“Well, wow, this is a new one.” Dean crossed his arms over his chest and leaned most of his weight on one leg. He stared down at the pavement in front of the car.
When steam hissed from one side of the front of the car, from the radiator, Sam guessed, Dean glared at him. Sam glared right back. “You’re the one who insists on flying down these back roads. It was bound to happen.”
“Oh, no, not this. This was not bound to happen, like ever. Besides I’m a great driver. I’ve been driving forever and driving the same car forever.”
Sam scratched at the back of his head, looked up and down the road then back to that patch right in front of the car. Nope, nothing had changed. “What do we do about this?”
Dean gave him a look that read you’re kidding, right?, and started to the back of the car. “It’s a monster. We kill monsters. So what do you think, rock-salt, silver bullets, regular bullets, consecrated bullets?” He disappeared when the trunk popped open. The car shifted slightly signaling that Dean was rooting around in the weapons’ cache.
“How about no bullets?”
“What?” Dean’s head appeared beside the trunk door. “That’s ridiculous, what are we going to do, carve it up? Strangle it? Shooting it is fast, simple, humane and easy.”
“We can’t kill it, Dean.” Sam squared his shoulders and stood with hands on hips. “We’re not killing it.”
The trunk slammed shut with a heavy thunk. Dean’s head dropped forward. “Huh?” He stepped around until he was standing beside Sam again. “That’s silly. Of course we’re killing it. Who knows what it’s planning. Just what do you want to do, keep it?” Dean squinted at him then drew in a sharp breath. “You want to keep it. Dude, Sammy, we can’t have a dog let alone a…a…”
“Go ahead, Dean, say it. That’s a Sasquatch. Big foot. And what has it done other than run you off the road?”
“Us. It ran us off the road.”
“You were driving, oh master of the road.” Sam held both hands in the air and waggled his fingers a few times before letting his hands drop back to his sides again. “It’s a living, breathing, feeling creature. We can’t just kill it.”
“So are werewolves, we kill them.”
“Werewolves are evil and vile and predatory. How do we know this is the same thing?” Sam countered.
“And for your information, it stinks! Kinda like toe jam. That is reason enough, clear the air.”
“No, Dean. And I don’t even wanna know how or why you know what toe jam smells like.”
“This is not Harry, and we’re not the Hendersons. We’re the Winchesters. Biiiiiig difference.”
Sam stood watching his brother, head cocked to one side, arms folded across his chest.
“Fine.” Dean walked to the passenger side of the car, tossed the shotgun onto the front seat and slammed the door shut. He stalked around to the other side and yanked the back door open. “Okay.” He waved grandly at the backseat. “Shove him in.”
Sam sighed and looked down at the stinky, hairy thing. He took a step forward and gulped when it twitched. Half bent over with arms outstretched toward the Sasquatch, Sam glanced up at his brother.
“Oh for the love of—” Dean marched forward. “You’re nothing but a huge pain in the ass.” He pointed at the Sasquatch. “And Toe-Jam here is going to be even a bigger pain in the ass.” Grabbing the Sasquatch’s feet he jerked them up. “You going to help or not?”
Sam grinned and slipped his hands under the creature’s shoulders and together they hefted it off the ground. Sidestepping in time with his brother toward the car, Sam stopped just as they reached the opened door. “Think it’ll fit? It is sort of big.”
“You fit.” Dean grumbled and shoved Toe-Jam’s feet into the car, then helped Sam load the rest of him. When the car dipped under its weight Dean sighed. “We’re going to have to get more air in the tires as well as a new radiator. You,” He pointed to Sam. “Will sit in the front seat with that shotgun pointed at that,” Dean pointed to the Sasquatch, “The entire time. Got it?”
Sam nodded and shut the car door, skirting around his brother to the passenger side. He piled into the car, waiting for Dean to do the same. Cradling the shotgun in one arm, Sam poked at his GPS with his free hand. “There’s…um…a town about six miles ahead.”
“The radiator is shot, we’re going to have to take it slow and stop every half mile or so to let the engine cool.” Dean tossed him an annoyed look, “And will you keep that gun on that thing!”
As Dean predicted they’d gone just over a half a mile before they had to stop and cut the engine, letting the car cool down. It was going to take forever to travel their six required miles to town. On their second cooling stop, Sam headed into the woods to relieve himself. When he returned he found Toe-Jam sitting up in the back seat with Dean feeding him M&M’s.
“Softy. What happened to keeping a gun on it?” Sam muttered as he got back into the car.
