Title: More Like Me
Word Count: 7,300
Summary: Can Bobby convince Sam and Dean that they aren't acting like themselves?
This was written for the spn_bigpretzel fic exchange and for jennytork who came up with this prompt: Semi-body swap -- Their skill sets get switched -- Suddenly Sam can do mechanical stuff and Dean is the knife wizard. Their personal likes and dislikes get switched too. And they DON'T REGISTER IT.
Special thanks to ficwriter1966 who beta'd this, gave me some great words of encouragement, and offered some super suggestions. My original first draft, well ... it rather sucked ... and she really gave me some great tips on how to improve it. Thanks!!!!
Also big thanks to quickreaver for her lovely art -- I feel so honored to have her talent added to this story! Check out the her art masterpost for this fic here: http://quickreaver.livejournal.com/38690.html
More Like Me
Bobby wasn’t really worried about the changes he saw in the boys at first -- he was just glad that they were still breathing.
After their last hunt, Dean and Sam had both walked away (sort-of) and stumbled back to his place with minor concussions and enough bruises on their faces and bodies to make it look like they had both been passed through a meat grinder, so really … it was no surprise that they were both acting a little … off.
It wasn’t anything major at first; Sam was a little bit cruder than usual and seemed to think that everything that came out of his mouth was hilarious while Dean, on the flip side, was quieter – one might even say he was brooding – but none of this by itself was really cause for too much alarm and Bobby played it all off in his head and figured that having their eggs scrambled had just left them a little out of sorts and in a day or two they’d be back to their old idjit selves in no time.
But all of Bobby’s internal assurances that the boys were going to be fine were wiped clean away the next morning when he walked into his study and found Dean.
Of course, it wasn’t too unusual to find the older Winchester in his library, but finding him sitting at the desk, surrounded by stacks of thick, ancient tomes in Latin with his head down and reading so intensely that he didn’t even hear Bobby walk in was certainly not Dean’s normal M.O.
“Dean?” Bobby asked, when the younger man didn’t answer right away, he called out again, a little louder this time, “Dean?”
Finally Dean snapped his head up, “Oh … Hey, Bobby.”
“What’re ya doin’?”
“Just reading up on anomalous spirit encounters.” Dean replied as if it was something that he did just for fun every day.
“Really?” Bobby asked, walking behind Dean and seeing that he was indeed reading an old text on that subject, “Why you reading that?”
“Well … I figure the way we got tossed around by that witch’s ghost a few days ago, that it might be a good idea to do a little more research on the differentiation of human spirits versus the more powerful apparitions that witches manifest.”
Bobby wasn’t aware that his mouth was hanging open until he tried to speak again; he didn’t think he had ever heard Dean speak with words that contained so many syllables in one sentence before, “So you’re just researching for research’s sake?” He asked.
“Yeah … I suppose I am.” Dean grinned back, “Can’t ever know too much, right?”
“You feelin’ okay, boy?” Bobby asked, suddenly tempted to touch Dean's forehead to check for fever and worried that the kid’s knock to the head was far worse that he thought.
“I feel fine … why?”
“It’s just … ya know … I don’t usually see ya in here reading my books unless I’ve had to drag you in here.”
“I read all of the time, Bobby.” Dean came back defensively, sounding a little irritated.
“Penthouse forum doesn’t count.” Bobby retorted which caused Dean to and pull a bitchy frown that would have been more at home on Sam’s face.
Speaking of which …
“Where’s your brother?” Bobby asked.
Dean shrugged and went back to reading the ancient book in front of him, “I dunno … outside, I suppose. He said something sounded ‘funny’ with car and I think he was going to check it out.”
Bobby felt his eyebrows nearly touch the brim of his hat, “Sam’s out working on the car?”
“So?” Bobby couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Dean didn’t even let Bobby touch the engine of his car much less Sam, who didn’t know the difference between a distributor cap and a hub cap, “You’re just gonna sit in here reading while Sam tinkers around on your car?”
Dean didn’t even look up from his book when he responded, “Meh … he doesn’t need my help, he’ll figure it out.”
Bobby was too flabbergasted to know what to say any longer, but he suddenly had an image in his mind of Sam under the hood of the Impala and ‘fixing’ it so that it never ran again. The boy may be a genius at researching but he was about as mechanically inclined as Bobby’s dog.
