Witches. WHY did it have to be WITCHES?
Dean keeps asking himself this question as he trudges on through the snow. And it is DEEP snow—up and over the top of his boots even at his current 10-foot size. He shivers, not so much from the snow, though it is wet and everywhere, but from the temperature: somewhere below zero and falling rapidly as the sun sets. The winds blowing the white stuff around aren't helping, and the branches from the trees in this forest he's clomping through keep showering him with MORE snow, MORE cold, and, when they're feeling extra spiteful, cutting scarlet gashes into his raw cheeks. Parting gifts from the coven the Winchesters just took down, he's sure of it.
The five old hags had been sacrificing people in this cabin outside of Libby, Montana every winter for years, offering them up to some freak-o Icelandic god-creature with a name even Sam couldn't pronounce, and Dean took to calling 'Dave' for the sake of snark. Well, what’s-his-name was toast now, thanks to a few silver bullets from Sam and a stomped-flat altar courtesy of Dean’s giant boot. The hags crumbled to dust and bones as the protection from the god's boons expired, but they were chanting something while they were dying, and the winds and sudden drop in temperature and the angry trees were the result. Easy hunt, not-so-peasy aftermath. Typical.
Now another branch bends and whip-cracks as Dean passes by, slicing through his jacket and into his left bicep. "Fucking witches," Dean mutters, wishing he'd thought to wear a thicker coat. But it was a balmy 42F when they'd left the Impala on the side of the road and hiked into the foothills; they had no idea they'd be facing a supernatural winter on the trek back. He's so tempted to grow much bigger and get them out of here in one big step, but he can't—not with the unconscious little brother he's got over his right shoulder in a fireman's carry. One of the witches managed to hit Sam with something before she died, a weird purple light that flared out of her pointed finger just seconds before it hit the floor and shattered, and Sam had been out cold ever since. "Out cold," Dean repeats, chapped lips curling into a small smirk. "We're both out cold. Out IN the cold. Least you're sleeping through it while the Dean Express chugs on..." He looks over his shoulder at Sam's pale face and sighs, wishing there was more he could do. Sure if he were 50-feet taller, he could cup Sam in his hands and keep him warm, but he's also losing feeling in those hands thanks to the damn winds blasting against bare skin. Dean would much rather have Sam in sight than risk dropping him because of numb fingers.
Still, he thinks, 10 feet is getting the job done, but 12 could get us back to Baby even faster... Keeping a big hand on Sam to steady him, Dean expands the extra two feet and pushes into the wind with a little more length and power to his stride. "Almost there, Sammy," he grunts, watching as both his words and breath blow sideways courtesy of the constant, chilling breeze. "I know we were six miles in, but I'm double-sized now. We HAVE to be at least halfway out, maybe more." I hope, he thinks with worry. Truth be told, he has no idea if he's even headed the right way anymore. He'd been following the tracks they'd left when they were inbound, but the blowing snow has all but erased them, and the setting sun is taking what little light is left with it; he could be walking in circles for all he knows. He glances behind him, thinking he could follow the broken branches back to the cabin if nothing else, but, naturally, the coven's curse has repaired every tree.
"Winchester Luck strikes again." Dean stops and takes a good look around, but the wind-whipped snow has reduced visibility to a mere 20-foot radius. His boot hits something as he turns, and he finds a hollow stump at his feet, ripe with decent kindling wood inside. "Well, it’s not my first pick for a picnic spot,” he remarks with another sigh, “but if we gotta be stuck out here, might as well be warm. So! I'm gonna get a fire going, while you," he lifts Sam off of him, "do your best impression of an overgrown paperweight."
