Living in the Shadow

Living Between Shadows

Sam Winchester glanced at his illuminated watch dial for the umpteenth time and then settled again into the backseat of the Impala. His homework was scattered around him but it had grown to dark to really see it and he didn't want to use the flashlight and risk alerting anything to his position.

The 13-year-old looked out the window but could see nothing but darkened trees on the one side and the empty road on the other. Leave it to a Wendigo to live in the most out of the way, creepy place it could find.

Idly, he started gathering up his homework into a neat stack. Normally, he'd be thrilled at being left alone to study but that was during times when his father and brother weren't on a hunt. Sam wasn't allowed to hunt until he turned sixteen, the same age Dean had been on his first hunt, but it didn't mean he wasn't aware of the dangers they faced.

It was kind of hard to concentrate when the only family you had was out attempting to not get themselves killed. Especially when he already knew Dean had a self-sacrifice complex that compelled him to throw himself between his family and whatever it was currently threatening them.

Sam sighed and tried to quell the nervous feeling currently doing backflips in his stomach. His dad and brother had been gone over an hour and he was beginning to get worried.

Okay, he was beginning to get MORE worried.

Something made a loud thump noise outside the car and Sam jumped in surprise. Getting up on his knees on the seat he looked out the window but couldn't see anything. The noise came again and this time it was accompanied clearly by the words, "Sam, help me."

It was Dean's voice. Sam hesitated, his hands above the door handle. Reaching slowly, he rolled the window down just a bit and said, "Dean? What's wrong?"

There was silence a moment and then, "Sam, help me."

"What's the password?" Sam stammered but there was no answer. He called again but still there was only silence. Could Dean have passed out? And where was his Dad? Could they both be unconscious just feet outside of the car?

Again Sam pressed up as close to the glass as he could but it had grown into full night now and of course it was a New Moon so there was absolutely nothing to see by. Grabbing his flashlight, Sam took a deep breath and unlocked the car door. Dean and his father were all he had, he couldn't stand the thought of them possibly being right outside the car hurt and needing him to help save them. After all the times his father, and Dean in particular, had taken care of him how could he possibly not repay it?

He got out of the car.

The creaking of the door sounded unnaturally loud in the stillness and he only stepped an inch out onto the grass. Carefully, he flicked the flashlight on and started panning it along the ground.

"Dean?" he whispered.

There wasn't any answer and Sam hesitatingly walked forward, farther away from the safety of the car. He lifted the flashlight and kept training it along the ground and brush. At the very edge of the tree line he thought he saw a sudden flash of movement and he moved toward it.

"Dean?" His voice was louder now as he approached and suddenly Sam heard a voice in response.

"Sam?"

Sam froze. The voice was clearly Dean's and it was coming from a different direction than where he had originally heard it and from where he had seen the movement. It also didn't sound in pain or hurt.

"Sam? Was that you?" The voice was quiet but it was definitely Dean's and now another voice joined his, quieting him. With a slow sense of rising hysteria, Sam realized that would be his Dad no doubt reminding Dean that Sam would still be in the car as ordered and to remember that Wendigos had the ability to impersonate voices to lure foolish or unsuspecting victims out into the open.

Sam fit into the first category.

He never even consciously recognized what happened next as one minute he was standing in horrified, possibly petrified, fear and the next something was simply flying straight at him. Years of training by his father, and getting his butt regularly kicked by his brother, were the only things that had Sam immediately lunging in the opposite direction. He didn't quite make it as pain flared in his side and he screamed automatically in pain and shock. Landing hard on the ground, Sam rolled onto his back and began scrambling backwards even as he hysterically screamed for both his father and brother.

A heavy shadow loomed over him and Sam rolled to one side, away from it. Ignoring the pain in his side, he managed to somehow get to his feet and ran in the direction he'd heard his father and brother's voices coming from. Behind him the creature roared in anger and came after him.

Wendigos were fast, much faster than humans and certainly faster than 13-year-old boys.

