When a finger bigger than either brothers head brushed over Dean, melting some of the snow instantly on contact and knocking a few other flakes free from his flattened spike of hair, he jerked back on instinct, and dragged Sam along with him as he cringed from the hand that could scoop them both into a fist in seconds. Sam was limp, offering no resistance to Dean’s motion.
John sucked in a startled breath, jerking his hand back for a second. Before he could think about it, his hand shot back out and curled behind the moving figure’s back. His hand didn’t close, simply formed a barrier of warmth for the kid. They looked so small against his palm, and he took half a second to process the fact that they didn’t just look like tiny kids, they were real.
Things on the side of the walk weren’t an unusual sight at all, especially in John’s part of town. There was always a little rubbish someone missed, toys or other belongings some kid might have dropped earlier in the day that got swept aside.
So when John noticed a small figure huddled against the wall, his gaze downturned thanks to the precipitation, he passed right by it with hardly a question.
A few steps away was a crossing, which had just turned in the direction that John wasn’t heading, so he shoved his hands in his pockets with a sigh and waited patiently for the light.
Boredom struck quickly, and curiosity brought his attention sliding back the way he’d come, to that strange figure in the snow. He didn’t understand why until he thought about it; whatever it was, was small enough to be a toy. But a fallen toy wouldn’t manipulate itself in such a position.
Curiosity won out, and with a glance back at the traffic lights, John meandered his way back to check out what was over there.
Frowning thoughtfully, John crouched down for a better look. He wasn’t around children often, but he’d never seen toys quite like these.
It seemed to be two figures, clinging to each other in the snow. Too lifelike to be simple playthings, and he couldn’t see any telltale joint mechanisms to allow for movement. Perhaps it was some kind of subtle art piece, a political statement maybe.
They looked an awful lot like kids.
John couldn’t quite tell. After a moment of thought, he took one hand out of his pocket and reached out to brush a bit of the thin layer of snow off this supposed street art.
Dean heard the footsteps returning after the most recent giant passed by. They shook the ground under him, how could he miss such rumbles?
Darting one glance towards the shadow he could see moving along the walkway, Dean pulled Sam closer, his arm protectively curled around his little brother’s body to keep him close. Whatever happened, he couldn’t afford to be split apart from Sam. After months in captivity, they’d escaped together, and had each other to rely on in a completely alien world from where they’d grown up. Dean refused to let Sam slip away from him after coming so far.
With the shadow rapidly approaching, it was for the best that Sam was out cold. There was even less of a chance that anyone would realize they were alive if they didn’t move, and the younger kid had less self-control than Dean.
The footsteps slowed and came to a stop about a foot away, and Dean saw the massive shape crouch down, looming over them both as the stranger leaned in to see them better. Shoes bigger than both brothers together crunched against the snow.
Dean stared up at the giant. Keen blue eyes looked them both over, vaguely interested and strangely piercing at the same time. He willed himself to keep still, trying so hard to avoid notice, but deep in his heart knew it was too late. Whoever this stranger was, he’d found them. If they were lucky, he’d pass them up as two broken toys on the street. If not… Dean hated to think of Sam back in that cage again.
His words from before, said to reassure Sam, were coming back to bite him as a hand reached for them.
@neonthewrite– That sounds fantastic. The sprites have probably experimented with some of that before, at least a little. They have some efficient ways of keeping their homes warm, but no one’s perfect and I bet a time or two, juice has frozen over. Sam could pretend he’s having an icee if they crushed it up to eat it.
If Bowman got his tongue stuck on ice, he’d probably never hear the end of it from Sam. There would be lots of confused fluttering and then pouting from the little sprite!
@nightmares06– Sam loves showing Bowman new things, and he’ll certainly have fun in the winter when it snows! Just think of how big those snowflakes will be when they fall. They won’t melt instantly when Bowman or Sam hold them, so they’ll get to see them better than ever!
And plenty of teasing when Bowman got his tongue stuck, before helping him out.
This is Fairy Tales canon. Bowman is newly 19, and it takes place the winter after the events of Bowman of Wellwood.