Dean gently sets his brother down, propping his back up against a tree and smiling sadly when Sam's chin droops down, his long hair falling into his face. "At least those girlie locks of yours will block the wind.” He half-expects a grouchy comment to rise up in defense of that lion’s mane Sam calls a hairstyle, but he remains still, save for the gentle rise and fall of his chest. Dean keeps up the one-sided conversation anyway, hoping that his voice will somehow reach wherever Sam is right now and draw him back. "You don't mind if I sing while I work, right? I mean, I'd whistle, but I can't feel my lips anymore, so I think I'd just end up spitting." He stands up and grabs some drier branches for firewood. "And then the spit would freeze to my face," he goes on as he splits the wood apart with ease, "and THEN my mouth would be glued shut. And that would really," he sweeps the snow clear with his boot, "REALLY suck."
Dropping the wood into the spot and arranging it just so, he then breaks the kindling out of the stump and adds it to the pile. “Besides, we’re not dwarves in a Disney movie. Well, you could still be Grumpy, but you’d have to be Grumpy the Sasquatch. I’d be…Prince Charming.” A slight frown appears on Sam’s face as if in reply. Laughing softly, Dean shrinks down to normal size and gets his lighter out from his pocket. “All right, campfire song time. Feel free to join in, Sammy, I know you know this one.” Dean clears his throat starts to sing: “I come from the land of the ice and snow, with the midnight sun, where the harsh winds blow..."
By the time he’s finished the song, he’s got the fire started. The wind has become a steady gale, shifting directions every few seconds as it tries to blow those flames out of existence. Dean looks at the sky and says, “Seriously? We can’t even have a fire?” The wind howls in reply, stirring up a mini-whirlwind of snow that falls on the fire and extinguishes part of it. “Fuckin’ witches…FINE,” he starts to grow bigger, “don’t let me have even a tiny amount of comfort, BE that way…” Stretching his legs out, he places them on either side of the fire to act as makeshift walls, while his broad back spreads out and out and out. He stops when he’s around 40-feet tall and leans over the fire, blocking out almost all of the wind. Dean scootches back on his butt to put a little more room between Sam and his crotch, yet still remain close enough to the fire to enjoy its benefits. Dean feels the warmth settling in down there and sighs in happiness. “Ahhh…roast those chestnuts.”
“Sam?” Dean reaches over one of his big hands as Sam’s head starts to loll around. Steadying it with his thumb, he says, “Hey, easy…don’t let that big brain of yours roll away.”
“…wha? Where…?” Sam’s eyelids scrunch up as his entire body shivers, and he sits up a bit straighter. “‘s cold.”
“No shit, Sherlock. Those witches we ganked sent Old Man Winter after us. I tried to get us back to the road,” Dean turns away to get a quick look at his surroundings, “but we’re near white out here. I can’t even—”
Dean’s sentence is cut off by a sound he’d know anywhere: a gun being cocked. “Don’t move,” he hears Sam order right after. Dean starts to turn back anyway, and a warning shot whizzes by his left ear. “I said, DON’T. Move.”
“All right...take it easy.” What the hell? Dean can just make out his brother from the corner of his eye. He’s standing up slowly, sliding his back along the tree for support, but he keeps the gun trained on Dean’s face high above the whole time. “So, you mind telling me what I did wrong here, Sammy?”
“It’s Sam. Only my brother gets to call me that.”
Dean’s heart drops into a pool of worry, splashing it all over his insides. “Exactly,” he says carefully. “I’M your brother.”
“Nice try. Last I checked, he wasn’t a giant.”
“I’m NOT a giant. I can just grow into one. Don’t you—ohhh, wait,” Dean nods a few times as he realizes what’s going on. “That purple light…the witches whammied you right before they died. Must’ve thrown white out over some of your memories.”
“That’s some story,” Sam says, clearly unconvinced.
“It’s the truth.”
“Yeah, well it’s OUR kind of crazy,” Dean argues, turning fully around at last and looking down at his brother’s stern little face.
“What did I say about moving?”
Dean shrugs. “‘Don’t.’” No sooner has he dropped the word than he reaches down and grabs the little body in one smooth, swift motion. Sam’s upper arms are free of the giant fist, and he aims his gun at Dean’s eye and fires. But Dean is way ahead of him, holding him out at arm’s length just as the bullet flies, avoiding the tiny pellet with ease. Sam keeps firing, aiming at different spots on the huge body, but all of his shots go wide as Dean keeps Sam in motion, lifting, lowering, and swooping his arm.
