Finally! After exactly 9 months - it's finished! And I want to say thank you to everyone who has read this! Everyone who put up with all the delays. All the cliffhangers!
I hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it!
Dean gripped the gun firmly in both hands, re-cocking it as he hoisted it up to his cheek before he stepped back toward the house. Peering cautiously around the doorframe, Dean squinted into the darkness that encompassed the basement stairs. As his eyes adjusted to the dim light, a hazy silhouette began to materialize in the shadows. And as the image became clearer Dean recognized Mayor Rennick standing motionless on the stairs.
And he was holding Sammy by the neck with a gun pointed directly at his brother's temple.
So Dean instinctively whipped both arms around the doorframe and pointed his gun directly at the mayor.
"Uh, uh, uh," warned the mayor with a sly grin as he pushed the gun closer to Sam's temple and cocked the hammer.
As if realizing for the first time just how much danger Sam was in, Dean flipped the barrel of the gun toward the ceiling as he gently eased up on the trigger. With his gaze fixed steadily on the mayor, Dean slowly raised his arms over his head to signify his complete compliance.
And when he was certain that Dean no longer posed a threat, Mayor Rennick stepped toward the seventeen year-old and grabbed the gun from his upraised hand.
"Put your hands behind your head," he ordered calmly, his confidence in having control of the situation evident.
"Okay. Okay. I'll do whatever you want. Just…don't hurt him" uttered Dean nervously as he slowly laced his fingers behind his head.
"Now why would I do that?" questioned the mayor sarcastically as he briefly removed the gun from Sam's head, and used it to motion to Dean that he wanted him to go up the stairs and onto the main floor. "Especially when I'm just gonna kill him later anyway."
Dean backed up the stairs. But his attention remained focused on the gun that was once again pointed at his brother's head. "What if you just let him go? Take me instead?"
"But I already have both of you," retorted the mayor as he followed Dean up the stairs, all the while maintaining an extremely tight hold on Sam. "And, if you so much as look at me the wrong way, I will shoot him. And then it'll be all your fault that your little brother is dead."
"Alright. I get it," acquiesced Dean fearfully, "But could you, maybe, just point the gun someplace other than his head. I won't try anything. I promise."
"Oh, I know you won't. Because once your brother's finished tying you up, you'll be as harmless as a puppy."
Having reached the top of the stairs, Dean backed into the wall as he gave Rennick enough room to join him in the hallway. As the mayor stepped onto the main floor, he jerked his head to the left as an indication for Dean to head that way. Dean commenced backing down the hall so that he didn't have to take his eyes off the mayor or his brother. As he reached the end of the hallway, Rennick motioned for him to proceed into the living room. So Dean backed cautiously into the living room, hesitating as the mayor stepped into the dining room and dragged Sam toward the dining room table.
As he neared the table, he jabbed Sam roughly in the shoulder with the gun and commanded, "Pick up that chair. And bring it with you into the living room."
Sam obediently lifted the chair, pulling it toward him so that he could insert his cast though the rungs in the back before he grabbed the other side of the chair with his left hand, trying desperately not to strain his injured shoulder. But as he assumed the full weight of the chair, he winced in pain.
Seeing his brother grimace, Dean immediately stepped forward, removing his hands from his head and reaching impulsively for the chair. "Here. I'll get it," he implored, his voice full of concern.
But Rennick shoved the gun harshly into Sam's throat as he glared viciously back at Dean, "One more step and he's toast."
"Sorry," apologized Dean, taking a hurried step backwards and immediately raising his arms above his head. "I...I wasn't doing anything. It's just that…Sammy's hurt. And I...I was gonna get the chair for him. That's all."
"If I'd wanted you to get it, I would have told you to," admonished Rennick harshly. "Now, be a good boy and turn around. Nice and slow. Your brother's going to set the chair down right behind you. And you're going to sit on it. "
Dean took a deep breath as he reluctantly followed Rennick's order, turning around slowly to face the window. As soon as Dean was facing away from them, Rennick pushed Sam toward his brother.
"Put the chair down," ordered Rennick sharply.
Sam set the chair down behind his brother's legs.
Addressing Dean, the mayor commanded, "Now, sit."
As Dean complied with his demand, Rennick walked up to Sam and shoved him toward a tangled pile of rope that lay on the floor in front of the couch. Rennick then walked around to the front of the chair and pointed the gun at Dean as he instructed Sam to use the rope to tie his brother up.
Sam glanced quickly at Dean. But Dean remained fixated on Rennick, contemplating whether or not he should try to disarm him while Sam was out of his reach. But as if he could read the teenager's mind, Rennick took a step sideways and redirected the gun so that it was once again pointed at Sam.
"Wanna take the chance?" he sneered, staring brazenly at Dean.
So Dean dismissed the idea of trying to overpower the mayor. At least for now. He would wait. Because he knew the opportunity would present itself again. He just had to be patient.
Not that that was one of his best attributes.
Sam had retrieved the rope and was now standing anxiously just off to the side. And although the gun that Rennick had trained on him was making him nervous, Sam was much more concerned about what Dean was thinking. He knew his brother well enough to know that he would be waiting for an opportunity to overtake Rennick and he was afraid that Dean might misjudge the danger that the mayor posed to them. His only consolation was knowing that Dean wouldn't attempt anything as long as the gun was aimed at him. But if Rennick pointed it away from him, Sam wasn't quite so sure what Dean would do.
