A/N: So…here's my first Supernatural fanfic! It's an AU-ish thing in which there's no contract on Dean's soul; and as far as Sam goes, I'm not sure if I'm going to do anything with his visions or not. It'll have lycanthropic, gory goodness (henceforth, the rating will probably go up). The werewolves aren't like they were in Heart; in my own terms, I'm striving to make them more "bad-ass". Not that it's really that important, but these 'WWW' represent a change in location/lapse in time/possible change in POV; while these 'SSS' represent a change in POV in the same location.
I'll admit that I, myself am partial to Dean but I promise I'll give equal time to Sammy! I love using descriptive details and developing characters; I hope I come up with some along the way that you'll find interesting. (Just be warned, not all of my characters will make it out alive!) On that note, I suppose I should mention that I don't own Dean or Sam (Hey, I can dream.) and am not making any money off of this; that should be about it. Enjoy!
Town of Van Auledge, 1884…
Bethany slipped into her children's room and extinguished the kerosene lantern.
"Mommy, nooo," her youngest daughter, Sarah pleaded as she shifted on the bed she shared with her sister, Allison.
Bethany's eyes smiled in the darkness as she turned to her golden-haired five-year old who cringed as a November wind whistled outside.
"Shh…I'm here and Daddy's in the other room" Bethany said with maternal smoothness.
"But Mommy, that wolf's outside again."
Bethany and her husband, Paul had never encouraged Sarah in her fantasies about the wolf that she said was also a man, but yet the imaginary thing continued to haunt the child. Bethany had blamed Paul for telling Sarah horror stories about strange beasts, but he swore he'd done no such thing.
She took her daughter in her arms and gave each of the fingers on Sarah's right hand a quick kiss as the wind continued to wine outside. She could barely see her child's face in the dark but could feel her tiny body relax ever so slightly. Sarah wrapped her arms around Bethany's neck and rested her head against her mother's.
"He says you're very beautiful, Mommy."
"Who does?" Bethany asked, inadvertently allowing worry to tinge her words.
"Sarah, you know there's no…"
Bethany's words were cut short as a wolf's voice entwined itself with the wind.
Town of Van Auledge, Present…
Anyone who saw her would convince themselves, for sanity's sake, that what they'd seen was a wolf, plain and simple. The truth was, real wolves hadn't congregated anywhere near the town of Van Auledge in decades and she was much larger and far more powerful than a wolf and probably any other forest creature for that matter.
The thick brush made it fairly easy for the white wolf to observe the town, the outskirts anyway, without attracting attention. She was unable to catch the fresh scents of others of her kind. Everything was quiet…for now.
The parking lot of the Adelson's Hotel was devoid of movement until a sleek, black vehicle pulled in. The white wolf's ears perked and her attention was focused solely on the figures that emerged: two strangers.
They were young. The one that stepped out of the driver's side door had harsher features than the other; but both carried himself in a manner that bespoke experience with peril. She could smell gun oil; but she doubted that their quarry was something as mundane as deer.
They were conversing about something when the taller, darker haired of the two shoved the other's shoulder. It wasn't an aggressive move; it was more playful. Siblings, she guessed.
Even after the two unfamiliar men disappeared into the hotel, she watched and waited.
"Why did you pick this place, Sam?" Dean asked as he tilted his chair backward and propped his feet on the hotel room desk.
"Because something evil's killing people."
"No, I mean this hotel." Dean gestured at the lavender wall paper, making his discontent known.
"It just doesn't fit," Sam said, hitting several keys on his laptop.
"You're tellin' me. Who picked the wallpaper? Elton John?"
"The lunar cycle, Dean; these killings don't fit it."
Dean sighed, dragging his mind back to the task at hand. The wooden chair beneath him creaked as he leaned further back, now balancing on two of the legs.
"Well, if it's not werewolves, what is it? I mean, what else slashes people up and chows down on their hearts?"
"Maybe…" Sam's voice trailed off, unable to think of anything.
Dean massaged his temples. "Maybe you're a crack-whore."
Sam powered down his computer, then stood up and began to cross the room to the water cooler. Kicking the legs of Dean's chair out from beneath him was almost too tempting.
