There was a brief silence as Tom's words sunk in.
It was Dean that spoke up first. "what the f…?" Sam had to concede that he sounded more alert than he had done at any time over the last few days; that had to be a good thing, hadn't it?
"I can't be their friggin' mother!" he spluttered in incoherent outrage, manoeuvring his arm clumsily through the undulating coils with a pained wince and gesticulating wildly to the assembled men.
"Well, think about it," replied Tom calmly, "their mother injected a shitload of her venom into you; I've just spent the last three days shooting you up with her blood. You probably smell exactly like their mother."
"Oh thanks," snorted Dean sourly. He glanced down the stairs to see Sam wincing as he stifled a snigger; he couldn't believe it. His brother - his so-called devoted little brother, the little snot who was supposed to care so much for his big brother - was laughing at him!
Tom continued; "Sam said he loaded jars of the mother's blood in the back of the Impala before you left; I'm willing to bet they smelt that and hitched a lift; maybe in the trunk, and of course, you wouldn't have seen them;" he looked at the flickering, slithering shapes that mottled and blurred as they writhed and coiled smoothly over Dean's grey T shirt, his black boxers and his bare legs; "they're practically invisible!"
Dean's weary green eyes were so wide, there seemed to be a very real danger that they might fall out of his face.
"No!" he snorted, glaring up at Tom, wriggling weakly as he tried unsuccessfully to worm his way out of the loving coils of his brood, "you don' get it, Doctor Doolittle; I can't be their mother 'cos I'm a friggin' dude; I'm not exactly lactating at the moment …"
Bobby and Tom grimaced in unison at the image.
Recovering his thought processes, Tom continued; "that doesn't matter to them," he explained, "you're something warm with a heartbeat and you smell of their mother. That's all they need; that's all any newborn needs." he continued, "anyway, they're reptiles, they don't need milk; they need someone tear up their prey and chew it up a bit so it's soft enough for them to eat."
Sam's voice drifted up from the staircase, "I thought reptiles just laid their eggs then cleared off and left them to it?"
Tom warmed to his theme, "most do; you're right Sam, but some species are very attentive mothers; crocodiles and alligators for example."
"Oh, well, there you go – I never knew that."
Dean's head swivelled between the exchange, his face sporting an expression of outraged disbelief; "Excuse me David freakin' Attenborough" he snapped, "while this biology lesson is very interesting an' all that, shouldn't we be thinking of a way to get these freakin' things away from me so we can gank 'em?"
He yelped sharply as a head disappeared up the front of his T shirt; "jeez S-AH-AH-AAM, their freakin' tongues are going places I - GAAAH - don't wanna even think about!"
Bobby had been spending the last couple of minutes trying his best not to laugh, he eventually composed himself enough to speak up. "Well, that's not so easy, see," he rubbed his beard thoughtfully, "you're Mommy, so you're untouchable, but us; we're fair game, so they won't think twice about nippin' any of us."
"You're freakin lovin'this … a-aaah-AAAH-ren't you?" Dean scowled, wincing and gyrating furiously as the creatures slithered and writhed over and around his body; he clutched his side as the gymnastics aggravated the barely healing wound that their real mother had put there.
Tom continued, a picture of cool professionalism; "I don't know if their venom is powerful enough to kill yet, but I wouldn't want any of us to be put in a position to find out!"
He glanced at Bobby, "that said, I need to get past them so I can get a look at Sam's arm".
Squirming frantically, Dean wrestled with the coils, trying to pull and push them away; "geddof" he grunted between clenched teeth as the one of the creatures continued it's enthusiastic exploration inside his T-shirt.
He squinted down the stairs at his giggling brother. "You are so … UUURGH … gonna get AAAAGH … pastin' for this when you're fixed, you bitch," he growled; finding it difficult to sound menacing between the gasps and giggles which were escaping his twitching body as the two mini-Lyndworms continued their irritating embrace.
Despite everything, however, he knew he had to let Tom get a look at his injured brother as soon as possible, and he couldn't risk him being bitten by the creatures. He knew he had to get them out of the way.
He cursed his weak legs; after the trials of the last few days, they were barely strong enough to support his own weight. With the additional weight of the two Lyndworm hatchlings, he had no chance of getting upright. Dear God; where was that friggin' thing going now …? But Sam needed attention, so dignity would have to go and hang itself. He shuffled around until he was on his hands and knees, the two creatures coiled contentedly around his chest like a flotation hoop, one with it's head resting on his shoulder, the other's head still moving around under his shirt, it's flickering, forked tongue against his skin driving him to distraction.
