Bibbity Bobbity Who?

“What the hell was that?” Dean demands, slowing the Impala before coming to a halt upon the shoulder of the country road. Sam suspects his brother's not really expecting an answer, but he peers out into the dark and rain anyway.

“I don't know - a bird? A giant insect?” In the south, insects come in Herculean proportion, and Sam can only imagine the size of one that would slap against the car with such force.

Dean glares at his windshield one last time before climbing out of the car, leaving the engine running. The rain is cold on his face, and he pulls his jacket tightly together as he takes in the damage. None really, not even a fracture in the glass. He huffs in relief, just before sighting the small, crumpled heap on the hood. An animal, maybe. He pokes tentatively at the dark shape, but it remains unresponsive. Reaching out cautiously - it'd be just his luck to get bitten by a rabid bat or something – he picks it up between his thumb and forefinger, but his apprehension is quickly overwhelmed by surprise.

“Uhhh, Sammy,” he says, staring at his now cupped hand. “I think you might want to have a look at this.”

Sam groans. “For the last time, Dean - just get the doctor to give you something.”

Dean takes a frustrated breath. “Would you just get your ass out here?” he snaps, his finger gently prodding at the sopping bundle in his hand.

Sam slides from the car, grumbling as the rain pelts down on his head and shoulders. “This better be good,” he mutters, stepping into the headlights to join his brother. Sam notices his brother is holding something in his palm, and he leans closer, his eyes widening. "Oh, my god," he breathes, sounding all of twelve years old. “That's a - ”

Dean claps his free hand over Sam's mouth. “Yeah, I know. And there could be more out here,” he says pointedly, waiting for Sam to nod before he drops his hand away. He glances back down at the limp creature in his hand. “She's not moving,” he says softly, his fingertip stroking over her wet form. She's a perfect miniature of a human, if not for the small, gossamer wings tucked behind her shoulders, and something in Dean hurts to have wounded something so fragile.

“The blow probably knocked her out,” Sam says softly. “Good thing the storm's slowed us down.”

“Huh,” Dean grunts noncommittally. “Well, we'd better get out of here before the cavalry shows up; they'll know what to do with her.”

“What?” Sam says, catching Dean's arm as his brother moves toward the side of the road. “What are you doing?”

Dean gives him a look, wondering what Sam isn't getting here. “I'm gonna put her where they can find her.”

“You can't just leave her out here like that, Dean. It's the middle of December. She could be eaten by a cat,” Sam adds, warming to his cause. “Or an owl. She can't even protect herself.”

“And what do you suggest we do with her, college boy?” Sam gives Dean a pleading look, the look he's never been able to resist. But damn if he's not gonna go down swinging. “No, Sam. No way. This is not a puppy. We can't just take her back to the motel.”

“It's only for the night, Dean,” Sam tells him. “What harm can she do? She's not even conscious.”

Dean takes another look at the small, bedraggled creature in his palm and grits his teeth. “Fine. But you're cleaning up after her, and we're bringing her straight back here in the morning,” Dean warns him. Sam smiles brightly. “Now get back in the car,” Dean growls. Shaking his head, he lifts his hand and gently slides the tiny fairy into his jacket's breast pocket. She fits perfectly against his heart. “Man,” he mutters, glancing up at the darkening sky. “This is a really bad idea.”

********************************************

It's a good ten minutes before the hunters are back in their room, shaking the rain from their head and shoulders. “You still got her?” Sam asks.

“Yeah.” Dean scoops the little fairy from his pocket, a sick tendril of dread curling in his stomach as he stares at the damp, pale creature. “I don't know, Sam - I'm not sure she's going to make it.” He doesn't know why the idea bothers him so much. He's used to death – hell, he kills things all the time. But what's slumped in his palm isn't a werewolf, or a revenant, or that thing with razor sharp teeth he and Sammy took out in Hartford. It's a person, a tiny person, and it disturbs him in ways that his training should preclude.

