Rating: T (for language)
Characters: Jared, Jensen, Misha
Genre: SPN, Humor
Disclaimer: Don't own, just playing in the sandbox.
Word Count: 2,500
Summary: Dean is gone and Sam is pissed. This is so like his protective older brother, never thinking past ‘save Sam’. Of course he barrels right into the friggin’ thing without a single clue as to what it is or what it’s going to do to him. Of course he does, because he’s Dean and whenever there’s any self-sacrificing to be done, Dean is all over that shit like a bear on honey.
A/N: Thank you to jj1564 for her wonderful beta job. I loved reading her edits and comments! This fic was written as a gift for majestic_duxk during the 2019 spnspringfling challenge. It was great fun!
They’re in Easter, Texas with a population of five hundred and thirty, investigating a string of bizarre disappearances that have occurred every year on April 1st going back to 1901. The thing that makes the disappearances so bizarre, other than the fact that they take place on April Fool’s Day and that the name of the town is Easter, is that sometimes the people turn up alive and well, if a little confused about where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing for the past week. Other times, they surface nearby, fine except for having acquired unusual new habits like wrinkling their noses incessantly, peeing on the carpet, or nipping their friends and family members on the face when they get excited. These mannerisms, though off-putting and strange to say the least, don’t seem to last long and are easily overlooked by said friends and family members in the joy at have their loved ones back safe and sound.
The case wouldn’t even have tripped the Winchester’s radar except that the previous year, a family vacationing nearby passed through the town of Easter and were never seen or heard from again. A mom, dad and their two young boys disappeared, and Sam and Dean simply cannot let that slide.
Sam suspects a trickster or maybe the fae, something with a sense of humor. Dean is thinking along the lines of a demigod, something old world-ish like the scarecrow thing back in Burkitsville. Cas is really no help at all and his guess of leprechaun makes Dean roll his eyes heavenward as if beseeching Chuck for guidance on how to deal with ridiculous angels.
The townsfolk are welcoming and outgoing, perhaps a tad too much so.
They stop for lunch at the only diner in town. Their waiter claps each of them of the back, offering high fives and fist bumps to congratulate them on their meal choices.
“A little handsy aren’t they?” Dean asks once the young man leaves to put in their order.
He isn’t wrong. The librarian they’d spoken with earlier in the day when searching the archives for information on the annual disappearances, had been eager to help, even going so far as to run her fingers through Cas’s hair while pointing out relevant articles in the old newspapers.
“And what’s with this menu anyway? Garden burger with a side of carrot sticks, pulled pork sandwich with a side of carrot sticks, chicken salad on a bed of lettuce and a side of carrot sticks,” Dean reads. “Would it kill them to add some French fries?”
“Yeah, laugh it up, fuzzball,” Dean snarks. “Figures you’d be happy with all this rabbit food.”
After lunch, they interview the woman who’d gone missing three years ago and was found exactly seven days later.
“It was the strangest thing,” she tells them. “A ball of light floated in front of my car and I had to know what it was. I got out of my car, followed it into a small stand of pine trees, and the next thing I know I’m standing in a field full of cabbages.”
“Were you injured?” Sam asks.
“No, I wasn’t, but aren’t you just the sweetest lil’old thing for asking,” she exclaims as she stretches up on her tippy toes to kiss his cheek.
Cas’s brows furrow. “Sam is neither little nor old, not by human standards at any rate,” he explains patiently. “Although he is sweet.”
Dean laughs so hard that Sam has to pound him on the back to keep him from choking on his own spit.
The woman simply smiles at them and is more than happy to tell them exactly where she saw the glowing ball.
“Will ‘o the wisp?” Sam hazards as they leave the shop and return to the Impala. “It fits the lore to some extent.”
“Maybe.” Dean rubs a hand through the short hairs at the nape of his neck. “Or it could be a spell, haunted ground. Lots of things. We’ll need to go scope it out.”
They drive across town and take the turn off as instructed. There’s a deep ditch on the side of the road, half full of murky water from the heavy spring rains they’ve been having. A mixture of wild flowers dots the embankments on either side of the road, yellows and whites and purples creating a patchwork quilt effect as far as the eye can see.
“We should split up,” Dean says. “Cover more ground.”
Sam shakes his head. “Bad idea. When has that ever worked out well for us? Especially when we’re investigating disappearances. Remember the shapeshifter? Remember the Benders? I could go on and on, Dean.”
