Sam stood on high alert for another moment, sword raised in a two-handed grip, one side of his face, neck, one shoulder and arm a bit blood spattered. He let go of the sword with one hand and let the flat of the blade rest against his shoulder, then used his sleeve to wipe blood off his face as Dean came out of the wooded area with the shotgun hanging from one hand at his side.

"You good?" Dean asked, clearly doing a visual inspection to make sure none of the blood was Sam's. Beheading black dogs as they came leaping for you wasn't an easy feat. Especially when they were being flushed out from behind by a shotgun. Dean never would have tried it from Sam's end. He could handle a knife like a pro and a machete with efficiency, but sword work? He left that to his little brother, who seemed to have a love affair with bladed weapons.

"Yeah, I'm fine. If a little gross. Why is monster blood always somehow extra sticky?" He looked down at his flannel shirt and was damned glad he had chosen that as an outer layer, because it was ruined. He started to wipe the sword on his sleeve when they both heard a rustle in the underbrush.

Sam didn't have to look to know that the shotgun had come back up. He shifted right, so Dean could point the gun at the noise and he wouldn't be in the line of fire. Though who he was kidding, he didn't know. The only way to get out of the scatter pattern of a shotgun was to get behind cover. Good damned thing it was only loaded with rock salt.

He used the tip of the sword to nudge the brush away to find a shallow hollow. Inside was a smaller version of what had just bled all over his shirt. "Huh." Okay, so maybe this version was portable sized and a little fluffier.

"Huh, what." Dean took Sam's calm demeanor as a signal to flip the safety back onto the shotgun.

Sam looked down at the snarling little thing. It hardly looked threatening. His shoe was bigger. "It's a baby man-eating monster." Honestly, he was a little confused. No one had ever gone into where these beasties came from. Apparently, they were capable of breeding. That was sort of alarming.

Dean peered down at it, watching as it tried to curl its lip up farther. "Well, get rid of it before it's actually big enough to hurt someone." He curled his lip up right back at it. Sam wasn't sure which one of the two of them looked more absurd, Dean sneering at something that would lose against his boot, or the hellbeast that looked like it had been put in the dryer.

He almost felt guilty putting an end to it. It was . . . hand sized. They had most likely just killed its mother. Still, Dean was right. Better now than later, when someone would get hurt. He hefted the sword, intent on at least making it quick, and the little thing lost all its bravado and cowered. Tail and nose to the ground, it belly-shuffled back.

Sam steeled himself and drew the sword back. It whimpered. He sighed and let the weapon fall to his side. The pitiful noise stopped, though it didn't stop cowering. "Jesus, Dean, it understands." He took a closer look at it. Soft black puppy fur, wide frightened puppy eyes. Okay, there was something unearthly in the back of them, but still, Sam knew fear when he saw it. Pointed ears, one of them flopping over partway. He thought they might be red instead of black, and that pinged something in the back of his mind, but he decided to look it up later. This image was finished off by big clumsy puppy paws. It was likely that the little guy couldn't even get out of his own way. Sam sympathized. He remembered when he had had a growth spurt and couldn't remember where his own elbows were. "You want it dead, you do it."

"Dude, you are such a girl. It doesn't understand a thing. It's just a pint-sized monster." Dean was looking at it critically. It was just a stupid Black dog. They didn't understand shit but killing. "Gimme the damned sword." Sam passed it over, trading sword for shotgun, and when Dean raised it, the stupid mutt whimpered again. He grit his teeth and started to swing, and it cried. The puppy actually cried. Like he had just kicked it.

The sword fell to Dean's side, its tip sinking into the ground a little in a way that made Sam cringe. "Crap." Dean looked at it again, even though he didn't want to. Its tail swept across the ground in the saddest wag he had ever seen. "Sam, I hate you."

"How is this my fault?" Sam asked, his indignation clear.

"I'm working on it. Give me time." Dean knew defeat when it stared him in the face. He wiped the blood off the sword onto Sam's shirt without his permission, just to be an ass. Then he took both weapons to the Impala's trunk. After stowing them, he grabbed a bottle of lighter fluid and one of Sam's sweatshirts.

When he got back, Sam and the puppy, yes, it was a puppy, were just staring at each other. "Dude, ditch the shirt."

"What.?" Sam blinked confusedly at him.

"Your shirt? The one covered in blood? I'll just torch it with the body." Sam nodded, slipped his outer layer off, and handed it to Dean. Dean in return tossed the sweatshirt at him. "Go get the fuzzball." He turned, refusing to look at Sam. "It bites you, you're on your own. It pees in my car, and I kill you both."

He always had been a sucker for puppy eyes.