"Don't even think about it." Dean said, as though he'd read his mind.
Sam drank his water and sat on a bed; Dean tapped the silver ring on his right hand against the chair; each wracked his brain for answers that were not exactly forthcoming.
"I don't know what it is." Sam said, finally.
Dean stood and put his pearl-handled Colt 1911 in his waistband.
"Alright, Agent Hammet," he said. "Let's interview the locals."
Sam looked at his older brother and wondered if Dean realized how much, even with so few words, he reminded him of their father.
"Dean," Sam said as Dean threw his leather jacket on.
"Hey," Dean said in a dead-serious tone. "It's Agent Hetfield of Animal Control." Dean gave a fleeting grin and waited for Sam to get his chromed Beretta 92FS and follow.
Outside, Sam walked around the front of the Impala and slowed his pace as he gained the distinct feeling that he was being observed by something. His eyes darted to the woods that, even in the afternoon light, seemed capable of hiding the worst evils. Dean pulled the driver's side door open but paused before getting in. He looked across the Impala's roof at Sam, who was staring at the woods.
"Hey, Dee Wallace, what are you looking at?"
Sam turned and looked at Dean with a wrinkled brow.
"As cliché as this may sound, I just got the feeling something's watching us."
Dean knew better than to shrug off Sammy's feelings. He too scanned the tree line and as he did so, was unaware that his right hand had begun to wander toward the gun in his waistband. He felt it too but when not so much as a chipmunk made an appearance, Dean decided it was time to go.
"C'mon," he said, tapping the car roof slightly.
"Are we going to check out the Coroner?"
"If the Coroner's a she and is hot, then yeah."
The Coroner's office was a small, brick building situated next to Trafford's Funeral Home. Dr. Grace Trafford, Coroner; had married Ray Trafford, Van Auledge's primary undertaker. They were the butt of many morbid jokes around town, but loved each other and the community no less.
Grace sighed as she shut the drawer containing what remained of Jeff Saunders' body. He was the fourth person in the past two months to have been mutilated in such a manner and there was also a cattle mauling; she knew of other, similar killings that had taken place before she was elected Coroner. Of course there were whispers around town; suggestions of what could have done it; both police and animal control stated that it was a large, predatory animal. She had been weaned on the town's old stories about strange howling and huge wolves that weren't really wolves; she knew all too well the vein that these maulings struck within the citizens of Van Auledge.
She sat in her leather, swivel chair at her desk, ran a hand through her graying brown hair and eyed her untouched salad. Eating lunch even after examining (or re-examining, as the case was) a body was rarely a problem; but the situation drove her appetite away. It seemed to her that the town she was raised in was collapsing into some Lovecraftian universe. Animals that may as well have been phantoms were killing people; and then there was that missing baby…
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the metal doors at the end of the hallway groan open. Grace stood and walked outside her office. A petite red headed woman was walking in her direction, obviously resolute; she was tailed closely by two young men who seemed every bit as determined to complete whatever task they had in mind.
"Hi; are you Dr. Trafford?" the too-happy-for-a-morgue young woman asked in a southern drawl as she extended a hand. In the back of Grace's mind, she wondered where the girl was from as she could not place her accent.
"Yes," Grace answered, accepting the offered hand and looking at the young woman with arched eyebrows. "How can I help you?"
"My name's Toni Kiedis, I'm with the Bradford Standard. I was wonderin' if I could have a minute of yer time."
The red-head smiled ingratiatingly; really it aggravated Grace and the fact that she was a reporter didn't help her case. Not to be outdone, one of the men stepped in front of Toni, only giving the southerner the slightest glare from the corner of his eye.
"Hi, ma'am, I'm Agent Hetfield with Animal Control and I…"
"One at a time. Please." Grace said, holding up her index finger. Her words came out more harshly than she had intended, but it produced the effect she desired.
Toni and Hetfield looked at her as though they were children who'd just been reprimanded; the third was regarding the reporter with what Grace thought looked like awkward amusement.
"Ms. Kiedis," Grace said in a measured voice, "if you step into my office, I'll answer whatever questions I can."
