Synopsis: Who said doing laundry was boring? When you do it the Winchester-way, it's anything but.

Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: G

Author's note: Jamie over at forums suggested it because I complained about not having any ideas. The rest just sort of happened.

The laundromat looked like it was from the forties. The washing machines were big enough to be industrial and noisy like hell. Dean wondered who in their right mind would use this place more than once. "Holy crap, but isn't this place noisy," he commented a little loudly and tossed the worn magazine he had been leafing through aside. It skittered along the bench that ran the length of the laundromat and landed on the floor at the other end with a moist slap. Some of the washers were leaking, it seemed.

Sam sighed and wrestled the massive door to one of the machines open. "You know what I don't get?" he countered without looking back at Dean.

"There's tons of things you don't get, but enlighten me," Dean said and gave him a snarky grin when he sent a brief and slightly annoyed look back at him before he started unloading the content into the basket.

"Why is it always me?" Sam asked pointedly and eyed the basket for a moment, then dug back into the machine to get the rest out. "And how the hell can we have this much stuff?"

"Why is it always you what?" Dean inquired, although he was fairly sure he knew what came next. "And we don't have that much stuff. It's not like we could fill a walk-in closet with what we've got."

Sam snorted halfheartedly. "Like we would ever be in the position where we would find out," he stated. "And I mean, why is it always me doing the laundry?"

Dean arched an eyebrow and picked up another ragged excuse for a magazine. He grimaced at it and dropped it again. The cover was slightly greasy and he didn't exactly feel the urge to find out why. "What do you mean?" he asked and glanced back over at Sam, who at this point had his entire arm buried up to the shoulder inside the machine. "I'm here, aren't I?"

His little brother had nothing but a sneer to spare for that comment. "Yeah, you're here," he agreed and made a face. "But I'm doing all the work," he added. "Dammit, that's really stuck in there."

"What the hell are you talking about? I do my share," Dean claimed. "Socks keeping you busy over there?" he added and chuckled at his own wit.

"Shit," Sam huffed. "Uh ... Dean?"

"Come on, man. How much trouble can you get out of a damned sock?" Dean asked and picked up a slightly less greasy magazine. He made a face at the cover. Not his deal.

"Dean?" Sam repeated and there was a strained note to his voice that Dean didn't really like.

He looked up. Sam's arm was still buried up to the shoulder in the machine and at this point, he was bracing himself against the edge of the opening with his other hand and looked just about as strained as his voice sounded. The magazine forgotten, Dean rose. "What's the matter?"

Sam yanked backward, but didn't manage to even get his shoulder out of the machine. "Something's got a hold of my wrist," he pressed out.

Dean stared at him for a second, then shifted his attention to the washer, then back to Sam. "Are you shitting me?" he asked.

"Not in the least," Sam snapped and grunted when something inside the machine yanked at his arm and nearly managed to pull him further into the washer. "I could use a hand," he pressed.

"Holy shit," Dean muttered, so stumped that he found it hard to act at first.

"Now!" Sam snapped and it was obvious that he was using most of his considerable strength to keep himself from being pulled into the machine.

Dean got off the bench, intent on rushing to his brother's rescue – yet again, he thought – when the floor suddenly fell away beneath him and landed him hard on his back. It would seem that the washers down this end were leaking as well and someone had seen fit to spill some liquid detergent on the floor to top it off.

A startled yelp from his brother made him push up again, but by the time he had regained his feet ... there was no sign of Sam anywhere.

Slipping and sliding on the overtly slick floor, he reached the machine and grabbed onto the open door to steady himself. The machine for a second seemed like the gaping maw of Hell before he completely focused on the dark expanse inside and saw only the drum and what remained of their laundry. "What the f..." Uncertain of what he should expect to find, he reached a hand into the drum and stubbed his fingers on the back wall. "Sam?"

In all the years he had been an active hunter, he had seen a lot of weird shit, had come up against a lot of weird things, and none of it had ever truly fazed him. But this did. He had no idea how to react. A children's boogeyman story had come to life in a much more touchable manner than anything he could ever have imagined and whatever was behind this – be it demon, ghost, monster or other – it had grabbed his brother right in front of him and he hadn't been able to respond in time to save him.

Some part of him actually expected something to happen, some kind of sign that this was the end of the line for his little brother, but there was nothing. Sam was simply gone and that was it.

"Lost some laundry there, eh?"

The voice, slightly grating, a little unsteady and a lot old, startled him to the point where he nearly lost his balance before looking up to face the wrinkled face of an old woman.

"Gotta be careful. Them young people don't know how to wash, keep spilling water and shit on the floor." She cackled, managed for all intents and purposes to sound almost like a storybook witch, and it didn't really seem to bother her that he stared at her and didn't answer. "That there machine's eaten more than its share of laundry. Don't know where it all goes, to be honest." She shrugged and shuffled back around to the next row of washers. "Must be the sock monster," she added in an almost thoughtful tone of voice, then cackled again and lost interest.

