Title: Crossing Paths

A Supernatural/Dark Angel Crossover story

Author: Silvertayl 57

Rating: PG 15

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters remain the property of their respective creators and owners. And no infringement of copyright is intended.

Timeline: Supernatural: 1998 pre Pilot and 2007 post 2:14 Born under a Bad Sign. Dark Angel: 2021 post season 2 finale 2:22 Freak Nation.

Story Summary: Still reeling both physically and mentally from Sam's possession by the demon Meg. Dean and Sam take on what should be a simple hunt or maybe it's a hoax for a lizard-like creature said to be living under Seattle. Once in Seattle a strange turn of events finds the brothers shot forward in time to Seattle 2021. Seattle is now a city in ruins due to the pulse of 2009. Will Dean's uncanny likeness to Manticore ex-soldier X5-494 now known as Alec lead them into a deadly situation from which there is no return before they can find the only person who can return them to 2007?

Author's Notes: For the purpose of this story it covers 3 time frames: 1998, 2007 and 2021. The reason for this will become clear as the story unfolds. This story although a crossover will center on Dean, Sam and Alec. However… Max, Logan and Joshua will make appearances but will not feature heavily.

Chapter 1: Veiled Memories.

Gillette, Wyoming January 19, 1998

The old bone yard was right in the center of Gillette. It had suffered badly from neglect and the passing of time. No graves had been dug here for over 50 years. The current citizens of Gillette preferred to bury their loved ones in the newer graveyard on the outskirts of town.

It was here in the old cemetery that the strange, dog-like beast had been sighted. Since after the New Year half a dozen brave locals out for a winter evening stroll or walking their K9 companions had reported seeing the phantom beast on the street near or inside the gates to the old graveyard. The sightings had all been described the same way. A dog as large as an adult bear with shaggy, matted black hair, red glowing eyes, long pointy teeth, fangs and long claws to match.

The dog was said to emit a bone-chilling howl and the unfortunate one that had gotten close enough said its breath was foul; permeated with the smell of death and decay.

So far the supernatural black dog had only terrified the handful of locals who had seen it.

And that's why the Winchesters were here on this bone-chillingly cold, sleet driven mid-winter night to make sure that situation didn't get any worse. Before the phantom dog attacked, injured or even killed someone.

Crouched slightly, eyes narrowed, shoulders hunched against the driving sleet that had turned from rain and was now heading towards snow that swept across the graveyard 18 year old Dean Winchester moved stealthily through the dark, dilapidated soggy, freezing cold graveyard. A small circle of light from his flashlight braced against his gun hand showed him the wet soaked grim looking vista of the boneyard the sodden patches of grass that hadn't seen the blades of a mower in years hiding the treacherous mud and rain water potholed ground ahead. The leafless branches of the huge old trees whose roots crowded and invaded what at one time had been a pathway through the cemetery looked like the skeletal arms of a giant ancient wizard with withered fingers that seemed to flex and reach out for him as he passed close by. His gun was loaded with silver bullets ready to fire at the first sign of the black dog he Sam and their Dad were hunting.

Dean skirted around and in between the reaching trees, graves, grave markers, statues and headstones some of them listing at an angle some broken into pieces scattered about, that loomed up in the darkness. His feet sank into the now crunchy rain sodden grass every step made a squelching sound muffled by the wind and sleet that howled and beat down relentlessly. The cold rainwater that had insinuated its way through the worn leather of his boots soaking into the hem of his jeans was turning stiff as it froze. His hair was plastered to his head by the persistent sleeting rain that had been falling all day without letup. His denim jacket was already growing heavy with water and more rainwater dripped off the tips of his hair was hardening against his forehead the occasional freezing cold drops dripping into his eyes. He blinked the water away and stole a quick glance to his left.

Although he couldn't see Sam he could see the light from his kid brother's flashlight bobbing and cutting a path through the trees, sleet and darkness.

Dean turned his attention back to the ground in front of him just in time to avoid tripping over the small headstone in his path.

Their dad he knew was somewhere off to Sam's left. The graveyard was long but not wide so the three of them could cover the width with minimal distance between them.

Dad and especially Dean always made sure 15 year old Sam was in the middle it was safer that way. "You're 4 years older Dean you have to look out for Sammy!"

The words their ex-marine dad had drilled into Dean since… well as long as he could remember since he was 7 or maybe it was younger? Echoed inside his head.

Dean had almost reached the crypts that lined the rear of the cemetery. He was running out of cemetery and there was still no sign of the phantom dog.

Looking again to his left he stopped dead in his tracks. He could no longer see the light from Sam's flashlight. Panning his own flashlight in the general direction he'd last seen Sam's light Dean called out tentatively, "Sam… Sammy?"

When no reply came immediately and sparing no thought for the treacherous conditions underfoot he hurried in that direction. The ground crackled under foot spurts of water shot up from under his feet as he ran forward.

As he skirted around a large tree ducking beneath the low hanging branches heavy with freezing rain a large drop of the icy rainwater dripped straight down the collar of his shirt and tee shirt sending a shiver of cold and apprehension coursing down his spine.

Moments later his flashlight picked out Sam laying prone on his stomach hands pressed to the soggy ground on either side of his shoulders lifting his face out of the 4 inches of icy rainwater that now covered the ground his mouth open wide he was gasping for air.

Fearing the worst that Sam had been the one to encounter the black dog before him or dad Dean skidded to stop on his knees beside his brother sending up more spurts of water, green eyes skimming his brothers form looking but thankfully not finding any signs of injury or God forbid blood, "Sammy, what happened? You alright? Why didn't you answer me when I called? He asked loudly in his agitation pressing a hand against Sam's shoulder giving him a gentle shake.

"I…" Sam gasped out.

"What the hell Sam what's wrong with you?" Dean asked worriedly.

Sam looked sideways at his brother leaning over him; Sam's too long bangs were hanging into his eyes in inverted teepees, "Winded," Sam finally got out, "tripped over… something… landed hard… on stomach… can't breathe." he finished.

Dean puffed out a sigh of relief. "That all? Apart from being winded are you hurt anywhere else?" Dean said a hint of humor coloring his voice.

"Think I wrenched my ankle," he returned as he rolled onto his back. His lungs had opened up a little and he could at least draw in a shallow breathe.

Dean chuckled, "You're such a girl. Would milady like to be carried back to 'er carriage?" Dean added in a voice that sounded somewhere between Parker from the thunderbirds and Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins.

Sam sat up bent his left leg up towards him and began rubbing at the ankle of the offending appendage then aimed a good natured punch at Dean's shoulder, "Jerk, just help me up will ya?" Sam answered.

With another chuckle Dean stood pulling Sam up with him. "Where are my gun and my flashlight?" Sam asked glancing at the ground around where he fell.

Sam's flashlight lay a few feet away, the light from Dean's own picked it out of the darkness, "Flashlight is busted," he said as he picked it up juggling the two flashlights and his own weapon before he straightened.

In his periphery he caught a flash of movement.

He whipped his head to the side just as the black dog launched itself at Sam from out of the darkness. Dropping the gun and the flashlights he instinctively pushed Sam out of the way and himself into the path of the dog. He had a split second to instinctively throw up his right arm in protection of his face before the dog hit him hard in the chest, its teeth latched onto his forearm the impact of the dogs body knocking him down with a force of what felt like a Mack truck doing 65. Long claws raked down his chest tearing through clothing and piercing deep into his flesh. He skidded on his back along the soaking, crunchy ground the weight of the animal attached by teeth and claws coming along for the ride.