He slowly and shakily crawled in the direction of Bobby's room, "get out the way," he croaked, scowling at the two men, as Tom and Bobby skipped away from him allowing him a clear path through.
Tom sidled round him and headed down the stairs towards Sam. Dean breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Sam was now getting the treatment he needed.
Still standing at a safe distance, Bobby turned to Dean, now collapsed in a heap on his bedroom floor; "You ok kid?"
Dean looked up at him, "yeah, these two aren't gonna bite me or poison me; they're just gonna molest me to death instead." He swatted one of the curious creatures away from his face, then squirmed jerkily as it's sibling went wandering again, " HA-HA-HA … aaand they ain't even bought me dinner first!"
Bobby grinned; "not fer much longer, I've got an iron knife in the barn; I'll go an' grab it for ya." He smiled down at the elder Winchester together with his passengers as he knelt on the floor, listing wearily to starboard.
"OK Bobby, thanks!" Dean called over his shoulder as he looked down at the creatures and shrugged; "Sorry guys."
He took a deep breath, as he began to try to release himself.
He reached up under his T-shirt and with great determination dragged the creature, which seemed to have made itself quite comfortable under there, out; "c'mon you irritatin' little jerk" he snorted, "only certain people get the right to spend any quality time in there – and you ain't one of 'em, creepy!"
Without much experience of handling snakes or lizards Dean had no idea how unco-operative they could be. He pushed, tugged, lifted, twisted, wriggled and stretched to the point of exhaustion, eventually succeeding in extricating the long sinuous body from under his shirt. He held the head end of the body up on outstretched arms in triumph, only to find it's tail end had knotted his ankles together.
Just minutes later, Bobby thundered back up the stairs two at a time, a fearsome looking iron knife in his hand, followed by Tom and a freshly slinged Sam; "how ya doin' dude?" Sam asked in obvious concern.
Dean sat on the floor, the creatures coiled peacefully in a messy, carpet-coloured heap beside him, and looked up at Sam, "Yeah, good dude; how's the arm?"
"Sore, but I'll live." Sam answered the question smartly and without detail; he was distracted by the hollow look in his brother's heavy-lidded green eyes. If he didn't know better, he would have described the look as abject sadness.
Sam wasn't the only one that noticed it.
Bobby dropped heavily to his knees; his face paling rapidly. "They didn't … bite ya?"
Sam's hand raised instinctively to his mouth to stifle a gasp; he shook his head in terrified denial.
Dean shook his head, "nah, they didn't bite me; they did this." He lifted the hem of his T-shirt so that the three assembled men could see his stomach. Where, up until a couple of hours ago, had been an ugly, swollen welt, unbearably painful to the touch and staining his belly with the dark shadow of poison, was smooth, unmarked healthy skin.
I could feel the little sonsofbitches roamin' around down there, an' it's only when I was pullin' 'em off, that I realised, it didn't hurt any more." He looked up at the three stunned men, "an' when I had a look – well, you can see for yourself, it's like it was never hurt; not even a scar."
Tom dropped to his knees, and pressed on the point at which the bite that had given him so much work had been. "it must be something to do with their venom or their saliva or something, it must have neutralised whatever was in their mother's venom."
One of the coiled Lyndworms lifted it's head and glared at Tom, hissing menacingly; Dean reached out, gently resting a hand on it's head, and it settled back down again.
"I-I've never seen anything like it," Tom stammered, "this isn't possible!"
"That's OK," Dean replied, "these things aren't supposed to exist." He gave a quiet mirthless laugh.
"That's what you call hair of the dog," murmured Bobby.
"Hair of the pups," Tom replied, still breathless with disbelief.
Sam looked at Dean in sheer joy, "This is fantastic bro', the best news ever!" He laid his uninjured hand on his brother's shoulder, squeezing gently.
"Yeah;" Dean looked up at his brother, and Sam's joy dissolved rapidly when he saw the emptiness in Dean's eyes.
"Yeah, it's the best news ever," Dean whispered sadly, "an' now, I'm gonna repay them by stabbin' them through the neck with an iron blade".