Warnings: ehm, not as cracky as it sounds?
Spoilers: all Seasons
Author's Notes: The prompt asked for Sam to be transformed into a non-vocal animal and also angst...I noticed I'm not that good at angst, but I tried my best and I really hope you'll like your gift. Special thanks to my beta, who really saved me. All remaining mistakes are mine, title shamelessly stolen from a quote by John Balguy.
Summary: Sam is a snake. It goes downhill from there.
Waking up as a snake was not as fun as it sounded. It wasn't the first time, but it seemed to become harder rather than easier
Sam was just never prepared for the way his new body curled into the weirdest shapes and it took forever to straighten out. So he could start his day. As a snake. He always knew fate had it in for him.
“-It's funny, but I could swear you're doing your bitch face right now.“ Dean said from the doorway.
This was definitively one of the really annoying part of the whole transformation thing, not being able to hit Dean or even roll his eyes at him, just as bad as not having a nose or legs. Why was that even his life
“Yes, bitch face. Man, how do you even do that as a snake?- I mean you don't have a face or anything. That's real talent.”
He was not going to choke his brother, he was not.
“Sam, get that away from me!”Dean shouted, while getting out of reach of his lower body by jumping into the bathroom.
So he didn't have full control of his whole body, so it just responded to instinct sometimes, sue him.
“It freaking figures that you would turn into a python. Taking it a little literally there with the whole being ginormous thing,” he muttered. “So, I guess waiting this thing out is a bust, huh.”
Freaking figures is right, Sam thought.
“So, Bobby hasn't turned up anything new..., any bright ideas snake-boy?”
This was where they normally would have just asked Cas...Sam could see that his brother thought the same by the expression on his face. Damn.
“This is the moment actual connections in the hoodoo community would be damn helpful.” Dean said visibly shutting that train of thought down “Fact is, we have to get out of here and to Bobby's. I know we haven't finished the hunt, Sam, but it's not like we can go with you starring as Anaconda and you made it clear you don't want me doing it alone.”
Hey, he may not have been able to speak, but winding around his brother's legs and arms, when he tried to leave had proven to be a pretty effective way to keep him from leaving and hunting the werewolf pack on his own, the suicidal idiot.
“Bobby has let some people know what we dug up around here, he's expecting us and nobody is out there so I figure this is the best time to get the hell out of dodge, even though heaving you into the car is going to be such a bitch.” Dean complained.
Yeah, and slithering across the gravel road was going to be so much more fun.
After enduring horrendous 8 hours cramped into the car having to listen to Dean either complaining about the dust he got on the upholstery or the greatest hits of Metallica at full volume with complimentary singing added as a bonus, Sam was just about going out of his skin and sincerely hoped that feeling wouldn't translate into him actually shedding, because there was only so much weirdness he could take in one week.
“So I guess that's Sam then.” Bobby said, coming out of the house.
“Yeah and you better help me get him out of the car, I think I nearly broke my back hauling him in the first time.” Dean answered.
“Oh stop complaining, you baby” Bobby replied, “I have been up all night trying to find out what or who could have done that and I'm fucking exhausted. You sure you didn't see a hex bag anywhere? Or pissed off some hoodoo priestess or something?”
“After I understood what happened” And stopped trying to kill me, Sam added mentally, “I searched every inch of our motel room and all the places we had been on our hunt. Nada. I mean we weren't even there to hunt something remotely related to snakes or witches or anything. This just came completely out of left field.”
“Could a demon have swung that? Or an angel for that matter.” Bobby added delicately.
Sam could see Dean flinch at the question, but he pulled himself together and answered: “Well, maybe they could, angels definitively, but we, Sam and I, don't think so. If they got close enough to us, why not just kill us? “
And that was the crux of the matter, what they had discussed, or to be more accurate Dean had rambled on about while Sam had been nodding or shaking his head and sometimes painstakingly written words in the air, when he needed to get Dean thinking in a different direction.