Vaguely Dean heard Sam's horrified angst filled cry, "DEAN!"

He blinked up into the icicles of rain spearing his eyeballs catching the two glowing red eyes of the black dog for a fleeting moment before it began shaking its head from side to side the long canine teeth ripping and tearing through the flesh and muscle of his right forearm.

He let out an agonized cry as pain shot up his arm feeling the dogs teeth scrape against bone.

When it suddenly let go Dean knew he was in real trouble. It had let go so it attack his jugular vein, going in for the kill the coup de grâce. He would bleed out in moments if the pressure didn't crush his windpipe first ending his life and there was nothing he could do to stop it. The blood loss pain and trauma of the attack had already sapped his strength and his vision was wavering. He had not a lot left to fight it off with. At least it didn't get Sam, he thought.

The dog lifted its head and gave a blood-curdling howl vapors puffing from its wide open jaws into the night air before lowering its head again it growled down at its prize green eyes met shining ethereal red. Dean almost gagged at the odor of death that clung to its fetid breath.

Dean saw a flash of its long, pointed teeth before the dog latched onto his throat the teeth tearing at his flesh. A second cry more desperate than the first erupted from his throat. As it died away in the sodden air; a few moments of unnatural weird silence seemed to surround him before it was shattered by three gunshots in rapid succession. The dog went limp its suddenly lifeless weight pressing him down into the mud the dogs teeth still embedded in his throat.

How could this hunt have gone so wrong?


Sam was in turmoil of fear and furious rage, the rage aimed as it always was at his father clawed at his stomach. A simple hunt he said. How could a simple hunt have gone so wrong? The fear clambered higher overcoming the anger; fear not for himself but for his brother.

In a split second it had turned from a simple hunt to a ginormous disaster. One moment Dean had been joking about him being girl and the next he was sprawled on the soggy, freezing, ice encrusted ground. The Black dog had launched itself at the spot where Sam had been standing a moment before… only Sam wasn't standing there anymore because Dean had pushed him out of the way and himself into the beast's path a moment before it caught Dean in the chest long claws extended at the same time its jaws grabbed onto his arm. Dean fell back the dog on top of him sliding meters along the wet ground.

"DEAN!" he shouted.

Dean was trying desperately to fight off the dog but the beast was enormous and strong and had his brother in a position where he had little chance of defending himself.

Dean let out an agony filled cry as the dog shook his head the beast's teeth still embedded in his arm. Tearing the flesh and sending blood drops into the heavy wet, cold air.

His throbbing ankle forgotten Sam turned away pulling his eyes from the gut wrenching sight of the large hairy beast mauling his brother and searched around in the darkness for his gun. How freakin' far away could the thing have gone?

Sam's eyes skimmed frantically across the quickly freezing ground cringing when from behind him the dog let out an ear-splitting howl, knowing that the dog had let Dean go for now but that also meant the animal was going in for the kill.

Then he saw Dad running in from his right, gun raised towards the life and death struggle behind him, "Stay down." He shouted his deep voice low and rough.

Sam did as he was told and three shots rang out as Dad, firing on the run practically hurdled over him in his haste to get to his eldest. Sam scrambled to his feet and hurried after his father.

Dad was already kneeling at Dean's side the carcass of the dead animal sprawled atop him. "Dean, Dean… son?" Their father said in a voice Sam had never heard before. Dad's hand skimming over Dean's wet hair.

Dean's face was splattered with his own blood already mingling with the sleet and running away down the sides of his face; his glazed green eyes slid to his father, "Dad?" Dean's voice sounded strangled the vocal cords constricted by the pressure of the dog's jaws.

"Yeah Dean I'm here."

"Dad… get it off… me," a note of panic now filling his strained voice, he started to push weakly with his left hand at the dog's body lying across him.

"Hang on son its teeth are still in you."

"Please Dad… get it off!" Dean's breathing rate was increasing, his agitation growing.

"Okay okay just stay still," John said trying to calm his son.

John's own heart was thumping in his throat as he assessed the best course of action to free Dean from the grip of the dead animal.

The puncture wounds on Dean's mauled arm visible through Dean's torn sleeve were oozing a steady flow of blood.

There didn't seem to be a lot of blood from where the dog's teeth were still clamped down around his throat but John knew once the animals jaws were loosened that would be the worst of Dean's problems as the teeth were embedded in a very vascular area.

John quickly stripped off his jacket and shirt, leaving him in his navy blue colored t-shirt. Gently he lifted Dean's bleeding forearm. Dean cried out in pain as he began to wrap the ravaged limb with the shirt, "Sorry, sorry," the pale color of the shirt's material turned instantly dark as blood soaked the fabric.

"Dad?" Dean said softly, his voice was growing weaker.

John glanced at Dean's face; his eyes were closed the little color he'd had a minute ago was now gone the freckles across his cheeks and nose standing out in stark relief.

"Yeah Dean."

"It was going for… Sam. I… I pushed...him... is he… okay?"

"Yeah kiddo he's fine he's right here." John answered shooting a glance at Sam standing in silence a few feet away.

John beckoned him over with his head, "Sam, keep pressure on this arm we've got to slow the bleeding."

Sam stepped forward and fell to his knees next to his father. He was crying; tears mixing with the icy rain running down his face. Following his father's direction he grasped Dean's arm over the shirt already wet and slick with blood.

"Dean hey bro I'm right here. I'm okay… you saved me." Sam said, more hot tears welling up in his hazel eyes.

Still on his knees John moved around so he was above Dean's head, the waded jacket beside him, "Dean I'm going to pull the jaws apart… you ready?"

Dean gave a small nod but didn't open his eyes.

Sam dragged in a stuttering breath. Dean's head rolled towards the sound his eyes fluttered open, "Sammy… are you… cryin'?"

"My fault I tripped and you… you pushed me out of the way, why Dean?" Sam said through his tears.

"It's my job... to look after my... pain in the ass... little brother." Dean answered, haltingly. Then his father begun to pull the dogs jaws apart. White hot agony fanned out from the dogs teeth; it radiated up his spine into his head and down his arm into his fingers.

Dean gasped and his body stiffened his face screwed up in pain, teeth gritted hard against a cry of agony.

Even in death the black dog gave up it prize reluctantly. John was breathing hard as finally after what seemed like the longest time the jaws parted pulling out of Dean's throat with an obscene slurping noise. Blood spurted out from the two rows of puncture wounds.

Holding the dog by its jaws John tossed the huge body away from his son in disgust with a strength born from anger and paternal instinct before he pressed the wadded up jacket hard against the wounds, temporarily staunching the alarming flow of blood.

Dean moved his head weakly, his body shaking and trembling picking up on the conversation with his brother, "Not your… fault… Sammy, my job, Sammy... my job." and then his head fell to the side as he let the pain and darkness take him.

John noted the claw marks marring the flesh of Dean's chest visible through the ragged tears in his shirt and dismissed them for the moment they were the least concern. He placed his own trembling fingers against the pulse at the left of Dean's throat, weak and rapid, "He's going into shock we have to hurry Sam run back to the car open up the back door come straight back and bring that blanket from the back seat, go hurry."

Sam didn't move he continued to stare down at Dean's pale, still face.

"Sam!" John almost shouted at the quaking, trembling teen.

"If I hadn't of tripped over my own feet this wouldn't have happened." Sam said his tragic eyes glittering with tears lifted from Dean to his father's scowling, worried face.