Toni didn't have to be told twice she slipped into the Coroners office with a sly backward glance but Grace didn't take notice.
"Agent Hetfield, I'll be with you just as soon as I'm done with Ms. Kiedis, and…" she looked at the other man as she pushed her wire-rimmed glasses up farther on the bridge of her nose.
"Oh, uh…Agent Hammet, Animal Control, ma'am." The taller one stuttered as he straightened his posture.
Grace nodded and disappeared inside her office.
"Did you see the way she hurried her skinny little ass in here from the parking lot just to beat us?" Dean grumbled as he sat on a wooden bench outside the office with his elbows resting on his knees. "Damn rubberneck," he muttered.
"I don't think she's a reporter, Dean." Sam said with a slight smile on his lips.
"Anthony Kiedis is the lead singer of The Red Hot Chili Peppers."
"So what; you think that little ray of sunshine hunts?" Dean asked, obviously hoping the answer was in the negative.
Sam shrugged with his eyebrows.
"I think she's up to something. I guess Toni Kiedis isn't as subtle as the lead singer and guitarist of Metallica." Despite all of his best efforts to ignore Dean's lectures about the glories of classic rock, Sam had still absorbed information he didn't necessarily care to be knowledgeable about.
Dean grinned, obviously pleased, and perhaps even proud, that Sam had remembered.
Sam just rolled his eyes and shook his head. His thoughts returned to the faux reporter, wondering what route to take with her. He hoped that she really was a reporter and that her name was just an odd coincidence, but something in the glances (or more accurately: glares) she had exchanged with he and Dean told him that cooperation was not a part of her vocabulary. Besides, he'd learned long ago not to put much stock in 'coincidences'.
"You think we should ask her to leave?" Dean asked.
Sam shrugged. Hunters always seemed to be territorial…about everything really. Sam suspected that it was a mask to disguise the fact that they didn't want to be close to any more people than they had to be. After all, a hunter's career was usually spawned from bereavement.
Then again, there were those psychotic hunters who gave Sam and Dean every reason not to trust others. Sam really doubted that the red-head with the fake name and almost-as-fake southern accent would amount to as much trouble as Gordon Walker, though.
"I don't know, Dean," Sam said. "Bertrand Russell said 'The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation'."
"Never mind, I'm just saying that we don't know for sure what we're getting into and having someone else around might not be such a bad thing."
"Yeah, maybe you two could do each other's nails."
Dean was obviously not an exception to Sam's territorial-hunter theory.
Sam left the issue go and sat down on the bench too. Dean stood up and leaned against the opposite wall. No offense was meant by it, Sam knew.
After walking the length of the hall several times, Dean found himself looking at a bulletin board. There was a flier for Trafford's Funeral Home among other things. Wow, Dean thought, she must have the monopoly on Death around here. His attention was drawn to a small, white slip of paper. In an elegant font was:
A man does not die of Love or his liver or even of old age; he dies of being a man.
-Percival Arland Ussher
Dean snorted at this and crossed his arms over his chest. You don't know the half of it, Percy, he thought.
"What do you think?"
Dean wanted her gone, but he would have been just as happy to leave 'Toni' do as she damn well pleased (from what he could tell, she probably would anyway) if it meant getting the job done faster.
"Let's just talk to the Coroner."
"Not check her out?"
Dean chuckled at this. "Whatever, dude; you're the cougar-hound."
"No, I meant 'Toni'," Sam said, not appreciating Dean's allusion to Mrs. or, Ms. Case in the least.
The door opened and Toni emerged with her mouth set into a dissatisfied frown. She turned and handed a slip of paper to the Coroner.
"I'll be in touch," she said.
What a drama queen, Dean thought; then, she and Sam would get along perfectly.
Before marching down the hall and out the door, she tossed her head and let her emerald gaze shift from one brother to the other. Dean wondered if she knew they were hunting.
Dr. Trafford stepped out of her office with crossed arms and watched Toni go before addressing Dean and Sam. "How can I help you gentlemen?"
