Eighteen: Unseen Heroes
Indian Reservation, Casa del Eco Mesa, dusk
creased by years and shadowed with knowledge stared
calmly into the dancing orange light of a campfire.
He’d purposely built the fire just outside of
the Joshua Trees, where the surrounding halo would combat
the growing darkness. Where he couldn’t see, but
could be seen.
Though what he was prepared for was
an act of ancient Navajo tradition, he was not dressed
in the ceremonial garb of his ancestors. He would meet
the fate he’d called up on himself dressed in
the denim, flannel, and leather of the white man. He
would face it without a weapon, without a fight, and
with no remorse in his soul.
As the dark grew the stars above him
snapped and sparkled with their cold light. He lifted
his dark eyes to the heavens, his mind carefully blank.
He did not want the spirits to doubt his conviction.
He simply wanted to see the light from those celestial
bodies as they teased the black sky with promises of
He dipped two fingers into the shallow
wooden bowl and scooped out some of the red paste he’d
made earlier that evening. Whispering the words of his
forefathers, he spread the red stain across his cheekbones,
under his eyes, the gritty substance sinking immediately
into the lines framing his time-worn eyes.
He was ready.
The cry of the screech owl split the
darkness and immediately all other night sounds ceased.
The world was quiet, still, breath held in anticipation
of the moment to come.
From the shadows a boy stepped out
and stood at the edge of the firelight. The old man
saw his youth, saw his eagerness, and for one brief
moment, sadness enveloped him and he felt himself tremble
with it. The old man saw himself, fifty years ago, in
this boy. The tall, broad-shouldered youth was more
a man now than the old man had been when he made this
choice. The dark hair was cut short as modern times
dictated, not hanging in a plait down his back as the
old man’s had been.
But the moment was the same. The inhuman
silverfish gleam in the eyes was the same. And the end
result would be the same.
“You decide, old man,”
the youth said, his deep voice holding none of the respect
this moment called for.
The old man’s lips folded down
in a frown, the sadness he’d felt before growing
stronger. He was too far down the path to change course
now, but he knew that once the ceremony was done, the
youth would be lost to the hunger and there would be
no one in the tribe to stop him.
giving in to the inevitable, the old man uttered one
word. “Ma’iitsoh.” Wolf.
The youth exhaled, a feral smile twisting
his handsome features into a mask of darkness. Without
sound, without warning, the young man dropped his head
back, his mouth raised to the night sky in a silent
scream. The muscles along the flat planes of his stomach
and across his shoulders tightened and he thrust his
hands from his sides, his tendons straining as if an
invisible force was pulling his arms from their sockets.
His hands curled slowly into fists
and as the old man watched, he began to shake. The tremors
wracked his body so violently the old man felt it travel
across the sand and travel up his folded legs into his
grieving heart. With a sound like a wine bottle uncorking,
the young man’s body snapped backwards, viciously,
and he dropped to the ground. He began to writhe, his
muscles straining, his face contorted in pain, but he
didn’t make a sound.
The old man watched through the fire,
his face impassive. With a sickening sound, the young
man’s bones began to crack, his arms and legs
bending and twisting into an unnatural shape. The old
man closed his eyes. He listened to the sound of silent
torture, the panting, the resistance. And then he heard
the sounds change. The panting became more rhythmic,
less pained. The movements were slow, steady, sure.
He opened his eyes to find himself
face-to-face with the yellow, untamed eyes of a black
wolf. The old man blinked once and whispered, “Ma’iitsoh.”
The wolf raised its head, howling at
the half moon cresting the horizon in the infant stages
of night. An eerie, desperate, wild sound, it traversed
the silence of the mesa, filtered through the Joshua
Trees, and sent the desert animals searching for safety
As he stared into the animal’s
eyes, the old man knew that the wolf remembered. The
eyes were knowing, aware. And the old man smiled.
The wolf howled once more. The old
man sighed. It was time.
The wolf’s mouth descended from
beseeching the heavens and in one quick swipe of teeth,
it tore the old man’s throat out. The killing
didn’t take long. With blood saturating its muzzle,
the wolf slashed the delicate tissues of the old man’s
chest and devoured the heart as it beat its last. Satiated,
the wolf, coated in the blood of its first kill, moved
into the darkness, leaving the body of the old man staring
with sightless eyes at the night sky.
Soon, there was nothing but the wind
and the sounds of the desert as it slowly returned to
life. The campfire crackled and sparked, fading orange
embers danced up on the zephyr and died. And then another
man, younger than the old man, older than the young
man, stepped out from the shadows of the Joshua Trees,
carrying a shovel. He paused next to the body, staring
down at the gore surrounding the old man.
now, Azhé'é?” His voice was choked
with horror and emotion as he regarded his father. “He
became what you believed him to be. And now I am alone.”
blade of his shovel buried into the ground like a judge’s
of Nowhere, Utah, one month later, night
“Just admit it.”
“Quit pouting. I’m not
shook his head, the useless road map crumpled in his
fist. “We haven’t seen a road sign…
or a building… or a light in like…
an hour, Dean.”
“I know where we are, Sam,”
“Arizona. Or, uh, New Mexico…
maybe,” Dean shifted his eyes to the side, checking
his mirror. No lights behind them. No lights in front
of them. It was as if the desert had swallowed the Impala.
“Swell,” Sam rested his
elbow on the sill of the window and tipped his head
into his hand. “Somewhere in the Southwest, USA.”
“Exactly,” Dean nodded,
glancing at Sam with a forced smile.
Sam rubbed his head on the heel of
his hand, not lifting it from the support. “Dean…
it’s only been like three days since we left Alyssa.”
“I just,” Sam pulled his
bottom lip in, unsure how to frame this next statement.
“You haven’t had a lot of time to…
get back to yourself.”
“I’m fine, Sam,”
Dean stated flatly, his mantra of denial smoothly masking
any doubts he may have had about residual effects of
the whammy Alyssa had placed on him. “Hitting
on all eight cylinders. Promise.”
Sam lifted an eyebrow. “Dude,
even before the white light of doom you weren’t
hitting on eight cylinders.”
“Says you,” Dean scoffed
good-naturedly. “I’m actually rather proud
of my cylinders.”
Sam rolled his eyes, leaning forward
to stuff the map into the glove box, careful of any
random knives that may or may not be stored there. “I’m
sure you are.”
reached over and turned up the music when the familiar
sounds of AC/DC’s Hells Bells reached
“It’s about time we picked
up a radio station,” he muttered.
“I’m telling you, we’re
lost,” Sam grumbled, watching Dean’s hand
travel from the radio back to the steering wheel. “We
took a wrong turn back there at—“
“Sam,” Dean interrupted,
exasperation plain in his tone. “We don’t
even know where the hell we’re going, how could
we have taken a wrong turn?”
last time we didn’t know where the hell we were
going we ended up in the town that time forgot,”
Sam twisted in the seat to stare at his brother, his
Dean frowned, “First of all,
that wasn’t a wrong turn. That was a detour.”
He glanced over at Sam. “Second of all…
how was I supposed to know that it would lead to the
religious cult from Hell?”
Stretching his arms out in front of
him, grasping his right hand with his left, Sam let
out a soft sigh. He rolled his shoulders, working the
kinks of the ride from his upper body. He glanced over
at Dean. “I just don’t want you to…
y’know, push yourself.”
“Dude, enough already,”
Dean shot him a look. “I. Am. Fine. I am me, I
remember you, I’m eating, I’m sleeping…
the whole nine yards.”