Dean snorted, turned around and started the car again, driving slowly. When the engine stuttered and groaned, Dean pulled off to the side of the road. “Another break time.” This time he pushed out of the car and stretched. Twisting side to side, he pointed to something in the woods. “What do you suppose that is?”
Sam climbed free of the car and walked around to join his brother. A quick glance back and he saw the Sasquatch had fallen asleep. Stepping away from the car, Sam said, “Let’s see.”
Trudging into the woods they came to what looked like a cave opening covered with vines. Pushing through the foliage curtain, Sam came to a stop so fast Dean ran into his back.
“Dude,” Dean smacked the back of Sam’s head. “Signal.” Muttering under his breath, Dean walked past Sam and deeper into the cave. “This isn’t really a cave.”
“Yeah.” Sam agreed, looking around. It was perfectly round, like they were standing inside a gigantic geode. The walls shimmered and glistened with some light, but there was no source he could see.
“Hey, look at this.” Dean poked at a small, round, black pot on the ground. He knelt beside it, and ran his fingers through the contents. The pot was filled with coins, shiny gold coins. Standing with a handful of them, Dean dug into his pocket and pulled out a few of the Seal Coins he carried, holding them side by side and out for Sam to see the comparison. “These are almost identical.”
Hands held side by side, the coins bounced around, jingling as they hit one another.
“Be careful you don’t mix them.”
“I’m not an amateur, Sam.” Dean fisted the Seal Coins and stuck them back into his pocket. The others he let drop back into the pot. “This is weird and not something I think I want to mess with right now. Faeries and leprechauns have lairs like this, messing with them and demons and angels all at once is too much like work.”
“We should get back and get to town before it’s completely dark.” When they left the cave and returned to the road, Sam carefully marked the spot so they could investigate later.
Dean opened the driver’s side door, pausing before he dropped into his seat to frantically wave a hand under his nose. “Damn this thing stinks. Hurry up and roll down your window,” he ordered as he rolled down his own. “I didn’t think it was possible but he smells worse than you after you’ve had a seven-layer burrito!” Dean started the Impala and pulled back on to the road.
Sam glanced at the sleeping creature in the backseat then tossed a glare in his brother’s direction. “Yeah, kinda like YOU after a big bowl of five-alarm chili.”
“I dunno what you’re talking about, I smell like a bouquet of flowers. Especially after I eat five-alarm chili. With extra jalapenos.”
Sam snorted in mock contempt. “Yeah, right. You just keep telling yourself that, oh Fragrant One.”
A loud grunting-whistling-growling noise suddenly filled the car.
“What the—” Dean startled, unintentionally jerking the steering wheel to the right before correcting course. His eyes flicked to his brother then the review mirror. “What the hell’s that noise?”
Sam looked over the back of his seat and barked out a laugh. “It’s snoring!”
Dean’s eyebrows climbed toward his hairline. “Seriously?”
“Uh huh. Mouth’s hanging open and everything.”
“It’s not drooling on the leather, is it?”
“No,” Sam grinned, “No drool. At least I don’t think so.”
The Impala hissed and spit yet again and Dean pulled over to let her cool a bit. “Hope this town has a decent auto shop.”
“How much farther do you think?” asked Sam, pushing his bangs out of his eyes with an index finger.
Dean glanced at the odometer. “’nother couple of miles.”
A growly squeak from the backseat drew their attention and both brothers turned to look at their hairy passenger who was coming awake. The three occupants of the car blinked at each other in bemusement for several seconds before the Sasquatch began bouncing up and down on the seat.
Dean looked at his brother. “What’s it doing?”
Sam returned his look and shrugged, brow beetled in a frown. “Beats me.”
The bouncing got a little faster.
“Oh, God, maybe it has to pee!” Dean’s voice was more than a little horrified as he shoved open his own car door. “No peeing in the Impala! Sam, c’mon, we need to get it out of the car!” He yanked open the back door. “Okay, Toe Jam, out. Out of the car right now!”
“Dean, stop yelling at it! You’re probably scaring him. And quit calling him Toe Jam—that’s disgusting.”
Dean huffed. “Fine. TJ then. How do we get it out of the car? Before it pees or something.”
“Why don’t we try asking?”
“Are you nuts? It’s a SASQUATCH, Sam.” Seeing his little brother’s intractable look, the very one he’d used just a little while ago, Dean threw up his arms in surrender. “FINE. Ask TJ to please get out of the car then.”
Rather than confuse the hapless creature, Sam moved around the back of the car and joined Dean at the open back door. Leaning in, he smiled a full-dimple smile and said, “Hey…uh…umm…TJ…would you like to come out of there? Maybe go back into the woods or something?”
