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: Sam POV. A cursed music box turns everyone
Sam didn’t have the whole deal completely figured out yet, but the end results were hard to miss.
His breath caught in his throat when the music box almost slipped out of his sweaty grip, the music lurching for a brief moment with one disjointed chord in the dark. It was sweltering hot inside the cramped tool shed and its walls were practically Dean-proof.
“Sam?” Dean was right outside the door. “Lemme in there.”
“No! Stay right where you are!”
The fragile wooden box was oddly cool despite the temperature. The delicate gears inside would certainly break if he did anything the wrong way. And if Sam broke the box that would mean no more music. And no more music meant a gruesome disaster of unparalleled and horrific proportions. Slumping to his knees, Sam wondered if he’d had this penchant for drama all his life, or it was just renewed adolescence spicing up his hysterics.
The barricade of the garden hose and rakes weren’t going to keep his brother out for much longer.
“Cut it out you jerk!” Sam shouted. “You gotta stay out there with Alec!”
“B-But the man is gonna find us!”
“I just need a minute,” What Sam really needed was an entire afternoon to fine tune himself back into 37-year-old shape. But all he had were seconds before Father Chavez gave up on the front door and decided to take a walk around their backyard instead. “J-Just give me a minute, okay?”
With a frown, he carefully felt out the small shape of the crank on the box’s side. In Alec’s enthusiasm the flimsy mechanism got wound so tight that the old thing clearly didn’t have many turns left in it before the coils finally snapped. Thanking his lucky stars that the thing still went forward, he twisted it as gently as he could and started to count down slowly from ten.
Sam knew he was taller right away.
Heaving opening the shed doors, he saw heaven, earth and everything in between was back in the correct perspective. Dean was looking up at him. Up, up and up until he finally found Sam’s face.
“That’s not you,” he scowled. “You’re still a kid.”
“This is good enough for now,” Sam scooped up Alec who was sitting a few feet away and happily shoving clumps of grass into his mouth. “And you’re my cousin now but your name is the same. You got it?”
“Good,” Sam experienced a smug satisfaction that his teenaged body didn’t feel as carefree as his rosy memory always insisted it had. Although, he was minus quite a few pounds which unfortunately seemed to have been all muscle mass. “What’s your favorite animal, Dean?”
Dean pointed at him. “You!”
Sam breathlessly caught up with Father Chavez in the driveway.
“It’s an honor to finally meet you, Father,” he moved Alec to his other arm so he could shake hands. “After everything your firm has done with labor law in Mexico, w-we are so lucky having a lawyer with your kind of experience to help us. Thank you for answering all of my... uh all the letters and--”
“Hold on now! Just hold on,” the Father laughed. “Have we met?”
“No, sorry, I’m Pastor Samuel’s… cousin,” he said. “I live here during the summer.”
“And who are your friends?”
“The one over there with the hammer is Dean and…” Sam cleared his throat. “… a-and this one here is my son, Alec.”
“He looks just about old enough to start walking on his own I bet!”
“Yeah, he sure does.”
Sam realized the music box had made him around the right age when Alec had been a toddler for the first time. The thought made him imagine Jessica standing there with them, a gentle image of her face coming to him warm and bright as the setting sun through the trees.
He was distracted by his son making delighted and fruitless grabs for the shiny crucifix hanging on the priest’s chest. “Can you say hello to the Father, Alec?”
Alec stopped trying to score the crucifix and promptly shoved his face into Sam’s neck.
“He’s a shy one I see?” Father Chavez said.
“I guess so,” Sam held Alec a little closer, suddenly wishing he hadn’t been in such a rush to meet with the priest despite all the people in town depending on it. He wanted to hold Alec for a while and look for all of the other things he’d missed. Maybe see if Alec would talk a little more. Find out what made him curious. What made him laugh--
“This house is blessed with so many children,” the Father said with a nod. “How wonderful.”
Sam found himself smiling back.
He made sure he sounded grave and concerned as he explained that Pastor Samuel had taken their wayward female relation to a half-way house in the next county. When the harried accountant arrived late in her rented SUV, Sam listened to Father Chavez calmly go through the motions of setting up a meeting on a porch with folding chairs like he did it everyday. No one seemed to mind Sam sitting in while Alec dozed in the string hammock in the corner. Dean stayed in sight with a cereal box and a (empty) tool case, but he was quiet too. They all drank iced tea and discussed the details as the sun went down.
Sam breathed a sigh of relief when the priest and the federal accountant finally shook hands. When the woman turned to collect her things, Father Chavez gave Sam a sly and triumphant wink behind her back.
The money was as good as theirs.
“Would you like to stay for dinner, Father?” Sam asked.
“I’d like that.”
He hoped the guy didn’t mind leftovers.
The elderly man had smoked hand-rolled cigarettes, the aroma of the leaves lingering heavy and humid like the weather in a hot country. The pleasant scent remained long after the man had wished them well and driven off, filled to the brim with fried chicken and boiled corn right from the fields out back.
“Can I have one more?” Dean asked.
There were six chocolate chip cookies left on the plate and Dean had already eaten three.
“Please?” Dean’s hope was shifting into despair. “One more?”
Sam nodded and watched his brother forgo the risk of future denial by simply taking the entire plate away for hiding.
“Dude,” Sam said. “At least leave me one.”
After dinner Sam had played the music box until he knew he was back to where he should be. There was no guessing or mistakes. The years clicked into place just as exactly and perfectly as the fitted gears found each other in the machine. But he hadn’t been able to help himself from examining his hand to see if he could actually tell that time had been properly realigned.
Nothing there but a few scars.
When he was done he hid the box back in the shed before Dean saw it.
They all sat outside while the sunset dimmed pink and gold on the clouds. Alec liked to sit on his lap so Sam kept him there. His son kept twisting around in Sam’s arms until he was sometimes laying upside down. He liked to feel Sam’s chin and mouth with his sticky fingers and laugh like someone had told a joke. When Alec couldn’t think of enough words to say he’d sing them instead, a sleepy drone of noise that he took up and left off as his eyes opened and closed. When Sam spoke to Dean, Alec’s small body would still as he listened, his heart pounding under Sam’s hand steady and strong.
“Look what I did!” Dean said.
“That one sucked,” Sam laughed. “Do another one.”
Dean always liked showing off even if only one other person was watching.
Sam knew the last glimmer of the adult in his brother had faded away hours ago. It had been about around when Dean decided to start to collecting fireflies and putting them in a jar. Sam had felt the slip of his own awareness before he played the music box and brought himself back. Bits and pieces of his mind had been vanishing into the easy bliss of childhood. But none of it was disappearing forever. The music box just tucked it to sleep with all the worries and cares of the grown up world. And now Dean was too far gone to even realize anything had happened to him at all. There was no demand or urgency that the problem be solved. There was no panic that nothing had been done to restore him to his normal state. But that was okay, because Sam knew how the magic worked and the one-hundred-year old talisman wasn‘t going anywhere for at least this one night.
The moon had come out with a few stars, the pink glow of the sun still dying on the horizon.
And it turned out that Dean had been collecting the fireflies for Alec. One by one until the jar glowed like a lantern. Sam liked how careful Alec was when he held them each one by one. Not mashing them into pieces or smearing them just to see how long their insides would keep giving off their pale light.
“Look, Alec,” Dean said. “Look.”
It felt cruel to interrupt them.
So Sam didn’t.
the end of this arc
however, the ripples will go on!