“There's got to be something we can do,” Sam says anxiously, moving across the room. “Maybe there's something in Dad's journal.” The younger Winchester begins rummaging through Dean's bag in search of the book. Dean's lips purse tightly, and he remembers something he saw a Bobby do once with what was thought to be a stillborn puppy. He lifts the fairy up to his face and warms her with his own breath, watching as the air stirs the blonde strands of hair that trail over whatever petaled slip she's wearing. He blows again, relieved when he sees color bloom beneath the luminous skin. Smiling, he reaches with a finger to stroke the side of her face, inordinately pleased when her grey eyes flutter open.

“Good morning, sunshine.”

The fairy's gaze meets his, widening to epic proportions, and Dean smirks, glancing over to Sam's dropped jaw. Yep, apparently his overwhelming charm extends to all the ladies. Just as he's about to offer his guest a hand – er, finger – up, she suddenly regains momentum, buzzing up and darting for a window. Dean winces at the dull thud as Sam quickly steps to scoop the fairy up again.

“You're alright,” Sam croons to the surprisingly resilient creature, as she shakes her wings out with a confused blink. “You're safe with us. Just – don't do that again.”

There's a small sound from the fairy's tiny lips, like a peal of bells, and Dean's surprised to see Sam cock his head in his direction.

“Not me; Dean. That was our car you ran into.” There's another burst of musical refrain from the creature, and Sam's brow furrows. “Well, I don't know if 'rescued' is the right word - ”

“Sam; what are you doing?” Dean finally interrupts the strange monologue. He wonders if Sam's actually cracked this time.

Sam exchanges a surprised look with the fairy before turning back to Dean. “Uhhh, talking?” he offers, as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.

Dean frowns. “You can understand her?”

“You can't?” The fairy chirps again, the buzz of her sparkling wings levitating her from Sam's giant palm. Now the younger hunter is frowning, too. “She says it's because I'm empathetic, but don't worry.”

“Don't worry?” Dean lifts a brow as the fairy suddenly buzzes again, and then she's hovering by his ear, the warm brush of her wings tickling his skin. “Why would I worry?” he wants to know, drawing slightly away from the unfamiliar touch.

“Uh, well…” Sam clears his throat awkwardly. “She kinda belongs to you.”

“To me? Oh, no, sweetheart,” Dean says quickly, shaking his head and causing his diminutive admirer to orbit. “I don't do commitments.”

“Her name is Stansie,” Sam informs him, now looking even more ill at ease. “And I'd ease off the 'sweetheart',” he advises. “She's pretty literal.”

“Did she get the 'I don't do commitments' part?” Dean asks, as Stansie buzzes at the tip of his nose, causing him to go faintly cross-eyed.

“Yeah. There might be a problem with that,” Sam tells him, as the tiny blonde eyes Dean through a sweep of dusky lashes.

“How's that?” Dean growls. It's not that the fairy isn't kinda hot – and there are few things Dean appreciates as much as a hot girl - but some logistics here just can't be overcome.

“Ah. It's just...” Sam doesn't know how to break the news. Dean's going to kill him. “Seems fae law dictates that as her – uh, savior - you're responsible for her.”

I'm responsible?” This was Sam's idea, for crying out loud, and – “Damn it, Sam; this is your fault! I can't even keep a goldfish alive – how am I supposed to take care of a freakin' fairy?”

Even as Dean says it, the little creature appears to wilt, the gray eyes glistening with tears, and then the fairy dives for the still-open duffel bag, a sad, mournful note lingering in the air as she disappears inside.

“Oh, that's just great, Dean,” Sam huffs, glaring at his brother. “Now you've hurt her feelings.”

Dean shakes his head, tries to clear it. “Are you listening to yourself? You don't even know that thing has feelings.”

“Don't call her a thing,” Sam reproaches, dropping to his knees beside the bag. “Don't be afraid, Stansie,” he soothes, his eyes watching the luggage for any signs of movement. “Dean's not mad; he always sounds like that.”

There's a doubtful blip from the bag, and Sam looks up. “A little help here?”

“Help is what got me into this,” Dean grumbles, but he finds himself walking over to squat next to Sam anyway. He coughs, flushing in discomfort. Talking to fairies; yeah, this isn't crazy. “Uhh. I'm sorry if we got off the wrong foot here; nothing personal. I'm sure you're a great fairy - the best, even. I just don't - ” Dean jerks his head back as a pair of his boxers zip toward him, hovering in midair. The garment jingles cheerfully, and if that isn't disturbing, Dean doesn't know what is. He carefully reaches to lift his underwear off the flittering creature, thrown off by the beaming smile that greets him.