To his, and Dean’s, surprise, the Sasquatch inched across the seat and slid out of the car, straightening to his full height, topping Sam by a good two or three inches. It snuffled and tilted its head, peering at them both.
Dean poked TJ in the chest. “Okay, big fella, how about you go on home now,” he gestured with a thumb over his shoulder, “Back to your cave or whatever.”
TJ poked back and Dean landed flat on his back with an “oomph” as his lungs emptied on impact. Gathering his breath, and whatever wits he had left, the older Winchester regained his feet.
Sam looked him over. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” He brushed at the seat of his pants. To the Sasquatch he said, “Don’t know your own strength there, huh, TJ?”
The creature poked Dean again but with far less force behind it. It then poked Sam before poking itself in the chest. It repeated the action two more times, head tilting back and forth.
“Listen, this is fun and all,” muttered Dean, “but you really should get on home now.” He made a shooing motion with both hands. “Go on, TJ. Go back to the woods. Go!”
The Sasquatch’s expression could only be described as crestfallen. It turned and moved away, its gait awkward and shuffling due to an impressive limp.
“Dean, we can’t just send it away like that! It’s injured!”
“It’ll be fine.”
Dean watched the creature limp forward a few more steps before he caved. Ruffling a hand through his short hair, he called out, “TJ, wait!” The Sasquatch halted and looked back forlornly over his shoulder. “C’mon, ya big lug, come back here.”
When the Sasquatch rejoined them, Dean pointed to the backseat. “Get back in the car. You can stay with us for a couple of days, I guess.” Just as TJ was about to dive back into the vehicle, Dean hollered, “Wait! You don’t have to pee, do you?” At TJ’s puzzled look, Dean rolled his eyes. “Nevermind. Just get in the car.”
After stopping several more times in order to keep the Impala going, Dean was relieved to see a small motel, The Leafy Tree, come up on the right. He turned into the parking lot with a sigh of relief. Dean jogged to the office and quickly secured a room then pulled the car around the corner of the building, parking in front of Room 16.
“I’ll get our stuff out of the trunk,” Dean said as he opened his door, “You sneak TJ into the room.”
“Wait—what—why do I have to sneak the Sasquatch into the room?”
Opening the passenger side door, Sam’s eyes glinted. “Because is not a reason. And how do I sneak it in?”
“Easy. Just pretend it’s one of your dates who just happens to be extra hairy.” Gathering their bags, Dean closed the trunk lid and sauntered toward Room 16.
“Oh haha. You’re hilarious.” After furtively looking around, Sam motioned for TJ to exit the backseat. Grimacing at the creature’s eye-watering odor, Sam draped an arm around its shoulder to help him hobble to the room. They had just reached the open doorway and were about to cross the threshold when the door suddenly slammed shut. The wooden barrier just missed flattening his nose. Sam growled and knocked with his fist. When Dean opened the door, he stalked into the room all but dragging the poor Sasquatch with him.
“Slamming the door in my face! So not funny, dude!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about; I didn’t slam the door.”
Sam’s expression melded into full-on bitchface. “Yeah, right.”
“Sam, I’m telling you I didn’t slam the damn door. I was halfway across the room putting our bags down on the beds.”
Hearing the ring of truth in Dean’s words, Sam heaved a breath and apologized, “Sorry. I thought you were trying to be funny.” He pulled a chair out from the tiny table and motioned for TJ to sit.
Dean shrugged. “Must’ve been the wind.”
“So now what? Research?”
“Yeah, I suppose so. But first I think we need to give that thing like a bath or something. The whole room is starting to stink.”
“A bath? Really?”
“Got any better suggestions?”
“C’mon, Sammy. We’ll never be able to concentrate if our eyes are watering from the stench!”
Conceding the argument, Sam nodded and headed for the bathroom. “I’ll run the water.”
“Come on, TJ,” Dean pointed first at TJ then at the bathroom, “let’s get you…uh…cleaned up.”
The brothers soon discovered that getting the giant creature into the small bathtub was something of an adventure...or a feat of creative engineering. Demonstrating exactly why Sam always showered after his growth spurt at the age of fourteen. For its part, the Sasquatch appeared to think it was all great fun. As the two men struggled to get it lathered up with Sam’s shampoo, TJ slapped at the water with his hands, sending plumes of water cascading to and fro.
After another minute, Dean suddenly reared back. “Ummm…Sammy?”
“I think we can safely quit calling TJ an ‘it’.”
“It’s a HE. Definitely a ‘he’.”