Sam clenched his jaw. “Fine.”
In the distance, a faint, yellowish
glow of lights caught their attention and Sam sat forward
“Do you see that?”
“It’s either a town or
a space ship,” Dean nodded, peering through the
windshield into the night. “Where’s Area
As they approached the lights, the
Impala’s beams caught a sign at the side of the
Utah. Population 340
“Utah!” Sam exclaimed.
“Good,” Dean nodded, tapping
his ring on the steering wheel. “Not enough people
to cause trouble.”
in Utah,” Sam said.
Dean glanced over at him. “What’s
with you? Some kind of Mormon-phobia I should know about?”
“I just… I always wanted
to see Utah,” Sam said, an almost boyish smile
on his face as he settled back against the seat. “Y’know,
Monument Valley, the Four Corners…”
Dean grinned. “Check you out.”
“You’re all... like a kid
on his way to Disneyland.”
Sam reached out and shoved at Dean’s
shoulder. “Shut up.”
Dean frowned as the radio succumbed
once more to static. He reached over and turned it down,
glancing once at the box of CDs that they had listened
to one too many times in the last year. He looked over
at Sam, still leaning slightly forward, looking out
into the darkness as if he hoped the starlight would
reveal some of the wonders of the desert to his prying
Dean felt a slight pang for the kid
that Sam used to be, the childhood that he’d tried
so hard to allow Sam to have. His little brother had
been through hell in the last year.
“Hey, Sam,” Dean said,
clearing his throat. “Maybe we should… take
a break. See the sights.”
Sam tilted his head, thinking. “We
just took a break not too long ago.”
Dean barked out a quick laugh. “Sammy,
I’m not so sure a romp in the Louisiana swamp
dodging black magic voodoo snakes qualifies as a break.”
Sam grinned in agreement. “Yeah,
maybe that’s not the best example of a vacation.”
guess we just don’t… do vacations,
Sam,” Dean said, squinting slightly as they passed
under a streetlight, his eyes unaccustomed to anything
but the dim interior of the Impala and the complete
darkness of the desert night. “Our lives are…”
“Weird,” Sam concluded.
“You can say that again.”
He slid his eyes over to Sam, catching the hesitant
hope on his brother’s face. “Still…
even bad-ass demon hunters deserve to sightsee now and
“Yeah, I guess,” Sam nodded,
his shoulders relaxing at the idea.
Dean scanned the sparse street, looking
for anything the might resemble a good place to stop.
“I could eat.”
“Cottonwood Steakhouse, beware,”
Dean said, rotating the wheel with the flat of his hand
and pulling into a parking spot near the front door
of the restaurant. “The Winchesters have arrived.”
“Steak sounds good,” Sam
nodded, gripping the door handle.
“Mmmm… and pie,”
Dean said stepping out of the car and shutting the door
with a creek of the old hinge.
Sam shook his head, walking around the front of the
car to join his brother.
“Easy to please, Sammy,”
Dean said, clapping a hand on his brother’s shoulder
as they approached the door. “I’m just easy
pulled the door open and stepped back as Dean walked
through, thinking about how true that statement was.
Give Dean his car, his music, the open road… and
me, Sam thought, and Dean was happy. The last few
days of aimless driving after the events in Phoenix
had shown Sam a softer side of his brother. A Dean content
to simply be alive, breathing, waking up every morning
and going to sleep every night.
actually seen his brother smile—a true, unguarded,
As they stepped into the Cottonwood
Steakhouse, however, it was not a smile that graced
Dean’s features. It was a grimace of misery as
the sounds of steel guitars and pure country twang ran
sideways across their ears. Dean glanced back at him,
his expression pained.
“Take it easy, Dude,” Sam
laughed. “Steak and pie, remember?”
“Right,” Dean said in a
strained whisper. “Steak and pie. And beer.”
“Help you?” A middle-aged
woman with a large white dishtowel tied neatly around
her waist stepped up to them. Her faded brown hair was
pulled up in a short ponytail and her eyes were soft
as she let her gaze touch on each of them briefly.
“Uh, yeah,” Sam smiled
disarmingly at her. “Two, please.”
“This way,” the woman grabbed
two menus and turned, leading them past several tables
filled with couples enjoying plates filled with steak
and potatoes. She motioned to a booth in the far back
They slid into the seats, accepting
the menus with nods of thanks.
“Busy place,” Dean commented,
glancing back over his shoulder through the small restaurant
to the front door as someone else entered.
The waitress shrugged. “When
you have two restaurants in town, people don’t
get much of a choice. Plus we get a lot of tourism traffic.”
Dean flicked his eyebrows at Sam. “Sightseers,”
he said in a stage whisper.
Sam nodded with a small grin.
“Get you something to drink?”
The woman pulled out a pad of paper and flipped the
top sheet over, then reached up and pulled a stub of
a pencil out from behind her ear.
“Two beers,” Dean said.
“Got local brew on tap or bottles
of Coors and Heineken.”
Dean glanced at Sam who shrugged in
return. “Whatever you got on tap is fine,”
Dean said, offering the lady a smile, his eyes crinkling
at the corners.
“Be right back, Sweetie,”
the woman said, suddenly tapping the back of Dean’s
hand lightly and turning from their table.
Dean blinked in surprise at her retreating
form, then looked over at Sam. “What was that
just grinned. “Maybe you looked like a sweetie
Dean shook his head, looking over the
menu. “Whatever, Dude. You’re the motherless
lad, I’m the bad boy.”
“Hey, I’ve worked long
and hard on this rep,” Dean lifted an eyebrow.
“Have to say it has some distinct advantages.”
The waitress returned with their beers
and took their orders. As she stepped away, the music
shifted to a George Strait song and Dean winced.
absolutely hates this song,” he said.
“Yeah?” Sam asked, intrigued.
Dean nodded. “You want to hear
that man swear like a sailor in a whore house, just
turn on some George Strait.”
Sam chuckled. “I don’t
think I ever noticed that.”
Dean shrugged, not wanting to dig too
deep into the battle lines that often separated Sam
and John. “Y’know how he always had music
playing, wherever we went?”
listen to anything… dude, anything…
even that Top 40 crap. One day I’m flippin’
channels on this little radio in some motel and this
song comes on,” Dean pointed up, indicating the
invisible speakers that filtered the sad, mellow tones
of loneliness and love gone wrong down to their table.
face relaxed in a slight smile. “Dad… he
launches himself across the room, pulls the cord friggin’
out of the wall trying to turn the music off.
Then he goes into a litany of words even I would never
“Why does he hate it so much?”
Sam laughed, watching Dean remember.
“You got me,” Dean said,
his fingers tipping up in a shrug of his hands. “I
think I was too afraid to ask after that.”
Sam nodded. For all of his obvious
love for his sons, John Winchester could be a scary
individual when provoked.
“Mom had a favorite song, though.”
Dean continued. “She’d play it over and
over… I think it was an album, actually.”
Sam sat back as their plates of food were set in front
of them, then leaned forward once more, eager for Dean
to keep talking. He didn’t know where this was
coming from—this infusion of words, this explosion
of memory—but he didn’t want it to go away.
“Yeah, I remember it had this…
scratchy sound, y’know?”
“What was the song?”
Moves,” Dean replied around a mouthful of
“Mom liked Bob Seger?”
“Yup,” Dean nodded, washing
the food down with a gulp of beer. “They used
to dance in the kitchen.”