Sleet that had now turned to driving snow gathered in John's 3 day growth glistening eerily in the darkness, "Sam I need you to focus. Go back to the car open up the back door and bring me back a blanket." John's voice was low and commanding and Sam reacted to it as John had expected he would.

Snow covered icicles of rain flicked off the ends of his hair as he nodded; gaining his feet in the same motion Sam took off at a run back through the graveyard. Every step he took on his ankle sent pain shooting up his leg. The pain only spurred him on he picked up the pace. The Impala came into view parked outside the partially open 14 foot high iron cemetery gates. Barely slowing Sam sidled through the gates and ran to the car, yanking the back door open leaning in he grabbed up the rough, woolen blanket before retracing his steps. Above the noise of the snow storm now pounding the graveyard Sam heard a tearing sound as the trailing end of the blanket he had clutched to his chest caught on one of the iron spikes in the gates.

Moments later his father emerged from the snowy, rain swept darkness Dean in his arms. John had tied his jacket around Dean's throat in an attempt to lessen the bleeding he had one arm under Dean's knees and one under his shoulders. Dean's head hung down over John's arm his left arm dangling free, swinging with the movement of John's steps.

John stumbled to a stop when he saw Sam. "Wrap it around him." He ordered.

Sam did as asked tucking the blanket around his brother as best he could.

"Now go." John said starting forward again.

Sam led the way back to the gates, looking back every few steps. Reaching the gates he pulled them open further so John could carry Dean straight through to the car.

"Get in. Quickly." John said gesturing with his head to the open car door.

Sam scrambled in sliding across to the far side of the back seat, his wet clothes catching on the worn leather.

Turning side on so Dean's head was facing the open door John unloaded his precious cargo into Sam's waiting arms.

Sam adjusted the blanket pulling it up around Dean's shoulders brushing the snow off the rough material already turning dark with blood. John slammed the door and ran around to the driver's side sliding in behind the wheel he gunned the engine, blinking the melting snow off of his thick dark hair and out of his eyes.

"Dad he's bleeding really bad." Sam said alarmed, not taking his eyes off his brother. Dean was still and pale his head heavy where it rested across Sam's thighs.

"Keep pressure on the wounds it should help with the bleeding until we get to a hospital." John said as he pulled away from the graveyard, rooster tails spraying up from the rear tires.

Sam pulled the blanket away from Dean's throat swallowing hard to keep his dinner from making an encore appearance as he looked down at the blood soaked jacket. Taking a deep breath he laid his hands over the material and pressed down.

Dean groaned his head rolled weakly as if trying to escape from the pressure. "Sorry Dean sorry, just lay still we'll be at the hospital soon." Dean's brows drew together as if in thought and he seemed to calm at Sam's words and lay still turning his face into Sam's stomach.

"Can you turn on the heat he's shaking with cold?" Sam said, sparing a quick glance at the back of his father's head.

John's dark eyes met Sam's in the rearview mirror and he gave a shake of his head, "That's not a good idea Sam."

"What? Why not he's freezing dad." Sam said his voice rising.

"If he warms up his circulation will increase and so will the blood flow, its better if he stays cold until we get to the hospital."

Sam's eyes once again met John's in the mirror before he looked down at Dean's face his lips were blue and trembling his body wracked by spasms of cold. Of course dad was right it made perfect sense.

There was a vibration under him and movement that rocked him this way and that making him want to cry out but he couldn't muster the strength to even open his eyes. He was cold a bone deep cold; pain assaulted him and there was a voice he recognized but he couldn't hear the words being said and he wanted so badly to know what that voice was saying. Then there was pressure at his throat intensifying the pain. He tried to get away and couldn't contain a groan from escaping his lips.

There was another voice close by that Dean could hear and understand. "Sorry Dean sorry, just lay still we'll be at the hospital soon."

Sammy that you? Yeah sounds like you. You want me to lay still? Okay Sammy I can do that for you.

Dean did as Sam asked turning his head into what he realized was Sam. His little brother was holding him, bracing him against the continued bone jarring movement. His little brother's closeness helping him to block out the pain lancing like a hot knife through his arm and at his throat. He drifted for a while lulled into a state somewhere between awareness and oblivion until the movement stopped and Sam's cradling hands were taken away. And now there were other arms not Sam's and he was being lifted the rough, strong arms that could only be dad's intensifying his pain and he couldn't contain an anguished cry.

"Sorry son." Dad said.

A minute later the air around him was warm and he felt the vibration of dad's marine voice rumble and vibrate through the wall of John's chest pressed hard against him a moment before he heard his deep, loud shout close above him. "My son needs help, now!"

He was jostled by many hands, torn away from dad and placed on a hard surface. Aware of movement and unfamiliar voices around him, snatches of echoing conversation, 'IV… blood pressure… heart rate' a pinch in the back of his hand something tight wrapped around his bicep, something else placed over his mouth and nose, a light shone into each eye 'equal and reactive'. Cool air against the ravaged skin of his throat and chest, 'we've got a bleeder' and then his arm was exposed to the cold, 'x ray.'

He was being poked and prodded. The last thing he heard before it all faded away, 'blood pressure's crashing.'

Dean's cry as John lifted him from the car and out of Sam's arms was like a lance to the heart. "Sorry son." He said trying to ease Dean's pain and his own mental anguish knowing that he was causing his son more hurt as he hurried towards the ER doors.

He was barely inside the door with Sam on his heels when he called out in his best ex-marine voice. "My son needs help, now!"

In an instant they were the center of attention surrounded by a flurry of hospital staff and activity. Dean was taken from his strong arms by 2 pairs of equally strong arms placed on a gurney and whisked away the old blanket still tangled around Dean's legs dragging on the floor leaving a wet trail in its wake and into a cubicle. A white curtain with a primrose yellow daisy pattern on it was pulled over shielding Dean from John's view. John stared at the waving curtain wanting to burn a hole through it with his eyes so he could see his son on the other side and then he felt the touch of a small hand on his upper arm.

"Sir… sir my name is Janice I'm a triage nurse, come and take a seat I need some information about your... son, is it?"

John slid his dark eyes to her dark blue ones. An unkind retort about where Janice could stick her triage, died on his lips as he looked at her. The pale peppermint green scrubs she wore accentuated the deep blue of her eyes her short, blonde hair framing her face. She held a clip board in one hand and he found himself answering. "Dean his name is Dean."

Janice nodded then cocked her head to look past John. "And who's this?"

Turning, John saw Sam standing behind him. Wet hair plastered to his head his arms wrapped around his middle. The kid was trembling with either cold or reaction… probably both. Not for the first time in recent weeks and even in this stressful time John noted the kid seemed taller. At 15 and a half Sam was nowhere near as tall as his 6'2" older brother but John had no doubt by his sixteenth birthday Sam would be nearly as tall.

"Sam this is Sam my youngest," John replied. Reaching out he grasped Sam's shoulder. "You okay Kiddo?" He asked, concerned.

Sam shook his head no. His hazel eyes brimming with tears his lips trembled as he looked to his father. John pulled him forward into his arms hugging him. One hand against the back of his head, rubbing Sam's quaking, wet back with the other. He could feel Sam's stuttering warm breathe on his neck. "It's alright Sammy, Dean will be fine now."

"My… fault… Dad." Sam stated in a wavering voice, muffled by John's shoulder.

"No Sammy it wasn't. Dean doesn't blame you. You know that." John reasoned.

"Umm Mr.…?" Janice's concerned voice interrupted.