Sam tries unsuccessfully to bite back a grin. “Looks like you're forgiven.”

“Yeah, but you're not,” Dean fires back, as Stansie lands on his shoulder and thrums happily against his neck. The strange sensation reminds him of a purring cat, and he points a warning finger at his little brother. “Find a way to undo this, Sam. And fast.”

********************

“What did you do to her?” Sam demands, as a dripping Dean hands over the limp scrap of silken hair and wings, one hand still holding his damp towel together.

“Me? I didn't do anything!” Dean wavers a little under Sam's knowing stare. But there are hazards to bunking with a tiny female who can duck under doors and has no concept of privacy. “Well, uh, she might have caught a glimpse of mini-Dean.”

“What are you – oh,” Sam breathes, relieved and repelled at the same time. “Jesus, Dean.”

“Can I help it if I impress the ladies?” And he must have done something to impress Stansie, because damn if the brothers can get rid of their petite companion, despite their repeated efforts to return her. Morning after morning he and Sam return to that lone stretch of highway and order the fairy to stay, trying to ignore her woeful gaze as they pull away. And every night, no matter which direction the Impala drives, Dean wakes with the small creature nestled cozily into the crook of his neck, softly vibrating with slumber. It's not unpleasant, exactly, but the fact that he notices the swell of her miniature breasts pressing against his skin makes him feel slightly perverted.

Then there are other issues.

“What's the holdup here?” Dean asks curtly, as they're due to head out one morning. Sam's sitting on the edge of his bed, staring into the still unzipped duffel.

There's a frustrated, if muffled bleat from the contents of the bag, followed by sulking silence. Dean raises a brow at his brother, but Sam only shakes his head.

“Bad hair day.”

Both brows are up now. “You're kidding, right?”

“Fairies are proud, Dean; they like being well-dressed and groomed and - ”

Dean reaches over and zips the luggage shut, ignoring the shrill protest from beneath the sturdy nylon as he slings the bag over his shoulder. “Nuh, uh,” he warns Sam quickly, when his brother opens his mouth to object. “One word and you'll be joining her.”

Sam's pretty sure even Dean can't stuff him into a duffel bag, but that doesn't mean his brother won't try. An annoyed Dean isn't to be underestimated. So he swallows the well-deserved lecture, instead settling for unzipping the bag somewhere outside Knoxville and letting Stansie slip beneath the open road map.

An hour later, Dean glances from the road to the muted glow emanating from beneath the crumpled page. He turns down the Metallica. “You gonna stay under there all day?”

The map lifts and drops with a small, melodic sigh.

Dean scoffs. “It can't be that bad,” he says, oblivious to Sam's apprehensive look. “Stop being a drama queen and get out here.”

There's a moment of silent contemplation, and then with a rustle of paper the fairy reluctantly crawls up onto the seat.

“Oh. Wow. That's, uh…” Dean falters under Stansie's challenging stare. She folds her arms over her chest, daring him to continue. Tufts of flaxen hair stand straight up from her head and wave in every direction, reminding Dean vaguely of those ugly-ass trolls that used to be so popular. “We can fix it,” Dean says with false cheerfulness.

The little face looks both skeptical and hopeful at the same time. A questioning note floats in the air.

“How are you gonna do that?”

Dean's not sure if Sam's translating again or just being pissy. Probably both. “The same way I used to fix your hair,” Dean informs him, licking the pad of his thumb and reaching over to smooth down the unruly mess. The hair is soft as a duckling beneath his touch, but apparently as stubborn as its owner. Despite Dean's efforts, Stansie still looks like she's had – well, a hair-raising experience. “There you go,” Dean announces with a smile, returning his hand to the steering wheel. “Good as new.”

The fairy glances up at Sam with an inquisitive peep.

“Yeah,” Sam assures her, “You look real pretty.” If this is how he looked when Dean got through with him all those years ago, he might just have to kill him.