“Stop doing that!” Sam yells in frustration.
“MAKE me.” Dean uses his free hand to take the tiny gun away. “I’d hate to crush this gun—I know how much you love it. But I’ll do it if you keep wasting your bullets. So what’s the word, sharpshooter? You gonna cooperate, or do I smoosh your only weapon?” Sam throws him his best bitchface but finally gives a reluctant nod. “Okay then.” Dean drops the gun back in Sam’s hands, keeping a close eye while Sam tucks it in the back of his pants. “Wouldn’t have made a difference if you’d landed a shot,” Dean adds as an afterthought. “Can’t hurt me. Skin’s too thick.”
“Your eyes are still vulnerable,” Sam grumbles back, and Dean chuckles.
“Well every part of YOU is vulnerable right now, smartass, but I’m not hurting you, in case you haven’t noticed.”
Sam dismisses him with a scoff. “You’re probably just saving me up to eat later.”
“Right, yeah, you got me,” Dean mutters, readjusting how he’s sitting. “I built this teeny tiny fire to cook you nice and slow. Now I just gotta find the right stick to shove up your ass.” When Sam doesn’t comment, Dean looks at him and finds his brother wide-eyed. “Oh, for—I ‘m kidding! Gawd, you really think I’d EAT you?!”
Sam’s shock falls from his face, replaced by confusion, and he blinks and looks away. “I don’t know…what to think. My head hurts too much.”
“You can thank the witches for that. Here,” Dean reaches his left hand into his inner jacket pocket and pulls out a bottle as long as Sam’s leg. He shrinks his hand and the bottle down to normal size and offers it to Sam, who is staring again. “Dude, it’s aspirin. Take some and quit bitching.”
Sam takes the bottle and pops the cap, shaking two pills free. “Sorry you have to swallow them dry,” Dean says, and again, Sam is staring at him, this time in disbelief. Dean rolls his eyes and asks, “WHAT?” a little louder than he’d meant to, and Sam reels back from his voice.
“Nothing!” Sam swallows the pills down and looks away when he sees the giant is still watching him, clearly still expecting an answer. Sam puts the bottle back in the freakishly-human-sized hand attached to a giant limb and mumbles, “I’m just…wondering…whyyoucaresomuchaboutyourprisoner…”
Dean turns his head and sighs as both hand and bottle grow back to giant proportions. “You’re not my prisoner.” He pockets the aspirin and gives Sam a look that’s both frank and concerned at the same time. “You’re my brother, Sam. I’m just trying to take care of you here, same as always.”
Sam peers up at Dean, studying him in silence. For a moment, Dean swears he sees a glimmer of recognition in those little blue-green eyes, but it’s gone again just as quickly. Sam frowns and looks down at the huge fist enclosed around most of his lower body.
“If I’m not your prisoner, put me down. Your big hand is really freaking cold.”
“Shit, sorry about that…” Dean sets Sam down and then shudders as a blast of wind showers them with powder. They both duck, Dean leaning far over Sam to shield him, and after it passes, Dean takes a look around. “Visibility’s gettin’ even worse,” he informs Sam, but his only reply is the sound of crunching snow. He looks down and, surprise, surprise, Sam is running into the Great White Yonder. “Dammit, Sam!” Dean stands up to his full 40’ and looks around, but only the nearby trees are visible, and even they look like faint grey lines intercutting the endless white. The little boot-prints are fading fast with the drifting snow, so Dean cuts to the chase—literally, stomping after his stubborn little brother.
Sam in the meantime just keeps running, adrenaline pumping through his body keeping his muscles warm despite the unforgiving cold that surrounds him. But his feet keep sinking into the deepening snow, slowing his run to a jog, then a crawl, until finally it’s waist-high and he’s forced to wade through it, arms swinging out to the side to give him more drive in his steps. He hears a loud voice bellow that “you’re gonna get yourself killed!” if he doesn’t go back, and damn if it doesn’t sound just like Dean. But it’s NOT Dean, Sam reminds himself. It’s a giant shifter or a warlock or something.
