Sam and Dean hunched down behind a parked car, gasping for breath. They weren’t sure how long they had been running but neither could go on any longer. Dean crawled to his knees and peeked over the hood. In the middle of the road a giant, red-skinned, many horned demon roared his displeasure.
“What the hell is that thing?” Dean exclaimed. He quickly loaded the shotgun, shouting as he fired over the hood of the car, “And how do I kill it?”
“I don’t know,” Sam gasped as he leafed through a bound journal. “I can’t find any reference in Dad’s journal. Just – just keep shooting! It’s gotta die sometime.”
Dean shot him an incredulous look before returning to his shooting. He slid down the side of the car, hand fumbling in his coat pocket for more shells. Just as he started to slide the first shell in, he was interrupted by a soft cough.
Dean and Sam shot to their feet as they found the source of the sound. A tall, dark haired man with an eye patch stood quietly next to the car holding a paper bag in one arm.
“Hey,” the man said with a wave of his free hand. “Uh, whatcha doin’?”
“Dude,” Dean started, “don’t you see the freak in the street?”
The man looked over the car at the demon who had roared in anger when Dean had called him a freak. “Uh huh,” the man said as he looked back to the other men.
Sam quickly strode over and grabbed the man’s arm. “Me and my buddies, we’re, we’re shooting a scene for film class. You’re kinda in the way,” Sam babbled as he tried to force the man to start walking away. “Maybe you can take a different route tonight.”
“Uh huh,” the man said again, as he resisted Sam’s maneuvering. “What did you do to piss off Big Red?”
Dean growled. “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?”
“Okay,” the man said simply and slipped out of Sam’s grasp. Before either man could stop him, he had crossed the street to the demon, still hanging on to his bag of groceries.
The demon, who had been watching the men quietly until now, let out a soft roar as the man approached.
“Hey, Red,” the man said with another wave. To Sam and Dean’s astonishment the demon waved back. “So what’s the what?”
The demon roared softly again and then began making guttural grunting noises.
Growl. Grunt, whine, growl, big growl, grunt.
“Oh, hey, man. I’m sorry. I’m sure they didn’t mean to. Let’s go see what they say, okay?”
The demon let out a grunt but followed docilely as the man walked back to Sam and Dean who were staring at him in shock. “Hey, guys? Did you really trash Red’s kids’ playhouse?”
“What?” Dean managed to bark out.
“The big mausoleum in the cemetery a couple blocks that way,” the man said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. The demon growled in counterpoint.
Sam and Dean exchanged an incredulous look. “That was a playhouse for,” Dean waved his hand a few times as he tried to figure out the demon’s gender, “for Little Reds?” he finished lamely.
“Yep,” the man nodded. “The kids are really upset.”
“Well, we weren’t planning on really damaging anything,” Sam started. “We were just trying to salt and burn some bones.”
The man looked at them warily. “What, you were going to eat them?” He backed a little closer to the red demon.
“No!” Dean shouted. “We were trying to exorcise a ghost. You salt and burn the bones and poof! No more ghostie.”
“Salting and burning the bones gets rid of ghosts?” the man asked incredulously. “Why does Giles not know this? Sorry, don’t pay attention to me,” he said, waving his hand as he saw the two men look at him in confusion. “So you were salting and burning this ghost.”
“Uh yeah, only this one was a real bitch to deal with. Used to be a baby sacrificing witch. I can tell you that she did not want to go into the light.” He frowned. “I suppose we did beat the place up some.”
“Uh huh,” the man said. It seemed to be his favorite word. He turned back to the red demon. “Did you know there was an evil witch’s spirit living in the mausoleum?”
The demon growled sheepishly. The man made a clucking sound.
“Hey, man. You know the rules. Those fighting the good fight are not liable for property damage.”
The demon growled angrily.
“Whoah. Do you really want to start a war over a playhouse?” the man asked. He wagged a finger at the demon. “What would Sheila say?”
The demon growled again, this time in panic.
“Okay, okay. I won’t tell her. How about you let these guys go, huh? I happen to know a few girls who are very grounded right now. They fix up the mausoleum as part of their punishment and Willow’s class can check it for anymore nasties for extra credit. Sound good?”
The demon thought for a moment before sticking his hand out. The man put his much smaller hand in the demon’s and shook. The demon turned around and walked back toward the cemetery, waving over his shoulder.
The three men stared after him for a moment before Dean turned to Sam. “Did that really happen?” he asked.
“Apparently,” Sam said slowly. He looked over at the man who had helped them. “What did happen?”
The man smiled. “Not much. Just me rescuing you guys, stopping a war with the Thak’ash clan, coming up with a great punishment for a couple of girls who know better than to piss off Faith and I scored extra points with Willow for her class. There may be cookies involved.” He bounced excitedly.
Sam and Dean exchanged another look. “Okay, well. Thanks for, you know,” Dean frowned, “the rescue and all that. If you need something, uh, let us know. We repay our debts,” he said seriously.
“Xander Harris,” the man said, sticking out his hand.
“Dean Winchester,” Dean said, shaking his hand. “And this is my brother Sam.” Sam nodded at Xander.
“So,” Xander said, as he rocked on his heels. “If you’re serious about that debt thing?”
“Yeah?” Dean asked warily.
“Could you drive me to the store? All the ice cream’s melted.”