Stansie hums with sudden pleasure, flittering up to Dean's shoulder to snuggle against his neck. And Sam's not sure, but he could swear that Dean hums back.

*************

Dean slips out while Sam and Stansie are playing chess with Sam's miniature travel set. His genius brother hasn't been able to beat the fairy yet, but Sam hasn't given up trying. They both look up from the small table when Dean returns an hour later, Sam eyeballing the brown paper bag tucked under the hunter's arm.

“What's that?”

“Nothing.” Heat climbs Dean's neck as he tosses his keys to the table and looks at the game board. “You lose again?”

Sam rubs a hand over his face. “Yeah. I haven't had my ass kicked this bad since – well, never,” he admits. He pauses as Stansie flitters up, bobbing excitedly around the paper bag Dean's holding. “That for her?”

“No,” Dean denies quickly, then flushes. “Well, yeah, okay?” he says, setting the bag down on the bed. The fairy immediately darts halfway in, her still-visible lower-half buzzing in anticipation as she begins tugging at whatever's inside. “In case you hadn't noticed, we're not exactly geared for a fairy; it's nothing different than buying a chew toy for a mutt,” he insists, trailing off at the sudden caroling from the bed.

Stansie's pulled his purchase from the bag and is clapping her small hands in delight.

Sam sputters, incredulous. “Is that a Barbie vanity set?” he asks, standing and moving a little closer just to get a better look at the plastic-encased toy. Sure enough, it's a toy princess vanity, with mirror and chair, tiny pink hairbrush included. There's an alarming cache of glitter and rhinestones sparkling from the thing, but that only seems to charm the fairy more.

Dean shrugs helplessly, unable to maintain his bluster in the face of such genuine pleasure. “I bought the tub too,” he admits, as Stansie flies up and begins dusting his face with fervent kisses. He makes a half-hearted, unsuccessful attempt to swat her away.

“Looks about her size,” Sam says, considering. They end up setting both playsets up on the small table, drawing squeals of delight from their pocket-sized companion. The only hitch in the celebration comes when Sam peels the plastic sticker off the vanity mirror, and Stansie gets a look at Dean's hairdressing efforts. The shrill shriek causes both men to wince.

The next thing Dean knows, a dinky finger jabs against his chest, and there's a fulminating blast of notes from the petal-pink lips. The hunter glances warily at his brother. “What'd she say?”

“You don't want to know.” Sam folds his arms, his eyes holding the indignant fairy with a patient gaze. “He was only trying to help, Stansie.”

Wings twitching, Stansie points at her hair - as if Sam might have failed to notice it - and there's another resentful run of notes that has the younger man frowning.

“Yeah, well he usually does, so you'd better get used to it,” Sam tells her. “Unless he's not the one you want?”

Stansie glances back at Dean, the silver eyes moving up and down the length of him and growing darker with every inch they cover. An involuntary sigh escapes the small fairy, and she shakes her head as if amazed by her own folly. She flits back to the tub and drops herself in, jingling off a merry little tune to the two men. Sam chuckles at the declaration and begins picking up the chess pieces.

“What?” Dean asks suspiciously.

“Go ahead and fill up the tub,” Sam tells him. “If you get it right, she'll let you wash her back.”

“Oh, you're hilarious,” Dean grouses, as the fairy throws him a coy smile over her shoulder. All this and she doesn't even put out. “Might as well be married,” he mutters, right before he trudges off toward the bathroom.

*************

“All the books basically say the same things,” Sam says, tousled head bent over the volume he's 'borrowed' from the library. “Fairies are willful, vain, mischievous - ”

“Mischievous?” Dean asks, glancing at Sam from where he's laying watching television. Stansie buzzes innocently from the crook of his arm, eyes wide. “How?”

“You're wearing pink underwear, Dean,” Sam's compelled to point out. A strange red sock had mysteriously gotten in with the whites on the latest laundry run.

Dean's brow furrows. “She said she didn't know anything about that.”

“Uh, huh,” Sam drawls, still flipping pages. “Was that before or after you made the Tinkerbell crack?”

Dean considers, then scowls down at the fairy. Stansie smiles back sweetly. Dean makes a mental note to splash her with holy water the next chance he gets.

