“King me.” Sam stood proudly on top of the black and white checkered board. One foot lifted onto the red disk close to Dean's seat.
Dean's scowl was halfhearted at best. Mostly he was amused that it only took two minutes explaining the rules of checkers to Sam for his little brother to beat him. A mere ten minutes had passed for the first win and each game after was done even faster. Dean won 3 out of 5 so far. Dean knew his remaining few pieces were no match for Sam's plastic army, and he pouted as he lifted up one of the three red disks hard won, as it was returned back to its rightful owner once again. Sam backed up for the red disk to lock onto the first and he stood off to the side for Dean to make his next move in the game.
Dean's brow furrowed as he glared at the offending board. The cheap plastic game had been forgotten by the previous people who'd stayed in this motel room. ¾ ths the size of a normal board, it was still pretty big compared to Sam who had to constantly pace around beside and on top of the flimsy board. The round playing pieces were about the size of dinner plates to Sam so as he marched across the board, he just dipped it down towards the ground over Dean's pieces rather then making them touch down each time. That alone would have been a workout since Sam was apparently a checker playing natural.
Sam did however stoop down to collect every one of Dean's pieces and pile them up at his end of the board with a partially hidden smug smile. Hefting each one up and forming a wall out of them that came up to his knees.
Dean's arms folded in front of himself and his eye darted around the board. The other still had tape over top of it from the glass shard incident the night before. With that ghost hunt done, things were quiet in the area so they had some time to recuperate. Not for the last time, Dean blamed his lack of depth perception on his poor playing skills. Ignoring Sam's very valid reason that this game was flat against the board, and depth had nothing to do with Dean's poor playing skills.
“I give.” Dean conceded defeat and started to remove the pieces with Sam backing up quickly to get out of the way of the huge hand. Dean really did loose his depth perception, and had run into Sam a few times because of it. It was a miracle they'd gotten home last night. Dean had to focus hard on where his brother was now in relation to where his fingers were going. His good eye blinking more often because it felt like it was drying out twice as fast due to it working overtime.
Dean had stopped on the way back to their motel for a couple of six packs of beer to celebrate another successful hunt. Two empty bottles were at the other side of the table, far away from their board game. Sam's shot glass of the beer was still loosing its harmful carbonation before he could drink any of it and not get a stomachache.
Sam waited off to the side as Dean collected up his hard earned wall and put them back into the small box. “Chess?” Sam asked on closer inspection of the box the game came in.
“Yeah, and on the other side of this board is Chinese checkers, but I don't know how to play that one.” Dean admitted. “Rules are missing.” He turned the box upside down to dump out the chess pieces next. There was nothing else interesting on TV or anything else to do, so might as well play some strategy games.
Sam didn't wait for Dean to change his mind and started after the large chess pieces. Hauling over the black king first and pausing at his end of the board. Staring down at it.
Dean pulled out his white king and placed it on one of the middle squares. “Kings and queens go here and here, parallel to each other. Don't ask me why.” Then pulled out the rook and knight and bishop. Setting up his side while Sam jogged over to gather up his matching set one at a time. Dean helped with the pawns since they were easy to figure out their placements. Gathering them up in a fist and placing them all in a row once Sam got his other rook down. Inspecting his work and watching Dean move slower with a more concentrated look on his squinting face. Having an eye taped shut was irritating but necessary.
Dean's hand retreated from Sam's space and he pointed out his own pieces, “Knights can go up one and over two, or up two and over one. In an 'L' shape. Bishops move diagonally in an 'X' shape and can go as far or close as they can so long as there's nothing in the way. These things that look like castles are called rooks and are similar to bishops but they go in straight lines forwards backwards and both sides. Queens can go in every direction in straight lines the length of the board. Kings can go in any direction but only move one space at a time. When the king is in danger of being taken, that's check. Check mate is when he's stuck and the opponent takes him. Pawns can only go forward one square at a time and can only take an opponent's piece if they are diagonal to them.”