“Sam is right. We should stick together,” Cas rumbles in his growly-deep voice.
“Don’t be such girls, Samantha, Cas-Casandra,” Dean grins at the dig he obviously finds highly amusing. Cas only stares at him, unimpressed. “The ground is flat here. As long as we don’t go too far, we’ll be able to see each other the entire time.” He makes a hand gesture that Sam knows means let’s roll, time’s a’wasting. It’s one their dad used all the time. “Sam, you take the left side. I’ll take the middle. Cas, you take right.”
They do just that. Sam spends more time making sure he can still see Dean than looking where he’s supposed to, so the small ball of light zig-zagging playfully near him completely escapes his attention until he hears Dean yell, “Sam, on your left!”
The light flickers as it moves and it seems to be beckoning him to come closer even as it bobs and weaves. There’s something encapsulated within the glowing circle. Sam takes a step toward it. If he can just get a little closer, he can see what it is.
From out of nowhere, Dean hurls himself into Sam, knocking him to the ground. His momentum carries him straight into the path of the light and Sam can only watch as the light expands, engulfs him, and winks out.
Dean is gone and Sam is pissed. This is so like his protective older brother, never thinking past ‘save Sam’. Of course he barrels right into the friggin’ thing without a single clue as to what it is or what it’s going to do to him. Of course he does, because he’s Dean and whenever there’s any self-sacrificing to be done, Dean is all over that shit like a bear on honey.
Movement on the ground draws Sam’s attention just as Cas runs up. There in the grass, right where Dean disappeared, is the most adorable bunny Sam has ever seen. All anger immediately dissolves as the tiny, tri-colored, lop-eared bunny hops over and puts its front paws on Sam’s jeans, gazing up at him with liquid, green eyes.
“Dean,” Sam breathes. The bunny nods, but Sam doesn’t need the confirmation. He already knows the rabbit is his brother.
Sam reaches down and picks it up, cuddling the tiny ball of fluff against his chest. The fur is incredibly soft and he can’t resist running his fingers through it, fondling his brother’s floppy ears.
“Is he alright?” Cas asks, stooping to peer intently at Dean the bunny.
Sam can feel the fluttering heartbeat against his palm where it supports his brother’s fuzzy tummy. “He’s fine, but he’s just sidelined himself for the next seven days. No way he can hunt like this. He’s too fragile and helpless. What were you thinking, Dean?”
His answer comes by way of a quick nip on the finger. The bunny then nuzzles his nose against the tiny bite mark and gives it a lick with his delicate, pink tongue as if he’s apologizing for his fit of temper. It’s such a far cry from what normally happens when Dean, fueled by the Mark of Cain, gets angry that Sam feels the salty sting of unshed tears.
“Is the Mark gone?”
Dean lifts his right paw, considering his fluff-covered forearm. After a moment, he nods.
Cas tilts his head. “You can understand us. Can you talk?”
Dean opens his mouth, but all that comes out is a barely-audible growl. Fucking cute as hell.
“Can you possibly get any cuter?” Sam grins, rubbing his brother’s velvety nose.
Any response Dean may have given gets lost in a loud pop and the reappearance of the glowing circle. Sam uses his body to shield Dean, surmising that whatever is inside the light must be looking to finish off his now-completely-vulnerable brother. Unexpectedly, it darts toward Cas, faster than the angel can react, and Cas becomes a silvery-grey bunny. In the next instant, Sam sees a flash like that of a camera bulb and he’s in grass up to his chin, nose quivering.
The light fades and in its place stands an old man. He tips an imaginary hat and says, “Hello, Dean, Sam, Castiel. I’m honored; I’ve never entertained hunters before, much less an angel.”
“Who are you?” Sam asks, or tries to. All that comes out is a faint brrrrt brrrrt noise.
“Ah yes, a little explanation might be in order. I can understand you, but no one else can. You cannot even communicate with each other, at least not in words or thoughts, only in actions like other animals,” he smiles. “I’m the Easter Bunny.”
‘Unlikely,’ Sam says/chitters.
“No really, it’s true. I know, I know, not what you were expecting,” the old man says. “I’m a were-rabbit and I’ll give you the same deal I give all my guests. You live the life of a rabbit for seven days. At the end of the week I give you a choice of three options. One – go back to being human and nothing changes. Two – live out the remainder of your days as a rabbit. Three – become a were-rabbit with the ability to switch back and forth between your two forms whenever you desire.” At each option, the man holds up the corresponding number of fingers. “See you in a week.” And *poof* he’s gone.