“Wha?” Sam glanced at the foamy bathwater then jerked his gaze back to his older sibling. “OH. Uhh…you mean…”
Dean twitched. “Yeah.”
Sam cleared his throat. “I think he’s soapy enough, don’t you? Let’s get him rinsed.”
Ten minutes later, the Winchester brothers, looking rather traumatized, exited the bathroom with a damp and super fluffy TJ trailing behind.
Dean swiped a hand through his wet hair. “Well, that was a bust. The bathroom’s a disaster, we’re completely drenched, and HE now smells like toe jam, wet dog, AND your frou frou Apple Honey Union shampoo.”
“S’not Apple Honey; it’s Coconut Lime Fusion…”
Dean huffed, jutted one hip to the side and rolled his eyes all at the same time. “What—ev—ver.”
Without warning, a chair slid across the room and slammed into Sam’s knees. Yelping, Sam doubled over and stumbled backwards a few steps. “What the—”
“Okay, I did not do that!” Dean snapped, strode forward and grabbed the offending furniture. It swung up and cracked his jaw. As he tossed it to the side, the light bulb in the ceiling light exploded and tiny bits of glass rained down. Jerking in the opposite direction, Dean glared up for a few seconds before turning to Sam.
Sam stood, transfixed, watching the show. It would have been outrageously funny, except it wasn’t. TJ jumped up and down and clapped his hands; apparently to him it was funny.
“What the hell’s going on?” growled Dean.
“Dean, count the coins.”
“Count the coins you pulled out in the cave.”
“What—you think I took some? I didn’t take any coins, Sam. Sheesh, you don’t think I know better?” Crossing to his bed, Dean picked up the six-pack of beer and took out two, handed one to Sam then put the others in the small refrigerator.
“Then count the coins. Just to be sure.” Sam twisted the top off his beer and took a long swig. “Humor me. HEY!” Pulling his arm across his chest, Sam moved away from TJ. “That’s mine.”
Dean snickered, “Why not give him some?”
“I dunno if that’s a good idea. He’s sort of big and if he gets drunk.” Sam yanked the bottle closer to his body as TJ tried pulling it away. “I think you need water, big guy.” TJ was insistent, however, and Sam ended up letting him have a sip of the brew.
“One drink isn’t going to get him drunk.” Dean dug in his pocket and extracted the seal coins, letting them drop onto the table. Going to his duffel, he pulled out the small cloth bag where the rest of the coins were kept and spread those alongside the others. Poking at them with his finger, he shoved them, two at a time to the side.
“Oh no, you have the rest.” Sam made a face and handed over the beer bottle to TJ, certain he didn’t want it after the thing had slobbered all over it. He got another from the fridge. Opening his second beer, Sam stood beside his brother, counting as Dean’s finger moved the coins. “Dean, there’re twenty-two.’
Dean rubbed at the back of his neck. “Yeah, Sam I’m noticing that.”
“We should only have twenty-one oh master of the road; I’m not an amateur but a professional hunter. I told you not to mess with them.”
Glaring at him, Dean turned his upper lip up. “You told me…you told me…an honest mistake.” Wrinkling his nose, Dean sniffed. Then coughed and gagged.
They both turned toward TJ who grinned and covered his mouth. A loud whooshing noise came from behind him.
Waving one hand in front of his nose, Sam rasped out, “I told you we shouldn’t have given him beer.”
“Again with the I told you so. Oh, God, that’s—”
“Yeah.” Sam sprinted to the window, and started cranking it open. The handle cranked off almost immediately and spun at Sam, clipping him in the forehead.
“What the—? Sam, you okay?” Dean crossed the room, pulled Sam away and snatched the window handle from him, throwing it to the side all in a few seconds. “Oh, crap. I think I know what’s going on!”
“So try telling me!”
Something scurried between the beds. TJ bent down and looked between his knees, then looked back up at them and scratched at his nose. “Tis MY precious gold you dared to steal, pain your loved one now must feel.” A voice boomed out, but it was impossible to know from which part of the room.
The duffels took flight and smashed into Sam making him stagger. Throwing both hands over his head as one slapped at his face, Sam was forced to his knees, shouting, “Loved one? Y-you’re wrong! He—Dean—hates me!”
One duffel dropped to the floor, unzipped and a collection of knives flew out and straight at Sam. Going from zero to sixty in less than a few seconds, Dean sprinted across the room and tackled his brother to the floor as the knives flew overhead and embedded in the wall. Dean rolled to his knees and shoved Sam behind him then threw himself backward, shielding Sam once more as a volley of books rained down on them.