And all the while Dean just stood there, one hand clamped onto the door of the washer, while he stared at the woman and tried to kick himself into gear. Something as big as Sam didn't just disappear without a sign. There had to be some sort of explanation, some sort of reason behind this. And there was only one person he could think of asking for that explanation.


The silence hung thick and heavy between them while Dean waited for a reaction to his tale. By the looks of it, that reaction wasn't going to be all he hoped for, though.

"Come again?" Bobby asked while he continued to stare at Dean as if he'd lost his mind. "A ... washing machine ... in a laundromat ... 'ate' your brother?"

Dean frowned, scrubbed the tips of his fingers over his brow, pursed his lips and sucked in air through his nose, then nodded once. "Pretty much," he agreed.

"It ... ate him?" Bobby obviously needed some convincing on that part.

"Well ... not so much ate him as ... sucked him in. I guess. I didn't see what happened, after all." He paused, considered his words and figured it didn't matter much how he rephrased it, it still sounded completely nuts. "Is there such a thing as a ... laundry monster?"

For a moment he thought he'd completely lost the older hunter there, but then Bobby pushed his ever-present trucker's cap back a bit and scrubbed a hand over his brow. "Well ... up until right now I would have said no, but ... I kinda thought the same thing about a demon-killing colt, so ..." He trailed off and shrugged a little halfheartedly. "A laundry monster," he muttered. "This has got to be some kind of spell. Something ... I don't know ... demon-related."

"Wouldn't there have been blood it if had been demon-related?" Dean enquired. "I mean ... he just kinda disappeared into thin air. I checked the machine, front and back. There was nothing there. No blip on the EMF either. Not even a shiver. It's like one second he was there, the next he was gone. And that's just ... nuts."

Bobby frowned at him. "Ya think?" he growled. "Okay, tell me again what happened. Don't leave anything out."

Dean retold the events once more, leaving nothing out, and ended the tale with a sigh. "So, tell me honestly. Have I totally lost my mind? Did I just walk out on my brother in a laundromat in Shithole, Wyoming after putting on a show for the peanut gallery?"

It was obvious that Bobby was most inclined to agree to that one, but then he shook his head lightly. "If you had, I'm sure Sam would have been on the phone to me a second later, asking what to do about you. Since neither of us have heard anything from him, I'm assuming you haven't lost your mind and that ... the sock monster absconded with your brother in some manner or fashion." He scrubbed a hand over his mouth. "Dammit, why can't you two just go up against normal critters like the rest of us? Why do you always have to run into crap I haven't heard of before?"

"Sorry. I didn't exactly plan this," Dean countered.

"I should hope not," Bobby growled and gave him a warning glare. "If I find out that this is some kind of prank you two are pulling on me ..."

"Bobby, come on. Would I prank you about something like this? When Sam said his arm was stuck in the machine ... I thought he was pranking me. Hell, I didn't realize he was serious until the second before he ... vanished." It was a tad upsetting that Bobby would accuse him of having staged this mess, but he understood the reaction all too well. It still seemed obscenely insane to him that something had actually dragged his brother into a machine he wouldn't have fit into in the first place. "I gotta find my brother, man."

Bobby eyed him for a second longer, then sighed again and nodded. "Okay, I need to make some calls, see if anyone has any idea what this could be. You ... call Sam's cell. See if you can reach him somehow."

Dean nodded and dug out his phone while Bobby got on his to call around. In all the insanity that seemed to surround him right now, Dean realized he hadn't even considered calling Sam. Some part of him even considered it a fruitless and downright ridiculous thing to try. Sam had vanished into the innards of a washer at a laundromat. What were the chances that his phone would work wherever he was now?

Feeling less than hopeful, he dialed Sam's number and listened tensely when it started to ring. "Come on, man," he muttered after the third ring. "Pick up, Sammy." And just when it seemed like his brother would yet again defy him, the connection was suddenly established. But it was noisy as hell, crackling and strobing with interference. "Sam?"

Bobby turned around and eyed him, the receiver of his old-fashioned phone jammed in between shoulder and ear.

"Sam? Can you hear me?" Dean demanded.

"... static ..." Despite the lack of communicative capabilities right now, the fact alone that Sam had answered and was trying to tell him something was enough to change Dean's outlook on this.

"What? I can barely hear you!" he said loudly and briefly wondered why it was that when a connection was bad, people always thought it got better if they yelled. "Sam, where the hell are you?"

"... washer ... no ... dark" The reply made no real sense.

"What?" Dean tried, instinctively raising the volume of his voice another notch. "Sam? Where are you? Try one word."

