I REMEMBER the first time I saw him.
April 12, 1992
The two boys sat on either end of the back seat with their arms crossed over their chest as they scowled in silence. At ages 8 and 13 Sam and Dean Winchester were not happy with each other at the moment. John looked back at them in the rear view mirror as he struggled to keep his temper before talking. Parked in the local mall parking lot he did not want to make a scene in front of people but after what just happened he was forcing himself not to yell.
In the calmest voice he possessed he asked. “So does anyone want to tell me what the hell happened?”
Both boys came alive instantly, voices shouting as they pointed angrily at each other. “He was the one who told me about it!” from Sam and “I didn’t do anything he started it!” from Dean.
“SHUT UP!” John roared.
Both of them closed their mouths instantly and fell back against the back seat.
“One at a time.” John said feeling a pounding begin to form behind his eyes. Looking at his oldest in the mirror he said. “Dean. You first.”
“Why him?” Sam asked.
“Because I’m the oldest bitch.” Dean said looking over at him.
“Shut up jerk!” Sam shot back.
“QUIET!” John screamed again.
They both fell silent, no matter how mad they were neither one wanted to risk the wraith of dad. In a forced calmness he asked again. “Dean. What happened?”
“It happened just like this dad!”
I was walking through the mall, keeping an eye out for my little brother.
(Shut up nerd!)
(Stop lying creepazoid!)
(Not lying Samantha!)
Ahem. As we all know he’s prone to stupid things like wandering off and falling in wells and stuff. So I was keeping close, making sure he was ok while he looked for a place that sold shoes for his freakishly large feet when he stopped dead in his tracks.
“Dean.” he asked, a girlish tone of fear in his voice. “Look over there.”
(I do not have a girlish tone!)
(You sure do! You’re using it right now!)
(Stop teasing my voice Dean!)
(Then get a real one you girl!)
(Dad he’s calling me a girl again!)
(Now you did it Dean!)
Anyways, I looked over and saw a pack of kids standing in line with their parents in tow. There was a rent a cop standing nearby and I could smell the food court above us, but I didn’t see anything that would cause any real hunter to pause.
“What about it?” I asked, concern in my voice since Sam is known to wet himself from time to time.
(Not my fault you got a bladder problem.)
(That was ONE time and we were driving for like six hours straight!)
(If the diaper fits…)
“Come on!” he said rushing towards the crowd of kids with reckless abandonment.
Being the ever vigilant guardian I rushed behind him, calling out for him to halt. He ignored my cries and began to rush between people’s legs and under shopper’s arms and I lost him for a moment.
Only a moment.
I called out for him but of course he ignored my calls. I began to worry as I tried to push through the pack of people.
(Not easy to do with such a swelled head.)
(Shut it bitch!)
(Make me jerk!)
That’s when the screams started.
I held my ground against the panicking mob, concerned only for my little brother’s well being when the mass parted and I saw it. Sam had the mall Easter Bunny on the ground and he was pounding it in the face. Kids were calling for their mothers as they began bawling and I did the only thing I could.
I jumped in fearlessly and tried to pull him off of the rabbit.
(You pulled my hair!)
(Not my fault you wanna wear it like the other girls!)
He was like a berserk pigmy as I pulled him up under his arms, he was still kicking as I shouted at him to stop. He was crying and shouting and his nose was running like a chick in a horror movie as I tried to apologize to the downed hare. I tried to gently bring Sam back to his senses when I heard a voice call out for us to stop.
I knew it was the fuzz.
Thinking fast I pulled the still struggling freak along with me and tried to shake them.
We wound our way through the crowd best we could. We might have gotten away but Sam was slowing us down something fierce. We moved towards one of the exit doors, hoping to lose them in the parking garage when two rent a cops came out of nowhere and moved in front of us. I only had seconds to act before we were pinched and probably locked away for life.
I kneed one cop in the junk as I pulled his billy club out and hit the other one. They went down like the cheap hoods they were as I looked back to get Sammy. And he was there, mouth open in amazement at my physical presence and Batman like skill.
(More like Bat-Mite.)
(Least I’m not Marvin and Wendy like some losers!)
(Dad he is saying I’m the lousy Super Friends again!)
“Come on we have to go!” I called out breaking his reverie.
Sam shook his head as we raced towards the entrance but it was too late.
Five more guards burst out and dogpiled me before I had a chance to fight back.
(You just can’t count can you?)
(Shut it midget. I’m talking.)
(Lying more like it.)
(You’re gonna be lying in a puddle of blood if you don’t…)
I called for Sam to run but of course he just stood there like a mannequin and we got popped. And then they called you and took us to the security office.