“Dude, how do you remember this
stuff?” Sam said, cutting his steak and laying
the knife across the top of his plate.
Dean shrugged, “I don’t
know, man. I don’t always. Sometimes it just…
y’know flashes clear like I saw it yesterday.”
“Think it’s a… side
effect of Alyssa’s… powers?”
“Nah,” Dean shook his head,
shoveling potatoes into his mouth. “It just happens
once in awhile. Always has.”
Sam paused, thinking, his eyes on Dean’s
hands as they moved food around his plate and up to
his mouth. This was not an easy life they lived. On
either of them. But more so, Sam thought, on Dean. It
was good to see his brother eating. Good to hear his
voice. Good to simply be around him.
had called them demon-hunters earlier… but they
were more than that. They hunted evil…
and Sam had learned over the last two years that evil
was everywhere, in everything, and that no matter whom
they thought they had defeated, the hunt would never
go away. And yet… they’d managed to live
their lives around that fact.
“Can’t picture Dad dancing,”
“Who do you think taught me?”
“You don’t dance,”
Sam scoffed. “Usually…”
“Well, I did once,” Dean
lifted his eyebrows, his eyes alight with good memories.
“You remember Megan Jones?”
Sam started to shake his head, then
stopped. “Wait, yeah. That dark-haired girl that
used to play ball with us… where the hell were
“Somewhere in Ohio… Akron,
yeah. You danced with her?”
“Dude, eight grade, she asks
me to the spring dance—uh, Stephen Hawking or
“Sadie Hawkins,” Sam corrected,
grinning around his food.
Dean pointed at him, “That was
it. Anyway, I was scared to death.”
Sam laughed. “Some bad boy. Scared
of a girl.”
“I was twelve, man, cut me some
“So, what happened?”
“Night before the dance, Dad
comes home from a hunt, and I told him what I had to
do. He gets real serious with me, like he does right
before he’s gonna move us, or tell us something
Sam nodded, finishing his plate and
picking up his beer.
“Then he tells me that the most
important thing is to always keep my hands at her waist,
and to watch her eyes.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“Swear to God. I never forgot
that. Came in handy, too,” Dean said, reaching
for his pie.
in case the bad boy rep didn’t work for
that always works, Sammy,” Dean grinned. “Well,
y’know, except with your girls.”
Sam quirked his eyebrows. “What
do you mean?”
hated me when we first met her,” Dean grinned.
didn’t… hate you.”
“Well, she was certainly more
impressed with your art history shtick.”
Sam smiled softly, thinking of the
dark-haired beauty that held a piece of his heart.
“Yeah, well, Jess wouldn’t
have gone for the bad boy, either,” Sam agreed.
“See? You got your girls, I got
mine. All balances out.”
“Did you kiss her?”
Dean brought his head up quickly. “What?”
“Megan Jones,” Sam said,
chuckling at the look of horror that had crossed Dean’s
“Oh! Uh… yeah.” Dean
nodded, his lips tipping up at the sides, eyes crinkling
at the corners.
“Jeeze, you started early,”
Sam laughed, nodding his thanks as the waitress brought
them more beer.
“You only get this good with
practice,” Dean said, bouncing his eyebrows and
pushing back his empty pie plate with a satisfied sigh.
“Plus, living this life… I guess I kinda
figure I have to take what I can get when I can get
“But you didn’t know you’d
be living this life in the eight grade,” Sam protested.
Dean pressed his lips together, shrugging.
“Maybe I did.”
“Whatever, man,” Sam shook
his head. “You had to have had a different idea
about what you wanted to be back then.”
Dean sat back, one arm across the back
of the booth, beer in his opposite hand. He looked down
at the amber liquid thoughtfully.
“What about you, Sam?”
He said, deflecting the attention. “When did you
know you wanted to be a lawyer?”
Sam sat forward, turning the pint around
slowly with the tips of his fingers. “I dunno…
I think maybe when I was in high school.”
“What triggered it?”
“Watching you,” Sam said,
almost shyly. He flicked his eyes up to Dean’s
face, then back to his drink.
“Me? Why me?”
Sam pulled his bottom lip in. “It’s
“I got nothin’ but time,
man,” Dean said, relaxing his jaw and keeping
a watchful eye on Sam’s bent head.
“Well, I’d watch you take
care of me, and Dad, and then I’d watch you go
out there and get beat to hell hunting evil… and
no one knew about it.”
Dean remained silent.
“You and Dad… and I guess
me eventually, only not really until after… after
Jess… you never once acted like you should be
doing something else, something… safe.”
Dean pushed out his lips, turning the
pint of beer around with the tips of his fingers in
a mirror image of his brother.
“I just saw you… giving
your time to me, and to strangers… and I thought…
well, people should know, y'know?”
Dean lifted an eyebrow. “And
so you thought… lawyer?”
Sam chuckled softly. “I told
you it was tangled.”
Dean took a drink of his beer.
guess I just thought that there had to be something
out there where I could do something that made a difference
in people’s lives—and they knew
about it.” Sam finished his beer. “Sounds
selfish when I say it out loud.”
“Nah,” Dean lifted his
mouth in an understanding smile and shook his head.
“That’s kinda why I wanted to be a fireman.”
“Those dudes are real heroes,
y’know?” Dean rolled his neck, then sat
forward. “They charge into the fire, don’t
think of themselves, and people love them for it.”
blinked, the image of Dean suddenly standing in his
apartment doorway as Jessica’s body burned up
the ceiling and heat rained down on him flashing across
his vision. Dean hadn’t even paused; he’d
simply grabbed Sam up and used his entire body to shove
him out of the door and to safety.
And Sam loved him for it.
“Y’know, it’s weird,”
Sam said rubbing the heel of his hand against his right
eye. “We spend hours in that car and… we
never talk like this.”
Dean lifted a shoulder. “Sometimes
it’s good to get out of the house once in awhile.”
Sam blinked at him, a surprised laugh
filling the space between them in the booth. Dean signaled
the waitress for another round and rubbed the back of
his neck. He watched as Sam settled comfortably into
the corner of the booth. Neither of them were eager
to move anytime soon.
“Y’know,” Dean said
as they started in on their third pint. “This
middle of nowhere thing is good for more than just a
“How do you mean?” Sam
tilted his head.
“Gives me a chance to try out
my new gun.”
Sam laughed, his dimples showing, and
tilted his head back against the wall behind him. “That
piece of junk?”
“It’s not a piece of junk!
It’s a classic!”
“Classic? Are you serious?”
“I mean, sure, maybe it needs
a little TLC, but… that baby has some kick to
it, I guarantee you.”
“And you know this how? You’ve
never even fired the thing.”
Dean tapped his thumb on the table
top. “I got an eye for these things.”
“That guy in Phoenix totally
snowed you,” Sam shook his head, rubbing his too-long
hair against the wall with the motion. “Classic…”
don’t knock it, man,” Dean lifted his chin
watching Sam out of hooded eyes. “Steve McQueen
carried one just like it in Wanted: Dead or Alive.”
At that a genuine, full-bodied laugh
erupted from Sam. He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed
a hand against his chest as his body shook with the
motion. Watching him, Dean couldn’t help but join
in. Laughing was a rare occurrence, and when it happened
naturally, Dean wanted to freeze the moment, hold it
close to him so that nothing broke in and destroyed
The cry was dead on the heels of the
slam of the restaurant door against the wall as a lanky,
dark-haired man in his mid-twenties burst into the room.