Staring astutely at Dean, Rennick ordered Sam to tie his brother's hands with the rope. Sam walked timidly to the back of the chair and grabbed Dean's right wrist, pulling his arm down behind the chair. Fearfully watching Rennick Sam looped the rope around his brother's wrist before he hesitantly seized Dean's left wrist and tied it to his other hand. He wound the rope loosely around Dean's wrist before tying a slipknot and inconspicuously placing the end of the rope into his brother's hand. As soon as Dean clutched the rope, Sam began to lightly coil the rope around his brother's wrists to hide their deception and make it appear that Dean's hands were tightly tied.
Once he had completed his task Sam stood up. But before he had the chance to fully straighten up, Mayor Rennick kicked another length of rope toward him and told Sam to tie Dean's legs to the chair. Sam hesitantly walked around the chair and retrieved the rope. Without looking at his brother, Sam tethered his right leg to the chair. He completed the job by tying a simple reef knot that he knew Dean would be able to easily undo. Then Sam slid over to Dean's other leg and began securing Dean's other leg in exactly the same manner. But as he wrapped the rope around his brother's leg, Sam felt the outline of the gun that was still strapped to his brother's leg. Without raising his head, Sam discreetly lifted his eyes to look at his brother. And Dean was looking at him. He knew what Sam's questioning look was for:
He wanted to know whether he should take the gun and shoot Rennick.
But Dean didn't want Sam to do that. And while he couldn't verbally convey his disapproval, he stared intently at Sam and gave a barely discernable shake of his head. Dean's objection to his unspoken question came through loud and clear so Sam lowered his eyes and finished tying Dean's leg to the chair, once again making sure that he'd be able to easily untie the binding. Then Sam rose to his feet and backed away from the chair before he ventured another look at his brother. Only this time Dean wasn't looking at him; he was watching Rennick. Because Rennick still had the gun trained on Sam. And as Sam backed up, Rennick grabbed his collar and dragged him roughly toward the window.
"Hey!" protested Dean angrily, "Leave him alone!"
"Or you'll do what exactly?" questioned the mayor snidely.
"You hurt him - And I'll kill you."
Mayor Rennick just shook his head and ignored Dean's seemingly idle threat before he thrust Sam in front of him and headed out the front door.
John and the sheriff had killed three more Aswangs by the time John had another chance to check the time. And the twenty minutes he had allotted to Dean to get Sammy out had long since passed. Which meant that they could now make their move on Rennick. Up until now they'd been fighting from behind their vehicles, purposely drawing the Aswangs toward them and keeping them away from their leader's house.
But, if everything had proceeded as planned, his sons were now out of harm's way. And there'd been nothing to indicate otherwise so John was going with the assumption that they were well on their way back to the motel and he and Sheriff Durham could safely finish off the rest of the Aswangs.
And that included Rennick. Provided Dean hadn't killed him already. But, assuming he was still alive, he remained holed up inside his house. And John didn't think he was likely to come out on his own. So they'd have to go to him. And kill every one of those creatures that got in their way.
John signaled to the sheriff that it was time to begin the third and final phase of their battle. After seeing Sheriff Durham's nod of confirmation, John dashed across the street, heading to the nearest house. As he left the protection that their vehicular barricade had afforded him, gunfire erupted from somewhere behind him. But John resisted turning around, trusting the sheriff to cover his back while he raced to the bushes that bordered the property he was headed toward.
As he reached the bushes, John flung himself onto the ground, rolling under the thick foliage as he spun around and flipped onto his stomach so that he was once again facing the street and could aid in his own defense. But the gunfire had ceased and neither John not the sheriff could perceive any further threats. Regardless, they continued to scan the vicinity for any sign of their enemies before John motioned to the sheriff that he would cover him while he relocated to the opposite side of street.
Just as Sheriff Durham moved away from the vehicles, a second-storey window in the house that he was heading toward opened very slowly. But the barely visible movement didn't escape John's notice and he fired into the centre of the window, shattering the glass on impact. He fired a second time, just in case his original shot hadn't deterred the assailant but there was no further movement from behind the window.
A sudden motion from behind the same house drew John's attention and he spied a different gunman targeting the sheriff. But Sheriff Durham had seen him too and before John had a chance to shoot, the sheriff aimed his gun at the assassin and fired. His hurried shot went wide but it had been enough to cause the gunman to withdraw behind the house which enabled the sheriff to reach his destination.
With Sheriff Durham successfully relocated, John made the next move, crawling out of the shrubbery and racing toward the house. But as he ran, nothing happened. No gunfire. No movement. Nothing. Which John found strangely disturbing. So as soon as he had reached the house, he backed tightly against the wall and stood there motionlessly. But there was no response to his actions. And that could only mean one of two things:
Either all the Aswangs had retreated to Rennick's house.
Or they were lying in wait somewhere up ahead.
And either scenario was plausible.
Because Aswangs were essentially cowards. They'd proved that time and again. And perhaps this battle had already depleted their limited courage. Or, with both John and the sheriff still alive, they could have felt that it was far too dangerous for them to continue fighting and had taken flight back to their leader.
But, on the other hand, on their traditional hunts, Aswangs always sought out their victims, waiting to attack when the time was right. So it was entirely possible that they were simply stalking the two men.
And with at least seven of the creatures still alive, John knew they had to be very careful.
So he walked cautiously toward the back of the house and glanced around the yard before he eased around the corner. Staying as close to the wall as he possibly could, John constantly checked the backdoor and the windows for any indications that he was being watched as he sidled along the wall. When he made it to the other side of the house, he paused and looked out at the street before he ran to the house next door.