It had been frustrating and maddeningly slow especially because it was sometimes extremely hard to make his new body move in ways it just hadn't been designed, but when talking about either demons or angels being responsible for Sam's condition it had always come back to the fact that turning him in a snake hadn't actually harmed him. Sure he couldn't hunt or speak, but he was alive and relatively well. Every spell could be broken in one way or the other, so there was just no point in it all.
“I mean, what would be the point, really in turning him into a snake and then just leaving us be?” Dean said, echoing Sam's thoughts. “No, I don't think this was something that hit Sam accidentally or at least wasn't meant to actively harm him. So I think heaven and hell are off our suspect list.”
“Mhm, makes sense I guess. So that leaves us what? Random curses, deities, old Indian enchantments...”
“And a shit load of other things, yeah. I kind of hope he'll transform while we search for a solution, but the way our luck goes...” Dean said.
“Yeah not much a chance of that happening.” Bobby frowned. “Now, enough chattering in the driveway, let's get inside and start hitting the books.”
It was kind of weird that hitting the books didn't include him, but while he could comprehend words and understand letters – which is how he had convinced Dean he was Sam by coiling around him and tracing “I am Sam” into the air - with an added “you moron” after the first 20 times- reading seemed to be beyond him and it wasn't like he could turn the pages anyway.
Which basically meant he could hang around the house laying on Bobby's sofa, lounging in its one solitary sunspot listening to the others throw theories around.
It was kind of nice not having to scramble around after the newest catastrophe. The last few weeks had been stressful, having to deal with the nightmares (memories) while trying to figure out how to stop Castiel – if he could be stopped and if they even should.
To be honest, Sam couldn't remember the last time he was so peaceful in his own head, just laying still without feeling the need to outrun...something, everything.
He would call it contentment, if he remembered how that felt like
“So tell me again why it can't be a weirdly misplaced fertility curse?”
Ok, he definitively had missed something there by getting lost in his own head.
“Because that one only works on women and before you say anything – the women have to be of Asian origin.” Bobby sighed. “I don't think we'll get much farther today. Let's pack this up and continue tomorrow. Seeing as it's been two days and nothing worse has happened we're probably not working under any time limit.”
“I still haven't lost hope that it'll sort itself out or that the fucker who did it drops by to gloat or something.” Dean grumbled. He shot a worried look over to Sam, but it was gone as quick as it came.
“Yeah good luck with that, but I'm not gonna hold my breath. What are we gonna do with your brother?”
Dean walked over saying “What can we do really? I guess he should stay on your sofa, cause I don't know about you, but I'm not carrying him upstairs.”
The next few days continued in the same vein. Bobby and Dean would be researching and Sam would lay in the room listening to the theories getting thrown around and away even though they got crazier by the hour.
The thing was, Sam should be bored. He couldn't participate because he could neither read nor speak and he could see how it was driving Dean a bit crazy not having him giving the right input at the right time. It was extremely frustrating to just be there and not able to help especially after it became clear that the effort of trying to make himself understood was just too much work most of the time.
So, he had too much time on his hands and was alone with his thoughts. Weird thing was it wasn't too bad. Which was really novel for him. After the wall came tumbling down and to be honest even before that his head had not been the nicest thing in the world to be left alone with. He actually had been going out of his way to keep from doing it, so much so that Dean had started commenting on kind of missing his brooding. Dean missing his brooding, if they hadn't already averted the apocalypse, that what have surely been a sign.
Maybe I'm finally adjusting, Sam thought. It was actually kind of nice to just let his thoughts take him wherever he wanted without being afraid to get assaulted by a stray thought about hell or Lucifer or anything.
“...that it could be” Bobby said.
“Yeah, its worth a shot, because I have a big pile of nothing.” Dean answered.
Well, I guess I missed something, thought Sam. It wasn't like he could do that much and staring at Bobby's wall got kind of boring after the fourth day. At least he wasn't in the panic room this time.
So he probably had gone to sleep for a while and now he didn't have the first clue why Dean was striding purposefully towards him.