"... ment ..."

Dean frowned. "Basement?" he repeated.

"... sewer ..."

"Underground in other words," he tried and wondered if Sam heard him as badly on the other end. "Under the laundromat?"

"... know ... be ..."

"Okay, leave your phone on. I'll track you on the GPS," Dean said. "You got that?"

"... four ..."

Dean switched his phone off and dropped down in front of Bobby's laptop. "Okay, he's underground somewhere. The connection is really bad. I gotta see if I can find him through the GPS."

"I got that much from all your yelling," Bobby agreed and stepped up beside him to watch.

It took a moment, but then the signal came through. Dean assumed that it was weak, which would account for why it had taken so long to locate it, but at least it was there. For a moment, he stared at the location. "Under the laundromat," he muttered. "I'll be damned. There must be a sub-basement or something."

"Did you check the basement?" Bobby inquired.

Dean glanced sideways at him. "No, I didn't. He disappeared into thin air in a washing machine, Bobby. I didn't really think that whatever took him would take him downstairs."

Bobby frowned. "What did you think?"

"Can we do this later? I really need to find my brother right now," Dean huffed and got up. "You coming?"

The look in the older man's eyes told Dean no. "Do you need me there?"

"Probably not," Dean said and shrugged. "He didn't sound like he was in any immediate danger."

"Well, then what are you waiting for? Get your butt back there and help him," Bobby said.


It took time, precious time, before Dean found the access to the basement under the laundromat. It consisted of several rooms that were filled with crap, boxes piled upon boxes, all damp, all smelling of rot and mold. Yet none of the six rooms – tiny as they were – yielded any sign of his brother and after going through them for the third time, he could feel the tension seeping into him. Whatever had grabbed Sam could be dangerous. And even though Sam hadn't sounded like he was in danger two hours ago, that could have changed.

"Dammit," he growled, dug out his cellphone and noted that reception in the basement was amazingly poor if the connection bars were anything to go by. He tried calling Sam, but the signal cut off every time he dialed the number.

Remembering a piece of advice his dad had always given when he was on the verge of losing it, he closed his eyes, let his arms drop to his sides and just focused on pushing it all away. In the process, he lowered his head and when he opened his eyes again, he realized he was standing on what looked suspiciously like a manhole cover and it made him grin tightly. "Thanks dad," he muttered, hunkered down and peeled the ring in the middle out of the muck it had been buried in.

With a bit of effort, he hauled the heavy manhole cover off and hunkered down next to the black hole. Where it lead was anybodies guess, but something told him he would have to go down there to find his brother. "Good thing I come prepared," he told himself, pulled the penlight out of one pocket and turned it on.

The tube went down a lot further than he had thought and the smell at the bottom wasn't exactly the best he'd ever encountered. On the other hand, it wasn't the worst either. "Could have been a general sewer," he muttered and glanced around the pitch dark tunnel. Something squeaked somewhere and he briefly shuddered. Rats were not among his favorites, although he for the life of him couldn't explain why. "Must be the tail," he growled. "SAM?!"

His voice echoed through the tunnel, which stretched away in two directions, neither side more inviting than the other. "SAM!!" he tried again, hoping against hope that his brother was able to answer if he heard him.

He closed his eyes, sought that inner peace again, and at the same time focused audibly on his surroundings. Water dripping, the distant scurrying of little feet over concrete and that sound that darkness had that had always raised the small hairs on the back of his neck. It was that sound – or non-sound – that he heard in old abandoned houses haunted by something nasty, or in tunnels far under city streets were the humdrum of everyday life didn't reach.

And then he heard it, the distant pounding, the muffled voice calling his name. He wouldn't have heard this if he had been plowing through the water that stood ankle-deep and foul-smelling in the tube. A tight grin slipped over his lips. John Winchester may not have been up for any father of the year awards, but he had taught Dean everything he knew and this one had always come in handy.

"SAMMY!" he yelled and started in the direction of the distant sound that grew stronger with every step he took. "KEEP IT UP!"

And Sam did until he reached what looked like the door in a frigging sub. Oval with that big wheel in the middle. Obviously, this thing didn't open from the inside. And the pounding continued.

"ALRIGHT! I'M HERE," he yelled at the muffled voice on the other side, grabbed the wheel and started turning it. It was rusty and heavy like hell, but he turned it and eventually was rewarded by the clang of deadbolts releasing their hold.

"DE..!" Sam's yell was cut short and Dean yanked the door open just in time to see his brother disappear into a mountain of ...

He swung the penlight around, stumped by what he was seeing to such an extent that it took him a moment to pull himself together enough to focus on where Sam had disappeared to. What he was looking at, what Sam had been dragged into, appeared to be a mountain of socks. "You have got to be kidding me," he muttered, then started swinging the light around in search of his brother. "SAM!" he tried and was instantly rewarded by a muffled sound from somewhere near the top of the sock mountain.

