and outrage. And though he wouldn't admit it, a little claustrophobic now that his solitude had been turned into a prison. For a moment , that helpless feeling threatened to overwhelm him.
He had a Pocketknife. He had lost his sturdier blade inhe licorice woods, but his Switchblade would have to do. With hasty, rushed motions, Dean pulled yr the knife and began sawing away at the bottom hem of the thick fabric.
Taking a deep breath Sam shut his eyes and flipped the card over. He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to see if he'd done the right thing or not. He didn't think he could handle another mistake, but the energy that crackled around in the air suggested that something was happening. He only hoped it want happening to him.
Dean cut a hole in the pocket big enough to fit through. His arm was burning from the effort, but it paid off. He pocket the knife, and leaned down to figure out how to lower himself down. It wasn't gonna be easy, climbing down his hulk of a brother. Suddenly, strategy was useless; a slight movement from Sam sent him careening forward, through the hole and free falling towards the ground. He grappled for the jacket fabric, but it was falling too fast. This was it. How it was going to end. He covered his head with his arms as he ground became imminent-
He landed with a loud smack on the ground. "DAMMIT.." He groaned. He was hurt, but not nearly as much as he should have been. Opening his eyes, he saw Sam's shoes... Only they didn'ttake up nearly as muh of his vision as before. No way! His heart raced with hope as a grin lit up his face. He leapt to his feet and felt the residual tingling of energy in the air. He laughed out loud, grinning nearly eye to eye with Sam.
Sam blinked a few time before gripping his brother in a tight hug.
"Dean!" Laughed Sam burying his face in his brother's shoulder. He felt the last of the tingling energy dissipate into the air around them. He'd done it! He'd gotten Dean back to normal he'd- A darkness fell upon him and Sam lifted his head to see one of the disappointing things he'd ever witnessed.
He's fucked up.
A clouds rolled in overhead, blocking out the sun. But that wouldn't run his good mood. Dean's laugh petered out as Sam pulled away.
"Geez, Don't look so excited, Sammy..." He chided. "I know I'm adorable, but..." he realized Sam wasn't looking at him. And the shadow over the road looked more like... A man, rather than a cloud. He pivoted on his heel and felt his heart sink to his shoes. Castiel looked over both of them like a gigantic guardian angel, a halo-like glow from the sun behind him.
"What did you..?" Dean spotted a piece of paper Lyon on the ground a few feet away. He marched up to it and turned it over. There was a picture of Gabriel kicking back in a loud chair, kicking back and smiling. In a little decorative speech bubble, the card read, "Ring any bells?"
Sam groaned and took a step back, both from his brother and from the angel looming overhead. He screwed up. He screwed up his one chance of getting Dean back to normal. His one chance at being the one to help his brother... and now he'd become a handicap in the process.
"Dean..." Started Sam,
"This is what you were doing?" Dean cut him off inmediately, temper flaring as he whirled on Sam. "You shoved me down so you could pull from the chance deck? What, do you think I'm stupid?"
"Dean, its not like that!" shouted Sam, "I didn't want you drawing the card!"
He heard the fabric of Castiel's ruffle as the angel bent down between the two of them.
"Why?" Dean asked. The elder brother side-stepped to jab a finger at Sam over the shoe separating them. He glanced upward, wondering how muc time they had to hash it out before Castiel decided to cal a timeout. Dean marched around, away from Cas and towards Sam. "Seriously, Sam. Why?"
Sam walked with long strides over to his brother,
"Because you already had all of this," Sam gestured to his body, "going on! I know you Dean, you wouldn't have let me draw the first card... maybe not any! I had to take a shot. This was my chance to get you back to normal..."
Dean clenched his jaw and sent the full force of his glare at him. It made him feel inadequate again. But, as he let up with a world-weary sigh, he knew that Sammy didn't mean if that way. The last thing they needed to do have it out in candy land. It was probably what Gabriel wanted, anyway.
He drug a hand over his face and clammed up. "It's fine." He said quietly, even though his tone read as anything but.
"Enjoying the show up there?" Dean called up to Castiel. The angel pursed his lips.
"Should I draw a card ?" Asked the angel eyeing Sam curiously. Sam looked downwards. Now Cas would be forced to clean up his mess... or make things worse. Either scenario knotted his stomach.
"Take the deck." Dean piped up. Castiel gave him a surprised look, then slowly joined in his train of thought. He stood and stepped right over the brother to retrieve the deck and silently tuck it away in his breast pocket.
"We don't need anymore crazy in the bowl right now to throw us off our game. But if the chips get low... Both Cas and I get a card." Dean finished with a shrug.
Sam felt his face get red... he should have thought of that. Why hadn't he done the same?
"We should keep going..." mumbled Sam, taking a step towards Cas. The size didn't bother him as much this time. He hoped it was due to the fact he at least had Dean at the same size, and not because he was getting used to it.
Castiel stooped down and picked up both brothers. He cupped his hands together so hey had a common platform beneath them as he walked.
"If it makes you feel any better," both Winchesters looked up as Castiel spoke up. "This isn't much different than how humans are viewed from heaven."
Sam and Dean exchanged bewildered looks.
"Yeah, that uh, that's awesome. A load of of winged douchebags looking down on the world."
"Sam stared up at Castiel, who seemed at ease with the whole situation. For some reason the normalcy that Cas suggested annoyed him.