John had forgotten about the triage nurse standing nearby. Mentally he went through the brief conversation he'd just had with Sam. Neither of us gave any indication that this was anything other than a dog attack and Dean's injuries are evidence enough to support that. John turned his head looking over his shoulder at Janice Sam still held in his arms. "Winchester. John."

"John. I need to get the details of what happened and Dean's medical background so we can treat him better and then we'll see about getting Sam and you some dry clothes, come this way."

Janice led them to a small cubicle opposite the room Dean had been taken into. She sat on the far side of a desk gesturing for John and Sam to sit in the chairs opposite. John positioned his chair so he could see any activity around the curtain that separated his son from him.

Taking a pen from the pocket of her scrubs Janice began writing on the clip board.

"So it's surname Winchester, first name Dean and Dean's date of birth?"

"January 24, 1979." John answered staring at the curtain.

"So he's got a birthday in a few days." Janice stated unnecessarily.

"Sorry what?" John asked. Shooting her a quick glance.

Janice looked up from the clip board. "Dean's turning 19 this week."

"Yeah he-" John broke off erupting from the seat as a hospital orderly approached the curtain pushing a portable X ray machine the man pushed back the curtain pushing the machine into the room.

Sidling past Sam seated beside him he covered the small distance to the treatment cubicle trying to see past the staff surrounding the gurney. One of the nurses looked up at him moving to block him from entering and John caught a glance of Dean on the gurney or rather Dean's wet muddy boots which was all John could see.

"Sir you'll have to stay outside."

"That's my son. I need to know what's happening." John said a little too loudly.

"It's alright Bev I'll take care of this. Dr. Marshall is in charge until I return." A woman wearing a white coat said, indicating the slightly built man on the other side of the gurney.

John gave the man a brief glance, the bow tie Dr. Marshall wore with his white coat looking odd and out of place before his intense dark eyes shot back to the lady doctor as she stepped away from the gurney. She was around John's age and tall standing eye to eye with John, shortish, dark, wavy hair framed her face. She slipped the stethoscope she held from her hand to rest around her neck and took John's arm in a strong grip, leading him away from Dean and the treatment area.

"Sir what the hell was it that attacked your son?"

"A dog. It was a huge dog." John answered her honestly.

"It must have been huge because the bite radius is enormous. It nicked his right carotid artery. He has lost a lot of blood and his blood pressure is dangerously low we've been pumping him full of fluids trying to stabilize him and bring his blood pressure up before we take him to surgery to repair the artery. I ordered an x ray of his forearm I think the radius in his right arm maybe fractured.

"Is he going to be okay?"

"If we can bring his blood pressure up and repair the artery, yes." The doctor answered.

"Can I see him?"

"Not at the moment, maybe for a minute before we take him down to surgery."

"Thank you."

"Now I need to get back to your son." She turned away.

"Dean his name is Dean." John said to her retreating back.

She turned back to face him her face softening as she looked at him. "Mr.?"

"Winchester… John." He answered her inquiry.

"John we're doing everything we can for Dean."

John gave her a curt nod and a small smile of gratitude, "Thank you." he repeated.

With an answering smile she turned back to the treatment room pulling the curtain closed behind her.

Turning back to the cubicle he had hastily exited a minute ago he found Sam and Janice standing on either side of the desk.

Sam's eyes were charged with a myriad of emotions. "Dad?" The kid had heard every word the doctor had said and he needed reassurance that his big brother would be alright.

Moving over to the shivering teen he put a hand on his shoulder. "Sammy, it's going to be alright."

Sam had faith in his brother. Faith that Dean would fight because he knew Dean was a fighter. Sam had seen Dean's fighting spirit and courage on more occasions than he really wanted to; tonight being no exception. He also had faith in his father. Faith that dad wouldn't lie to him and faith that somehow his dad would fix this.


He was missing time. He could instinctively sense it. The last thing he could recollect was being poked and prodded by the hands of strangers. Then nothing until now.

It was quiet and he was cocooned in warmth and comfort. He wanted to stay that way but… there was something he had to know. Sam... where is Sam? He blinked his heavy eyes open and was staring at a stucco white ceiling. Sensing someone close he turned his head slowly to the left; dad was sitting beside him. He looked tired but mustered a lopsided smile when he saw he was watching him.

"Hey kiddo, how you feelin'?"

Dean smacked his lips trying to work the dryness from his mouth. "K… I guess. Where's Sam?" His voice sounded thick, scratchy and slurred.

John lifted his chin gesturing to the other side of bed. "Asleep."

Dean turned his head. Sam lay flat out on a low two-seater arm-less couch against the far wall of the room. Wearing pale green scrubs he lay on his front his head turned towards Dean was resting on his folded arms his feet were bare except for a flesh-colored bandage wrapped around his left foot and ankle.

"He okay?" Dean asked.

"Wrenched ankle one of the nurses wrapped it. He's just wiped. Paced the halls like a caged tiger and then as soon as he saw you and knew you were okay he lay down and was asleep as if someone had flipped a switch."

Dean continued to watch his brother sleep for a minute longer then blinked sleepily at the thick heavy bandage wrapped around his forearm the image doubling. "Whoa… that's freaky… I've got two right arms," he then lifted his left hand and gazed at the IV port inserted in the back of his hand. "And two left." Dean then touched his left hand to the thick wad of bandages at his throat. Through the hospital gown he could feel the dressing covering the claw puncture wounds on his chest, "I got so many bandages… I must look like a… mummy."

"You know I can see a resemblance." John said, a smile lifting the corners of his mouth.

They were giving Dean intravenous morphine and it always made the kid a little loopy. Although Dean was still a teenager this was not the first time he'd been on morphine. John felt a pang of guilt over Dean's lost childhood. It shouldn't have been… wasn't meant to be this way; but that was the life of a hunter, even one as young as Dean. When John was Dean's age he had already fought in a war.

Dean huffed out a small laugh at his father's remark, then sobered instantly, eyes opening wide darting frantically around the room. "Where's my amulet?" Dean asked trying to struggle up higher in the bed.

"Hey hey relax I've got it here," John said patting his jeans pocket and placing a placating hand on Dean's shoulder, "You need to take it easy, you've had surgery."

Dean relaxed back against the bed. Closing his eyes his anxiety fueled burst of energy gone. "How bad?" He couldn't tell from the way he felt but that was the pain meds they were pumping into him and it gave him no clue as to his true condition.

"Nicked an artery in your throat, hairline fracture of a bone in your forearm and a grand total of 34 stitches inside and out."

"Oh… is that all?" Dean said without opening his eyes, "What time is it?"

John glanced at his watch. "Quarter after 2."



"Have you… taken care of you know… the dog?" Dean asked so quietly John had to lean forward to hear the whispered words.

"No not yet, I've been a little preoccupied."

"You'd better do it before someone finds it." Dean opened his eyes gazing dazedly at his father.

"You be alright?" John asked. What he really wanted to ask was, do you need anything more for pain?

But he knew Dean would answer no. He always did.

Dean glanced across at his sleeping brother. "Yeah dad I'm good… got me on the… good stuff." Dean's goofy morphine smile was back.

"Get some rest." John gently squeezed Dean's left arm then stood moving around the foot of the bed.

Realizing Dad's intention to wake Sam and take him away, Dean whispered.

"Dad, leave him... let him sleep."

John glanced down at Sam, his hand hovering above the teens shoulder then shifted his gaze to Dean. His green eyes were pleading. "You sure?"

"Yeah… I'll watch out for him." I need to have him near. He added mentally.

