Hi, all.

After much angsting and waiting, here is my Big Bang fic: the abomination that I almost killed myself writing/typing. Edited by decemberdove and SamDreams. Illustrated by yanyann, who made the gorgeous image that I'm using as a cover. To see more art, check out my Livejournal (DeedWithoutName) or my DeviantArt (Deed-Without-a-Name) in a few days.

If you like this, or have something to say about it, or see something that I need to correct, please review.

"Heart" will update soon, and will be accompanied by a few Wincest-y oneshots. Just to let you know.

Follow my Twitter (Banishing_Rune) for progress on that.

Wendigos are pretty rare, compared to some other monsters. This is probably due to their origins: a wendigo is what a person turns into after eating human flesh. No one really seems to know the specifics of this process - how much do you have to eat? How many times? Do the personality or genetics of the person eating the flesh factor in? - but that isn't important, in the long run. As far as I know, no one's ever been curious enough about it to actually perform an experiment. All you need to know is now to kill them, and how not to be killed by them.

Luckily, wendigos aren't all that hard to take out. There are no special weapons or complicated ceremonies; all you need is fire. The trick, though is actually managing to light it up. Wendigos are superhumanly strong and fast. They can see in the dark, they're constantly hungry, and they have a set of massive, razor-sharp claws. They can kill a hunter with years of experience in a matter of seconds, or at least cripple him. And it's difficult to kill a monster with most of your leg missing.

- Wendigos and Other Native American Monsters, Sam Winchester

Sam woke up shivering. Despite the blankets that were piled on top of the covers of his queen-sized bed, and the space heater that was humming in the corner, he was freezing, the chill of a pine forest in November sunk deep into him. He stayed where he was until he could be sure that he really was looking at a bookshelf and a bedside table rather than a pair of hulking, clawed figures, and that he was smelling warm wood and bleach instead of rotting meat, then he heaved himself up into a sitting position with a groan. His leg hurt badly; he was cramping heavily, which didn't surprise him. He dragged one of the thick blankets up and wrapped it around his shoulders, trying to ward off the nonexistent cold (he wasn't sure quite yet that he was really feeling the warmth of his bedroom instead of it). He reached underneath the bedcovers and found his left calf.

He grunted, digging his fingertips through the sweatpants that he was wearing and into the muscle beneath. It twitched under his hand, and he closed his eyes, gritting his teeth. It was going to be a bad day. He could already tell.

He pushed the covers and blankets back after a few minutes of massaging, when the sharp pain had receded to the point where he could stop thinking about it. He swung his legs over the edge of the mattress and stood, grunting again and grabbing for the solid wood of his bedside table as his left leg flat-out refused to take his weight. His long hair tumbled into his eyes in sleepy tangles as he swore and grabbed his thigh. Which didn't hurt, but whatever - it was connected to the part that did.

"Five years," Sam said through gritted teeth. "You've worked just fine for five damn years. Don't do this today."

He straightened up, slowly, and tried to stand on his left leg again. It sent a bolt of pain up it, but it held, at least. He limped out of the room, letting out a slow breath and raking a hand through his hair.

Sam lived, primarily, in three rooms. The largest was the one that he'd just entered, which served multiple purposes as his kitchen, office, workout room, and living area. Not to mention that it held his front door, his back one, and the doors to all of the cells. At the moment, he was using the kitchen. He dropped two pieces of whole grain bread (the bag proclaimed that it was two days past its expiration date, but there wasn't any mold on it, so he assumed that it was okay) into the toaster, then slumped into the one chair at his tiny kitchen table. It took him about two minutes to realize that the toaster wasn't actually plugged in. He muttered a curse before heaving himself to his feet for the second time that morning, plugging the damn thing in, and getting the coffeemaker going, too, while he was at it. He'd been right; it was turning into a bad day already.

He ate, considered taking one or two of the pills in the small bottle in the very back of his medicine cabinet, then rejected the idea because he could walk. He took a longer shower than he probably should have, hoping that the hot water would help his leg. He dressed himself in jeans and a T-shirt, then took his silver knife out of the top drawer of his bedside table and stuck it through his belt. He fed his "tenants," which was a gorefest, but at least it was one that he was used to. All of his routine chores taken care of, Sam sat down at his desk, and began to sketch out banshees.

His hope was that he'd have the rest of the day to work on this, since the deadline for another book or at least a pamphlet on malevolent spirits was fast approaching. But he wasn't exactly optimistic about that. Sam wasn't superstitious, despite what he did for a living and how he'd been raised, but sometimes, he could just tell when a day wasn't going to work out in his favor. He hadn't been wrong yet.

And he wasn't wrong today. He hadn't even completed his first sketch when the phone on his desk rang.