“You'll have to leave your resting place for this, your highness, or are you waiting for an engraved invitation.”
So Dean hadn't noticed that he fell asleep but then sleeping snakes probably didn't look that different from resting snakes and now he was really nervous and that made him hiss loudly as well as curl his body uncomfortably tight.
“Whoa there, hold your horses Sammy. -It's just a little ritual in case this is some hoodoo bullshit, even though I have no idea who you managed to piss off this much. Sure you didn't like destroy some ancient memorial or something when you were Robocop? No?” Dean asked. It was clear he mainly wanted to do something. The days of researching were obviously starting to take its toll on him.
Well, he should be fine with a (probably useless) ritual. Maybe it would even work and he would finally have his hands back.
Little ritual my ass thought Sam. He was going to feel that sand on his scales for days.
“I think we can safely say its not hoodoo” said Bobby.
“Which is fine and all, but it puts us back to square one on what it could be.” Dean sighed, “also I'm seriously tiring of the whole hitting-the-books thing. Doesn't seem to be helping us find anything anyway.”
“If you have a better idea, be my guest.” answered Bobby, “because otherwise it will have to be the books.”
“Maybe if we went through...”
“...died the way it was supposed to.” Dean was saying.
“So I guess it really can't have been that ghost. Not that it was very likely in the first place.” Bobby grumbled.
Man that ritual must have taken more out of him than he thought, because Sam had obviously conked out in the middle of the conversation there.
Weird, because it's not like the ritual did anything. But then, I wouldn't have been very helpful anyway, Sam thought disgruntedly.
“Anyway I think we should take a break and feed the gigantor over there before he commits fratricide out of hunger. The way he's been looking at us for the past half hour has me kind of nervous.” Dean chuckled.
Wha- Sam startled. But I wasn't even awake. How could I have been eyeing him?
“I guess you are right, don't want him to use his new instincts unnecessarily.”
Something weird was going on here. Dean and Bobby were obviously convinced he had been with them mentally, but Sam had no recollection of that. But he didn't feel different either.
Maybe it's just a fluke, a side effect from the ritual, he reasoned.
Sam was slowly but surely panicking.
Since the first time he had noticed he had always tried to keep the clock in his sight and he seemed to be loosing hours at an increasing rate. Neither Bobby nor Dean noticed when he was just gone, but he couldn't really fault them for that.
Because even worse than his apparent bouts of mental absence was the fact that he didn't have full control of his body. He could still move when he wanted to, but any behaviour that would be considered not snake-like just didn't seem to be computing with his muscles.
He hadn't had perfect control before this, but now all those instances where his new instincts had taken over were starting to take on a more sinister air. He should have drawn attention to it while he still could, because it seemed to be too damn late now.
What the fuck is happening, Sam thought. It was like the Snake was taking over and slowly eroding him from consciousness.
And if that was what was going on then this curse did have a definite time limit. And he was the only one who knew.
“I think we should stop for today.” Dean said, “cause I don't know about you but my head is smoking.”
“Yeah, fine. Seeing as this is turning out to be a marathon and not a sprint, we better pace ourselves.” Bobby answered.
Damn, this was the second day the two of them had stopped early.
“Sammy seems to be enjoying his vacation, anyway.” Dean grumbled good-naturely, “look at him basking in the sun.” He had a small smile on his face. Sam had been saying that they needed a vacation after all that had happened and Dean couldn't know that this situation?-Was as far from a vacation as you could get.
No, no I'm not enjoying this at all! Sam tried sending distress signals, tried to make his body unfurl to make the end of his body move so he could at least form an SO-
Sam was floating. He was relaxed at peace in a way he hadn't been since … sometime, he couldn't remember. Which was fine, everything was fine, except for that niggling voice that tried to make him wake up but I'm awake that something wasn't right but everything is, as alright as I have ever been whenever that was that he should remember, should know, but that thought vanished like all the others did.