Apparently, however, they weren't faster than determined fathers and brothers.

Sam slammed full force into a body and immediately freaked and lashed out only to have arms grab him and unceremoniously throw him down on the ground. Hands grabbed hold of his wrists, preventing his arms from flailing, and it was about that time that Sam's mind registered it was Dean holding onto him and their father was standing over both of them. Focusing in on his brother, Sam felt his terror lesson at once and he tried to concentrate on breathing and not shaking. Taking note of that, Dean let go of him and then stood back up to join John in their protective stance over Sam.

Of course the only reason they were keeping him alive now was so they could kill him themselves for getting out of the car but at this moment Sam would take that over being ripped apart by the Wendigo.

Speaking of which, hadn't it been right behind him?

The area was now silent as if nothing evil had ever been there. As the adrenaline started to wind down, the pain in his side began to make itself known and he put a hand to it. He felt wetness on his hand but there wasn't a huge amount of it and he couldn't really feel a lot of it coming out. He was pretty sure it was only a surface wound, had he not jumped instinctively it may well have gutted him. Still, even as a smaller wound, the blasted thing hurt like anything and that only added to his fear of the creature still lurking in the darkness.

Shifting slightly, he scooted closer to Dean's legs but made no attempt to try and get up. Continuing until he was barely touching him, Sam felt Dean shift back slightly so Sam could get closer but other than that he had no reaction.

Looking into the darkness himself, Sam could see nothing unusual. Kind of like how he'd seen nothing unusual right before being jumped by the Wendigo. That thought had him pressing harder into Dean's legs and, as the pain in his side began to throb more steadily, he turned and buried his face against the back of his brother's knee. It was childish and Sam knew that, at thirteen, he was far too old to be acting this way but he couldn't help it. He'd royally screwed up, nearly been killed, and was pretty sure his superficial wound must have been poisoned because surely it wasn't supposed to hurt that freaking much. Above him, his brother still didn't respond to Sam's movement but his leg tensed somewhat and Sam knew Dean had keyed into his behavior, as he always did, and was worried about him.

Off to Dean's left, from the corner of his eye, Sam saw a sudden movement in the darkness, an extra shadow that hadn't been there before, and he compulsively reached up and grabbed his brother's leg. He tried to cry out a warning but only a small whimper managed to escape. For his father and Dean, however, it was enough as both immediately turned and fired their flare guns at nearly the same moment.

Just like that it was over and Sam found himself simply watching as the creature burned in front of him.

Well that was anti-climatic, Sam found himself thinking, not to mention embarrassing in terms of how easily it had taken him down. Oddly transfixed watching the burning remains he failed to notice both his father and Dean were now kneeling down around him. It was only when Dean grabbed his wrists again that he startled and turned to look at him.

"Where are you hurt?"

"What?" Sam stared at him blankly and then said, "Oh, my side. It's not bad though."

A flashlight clicked on and aimed itself at his side and a moment later Sam felt his father lightly probing at his side. He hissed in pain and automatically tried to pull away but Dean kept his grip on his wrists and wouldn't let him. Settling back, his dad ran a hand over his face and then said, "You're lucky, it's not that deep. Probably going to need stitches though."

Great, Sam thought. He'd never actually needed stitches on anything before but his father and brother had often enough that he knew he most definitely didn't want them himself.

Moving to either side of him, Dean and John grabbed his arms and hauled him to his feet. Dizziness assailed him and he staggered slightly. Both men easily supported him and walked him back to the car. As they did, Sam felt himself relaxing again, the fear and agitation draining out of him. He always felt calmer, no matter what, when his family was around, he could probably be bleeding out on the ground and still would calm down if they showed up.

He always knew his dad and brother would be there to save him no matter what.

"So Sammy," Dean's voice drawled, "You want to explain what you were doing outside the car?"

Of course that brought up the question of who would save him from his dad and brother……………………………………………………..