Dean explained the rest of the rules by showing different scenarios to Sam who stood close by to watch every nuance of movement. The king and queen came up to his chest so he really had to work to move them. The pawns were a little higher then his knees with the others somewhere in between. He pat the knight's horse head a few times. Grinning to himself at the knowledge that a horse at his scale would be about the same. He wondered if they'll ever see a horse in real life. The thought was pretty scary since he knows that horses are about ten times the weight of most humans! Something that enormous probably wouldn't even know he was there. Too dangerous to be around, like most everything else to people his size. This plastic substitute will have to do. It was rare for them to see animal figurines this perfect to his scale and Dean didn't interrupt his small brother's petting of the plastic horse bust. Even a 'My Little Horsey' would be much taller then him and the proportions would be all wrong. Huge eyes and foreheads to make them appear more cutesy. What was so wrong with keeping animals at proportionate sizes and shapes? Sam pet the plastic horse head one last time as he tuned back into Dean explaining what he remembered about the chess games he played with Bobby growing up. Dean needed those moments of peace when he was young, after Sam disappeared. Something to take his mind off of the guilt for a few hours between Hunter training with his dad and sleep.
Dean shook his head to rid himself of the painful memories. Glad that he's able to teach Sammy the board games so they'd have something where each of them has equal power and opportunity playing. Other games are simply too big for his shrunken brother. Can't exactly play basketball, or pool. No wrestling or even darts. But these? Dean knew that his smart lil brother would be great at these games once he learns the rules, and flow of the game to form his own strategies.
Dean let Sam take all the time in the world to get used to the rules, and giving him many do-overs when he made a mistake, or missed an opportunity to take one of Dean's pieces. The first game was mostly a trial run. Chess took a lot longer to figure out for Sam, since he'd never played before and for Dean, it had been many years, so they were both getting the hang of it. Sam was a bundle of questions and Dean tried to remember the official rules but came up short and they made their own up or looked it up on Dean's phone when the move was critical for the game.
Sam was working up a sweat at their third game, even if the pieces were made of plastic, they still comparatively weighed about 20lbs to him. Dean offered to help with the queen's movements so Sam just walked along and indicated where she should be placed or who she was taking out. They were also getting steadily inebriated as the night wore on. Arguing over tiny details like only brothers could.
“Dean! Your horse has to face where it's going or else it's confusing!”
Dean spun it around and held back his teasing smirk when he started humming the theme to the exorcist as his horse head spun in circles. His bishop coming on over to recite the demon exorcism just in the nick of time. “Could just drop a white castle on it.” Dean mused and the rook came in to pound on his Knight before removing it from the game. “Heh, we should totally go to White Castle and get you some borrower sized burgers. You are their main demographic, right?” Folding his arms in front of himself and grinning at Sam's rolling eyes. Most giant burgers Dean gets are nearly the size of his old room, those mini-burgers would still be larger then his whole body. But. It wouldn't hurt to check it out...
Sam kept getting lost on top of the board, facing one way for awhile then he'd have to back up because the pieces were too close together and had to stare at them for a minute to get his bearings again. He got help from his brother but found himself being knocked over by Dean's hand and a few pieces fell over and rolled when his legs ran into them.
“Shit. Sorry, Sammy.” Dean reached forward and offered up a couple of fingers for Sam to right himself. “You get a free turn.” His voice rumbled overhead, and he placed the pieces back onto the board. Giving Sam the perfect opportunity to take out his white knight. Trying to hide his sneaky smile at giving his brother a free hit.
Sam sighed and scowled up at Dean and put his black bishop where it belonged. “I'm never gonna get good at this if you let me win.” He then backed up and made sure the rest were in order before taking out one of Dean's pawns instead. Looking up to see Dean shrug as if he didn't know he put Sam's bishop in the wrong yet ideal spot.
After that, Dean started playing to win again, and Sam actually improved because of it. His head wrapping around the puzzle better now that there was a risk to his moves. Going into planning and strategic mode was when the game got really interesting. They took a break after the first hour for some take out food and harder liquor. Both of their vision started going wonky and each move resulted in slurred insults and thinly veiled threats.
The game dissolved into a combination of checkers and chess that Dean won and cheered noisily about it.