Reading Time: ~5-10 minutes
The main room was cozy and warm. Candara had Prayed all morning to bring warmth coursing through their home branch, and the Earth Spirit’s magic granted them a warmer home despite the bitter cold outside. The breeze leaking through the shaded windows promised that stepping outside would require several layers.
Bowman was restless as he was every winter, but he didn’t feel like going out just yet. In the deadest part of winter, his wings twitched with shivers and the desire to fly both. Today, he remained inside with the others to avoid that chill.
Candara and Larxe sat together on one of the cushioned benches in the room, their wings around each other like leafy green cloaks. Candara rested her head on Larxe’s chest, tired out after Praying for so much warmth. Bowman sat by the wall and let the heat creep up his spine and into his folded wings. His right leg was drawn up, but the left one stretched out in front of him. He stared at it absently.
Rischa wandered over to him to sit down at his side. Bowman lifted an arm so his young cousin could snuggle closer to him with her blanket over her shoulders. “It’s hurting again,” she noted, glancing at Bowman’s leg.
It had healed months ago. And yet, sometimes, Bowman’s knee would have phantom pains in it from when he’d injured it. Those pains, Cerul had told him, would never go away completely. Too much strain on it, or even sometimes just the cold that came with the snowy weather would make the old wound site tender and sore.
He would always have the reminder of a human hand closing over his body and slowly applying pressure until he couldn’t even scream for mercy.
Rischa suddenly freed her arms from her blanket to hug Bowman around his waist and he jolted right out of his thoughts. He looked down at her in surprise and noted that her eyes were shut tight and she didn’t look ready to let go anytime soon. He smiled faintly and reached down to pull her blanket back up over her.
“It’s only a little, Birdie,” he told her in a hushed voice.
She looked up at him with concern in her eyes. Bowman never was any good at hiding things from Rischa. Ever since she’d realized her gift of the Voice, he could hide even less. She could read his heart like curling script was written on his wings. She knew where his thoughts inevitably went when his knee flared up. She knew the fear and pain and despair that he remembered, like echoes of a thunderstorm. She was only eight, and yet she already weathered the feelings of everyone around her.
Rischa reached up with one little hand to cup her palm on Bowman’s cheek. Her thumb brushed under his eye as if wiping away a tear that hadn’t been released, and she smiled at him. “I know. It’s okay, Bowman,” she told him.
He gave her a half smile, and his brow pinched with bemusement. “Look at you trying your best to freeze,” he said, pretending to scold her. He pulled her blanket up higher so it rested over her head and covered her golden eyes, getting a delighted giggle from her.
He opened one wing to wrap it around his young cousin and she snuggled closer to him. They took in the warmth together, and the cold couldn’t get to them. Bowman hummed quietly, a sound that Rischa could hear resounding in his chest. Even with the responsibility settled on her by her gift, Bowman would let her be a child for as long as he could.
He might not play out in the snow for hours on end, but there’s no reason he’d be unable to go out and enjoy it. After all, even small animals live out in the cold. Sam could even make himself a little igloo if he needed to find shelter for a night, with snow being a natural insulator. An hour or two out with big brother and he might be cold, but he probably wouldn’t even notice most of the time. The same way we don’t notice when we’re having fun how cold we are.
In the winter months, Sam will stick a lot closer to Dean than normal. His jacket’s very thin compared to anything Dean owns, so it doesn’t keep him warm. Not to mention, being so small, he doesn’t hold much body heat. So it’s a lot of time spent in the chest pocket. The side pockets don’t do any good keeping him warm unless Dean has his hands in them, and then it can be claustrophobic because Dean takes up all the room.
This doesn’t stop Sam from having fun in the snow. He always wanted to build his own snowman. He just has to watch out if he throws any snowballs at Dean. Dean might throw his own back. (And then have to dig Sam out from under all the snow)
Plus, sledding is awesome when you’re four inches tall. A pile of snow half Dean’s size makes a huge hill, and if he can convince Dean to help, he doesn’t have to trudge all the way back up.