Dean could tell that she was really trying to remain patient. Van Auledge was a small town, so Dean didn't doubt that seeing her fellow townspeople dispatched in such a brutal way was taxing on the Coroner's nerves.
"We appreciate you seeing us at such short notice, ma'am," Sam began. "We were sent here to investigate the similarities between these killings and several cattle maulings in Brighton County."
That sounds about right, Dean thought.
"I suppose you'll need to see the body, then?" She asked.
"If that's possible," Sam replied in his most polite tone.
"Yeah," she said, "follow me."
The morgue was kept considerably cooler than the rest of the building. They followed the older woman, steeling themselves for whatever atrocity they would see. The compartment holding Jeff Saunders or what was left of him anyway was rolled open, revealing something that made Dean's stomach clinch, banishing his enthusiasm for a late lunch.
At first, Dean was unsure if what he was looking at what used to be a human. Muscle had been chewed from limbs, exposing the bone in some places; a hand was missing and the opposite arm was chewed almost the entire way through, and the throat was in a similar condition. Only about half of the flesh on his face –nose not included –remained. That the chest cavity had been ravaged was not surprising but the way in which the ribs seemed to protrude was grotesque. Perhaps what was most disarming was the leg…or lack there of.
From beyond the masticated muscle, bone protruded. It looked as though it had been splintered and gnawed. It was not the work of any man-made mechanism, but of the jaws of a predator.
"He was hunting when he was attacked; he didn't even get a shot off with his rifle." Dr. Grace Trafford did not strike Dean as a particularly breakable woman, but her voice was quiet, and far tenderer than it had been earlier. "He was found two days ago in the afternoon by several other hunters; he would have been killed sometime in the small hours of the morning.
"He's the fourth one to have been killed like this in the past two months, and the second hunter; the other hunter, Ralph Norris, was found two weeks ago under similar circumstances. The second killing occurred five days before that; he was a homeless man and was found along the road. The first one was killed a month ago. Harry Clemet was a drunk, he stumbled out of the bar and his body was found about a mile away the next morning."
Dr. Trafford produced three pairs of Latex gloves, handed two each to Sam and Dean, then pulled on a pair herself, though she didn't seem to take notice when neither brother made a move to touch the body; they could only manage to put on the gloves and watch as she prodded the ruined body.
"These things have got to be extremely powerful," she said with both restrained fear and a tinge of awe in her voice.
"I'm sorry…thingssss." Dean said with special emphasis on the plurality of the word.
"Yes," she said as she ushered him over; she was gaining back the professionalism in her voice. "The bite wounds that I was able to measure have variables; there are several different sizes. One measure about five inches across, another measure four and another measures three. Do you think bears could have done this?"
"No," Sam said without missing a beat, "They'd be hibernating."
Dean was impressed; he would have frozen because his knowledge of bears did not extend very far beyond Yogi Bear being chased by Ranger Smith for stealing pic-a-nic baskets.
"I knew that," she said as she smiled and laughed –albeit without humor -obviously embarrassed to have even said that. "It's just that no one seems to know what is going on and people are getting scared."
Dean and Sam both nodded sympathetically and when they didn't say anything, she continued.
"I feel I should tell you that there's a lot of lore in this town…"
"What lore?" Dean interrupted, letting a little more enthusiasm enter his voice than he perhaps should have.
Dr. Trafford glanced at him awkwardly and he shifted his glance away. Smooth move, Winchester, real smooth; he thought.
"Well," she said, as though she were unsure how to begin, "Even before these killings, there were others like them. Inevitably, they spawned stories about monsters. I don't know how much help it would be, but our library has some really great old books about it, assuming they're still around."
Sam and Dean glanced at each other.
"It couldn't hurt to check," Sam said with a small shrug.
"It's on Main Street; between the bank and post office; it's pretty hard to miss."
"Oh," she said as though she'd forgotten something she shouldn't have, "have you been to the Bradley's farm yet? They had one of their bulls mauled two nights ago; you might want to talk to them."
"No, we haven't," Dean said. "Could you tell us where it is?"