Scrambling up it, he found his brother and managed to yank him out of the mess of moist footwear and away from the hole. Sam was panting, out of breath, but seemed otherwise okay. "What the hell, man!" Dean exclaimed.

"Tell me about it," Sam agreed. "This has got to be the weirdest thing that's ever happened to us."

Dean could only agree. "So, what exactly are we up against? Did you see it?"

To his immediate surprise, the look in Sam's eyes, when he turned the penlight in Sam's direction, was embarrassed. "Uhm ... yeah," he said and sent a look around the sock mountain. "We should get the hell out of here, by the way. There's no handle on the inside of the door. If that closes, we're stuck."

"Fine, but afterwards I wanna know what the hell this sock-monster is," Dean countered. "And how we get rid of it," he added thoughtfully.

Sam took the lead down the mountain toward the door and huffed out a sigh of relief when he cleared the opening.

Dean stepped out into the tube behind him and sent a brief look back into that chamber. "So, spill."

"Not here. I need fresh air," Sam hedged.

Dean grabbed his arm when he started moving and pulled him to a stop. "No, now, Sam. What the hell is in there? It's gotta be pretty damned big to drag you off like that."

"Dean ... I don't really think it means any harm. It's just ... after socks," Sam tried.

Somehow he couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that Sam was standing up for whatever was hiding in there. "What? Are you nuts? It pulled you through a damned washing machine. I thought ..." He stopped, fully aware that he had no idea what he had thought because his thought process had pretty much stopped short when he had realized that Sam had disappeared.

"I know, but I don't really think it was after me. I just ... got in the way," Sam said. "It just wanted my sock."

Dean turned the penlight on his brother. "It just wanted your sock?" he asked. "Your sock?" He mostly felt like slapping Sam upside the head for that comment. "We are not leaving a potentially dangerous monster, that's only after socks according to you, to roam around under the streets of this little shithole of a town, Sam. Get real!"

"It's not a ... monster," Sam said and stuffed his hands into his pockets before he sent a somewhat furtive glance back into the chamber they had just vacated. "It's ... I don't know what it is, Dean. I've never seen anything like it. It's like ..." He was obviously searching his mind for a comparison and Dean left him to it and just waited. "You remember that thing they had in Fifth Element? That ... elephant-like pet that creepy dude had in his desk?" Dean just stared. "Well ... it kinda looks like that, only bigger. And it's ... rainbow striped."

Okay, that one he hadn't expected. "Excuse me?" He sent an glance back into the chamber himself. "There's a rainbow colored elephant in there that lives off stealing socks out of washing machines in laudromats?" He returned his attention to his somewhat befuddled-looking brother. "And you saw that in there? In complete darkness?"

"The lights come on when the door's shut," Sam muttered.

"Are there fumes down here I should know about? Something that makes you see rainbow colored elephants that steal socks for a living?"

"It's not an elephant per se, Dean. It just ... it has a trunk," Sam tried a little helplessly.

"I don't frigging care if it has butterfly wings and shoots stars out of it's ass. It's a monster," Dean snapped.

"No, it's not," Sam countered just as sharply. "Look ... I think the banging on the door spooked it or something. I only saw it right after I ... landed on all the socks. Since then I haven't seen it. And there are no bones or anything down here. I don't think it's ever dragged anyone else down here before."

It was typical Sam to defend this thing, but Dean was having none of that. "Yeah, well now it has had a taste of that and guess what. That means that we have to do something about it, because the next time it may not settle for the frigging socks, Sam. Next time it may take the leg as well. Or the hand holding the sock. It's just so not ..." He trailed off when he caught movement in the shadows inside the chamber.

Before either of them could make a move, a rainbow striped trunk of immense length lashed out of the mountain of socks and slammed the door shut. The wheel turned itself until the door was locked.

For a long moment Dean considered his next move – and more importantly – his next words carefully. "Socks?" he asked, to which Sam nodded. "It eats them?"

"I don't think so. I think it collects them," Sam said and glanced back at the door. "Either way, it hasn't harmed me and don't you think it would have done more than just slam the door in our faces if it was a ... monster?"

It warranted some consideration that Dean wasn't prepared for right now. This whole thing was just too damned weird for his taste. "Next thing you'll tell me frigging unicorns are real too," he muttered, then shoved Sam forward. "Get a move on. I'm getting the willies being this far underground."

He could very well imagine the eyeroll this earned him, but Dean didn't care right now. He had found Sam, his brother was okay and the 'monster' hadn't killed anyone. So, unless he heard specifically that someone had been hurt around here, he was going to let it rest. At least now he knew what happened to those socks that disappeared in the laundry.

The End