Leaning tightly against the wall, John scoped out the backyard, noticing immediately that the next house had by a huge fence that enclosed the backyard. The fence was too high for John to scale so he crept cautiously toward the front of the house until he reached the end of the building. He scanned the neighborhood and witnessed the sheriff dashing between the two houses that were exactly opposite his position.
John glanced at front yard of the house next door and observed a small bush in the garden swaying slightly. Watching it closely, John saw the barrel of a gun protrude from the front of the bush. And it was aimed directly at Sheriff Durham. So John sighted the bush and fired. As the reverberation of the gunshot echoed through the air, the stricken gunman leapt up from his hiding spot and grappled wildly at his chest. But there was nothing he could do to stop the debilitating effects of the bullet as it cursed through his body until he was obliterated into miniscule particles of dust.
When his shot went unanswered, John bolted across the yard to the fence that cordoned off the next property. John crouched behind the fence as he once again scrutinized the entire street. But the area was unnaturally quiet and John couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that swept over him. He looked cautiously around the fence toward Rennick's house.
And his whole world came crashing down on top of him.
Because standing on the porch, with the mayor behind him and a gun pointed at his head, was his youngest son.
Dean couldn't believe his luck.
If he was willing to call it that.
Because things hadn't exactly gone according to plan.
Rennick had ambushed them. He'd grabbed Sammy just before they'd made it out of the house. He'd waited until Dean had let his guard down. And he'd even managed to take his brother's gun. Which he used to ensure that Dean didn't do anything rash as he forced them back inside and made Sammy tie him up
There had to be some level of luck involved.
Because Rennick had acted exactly as Dad had said he would.
Rennick hadn't come close to him. Not once. He hadn't even thought to check the restraints after Sammy had tied him up. It hadn't seemed to occur to him that his brother might not tie him up exactly as he expected him to. It just didn't seem to have crossed his mind.
And Dean had to admit that he was a little surprised by that. Regardless of what Dad had predicted. Because it simply didn't make sense that he wouldn't even stop to consider the fact that something like that just might happen. But, then again, Aswangs were normally solitary hunters. So they didn't issue orders in the first place. Or work together. And even though Rennick had overcome his species normal habits, he obviously hadn't been able to circumvent his own ingrained train of thought.
But that was perfectly okay with Dean. Especially seeing as this little glitch had set them back at least half an hour. And twilight was coming. Soon.
Much too soon for his liking.
So, when Rennick left the room with Sammy in tow, Dean began removing his restraints. He twisted his hands around to unwind the rope before he pulled on the end that Sam had placed in his hands and slipped the knot loose. Having untied the rope, Dean slid his hands out of the bindings and bent down to undo the rope that was fettering his legs. Keeping a vigilant eye out for the mayor, Dean unstrapped the cord that bound his left leg in order to get to his gun.
And that was another thing that Dean couldn't quite understand.
Rennick hadn't even thought to search him to see if he had another weapon.
But …Rennick wasn't human. And that had to explain it. Just like his father had said. And that explanation was good enough. At least for the moment. Because there were other things to worry about. Things like getting Sammy away from Rennick. And getting the hell outta here.
Before night fell.
Dean shook his foot free of the remaining cord and grabbed the gun, shoving it under his thigh before he bothered to free his other leg. Then he grabbed the gun and cocked it before he slid silently off the chair and walked into the hallway to look for Rennick.
Rennick had gone outside with Sammy. And he'd had the gun trained on his brother's head. Because he was planning to use Sammy to stop his father's progress. But, with a little bit of daylight left, Rennick would simply use Sammy to buy himself a bit of time.
And Dean knew that Rennick's plan would work. His father would stop fighting. And he'd even consider surrendering to Rennick if it went that far. Because he wouldn't risk anything happening to Sammy. Not now. And not ever.
And to top it all off, Dad wouldn't have any idea what had happened to him. Rennick might tell his father that he was dead. That he'd killed him as soon as he'd broken into the house. And if that's what Rennick said, there was no reason for Dad not to believe him. So he had to figure out some way to let Dad know that he was alive. Before his father gave in to Rennick's demands.
And he had to do it before sunset.
Dean walked stealthily into the front vestibule, being extremely careful to stay away from the door so that his shadow wouldn't be seen through the window. But he did get close enough so that he could see what was going on outside.
And it was exactly the scenario that he had been dreading.
Rennick was standing by the railing, holding the gun to Sammy's head. And he was clutching Sammy so tightly around the neck that Dean was surprised his brother could still breathe. Which was probably why Sammy's hands were so tightly clenched around Rennick's arm.
Dean also noticed how quiet it had become. All the gunfire had ceased. And nothing was happening outside.
Nothing except for the three armed Aswangs that were walking up the street. Which meant that Dad and the sheriff had to be somewhere between those three Aswangs and this house. But from where he was standing, Dean couldn't see his father or the sheriff and he was really hoping that they hadn't yet revealed themselves. Or surrendered.
But as long as it remained quiet, there was little Dean could do. He couldn't open the door for fear that Rennick would hear him. And if he tried to shoot Rennick through the window the odds were pretty good that the bullet would just be deflected by the glass. So he was going to have to wait until something happened. Or someone made a move. And hopefully that move wouldn't be his father surrendering to Rennick.
Dean was pretty sure that there hadn't been any communication between his father and the mayor. That, for the time being, they were still engaged in a stand-off. His father would wait for Rennick to do something first. Something like state his terms. Or tell his father exactly what he wanted.
But maybe Rennick would continue waiting too. And if he did that, they'd be wasting precious time. Time they couldn't afford to waste. Not with dusk approaching.