“I really do hate him!” Dean hollered to the room.
“Get off.” Sam tried pushing onto his hands and knees, but Dean’s hand firmly between his shoulder blades shoved him back down, face first, to the floor…hard. A loud oommppfftt of air blew out of his lungs. “If whatever it is doesn’t get me, you will.” He grumbled and let his body go lax. There was no sense trying to fight off Dean and whatever they’d picked up. Dean would win that overprotective battle every time.
Again something they couldn’t see scurried over the carpet. TJ turned and followed the noise, lips pulling up in a snarl.
“Loved ones suffer then they die; loutish thieves I do decry.”
The knives pulled loose and went at Sam again, the books flipped into the air and crashed down around him. Dean yanked him to his feet and pushed against his back, “Run, Sam, get out!”
The table upended and flew at him. TJ sidestepped and planted himself in front of Sam. Grabbing the creature’s shoulder with one hand, Sam tried moving him out of the way. Great, now the mythical creatures were on Dean’s side. “I don’t need—”
TJ backed up, forcing Sam backward also. Neither of them stopped until Sam’s spine impacted the door, fortunately the knob missed gouging into his kidney and merely brushed against his side.
More footsteps across the carpet before Dean’s feet were suddenly yanked out from under him and he landed flat on his back. A small man, green derby atop his head and heavy black boots stood on Dean’s chest, a dirk pressed to his throat.
Holding his hands to both sides, Dean stared at the thing. The thing stared back. “I knew it! You’re a leprechaun!”
It nodded and stared at Dean, a sly smile on its face. “Aye, boyo, and what’s mine is not yours. Back to me it goes.”
“I don’t know which one it is and I didn’t steal.”
“Mine is not yours. Now what is yours dies, but not quickly does he go. Stop it only ye can do.”
Bumping his head against the floor Dean turned to Sam and ground out, “Always with the Yoda crap? Why can’t these stupid things speak plain English? Aaaahhhh…dude, stop.” Dean squirmed a bit when the dirk pressed more heavily against his throat.
“Dean, we need to give back what it came for.” Sam stood on tiptoe to look over TJ’s shoulder.
The leprechaun nodded. “Gold back to me, in my very hand, and a usury penalty I do demand.”
“Okay, dude,” Using two fingers, Dean carefully moved the blade away from his throat. “Let me up and I’ll get you yours.” Scooting sideways, Dean wiggled away from the hideous little thing and sat up. Inching along the floor, he collected the seal coins and the one stray he’d accidentally put in his pocket. Holding it out to the leprechaun, Dean made a shooing motion with his hands. “Here’s yours. It was a mistake, I didn’t take it on purpose. No harm, no foul. Bye-bye.”
Pointing the tip of the blade at the seal coins the leprechaun shook his head. “Those too. Gold, need gold for the dark days to come. Gold for the Devil.”
Dean shook his head. “Oh, no. We need these.” He held up one finger and grinned, digging in his pocket. “But, this? This is worth hundreds of those put together. It’s very rare and has very powerful magic.” He held out a gold dollar he’d picked up gambling in some bar a few weeks ago. “See how shiny and new it is?”
The leprechaun eyed it then reached out. Before its fingers could touch the coin, Dean snatched it back and held it in his fist. Carefully climbing to his feet, he stepped closer to TJ and Sam. “See, this here gold coin, there is only one. You leave my brother alone, let us go, and let me keep those worthless trinkets that are only worth sentimental value to Sam and me and you can have this.” He held the dollar up between two fingers and turned it to and fro so it caught the light.
“Gold is what humans will come to us for afterward, after The Light comes from Hell. We will take our birthright place in the new world and your kind will grovel at our feet.”
“You can’t get anyone to do anything without this.” Dean flipped the coin up and grabbed it out of the air.
The leprechaun cocked his head then held out his hand. “Brother free. Worthless trinkets yours. That is mine.”
“It’s a deal?”
The leprechaun nodded and sheathed his dirk. Dean tossed the coin to him. When it touched his palm, both the coin and leprechaun vanished.
Pushing his way out from behind TJ, Sam looked around at the trashed room. “You know, you’re good. You had me wanting a gold dollar too.”
“Did you hear what he said?”
“Yeah. I never thought about it before, other things siding with Lucifer.”
“Not just with Lucifer, Sammy, but against us. They want to help him so they can have humans as some sort of play toys.”
“Like mob bosses.” Sam sighed and began righting the room. This wasn’t good, it simply couldn’t be good, and it was bound to lead to even more trouble.