Bobby was out the door and beside the black, classic car in the space of a heartbeat where he found two, long, jean-clad legs sticking out from under the Impala’s chassis. Dean’s Allman Brothers cassette was playing loudly in the car’s stereo and Bobby had to practically shout to make himself heard.
“Sam?” he called.
“Whatcha doing down there?”
“What’s it look like?” Sam responded, sounding a little annoyed. Bobby could hear the familiar clicks of a socket wrench being turned, followed by a clank and a string of curses. “Shit … this whole damn pipe is rusted out and the muffler has a crack in it. I haven’t even checked the manifold yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t shot all to hell too …”
Bobby’s knees cracked painfully loud as he bent down and took in the sight of Sam with his back flat on the wooden under-car creeper, his arms covered in grease up to his elbows as he cranked another screw loose from the pipe then pulled the rusted part down and chucked it to the side.
“Okay … that’s it.” Feeling the urgent need to stop the boy from causing any further damage, Bobby abruptly pulled on Sam’s exposed boot and wheeled the kid out from under the car. Sam jolted upright from the unexpected movement and promptly smacked his forehead into the chassis.
“Owwww … Son of a bitch! What do you think you’re doing, Bobby?” Sam growled, rubbing his head as he came out from under the car, leaving a smear of grease on his face.
“What am I doing?” Bobby shot back vehemently, “I think that question’s a little ass-backward, don’t ya think?”
“Wha?” Sam started, but was cut off the moment Bobby forcefully grabbed him by the collar and yanked him up to his feet and started pulling in the direction of the house.
“Bobby! What the –“
“Shut it – get in the house, “ Bobby ordered, “Something’s seriously wrong here and we need to figure out what’s causin’ it right now!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Sam protested, but Bobby was seriously pissed (and maybe a little scared) over the strange behavior those two kids were displaying and the only way he could get any answers would be to get Sam and Dean together and grill them over just what the heck happened on their last hunt.
Bobby practically pushed Sam into the living room and pointed at the sofa, “Sit!” He demanded.
“Okay … Jesus H, Mary, and Joseph,” Sam grumbled petulantly as he sat down, “What crawled up your butt and died?”
Bobby‘s deadly glare shut the kid up right quick.
“Dean!” Bobby raised his voice and shouted, “Get your ass in here!”
Dean cautiously poked his head out of the study, his face a mixture of confusion and concern, “Bobby? What’s going on? What’s with the shouting?”
Bobby pointed to the empty space on the couch next to Sam, “Sit. We need to talk about what’s happened to you two.”
Dean furrowed his brow and looked at Sam questioningly who shrugged his shoulders in response, just as confounded by Bobby’s demands as he was. Thankfully, Dean didn’t push for answers yet and did as he was told, planting his rear next to his brother.
“You mind filling us in on what’s twisting your drawers, Bobby?” Sam asked.
“That –“ Bobby pointed at Sam.
“What?” Sam came back.
“No … you.”
Bobby sighed and whipped off his hat, running a hand through his hair in frustration, “Yes … You – acting like a donkey’s ass – that ain’t like you, Sam -- You don’t say stupid crap like that --that’s shit Dean might say, but not you.”
Sam and Dean both looked at each other and then almost simultaneously stared back at Bobby as if he had just lost his cotton-picking mind.
“Uh … Bobby …I hate to point this out, but Sam’s a jerk like this all of the time.” Dean stated.
“Hey!” Sam protested, “Am not.”
Bobby pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes for a second, hoping that the throbbing in his head wasn’t the first sign of a stress induced stroke. When he opened his eyes again, Dean had leaned forward towards Bobby, his elbows onto his knees and folding his hands together like he was goddamned Dr. Phil. Dean’s eyebrows rose empathetically and for a second, Bobby was worried that there might be some hugging soon if he didn’t put a stop to the kid looking at him with such pity.
“Are you okay? Maybe you should go lie down for a while, “ Dean suggested gently.
Bobby tossed up his hands, “Oh for the love of –“
Sam cut in quickly, “Bobby, just tell us what the hell this is all about.”
Taking in a deep breath and blowing it out, Bobby tried to think of the best way to put what he was seeing in Sam in Dean into words that they would both understand because clearly these two had no idea what he was talking about. Neither one of them seemed to have any sort of clue that they acting out the ordinary and it was frustrating to say the least.