Sam’s head shot up and Dean twisted in the booth.
“What the hell—“
The man was dressed like a movie extra
from a bad western. His Wranglers were so new they looked
starched, his white Brush-popper shirt stood out in
stark contrast to a tan vest and his shiny black cowboy
boots squeaked on the hardwood floor as he threw himself
at the nearest table and grabbed a restaurant patron’s
arm, wringing it desperately.
All conversation in the restaurant
ceased. Everyone was still. The tinny-voiced country
singer carried on oblivious to the man’s panicked
gasping and eyes that darted frantically behind thick-rimmed
glasses. The woman who had been waiting on Sam and Dean
broke free of her shocked stupor and approached the
Reaching out to lay a gentle hand on
the man’s upper arm, she started, “Sir,
you need to calm down—“
will not calm down!” He snapped back
at her, backing away from her hand and turning to the
table on his other side. “Please, you gotta help
His hands trembled as he reached for
the man sitting at that table and Dean could see from
across the restaurant that he was sweating. Chewing
on his lower lip, Dean started to push himself free
from the booth.
“Dean, no, wait, don’t—“
Sam reached for his brother, but he was too far away.
Dean was standing and starting toward the man before
Sam could get out of the booth.
approached cautiously, his hands up and open, waist
level. “Hey, Dude, take it easy, okay?”
The man whirled away from the table
where his grip was currently being dislodged by a diner
whose arm he was digging his fingers into and confronted
Dean. “You don’t understand! He’s
a monster! I saw… I saw him turn into a MONSTER!”
The man turned to another table and
Dean dodged quickly in front of him, preventing him
from grabbing another diner. The man was quickly tumbling
off the deep end.
“Hey!” Dean barked. “Hey,
take it easy, okay?”
Dean reached out and grabbed the man’s
arm, turning him roughly to face him, forcing him to
look Dean in the eyes.
“What’s your name?”
Dean watched the man’s eyes dart
from his face to just over his shoulder and knew instantly
that Sam stood behind him. His brother’s formidable
height was frequently tempered by his sympathetic eyes.
Dean hoped that Sam was turning on the puppy-dog charm
at the moment because this guy was two blinks from a
“Hey, guy,” Dean snapped
his fingers in the man’s face, redirecting his
focus. “What’s your name?” He repeated
slower, his voice soft.
“Eugene,” he said, shivering
slightly. He reached up with his free hand and pushed
his glasses back up his nose. “B-but my friends
call me Clint.”
Standing out of Dean’s line of
sight, Sam quickly reached up and covered his mouth,
hiding his instant grin. He caught Dean’s slight
head tilt and realized his brother was trying to do
the same, settling into the seriousness of the situation
and not the sad humor Eugene was opening up for them.
“Okay, uh, Eugene,” Dean
said, the tremor of humor in his voice expertly quelled.
Carefully moving them to the side of the room, nearer
the booth they’d just vacated, he continued to
question Eugene. “Why don’t you tell me
what you saw?”
“I was, uh,” Eugene’s
voice squeaked as he looked from Dean to Sam and back.
“I was walking over here from the Kokopelli Inn—it’s
this place just up the road, nice place, good beds…
hard to get good beds in some motels, you know—“
“Eugene,” Dean dropped
his chin, his eyes calm on Eugene’s.
well,” Eugene swallowed. “I was gonna meet
this Indian guide I talked to earlier… was, uh,
gonna meet him for dinner over here, and I thought I’d
walk and I was almost here and I heard something and
I turned around and the guy—the Indian guide,
well, Native American, y’know not really Indian,
that’s just our lazy way of…”
Sam watched Dean’s shoulders
visibly tighten. Evidently the motion was carried through
his arm to his fingers because Eugene squeaked again.
This isn’t easy, man!”
“Just take a breath,” Dean
said, his voice a forced calm that warned Sam of a pending
explosion. “You said he turned into a… monster?”
The restaurant tittered slightly at
this. Sam realized suddenly that every eye was turned,
focused on Dean and Eugene in the corner of the room,
waiting to see how the drama would end.
stopped, right in the middle of the road, and he started
to like… twist and bend all… well, you just
can’t bend like that and then he turned
Dean dropped his head, then lifted
it again, his patience rice-paper thin. “Dude,
seriously. Just spit it out already.”
“Wolf,” Eugene squeaked.
“He turned into a wolf,”
Eugene said, deflating, his confession finally over.
The restaurant patrons started to chuckle
a bit at this, turning back to each other and their
conversations, the dull hum of disinterested background
noise blending seamlessly once more with the country
music. Dean straightened up, but didn’t release
Eugene’s arm. He looked over his shoulder at Sam,
an eyebrow raised.
Sam wanted to deny the inevitable.
He wanted to return to the booth and the beer and the
banter. He wanted normal for just a little bit longer.
But the look in Dean’s green eyes, and the way
Eugene was trembling in his brother’s grip, couldn’t
we go again,” Sam whispered. He dug some money
from his jeans pocket and set it on their table, then
nodded to Dean.
“C’mon,” Dean tightened
his grip on Eugene and started to turn him toward the
It took Eugene a second to realize
what was happening, but the moment he registered that
Dean was taking him out of the restaurant, he quite
literally dug his heels in and actually managed to stop
Dean’s forward motion. Sam nearly slammed into
Eugene’s back, so surprised was he that the skinny
man had halted his brother’s muscle.
“No!” Eugene shook his
head vigorously. “No way, man. I’m not goin’
back out there!”
“Eugene—“ Dean started,
tugging on the scared man's arm.
“Didn’t you hear me? There
is a GUY that turned into a friggin’ WOLF out
The eyes of the people in the restaurant
once again started to turn to them. Dean rotated to
face Eugene, his strong hands gripping Eugene’s
shoulders. Sam watched his brother’s eyes soften,
all irritation and anger simply drained from him in
the wake of Eugene’s abject fear. He’d seen
this look before—had seen it directed at Lucas,
had seen it directed at Michael… had seen it directed
at [i]him[/i]. Dean just seemed to instinctively know
when fear reduced you to a child and you needed to be
told that there was nothing under your bed and the closet
“Listen to me, okay,” Dean
said, his voice soft, his eyes steady. “You listening?”
Eugene’s nod was stilted, scared.
“We believe you, okay? My name
is Dean,” he flicked his eyes over Eugene’s
shoulder to Sam. “That big guy back there’s
my little brother Sam. We’re gonna help you.”
“Hey, listen, I promise,”
Dean shook Eugene once. “I promise nothing bad’s
gonna happen to you, okay?”
Eugene brought his eyes up, meeting
Dean’s. He seemed to be weighing something as
he paused, then looked back at Sam who smiled tightly.
He looked back at Dean, his throat working, and Dean
felt slightly heavy as the trust he saw in the dark-brown
eyes was handed over to him.
“O-okay,” Eugene said and
allowed Dean, albeit reluctantly, to lead the way to
the restaurant door.
Sam followed, nodding at the waitress
and offering a salute-like wave to the last of the diners
that stared after them. Dean kept hold of Eugene’s
arm and opened the back door of the Impala, half-tossing
him onto the seat. He joined Sam at the trunk.
Eugene swung his legs out of the car,
bending at the waist to look around the end of the car
“You think two extra clips?”
“How many silver bullets do we
Sam shrugged, “Enough for two
“Okay, smartass, why’re
you asking me then?”
