A/N: Here's one partially for Sammygirl1963 who wanted another healing/relaxation fic after I put the guys through hell with the Fury; then through the angst of Aftermath. I added the twist of making this one their first hunt after the long road back to normal, because I needed some action. Hope everyone enjoys and please review!
A/N 2: Wanted to put this here as a warning. There is slight racism and animal cruelty in this fic. Nothing is graphic. Please read, but bear in mind that flames aren't appreciated. I had to make Naira's death a noble one, saving her mistress. It has a happy ending, I promise! Also the ritual of giving the amulet back to the warrior is made up and wordless because I had no idea how to make something work that there is absolutely no lore for!
Have to thank Muffy Morrigan for her input on what little lore I could actually find. She is a wealth of knowledge (our very own encyclopedia of weird) and a phenomenal writer. If you haven't already looked her up check out her stuff. You're great girl!! Thanks Muffy(sorry if anything is still wrong with the ritual)
Sam had recovered nicely in the months following the attack by the Fury. His stitches had long since been removed and scars and nightmares had faded with time. Two weeks after the attack Dean had started helping Sam regain his strength through physical therapy and strength training, starting with short runs around the perimeter of Bobby's scrap yard, where they had been staying. As Sam got stronger the runs had increased in length and speed and Sam had begun to keep up and out pace Dean. Now they were running the six miles to the abandoned local park daily, leaving Bobby's early in the morning. Once they got to the park they broke out the basketball Dean had bought and played one-on-one. Sam had steadily begun to enjoy the game again that they hadn't played in years and Dean had gradually begun to get over everything that had happened after Sam had been touched by the Fury. This morning as Dean awoke was no different. He was looking forward to the time spent with Sam.
He looked at his still sleeping brother on the other bed in the room they shared at Bobby's. Sam looked strong now, his body back in shape after nearly having his throat ripped out. He was sleeping peacefully now that the nightmares had gone. Dean smiled and pulled his pillow out from under his head, whipping it at Sam. It caught his sleeping brother across the side of the head.
"What the … Dean, you jerk!" Sam said as he was startled awake by the fluffy projectile.
Dean laughed. "What's a matter, Samantha, not get enough beauty sleep?"
Sam growled playfully and whipped the pillow back at Dean. It landed on his face and he pulled it away, rubbing his abused nose. "I don't need to have my head knocked off to wake up in the morning, unlike some people. Are we running today?"
"No. Looks like rain. Thought we'd take the car to the park and play b-ball till the storm hits. Haul your ass up and get moving, slowpoke."
"I'm not the only one still on my ass, Dean." Sam teased good-naturedly. Sam was on his feet and reaching for the jeans he wore yesterday after coming back from their run. Dean was soon dressed in the same jeans and t-shirt he'd worn yesterday. Nike's, which he only wore until they returned to Bobby's, soon graced his feet. They set off fifteen minutes later for the park after letting Bobby know they were going to play ball but taking the car.
No way I'm gonna tell Sammy, but I've begun to enjoy this. Dean mused to himself as he enjoyed being beside his little brother again. Dean was in good physical shape before but now he found himself feeling better than he had in a while, enjoying the early spring sun rise as looked forward to the game with Sam, and gaining a new view on the world after nearly losing everything. It just feels good. Dean smiled and Sam chose that moment to look at him.
"What's up, Dean?"
"Nothin'" Dean replied, not losing the smile.
"Wanna hit the gas some?" Sam asked as he breathed easily.
"Nah. We'll get there soon enough, grab the ball where we stashed it and I'll kick your ass as usual."
"Right." Sam snarked, laughing. "Because you've beat me so many times already, victory just falls in your lap." Sam took a sip from the water bottle he had in his hand. "I'd like to see you beat me, Oh He Who is too Short to Dunk."
"Hey." Dean said. "I remember when there was a certain chubby fourteen year old who was too short to dunk. Then you hit sixteen and I swore you were related to the giraffes Pastor Jim took us to see at the zoo that time, remember?"
"Funny." Sam said, laughing again. He sobered, "I miss Jim. He was a good man."
"Yeah. I do, too. He taught us a lot." Dean and Sam finished the drive to the park in silence, both just enjoying the rising sun and time together. Dean and Sam both took sips from their water bottles before Sam went to where they had the basketball stashed. He chucked it at Dean's head. Dean caught the ball and turned, shooting it at the chain link net. "Twenty one?"
Dean began the game, scoring nine points before Sam got the ball from him on a bad rebound. Sam shot past Dean, going for a lay up and scoring. He rebounded and headed out for a three pointer; Dean hot on his heals trying to block. Sam's height worked to his advantage and he scored a three point shot. Sam kept is hold on the ball and wound up with fifteen points before Dean got it back. Dean continued to get past Sam for two shots before the ball went out of bounds. Sam recouped to win the game again. He put the ball on the court and reached for his water bottle. Dean joined him.