"If you turn left off of Main Street once you've passed the gas station…" she paused. "Aw, screw it; I'll just write it down for you because I know what a pain in the ass small-town directions can be to remember." She slid the cadaver's drawer shut; Dean would not have admitted to it, but he was relieved.
Back in her office, she wrote the directions to the Bradley's farm down in her precise handwriting, she began to hand it to Sam, but Dean snatched it away before he could get it. Dr. Trafford offered a wan smile at the "Agent's" rather immature gesture.
"Thank you for your time," Dean said, truly appreciative of the information.
"I only wish I could tell you more."
Despite the chill in the air, it was a beautiful day in mid-November and the sun glinted off of the Impala's clean, black roof. It did Dean's heart good to see it.
"Did you hear what she said about wolves, Dean?"
"I was standing right there."
"What now?" Sam asked as he took he stood by the passenger-side door, waiting to be let in.
Dean rested his elbows on he roof and looked over at Sam.
"You go to the library and do the dweeb thing and I'll go to the Bradley's farm," he held up the piece of paper with directions on it, "and look for…stuff."
Sam nodded, clearly having anticipated his response.
Dean then concentrated on the figure leaning against the railing outside the Coroner's office, wondering how he missed her in the first place. Her hair was the palest blonde he'd ever seen; she was beautifully proportioned and…she was looking at them.
Wow, was the only thing he could think before his charm took him over.
He smiled at her, a gesture that always evoked a reaction from women. A few –the uptight ones –would roll their eyes and walk away with their noses in the air but most would smile back or twirl her hair around her finger or jut her hip out alluringly; or any combination of movements that said: Where's the nearest empty room?
Not this one, though. She tilted her head ever so slightly to the side as though wondering what the smile meant, turned and walked around the corner and out of sight. Dean had an almost over-powering urge to follow her.
Apparently, Sam had taken notice of her too. After a moment the two looked at each other. Sam's eyebrows were bunched.
"Did you get a funny feeling about her?" he asked.
Dean looked downward slightly and then grinned smarmily.
"Yeah," he said. "I did."
Dean pulled down the long driveway to the Bradley's farm. On his right was a chestnut mare that seemed to regard the Impala curiously, as if she knew it was different, while the cows in the pasture on his left chewed their cud with bovine indifference. The gravel crunched under the car as it moved slowly toward the main house.
He knocked on the front door and while he waited he looked around at the farm. Black fences separated the wide estate into paddocks and several white and black barns stood a slight distance away from the house; a handsome place to live.
The door swung open and a broad old man opened the door.
"Yes?" he said, looking Dean up and down as though deciding whether or not he was a threat.
"Hello, sir," Dean started." I'm Agent Hetfield of Animal Control. I was told that one of your bulls was mauled several days ago and I was wondering if I could have a look around and perhaps have you answer a few questions."
"Thought Animal control was already hear," Bradley said, raising his brushy, white eyebrows.
"Yes," Dean said, fully expecting that. "There have been several similar killings from Brighton County and I've been sent here to investigate."
Bradley nodded and stepped out, leaving the oak door open.
"Two nights ago," he began, "Musta been about nine o'clock, our dogs were out in their kennels goin' crazy and…"
"Charles Bradley, you shut that front door right now!" came a woman's voice from somewhere inside the house.
An expression that was equal parts aggravation and adoration crossed Bradley's face. His barrel chest expanded with a sigh. "That would be the missus," he said.
Before Bradley could move to shut the door, an elegant woman in her sixties bustled to the door and then stopped and joined them on the porch after shutting the door. She gave Dean much the same once-over as her husband did. "Who's this, Charlie?"
"Oh," Dean said, as he extended a hand; he knew who was running the show here. "I'm Agent Hetfield of Animal Control and…"
"My name's Joanne, I can show you where it happened; but the body was already destroyed."
"That's alright, ma'am," he said, liking the fact that she got right to the point. "If you could just tell me what you remember and show me where it happened, I can be out of your hair."
Joanne stepped off the porch and Dean and Charlie followed.
"Two nights ago, the dogs were going out of their minds, so…"
"I ran out of the house with a shotgun when I heard the ruckus," Charlie added. He reminded Dean of Bobby.