“Okay … here’s the deal,” Bobby pointed at Sam, “You’re acting like him,” he then pointed at Dean,” and he’s acting like you. It’s like you two switched bodies … only without switching bodies.”
Now that Bobby had said it out loud, he realized how strange that sounded.
“Switched?” Sam and Dean asked together.
“Yeah … like you two swapped out each other’s personalities or something.”
“Soooo …” Sam drawled out, “You’re saying that we’ve been Freaky Friday’d?”
Dean rolled his eyes at his brother, “No, Sam … weren’t you listening? Bobby’s saying that we didn’t switch bodies, just our personalities.” Dean turned to Bobby again, looking doubtful “But I don’t really feel any different. “
“Well … let me ask you something -- which one of you went to Stanford on a full-ride and which one of you dropped out of high school? And which one of you was 14 when he overhauled an engine all on his own and which one of you translated Virgil’s The Aenied, just to practice Latin?”
Sam and Dean shared a look at each other, and Bobby watched as little light bulbs seemed to go off in both of the boys’ heads, “Huh … I dropped out, didn’t I, Bobby?” Dean answered, scratching his head, “But … I like school, why would I do that?”
“Yeah … it’s weird … “Sam added, looking just as confused as his brother “I remember going to college – but I can’t think of why I would have wanted to go or why I would have left hunting. I can’t even remember anything that I learned there … This is crazy.”
Sam and Dean still looked unconvinced and Bobby thought he might scream in frustration.
“I’ll tell you what’s crazy – “ Bobby came back, “Crazy is Sam -- who can’t remember which way a screw tightens, was taking apart the exhaust system on the Impala – and crazy is Dean reading anything other than Hustler or Busty Asian Biddy’s or whatever the hell it is … Crazy is --“
“Okay … Okay, Bobby. We believe you.” Sam spoke up, raising his hands up in order to put a halt to the older hunter’s rant, “We trust you and if you say we aren’t acting ourselves, then we aren’t acting ourselves.” Sam shot a look at Sam and kicked him in the shin for good measure, “Right, Dean?”
Dean nodded, his face taking on a contrite sincerity, “He’s right, Bobby. I’m sorry …”
“Can it … we need to figure out what did this to you and how we can fix this.” Bobby pointed out, “Now … tell me everything about the last hunt you two knuckleheads came from. It was a witch, right?”
“Yeah …” Dean responded, “Well, actually she was the spirit of a witch. She’d been causing all kinds of havoc in an old house that had just started renovations. The new owner had discovered a hidden room within the cellar and he must have let the spirit out somehow when they knocked down a wall there because as soon as he did, she attacked and he ended up in the hospital. No one had gone down there since – so, Sam and I decided to check it out. As soon as we got close to the room, she came at us, but we managed to dispel her with some rock salt for a few minutes and investigate. When we stepped inside, there were sigils on each of the walls expect for the one that was smashed in –“
“Sigils? What kind of sigils?” Bobby asked.
Dean shook his head, “I didn’t recognize them, but I remember what they look like.”
Bobby turned around and reached for a piece of paper and a pen, “Good … here -- draw them and I’ll see if I know what they’re for.” He instructed.
Dean grabbed the paper and started drawing while Bobby turned on Sam and demanded more of the story, “So how did you know she was a witch?”
“Well … when we took a look around the hidden room it was filled with all kinds of witchy stuff.”
“You know … gross crap … toes of frogs, eyes of newt, potions, and even a huge cauldron -- that kinda of witchy stuff… but I suppose the real tip-off that she was a witch would be the gigantic-ass altar to Satan she had set up in there.”
“There’s one more thing …” Dean added as he handed off his drawing to Bobby, “From the looks of things, plus the fact that we found her body inside the bricked-in room next to the alter – “
“You think someone sealed her in.” Bobby finished for Dean.
“Yeah … “Dean agreed, “Very Cask of Amontillado, huh?”
Bobby was still a little surprised to hear Dean making an allusion to anything that wasn’t a movie involving naked women or explosions, but then he reminded himself that today was opposite’s day and he would just have to go with the flow.
Bobby glanced down at the drawing Dean had made and screwed up his face in puzzlement, he’d seen this somewhere before, but he couldn’t place it…
He took the drawing and headed to his library, looking for the book he thought he might have seen it in. Sam and Dean followed close behind and each took a seat while he searched among the endless stacks of ancient tomes.