*************

“Is this your idea of a joke?” The glare the brunette gives Dean has him straightening and drawing back.

“Huh?”

His response only seems to fuel the girl's temper. “Salt?” she demands, throwing the napkin she's just spit into down onto the bar. “In my drink?” She huffs as she pulls on her sweater. “And I thought my ex-husband was juvenile.”

“Wait, I can explain,” Dean tries. “Aw, c'mon, Lisa - ”

“It's Linda,” she snaps, snatching up her purse and stalking for the door.

Dean shakes his head, takes a bitter pull from his beer. “Think you're real slick, don't you?” he asks. There's a soft, musical equivalent of a giggle from the inside of Dean's jacket, and he sighs. “Bitch.”

*******************

As it turns out, it's not willfulness, or vanity, or even mischief that brings things to a head. Dean's a master of those things, after all, so he can hardly blame a fairy for a few personal flaws. At least according to Sam, who coincidentally hasn't had his bootlaces tied together on a lark, or his cassettes unraveled to make hair ribbons. Nope, it's the little detail the books overlook that clinches things, that fact that fairies – at least as far as Dean can tell – are Looney-Tunes freakin' jealous.

“Don't you think you're exaggerating a little?” Sam asks, not even bothering to look up from his laptop as Dean paces agitatedly around the small motel room. Christmas lights wink from outside, and both brothers are already antsy to finish up this gig and enjoy the holiday. “It's not like she's dangerous or something.”

Dean pauses in lifting up a pillow to check underneath. “Oh, yeah? Tell that to Cindy. She'll be in physical therapy for months.”

“Mindy,” Sam corrects absently. “And it's not Stansie's fault she tripped on the stairs.” Stansie shakes her head in solemn agreement from where she's sitting on Sam's shoulder. The four inch hooker pumps hadn't helped, either, but Sam wisely keeps that to himself.

Dean scoffs. “Right.” He pats down his jean pockets again, but still comes up empty-handed. “Damn it!”

Sam glances over at his brother, his expression one of longsuffering. “What are you looking for, anyway?”

“My keys,” Dean says, leaning to peer underneath the table. “I left them right here on the table.”

There's a soft wheeze from Sam's shoulder, and both men look at Stansie, who immediately freezes, lips pursed mid-whistle.

“Stansie,” Sam warns, but Dean's already passed patient and moved on to annoyed.

“Okay, hand 'em over sweetheart,” he commands, holding his palm out and pinning her with a stern look.

Stansie jumps down to the desk and walks to the edge close to Dean. She folds her arms, piping out a flippant note.

Dean's a little pissed at the tone. “Hey, I got a job to do here, and I don't have time for any of your little fairy headgames.”

Stansie rolls her eyes, and Dean's jaw tightens. Talking to people is what he does, and even if they weren't hunting a succubus here in Lexington, he's not about to be cockblocked by someone shorter than a Heineken.

“I mean it, Stansie. I'm gonna count to three, and if you don't come up with those keys…” He lets the threat hang there, and tries to stare down the tiny female. Her lower lip juts out at his censure, and she's kicking at the desk top like a five year-old. “One.”

“Stansie; tell Dean where the keys are,” Sam orders, feeling a flicker of apprehension at the look on his brother's face. He knows an immovable force when he sees one, and neither the mountain nor Mohammed have anything on Dean.

“Two,” Dean growls, and the rumble is enough to make the fairy stamp her foot with frustrated apprehension.

“Stansie!” Sam barks, and suddenly a sharp run of excitable notes peals from the creature, followed by a head-turning dismissal and a decided “Hmphh!”

“What?” Dean demands, as Sam grimaces.

“Try the toilet.” The younger hunter gives his brother an apologetic look, realizing now why the toilet's been flushing itself this afternoon.

Dean's eyes narrow ominously before he stalks off toward the bathroom. Sam leans back in his chair and wipes a hand over his face. “Jesus, Stans. Please tell me you didn't - ”

“Son of a bitch!” The harsh exclamation bounces from the walls, followed by a full minute of abrasive cursing and the occasional splash that Sam assumes is Dean fishing for his keys. There's the brief sound of running water, and then his brother returns, the look on his face causing Sam to put a hand up.

