sequel to: With a Bang and The Aftershocks and Not a Whimper
Rating: SPN/DA Crossover - PG - Gen – AU in the year 2020 (wee!chesters?)
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & DA characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Alec POV. A cursed music box turns everyone (except Alec) into a little kid. The Hijinks Ensue.
Alec had to admit that the priest gear fit a lot better than he’d hoped.
Turning around in the mirror he discovered that the only really important thing was the white collar anyway and that didn’t have a height requirement. The black shirt was a little long in the sleeves but rolling it up a little didn’t look that strange. Ironed pants, polished shoes, a solemn expression of enlightenment and this sham was good to go. He stopped admiring his piety long enough to fix his hair.
The collar even came up high enough to cover the barcode.
He plugged in the last lamp he could find and sighed when it did nothing to further illuminate the dreary little office. Maybe Alec had been raised under the glare of too many fluorescent bulbs, but the gloomy half-light his family liked to operate in got on his nerves. He opened the curtains instead, clouds of dust wafting through the shafts of sunlight as he pried open the panes to let in some fresh air while he was at it.
Alec heard Dean before he saw him.
The weeping didn’t have that furious pitch behind it that other kids usually had. It was like Dean was too tired to do it right, letting out something breathless and subdued instead. Alec quickly located him sitting alone in the corner of the dirt driveway and clutching his arm. Feeling a twinge of irritation at himself for not knowing what his charges had been up to for the last few hours, Alec took a shortcut out the window.
“Stay right there!” Alec called. “I’m coming!”
Using the porch roof and a tree to help him not mess up his uniform on the way down, he was standing next to Dean in no time flat.
“You all right?” Alec examined Dean’s bloody elbow and then a nearby bucket. Then he spotted a hammer sticking out of a box of cereal. And what looked like the telephone shattered into a hundred little pieces. “What the hell are you doing out here?”
Dean tried kicking Alec in the face but the crying threw off his aim.
Alec had found a bunch of little kid clothes in a donation bag out in the shed, but there were brand new rips in the denim knees and mud on Dean’s T-shirt with a tiger declaring: Born to be Wild! But he could tell that the cuts and scratches weren’t really what was causing all the ruckus.
“Where’s Sam?” Alec asked.
Dean pointed at the church down the hill.
“Are you kiddin’ me?” Alec said.
Dean shook his head.
“Shouldn‘t he be out here hanging out with you?”
Dean stopped shaking his head and began to nod uncertainly. Alec stood his uncle up and made sure everything else on him still worked before heading down the drive. Dean dug the hammer out of the cereal box and followed at a distance.
The church doors were closed but they had been unlocked.
Alec rattled them once and could tell they hadn’t been unlocked in the conventional way. Sam wasn’t the kind of man that required a key, and apparently he wasn’t the kind of child that did either.
He reached out with his mind and caught glimpses of his father listening to him enter the empty building. It was surprising how Sam’s thoughts felt now. The simple primary colors of youth should have been easy to read, but the complexity of the lingering adult smeared them around into something inscrutable. Stepping into the cool dark of the vestibule, Alec thought for the very first time what Sam’s childhood might have been like. Growing up in Manticore had taught Alec to believe that any family that lived outside the barbed wire fences had to be perfect. It even made him a little angry when anyone who grew up normal showed the slightest dissatisfaction or dared suggest that what they’d had might not have been.
But when he saw Sam sitting by himself on the pulpit steps, he considered what kind of little boy would be using a sunny afternoon to sit alone in dim candlelight with a book.
“Hi, Sam,” Alec didn’t have to be loud to be heard. “Was looking for you for hours.”
“You’ve been in my office for hours.”
Alec wondered if lying to Sam now would be considered worse for any reason.
“I heard Dean so I came outside.”
“It’s weird huh? It looks like nothing ever happened in here,” Sam glanced up the center aisle and the new pews. “No one would ever know there was a fire.”
“Can still smell it,” Alec said. “Like burnt toast.”
A few weeks back he had helped out some, but it had been his uncle and dad that had done most of the work to get the church back into shape. They hadn’t wanted him near what had been an open gate even if every trace of it had fizzled away back into nothing. But it was pretty damn amazing what a coat of varnish and some belt sanding could accomplish. You’d never guess in a million years that an entry to hell had been ripped open in this very spot...
“A-And the ceiling,” Sam said. “Couldn’t fix that.”
Alec looked up at the perfect circle singed into the wood over their heads. The circumference was large and perfect, but far enough up in the shadows of the eaves that no one would notice unless they were looking for it. Alec was imagining the flames that had burned there when he realized Sam was now looking at him instead.
More specifically, Alec’s borrowed priestly attire.
“You like it?” Alec grinned. “It‘s a little loose in the shoulders but otherwise it’s a great fit.”
“I know I haven’t been totally honest with this town but-but this is different. It’s not a nice thing to do. These people tell me things in …in,” Sam took a second to find the word, “…confidence… and they trust me with things, important private things.”
“I know. I totally get it,” Alec said. “Look, I told Chavez to come a few hours early for a meet and greet with the lady from the aid program. I won’t even see the congregation unless someone shows up uninvited, and that might be a hassle but don’t worry about it because--”
“Thanks, Alec. I appreciate you doing all this,” Sam folded his arms around his knees and somehow looked even smaller. “A lot of people are counting on me… counting on me to help them out…”
“Speaking of which,” Alec cleared his throat. “You can’t go leaving Dean around with cereal and telephones like that. Remember all those inspiring speeches I gave about Team Work?”
“He’s right outside,” Sam said quickly. “I gave him stuff to play with.”
“The guy is like 4-years-old,” Alec said. “He could get backed over by a car or a coyote or something.”
“B-But he wouldn’t come in here.”