Then why did he take care of you? a part of him challenges. Sam ignores it and pushes on. The wind shifts again, now driving directly at him and slowing his already labored momentum to a near standstill. He raises his arm to shield his face from the cutting snow and leans forward, taking one hard step, then another. The wind responds by blasting him back, like it’s actively trying to keep him from escaping. Sam lifts his knee to take another step, but gets thrown on his ass for the trouble.
“Saaaaaaam!” the giant yells from somewhere as Sam gets back to his feet. He looks back but can’t see him; the whiteout is so complete that Sam can barely make out his hand in front of his face. Dean’s—no, the GIANT’S voice comes again, circling through the air like a foghorn blast, and the sheer worry and urgency in that voice nearly has Sam turning around again.
NO! Sam thinks, clenching his teeth. Dammit, Sam, it’s NOT DEAN! He just wants you back so he can trap you again!
Or he wants to help you again, that same not-so-convinced part of Sam pipes up.
Doesn’t matter, Sam shoots back. I don’t need his help. I need to find Dean. How do we know that oversized bastard back there didn’t do something to him? Panic settles in as Sam trudges on and wonders where his real brother is right now. What if he’s out here in this, all alone? Shit, what if he’s HURT?
His thoughts are broken by a loud series of thuds that rolls through the area, and he stops short in surprise. What is that, an avalanche?!
SNAP…thud thud-a BOOM!
The impact is so powerful that Sam is thrown clear off his feet. The loudest “SON of a BITCH!” the world has ever heard rings through the countryside, making Sam duck from the volume alone. But the white noise of winter covers whatever just happened as the seconds tick by. Sam straightens…listens. More swearing in that same deep voice, muffled but definitely there, along with a few sure shots at his stupidity.
“He’s hurt,” Sam says to himself. And the fact should make him glad—finally, a real chance to get away! But he isn’t glad, and he doesn’t run. He can’t. Already his ears are straining to listen over the wind again, and soon he hears a cry that draws out to an agonized groan. NOW his legs move—back toward the voice.
That ISN’T your BROTHER, you idiot, that’s the giant! Sam’s logic yells, but he can’t make himself listen, much less stop hurrying through the snowy trench he’d forged, heading back to what just moments ago he was certain was a trap. Maybe it’s his good nature that drives him on, or his need to help those that need it. Maybe it’s the fact that the beast looks and sounds just like his brother. Maybe it’s just the heartrending sound of that pained voice. Whatever the reason, he knows he HAS to get back there. Even the wind backs down and lets him through. Within moments, a massive form appears, as big as a whale and breathing hard. Sam slides to a stop as he tries to process what he’s seeing.
The giant is mostly on his stomach, propped up only by his right knee. Just above it, half an evergreen tree is stuck deep into his side. The other half still stands as a 50-foot broken pillar, with a scrap of the giant’s torn shirt stuck to the new top and blowing in the wind as a makeshift flag. Blood is seeping out of the wound, staining the pristine white snow deep red despite the huge, shaking hand trying to hold it in. Sam’s heart hurts at the sight. He walks forward, equal parts afraid of and for his would-be captor. Stepping over the snapped branches littering the scene, Sam heads for the hill of hair before him; it’s covered in beads of sweat that are slowly frosting over. As he nears, the hill moves to its left.
Sam swallows hard and shuffles ahead as the giant lifts his head to see. “No, don’t move,” Sam tells him. “You’re hurt.” The giant grunts out a laugh, like the fact that he’s bleeding out is no big deal, and for some reason, Sam isn’t surprised. What’s more, it annoys him, to the point where he storms over to the big face to give it a good glare. But when he gets there, he’s stunned to find that those huge eyes that terrified him so much when he first woke up aren’t filled with anger, but relief. Utter and absolute relief.