“Dean - ”

“That. Is it.” Dean catches the brat of a fairy in his hand, ignoring Stansie's squeak of alarm, and carries her over to the table. There's an empty Styrofoam cup there from breakfast, and Dean dumps the stirrer and turns the cup on its side. He bends the fairy over the cup with one hand, ignoring the frantic buzz of her wings against his palm, and pick up the flat, plastic stirrer with the other. This oughta do. With a singular satisfaction, he snaps the supple plastic against Stansie's teeny – yet surprisingly curvy, Dean muses – behind. Once, twice, a half dozen times, before he realizes he's spanking a fairy, and when the hell did life get that crazy?

Disgusted with both himself and the situation, Dean flings away the stirrer and releases his hold on the tiny creature. “You had it coming,” he maintains, forcing himself not to succumb when Stansie jumps up, turning tear-drenched eyes on him as her small hands rub feverishly at her backside. When he doesn't immediately apologize, the fairy looses a mournful cry and makes a beeline dive for the bedcovers. She zips beneath, the only visible sign of her now an indignant tremble of the blankets.

Sam's twisted toward him, his face set in blatant disapproval. “That's just great, Dean; as if she didn't have enough issues.”

God damn it. Dean puts a hand to the doorknob and tries not to clench his teeth. “Issues? She's a fairy, Sam – what kind of freakin' issues could she have? Not enough sunshine and rainbows? Maybe a little short on the wingspan?”

“When did you become such a racist?”

Dean just doesn't have a response for that.

*********************

Sam's watching Rudolph when Dean returns to the room. He looks up, seems to get how tired Dean is, because he doesn't give him any crap, just asks if Dean's got the intel they need.

“All set.” Tomorrow night he and Sam should be able to take the succubus out, and then they can all move on. Well, at least some of them, anyway. “Stansie come out?”

Sam shakes his head. “Only for a second. She's in the duffel now.”

Dean sets his keys down, walks over to crouch by the duffel. “Hey,” he says, feeling a little embarrassed to be doing this in front of his brother. “C'mon out; we need to talk.”

A faint buzz echoes in the dim room, and Dean looks up at Sam. The younger man shakes his head.

“You can't stay in there forever,” Dean tells her. Quite reasonably, he thinks. But this time there's no answering buzz. The hunter gives it up for the moment, he and Sam eventually climbing into bed and shutting out the lights. The next thing Dean knows, he's awake, and moonlight is pouring through the thin drapes. Christ, it's cold. Without thought his hand moves to cover Stansie, but only drops emptily to his chest. Not there, remember? Dean frowns in the darkness, then throws back the covers.

He finds Stansie in the toy bathtub, shivering in her sleep. Petals and spider silk aren't all that insulating, and Dean's chagrined that he fell asleep without making sure the fairy was at least somewhere warm. He reaches out and carefully eases her into his palms, cradling her gently as he walks back toward the bed and takes a seat. Using the same technique he had the night of the storm, Dean breathes softly onto the fragile creature, heating the chilled skin.

There's a barely audible hum of pleasure from the fairy, a faint glow radiating from his cupped hands, and Dean smiles to himself. He lifts a thumb, letting it whisper along Stansie's cheek. The face is sweet, even when the fairy's an absolute terror. His thumb absently traces the length of her, not really considering its path until suddenly it's gripped between Stansie's taut thighs.

Dean's shocked gaze locks with the fairy's. Stansie's eyes are open now, huge and dark as an eclipse, cheeks flushed with desire and no matter how much of a sick bastard it makes him, Dean feels his own body respond in kind.

“Stans,” he whispers, and the heat of her beneath his thumb makes his mouth go dry. “Sorry. I didn't mean – we can't – oh, fuck,” he breathes, as a needy whimper shakes the tiny being. This has gotta be a crime somewhere. But Dean finds himself rolling the pad of his thumb over the fairy's hot spot, back and forth again, and then a burst of light flashes in the dark room.

“You've got to be kidding me,” Sam mutters from his bed, pulling the pillow over his head. “Can you guys just get a room? Another room?”