Sam laughed along and took another long pull of his half flat beer before lifting up his knight and patting its long nose before charging after Dean's hand in swift retribution. “The black knight always triumphs! Hav'atyou!” And plowed the horse head in-between two of Dean's fingers. The giant human howled in pain and nearly fell off of his chair backwards, arms pinwheeling to keep his balance. Sam's feet kept on going towards Dean and knocked over the king that Dean had won. Dazed and laughing as he laid between the pieces as Dean stumbled about sideways. Landing heavily onto his knees and pulling himself back to the table. Sam felt every massive thump through the ground and up the table where he laid but knew that he was safe here, even if Dean was hamming it up to the max. one mighty jolt did make his head bounce against the table top and he playfully scowled at the underside of Dean's jaw. The human's face upside down from where he was.
Dean's laugh echoed around Sam as his older and much larger brother rested his forearms on the table's edge and his chin plopped down on top. Taking in the sight of Sam flat out on his back, chest convulsing with barely concealed snickers.
Sam's laugh came out somewhat hysterical as he got to his knees, turning to face Dean. He got his hands underneath the larger black piece and lifted up his king and rolled it off of the board, but it kept on going till the plastic King fell off of the table. Sam absently watched it go and only had a moment of clarity that that could have been him falling off the table. He threw out the unnerving idea before it took root and harshed his pleasant buzz going on in his head. He turned heel and strode back to the checkered board. Stomping a foot down onto a square. “King me!”
Dean's good eye was full of mirth as he reached forward and dropped his fingertips around Sam's body, closing around him. “If you insist.” He said and lifted Sam up off of the table by his waist. Sam was too disoriented to figure out what was going on when he felt the board's surface greet his feet and a black square was underneath his shoes. He stumbled when the hand retreated and saw Dean was standing again, setting up the chess set around Sam's position and then did his own up. Falling back into his seat and smiling widely at Sam. “Long live the king.” He chuckled and Sam saw his queen to his left and all of his loyal subjects standing ready at attention in front and to his sides.
“You are such a dork!” He shouted up and Dean shrugged again.
“Those previous games were just warm up. Now the real battle begins.” Dean's voice dropped as low and serious as he could muster with minimal slurring, and moved his pawn ahead. “What's your move?”
Sam was about to step past his pieces but Dean waggled a finger in his direction so Sam got back to his spot and pointed out what pawn to move and where. The game progressed with Sam staying put and he found it was actually easier for him to plan ahead now that he wasn't changing his view every time he wanted to move a piece. He now saw the reason Dean played better. It was because the human was able to see it all without moving around. Sam was grateful he was taller then the pieces so he could tell where they were in relation to the board and Dean's side. It felt more like a battle this way too, now that he was physically involved with his plastic kingdom.
Sam nearly fell over laughing when it came time for Dean to finally move his king, as Dean had pulled his white king away and replaced it with his left hand 'standing' there with his index and middle fingers on the small square. His ring and pinky fingers running into his queen and nearly making her fall over. Dean's fingers walked one square at a time and Sam forewent using his other subjects in pursuing the other king himself. Which. Was a dumb decision since a king can't really take out another king by itself since they can't move into check. So they both ended up dancing around each other for a good ten minutes. Finally, Sam had enough and wrestled Dean's hand to the board and Dean pinched his fingers around Sam right back.
Sam won when he put Dean's pinky into a headlock and wrapped his legs around Dean's finger legs. “Say uncle!”
Dean bent his hand into unnatural positions as if Sam had super strength and pounded the side of the table with his free hand in 'obvious' agony. “Uncle! Uncle!” Dean's face was a tableau of torture and Sam finally released the finger that was nearly as long as he was tall and fell off of the giant hand, panting in triumph.
Dean's grin kept on messing up his contorted defeated expression. He lifted up his hand and made the index and middle finger 'kneel' in front of Sam. “My liege.” And Sam bowed back in the same regal style that he'd seen in several old movies.
Sam devolved into a pile of chuckles and he slapped at the hand that towered over him even as it was curled against the ground. “We are such dorks.”
“Agreed.” Dean said and took another long pull of his second to last beer. “New game.” He leaned over to retrieve the fallen pieces and set it up once again. Sam took another minute to catch his breath before heading once more, headlong and eager, into the breech.