“You came back,” the giant breathes, smiling through his obvious pain. “Thought I lost you, kept…picturing you frozen stiff, like a damn popsicle.” He chuckles, then winces, the momentary laughter just enough to tug at his injury. Resting the left side of his face back down into the snow, he keeps his eyes on Sam, more and more relief pouring into those great green wells. The look is so familiar that it brings Sam comfort, even if he still hasn’t made up his mind about whether this giant is who he says he is. He smiles back, and to his own relief, the giant seems to take his own comfort in that.
Then BAM! Sam’s headache returns, bashing his brain from every point on his skull, and he grimaces and stumbles back, arms out to keep his balance. Bright purple spots litter his vision, and it takes several hard blinks and head shakes to clear it. When it does, he gazes back up at the giant’s face has clouded over, the light in those eyes now dimmed by doubt and disappointment. Sam is surprised to feel bad about that. He opens his mouth to say something, but the giant speaks first:
“Well, uh, thanks…for coming back.” He turns his head away a moment to cough, and he winces again. Sam winces right along with him. “I dunno if you…remember…everything yet,” the giant goes on, voice thinned with pain, “but you can huddle up near me…block out the wind while you make a new fire.” Looking Sam in the eye, he adds, “I swear I won’t hurt you, okay? Just want to keep you from turning into a snowman.”
“I believe you,” Sam answers in truth.
The giant gives him a small nod of thanks. “That’s progress.”
An awkward moment plays out between them, Sam bopping his fists against his thighs, the giant glancing at a random spot on the ground, and just as they both notice how much the wind has died down, it picks right back up again, showering the open wound with ice-cold powder. The giant hisses in pain. “Aww, son of a BITCH, that’s cold!”
“I know, I know, just…try not to move, okay?”
“YOU try not to move when YOU’VE got a damn tree sticking in your guts and Mother Nature keeps throwing SNOW on it!” the giant roars. Sam ducks and covers at the noise, and the giant clears his throat. “Sorry,” he says, much more quietly.
“Don’t be. You’re hurt, it’s cold, this sucks. I get it.” Sam moves in closer, stepping over cracked wood and spilled blood until he’s right up by the giant body’s side. The sight is just surreal: a thick tree trunk skewered into the flesh, just above the right hip, creating a gash nearly as tall as the human now standing and gaping at it. Branches as thick as Sam’s arm have been transformed into splinters, and evergreen needles are everywhere: in the wound, on the snow, oozing out with the blood, even stuck to the cold sweat on the exposed skin. A bubble of blood and sap builds up right at Sam’s eye level, expands to the size of a beach ball, and bursts, spraying Sam with grisly stickiness. Sam’s normally strong stomach clenches up, and he has to swallow down the sick and turn away a moment.
The addressed looks up to see the giant sitting up slightly, propping himself up on his left elbow. “There’s nothing you can do, and you’re only gonna get colder, so get that fire going,” the giant commands.
Sam gives him a look of disbelief. “Are you kidding? We have to get that tree out first!”
“There is no we in this, only me.”
“Since I got hurt! I don’t care how many bowls of Wheaties you ate today—there’s no way you can move that thing. And besides,” the giant’s voice softens to a murmur, “you can’t even look at me for three seconds without freaking out at how big and scary I am.”
Dean shuts his eyes as he says the last part, wounded much more by that spoken fact than the actual wound in his side. How’s he supposed to keep his brother safe if he won’t see him as anything but a monster? And now I can’t even stand up, Dean thinks, bitter and hurting. Stupid tree. Stupid ice, stupid ME. How the fuck do you miss a 100-foot pine tree? Idiot! Dean takes the blame and the self-imposed insults, adds them to the ever-present guilt he drags around behind him, and gets back to the problem at hand. “So just…get up here,” he tells Sam, looking at his own arm instead of the hatred on his brother’s face. “Forget the fire if you want. You can huddle up in my jacket pocket, keep warm.”