Just then Dean saw someone walk up the front steps and join Rennick on the porch. It was Chief Nevins. Dean sighed. That was just what he needed. Someone else to get in his way. But, on second thought, it might just be a good thing. Maybe together they'd get distracted. And that would be his chance to do something.
Dean moved closer to the door, keeping a watchful eye on what was happening outside. Rennick and the fire chief were talking but he couldn't hear what they were saying. Rennick had relaxed his hold on Sammy a little bit. Perhaps Nevin's arrival had bolstered his confidence. Then Dean saw Rennick jerk his head toward the door and say something to Chief Nevins that resulted in the fire chief glancing at the house. Dean ducked quickly out of sight but he thought he knew what they were discussing.
Rennick wanted Nevins to come inside and check on him.
So Dean hastily stuck the gun into the waistband of his jeans and rushed back to the living room. He picked the rope up off the floor and bunched it up in his hands as he sat back down in the chair. Dean swung his arms behind the chair to make it look as if he was still tied up and he positioned his feet around the legs of the chair so it wasn't overtly obvious that they weren't restrained. Then he sat back and waited until the front door opened and the fire chief walked in.
Nevins stood in the entranceway and examined Dean closely. For a moment it looked like he might just turn around and walk back outside. But then something seemed to catch his eye and he walked slowly into the living room, keeping his eyes trained on the rope by Dean's feet. As he got closer he realized that the rope wasn't binding the young captive's feet.
Standing over the seated teenager, Nevins grinned and asked, "You plannin' on goin' somewhere?"
Dean didn't answer; he just stared back at the fire chief.
"Well, there really isn't anywhere you can go," stated the fire chief as he knelt down to retie the rope, "So you might as well get comfortable."
As soon as Nevins began tying his ankles, Dean dropped the rope and whirled his arms forward. He clasped his hands and forearms together and bashed them down as hard as he could on top of the fire chief's head as he simultaneously thrust his leg upwards, knocking him vehemently under the chin. The combined impact of the blows rendered the fire chief unconscious almost instantaneously.
With the fire chief sprawled out on the floor in front of him, Dean sprang off the chair and proceeded to tie him up. He made sure that Nevins was bound tightly and that there was no way he'd be able to wiggle free. Because, even though he wanted to, Dean couldn't kill him right now- a gunshot would give him away. So the next best thing was to ensure that the fire chief couldn't get away while he concentrated on killing Rennick.
Dean stood up and re-armed himself before he tiptoed back to the main foyer. The fire chief had left the door ajar and Dean was going to use that to his advantage. He peered cautiously through the window in the door at the mayor who was still standing on the porch with a tight grip on his brother. Glancing past him, Dean looked for the three Aswangs he had seen previously. At first he couldn't locate them. But then he saw two of them marching up the side of the road behind his father while the remaining one was escorting the sheriff on the opposite side of the street.
And neither his father nor the sheriff appeared to be armed.
But Dean knew his father wouldn't be stupid enough to relinquish all his weapons; he wouldn't just give up. It wasn't in his nature. Even if he did surrender. He'd be trying to come up with a backup plan. And Dean could do that for him. He just had to get him back in the game. As quickly as he possibly could. And to do that he was going to have to kill Rennick. Then Dad could take care of the rest of them.
But Dean had to act fast. Because the sun was setting rapidly and in just over ten minutes it would be dark.
So Dean scooted past the open door and leaned against the front wall. He kept his gun cocked and ready to use while he cautiously extended his foot until it touched the base of the door. He used his foot to ease the door open until it was about a third of the way open. Then Dean withdrew his foot and waited for any indication that the mayor had seen the door move. But Rennick was preoccupied watching his father's approach and he didn't turn around. And he must have momentarily forgotten about Chief Nevins too. He was probably too busy gloating about capturing his father. And that would keep him distracted long enough for Dean to blow him away.
And Dean was going to relish that moment for the rest of his life.
Dean knew he was only going to have one chance to kill Rennick so he had to make sure that his shot was accurate. He leaned forward and cautiously glanced outside to get a proper fix on Rennick's location. Then he drew his head back inside and took a deep breath to calm his nerves before he stepped boldly into the open doorway and leveled the gun at the mayor.
But Rennick spun around just as Dean fired and the bullet simply grazed his shoulder. And as he turned, the mayor swung his gun around and pointed at Dean. Dean lunged sideways to avoid being shot and he dropped to his knees as he altered his aim in order to take another shot at Rennick. But the mayor mirrored Dean's movements, adjusting both his stance and his aim as he fired off a second round. But his rapid gyrations caused him to loosen his grip on Sam, who managed to steady himself and elbow Rennick squarely in the stomach a millisecond before the mayor fired.
As a result of Sam's assault, Rennick's shot went wide. But he retained his hold on Sam and he savagely pulled him in front of him, using him as a shield between himself and Dean. The unforeseen sequence of events happened so quickly that Dean barely had enough time to swerve the barrel of his gun to the side before it discharged. And, although he had managed to avoid shooting Sam, Dean missed Rennick too.
But the mayor had successfully shifted his aim and he was once again preparing to fire at Dean. But, whether it was because he wasn't human or because he had underestimated his young adversaries, the mayor didn't anticipate Sam's next move as he forcibly swung his right arm upwards and smacked Rennick in the face with his cast. The sudden impact stunned the mayor and he released Sam as he staggered backwards.