To spite his weakened state Dean was in full protector-slash-guardian mode. John felt a stab of guilt that Dean even injured thought only of Sam never himself. That was what John had wanted wasn't it? He had drilled into his oldest from the age of four since the boy's mother's death. Dean deserves more from me as a father. John knew it was too late to change that now and Dean needed to be able to do what he now considered his job his reason for being. Watch out for Sam. What else does he have? John asked himself. Nothing… and I'm to blame. Dean needed the closeness of his brother he needed to be able to do his job. "I know you will Dean." But who watches out for you Dean? It should be me. I'm supposed to be your father not your drill Sargent.


He knew 2 hours into his shift as soon as he saw the handsome young man bleeding and barely conscious on the gurney that they would be pleased with this one. He was the perfect specimen was this Dean Winchester there was something special about him. He was just what they were looking for what they were paying him for. Dean came from good stock if his father was anything to go by. Yes they would pay him handsomely for this one. He would have to wait and bide his time for the opportunity to take what he needed. That time came two thirds of the way through his 12 hour 8 to 8 shift. The shift commonly referred to as the graveyard shift. It was 4 am and the ER was quiet. A heroin overdose in 1 and an aging biker in 5 who'd taken a nasty tumble after hitting a patch of black ice. He'd told the head nurse he was taking a break and to page him if he was needed. He found out what floor and room Dean Winchester had been admitted to after his surgery.

He took the elevator to the 2nd floor. The corridor was deserted as was the nurse's station. He caught a glimpse of a blue uniform moving around in the staff break room and proceeded down the corridor stopping at the rolling cart pushed against the wall half way along. Taking a green kidney-shaped dish from the stack at the back of the top tier of the cart he put a sterile swab packet and a pair of latex gloves into the dish before moving further down the hallway. He glanced into an open door on the left a nurse was administering to a patient her back turned to the door. Room 215 was two doors further down he double checked to make sure the corridor behind him was clear before entering. The room was in darkness the only light came from the dimmed halogen above the bed.

Dean was asleep from the after effects of the anesthesia and the pain meds they were no doubt pumping into him which would make this easy. Also asleep but from exhaustion was a kid he recognized from the ER as Dean's teenage brother.

He was lying flat out on the low couch positioned under the covered window. Slipping on the latex gloves and moving silently over to the bed he gently straightened Dean's left arm exposing the inside of his forearm before tearing open the swab packet and swabbing the skin with the sterile pad he pulled an empty syringe from his pocket and uncapped it before pushing the sharp tip under the skin into the vein and drawing back on the plunger watching as the syringe filled with blood he shot a couple of quick looks at Dean's pale face; a band of freckles stood out across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. The young man's brows pulled together and he turned his head on the pillow. Dean was feeling the jab of the needle buried under his skin. When the syringe was full the man withdrew the needle from the kids pale flesh holding the swab against the tiny blossom of blood that sprang from Dean's skin at the puncture mark. He looked back at Dean's face the kids long lashes trembled and opened, a slit of green irises visible between the dark semi-circles around them gazed confusedly up at him.

"Who you… wha' ya' doin'?" He asked dazedly, slurring the words ever so slightly.

"Just taking some blood for testing. Go back to sleep." He whispered.

"'k," Dean's eyes slid closed for a moment then popped open, "Where's… Sam."

The man shot a look at the sleeping teen. "He's sleeping."

"Good… tha's good," Dean narrowed his eyes at the man in the white coat above him. "Hey… you a doctor?"

"Yes I am." The man answered honestly.

"Wha'd ya do… wrong?" Dean asked.

The man pulled his head back in confusion. "I didn't do anything wrong. What makes you think that?"

"Cuz… dude only the nurses'… take blood," Dean said before his eyes blinked closed and then opened slowly as if the lids weighed a ton, "and… they don't wear… white coats and… bow ties." He added before his eyes closed and stayed closed his head rolling to the side against the pillow.

He smiled at Dean's last remark lifting the swab from Dean's arm he threw it in the kidney dish he'd placed on the night stand. He recapped the syringe and pushed it back into the pocket of his white coat before pulling out a small snap lock bag a pair of tweezers and a small fine toothed comb from the other pocket.

Pulling open the bag open he leaned over Dean ran the comb through the soft light brown hair against his forehead a couple of times. Using the tweezers he picked up the strands caught in the combs teeth and pushed them into the plastic bag. Sealing the bag he put it, the tweezers and comb back into his pocket and picked up the dish before making his way to the door opening the door a crack he peeked out into the corridor then with a satisfied smile and a glance over his shoulder at the sleeping occupants exited the room pulling the door closed behind him.

Gillette, Wyoming January 24, 1998

Dean's wounds were healing well and the doctor had said the hairline fracture in the radius would heal on its own and didn't need to be casted. The best thing as far as Dean was concerned was that the doctor was discharging him today.

Sam couldn't contain his excitement not only because Dean was being discharged but because today was extra special it was Dean's 19th birthday. Before the whole black dog disaster Sam had been working on a birthday present for Dean and he'd finished it only last night. Waiting until his dad was asleep to wrap it in the only thing he could find a 2 day old Wyoming newspaper.

Sam really missed not having his brother around to talk to and bounce stuff off. Dean was always there for him no matter what. It just wasn't the same with dad he had little patience and was always preoccupied with the family business. Being stuck in the motel alone with his father for 3 days and nights without Dean to referee had felt closer to a month. Dad and he had been at each other's throats for most of that time. The only time they weren't verbally sparring was when they were asleep or at the hospital. Both on their best behavior when they were at Dean's beside.

They'd gotten into a routine. Upon waking, argue about who got the first shower. Argue over breakfast in the motel room. Argue as they drove to the hospital. Fume through the fury-filled angry silence palpable between them as they walked side-by-side from the car to the hospital doors.

Today however was a little different. Dad had driven up to the hospital drop off point instead of parking the car in the lot.

Sam glanced at his father across the bench seat. "Why you stopping here?" He asked; although he thought he knew. And said so. "You're not coming in are you?"

John answered continuing to stare out the windshield. "I've got something to take care of. I'll be back later to pick you up."

"What's so important that it can't wait until later?"

"Just go in and see Dean."

"Typical same old crap." Sam said under his breath but loud enough that his father heard.

John's eyes shot to his in their dark depths Sam saw fury matching his own.

"What did you just say to me?"

"You heard me."

John visibly reigned in his anger, "I don't want to do this with you now. I've got something important to do. When I'm done I'll come back for you and your brother." John said in his marine voice. His dark eyes pinned to Sam's face.

Sam glared back angrily for a moment before he reached for the door handle exiting the car his precious newspaper wrapped gift tucked under his arm.

Slamming the car door harder than was necessary he strode towards the hospital doors. Behind him he heard the powerful motor accelerate away only turning when he reached the doors. The sun glinted off the Impala's shiny black duco as it turned out of the snow spotted hospital parking lot heading back in the direction they had come from.

Sam had calmed himself by the time he entered Dean's room. Dean was sitting in the chair beside the bed fully clothed and ready to go. He was reading through the prescriptions the doctor had written for him. He looked up when Sam entered.

"Hey Sammy," He said green eyes sliding from Sam to the parcel in Sam's hand, "What you got there?" Without waiting for an answer he peered around Sam out the door. "Where's dad?"

Sam's anger bubbled up to the surface again. "I hate him." Sam replied flopping onto the bed, burying his face in the disheveled bedclothes.

Dean rolled his eyes. "You two still fighting? What'd he do this time?"