Finally the book he was looking for was found behind another pile of books and he made a mental note to himself to re-organize his shelves to make it easier to find everything. He used to have a pretty good system going and always had an idea where everything was before the boys came back into his life and while Sam was normally good at putting things back where he found them, Dean had a tendency to pull a book out (when he did pick up a book and research) and put it any ‘ol place afterwards. It was irritating to say the least, but if having a few misplaced books was the price for having them stop by from time to time and make him feel a little less like a lonely old hermit, then he figured it was worth it.
Bobby opened the book up on his desk and started flipping through the pages. Dean stood up and started looking over Bobby’s shoulder trying to get a look at what he was reading and looking for – getting close enough to block what little light there was coming into the room from the window. Normally that was a habit of Sam’s that drove him up the wall and this time with Dean it was no different.
“You mind? I can’t see for shit and you’re blocking the light.” Bobby grumbled.
“Sorry.” Dean apologized and stepped back, but Bobby knew he was still trying to read the pages he was flipping through over his shoulder. At long last Bobby came to the page with the sigil on it and started to read the important bits out loud for everyone’s benefit and before Dean could invade his space again.
“Kay … says here that this sigil is just about as old as dirt – comes from the Minoan civilization and was used to help seal in an evil entity inside the giant maze at Knossos –“
“You mean the Minotaur?” Dean asked.
“The one any only – this sigil’s got a pretty powerful magic in it that kept the Minotaur from escaping and trapped it in the maze. Someone must have used this to keep that witch’s power contained in the hidden room so she couldn’t get out and she must have been pretty damned powerful for someone to use this against her -- they probably couldn’t find a way to kill her out right and instead found a way to trap her in the room and let nature take its course. Witches are mostly human and without access to food and water, she probably starved to death. However, the sigil needs to be on the exact four cardinal points in a room at north, south, east and west in order for it to work – I’m guessing that knocking down that wall destroyed one sigil and broke the seal, allowed her power and spirit to escape. Now … you guys burned her bones right?”
“Yeah … course we did.” Sam replied quickly. “I lit her up myself.”
“How about destroying her altar?”
Both Sam and Dean exchanged sheepish and contrite glances.
“Oh … jeez … You idjits …you telling me you didn’t destroy the altar?
“Uh well …” Sam stumbled, “Ya see … she was going kinda going nuts at the time. She threw Dean into a shelf and knocked him out while half of the contents of all of her witch crap got all over him. I shot her with rock salt, but it only seemed to dispel her for half a second. Next thing I know she’s throwing me into a wall and I’m seeing stars. I don’t remember much after that except that I was lucky enough to be tossed almost on top of her bones. “
“That’s about the time I woke up.” Dean jumped in, continuing the story, “I shot her again while Sam tried to get the fire started. She kept popping up and coming after us every two seconds until Sam got her bones salted and burned ...”
“And we kinda just took off after that …” Sam finished Dean’s sentence for him, “Neither one of us was seeing or thinking straight at the time and I just wanted to get Dean out of there before he passed out again.”
Bobby eyed Sam and Dean – he had half a mind to go off on them both for being so stupid as to leave the source of that witch’s power intact, but both of them looked sufficiently guilty that he didn’t see the need to lay into them any further. Besides, he still had to figure out what caused their little switcheroo and what they were going to do about it.
“Hmmm …” Bobby mused out loud, “Sam – you said Dean was thrown into the shelf with all of the witch’s stuff on it – did any of it break? Did he ingest any or get any on his skin?”
Switches seemed to flick on in Sam’s head as his eyes lit up, “Yeah … he had head-to- toe goo and all kinds of crap on him.”
“Did you get any on you, Sam?”
“Yeah – I had to help Dean out … by the time we made it to the car, we were both covered in the stuff.”
Bobby sighed, putting the pieces together, “Sounds like you two got a contact poisoning from her stuff – I’d bet something in all of that was a potion that did this to you. And since you two morons didn’t destroy her altar – enough of her power remained to make that potion at least partially effective – might have been a something meant to switch bodies, but there wasn’t enough power or you didn’t ingest enough to complete the switch and instead you two switched personalities.”
“Okay … so that might explain how this all happened, but how do we fix this?” Sam asked.
“Well ... for starters you gotta go back to that altar and destroy it – hopefully that will cut off whatever power the witch put into that potion and you two will go back to --- you know --- being you two again.”
Continued in Part 2