Cas opens his cute little down-turned bunny mouth and makes a sound like a weak bark, no louder than leaves rustling.
It’s true then, they can’t understand each other.
Sam tries to think of a solution, but he’s got nothing. Their clothes are gone. Their cellphones are gone. Their weapons are gone. They can’t go for help, no one would understand them. There’s really nothing for it, but to wait out the week.
Sam quickly discovers there is an undeniable joy that comes with being a rabbit. The warm sun on his back feels amazing. The wind ruffling his fur energizes him. The smell of green grass and wildflowers is intoxicating. And Sam is happy, truly happy. He gives a little hop and then a bigger one. He scampers and hops as high as he can. Soon Dean and Cas follow suite, the three of them chasing and tumbling and frolicking (although he’ll never say that word aloud).
At the end of that first day, they curl up in a pile, exhausted from their antics. Dean lays his fluffy head on Sam’s forepaws and Cas snuggles up against Dean. Sam rests his head on Dean’s neck. They fall asleep like that. Sam wakes up the next morning to Cas nuzzling his shoulder.
There don’t seem to be any predators around, no foxes or birds of prey. Sam supposes the Easter Bunny makes sure this field is safe for his “guests”. The Easter Bunny – fuck, his life is weird. Then again, how is this any weirder than some of the other shit they’ve hunted?
Day follows day and the week passes. Between playful games of who-can-bounce-highest-and-farthest and who-is-fastest with Dean and Cas, Sam has lots of time to think. One afternoon, he decides to categorize the differences he notices in himself, analyze his moods. Rabbits, it seems, don’t feel the wide range of emotions that humans do. He feels happiness and affection and contentment and that’s about it. No anger. No resentment. No homicidal rages. If the way Dean is serenely cleaning his face by licking his paw and rubbing it over his cheeks is anything to go by, it’s the same for him.
When the Easter Bunny shows up, Sam already knows what his choice is going to be.
“So, all the townspeople here in Easter, you think?” Dean asks as they walk down Main Street. He scratches at the place on his arm where the Mark used to be.
“Were-rabbits?” Cas makes a humming sound like he’s considering it. “Yes, I think so.”
“It would explain how happy they are.” Sam smiles softly. “And friendly.”
Dean reaches over and grazes Sam’s cheek with the back of his fingertips. “Dimples,” he mutters fondly. Then more loudly he asks, “We gonna do anything about it?”
“Nope,” Sam and Cas say at the same time.
It’s late by the time they arrive back at the bunker. Despite the week of carefree, relaxed living as rabbits, they’re tired. By mutual unspoken agreement, they file into Dean’s room, shedding clothing as they go. This is their new normal, the open affection, the need to touch and be touched. Sam loves it. He loves watching the easy way Dean moves now, without the tension and knotted muscles that holding the Mark in check always gave him. He looks and acts ten years younger.
They clamber into Dean’s bed. There’s a little jostling of long limbs. Dean gets in the middle and Sam cuddles up on his right, head on Dean’s shoulder. Cas lies on Dean’s left, slots their legs together, drapes an arm over Dean, and curls his fingers in Sam’s hair.
“Do you think we’ll come to regret our decision?” Sam whispers into the dark.
Dean sighs. “Well, having to put up with you two cuddle monsters every night is a pretty hefty price for me to pay.”
Cas pulls away. “I resent that.” He doesn’t actually sound offended at all.
“Awww, come back here, Casandra. You know I didn’t mean it.”
Cas burrows back in.
A minute later, Dean breaks the silence. “Seriously though, I’d have done a lot worse than become a were-rabbit to get that Mark off my arm. Honestly, I don’t even see any down side here.”
“You say that now, but what happens when your inner-bunny demands carrots and lettuce for every meal? No more pie for you,” Sam sing-songs.
Dean picks up Sam’s hand and brings it to his mouth, nipping his index finger, then nuzzling it and giving it a tiny lick.
Sam wipes his wet finger on his brother’s chest. “You know that’s much cuter when you’re in bunny form, don’t you?”
“I’m adorable no matter what form I’m in,” Dean says, all smug and cock-sure.
“He’s right,” Cas yawns. “Now, let’s go to sleep. I wish to transform and watch the sun come up in the morning.”
And that’s exactly what they do.