Sam's voice was muffled, "He's a jerk. He dropped me off said he had to go do something important."

Always the peacemaker Dean defended his father, "If he said it's important then it is Sam."

Sam lifted his head looking sideways at Dean, "More important than his son?"

"Why don't you cut him some slack?"

"I hate the way he treats us Dean. Like we're soldiers. Always barking orders at us. Do as I say not as I do," Sam paused, sitting up swinging his legs over the side of the bed facing his brother. "We're his sons his family not marine draftee's and he's not a marine any more 'bout time he realized that."

Dean looked placidly back at him; his eyes weary belonged to someone older.

Sam saw a muscle in his jaw jump.

"Doesn't it make you angry? Doesn't it hurt you?" Sam asked.

Dean seemed to flinch away from those words. "No Sam it doesn't."

"I don't believe you I think it does make you angry. Why do you always stick up for him pretend it doesn't hurt Dean?"

"Because it doesn't. That's why."

"Still don't believe you." Sam stated.

"Believe me don't believe me I don't really care."

"Yes you do care Dean. You care a lot."

"Sam dad's doing the best he can."

"The best he can?" Sam searched Dean's face for a moment. "You always find excuses for him."

"I know he's got his faults but he's our father and we're stuck with him."

"I wish he was more like Uncle Bobby."

"He is who he is Sam."

"What does that even mean?"

"It means… shut up bitch."

Sam couldn't help himself he smiled at the familiar back-handed endearment.

"You're such a jerk."

"I know Sammy, I know." Dean said returning his smile. "Now you gonna tell me what you got there or do I have to beat it out of you?"

Sam studied Dean's face for a few moments. His brother was still pale, dark circles shadowed his eyes. Dragging his eyes away from Dean's he looked down at the present in his hands. His anger at his father overriding everything else even Dean's birthday.

"At the moment you couldn't swat a fly," He said holding out the parcel. "Happy birthday Dean."

"Birthday… my birthday?" Dean sounded confused, his brows pulled down in confusion as he pointed at himself with an index finger.

"Yeah Dean you know the day you were born? That's today January 24."

Dean's voice was filled with emotion and his eyes welled with moisture. "Oh… right. I forgot." He looked suspiciously at the parcel.

Sam thrust the parcel at Dean trying to find words to defuse the awkward moment.

Dean took the rounded package from Sam. "What is it?" he asked. Gently fingering it through the paper then shaking it tipping his ear to the paper listening for any sound that might giveaway the contents.

"Open it and see." Sam answered.

"It's not going to blow up in my face is it?"

Sam rolled his eyes at his brother's comment, "Dean just open it."

One side of Dean's mouth lifted and he began ripping the newspaper away. A few seconds later with a pile of crumpled shredded newspaper at his feet he held up the dream catcher that Sam had spent many hours working on.

"Wow a dream catcher. I always wanted one of these." Dean said holding the dream catcher up by the top watching with a smile as the dream catcher rotated slowly the glass beads woven through it catching the light the white feathers dangling from the bottom waving in the slight breeze from the AC. "D'you make this for me Sammy?"

"Yep for my awesome big brother."

"Thanks Sammy I love it."


Dad had appeared in the doorway some three hours later, swaying.

"You ready to go kiddo?" He asked leaning into the room a shoulder against the door jam, tapping the fingers of his other hand against the wall inside the door.

"Yeah. Been ready all morning."

"What's that you got there?" John asked, gesturing with his head to the dream catcher Dean was laying carefully into the duffle dad had brought in for him the day before.

"A dream catcher. Sam made it for me."

Sam interjected heatedly. "Yeah I gave it to Dean for his birthday. You do realize its Dean's Bir-"

Dean stopped him from continuing with one word. "Sam." He warned zipping up the duffle.

John shot a glance at Sam his dark eyes unreadable. "Let's get going."

Some twenty minutes later they were outside in the crisp, cold air of the hospital parking lot.

Reaching the Impala, John threw the duffle onto the floor in the back seat then slid in behind the wheel. Dean as usual was shotgun and Sam got into the back.

Dean squinted against the glare of the sun bouncing off the snow piled up around the car park. Dad cursed under his breath and Dean turned to look at him. Dad was fumbling with the key having trouble getting it into the ignition. That's when he smelled it. Whiskey. It hadn't been obvious until they were in the confines of the car. Dad had been drinking and it was only 2 in the afternoon glancing over his shoulder at Sam he could tell Sam had smelled it too.

"Dad what's going on?" Dean asked.

Finally shoving the key in the ignition John looked sideways at him. "We're going back to the motel pack up our stuff and heading out. That's what's going on."

"We got a job?"

"Why else would we be leaving town Dean?" John said scratching at his stubble lined jaw.

Dean thought fast knowing dad was in no fit state to be driving. "Dad can I drive?"

"What?" The one word only slightly slurred.

"You look tired and I just feel like driving… you know?"

John stared vacantly out the windshield for a few moments before answering.

"Your arm alright to drive."

Dean rubbed at his forearm feeling the bulk of the bandages through the sleeve of his shirt and jacket. "Yeah, yeah it is. It's good."

"I am a little tired. Okay, you can drive."

Dean got out rounding the front of the car to the driver's side taking John's place behind the wheel. John slid across the bench seat leaning his head against the side window and closing his eyes.

Turning the key the big motor roared to life. Dean let the familiar vibration sooth his jangled nerves; taking a deep breathe he slid her into drive lifting his eyes to the rearview mirror, meeting Sam's eyes. Dean expected to see anger and disappointment, but his little brother's expressive hazel eyes held only sympathy and sadness; and a look that said. 'I'm sorry."

Dad had passed out and was snoring before the car turned from the hospital parking lot onto the road.

It wasn't until they were in the Impala when dad started cursing as he leaned over the steering column that Sam noticed the smell of whiskey surrounding his father.

He could see by Dean's face that he'd smelled it as well. This is what was so important… Dad getting shit-faced at some bar on his eldest son's birthday?

Dean glanced back at him before turning to dad, asking. "Dad what's going on?"

Sitting up straight in the seat dad turned to Dean. "We're going back to the motel pack up our stuff and heading out. That's what's going on."

"We got a job?"

Dad scratched at his face his wedding ring glinting in the sunlight reflecting off the mirror of the car parked next to them."Why else would we be leaving town Dean?"

Dean's eyes darted around in thought. "Dad can I drive?" He asked suddenly.

"What?" Dad slurred.

"You look tired and I feel like driving… you know." Dean said with shrug of one shoulder.

Sam watched Dean's face, holding his breath waiting.

"Your arm alright to drive." John asked.

Dean rubbed at his forearm at the bandages that Sam knew were beneath the canvas of Dean's jacket. "Yeah, yeah it is. It's good."

"I am a little tired. Okay, you can drive." Dad said after a few seconds of thought.

A relieved look settled on Dean's face. Quickly exiting the car Dean took dad's place behind the wheel. Dad slid into the corner head resting against the glass.

As the car engine came to life Dean lifted his eyes to the rearview mirror. Sam thought about the conversation he'd had with Dean only hours ago.

"I hate the way he treats us Dean. Like we're soldiers. Always barking orders at us. Do as I say not as I do. Doesn't it make you angry? Doesn't it hurt you?" Sam asked.

"No Sam it doesn't."

"I don't believe you I think it does. Why do you always stick up for him pretend it doesn't hurt Dean?"

"Because it doesn't. That's why."

"Still don't believe you." Sam stated.

"Believe me don't believe me I don't really care."