It was a shiny silver wireless with an LED screen and entirely too many buttons, a newer model that had replaced his old-fashioned, cream-colored one. He regarded it suspiciously for a second, then picked it up and pressed it to his ear.

"I'm kind of in the middle of something," he said by way of a greeting. The list of people who contacted him on a regular basis was pretty short, and everybody on it knew him well enough not to be offended.

"There is no way that whatever pansy-ass field guide you're writing now is more important than this, Winchester," the caller said.

"Oh." Sam recognized the voice. He sort of wished he didn't. "Hi, Gordon." He dropped his pencil in order to rub the area between his eyes, squeezing them shut. "Thought you were somebody else."

"Yeah, obviously," Gordon said, making no effort to conceal the scorn in his voice. "Your demon cell empty?"

Sam glanced behind him, at the room that he was sitting directly in front of. The door stood open, revealing a small, spare room with a Circle of Solomon etched into its cement floor. "Uh. Yeah."

"Well, do whatever you gotta do to get it ready, because we're bringing you a strong one," Gordon instructed.

Sam blinked. He'd been given many different types of demons over the five years that he'd been...whatever he was (a researcher?). Black eyes, red eyes, white eyes, even yellow eyes. Daevas, acheries, hellhounds. Old, young. Male and female. He'd honestly figured that he'd interrogated, experimented on, and figured out how to kill every subspecies of demon there was.

"A...new one?" he asked uncertainly. "I've done strong demons before."

"You think I don't know that?" Gordon asked. Well, demanded. He didn't give Sam a chance to answer. "You might not've heard about it, holed up in that little cabin of yours, but we got a situation out here on the front lines. We're at war - Hell's pretty much cracked open, and we got new breeds of demon out the ass." Sam heard the rustling of fabric and a clink of metal against metal. Other people talked in the background, but their voices were too faint for him to make out what they were saying. "Anyway, long story short, I've been running with a few other hunters for a while now, and we just caught a Knight."

Sam could practically hear the capital letter. He scrambled through his memories, and even though he found exactly what he was looking for, he blankly asked, "A Knight?"

"A goddamn Knight of Hell," Gordon emphasized. "You wrote about 'em in your book, didn't you? Or am I thinking of another crippled hermit who likes to spend all his free time with monsters?"

Sam felt his teeth grit, and his hand tightened into a fist, pressing against his face. He forced the anger down, though. Gordon was a contact. He might not be a friend, or even someone Sam could stand for more than five minutes, but he was still a contact, and he needed to stay on good terms with him.

"Knights of Hell are extinct," Sam said, voice matter-of-fact. "The last one went outta commission in the fifties. Captured by a priest, disappeared after that."

"I know," Gordon said, impatient enough to start sounding a little angry. "I read your book. Thought it was useless as hell to include information on something that'd gone extinct fifty years ago, but I s'pose that's no longer the case now, seeing as you were wrong."

"Okay." Sam leaned back in his chair. It was quickly becoming apparent that nothing was going to convince Gordon that whatever he had wasn't a Knight of Hell, so he'd have to humor him. "Say you did catch a Knight. You know how dangerous they are, even for demons - why haven't you exorcised it? Or killed it?"

"We tried," Gordon answered, and this time, Sam could hear frustration in his voice. "Damn it, of course we tried that first, boy. We didn't know what we had in the beginning - just figured that we'd snared an old one, one of their leaders. Wouldn't tell us anything no matter what we did, so I put Kubrik on exorcism duty and headed back out. When I came back, Kubrik'd used up every ritual he knew of, and the damn thing was still around. Just laughing his ass off at all of us. So, naturally, I tried to shut him up."

"What'd you use?" Sam asked. If Gordon had tried to kill this demon with a weapon that didn't work on his kind, then that might be the whole problem right there.

"One of your replicas." Sam's eyes widened. He got to his feet, despite loud and angry protests from his leg, and returned to his bedroom. He opened the closet door and swept his small, bland wardrobe aside with one arm in order to look at the large assortment of weapons on the back wall. On racks, in drawers, hanging from pegs. He was looking for one small dagger in particular, and when he found it, he picked it up and stared down at the runes carved into the blade.

"One of the ones that I made of the demon knife?" he asked. He'd made almost a hundred over the course of two and a half years, after the original had been anonymously delivered to his doorstep and he'd finally figured out what it was. Only eleven worked. The rest had all been flawed in some way, but those eleven had worked perfectly since their creation.

"Yes. One of those."

"Are you su - "

"Of course I'm sure," Gordon snapped. "Used it on another demon earlier that same day, and it worked just fine. Took this one just under the breastbone, and while I'm pretty sure he didn't like it, it definitely didn't kill him, either."