As soon as he was freed from the mayor's grasp, Sam bolted off to the side, leaving Dean with an unobstructed shot at the mayor. And Dean took it without hesitation. His shot was right on target and the bullet sank into Rennick's torso before he'd had a chance to recover from Sam's assault. With his death sentence procured, the astonished mayor raised his head and stared venomously at Dean as he desperately tried to point the gun at him in order to take the teenager out with him. But the bullet that had ripped into his body was caustically eating its way through his internal organs and the resulting pain was more than Rennick could bear. He fell helplessly to the ground, providing Dean with the opportunity he had been waiting for. Dean jumped up and grabbed Sammy's arm before he raced into the house with his brother in tow. As soon as they re-entered the house, Dean slammed the front door shut. Still clutching Sam's shirt, Dean started walking toward the back entrance.
Then he remembered something.
Looking sternly at Sam, Dean ordered, "Stay here," before he turned and headed into the living room.
He walked right up to the unconscious fire chief and cocked his gun. Then, without any hesitation whatsoever, Dean aimed his gun at Nevins and fired. He turned around and headed back toward the hallway. But Sam had followed his brother into the living room and was now he standing wide-eyed in the doorway.
His terror-filled eyes met Dean's stone-cold ones. "How could you just shoot him like that?" he blurted out in abject horror at what his brother had done.
"Easy," replied Dean as he walked around his brother, seizing his shirt as he dragged him back into the hallway.
"But he wasn't even a threat," protested Sam.
"Yeah, he was, Sammy. He just didn't look it."
But the renewed sounds of gunfire erupted out on the street and Sam and Dean didn't bother to continue their conversation. The first traces of nightfall had begun to fall. And it was time for them to go. Dean knew he had to get Sammy back to the motel as quickly as he could. Because that was still part of the plan. And remained his only real objective. And even though he wanted to stay and help his father finish off the Aswangs, Dean knew that his father expected him to get Sammy out of there. So he had to comfort himself with the fact that the sheriff was there to help his father.
Dean steered Sam down the stairs to the landing. And then he flicked on the light to the basement. Just as a precaution. But there was nothing down there. So Dean peered outside to check the yards. And the entire area was still. Because all the remaining Aswangs were engaged in the battle with their father.
Dean opened the door. Only this time he wasn't taking any chances and he held tightly to his brother's shirt as he stepped outside, pulling Sam out with him. Dean kept his gun aimed steadily in front of him, constantly sweeping the area for any signs of danger as he led Sammy toward the woods.
Tired of being hauled around like a dog on a leash, Sam grabbed Dean's wrist and tried to remove it from his shirt, as he angrily demanded, "Let go."
But Dean didn't reply. He had no intention of releasing his brother until they made it safely into the woods; out here in the open there was just too much risk. But he did understand his brother's displeasure and he quickly breached the remaining distance to the thicket so that he'd feel safer once he relinquished his hold on Sam.
Dean pushed Sam into the woods ahead of him and spun around to take a final look around the manicured lawns before he ventured into the overgrown vegetation. Sam was still trying to regain his balance when Dean caught up to him. Wanting urgently to continue their journey, Dean once again grasped his brother's shoulders and spun him around before he put his hand on Sam's back to propel him forward.
But Sam moved quickly off to the side, separating himself from Dean before he spat venomously, "Enough already."
"Okay," snapped Dean. "Just promise me that you'll stay with me. Alright?"
"Come on, Sammy. We've had enough excitement today. We don't need any more."
Sam just rolled his eyes. But he did stay close to Dean as they made their way through the woods.
They had gone about 30 yards when Sam suddenly stopped and leaned against a small tree. He looked wearily at Dean and said, "I'm really tired. Can't we rest for a minute?"
But Dean once again seized his brother's shirt, pulling him away from the tree. "You can rest in the car. We're almost there."
Sam was too tired to continue arguing. The effects of the poison were once again threatening to overtake him and he stumbled forward, letting Dean guide him through the undergrowth without another word of protest. When they reached the edge of the woods Dean stopped so that he could canvass the outlying area and he quickly realized that they were only slightly further up the street from where he had originally gone in.
It was dark now. And relatively quiet. And the distant sounds of gunfire were only vaguely discernable. But they were far enough away from Ricker Street that Dean didn't think there was anything left for them to worry about. And the increasing darkness was making it harder for him to navigate Sam through the bush so Dean decided it was probably safe enough for them to leave the woods here. He put his arm around Sam to support him as they emerged from the thicket and proceeded toward the street. But as they walked past the houses and out toward the street, Dean stopped dead in his tracks.
Because sitting on the front bumper of the Impala and looking the other way, was Robin. With a few of his buddies hovering around him.
Still supporting his brother, Dean strode closer to the gaggle of teenagers before he stopped again.
"Get the fuck off my car, Leavey."
"Why should I?" answered Robin as he turned to face Dean.
"Because I told you to. That's why"
"What happens if I don't?"
"Just do it," barked Dean as he took another step closer, "Because I'm not gonna tell you again."
"What if I don't feel like getting off this piece of junk?" challenged Robin with a cocky grin on his face, glancing around at his friends.
"Then maybe this will persuade you," answered Dean as he lifted the gun and aimed it at Robin.
Initially startled by the appearance of the gun, Robin quickly regained his composure and smirked, "Ohhh…Big, bad Dean Winchester. Whadda ya gonna do? Shoot me?"
"I'm thinkin' about it."
"And you expect me to believe that's a real gun?"
"Believe what you want," replied Dean matter-of-factly as he once again commenced walking, "But just remember, it's gonna hurt like a sonofabitch when I do shoot you."
Dean stopped walking when he was about fifteen feet away from Robin and his gang. Still aiming the gun at Robin, he glanced around at the remainder of the posse. And all the usuals were there.