“Just want to make sure you’re
on board,” Sam said. He looked up at the darkened
sky. “Cloud’s are covering the moon.”
“Yeah, well, it’s the right
time in the lunar cycle—tail end of it anyway.”
“You got your knife?” Sam
looked over and saw Dean flip up the tail of his shirt
to reveal the knife sheath he’d fashioned to hold
his Bowie knife behind him. “Good.”
bringing the gun.” Dean reached into the depths
of the weapons cache for the large, sawed-off shotgun.
The barrels had been cut down lower than the required
18 inches and hollowed-out. Dean liked the extra bang
for the buck the highly-illegal 15 inch barrels promised.
“What? No way!”
“Yes, way,” Dean said.
“We can use those silver pellets you melted down
“We’ve never even tried
out the silver pellets, let alone fired that gun. You
don’t know how accurate it is.”
it’s a shotgun… stand close enough,
accuracy doesn’t really matter.”
“What are you guys doing?”
Eugene piped up. “Silver bullets? Shotguns? What
Dean and Sam exchanged a glance. Sam
tilted his head, lifting a shoulder.
Dean pulled in his bottom lip and shook
his head. Sighing, he glanced around the end of the
“Hate to tell you this, but,
uh your friend? Is a werewolf,” Dean stated flatly.
“Way to break it to him gently,”
Sam remarked dryly.
“What?!” Eugene shot upright,
cracking the crown of his head on the doorframe of the
car and sat down again, rubbing his head. “What?”
he repeated, softer.
“Where’d you last see this
wolf?” Dean asked.
Still rubbing his head, Eugene leaned
low out of the car door and looked at Dean, watching
with wide eyes as Dean shoved shells into the shotgun
and clicked the chamber shut.
“In the middle of the road,”
Dean looked over at Sam, who shut the
Impala’s trunk, rolling his eyes. Dean squared
his shoulders and with a slow tilt of his head, slid
his eyes back to Eugene.
“Which way did he go, Eugene?”
His voice held a measure of patience that Sam didn’t
always give him credit for.
Eugene dropped his hand and looked
up at Dean. “I didn’t wait around to find
out,” he shook his head, pushing his glasses up
his nose. “I just ran for help…”
Dean rubbed at his forehead, then glanced
over at Sam. “Well, it’s gotta be around
here somewhere. Between here and that… Coca-Cola
Sam and Eugene corrected him in unison. Dean headed
to the driver’s side door, tossing Sam a whatever,
“Get in, Eugene,” Dean
set the shotgun on the seat and waited until Eugene
had closed the back door before starting up the engine.
“Which way is this motel of yours?”
“Uh, that way,” Eugene
pointed behind him. “So, what, are you guys like…
Sam’s laugh made Eugene jump
slightly, and Dean simply shook his head as he hooked
his elbow over the back of the bench seat, watching
out of the back window as he reversed out of the parking
space and turned in the direction Eugene had pointed.
“Wait… Buffy was vampires…
who kills werewolves?” Eugene said, frowning.
“We do,” Dean said, watching
the road for the motel. Seeing it only a half mile away,
he turned in and parked in an empty space. He shoved
the gear into park and turned sideways in his seat.
Eugene shook his head.
mean it,” Dean jerked his thumb over his shoulder.
Eugene sat back and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I can drag your ass out of here, man.”
“What if it’s waiting for
Sam dropped his head, his chin tucked
into the chest, content to let Dean handle their stubborn
“It’s not going to be waiting
“How do you know?”
“Because…” Dean rolled
his eyes, staring daggers into the side of Sam’s
head. “Werewolves can’t… open doors,
“I’m staying with you,”
Eugene shook his head.
we’re going after the wolf,” Dean
said. “If you’re scared, the last place
you want to be is with us. You’ll be safe here.
“Out! Now.” Dean made a
move for Eugene’s arm, causing the skittish man
to back up.
Sam bit the inside of his cheek.
“Fine! Fine, I’ll go,”
Eugene sputtered, shoving the door open. “But
I don’t like it.”
“I’ll try to live with
that,” Dean shot back.
Eugene slammed the door, and stormed
up to the front of the building. He glanced back once,
then dug out his room key and unlocked a ground-floor
room, slamming the motel room door behind him. Sam started
laughing the minute the door shut.
“Don’t you start,”
Dean said, hefting the cannon of a shotgun in his right
hand and grabbing two small Maglight flashlights as
he got out of the car.
“I think I’m beginning
to like that guy, man,” Sam chuckled.
Dean glared at him. “We can leave
the car here and head back to the restaurant, see if
we can pick up the tracks.”
“You take left, I’ll take
right,” Sam said and Dean nodded, tossing one
of the flashlights to Sam.
They walked slowly, unconsciously in-step
with each other, scanning the dirt on the quiet roadside.
“I can’t believe no one
in the restaurant’s come this way yet,”
“When’s the last time we
hunted a werewolf?”
Dean paused. “Don’t think
we have since we were kids,” he replied, then
froze at the sound of rocks skittering across the road.
Without glancing at Sam, he whirled, his gun up in point
position, facing the threat approaching from behind.
Eugene squeaked, stumbling backwards,
hands raised. “Don’t shoot! It’s me!
of a bitch,” Dean breathed, lowering the gun.
“Are you crazy? I could have killed you.
What the hell are you doing here?”
“I can see that, Eugene.”
Dean considered pointing the gun at him again. “I
told you, man, we’re Going. After. The. Wolf.”
I know,” Eugene tossed a look over to Sam waiting
silently on the other side of the road. “And you
got the guns. I’m sticking with you.”
“You’ll be safer back in
your room, man,” Sam offered, his voice kind.
thing… knows who I am,” Eugene pushed his
glasses back up on his nose, looking at Dean. “It—he—was
meeting me for dinner.” A shaky, nervous
laugh colored Eugene’s next words. “I’m
not safe anywhere.”
Dean sighed. “Oh, hell.”
He handed Eugene the flashlight. “You just stay
close to me, okay?”
“Dean! What the hell?”
“He’ll be okay if he stay’s
close, Sam,” Dean called over to his brother.
“You aren’t seriously letting
him come with us,” Sam shook his head.
“I got him.”
“Damn right, you got him,”
Sam grumbled. “He’s just gonna get in the
“Hey,” Eugene piped up.
“Right here, guys.”
“Shut up,” the brother’s
snapped in unison.
“Right, gotcha,” Eugene
nodded, grimacing slightly as the wind picked up and
the cloud cover vanished to reveal the silvery light
of the full moon.
“Hey,” Sam called.
“Yeah,” Sam motioned toward
the open mesa on the other side of the road. “Tracks
head toward those… weird looking trees over there.”
“They’re Joshua Trees,”
“C’mere,” Dean grabbed
the front of Eugene’s shirt, pulling him closer
than his shadow as he crossed the road and followed
“Y’know the Native Americans
used to use the leaves from the Joshua Trees to weave
sandals and they’d roast the seeds for food—really
rather tasty, so I’ve heard… kinda like
“Shut up,” Dean growled,
the fine hairs on the back of his neck sticking up as
he followed about twenty feet behind Sam, keeping his
eyes glued to his brother’s back. The wind tossed
the clouds haphazardly across the sky skittering shadows
across the ground and playing tricks with Dean’s
He watched Sam’s flashlight play along the ground
and kept his ears perked to the sounds of the desert.