He saw it the soul deep hurt in Dean's green eyes and it didn't come from anything physical. "I'm Sorry."

I-90 South Dakota/Wyoming border 2007

They had just crossed the South Dakota/Wyoming border. It must have been the road sign that had loomed up in the headlights flashing by in the blink of an eye. Gillette 249 MLS, which must have triggered the almost forgotten memories, memories veiled by time.

Sam remembered that Dad had never mentioned the incident or Dean's forgotten birthday.

It was early August, 3 months after Sam's 15th birthday, more than a half dozen hunts and three schools for Sam later when Dad had pulled up out the front of the small home they had been renting for the last hunt in a shiny new black truck, parking it beside the Impala on the front grass.

With a smile Dad had tossed the key to the old Chevy to Dean.

Dean caught the key in the air, "What's this?" Dean asked a look of confusion in his eyes as he turned the key over in his fingers.

Dad had smiled, "She's yours... take good care of her or there'll be hell to pay."

"Seriously?" Dean said as if he thought it was some kind of a joke.

"Seriously." John answered.

Dean grinned. His face lit up, bruises from the last brutal hunt still coloring his left cheek and jaw.

The first thing Dean had done was take the dream catcher that Dean always hung on the wall in between the beds in whatever room or motel the brothers were currently sharing and hung it inside the lid of the weapons compartment in the trunk. It still hung there now.

Sam looked across the car at his brother. The memory of that 9 year younger Dean colliding with Dean's pale, tired, pain etched features highlighted in the reflection from the dash. The face had lost that teenage youthful look, become a little more refined and his hair was slightly darker and shorter. The current swelling, cuts and bruises on the left side of his face inflicted by his own hand hidden at the moment from Sam's view.

Drawing his eyes away from Dean's face Sam looked down at the clean white gauze on the inside of his forearm covering the stinging painful burn beneath.

It was a small legacy, a small price to pay for a debt so much larger. A constant reminder of the last week the havoc his possessed body had wrought.

The gas station attendant, Steve Wandell, Jo, Bobby and... Dean. God what he'd done to Dean? More memories only half remembered like a cloth a veil had been draped over his thoughts and memories:

The call of a night bird.

The slap of water against the wooden pylons of the pier.

Dean standing at the edge of the pier with no gun only a flask of holy water held in his hand.

Sam's hand raised, gun aimed, his finger depressing the trigger.

The loud report of the shot echoing in the night.

Dean had flinched to the side when the bullet had impacted his body, falling from the pier with a resounding splash as he hit the water.

His possessed body moved to the end of the pier looked down into the water still churning in the wake of his brother's body.

And later at Bobby's house gripping Dean's jacket with one hand pounding the clenched fist of his other hand into Dean's face over and over as a litany of Meg's words spewed from his mouth.

Bloodying Dean's nose, opening a cut over his brow, splitting his lip.

Grinding the heel of his hand into Dean's shoulder, into the torn jagged flesh of the bullet wound he was responsible for.

Dean's agonized groan as he tried to pry away his hand; he'd only dug deeper into the ravaged flesh.

Bobby grabbing hold of his arm as he drew his fist back to strike Dean again.

Pain as the red hot poker sizzled across the binding link on his arm.

Now the silence was palpable like a living breathing thing filling the space between them stifling conversation. It had been hours since they left Bobby's. Dean had pointed the Impala west and just driven with no real plan or any destination.

They'd just crossed over the South Dakota border into Wyoming and Dean decided it was time to push the silence aside, away. He glanced across at Sam who was looking down at the square of white gauze on his forearm covering the burn.

"You okay?" He ventured into the silence. Sounded normal enough… right?

Sam remained silent his eyes lifted to stare ahead through the windshield. "Sam… is that you in there?" Dean tried to make it sound light.

When Sam gave him a quick look Dean lifted one side of his mouth in a semblance of a smile a moment before Sam turned away again.

"I was awake for some of it Dean," Dean shot him a glance, "I watched myself kill Wandell with my own 2 hands… I saw the light go out in his eyes."

With his eyes on the road ahead Dean answered, "Must have been awful."

Dean could sense Sam was looking at him, "That's not my point." He said. "I almost carved up Jo too. But no matter what I did you wouldn't shoot."

"It was the right move Sam, it wasn't you."

"Yeah this time," Sam answered. Dean shot Sam another quick glance. "What about next time?" He finished.

Dean searched for words to defuse the tense situation.

"Sam, when dad told me… that I might have to kill you. It was only if I couldn't save you. Now if it's the last thing I do I'm gonna save you."

Sam continued to look at his brother for a moment his lips pulled into a thin line.

Then Dean let out a small laugh.

"What?" Sam said intrigued that Dean could find something humorous in this whole mess.

Dean gave a small shake of his head. "Nothing."

"Dean what?" Sam said annoyed.

Dean was smiling a strained half smile due to the swollen bruised skin on his face, "Dude you like full on had a girl inside you for like a whole week." Then he started to chuckle.

Sam couldn't contain a huff of laughter.

"It's pretty naughty." Dean said still laughing.

Outside Sundance, Wyoming 2007

He didn't need to see his face to know it was swollen, he could almost feel it, the bruising, deepening, coloring and reddening the skin. The stress and adrenaline of the last couple of days had kept him moving and functioning; the pain from his shoulder and the throb of his battered face having receded to a mild distraction. And now his adrenaline had drained away exhaustion was dragging at him slowing his reflexes, making his head swirl and causing his eyesight to waver. He needed sleep or he would drive his baby off the road he'd already had to correct the steering 3 times twice after straying onto the wrong side of the road and once after hitting the loose shoulder.

Sam had fallen asleep about fifty miles ago shortly after he'd unburdened what he could recall of his possession. Sam's head rested against the passenger side window he was snoring lightly his mouth open a little. A glance in the rearview mirror showed salmon pink staining the eastern sky as the earth rotated creeping closer to the sun and another day. A road sign shot by Sundance exit 1 mile. He needed to stop moving even for just a few hours lifting his foot the powerful car responded slowing enough to take the exit at a safe speed. 3 minutes later he hit Sundance. Sundance he knew was small so he didn't have to travel far before a neon light for the Rodeway Inn appeared.

Pulling into the driveway and cutting the engine Dean sighed rolling his shoulders releasing the lingering tension, grimacing as the movement pulled at his damaged shoulder. The Impala's cooling engine ticked down as if in sympathy with her owner.

Either the cessation of the engine or movement or both was enough to waken Sam. He gave a small snort straightening in the seat and sitting up blinking out into the rapidly lightening sky.

"Where are we?" He slurred sleepily.

"Motel, Sundance," Dean answered squinting out at the darkened office of the motel.


"Wyoming," Dean parroted.

"It's morning," Sam stated unnecessarily. .

Dean looked across at him a smile lifting his lips. "Err yeah… you still asleep there Sammy?"

Sam sat up straighter on the bench seat, "I wasn't asleep." He denied defensively.

"Oh no?" Dean questioned. "Dude you were snoring."

"I don't snore Dean."

"Whatever," Dean was too sleep deprived to argue with a grumpy, semi-rested brother.

Sam must have heard the weariness in Dean's tone. He looked closely at him. The growing light told a story Sam didn't really want to read just then. The skin of Dean's face that wasn't bruised, reddened, marred or broken was pale the whites of his green eyes blood shot and shadowed by dark semi circles.

"How you doin'?" Sam asked.

Dean shot him a look that said I hurt physically and mentally but answered with, "I need to sleep… preferably for a week at least."