Sam woke up to darkness and slowly shook off a sense of deep-seated contentment, that still felt wrong somehow.
Damn how many hours have I lost, Sam looked up at the clock. 9 hours...oh christ His lucid periods kept getting shorter, this time he had been awake for only 2 hours.
He didn't know what to do. He felt trapped, helpless, but even worse he didn't feel trapped and helpless enough. What at the beginning had seemed like a reprieve from his memories of hell, of the apocalypse, of all the tragedies and betrayals of the last few years was turning into a nightmare.
It was like all his emotions were damped somehow. He was still feeling them, but everything was coming to him like through a murky filter. He had to force himself to achieve the right level of urgency, of panic and it was taking longer every time.
All his feelings were made less somehow, it was all being transformed into a general sense of contentment and blankness and it was getting increasingly harder to remember why he needed to keep fighting it.
They actually stumbled on the solution two weeks after Sam transformed. It was pure coincidence he was awake at the time to appreciate the irony, -as much as he could with that cloying sense of contentment overlaying every thought.
“Hey listen to this:” Dean was saying, “For those tormented, for those broken, for those shattered; To be one in all and all in one; To be whole and safe and content; Wish unto me and be made new.”
“It does sound like something that could transform someone, but you'd have to actually know about it. This thing have a name?”
“Not that I can tell, it's just mentioned under a few nature deities.” Dean answered. “Only, safe, content? That does sound like something I can see Sam wish for. Especially after the last month, who could blame him really?”
Not only me, Sam thought. He remembered distantly reading this little incantation before while randomly coming across it in research. It had been a particularly bad few days for both of them with memories of hell and Castiel's betrayal feeling like a sharp pain under their skin.
He had read it and thought absently about how fitting it was for both of them and how nice it would be if safety and contentment were really only one little wish away.
“As long as we don't have a name or location we can't do anything about it.” Bobby said,” Its a long shot anyway, because deities? They normally require more than a simple wish to work and what would turning him in a snake really have accomplished?”
No, no you're so close, there's still something of me here, don't give up, Sam thought, but his thoughts were starting to become indistinct and everything was starting to dissolve around him
“I still think we should look into it, just, I have this feeling in my gut and it's not like we have any other...”
He had experimented and it seemed the more negative his thoughts and feelings were, the faster and longer he would be gone, like the blankness was trying to just make them all vanish. The less he tried to feel the longer he could stay around, the less pieces of himself he lost.
I don't think this was how it was supposed to work, Sam thought. The wish was probably old age deity equivalent of trauma therapy. After reading the incantation he must have done something or drove through some place that made the wish activate.
It was probably supposed to make some experiences easier to deal with for a while, to filter everything through the limited perception of an animal. But with him, probably because of his literally shattered soul, of the last pieces of the wall he had still sometimes felt, the wish twisted.
And getting better changed into erasing everything. No, no he was starting to slip again, eroding away.
When neutral doesn't work, go with happy, Sam reminded himself. It wasn't as effective as he'd like, but still let him stay longer than brooding did.
Dean, think about Dean. Dean who after 20 days still worked endlessly at saving the last piece of family had left. Dean who still tried to include his snake form into conversation, even though he had both noticed that it didn't seem to work as well as it did. Dean, who had started to sleep downstairs, who he loved, his brother, who had never left him, who wasn't leaving even now.
But I'm leaving him, Sam thought hysterically. I never wanted to do that to him again, but I'm leaving him and he doesn't even know, I can't even tell him, can't make him understand, can't-
Contentment and nothingness came over him like a wave.
“Sam....we...olution.....found i....not long n......”
He could hear someone distantly saying something...distressingly?
Distressingly...something said in distress, He wondered what that was like.
“...coming ba....easy....obvious...m so sorry...long”
He didn't know how it felt, but he could remember it being something bad, something not-content. The voice was familiar somehow, he didn't want it to be....sad, the word is sad.
It's alright, everything is alright, all is fine...
He, who had been Sam once upon a time, felt like smiling, but that too passes with time.