The chill of the night contrasted sharply with the heat
he knew this area of the country could bring during
the day. Sam’s steps were slow, methodical, and
Dean matched him stride for stride, keeping Eugene’s
shirtfront fisted in one hand, the large shotgun in
When the wolf struck, it was silent.
felt the impact before he heard a sound, the large,
black body plowing into him from the side, driving him
to the ground on top of Eugene, forcing the air from
his lungs, knocking the shotgun from his grip. He had
a moment to pull in a stuttered breath before the sharp
claws raked heat across his left side and he cried out
in surprised pain.
Sam whirled at his brother’s
cry, his pistol up, flashlight trained on the back of
the black beast that continued to swipe at Dean’s
struggling form. The wolf was monstrous, muscles bunching
and gathering beneath its broad shoulders, paws as large
as Sam’s hands.
Sam drew a bead on the wolf’s
back as he ran, firing once. He missed.
“G-get… get him…”
Dean was struggling to say, and Sam saw that he was
somehow, impossibly, keeping the wolf’s talon-like
claws at bay for the moment.
Eugene had scrambled out from underneath
Dean and grabbed the barrel of Dean’s gun. With
a cry worthy of a Navajo warrior, he swung the butt
of the shotgun at the wolf’s head, knocking it
sideways and freeing Dean just as Sam reached them.
Dean tried to roll to his side; Sam
tried to aim at the wolf’s head. Neither of them
were fast enough. With the speed of the devil whispering
a lie, the wolf grabbed Eugene’s forearm between
its massive jaws and turned, sprinting off across the
mesa, dragging Eugene behind it, screaming bloody murder.
“You okay?” Sam reached
“We gotta get ‘im,”
Dean panted, struggling to his feet and pressing his
arm tight against his side. “Where’s my
“Here,” Sam handed him
go,” Dean took off after the wolf, the trail easy
to follow even in the stammering moonlight. I promise…
nothing bad’s gonna happen to you…
Dean shook his head, hard, banishing the thought. Intent
on keeping his promise.
“He’s close,” Sam
panted, running along side of him.
looked over at him, drawing Sam’s eyes with the
moment they were in. They had hunted together, fought
together, for so long that in moments of need, Dean
knew Sam could practically read his mind. Dean gestured
to his eyes with the index finger and middle finger
of his left hand, his right clutching the shotgun. He
then pointed a finger in one direction and the flat
of his hand in the other. I’ll watch for you.
You head that way, I’ll flank it…
Sam nodded and veered to the left.
They came up on Eugene in about ten
more strides. They were too late.
wolf had slashed his throat, leaving Eugene gurgling
and gasping wet huffs of useless air as his body jerked
and thrashed on the desert floor. The wolf had a paw
raised, ready to slash toward Eugene’s heart.
“HEY!” Dean barked, bringing
the beast’s eyes up, its muzzle coated with blood,
teeth bared, eyes gleaming inhumanly in the moonlight.
Dean brought the shotgun up, but a heartbeat before
he could pull the trigger, the wolf turned away from
Dean, spring-boarding off of Eugene’s body, and
slammed into Sam, knocking him to the ground.
“No!” Dean screamed and
then his world went silent as Sam’s scream pierced
Dean brought the shotgun up, but dropped
it an instant later, afraid he would hit Sam with the
untested weapon. On a flat-out run, Dean pulled his
Bowie knife from the sheath at his back and dropped
to his knees as he approached Sam, sliding toward the
wolf and his brother, knife raised, eyes wild. As his
forward motion slowed, the wolf released Sam’s
arm, and without a backward glance, darted off through
the cacti and Joshua Trees into the desert night.
panted for air, his desperate eyes searching the dimly
lit night for any sign of the beast. It friggin’
aimed for Sam… Dean dropped his
knife, and looked down at his bleeding, unconscious
brother. A screech owl shook the silence of the desert,
and as if its cry was a signal, the night calls returned,
cocooning the brothers in sound.
“Aw, Jesus, Sammy,” Dean
breathed, his chest heaving with the effort to draw
in air, his mouth dry, his side burning. He reached
down and carefully turned Sam’s left forearm with
gentle fingers. The bite was deep and bleeding freely.
Sam hand was limp in his and as Dean’s eyes flew
to his brother’s face, he noted the pallor of
Sam’s features causing his brother’s lashes
to stand out like dark shadows on his cheeks.
Dean knew he had to get the bleeding
stopped before he did much of anything. He started to
unbutton his green shirt to use as a bandage when he
glanced down at his side. The wolf had nicely filleted
him, slashing through both his shirt and T-shirt. His
blood was beginning to stain the material.
Dean muttered, looking back at Sam’s face. Gotta
stop the bleeding… how the hell… Belt!
Sam always wore a belt. Dean reached for his brother’s
waistband and unfastened his belt, pulling the leather
free from the denim loops. “Any other situation,
that might feel awkward,” he muttered.
He wrapped the leather just above the
bite; as he pulled it tight, Sam opened his eyes with
“Easy, Sammy,” Dean soothed.
“Take it easy, I’m here.”
“Yeah, Dean,” he said,
fastening the belt. “Who else would it be?”
“What… where’d it
“Ran off,” Dean said tightly.
“Need to wrap your arm, Sam. You think you can
sit up a little?”
Sam blinked at Dean, his eyes large
in the moonlight. His gaze flicked down to the arm resting
across his belly and Dean saw realization of what had
just happened to him filter slowly in.
“Don’t go there, Sam,”
“No.” Dean shook his head
once. “Don’t. Just… just help me wrap
it and get you out of here.”
Dean swallowed. “He’s,
uh… over there.”
“We…” Sam gasped
as Dean pulled him carefully into sitting position.
“We were too late…”
“Don’t worry about that
now, Sam,” Dean said, working Sam’s right
arm out of his jacket and used the loose material to
wrap around the wound on Sam’s arm. Sam’s
jaw tightened, but he stayed silent as Dean finished
field-dressing the wound.
we gotta burn him, Dean,” Sam ground out, sweat
beginning to gather at his temples.
Dean swallowed, looking at Sam’s
pale face in the moonlight. “I don’t have
anything to burn… it.”
“Attacked by a werewolf,”
Sam whispered. “No telling if he could still turn,
“I’ll take care of it,
Sam.” Dean said, reaching out to cup the side
of his brother’s face and turned Sam’s blue-green
eyes to meet his, and away from the gore that was Eugene’s
body. “I’ll take care of it, okay? You with
Sam blinked, nodding.
“Let’s get you back, okay?”
“We c-can’t just…”
Dean sighed, knowing Sam was right.
“You just keep your eyes open, okay? Sam?”
“Okay,” Sam whispered,
slumping forward and cradling his wounded arm in his
Dean stood, looking down at Eugene’s
blood-soaked body. He swallowed the bite of bile that
stung the back of his throat. Not allowing himself to
think about what he was doing—or what he’d
done—Dean leaned over and grasped Eugene’s
bloody arms and dragged him to the base of a tree.
He dug Eugene’s wallet, and as
an afterthought, his motel keys, out of his pocket.
There would be someone to tell… someone out there
that would be wondering where their son or brother was.
He cast about the ground for something to cover the
body and ended up with a few dried fronds from the Joshua
Tree. It barely covered Eugene’s face.
rotated on his heel and turned back to Sam. Can’t
think about that now… gotta take care of Sam…
He grabbed his knife, returning it to the sheath at
his back, picked up his shotgun, then leaned over Sam.
