i_speak_tongue (i_speak_tongue) wrote,

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SN fic: Step into the Snow, chapter 3

TITLE: Step into the Snow (ch 3/3)
SUMMARY:Dean is lost in the woods on Christmas Eve. But these aren't just any woods. Think Scandinavian enchanted forest- in Colorado.
CHAR: Dean and Sam and various legendary not-so-OC's. No pairings.
WARNING: Language, and one sexual situation.
DISC:All the good boys and girls know Kripke and his little network elves made these toys...we're just playing with them.
SPOILERS: up to "Croatoan," but nothing specific past "IMToD"


~Chapter 3~

The forest seems like a different place entirely in the daylight. The sun is out, rendering the snow covered ground a blinding white. Dean begins his trek through the woods with much more determination and disregard for maintaining nature's tranquility than he did the night before. He's making his presence known to every damn chipmunk and woodpecker within a 5 mile radius, swearing vividly at the branches and shrubs his somewhat shaky legs are prone to stumbling over.

Despite his less than elegant gait, Dean manages to find his way back to the spot where the Huldra "attacked" him in good time. Although, when he gets there, he's nearly ready to pass out.

The large oak tree is there of course, and in the daylight, Dean notices just how out of place it looks among all the tall skinny pines. His eyes fall to the spattering of blood in the snow at the foot of the tree. His blood. There's traces of it on the tree trunk as well, mingling with lichen and mistletoe and Dean presses his hand against the red spots on the bark.

"You bitch," he whispers, and his forehead falls against the tree. He takes a deep breath, tries to quell that feeling of helplessness he really doesn't want to be flashing back to, and spins around.

"You Bitch!" he yells it into the air this time, so loud it echoes back to him. So loud a murder of crows is startled from its perch in the canopy above, and the echo is interrupted by caws and the flapping of dozens of scraggly black wings.

Dean slumps back against the tree, and closes his eyes against the harsh white light. A part of him wants to prove Sam wrong, to see the forest for what it really is: a bunch of stupid trees and stupid squirrels. But another part of him knows Sam isn't making anything up, knows that if Sam says he saw a damn enchanted stag, well… he probably did.

That doesn't change how hard it is for Dean to accept, how angry it makes him when he even considers that, okay, maybe there is someone looking out for him up there, out there or wherever the hell it is "they" hang out, and that somehow this …whoever… decided he didn't really need looking out for when his mother was being burned to a crisp, when his family's entire existence was being threatened by a maniacal demon, and when his own father lay down his life for him, leaving him to carry a burden so heavy he feels it choking him in his dreams at night. Because if there was ever a time he needed looking out for, none of those moments really seemed to qualify. Nope.

And suddenly, Dean realises, it isn’t just the Huldra that's making him feel powerless. It's the growing feeling in his gut that his entire life, everything that's happened to him, that would happen to him, good and bad, is out of his control. He's just another one of Uncle Drosselmeyer's toy soldiers, dancing on command for a bunch of bored rich kids.

And he wants out.

"What the hell do you want from me?!" He yells to the trees, to the ancient spirits he can't see, but knows are there somewhere, listening. Possibly laughing. He drops to his knees—exhausted, shaking—and punches at the cold ground beneath him. He scratches through the layers of snow with his trembling fingers, and rips viciously at the earth, the only tangible connection to those whom he holds responsible, whom refuse to face him and answer his questions, like: Why should he be burdened with so much responsibility? What made them think he could withstand so much pain, so much guilt, and keep going? What made them think he wasn't going to fuck things up in a major way? What made them think he was worthy, think he was worth saving?

"I can't do it… I can't…" he whispers, his dirt encrusted hands falling limp at his sides as he hunches over, his head nearly touching his knees.

He doesn't hear footsteps, or the rustle of brush. Only feels a warm hand on his shoulder.

"Sam! What the hell? I told you not to—" Dean collects himself enough to play the irritated big brother, and turns to face Sam.

But it's not Sam.

"Hello Dean," says the old man, in a kind, low voice that seems to warm Dean from the inside out. He seems enormous, towering over his crouched form, draped in layers of rich red velvet and dark furs. The wrinkles around his twinkling blue eyes and bumpy pink nose scrunch up perfectly as he smiles. Dean thinks maybe he's unconscious. That's the only explanation, right?

When Dean laughs, it's not funny. "Where's my BMX?" he asks, because he still thinks this isn't real, still thinks he's dreaming, or hallucinating. Because Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Old Man Winter, or whatever the hell you want to call him, is helping him to his feet, throwing a heavy wool blanket over his shoulders, and handing him a mug of hot cocoa that he seems to have pulled from thin air. And that's just too weird. Even for a Winchester.

"Hmm…The one you asked for in 1989?" the old man replies, tugging at his long white beard. Dean doesn't answer, just stares into the hot cocoa in disbelief. "I gave you something better that year, Dean."


"Your father almost didn't make it home for Christmas. Do you remember?"

"He was on a hunt." Dean replies, dazed.