Dean’s gaze gets pulled over to Sam anyway, but instead of hatred, he finds defiance. Not that that makes him feel any better. “Whaddya mean, ‘no’?”
“I mean, no. I’m not going anywhere until you’re better.” Sam steps right up to the wound and starts pulling out handfuls of bloody pine needles and sap.
“Well newsflash, Sam, that ain’t happening anytime soon. We’ll both die from this fucking cold before you even move that tree an inch!”
“Then we’ll both die, Dean!” Sam yells back.
Their eyes lock onto each other’s in shock. But before either can say a word, Sam gasps out in pain, hand going to his head as he scrunches his eyes shut. “Sam?” Dean asks, but Sam just cries out again and struggles to remain on his feet. Dean frees his right hand from block-the-blood duty and reaches over, cupping it behind Sam in case he topples. “Hey, speak to me, what’s happening?”
“Nnngh…headache,” Sam grinds out as another knife stabs his brain. “Keeps…coming back…stronger each time.”
“Look at me.”
“Yes you can, now look at me!”
Sam forces his eyes open and sees a watery version of the world, all of it tinted purple. The giant face before him is lavender with dark orchid freckles, with two, violet eyes in the center, peering back down at him with concern. “Why’re you all big and purple?” Sam asks in a tiny voice, so confused and in so much pain?”
Dean ignores the first question but addresses the second: “I’m not purple, Sammy—it’s you. Your eyes are purple.” Dean tries to lean in for a closer look, but Sam shies away, bumping into the giant hand behind him. He jolts in surprise, turns to look, recognizes that it’s a giant hand, jolts again, spins, and staggers away. “Okay, okay…” Dean soothes, pulling his hand back to his wounded side. “Not ready for that yet.”
“S-sorry,” Sam says, surprising them both.
“Don’t be,” Dean replies, echoing their exchange just moments ago. “Just tell me what’s going on. Is the headache letting up?”
Sam nods his head. “Yeah. A little.”
“Good. Sit down and rest your head between your knees until it passes.”
“No, I’m good.” Sam is still swaying on his feet and he doesn’t miss the skepticism in those huge eyes (now green again, must to Sam’s relief). “Okay, fine, I’m better,” he allows. “But you’re not. That tree still has to come out before infection sets in.”
“Okay, how many times—you can’t—”
“—move it, I KNOW. But YOU can.”
The disdain on the giant’s face lifts away, and he mutters, “Well why didn’t I think of that?” Sam folds his arms across his chest and smirks, earning him a sharp look. “Shut up. I’m having a bad day.” The big hand lifts up, swings around, and tugs at the tree. It moves with a sickening slllotch! sound, and Dean takes in a sharp breath.
“What, WHAT?” Sam asks, worried.
“It’s caught on something…” Dean tries again, gingerly moving the tree around, but something embedded deep inside suddenly cuts into another something, and Dean sees white hot pain. He bites down hard on his tongue to keep from crying out and wrecking Sam’s hearing, but he can’t stop the tears from escaping. They start to freeze as they slide down his cheeks. “Okay…” Dean breathes hard, fighting the hurt with oxygen, “okay…that won’t work. Guess we’re on to Plan B.”
Sam, hurting right along with the sight of the giant in so much pain, has to ask: “IS there a Plan B?”
Dean nods. “Yeah, but you’re not gonna like it.” He looks down at the tree sticking out of his hip. “I have to get bigger.”
Sam swallows hard. “You can get bigger?!”
“Yeah, a lot bigger. But this tree will just stay the same size no matter what. I just have to keep pulling on it while I grow and eventually, it should come right out.” He glances at Sam, hating the ‘Oh my God, it’s a MONSTER!’ look that’s again worked its way onto his face. “You, uh…don’t have to watch. I’ll shrink back down once it’s out.”
Sam feels a twinge of guilt for his reaction and he shakes his head no. “I’m fine. Get going—er, growing. I’ll keep an eye on what’s coming out—I’ve got a better view down here than you, anyway.”