“C’mon, kiddo,” Dean
said as he bent over his brother, hooking and arm under
Sam’s right shoulder. “Gotta help me out
“You okay, Dean?” Sam’s
voice was strained.
“I’m good, let’s
just get you back, huh?”
“Saw it get you,” Sam slurred.
“Never touched me,” Dean
shook his head, wrapping Sam’s arm over his shoulders,
ignoring the burn in his side, the image of Eugene’s
The journey back to the road was silent
and arduous. By the time they reached the Impala, Sam
was sagging against him, his feet trailing weakly in
the dirt, and Dean was trembling with the weight of
him. Pausing only a moment to consider his alternatives,
Dean propped Sam up against the side of the motel and
dug Eugene’s key from his pocket.
“Hang on, Sammy,” Dean
whispered, licking his dry lips. “Hang on, man.”
He unlocked the room and manuevered
them into the room, dropping the shotgun inside the
door. He managed to wrestle Sam to the closest bed.
Sam’s eyes fluttered closed and his breath started
to come in short bursts. Dean ran the back of his hand
over his mouth, trying to catch his breath.
“N-no… no hospital, Dean.”
“Don’t take me,”
Sam blinked bleary eyes up at Dean. “Don’t
“I mean it,” Sam’s
voice was stronger. “No hospital. Not like last
Dean’s heart caught painfully
in his chest. He’d never been as scared in his
life as the moment he realized Sam had been shot with
a poison bullet. He’d come so close to losing
“Don’t, Sam,” Dean
barked. “We don’t know anything, yet, okay?”
“Just… just shut up, okay?
Just let me think.” He couldn’t let Sam
see that he was shaking.
Sam closed his eyes, turning his face
away. Dean took a breath.
“I’ll be right back, okay?”
Sam didn’t move. Dean headed
out to the Impala, opening the trunk and pulling out
their duffels. As he leaned in to grab the bag of weapons,
his side shot a hot spark through him, stifling his
breath and bringing him up short. Stuffing the pain
back, denying it the attention it sought, Dean closed
the trunk and hauled all three bags back into the room.
He dropped the bags with the clothing
and first aid kit on the spare bed, sitting the weapons
bag on the small table in the corner of the room that
was currently strewn with papers, brochures, notebooks
and fliers all on Navajo Code Talkers. Dean's flitted
over the items, registering them, but not taking them
in. He set his knife on the table next to his .45.
He gathered the supplies from the first
aid box and eased down on Sam’s bed. His brother’s
eyes were rolling wildly under closed lids, his jaw
trembling as chills wracked his body. Dean swallowed,
closing his mind to what lay back in the desert, to
the moment of peace they’d been afforded just
one hour before, to his unmitigated failure to protect
an innocent, to protect Sam.
“Okay, man,” Dean whispered,
more to keep himself balanced as his vision swam than
to reassure Sam. “You’re gonna hate me,
but I gotta cut your jacket free. Uh, and this…
belt. There. Okay, let’s look at… damn,
Sammy, that’s… that’s a bite alright…
okay, this might sting a little…”
Sam cried out, his head pressing back
into the pillow, neck arching slightly as Dean doused
the bite with antiseptic. Keeping up a steady stream
of inane words, a monologue meaningless in its specifics
and deep in its purpose, Dean cleaned and wrapped the
bite, pulled Sam’s boots off and wrapped his shivering
brother up in the comforter. Sam didn’t open his
a shaking hand over his own sweaty face, Dean pushed
himself unsteadily to his feet. He gathered up the first
aid supplies and stepped into the motel bathroom. Eugene’s
toiletries were organized in descending order by size
along the countertop. Dean closed his eyes, leaning
his forehead against the cool tile of the bathroom wall.
“Stop it,” he admonished
himself. He swallowed, looking at the red stain of blood
on his side. He eased the outer shirt off of his shoulders,
reaching behind his head and grasping the T-shirt between
his shoulder blades and pulling it free. He used the
end of his green shirt and carefully cleaned the blood
from his side, then turned and dropped the tattered
garment on the floor.
The cuts weren’t too deep and
he was able to staunch the bleeding and apply patches
quickly. Returning to the bedroom, he dug out a gray
T-shirt from his duffel and pulled it over his head.
“Sam,” he whispered, shaking
Sam’s leg gently. “Sammy, wake up.”
Sam blinked groggily at him.
“I gotta… I gotta go back
out there… take… care of it,” Dean
said, hoping Sam would understand.
“Be careful,” Sam whispered,
closing his eyes again. Dean watched him a moment more,
then grabbed the motel keys and headed for the Impala’s
trunk and the supplies he needed.
The walk back to Eugene’s body
didn’t seem to take as long as the walk to the
motel had taken. He reached the sad, slumped form and
only then realized that Eugene’s glasses were
gone. He pulled the body away from the tree, trying
in vain to blank his mind to the fact that he’d
talked to this guy just a little bit ago, that he’d
promised to take care of him.
He poured lighter fluid over the body,
gagging over the smell he normally didn’t notice.
He gripped the match between his fingers for a moment,
staring down at Eugene's torn face.
“I’m sorry, Eugene,”
Dean whispered. “I’m sorry, man…”
gave his head a hard shake and forced himself to strike
the match, hesitating only a second before dropping
it onto Eugene's body. He threw up a hand to shield
his eyes as Eugene’s body went up in flames with
a whoosh. Dean backed away from the heat and
the smell, tucking his nose into the crook of his elbow
and pressing his other arm tight against his side.
waited until the embers burned low, then retrieved the
shovel and buried the remains. As he started to return
to Sam, he realized that he was shivering. He swallowed.
It was just the chill of the night, the release of adrenalin
from the fight. That’s all. He wouldn’t
let it be anything else. By the time he reached
the motel, he was desperate for water. But when he saw
Sam, all thoughts of his own comfort vanished.
Sam was twisted in the comforter, his
long hair plastered to his face from a feverish sweat.
He muttered incoherently about angels and demons, sinking
ships and snakes. Dean rubbed his face. After the lives
they’d led, dreams were never safe territory.
Fevers simply heightened the experience. He sat heavily
on the other bed, digging out John’s journal from
one of the duffels.
“C’mon, Dad,” Dean
whispered, his arm pressing tightly against his side.
“Don’t let me down.” He scanned the
pages of the journal where his father had written everything
he’d known about werewolves. The only thing he
found about werewolf bites was the possibility of severing
the bloodline: kill the sire and end the curse.
“Dean,” Sam muttered. “Don’t—“
“I’m here,” Dean
whispered, reaching for Sam’s flailing arm. He
gripped his brother’s hot hand tightly. “I’m
settled slightly at the sound of his voice, but Dean
could feel the shiver of fever through their connected
hands. He knew he had to get Sam’s fever down,
but he suspected that Tylenol and ice packs weren’t
going to cut it this time. He needed something else.
He needed help. He reached into his pocket,
digging out his cell phone. He paused for one second
on Dad, but continued down the list until he
He felt weak with relief when the older
hunter answered. His hasty explanation was met with
“You’re gonna need to write
this down, Dean,” Bearwalker’s rumble floated
across the distance and settled in his ears. “You
sure you’re okay, kid?”
“’M fine,” Dean mumbled,
wiping sweat from his eyes. “I’m ready.
Lay it on me.”
Bearwalker recited a list of ingredients
for a poultice and remedy to bring Sam’s fever
“Where the hell am I gonna find
this stuff?” Dean asked, looking at the list of
unusual items. “Not like a pharmacy is gonna carry
“I know,” Bearwalker said.
