What was that
Lost and Found
Disclaimer: Don't own them, getting nothing from it but enjoyment!
Setting: Story is set after Jus In Bello, a bit over three months to go before Dean has to pay his debt.
Summary: Dean and Sam are in the South Dakota Badlands in the middle of a blizzard after a job that has gone bad. They have crashed the Impala swerving to hit what they thought was an animal but find that they have inadvertently killed a creature haunting a small village. And it wasn't alone. Together, the brothers must mend wounds on the surface and underneath and try to save a village from a mystical soul stealer.
A/N: Ah, the Summer of reruns has arrived and, although I will enjoy them, I'm looking forward to reading about Sam and Dean in the world of facfic! This is my second fanfiction. I have wrote the entire story already and will post the chapters every couple of days. Let me know what you think! Reviews appreciated!
Accidents Will Happen
There was barely any blood, none that he could see anyway. It was dark, everywhere. Dean placed his hand up to his brother's chest and waited. There hadn't been a drop of blood since they took off, but there was something more disturbing. Air. Air escaping from the puncture wound leading from his brother's lungs.
Dean looked ahead, his eyes on the icy roads of South Dakota, winding up and down the back paths of the black hills. The snow had started long before their job had finished and it continued to fall fast. A pack of vampires, five strong, fierce and bloody - and now dead - the last one piercing Sam with a wooden stake before Dean could get there on time. He missed it. He didn't see him grab the post, hiding it against him. He should have, they had him cornered, confused, the lone wolf on the prowl, he should have noticed he was holding his arm so close to him, he should have known... but he didn't until it was out of his hands plummeting across the short distance directly at Sam.
The snow had fallen so quickly that Dean had to blink twice when he exited the cave with his injured brother dangling from his arms. The landscape had altered so much in such a short period of time that he hardly recognize the area. Snow and darkness – and now ice. Not a good combination. Dragging Sam through the snow and getting him into the Impala was one thing, clearing the snow from the car and starting the journey out of the cavern was a different story. It was an uphill climb and the Chevy did not want to make that ride, sliding and slipping all the way up, Dean quietly strumming his gloved hands on the wheel, chanting under his breath. Come on, come on, come on. He didn't know why he was even chanting, praying even, except to get further away from what remained of the bloodsuckers' charred bodies. Once they were out of the cavern, it dawned on him that they had nowhere to go. They were in the middle of nothing. Taking the hunt on, Sam had warned Dean this area was so isolated, barely any people inhabited the area. They had been there before, twice, when they were growing up with their father. It was a popular area for evil. Without a lot of people living around them, John had told them, evil had a way of inhabiting to lifestyles accustomed to their needs. Out here they were virtually alone with nature, able to make nests and grow stronger. Learn things, listen, plan. Once Dean made it out of the cavern, he found he wasn't any better off. Still in the middle of nowhere with the darkness ahead of them and a brother in trouble. Big time trouble.
The older Winchester tried his best to control the Impala as they twisted around the bends in the aged road. It was a slow moving process, the ice mostly guiding the car, Dean trying his best to keep them from landing in a ditch. The snow was still tumbling down upon them in slanting strokes, making it feel as though he were driving through a cinematic tunnel featuring a Pink Floyd laser light show. The ice pelted the windshield, the wipers slapping as fast as possible to keep a small hole visible as he peered ahead.
Not good. He shook his head, trying to focus. Snap out of it. Help. He needed help.
"Help," it was almost as if he hadn't spoken it, but had breathed it. Dean's eyes darted to his brother's slumped form next to him. "Dean… I… hard to breathe."
Dean swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing. "I know, Sammy, I know," he tried to ignore the way his voice sounded weak, "you're doing a good job."
Sam licked his lips and his eyes opened in slits, seeing the snow bombard the car frantically. "Blizzard," he mumbled.
Dean chuckled, trying to mask his nerves. "No, just a little snow shower. I've got it under control, little brother." Dean's leather gloves clumped on the steering wheel rapidly, his fingers tapping, keeping time with his own heartbeat. He looked down the road as best as he could wishing for what he wasn't seeing - no lights, no signs, nothing but black. He had studied the maps prior to leaving the hotel, they had walked the area before the job, he knew they were hours away from real civilization. From hope.
Sam released a horrible wet cough followed by a moment of dry heaves. He could feel his level of consciousness starting to fleet away from him. He closed his eyes tight and tried to open them wide, finding it near impossible to focus on anything. He shut his eyes again, willing his mind to keep him alert behind his heavy lids. He could feel the car jostling all over the road, finding it hard to keep himself from sliding back and forth on the leather. Sam took in a breath, it hurt, sharp stinging pain up his left side, aching down to his core, his cellular level. He was starving for oxygen. A sudden flash of Dean occurred just beyond the darkness of his sight, seeing his body breakdown, bleed in front of him again and again. He couldn't erase the Hell he had been through, watching Dean die, come back to him and then watching him die again. No matter what you do, you can't save your brother. Sometimes you've just got to let people go. He shook his head, he didn't believe that. He couldn't believe that. The Impala swerved sharply and Sam hissed at the pain it caused him, opening his eyes again. His body settled into the seat of the car, his breaths coming shallow and short. He tucked his head down, almost laying half way across the seat, his hair whisking against Dean's jacket. He lifted heavy eyes to his brother. "Can't… breathe," he reminded him, as though Dean had forgotten.