"You think it's about time to…" Sam's face contorted and his head whipped to the side. He grunted in pain, unable to finish his question. Dean immediately grew concerned.
Sam's eyes closed tightly and his hands shot to his head. "Guuhh… D-dean… my h-head…" He groaned and began to slide to the asphalt court. Dean stepped forward and helped ease him down, following him to his own knees.
"What is it? Sam, talk to me?" Dean watched as Sam's eyes took on that much hated, all too familiar stare. Sam was having a vision. Dean heard Sam's breathe catch and he knew his brother was lost to its power.
A teenage boy, a Native American, was walking in a forest. He usually wasn't afraid of the forest at night. But tonight was different. The forest was silent and the moon, although full was hidden behind clouds. Fog snaked through the forest, wispy tendrils curling around the boy's ankles. He gasped as he actually felt the fog tighten about his jean clad ankles and he pulled free, the air seeming to moan around him amidst the trees. The boy watched the fog he'd pulled away from move towards him, advancing on him like a predator towards prey. He turned and began walking quickly back the way he'd come, trying to make it out of the forest. A tall shadow crossed his path, flickering in the dappled moonlight. The boy stopped short, sliding to his butt in the damp leaf litter on the forest floor. He stood, laughing nervously.
"Jimmy, you scared me." The boy said, thinking the silent shadow was that of his friend. "Let's go back to camp. I shouldn't have let those jerks get to me." The shadow remained silent, unmoving in the weak light as the moon was lost behind the clouds again. "I shouldn't have let them rile me. It's not the warrior's way to get upset. I'm the one trying to live by the old ways; trying to bring the warrior's way of life back for our tribe." The boy looked at the person he thought was his friend, wondering at the silence that was his only reply.
"Jimmy, quit messing around. Let's just go back to camp." The silent figure waited until the boy began to approach it before pulling a bow and arrow from his shoulder. The shadow had the weapon trained on the boy before he knew what was happening. "Whoa, what… ungh!" The shadow had left the arrow fly, striking the boy in the chest and killing him instantly. The moon came out from behind the clouds and shone brightly, reflecting in the lifeless eyes of the boy and highlighting the leather clad, bare-chested brave, glinting off black and red war paint. A black panther with glittering green eyes snarled at the brave. The brave flickered and disappeared. The eerie fog that had snaked around the dead teenager retreated in the moonlight, snaking back into the darkness of the deep forest. The panther turned and disappeared into the darkness. Another human figure turned and walked away, moonlight reflecting off silver beads as the figure tucked an amulet back beneath his black t-shirt.
"Sammy?" White flashed across his vision and he vaguely felt an arm wrap strongly around his shoulders. "Sammy…you with me?" Dean felt Sam's breathing hitch again. Sam flinched, going pale before slumping in Dean's arms. Dean reacted quickly, catching Sam and holding him against his chest to keep him from face planting on the basketball court. Sam stiffened and blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision.
"Sam? C'mon, bud, talk to me." Sam took several halting, shallow breaths before finally reaching a shaking hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. He didn't answer, but remained where he was, leaning heavily into Dean. Sam began to finally feel control returning to him as he fought to keep the beckoning darkness at bay. It was difficult this time. He concentrated on his brother's strong grip on his shoulders. He felt the harsh pain in his head ebb to the ache that would remain for hours. He finally managed a deep breath and eye contact with Dean.
Sam nodded haltingly hating the flash of pain that ricocheted around the inside of his skull. "I'm okay, I think."
"Let's get you to the car then." Dean hauled Sam to unsteady feet and supported him, wrapping that strong arm around his shoulders again, giving Sam something to ground him and keep him conscious. Sam groaned at the pain the change in height caused him. "Take it easy Sammy." Dean said as he led Sam towards the car. Sam leaned back against the rear passenger door until Dean opened the front. "Okay, c'mon." Dean eased Sam down and closed the door once he was settled. He winced himself at the look of pain that flashed across Sam's features.
Dean ran around to the driver's side and got in the car, trying to keep the squeak-bang muffled. Sam gasped and threw a palm up to his head. "Sorry Sammy."
"S'okay." He whispered, swallowing hard. Dean pulled out onto the road, determined to make it back to Bobby's and get his brother the help he needed. He was quiet, glancing at Sam with worry as he saw his little brother's head fall back against the top of the seat. Pain lines were evident around Sam's mouth, carving whiter lines in Sam's already deathly skin color. Dean pulled the Impala back into Bobby's yard and opened his door, holding up on it to keep the hinge as silent as possible. He left it open and rushed inside to get Bobby.