Sam made light of it, "Dude your eyes are as red as a crossroads demon."

"Yeah? Well you ought to' see 'em from my side."

Sam chuckled, "Trust you to find the appropriate movie quote to suit the situation."

At that moment the light inside the motel office came on drawing the brother's attention.

"Here we go," Dean said reaching for the car's door handle.

Sam touched Dean's arm stilling the motion. Dean turned his head in Sam's direction. "I'll go you stay here."

Dean examined him briefly before agreeing, "Okay."

Dean watched as Sam opened the door with a familiar creak, got out rounded the front of the car pushed on the door and entered the motel office.


In the time it took them to get from the car to inside the room Sam had tried twice to get Dean to let him check the bullet wound but Dean had refused flopping down on the closest bed with a heavy sigh; he rolled onto his right side before Sam had even closed the door behind him. Dean had replied his voice muffled by the pillow his head was currently half buried into. "It's fine Sam. Jo took care of it."

She may have done… but that was before he had ground his hand into the wound and done more damage. But Sam had left it at that seeing Dean was beyond exhausted already well on the way to sleep or unconsciousness. Instead Sam moved to the end of Dean's bed pulling off Dean's boots before riffling through the weapons bag until his hand closed around Dean's Bowie knife pulling it from the sheath he pushed it under Dean's pillow close to where his hand rested.

After pulling the drapes Sam stripped down to his boxers then lay down on the other bed; he awoke at a quarter after 12. Dean was still sleeping in the same position he'd been in earlier, it appeared he hadn't moved at all which was a testament to his utter exhaustion. The 6 hours' sleep and the hour of zees Sam had managed in the car were enough for now after showering he dressed in the cleanest clothes he could find, making a mental note that they needed to do laundry. With Dean still out to it Sam fired up the laptop connecting to the Motel's Wi-Fi modem he began surfing the web to see if there was any news on the investigation he knew the police would have opened into Steve Wandell's murder. Sam was relieved when after an extensive search he found nothing new so he then did a search for something the motel attendant had mentioned in conversation when he was checking in.

"Been on the road all night?" The middle-aged balding man had asked, sliding the registration form and a pen across the counter towards Sam.

"Yeah." Sam answered picking up the pen.

"Where you heading?" The attendant had asked as Sam filled out the registration form.

"Nowhere particular. Road trip with my brother." he replied.

The man had looked over Sam's shoulder at Dean sitting waiting outside in the Impala. Sam was grateful that from here and in the early morning light Dean's cuts and bruises could barely be seen.

"Thought you might be on your way to Seattle to check out the lizard man sightings. Had a few guests passing through on their way." The had manager said.

"Lizard man?" Sam questioned, mildly curious.

"It's been in the news and I read about it in this week's Weekly World News. There's supposed to be a 7 foot tall half man half lizard living in the tunnels under the city. Apparently it comes out at night grabs rats and stray cats with its two foot long tongue and swallows 'em whole." The man paused as Sam pushed the completed form back across the counter. "Crazy right?"

"Yeah crazy." Sam had agreed. He knew being cold blooded that there was no way a lizard could survive in the dark and needed the warmth from the sun to survive and besides lizards did not eat rats and cats.

"You're in No. 3 it's across the way third door." He said sliding the key attached to a plastic holder with the number 3 on it across the counter. "Probably some prank? Sure has caused a stir though. Been pretty good for business."

Sam found a web site called Cryptozoology Sightings. Amongst the links to the latest sightings was one with a heading of: Lizard man of Seattle. The link led to accounts of 3 people who supposedly had seen the lizard man lurking on the back streets and alleys of Seattle. One said he'd seen it going down into the sewerage system. There were several drawings sketched from the descriptions of the creature. Shaped like a man, 7 feet tall, pale, scaly greenish/grey skin and a 2 feet long blue tongue that snapped up its prey.

He couldn't help but smile at the description because it sounded just like the creature from the black lagoon from that old movie he and Dean had watched on an old black and white TV in a rundown motel waiting for dad to return from a hunt when Sam was 9. But the funniest thing that made Sam chuckle was what the lizard man was said to be wearing; camouflage patterned fatigues and running shoes.

"What are you laughing about?" Dean's voice, husky from sleep broke into his humorous thoughts.

Dean was awake still stretched out on his side, looking over his left shoulder at Sam. His hair was sleep mussed sticking up in spikey tufts his eyes cloudy from sleep.

"Sorry didn't mean to wake you." Sam answered.

"'S okay. How long was I out?" Dean said.

Sam glanced at his watch. "'Bout 8 hours give or take."

"Huh. So you gonna tell me what's so funny?"

"The lizard man of Seattle." Sam's answered with mock seriousness.

"The what of where?" Dean asked scratching at the back of his head with one hand as his left hand slipped under the pillow coming out a moment later with the Bowie knife that he felt by instinct was there; wincing at the pull the movement caused to his wounded shoulder.

"The lizard man of Seattle," Sam repeated, "A 7 feet tall scaly green man with a 2 foot tongue wearing army combat fatigues stalking the underground tunnels of Seattle."

Dean's face pulled into a confused frown. "You been reading World Weekly News again?"

"It's Weekly World News and no, but the motel manager has." Sam answered.

"Okay I must be still asleep cuz I'm having a freaky ass dream." Dean stated.

Sam chuckled again explaining. "The manager told me about this article he read in the Weekly World News about a lizard man living under Seattle. Apparently it's been good for his motel business people from all over coming in hoping to eyeball the lizard man. I found a web site with some, quote eyewitness accounts and descriptions of the lizard man."

Dean pushed up from the bed dropping the knife onto the pillow before swinging his legs over the side facing his brother. "Seattle huh," he said thoughtfully. "Some weird shit goes on in Seattle."

"You said that about Florida."

"Yeah well it does." Dean said standing from the bed to come and stand next to Sam he braced one arm on the back of the chair leaning over Sam's shoulder he silently read the web page Sam had open.

Once he'd finished reading he pulled out the chair opposite Sam and sat down leaning back in the chair he wrapped his hand around the back of his neck. "Maybe we should check it out?" He said lifting the drape covering the window above the table, peering out and squinting into the brightness of the afternoon sun.

Sam heard something in Dean's tone that told him Dean might be serious. "You're kiddin' right?" Sam asked studying Dean's profile. "Seriously? Weekly World News? Lizard man? It's gotta be a hoax Dean."

Dean dropped the drape back into place and turned to look at him. "Might not be?" Dean said tentatively. "Come on Sam it'll be fun. We can check out Seattle, you know the Space Needle, mountains, good coffee… the Space Needle."

"Dude you said the Space Needle twice," Sam peered suspiciously at him. "What's with you?"

Dean sighed leaning back in the chair; he rubbed absently at his forehead with the pad of his thumb and index finger his head lowered. "I dunno. After everything I think we need a break Sam. To do something like normal people. We can look into this lizard man thing shouldn't take more than a day and then I think we should sight see, drink good coffee maybe check out the mountains. We could go skiing, I've never been skiing." He finished.

Dean was right after all they deserved to be normal just for a little while to forget about finding the yellow-eyed demon, the other psychic kids, uncovering the demon's plans for him and the others and Dean's quest to prevent him from going totally dark side and having to carry out dad's dying request.

"Yeah okay. Why not," Sam said with a smile. Dean lifted his eyes to Sam a hopeful look shadowing his still weary face he added. "Seattle here we come."

Continued in Chapter 2: Rocky and the Lizard Man