“Go back to sleep, Sammy,” Dean replies, unable to repress a grin at Stansie's blissful sigh. “Show's over.” At least for now. Because he's pretty sure he just came in his pants.

***************

“Didn't we have this conversation already?” Dean asks, hands on hips as Stansie glowers at him from on top of the television. “The lives of innocent people are at stake.”

Stansie chirps in protest, and Dean doesn't need Sam to translate this time.

“Don't even think about it, little girl. You're staying right here, and – uh, doing whatever it is you do,” Dean tells her. “Any more tricks and you'll be getting more of what you got last night. No, not that,” Dean clarifies, flushing a bit at the memory.

Stansie shuts her mouth and pouts with disappointment. The spanking had hurt and was obviously something to be avoided. The other, however…

“Ready?” Sam asks, poking his head into the motel room. “I can always recheck the weapons.”

“Nah, we're done here,” Dean says. “Right, Stansie?”

Sam glances at the fairy, who shrugs with a plaintive note. “Hey, we'll be back before you know it,” he assures her, giving the top of the television by her feet a small pat before ducking back out the door.

Dean looks at Stansie's dubious expression and scoffs. “Hey, who's the baddest hunter you know?”

Stansie squints suspiciously, wondering if this is one of those trick questions, and her human rolls his eyes.

“Whatever. Just stay put.”

*************

It's one of the most horrifying moments Dean can remember, one of those freakin' slo-mo deals that goes on forever. The succubus goes to ground in the mill, and ends up getting the drop on him. And it's not the first time some bitch has blindsided him, and it probably won't be the last; only there's this all-too familiar buzz in the air, and by the time Dean realizes what's happened it's already too late.

Stansie yanks at the succubus's dark hair, and the demon ruthlessly flings her backward, the fairy's tiny body cracking against the drywall with a sickly thud. Furious, Dean decapitates the succubus with a vicious swing, lips tight as the head bounces to the floor and the body crumples. He turns to Sam, who's already kneeling at Stansie's side.

Fuck. “What? Sam?” Dean asks, his voice harsh to his ears. “How is she?” How could something so delicate survive that kind of impact?

“She's – I don't know, Dean,” Sam says, wincing at the wilted fairy. There's a scrape along Stansie's right side that doesn't look too bad, but who knows what kind of internal injuries she might have sustained? By the pained look on Dean's face, his brother is thinking the same thing.

Dean drops to his knees beside Sam, his fingers lightly stroking back Stansie's hair. They never should have kept her, should have kept returning her to that damn stretch of highway - The fairy's eyes flutter, and a faint chime hovers on the air.

“Sam?” Dean asks around the lump in his throat.

Sam leans in closer so his ear is next to the fairy's lips. A moment later his broad shoulders start to shake, and realization hits Dean like a punch to the gut. The tiny creature loves him – pathologically, maybe, but she loves him - and this is what it's bought her. He swallows hard.

“Is – is she…?”

Sam turns to him, eyes shining with tears. “Stansie thinks,” he chokes out, “that your date has thick ankles.”

Dean blinks, then barks out a laugh. So maybe it's going to be a good Christmas after all.

*****************

“You know we gotta send her back now, don't you?” Dean asks his brother.

Sam looks up from the new Grisham novel Dean's bought him for Christmas. A pile of brightly-colored wrapping paper litters the floor, along with the crumbs of a Christmas dinner put together by the motel's adjoining diner. “Who? Stansie?” Sam asks, glancing over at the fairy, who's sleeping off an excess of eggnog on top of her new Barbie chaise. He can't help smiling as she sits up to release a dainty burp, then promptly falls back to sleep. “What do you mean?”

Dean's been loading and reloading his own present, a much coveted Smith and Wesson with a double stack magazine. He stares down at the shiny weapon, all he needs to remind him why this has to happen. “She almost died back there, Sam. She's too vulnerable; we can't protect her.”

Sam wants to argue, he really does, but the tightness of his brother's voice stops him. Dean's not bored, his style isn't cramped. He's afraid, and the emotional plea isn't one Sam can bring himself to ignore. “What do you want me to do?” he asks quietly, setting the book aside.