And that briefly threw Dean for a loop. Because he hadn't expected to ever see Marty again. He figured he'd have been with the rest of his kind. Fighting his father. Not hanging out with Robin. But, he hadn't expected to see Robin here either. And with only had one bullet left in his gun, Dean didn't have any to spare. Not on Robin. And he couldn't very well kill Marty in front of Robin and his cohorts either.
So he was just going to have to get rid of them first.
Holding the gun steadily in front of him, Dean stepped forward.
Robin jumped off the car.
Dean took another step.
Robin and his cronies stepped back.
Dean stepped closer.
They stepped backwards.
Dean advanced one more step.
And Robin and his companions retreated another step.
Dean continued moving toward them. One deliberate step at a time. And each of his steps was followed with tiny step backwards by his rivals.
Until, finally, Dean reached the passenger door of the Impala.
Keeping the gun trained on Robin and his friends, Dean slowly let go of his brother, making sure that Sam wouldn't have any trouble standing on his own. After Sam had resumed standing by himself and without taking his eyes off Robin, Dean reached for the door handle and swung the door open.
"Get in the car, Sammy."
"Get. In. The car." reiterated Dean fiercely, "And lock the doors."
Sam glanced nervously between Dean and Robin before he sighed heavily in defeat and reluctantly got in the front seat of the Impala. Once Sam was locked safely inside the vehicle Dean stepped toward Robin.
"It's time for you to go, Leavey. And take your stooges with you."
"I don't think so," replied Robin haughtily, briefly shifting his gaze away from Dean to look at something behind him.
Dean caught something move in the corner of his eye and he realized that he was about to be ambushed. So he spun around to fend off the unknown attacker but his defense had begun just a little too late and he found himself caught in a massive bear hug with his arms pinned tightly to his side. Dean immediately threw his head backwards, smacking it viciously into his captor's head, which caused his assailant to take an unsteady step sideways. But it hadn't been enough for him to relinquish his hold on Dean.
Undaunted, Dean glanced down at the ground and quickly stomped heavily on his opponent's foot. As his attacker fought to overcome the pain, Dean swung his hips sideways and slammed his elbow brutally into his attacker's midriff. The rapid-fire assault forced his opponent to release him and Dean lunged forward. But before he was able to regain his balance, Dean was ensnared in an unshakable headlock. Once again he hurled his elbow into his opponent's torso. But it had little effect and his foe bent him forward toward the ground. Dean fought to remain on his feet by spreading his legs apart and adjusting his stance.
But his adversary countered by whirling his fist toward Dean's head. Dean was forced to drop his gun in order to fend off the blow and as his rival's fist slammed into his open palm, Dean clasped his hand shut, seizing his adversary's fist in a firm grip. At the same time as he halted the punch with his left hand, Dean slid his right arm between their bodies and brought it up over his opponent's back. Using his hand that enclosed his opponent's fist, Dean shoved his foe's arm backwards until he was able to grab his wrist with his right hand and pull it over his back. Having effectively immobilized his opponent's arm, Dean released his hand and quickly grasped the other arm that was still encircling his neck. Dean yanked his assailant's arm downward as he took a step backwards and slid his head out from under his rival's arm. Now disengaged from the headlock, Dean straightened up and wrenched his opponent's arms backwards, pinning them both tightly behind his back. And with his attacker now powerless in front of him, Dean was finally able to get a good look at him.
And he was struggling fiercely to get free; taking every ounce of energy Dean had just to hold onto the bigger teen. And he knew that it was only a matter of time before one of Robin's minions came to Andy's aid. It was just a question of who.
As Dean swiveled Andy around to face his buddies, Robin bolted toward them. He was going for the gun. And there was nothing Dean could do to stop him. Not as long as he was holding onto Andy.
Letting Robin get his hands on the gun would be worse than having to subdue Andy again. So Dean thrust Andy forward, propelling him into Robin. As the two friends collided, Dean reached down to grab the gun. But before he could reach it he was tackled from the side and, in a last-ditch effort to keep the gun out of his enemies' hands, Dean kicked it beneath the Impala before he hit the ground with his new assailant landing on top of him.
Dean rolled sideways to avoid being pinned to the ground. He grabbed his rival's shoulders and spun himself around. As he thrust him heavily into the pavement, Dean saw that his new opponent was Eric. And without wasting any time, Dean hoisted himself up and straddled Eric as he lay on the ground. Knowing that Andy and Robin would rejoin the fight within seconds, Dean hastily walloped Eric across the face, knocking him out-cold before he heaved himself off him and pivoted around to face his remaining foes.
By now, both Robin and Andy had risen to their feet. But Robin was slowly backing away, seemingly more than happy to leave Andy to deal with Dean. Still, Dean didn't trust either of them and he repositioned himself between them and the Impala, knowing that he couldn't let either of them get near the vehicle for fear that they'd get the gun. And as Dean moved, Andy shadowed him. The two teenagers stalked each other; both of them remaining a safe distance away as they assessed their opponent.
But Dean knew that his biggest worry was not Andy or Robin. It was Marty. Because it was dark now. And Marty would be able to revert to his natural form at any time. So Dean quickly glanced around, hoping to get a fix on Marty. But he was nowhere to be seen.
And Andy was inching slowly toward him.
So Dean refocused on Andy. But he didn't move, waiting instead to see what the bigger teen would do. And he didn't have to wait for long before Andy charged him. He rushed toward Dean with all the intensity of an out-of-control bull. And like a well-trained matador, Dean stood his ground until Andy was only a few feet away; then he simply stepped to the side and out of Andy's path. He watched in amazement as Andy slammed headfirst into the side of the Impala and crumpled to a lifeless heap on the side of the road.