Dean nods and shuts his eyes, concentrating on what he has to do. He hears Sam ask him what he’s waiting for and hisses, “Shh! I’m not like those witches, okay? I can’t just snap my fingers and get bigger. I have to focus.”
Sam shuts his mouth and waits. His heart is pounding away, and he doesn’t know why. Suspense? Fear? Worry? Maybe all three. But his wait isn’t long: the giant takes in a deep breath, and his entire body expands, puffing up like a zeppelin. His shaking hand stretches, his muscled arms blow up and out, his long legs push further away, and his chest broadens, wider and higher, wider and higher. There’s motion near Jared, and he looks back as the giant gives the tree a tentative tug. It slips out about a foot, but then he grunts and stops. He takes a few more deep breaths and then grows on, tugging every few seconds. When he’s about 20 feet bigger than he was, the bottom row of branches clears the wound—or what’s left of them, anyway. Chunks of wood and needles drop out to the ground, and Sam forgets his fears: he runs back to the giant’s side and starts pulling out everything he can.
“S-sammy?!” the giant rasps.
“I’m here, De—uh, I’m fine” Sam calls back, “just keep going!”
The growth picks up speed, lifting the tree higher and higher as the body around it swells to new heights. Sam just keeps grabbing what he can, tissue and twigs, handfuls of stinking who knows what, branch after branch, and soon his jacket sleeves are drenched in blood and sap up to his armpits. He looks up to check on the giant’s progress and sees that several more branch layers have been freed. The hand doing all the tugging is now so large that the thick tree trunk is the comparative size of a pencil. That hand is also shaking even worse than it had been before—all of the giant’s body is, and Sam knows that shock is setting in. “Almost there,” he yells in encouragement. “Come on, just one last pull, you can do this!”
“Dude,” the giant croaks, “I’m dealing with a tree, not giving birth!”
Sam chuckles. Making jokes while his life’s at stake. Typical Dean. And the second he thinks the name, the headache slams back. Sam drops to his knees the very instant Dean pulls the tree completely free.
“Ugh, finally.” He chucks it over his shoulder and looks down at his hip. “How’s it looking down there…” He trails off when he sees his brother on the ground, hands to his head and screaming in silence. “Shit, AGAIN? What the fuck is going on?!” He reaches out to Sam—or that’s the plan, at least; his hand drops onto his side, all strength gone. Dean starts to feel dizzy, and his body, now so weak, starts to rock on the cradle that is his propped arm and elbow. He groans, and Sam hears it, looking past his own pain to see the giant starting to falter.
“It’s shock,” he points out. “From all the…ungh…bloodloss. We have to get you warm.”
“Can’t,” Dean mumbles back. “Have to…take care…you…headaches…”
“They’re just headaches! You’re the one bleeding out, Dean!”
PANG! The headache doubles at the mention of his brother’s name. Sam screams as the pain blindsides him, stabbing and rolling and grinding until he’s curled up in the snow, eyes shut tight but crying all the same. He feels something soft cover him, and then in the background, far beyond the pain, the sensation of being in motion. It lasts for a few seconds and then changes, moving to his right instead of up. Another few seconds of going sideways and then changes again, up, then down, then stop. A beat, and then a slow up, followed by a rickety down. Something is pounding underneath his body, bringing him comfort instead of alarm.
Up…rickety down. Sam knows where he is: he’s on Dean’s chest.
Over Dean’s heart.
The same place he’s found comfort so many times in the past, ever since Dean first grew big enough to put Sam in his shirt pocket.
The headache rolls on, demanding Sam stop thinking these thoughts, but Sam is too excited now that he's on to something. One more up…rickety down, and any remaining doubt is obliterated. He remembers! The giant is Dean! he thinks over the crushing, insistent pain. And you’re just a spell trying to tell me otherwise. Shit, that’s IT: you wanted me to be afraid of Dean to split us up: either I’d hurt him or I’d run away and die out from the cold. Well I know the truth now: Dean is the giant. The giant is my brother Dean, and I am NOT leaving him. Do your worst: you WON’T make me forget again. The headache sends out one last PANG! before fizzling out, taking the pain and the amnesia with it. Sam opens his eyes and smiles as the purple spots fade into nothing. He’s free.