"Well here on earth this is pretty messed up."
"I understand." Cas replied, with a small empathetic smile. Dean gave him an "oh really?" Eyebrow raise. Castiel explained, "it's jarring to be united by a human vessel. Some choose never to adapt soley for that reason."
This placated Dean for now. He kept his eyes ahead. Focusing on something else made it easier to get over how disturbing it was that he was riding in Cas' single hand.
Sam leaned back, grateful for an opportunity to think. The silence was welcome, yet it only forced him to dwell on his failures. He messed up. All Dean's efforts to change him to normal had been dashed away by a careless action. Now he was useless....
"Do you hear that?" Dean said quietly, like they were stalking prey.
Castiel stopped walking and looked around for some sort of threat.
"Sounds like... Singing." Dean said. He leaned forward on the row of big fingers as the sound, like tinkling bells, ampified. The shimmering purple leaves around them provided no clues, but their answer came soon enough. A sugarplum fairy flitted up at a rocketing speed, stopping right in front of Dean. He fell back onto his butt, she came up so fast. She giggled, as he hastily got back to his feet. Shr smiled coyly and reached out to him, grazing his cheek with a pale lavender hand.
Sam stared wide eyed at the sight, cautiously reaching to the spot on his pants where his knife would be... if he had still had it.
"Dean..." Warned Sam cautiously, as he eyed the strange figure. Castiels hand moved closer towards him, but the fairy followed.
A second fairy flitted up beside her sister. This one was more pink rather than purple, and took notice of Sam. she landed right next to him on the hand like Castiel wasn't even there. She circled Sam with bell-like remarks and traced a glittery trail on his chest, batting long lashes at him. She as disrupted as Cas dumped Dean into the same hand as Sam and used the other to away at the nuisances.
Sam blinked away the strange feeling that had taken over him when the fairy had drawn near. There was some magic at work, and he didn't like that. Helping Dean to his feet, he regarded his brother with concern,
"Yeah I'm good.. But man! You see the size of the rack on that one?" He replied dazedly. Dean looked not at Sam, but rather past him. The purple fairy came back for him, hovering just beyond the edge of the fingertips. Brushing past his brother, Dean walked forward without hesitation, that dreamy look in his eyes. She smiled lovingly, and Dean was ready to walk right off the hand into open air, had the hand not tilted backwards at the last second.
"Dean!" Sam yelled, grabbing his brother by the back of the shirt to avoid him crawling of the edge again. Sam averted his eyes from the fairies. He wanted to look. He wanted to touch. He wanted the fairies to touch him! But the magic hadn't seemed to have affected him as much as his brother. While his mind was foggy, rational thought still beat heavy in his mind.
"Dean snap out of it!"
Dean wrestled to get free from his grip. "Why d'you gotta cockblock me?" He elbowed him hard in the gut, finally loosening his brother's grip enough to spring loose. He hopped over Sam's doubled-over form and bounded over to his fairy. Castiel picked up his pace and boxed the humans in with his second hand. Dean pounded on the fleshy wall. The fairies narrowed their eyes at Castiel. The jingled turned into a vicious hum, like a swarm of bees. He turned around and saw dozens upon dozens more. In a last resort attempt to save his occupants, Cas cupped the boys to himself as he outstretched his other hand. A bright blue light turned white with brightness, blinding all within range.
When it faded and he released the brothers, there was only a pile of ash where the swarm had once been.
Sam stared up in awe at Castiel. It was easy to forget how powerful he really was.
"Dean... You okay?" He tentatively addressed his brother.
"How's your spleen?" Dean redirected with a question of his own as the fog cleared and he was left with the memory of attacking his own brother.
Sam half smiled upon seeing his brother turn to his normal self. As the adrenaline faded, along with the fairy magic, he notices to true weight of Dean's words. The pain crept on him slowly, like a weight was being pressed on his gut. Sam grimaced.
"Pretty damn sore." He admitted.
"Put some ice on it later." Dean's eyes flashed with guilt as he glanced toward the offended area, not noticing the elevation change until he turned around and-- "HOLY-"
Cas' face was right there. Huge blue eyes seared into his soul as he scanned him for injury or residual effects from the fairies. "I'm sorry for scaring you." ,Castiel said evenly. He lowered them again as he contjnued walking ata quickened pace-- still dreadfully inefficient by his standards.
"We're almost there." He announced.
Sam gulped. This seemed like they were leading up to a big showdown... the all or nothing. As the looming form of the candy castle drew closer the feeling was only strengthened.
"Cas, you're probably going to need both hands..."
Castiel looked on ahead. He was able to see clearly despite the distance.
"Sam's right." He said, looking down at them as he moved the hand towards his left breast pocket of the trenchcooat. "We should all be on-guard."
To their right, the chocolatey moat bubbled thoughtfully, seeming to flow at its own pace.
As the pair slid into the pocket, Sam felt himself shoving at Dean in order to fit properly. The pocket had seemed so roomy when it was fit for one, nevermind the deck of cards that took up a great Dean of space,
"Dean! Move over." Groaned Sam as he tried to claim a spot for himself.
"Watch it!" Dean grunted as Sam's boot collided with his stomach. Karma was a bitch. During their struggle, the deck behind them began to shift. Dean stopped trying to get some elbow room and plastred his back against the first card.
No more surprises. For the love of everything dear in the world... No more surprises.
But with their luck? Not a chance.