"Charlie, you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with that rifle…"
Charlie smiled sheepishly. "Never have been much good with a gun," he confessed.
Listening to the couple banter was both great and terrible at the same time. Dean knew that he had long since foregone any hope of having a family life like that (not that he was sure if he wanted one in the first place) but knowing that what he and Sam did allowed people to live happy, blissfully ignorant lives helped; most of the time. And when it didn't; well, they had each other and he would never let anybody change that.
By the time they were finished summing up the story, Dean had learned that the bull –George was its name –they allowed to have free range of a stall and pasture was killed by something or somethings they didn't get a look at and because of the struggle the bull put up, it was difficult to make out any track marks.
Dean surveyed the damage done to the iron pen the bull had been kept in. The tracks left by the vehicles that had been used to take the animal's body away made it impossible for him to distinguish any track other tracks. In several places, the bars on the pen were bent where George had slammed into them. Dean tried to imagine the fear the animal must have felt before the end.
He joined the couple outside the pen and for a few minutes, all three stared off into the distance.
"It's a terrible thing," Joanne finally spoke up as she ran a hand through her bobbed, white hair. "We've had these killings and no one knows what's going on."
Believe me, Lady, Dean thought, you don't wanna know.
"Our grand daughter's half afraid to come over and go horseback riding." Charlie added dismally.
"I know our town has its stories, but those old yarns are becoming a little too real," Joanne continued. "In the past two months we've had four people killed and a baby went missing."
"A baby went missing?" Dean asked; his curiosity very much peaking.
"Yeah," Joanne said as though she could barely believe it herself. "Five days ago; little Abigail Ray. Her parents were killed in a car accident and then the next night, she was stolen out of her foster parents' home. No one saw a thing."
The smell of dust and paper greeted Sam as he stepped into The Van Auledge Free Library; it was dimly lit and he found himself feeling oddly at home. A short, plump woman sat behind a broad desk reading a book. The name plate on the front of her desk read: NORMA.
Norma looked up and smiled at him as she set her book down.
"Hello, honey, how can I help you?" This woman had to be someone's grandma; Sam would not have been shocked to learn that she regularly baked apple pies for church bake-sales.
"Hi," he said. He smiled pleasantly and then made his voice take on a more grave tone. "I'm in town investigating the animal killings and I was told that the library might have some books –old books –that might help"
Norma's face took on a saddened, more somber expression. "You're the second one today come in here askin' for those books, but I'm sure you can get a look too," she said.
"Huh," he said, pretending to be surprised. He had a pretty good idea who the other person was. Great, he thought.
"We'll have to go to the basement; you'll be able to read newspaper reports down there too." Norma said as they began walking.
"Thank you so much," he said.
As they walked, Sam observed his surroundings. If he were there under different circumstances, he would have liked to spend more time there. For such a small town, the library was quite expansive. The beige walls were adorned with prints; most depicting woodland scenes but one in particular caught his eye. The print was predominantly white. There was snow on the ground and birch trees in the background. In the foreground was a white wolf; it seemed as though its silver eyes were staring straight into his.
"Do you like that one?" Norma asked, joining Sam at his side. "It was done by a local artist; he's also a doctor at the local hospital."
"Yeah," Sam said, having difficulty pealing his own eyes from the wolf's. "It's beautiful." That was the truth; it was beautiful but the knowledge that the wolf's eyes seemed to possess was almost unnerving. Okay, Sam get a grip; it's a painting, he mentally scolded himself.
"Doctor Bishop is very talented; maybe you'll get to meet him."
Sam smiled, nodded and followed Norma down several flights of stairs. The building was undoubtedly old and Sam wondered if any spirits resided there. He was tempted to ask Norma's opinion, but refrained from doing so. That would probably be right up there with 'Oh, and by the way, do you have a pack of werewolves running amok through your town?'
"Well," Norma said, "I'd better get back upstairs, good luck finding information."
The research room had five desks; on top of each was a computer. One was on. The girl who called herself Toni Kiedis sat in front of the computer with books stacked on either side of her. Everything was silent except for the tapping of her fingers on the keyboard. Sam suspected he was being ignored.