His elation is short-lived as he realizes why the downward motion is so unbalanced: Dean is having trouble breathing. “Dean?” There’s no response outside of the ‘cave’ around him, so Sam walks over to the thumb now as long as he is tall and climbs over it, heading out the hole created by it and the cupped fingers above. He finds himself right where he knew he was: on Dean’s massive chest, facing up toward the sky now that the giant body has moved onto its back. Sam turns around to look at Dean’s face but finds it turned to the side, and Sam can’t see over his chin. He walks forward just as Dean takes another breath.
Sam frowns—he’s getting worse. His walk becomes a run, first an incline, then a decline as that chest goes up and down again. He jumps onto Dean’s chin and crawls over until he’s standing on Dean’s left cheek. His brother’s eyes are closed. “Dean? Hey…” Kneeling down, he smacks the skin to try and rouse him. “Wake up, HEY!” He hits harder, slaps turning to punches, until he finally gets a groan out of him. “Dean! Look at me. I’m right here on your face.”
“Yeah, it’s me, Dean, I’m here.” The huge eyes crack open, and Sam stands and looks up at them. “See?” he says, waving his arms. “Right here. But I need your help. You gotta stay awake, okay?”
“I know, it’s the shock, Dean, maybe even hypothermia. That’s why I need you to shrink back down so I can take care of you. Can you do that for me?”
The eyes open up a bit more and lock onto Sam. A small smile opens up on the big lips next to him. “You…‘member me?”
“Yeah,” Sam smiles back. “Took me long enough, huh.”
Dean does one slow blink. “…glad.” And then the eyelids are fluttering shut again.
“No, no, no, Dean, HEY, come on, don’t do this!” Sam runs up the giant face until he gets to those eyes. Grabbing onto the eyelashes, he pulls the left eyelid open. “DEAN! Look at me.” The green iris moves up and looks right back as the eyelids shake in Sam’s hold. “STAY AWAKE, Dean. I know you feel like you could sleep forever, but you gotta fight, man. I need you to get smaller RIGHT now, or we’re BOTH goners.” Both of Dean’s eyes open much wider, the eyelashes pulling right out of Sam’s grasp, and Sam knows he’s finally getting through. “Don’t let those witches win, Dean—fight. Show them what a Winchester can do!”
Motivation combines with the Take Care of Sammy directive, opening up a clearing in the blizzard that’s engulfed Dean’s mind. He grabs hold of his powers and tells himself to shrink. The body jolts, and Sam is airborne for a second as the giant becomes a slightly smaller giant. Sammy cheers him on from somewhere far away, and Dean concentrates again. His body shrinks a lot more, taking him down to only 20’. The blizzard whirls up in his mind again, so Dean sends his will out in one last push, hoping it’s enough. He feels a sudden heaviness on his chest and gives a weak smile, knowing that’s Sasquatch weight he’s dealing with. Long hair and dimples are soon looking down at him.
“You did great, Dean. Now it’s my turn to take care of you.”
And Dean finds he’s too drained, and too relieved, to bitch about it. He hears Sam let out a huff of laughter, and then he hears retreating footsteps. “I’m not leaving you,” Sam calls back just as Dean starts to get scared. “Just getting the first aid kit from the car!”
The car?! Dean turns his head to the left—it’s like rolling a boulder right now, but he manages in time—and lets out a little chuckle of his own. The whiteout has finally lifted, and there’s his sweet, beautiful Baby, sitting right where they’d left her on the road, not thirty feet away. Now the relief is pouring over him: he’d got them back. He’d saved his brother.
And now Sammy’s gonna save me, he thinks, thankful. They’re gonna be fine. The welcome sound of the Impala’s door swinging shut fills his ears, and Dean finally allows himself to relax.