Dean shakes his head. “I don't know. Find a binding spell, a magic object – whatever it takes. That's your thing, right?” Dean glances over at his brother. “Just – get her back where it's safe.”

Sam blows the air from his lungs with a steady resignation. “You do realize she's gonna be pissed, right?”

Dean smiles wryly, his eyes drifting fondly over the fairy. “I'm counting on it.”

***********************

Dean stays in the car for a while. The lights are still on behind the ratty motel curtains, and for a few minutes, he can pretend nothing's changed, let himself imagine he'll go inside and hear the familiar buzz, that poke against his chest that usually heralds a reading of the fairy riot act. But it's been years since he was a kid, and even longer since he let himself pretend, so he finally gets out, giving the Impala an absent pat before crunching through the snow to their room.

“Is it done?” Dean asks Sam, trying for casual as he shrugs out of his coat and throws it onto the chair.

Sam scoots up to sit a little straighter against the headboard, scratches at the back of his neck. “Yeah, about that…”

“Something go wrong with the spell?”

“More like a change of plan,” Sam submits.

Dean's brows draw together. His little brother's actually fidgeting. “Sam…”

And sure enough: “She was never going to stay there, Dean, spell or no spell - I had to improvise.”

Shit. “What did you do?” Dean demands. “Swear to god, if you - ” Dean's rant is cut short as a petite blonde steps out of the bathroom, smelling like she's been doused with an entire bottle of aftershave and wearing only – “Is that my shirt?” Dean asks, unable to wrap his mind around the half-dressed woman in the room.

The blonde tosses him a happy smile that reaches her silver eyes, and - “You did not,” Dean exclaims, spinning on Sam in disbelief. But Sam's cringing is a damn good indication that Sam in fact did. “What were you thinking?”

Sam doesn't appear to have an answer for that, and Dean turns to stare again at this new, taller, wingless Stansie. She flops facedown onto Dean's bed, pulling up a bag of peanut M&Ms and crossing her ankles, letting her feet wave the air. The worn flannel rides up her shapely thighs, and then farther, and farther... Dean finally realizes there's nothing but more bare skin ahead, and both he and Sam are gawking. He quickly slaps a pillow over the naked milk-white curves, tries to gather a coherent thought as Stansie takes in the Home Shopping Network's post-Christmas blow-out.

“C'mon, Dean – aren't you just a little happy?” Sam asks. “She'll be easier to take care of like this.”

“Oh, you think?” Dean wonders how Sam could be in a relationship long enough to get engaged and still be so naïve. “You made her a real girl!” he shouts, earning him a reproachful glance from the former fairy. He lowers his voice. “It's not like she's some supernatural mascot, Sam. She's gonna want things. Commitments. That's not what I do,” he asserts, pointing a finger at his little brother for emphasis.

“Fine,” Sam replies, reaching for his preferred bag of corn chips.

Dean's skeptical. “Fine?”

Sam shrugs. “Yeah. I'll keep her myself.” He pours a handful of chips into his mouth.

“You'll what?” Dean has this urge to have his hearing checked. “You can't just keep her, Sam.”

Sam chews, swallows loudly. “Sure I can. I like her; she knows how to play chess. I might even marry her.”

“You're not marrying her,” Dean grits.

Sam scoffs. “What do you care? You don't even want her.”

“The hell I don't!” Dean roars, the sound startlingly loud in the small room.

There's an annoyed shushing sound from Stansie, and then Sam's smiling that intolerably smug smile, the one that always used to make their father's blood pressure shoot up at alarming rates.

“Well. Guess that wraps that up then,” the younger hunter announces, happily reaching for another handful of chips.

Dean looks over his shoulder at Stansie. Total diva, and she's shit for orders. But with her smooth skin peeping out from his shirt, he'll be damned if he knows why it's a problem. Besides, Dean thinks, as she blows a lock of golden hair from her eyes; she's crazy about him. Literally. What more can a guy want?

The thought has Dean's gaze veering back to his little brother, who's looking way too pleased with himself. Dean guesses he ought to thank him. “Sam?”

“Yeah.”

Dean's lips pull back over his teeth. “Run.”

After all, it's still the holidays. He'll thank Sam tomorrow.

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