“You’re gonna have to find an Indian reservation,
Dean. Can you do that?”
Dean shivered, blinking bleary eyes.
He ran a shaky hand over his mouth, watching Sam twitch
and struggle against the nightmarish images assaulting
“Yeah, I can do that,”
Dean said, thanking Bearwalker and hanging up before
the hunter could pry deeper as to his own wellbeing.
“Where the hell am I gonna find an Indian reservation…”
standing in one, man,” said a voice to
jerked, wincing as his movement of surprise pulled at
the cuts on his side. He stood, automatically reaching
back to his waistband for his gun and grabbing air.
Where the hell is my gun? He looked in the
shadows of the room for the speaker. Did Eugene have
a roommate? Had someone gotten in while he was away?
“Oh, big, bad-ass hunter,”
said the voice. “Did I scare you?”
gaped and thought for sure he was hallucinating when
Eugene stepped from the shadows and into the wan light
cast from the lamp between the beds. The right side
of his face and nearly his entire throat was slashed,
the wounds no longer bleeding but open and raw-looking.
His features were pale and blue-tinged, and his shirt
and vest were shredded.
Dean’s eyes darted from the ghoulish
figure to the small table in the corner of the room
where he’d set their duffel of weapons. His .45
gleamed in the yellow light, taunting him.
“Y-you… you can’t
be here… I… I burned you…”
“Yeah, I know, I was there."
Eugene tilted his head. “Why the hell did you
do that, anyway?”
can’t be a spirit,” Dean stuttered,
backing away from Eugene, putting himself between the
figure and Sam.
“Pretty sure I’m not a
spirit,” Eugene agreed, looking casually around
the room. He reached out and traced a finger down the
wall. “I tried walking through things and kinda…
bounced off. Not really sure how I got in here. I saw
you in the desert, followed you home. Next thing I know…”
Dean swallowed, shaking his head. He
looked down at the faded brown and gold carpet of the
motel room, running the tips of his fingers across his
forehead. The Alp had played with his head too much.
He was imagining things.
not real… notrealnotrealnotrealnotreal…
I feel different,” Eugene said, stepping closer
to Dean. “I mean, sure, I’m y’know…
dead… but it feels different than I thought
it would. For one, I don’t need those damn coke-bottle
glasses. Guess there's an upside to everything."
Dean could see the sides of his teeth
through the hole in Eugene's cheek.
Eugene stepped closer; Dean stepped
back, his knees hitting the bed, jostling his wounded
side. “I mean, except for these really annoying
flaps of skin," Eugene flipped the offending bits
of skin with his fingertips, "that I’m sure
are rather unattractive… frankly, I’ve never
no, you’re not real. You’re not here.”
Dean gasped, glancing back quickly as Sam groaned low.
Holy shit, he thought, I really have lost
“Hate to tell you this, Dean,”
Eugene said, stepping forward and forcing Dean to either
sit on the bed or step aside.
Dean sat, unwilling to open Sam’s
unconscious form up to Eugene’s approach.
“But I am real. I’m DAMN
Eugene pressed forward, his hands planted
on either side of Dean's legs, his torn face inches
from Dean’s. Dean could feel the bed sink and
leaned back despite himself.
you’d better get used to it, Dean, because
you PROMISED that nothing bad was going to happen to
me and, well..." Eugene straightened and spread
his arms, stretching the torn skin so that the red gave
way to a deep purple. "THIS LOOKS PRETTY DAMN BAD!”
“Alright!” Dean yelled,
standing and pushing Eugene’s figure away. He
stared in shock when his hands didn’t go through
Eugene stared back, fascinated. A grin
lifted the slightly-less destroyed side of his face.
“Hey, how’d you do that?”
off, man,” Dean growled. “Just… just
back up.” This is just friggin' nuts…
“Okay, okay, don’t get
so touchy. I’m the dead one here, remember?”
Eugene replied petulantly, holding up his hands.
opened his mouth to retort when the phone between the
beds rang, startling them both. Dean turned to it, running
his hand over his mouth as it rang again.
“You gonna get that?” Eugene
prompted, gesturing toward the instrument.
“Shut up a minute,” Dean
snapped, glancing at Sam’s sweaty, pain-twisted
face. He picked up the receiver. “Hello?”
“It’s your five o’clock
wake-up call, Mr. Eastwood.”
Dean glanced at Eugene, then said “Thanks”
into the receiver and hung up. “Mr. Eastwood?”
“I don’t want to hear it,”
Eugene said, looking uncomfortable. “We all have
our secret identities.”
“Dean?” Sam’s weak
voice shot reality back through Dean.
“Sam, hey,” Dean turned,
wincing slightly and bent over his brother. “You
“Thirsty,” Sam whispered.
“Hang on,” Dean said, and
turned from the bed, brushing past Eugene, and returned
quickly with a glass of water. “Here you go, man.”
He helped Sam drink slowly. “I
talked to Bearwalker, Sam.”
“Yeah, he had some ideas for
helping you, but I gotta go find an Indian, um…”
“Shaman,” Eugene supplied,
looking at the back of his hand with a frown. “Hey,
do you think I’m starting to rot? You can be honest."
Dean said to Sam, ignoring Eugene. He noticed that Sam
didn’t even react to Eugene’s voice. He
must really be out of it…
“Yeah,” Dean nodded. “There
are some herbs and stuff that will help your fever and
I think I have a way to, um, keep you from… y’know…”
“Yeah,” Dean’s smile
mirrored Sam’s weak attempt. “I just need
to find the nearest Indian reservation, get this stuff,
and you’ll be good as new.”
“That plan has more holes in
it than I do,” Eugene grumbled, rolling his eyes.
Dean tipped his chin down, directing
his voice over his shoulder, but not turning. “Just
shut the hell up, okay?”
Sam frowned. “Dean?”
“I’m just saying it isn’t
easy to find an Indian shaman,” Eugene said, stepping
up behind Dean and peering over his shoulder at Sam.
“You’re gonna be lucky if you can find the
reservation, at the rate your going.”
Dean stood, turning from Sam. “Thought
you said I was standing in one,” he challenged.
“You are, but an Indian reservation
covers miles and miles. I mean, you gotta find the right
settlement where the shaman lives, first.”
“Y’know, I’ve had
enough of you,” Dean started to move past Eugene
and head for his cell phone, intent on calling Bearwalker
back, getting a better idea on how to help Sam. Eugene
dodged to block him. “Get the hell out of my way.”
“Make me!” Eugene grinned.
A flap of skin on his cheek fell loose with that motion
and Eugene reached up to try to put it back in place.
“Dammit,” he grumbled.
a minute, Sam,” Dean shot over his shoulder. He
turned back to Eugene, gesturing impatiently with the
flat of his hand. “I am trying to figure out how
to help you, but this freakin’ guy won’t—"
“What guy?” Sam weakly
pushed himself up in bed.
Dean froze, staring at Eugene, his
hand extended. Eugene froze, staring at Dean, still
trying to adjust the loose piece of skin back onto his
cheek. In unison, they breathed out one question. “What?”
are you talking to?” Sam asked, his voice trembling
“Y-you don’t see him?”
Dean asked, rotating slightly, the room tilting slowly
“There’s no one here but
us, Dean,” Sam swallowed, holding his wounded
arm carefully against his chest.
the hits just keep on comin’,” Eugene whispered.
the episode here