“And you know the rest sir.” Dean said nodding.
John looked over at Sam and saw his youngest staring in undulated shock, his mouth open as he gaped in disbelief.
“You have a different story?” John asked him.
Sam sat there stunned and then shook his head in amazement. “That was so bogus.”
“That was the truth and you know it!” Dean shot back.
“Maybe in bizarro world!” Sam shouted back.
The pain behind John’s eyes flared for a moment and he closed his eyes. “I swear to god the next one who shouts is going to wish I left them in security office to be picked up by child services.”
They both instantly closed their mouths.
“So then what really happened Sam?” John asked rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“Ok. Here is what really happened”
“Dean can we go get the shoes now?” I asked.
(You mean whined.)
(Shut it Dean! My turn.)
Dean looked away from the girl he was talking with for a second and said. “Hold your horses Sammy. The mall isn’t on fire.” And then went back to trying to convince the girl he wasn’t a complete creep. I looked around wondering how long it would take before this one shot him down like the last three.
It had been slow going in the mall so far with us stopping every ten seconds so Dean could get turned down by yet another girl.
(I never get turned down!)
(Yeah that’s why you shave your palms!)
(That’s isn’t even true! Dad tell him you don’t get hairy palms from…um…never mind.)
So, I could see my big toe through the hole in my shoe and knew that we were on a time schedule with you picking us up at 3:00. I looked back and thought about asking Dean again but he stalking this girl pretty hard so I made the only choice I had left.
I told him I’d be right back and headed off to the shoe store.
(You didn’t say crap!)
(How would you know you had your head up that girl’s skirt!)
(Least I’ve seen up a skirt instead of wearing one!)
(Least I don’t..don’t have cooties like some gross guys!)
He waved me off without ever turning around so I assumed he heard me so I made sure I had the money and took off.
I didn’t know this many people came out the week before Easter, the mall was packed with more people than I had ever seen before. I kept moving through the crowd, knowing there was a Payless shoes somewhere along here (I had already memorized the mall map when Dean was getting shot down by the first girl), all I had to do was keep going. It was right after the Mrs. Fields and just before the Radio Shack that I saw it. The thing Dean had warned me about the year before, one of the worst monsters in the world.
The Easter Bunny.
Dean had explained how this thing looked like a giant rabbit and every year sneaked into people’s home and hid garishly colored eggs for some devious magical purposes.
(Um, I didn’t say it quite like that.)
(Then how did you explain it? Huh? Huh?)
(That’s what I thought!)
So anyways, I didn’t quite believe him at first but I read up and there was a surprising amount of lore on the thing. I was shocked to see it in such a public place but then I saw the kids, being led there by their parents!
Well I assumed they were under some kind of spell or something since no parent would willingly lead their child p to a six foot tall rabbit. Seeing another kid being walked up to those huge teeth, I did the only thing I could do.
I jumped it.
(Yeah right probably batted at it with your purse.)
(Shut up Dean!)
(Make me runt!)
I rushed between the people and under the rope, launching off and tackling the beast before the little girl could be fed to it. For a child eating monster it was surprisingly soft and went down with what sounded like some muffled cursing. Once on the ground I did what you told me to do dad, I kept hitting it about the face and ears as to stun it momentarily and gain the upper hand. I knew I didn’t have any weapons on me so I was going to have to improvise, there was some kind of wooden fence set up around the area so I was thinking that one of those could be used like a stake when I was yanked up suddenly under my arms.
(And screamed like a girl.)
I assumed it was some kind of backup, maybe another rabbit or possibly a demonic egg of some kind so I fought and kicked as best I could when I heard Dean’s voice asking me what the hell I was doing. Realizing I had backup I screamed for Dean to let me down and grab the fence while I kept the rabbit prone but he kept shaking me and screaming for me to calm down.
And then he slapped me across the face.
(That’s what you do right dad? When a chick gets all hysterical you slap her across the face or throw a glass of water on them. Right? Right?)
I was shocked, wondering if somehow Dean had fallen under the thing’s spell when the guard called out for us to stop. Knowing that the bunny might have cast a spell on him as well I looked at Dean and told him we needed to run now! He dropped me and we took off heading east. We got a few dozen feet away and I told him to head left, which would take us to the nearest exit connected to the parking garage. I figured it would give us some cover and time to fall back and figure out what to do about the rabbit.
(Yeah right, now you’re KITT.)
We got halfway there and two security guards came at Dean. I figured we were stuck, we’d explain that the rabbit was evil and they would help. Instead Dean hauls off and kicks one of the guards in the shin, as he’s hoping around Dean leg sweeps him and takes him down. The other guard grabs Dean from behind, Dean bites his arm like it’s a sandwich. The guard screams, drops Dean as he turns around and punches the guard in the junk. He turns to me and says let’s go.