Sam sat down on his bed. His leg gave out as he was lowering himself, so he hit the mattress more heavily than he'd intended. He was still holding the knife. "Are...are you sure that it's a demon?"

"Responds to iron, salt, holy water - the works," Gordon said. "Has black eyes, too. They popped out when I stabbed him. Damn thing spit on me after I'd twisted the knife a couple times, trying to get it to work, and said that I wasn't gonna be able to kill him because he was the last Knight of Hell." His voice turned scornful again. "But maybe I'm misinterpreting all of this. Maybe the son of a bitch ain't a demon after all. What d'you think, Mr. Expert?"

Sam blew out a very slow breath. Don't get pissed. This was his job. "Where is he?"

"Iron cage, heavy on the sigils and runes," Gordon said. "We've got a bunch of other stuff on him, too - handcuffs, chains, a collar. He's trussed up like a turkey. Not exactly docile, but he's not going anywhere we don't want him to."

"You'd better bring him up here, then," Sam said, coming to a quick decision that he hoped was right. He just wasn't sure what else to do with something that really sounded like a genuine Knight of Hell.

"Attaboy," Gordon said. It didn't sound much like praise, coming from him. "Finally." Sam heard a shuffling sound, like he was moving to hang the phone up, but then he spoke again. "Winchester, if I were you, I'd touch your demon cell up some. This thing's the strongest I've ever dealt with, and you've gotta know that's saying something."

"Right," Sam said. Something occurred to him, and before Gordon could hang up for real, he asked him, "What condition's the vessel in, Gordon?"

"Demon's still alive," Gordon replied.

"What condition is he in?" Sam repeated. There was a pause.

"He made me kinda angry," Gordon said, finally. "That should really tell you all you need to know."

Then he hung up. He'd been right - that had told Sam all he needed to know, mostly because he'd had dealings with Gordon and other hunters of his ilk before. He seethed quietly into the handset for a moment. A demon (especially one as rare as a Knight) was no use to him at all if it was too mangled to respond to interrogation. And Gordon, the bastard, knew that.

But he couldn't afford to waste time being angry. Or energy, for that matter. If he wasn't ready to restrain a Knight when Gordon arrived, then there would be some very literal Hell to pay. Sam forced himself to his feet, which his leg didn't like at all, and glanced at the custom-made cane leaning against his bedside table. He rejected it with a snort and a shake of his head. The cane was a very last resort, and a humiliating one at that.

He dropped the phone back into its dock, then stepped into a pair of broken-in, unlaced boots beside his back door. They were at least as old as his career was, but they did an impeccable job of protecting his feet from the sharp sticks and rocks that covered the short distance between his cabin and the shed out back. The shed contained the extra large chest freezer that held all the less-than-savory food of his houseguests, weapons and spell ingredients too large or volatile to be kept in his home, dry storage for pencils and flour and things like that. And, perhaps most importantly, it contained everything he'd need to transform a run-of-the-mill demonic holding pen into GTMO for things that crawled out of Hell.

It was a big shed. Sam sometimes speculated that he'd be happier living in it than in the cabin.

He grabbed red spray paint, clear acrylic, and a heavy bag of rock salt on his first trip out. The spray paint went onto the ceiling and walls, in the form of a devil's trap and warding sigils from six different cultures. They all worked, and Sam figured he needed as many layers of protection as he could get from this thing. The acrylic went over the paint, so that water wouldn't be able to damage or blur the symbols. The entire bag of rock salt went all along the edges of the Circle of Solomon, and then Sam went back to the shed.

The heavy wooden door came off of its hinges, and a new iron one went on. It was composed of thick iron bars with more sigils worked into them, really more of a gate than a door. It was a bitch to switch them out by himself, and he was all but dragging his leg by the end of it, but he was able to spend most of the next three hours sitting as he burned hundreds of tiny but powerful runes into the wood of the doorframe. He laid on his back, staring up at the ceiling and breathing hard, after pouring a mixture of salt and iron filings into the crack between the jamb and the first floorboard. Anything that could force its way past that probably deserved to get out - but he was pretty satisfied that the Knight would never leave his new, improved demon cell alive.

Sam knew he should have gone back to his book, with its looming deadline, but now that all the pressing physical labor was done, he knew that he wouldn't be able to focus until that demon was safely within the large and ornate cage that he'd constructed for it. He was just too nervous, and with his leg like it was, he couldn't even pace to relieve some of the tension. He sighed heavily, then draped a large hand over his aching eyes.

There was nothing he could do but lie here, and wait for Gordon and his men to bring him a furious and likely mutilated Knight of Hell.