He cleared his throat and only then did she turn around.
"Wonders never cease," she said, letting out a breath that was clearly intended to be unwelcoming. "I was wondering when you'd show up."
Sam decided to try to play nice; in the back of his mind he was glad that he and not Dean was the one to meet her. Now, as she looked at him, Sam could see that she was barely more than a girl; he would have been surprised if she was more than twenty years old. Her green eyes regarded him coolly.
"You're not a reporter are you?"
"Yeah, I'm a reporter," she said; "as much as you are an Animal Control officer." Any trace of her Southern 'accent' was gone.
"Fair enough," he said, attempting to smile. "I'm Sam, by the way."
"Hi," she said, looking beyond Sam and not responding with her own name. "Where's the other guy?"
"Dean, my brother. He's doing some digging elsewhere; a bull was mauled on a farm and he went to go talk to the owners."
She nodded and turned back to her research. He approached her desk and casually picked up a book and began to flip through it, not necessarily looking for information, but trying to get a feel for the other hunter. He wondered what tragedy drove her on her mission.
When he wasn't acknowledged, he spoke up. "We can help each other, you know. It'll be safer that way and…"
"Look," she said as she brushed her red hair from her neck and pulling her blue tee shirt away exposing her collar bone, "The last time I teamed up with anyone to hunt werewolves, it didn't turn out so well for me, alright?"
Sam could see the beginnings of four scars that undoubtedly ran far below her shirt. He was sorry to see that.
"I'm…" Sam began.
"Don't be sorry." She growled.
"I was going to say 'here if you need help'." He said, allowing a little more aggravation to creep into his voice than he wanted. He was sorry for her, he couldn't help that, but he also knew that bemoaning the life of a hunter –especially when it was the life that you've chosen –would not help anyone. After all, he and Dean had been hunting since childhood. "We don't even know if they're werewolves or not; the killings don't fit the lunar cycle."
The observation was rewarded with silence.
As he decided to scan the town's newspaper archives, his cell phone began to vibrate in his pocket. He flipped it open.
"Sam," Dean's voice came over the line, "I was just talking to the Bradley's and you might want to look for reports with missing babies. Five days ago, I guess a kid got snatched out of its crib."
"Alright; anything else?" Sam said, forgetting to tell Dean that he had a study 'buddy'.
"Yeah," Dean said, "Don't be a bitch."
The line was disconnected and Sam rolled his eyes as he stuffed his phone back into his pocket. Missing babies?
Dean flipped his phone shut with a grin and walked back over to Joanne and Charlie. They were, by that point in time arguing about something else.
"Thank you for your time," he said, rejoining them by the pen.
"Not a problem," Joanne said, crossing her arms over her chest against the growing chill in the air.
"Well, I'd better get going," Dean said.
He started walking toward the car, but stopped when he heard both Joanne and Charlie gasp. He looked in the same direction they were and saw a flash of white move in the woods. Without a second's hesitation, he drew his Colt 1911 and trained it on the tree line.
"What is that?!" Joanne and Charlie both shouted as they looked from the gun to the woods and back to the gun again. Dean would have found it comical if he'd been watching.
"Uh…tranquilizer gun," Dean said and charged toward the woods, not really worrying about whether or not they bought it.
He failed to mention the fact that a well-placed shot would tranquilize the beast on a permanent basis.
A/N: Well, I hope you enjoyed it! I'm currently working on the second chapter, so let me know what you think; reviews are appreciated very muchly and are treated with love. In each chapter I'm going to try to incorporate tidbits of werewolves in pop-culture and werewolf lore into my story. When Dean called Sam "Dee Wallace" it was a reference to The Howling, a classic werewolf movie (and if you haven't seen it yet, you should!!!).
The name of the town, Van Auledge is an anagram I came up with for Le Gevaudan. It was a French city in which many people were killed by an as-of-yet unidentified predatory animal. It's a very fascinating story closely related to werewolves; a good site to look at if you're interested is: http://labete. happy hunting, everybody and have a very Merry Christmas! (And, in the event that I don't post before then, a Happy New Year!)