Alec glanced back over his shoulder and saw Dean still waiting just outside on the stairs.
“Because he said it’s where we keep dead people.”
Alec had a brief flash of the crypts and the black marble tomb that sat somewhere beneath them in the basement. Ben had left him for dead under that slab of rock. Prepared him for eternity, probably said a lovely prayer, and sealed him under the stone like tucking in a child goodnight. He had never thought about his uncle being bothered by finding him like that. And maybe Dean hadn’t been thinking much about it at all until the music box came along.
“Is this whole thing getting worse?” Alec wasn’t sure if ‘worse’ was the right word. “Do you think that you might be becoming more and more like… real kids?”
“I’ve been reading, but I can’t read everything as fast. I don’t understand everything I see anymore either,” Sam wiped an arm over his eyes. “But I’ll find something. I just need more time.”
Sam looked worriedly at the scatter of books behind him and all around the altar. His father had said he’d needed more time as if he knew for a fact it was steadily running out. The coherency he could keep up for now was draining out of his head like sand, grain by grain until the brain would finally match the body.
“I’ll take another look at that music box,” Alec said. “Maybe there’s something written on it that can help?”
“No way, Alec. I told you not to touch it,” Sam told him. “What if this happens to you too?”
“No biggie,“ Alec had already thought of that peculiar outcome. “What’s the worst that can happen? I give it a shot and maybe I get zapped into a zygote. You’re old enough to keep us all alive until the cops get here and then--”
“And then what?” Sam stood up.
Alec realized that the fierce look in his dad’s eyes was fear.
“And then, I don’t know… I just mean that everything will be fine, Sam.”
“No cops,” Sam looked around like the flash of sirens might start pulling up in front of the church at any second. “Do you hear me? They’ll take us away. They won’t listen to us and we won’t be able to do anything about it. We won’t be able to do anything!”
“Hey, relax. I-I’m sorry,” Alec stepped forward as Sam backed up almost behind the podium, his chest heaving and his eyes glittering wet. “I won’t try out the music box, okay? I won’t even look at it.”
“You promise?” Sam asked. “Swear you’ll promise!”
The ridiculous demand was so innocently sincere that Alec could only answer in kind. “I swear,” he nodded. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
Sam calmed slightly with those words and Alec was forced once again to wonder who the little boy in front of him really was. All the running and hiding. The distrust of strangers. Sitting in the dark until the coast was clear.
They both turned at the sound of his uncle’s squeaky rasp.
“Alec? Alec! ALEC!”
“I’m right here. With Sam. And hey, there’s not a dead person in sight either so why don’t you come on in?”
“Come back?“ Dean demanded tentatively. “Come back out now?”
Alec turned and saw the kid leaning through the double doors as far as he could without actually touching the floors. And with a sudden and painful pang of jealousy, Alec knew he still would have taken the standard Winchester childhood over his own any day of the week.
“What if Father Chavez saw us?” Sam’s lower lip began to tremble. “What if he doesn’t believe what you said?”
It was a good thing Alec knew all about the art of distraction.
“So, are you going to keep it all to yourself or what?” Alec adjusted his white collar and pressed jacket. “I ain’t got all day.”
“Huh?” Sam blinked in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“You never said how awesome I look.”
Alec watched Sam fight back a smile for a few seconds before giving up. He liked the sight of that grin a lot, but he really liked how it looked on his father as a child. In one split second it changed all that apprehension directly into unabashed joy. But then it became clear that Sam was also trying pretty hard not to laugh.
“What?” Alec was willing to take a smirk at his own expense but this was pushing it. “What’s so funny?”
“Are you afraid of heights? Sam covered his mouth with both hands.
“Well, your zipper is!”
Alec put two and two together and realized he’d just heard a lame yet somewhat brilliant joke. And he also quickly saw that his festive Christmas-theme boxers (also borrowed) were sticking out through the open fly of his trousers. “I knew that,” he grumbled. “Just waitin’ for you to finally notice.”
Sam kept right on laughing it up.
“That’s what you get buyin’ polyester suits with stupid cheap zippers anyway--”
“Alec!” Dean had ventured a few feet into no man’s land and was hopping around like the ground was electrified. “Come back now! Come back! COME BACK!”
“Settle down, I’m coming!” Alec checked his fly one more time before turning his attention to the front doors. “No! No, Dean! Bad Dean! Get your ass off that banister ‘cause you’re gonna-- aw crap,” he gave up and knelt down to help Sam collect his books. “By the way, have you people recently had your tetanus shots? Because you should know that this entire place is a staph infection waiting to happen.”
Sam blew out the last of the candles he was using.
“Now that‘s really funny,” Alec caught the large bible still sitting open on the step. “You do that a lot?”
“What?” Sam slammed it closed. “I didn’t do anything.”
“Sure,” Alec half smiled. “I’ve never seen anyone write in a bible before. I thought that was against the law or something.”
“Just some notes.”
Sam pushed past him and almost ran out the front doors.
Alec supposed most kids liked to deface text books when they were bored. Although Sam’s graffiti wasn’t the usual array of talking phallic symbols and disproportioned killer robots, it was a mad tangle of scribble where there shouldn’t have been any at all. He pulled at the snug collar around his neck and checked his watch.
It was almost time to be the Pastor.
With a grin he imagined what would happen if he wore this get up down to the bar on the freeway. However, the fantasy of wantonly confessional women rapidly disintegrated as he remembered he’d also have two kids waiting for him in the backseat.
Sam was dragging Dean by the hand back to the house.
Alec’s smile faded as he listened to their inane chatter about Thunder Cats and macaroni and cheese. He was going to have another look at the music box tonight. And he was going to get on top of this situation before it got any more complicated than it already was. Besides, his family figured out preposterous and illogical problems like this one all the time.
How difficult could it possibly be?