"Mmm. In Arizona. His car broke down in the desert, on the way home. Overheated. A funny thing happened, Dean. Weather reports had called for one of the driest, hottest Decembers on record. But that day, about twenty minutes after John's car broke down, there was a freak thunderstorm. Chilled that engine right down."

"So what, you're saying I got a thunderstorm for Christmas?"

"I'm saying you got your father," he replies calmly, his eyes fixed on Dean's.

"Well, hey! Thanks so much! Why don't you give him to me again this year!" Dean speaks with a rumbling in his chest, and shoves the mug back into the old man's hand. He believes it's real now, because he feels the distaste on his tongue. It's like some cruel, sick joke. And the more he believes, the angrier he becomes.

"I'm so sorry Dean."

"So am I." Dean replies, cold and sullen.

"I truly wish I could have helped you boys more over the years, but I did what I could." As the old man speaks, a sweet jingling sound, and a clip-clop of hooves can be heard through the trees. "Listen to me, Dean. There are others who are trying to help you too, but you have to understand, just as your reality has rules and limits, so too does ours." Through the trees directly behind the old man, an intricately carved sleigh pulled by four reindeer appears. Dean's sadness recedes the tiniest bit at the sight of it. "We do what we can though. I promise you that."

"It's not enough," Dean utters, his voice unsteady and weary. "I can't keep going like this… I can't…"

"You are so much stronger than you realize, son."

"I'm not." Dean whispers, and feels his body weaken. He wavers on his feet, but the old man pulls him into his arms, holds him against his shoulder, where Dean nearly succumbs to his stifled emotions, and leans his head against the old man's fur covered chest.

He speaks in a quiet, gentle rumble into Dean's ear. "You know, winters are pretty dark up at the North Pole. But even when we get just one hour of daylight, it seems to lighten our whole day. You see, when you let even the smallest light in, you can always see it, even when you're standing in the darkness. Don't ever stop looking for that light, Dean. Ever." He braces Dean by his shoulders, and steadies him. Dean looks into his eyes now, and sees an honesty, a kind of love that reminds him of his father, that he thought he'd never see again.

"Now. I think it's time for you and Sam to have Christmas together, don't you?" Dean's vision is guided by an outstretched arm, a thick, plump, well worked finger, through the trees less than 20 yards away, where there is—and was most certainly not 2 minutes ago—a small log cabin with pine boughs and red ribbon decorating the door and smoke escaping from the chimney. Dean turns back towards old Saint Nick, but he's vanished, along with the sleigh and the reindeer.

This would typically call for an excited dash towards the magically appearing Christmas cabin. But Dean's making his way there rather slowly. He's not afraid exactly. Just nervous, and still not quite recovered from the night before.

He swings the door open slowly, and it squeaks just like a real old door would. It's too dark inside compared to out, and at first, all Dean can see is the blazing fire in the fireplace. He stumbles into the cabin anyways, and is greeted with the all too familiar grabby hands of Sam Winchester.

"Dean! Hey, are you okay? I came after you, but I must have taken a wrong turn…" Sam prattles on, as he guides his still disoriented brother to a large wicker chair by the fire, draped with a heavy old quilt. "…Which is weird, because I could have sworn—well anyways, I came across this place. I was just going to warm up my hands, but… I don't know… I fell asleep I guess, and then, well I just woke up now when I heard the door open. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

"You look spent, Dean."

"Yeah, I just need some slee—" Dean's train of thought is derailed as he takes in his surroundings. He stands up from the chair to wander the room. The cabin is small, but is pretty much the coziest damn place he's ever seen, with old wood furniture, a bear skin rug, an old Victrola in the corner, and a small dinner table on the side of the room… filled with overflowing plates of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cakes and baked cinnamon-apples, and a huge jug of something that Dean suspects would warm his soul to perfection. He pours himself a glass, and can't help but smile.

"I don't get it." Sam says, curious as to why his brother seems so unfazed. "What is this place?"

"It's the light, Sam," Dean answers, as he cranks the phonograph and drops the needle into place.

"What?" Sam asks, lost, as the old 78 begins to crackle and the sounds of a slow warbling acoustic guitar and a ghostly cowboy twang escape from the speaker.

…For years and years I've rambled…

"Nevermind," Dean sighs, and curls himself into a quilty nest and takes a generous sip of grog.

"You know, you shouldn't drink on an empty stomach," Sam advises, hands his brother a turkey leg, and starts gnawing on his own.

…I drank my wine and gambled…

"Merry Christmas Sammy."

"Hmm?" Sam takes a sip of the potent yuletide brew, coughs, and makes a face. "Man. Is this stuff legal?"

…But then one day I thought I'd settle down.


*The song that plays on the old victrola is "My Rough and Rowdy Ways" by Jimmie Rodgers, and was originally recorded in 1930. It's sweet and beautiful. And if you want the mp3, I've totally hijacked a gmail account so I can share it (and future fic or spn related music ) with y'all. How much do I rock?
Account name: ficmusic
Password: scoremeup
An overly elaborate means of file sharing? Perhaps. Worth the effort? Hells yeah! And hey, if anyone else wants to use it to share some tunes, feel free! Happy Christmas!

Tags: sn:fic:snow
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