Then Dean turned his full attention back to Robin.
And Robin was staring at him with panic-stricken eyes as he slowly backed away. He was getting ready to turn tail and run. But Dean wasn't about to let him go. Not after everything that had happened during the past week. Nor all the things that he'd done to him. And to Sammy.
It was time for him to pay up.
Dean moved steadily away from the Impala, diligently advancing toward Robin. And Robin kept backing away from him until he suddenly turned to flee. But Dean raced after him, effortlessly overtaking his nemesis. Dean seized Robin's collar as he pulled to an abrupt halt behind him, pulling Robin backwards and wrenching him around to face him. Robin lashed out wildly with his fists as he was spun around but Dean easily avoided the impetuous blows by leaning backwards before he pulled Robin angrily toward him. As the frightened teenager lurched toward him, Dean threw a sharp right hook into his jaw. Robin's knees buckled and he fell heavily to the ground leaving Dean towering over him.
Robin immediately tried to scramble away by pushing himself backwards. But Dean jumped on top of him, nailing him to the ground as he sat down heavily on his nemeis' pelvis. Dean resisted striking Robin, content to simply watch him wallow in fright. Robin clawed at the ground as he tried to wiggle out from underneath Dean. But Dean's weight held him securely in place. Somehow Robin was able to get hold of a medium-sized rock and he launched it viciously at Dean's head. Dean jerked sideways but the rock still managed to graze his temple and he finally decided that he had had enough. He seized Robin by the shirt, yanking his upper-body off the ground as he drew his other arm back, ready to pummel his hapless victim senseless.
But before Dean could mete out the well-deserved punishment, Robin's face turned a ghostly white as he looked at something behind Dean. His entire body began to tremble and he looked more terrified than Dean had ever seen him before.
It was then that Dean heard his brother's horror-stricken voice pierce the night air:
"DEAN! Watch out!"
Dean quickly rolled to the side, hauling Robin off the ground and pulling him on top of him. As his back hit the ground, Dean found himself staring up into the ravenous eyes of a bloodthirsty Aswang. The murderous creature had been reaching out to grab Dean but his sudden change in position happened so fast that the Aswang ended up spearing Robin with its razor-sharp claws instead.
Robin screamed out in pain as the creature tore him from Dean's grasp. Dean momentarily lay on the ground, watching as the Aswang rose into the night sky, preparing to take off with Robin. As it began to depart Dean instinctively jumped up and ran full-force toward the Impala. He dove to the ground and reached underneath the car to retrieve the gun. And as soon as he had it securely in his hand, Dean whirled around, desperately trying to sight the supernatural beast. But the creature's black body was cloaked in the darkness and it was only by honing in on Robin's incessant wails that Dean was able to pinpoint its exact location.
Dean rose to one knee as he took aim at the hysteria that was happening just a few yards away. But he couldn't pull the trigger as he watched the surreal sight. There was a part of him that didn't want to stop the massacre. It wasn't like Robin didn't deserve it. And as Dean struggled with his conscience, time seemed to slow down until it was almost at a standstill. He felt like he was watching a broken movie, each frame separate and disjointed from the previous one.
Dean knew he should shoot. He knew he had to kill the creature.
He just couldn't bring himself to do it. No matter how hard he tried.
And then a new voice came from the darkness behind him.
His father's voice.
He had spoken softly. But firmly. With no hint of annoyance. Or direction.
And Dean recognized the word for what it was.
It was not simply his name.
It was a statement. A request. A warning. A demand. An appeal. An order. An ultimatum. And a plea.
It was all those things rolled into just one word.
And it hit him more powerfully than any lecture he had ever received in his life.
It was enough to jolt him back to reality.
His indecision gone, Dean fired the gun.
The bullet perforated the Aswang's skin causing it to release its captive as it lurched backwards into the night sky. It flailed helplessly in the air. And its thunderous death throes instantly superceded the sobs that were still emanating from Robin's throat. But Robin's nightmare was over. For within seconds the doomed creature exploded, saturating the air around him with pieces of decomposing flesh.
But as soon as he had fired, Dean got to his feet and turned back toward to his car. He avoided looking for his father as he walked the short distance to the Impala, keeping his gaze firmly fixed on the ground in front him.
Dean recognized Robin's voice but he didn't stop or turn around. Dean had no intention of acknowledging him. He had done what he had to do. Whether he wanted to or not. He owed nothing else to Robin Leavey.
But as Dean reached for the door handle, Robin spoke again.
This time Dean did stop. He stood frozen beside the Impala with his hand on the handle. But he didn't turn around. He looked up and saw Sammy emerge from the car and stand beside it. He stared at his brother, wondering what he could be doing.
And then he heard Robin's voice again.
But he didn't respond. It was Sammy who did:
"Just leave him alone, Robin."
Dean lifted the handle and opened the car door, sliding silently into the driver's seat. He put the keys into the ignition and waited while his brother got back into the car.
And as soon as Sam shut the door, Dean threw the Impala into gear and drove off down the street.
Dean awoke the next morning to find his brother rummaging through the dresser drawers
"Wha'cha doing?" he asked sleepily.
"Packin'," replied Sam nonchalantly.
"Dad says we're leaving."
"I dunno. Soon," shrugged Sam.
"Like…Soon, now? Or soon, later?"
"Soon. After you wake up."
"Well, I'm awake now. We leavin' now?"
"I dunno Dean. Dad didn't say."
"What if I just slept all day?"