(I did not bite anyone.)
(Yeah you did. And I think you pulled that one guard’s hair!)
(I do not fight like that!)
(Sure you do. And you scratched and kicked, just like that girl in that one horror movie.)
(I’m gonna show you a horror movie!)
(Dad! He won’t let me finish!)
I just stare at him in shock.
I mean who attacks two grown men in a mall like that? He grabs my arm and begins pulling me down the hall saying we have to get out of here. We make it to the garage and one of the guards from the parking garage comes at him. Dean goes to swing and the guard blocks him and gets him in a bear hug. Dean cussed and screamed but that guy was not letting go.
So I sigh knowing that no matter what we are in it now and come at the guy from behind. I kick one of his knees and he falls forward, still holding on to Dean. The second Dean’s feet touch pavement the moves forward and flips the guy over his shoulder, which is kinda cool since the guy was taller than both of us combined. The guy makes this groaning sound as his back hits cement and now I’m sacred we killed him.
(You mean I killed him.)
That was when the rest of the security surrounded us and told us if we moved they’d taser us.
They dragged us to the security station and Dean tried to tell them he was Tom Hanson and that he was an undercover cop here to infiltrate the mall. Which of course was the dumbest thing in the world since everyone knows Tom Hanson is from 21 Jump street. I gave them your number while he was screaming Attica for some reason and that’s when they called you.
“And that is what really happened.” Sam said daring Dean to disagree.
“That is some bullshit.” Dean said glaring at him.
“No your story was complete fiction!” Sam roared back.
“I wasn’t the one who attacked a guy in a bunny suit!”
“I wasn’t the one who thought it was funny to tell a little kid that six foot rabbits are creatures of evil!”
“I didn’t tell you to go all Karate Kid on it!”
“No one said for you to attack two mall cops!”
John sighed as he covered his face with his hand. Both boys stopped in mid shout and looked to the front seat with wide eyes. Though their father was not in the least, an abusive man, he did have a temper. After a long day of fighting monsters and demons the last thing he needed was to come home to a pair of bickering sons. He had commented more than once that Sam and Dean fought worse than an old married couple. Which of course made both of them quiet and uncomfortable for a good, long time.
They both knew they had gone too far this time.
Attacking something, no matter how horrible, in a public mall.
Fighting mall cops.
Ignoring his brother so he could flirt with a girl.
Taking off and wandering the mall alone.
They were dead, they were worse than dead, they were toast. As far as both Winchesters were concerned John was just going to take them out to a back road, shoot them, toss them in a ditch and then salt and burn the bodies so they couldn’t come back and haunt him.
“Dad?” Dean asked in a low voice.
“We’re sorry.” Sam added quickly.
“Yeah we’re really sorry.” Dean repeated.
John looked up, unable to keep from laughing any more. Both boys froze as the unfamiliar sound issued from their dad’s mouth.
“Great!” Dean hissed at his brother “I hope you’re happy. You broke dad!”
“I didn’t do anything!” Sam whispered back, not believing his eyes either.
“Ok.” John said after a few minutes of laughing. “You boys are in a lot of trouble.”
Dean gulped and asked. “Funny trouble?”
John leveled a look back at him. “Not to you two it won’t.”
Both boys felt their stomach drop at that declaration.
Twenty minutes later they were back in the mall.
Dean scowled as he pleaded with is dad. “This is SO unfair!”
Sam stood there shaking as John held his hand. “I am so sorry. So, so sorry.” he said, his eyes wide as he stared at it.
“This is the price boys. Learn to live with it.” he said as he handed a couple of bills to the man working the line.
“Can’t we just do it? Does there need to be proof?” Dean asked looking up at his dad with his best puppy dog eyes.
“Oh no. The evidence is what is going to prevent you from ever doing anything like this again.” John said with a wicked grin.
“Ok you two.” the man said jovially. “You’re up.” he said pointing down the isle.
Both boys looked up at John with huge eyes. “Please dad!” and “I’ll be good!” were repeated over and over again. John just pointed and stared.
The two of them walked down the isle like condemned men.
“This is all your fault!” Dean muttered.
“You were the one who lied to me!” Sam said, his eyes locked once again with the target.
As they got to the end of the rug, a muffled voice asked. “Are you the kids that attacked me?”
Dean pointed at Sam and frowned as Sam tried to take a step back.
“Ok. Come on, let’s get this over with.” the Easter Bunny said.
There was bright flash as the camera went off.
It was the worst Easter.
Prelude: Eight seconds left in overtime