"I dunno, Dean'" replied Sam angrily. "Dad just said to let you sleep. He told me to help him pack until you woke up."
"Cool," answered Dean as he rolled over onto his stomach and put his pillow over his head. "Wake me up when you're done. And don't forget to pack my stuff that's under the bed."
"Pack your own stuff. You're awake now."
"Yeah, but Dad doesn't know that. So you'll just have to pack it for me. Besides I don't feel like packin'."
"So you think I should just do it for you?"
"That's what little brothers are for, Sammy."
Just then John walked into the room. He looked at Sam and asked crossly, "Did you wake him up?"
"No sir. He woke up on his own."
"Don't believe him, Dad. He woke me up so he wouldn't have to pack my things."
"I did not!"
"Yeah, ya did," persisted Dean playfully
"No I didn't!"
"Sure ya did. I was sound asleep when you came in here and started making enough noise to wake the dead."
"Like hell I did!" replied Sam in annoyance.
"Stop it. Both of you," ordered John tersely before he looked at Dean, "Get up. We're leaving as soon as you're ready." Then he turned to Sam, "Gather the rest of your brother's things while he gets dressed. I wanna be outta here in thirty minutes." Then he picked up his suitcase and headed out the door.
Dean got up from the bed and stripped the t-shirt off his body as he grinned at Sam. He threw the shirt at Sam as he headed toward the bathroom. "Pack that too. And don't forget the stuff under the bed."
"Jerk," muttered Sam, "And I don't see why you can't pack your own stuff."
"'Cause Dad told you to do it," responded Dean as he shut the bathroom door behind him.
By the time Dean emerged from the bathroom, the motel room as empty. Neither his father nor his brother were inside. Dean took a quick look around just to make sure that Sam hadn't missed anything before he joined his father and brother outside where he found them sitting on the chairs that were right outside the room.
"You did that on purpose," snapped Sam as soon as he saw his brother.
"Did what on purpose?" queried Dean.
"Stayed in the bathroom until all your stuff was packed."
"Oh Sammy, you're imagining things. I wouldn't do that to you."
John stood up, once again interrupting the ongoing squabble between his sons. "Alright you two. That's enough. We're leaving." He walked over to his truck, before he turned to face the boys. "Sammy, I think you should come with me. Dean'll follow us in his car."
"But Dad, can't I go with Dean? Please?" pleaded Sam.
John sighed, "You can't even get along with him for two minutes. But you still wanna go with him? It's a long drive you know."
"It's okay, Dad," interrupted Dean. "I'll look after him. Make sure he behaves himself."
John glanced between his two sons. Sometimes they were next to impossible to figure out.
"Well, don't kill each other," he ordered as he got into the truck and backed out of the parking lot.
Dean grinned at his brother as he opened the driver's door of the car. "Get in, Kiddo. Before he changes his mind."
Sam smiled back at his brother and jumped into the passenger side of the car while Dean slid into the driver's seat. They followed their father out of the parking lot and onto the main road.
As they drove out of town, Dean glanced over at Sam and noticed that his cast had been broken again.
"When'd that happen?" he asked as he tilted his head toward Sam's wrist.
"This?" queried Sam as he lifted his arm up to inspect the broken cast. "I guess it broke when I hit Rennick with it last night. I don't really know."
Dean furrowed his brow. "We stoppin' to get you a new one?" he asked his voice full of concern.
"Later," answered Sam with a shrug. "Dad says he just wants to get outta town first."
"You sure you're gonna be okay until then?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
"Because that's the second time you've broken your cast in as many days. Can't be good for your wrist."
"Dad says we'll stop in another town and get a new one put on there."
"Yeah? Well, he better stop. 'Cause if he doesn't, I'm just gonna stop on my own. Before the end of the day. No way I'm letting you walk around without a proper cast on that thing."
Sam looked at his brother and shook his head. Then he turned and looked back out the front window. He scrunched down in the seat in an attempt to get comfortable. He closed his eyes and thought about what a pain in the ass his brother could be. He was always telling him what to do. Always hanging around and making sure nothing happened to him. Always getting into trouble with Dad if he didn't like how Dad treated him. Always acting like his guardian angel. But, for being such a pain in the ass, Sam realized something.
It really wasn't that bad knowing Dean was always there watching out for him.
John looked in the rear-view mirror at his sons driving in the car behind him. They were talking about something. And it seemed to be something pretty serious. Based on their expressions anyway. He marveled at how they could be fighting like cats and dogs one minute and then begging to be allowed to drive half way across the country together the next. They really were impossible to figure out. But for all the squabbles they got into and all the hassles they caused him, John was certain about one thing.
He knew that as long as they were together, he really didn't have to worry about his boys. That, not matter what, they would always be there to look after each other. Dean would always be there to protect Sammy. And Sammy was just as equally devoted to his big brother.
Dean glanced over at his brother sleeping in the seat beside him. He looked at the shattered cast before his eyes wandered to the sling that was once again supporting Sam's injured shoulder. His gaze fell to his brother's face and he scrutinized all the bruises and cuts that had resulted from the various fights and altercations Sam had been involved in during the last few days. Finally he honed in on the bruises that still covered Sammy's neck. The ones he was directly responsible for.
Dean winced. Sammy had been through a lot. And the majority of it had been his fault. Sammy had been hurt because he'd been an idiot. And as the twinges of sympathy washed through him, Dean thought about one thing.
He was never going to go out with another guy's girlfriend again.
It just wasn't worth it.
Not if it was going to lead to Sammy getting hurt.
It wouldn't be worth it…
She was really cute.