Dean's heart skipped this time and landed in his toes. For a brief second he could feel his own breath leave his body and then rush back in to fill his lungs. He felt a sudden force of strength muster from below him and he reached down, grabbing Sam's hand. He pressed it to his own chest. "You are breathing, Sam. Breathe like me, breathe like me. Got it? In. Out." He waited a moment. "In. Out."
Sam gasped. And then gasped again. He was breathing with Dean, just with horrendous gasps that shook Dean every time they occurred. "That's it, Sam," his voice trembling a bit, "In and out. Like me."
What the fuck! Fucking Vampires! No more, no more vampires!
The Impala gave a sudden jolt and Dean let go of Sam's had to steady the wheel. Not having the strength, Sam's hand immediately fell from Dean's chest and landed limply across the leather seat. Dean grasped control of the car as best as he could and looked down to where Sam's hand had fallen. He began to let go of the wheel to retrieve it when something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. What the hell is that? He looked out the driver side window and noticed what seemed to be lights coming down the mountainous hills off to the left. They were moving sporadically fumbling along the tree lines, one moving much faster than the others. Dean strained his eyes against the nature outside to make out what it was but they were moving too fast, he was driving too rough and his eyes couldn't make out a resemblance that made sense to him. One thing for sure, they were coming down as quickly as they could and headed right towards the road – and the car. Dean let his foot off the gas pedal for a second, trying to decipher what could be making those patterns. His eyes flashed swiftly from the dim road, back up the hill. The car bounced along the snow, skidding to the left and right against the ice, Dean maneuvering down the center of the road semi thankful that there was no cars coming in the opposite direction.
Sam groaned next to him, his head weighing heavily next to his older brother's arm. Dean glanced down at Sam watching as his body jumped with the movements from the car, his hand reaching across his stomach and resting against his chest wall. He gasped once and his eyes suddenly flew wide open.
"Sam!" Dean called out to him.
Dean's right hand drifted down in an attempt to push Sam off of his side but Sam only drifted further against him, almost landing in his lap. "Sam!" Dean looked ahead and back down again at his brother. "Sam, breathe with me! Breathe with me!"
A dash of a black figure emerged from the periphery of Dean's left eye and his head snapped up to greet it. Instinctly he slammed on to the brakes, the Impala rupturing in a wild fish tail, the back end trying to keep up with the happenings with the front end. Dean felt Sam slide forward from his lap, landing somewhere between the seat and the front dash. The Chevy surged full speed ahead on the icy road with the sounds of crunching snow, brakes squealing as though they were a locomotive attempting to stop on cement. The dark figure flew in front of the grill of the car, colliding with a hideous splat that sent Dean's heart into his throat. From the limited view out of the windshield it appeared to be the size of a child, maybe twelve or so, he wasn't sure. The steering wheel flew circles around the palms of his hands as the Impala spun out and headed down the side of the embankment. All of Dean's weight was pressed on the brake pads, trying to rest his baby as it rolled passed branches, limbs and brush and finally settled to a deafening stop after smacking into the large trunk of a tree.
Dean's body propelled from the leather seats and forcefully landed in his steering column, his arms hanging loosely at his side, his forehead striking the wheel. He raised his head and felt an instant warmth of wetness roll down from his temple to his cheek. He could hear the sounds of the tires as they spun slower and slower until they finally stopped and then the horrible sound of the Impala's engine hissing as he realized he had crashed the car. He looked down into the seat and felt immediate relief swim over him noticing Sam was clamoring from the floor board, the impact almost waking him back to life. He looked at Dean with large, confused eyes, grabbing the door handle to crawl up onto the seat.
Dean blinked. "You okay?"
Sam couldn't answer.
Dean looked out the front window. "Jesus. I killed the car." And as if it didn't register the first time he said it, his voice jumped up an octave. "I killed the fucking car!"
Sam turned his body around and nestled his shoulders into the hugging seat of the Impala, pressing his throbbing head against the cold window. He took in a couple a shallow breaths, exhaling through his mouth. The pain in his chest was starting to spread, burn throughout his thoracic cavity and he could feel a quicken in his stomach. "Think I'm gonna throw up."
But Dean didn't hear him. His mind was still racing. The snow was beating down on top of them and the car was smashed. He wiped at the inside of the windshield and peered out of the small opening. His eyes immediately focused on the hood, jutting up in a tent of metal, smoke oozing out almost dissipating upon contact with the cold air. He closed his eyes for a moment. It's not that bad, it's not that bad. He shook his head on the cold steering wheel for a few seconds and then looked back out the front window. The dim glow from the headlights had cast an odd shadow on the tree that he had unfortunately hit. Dean cocked his head, it wasn't so much a shadow as a figure that was slowly emerging in front of him. It was dark in color, covered in a short fur, the body looking almost like a fox, but the head… the head had human features. It's eyes were almond shaped, small with sweet fuzzy eyebrows above them, it's cheekbones were chiseled with a taught chin. Skin, white skin. But it's pointy ears and voracious mouth were most definitely an animal. The teeth were long, jagged ending sharp and uneven. Dean grimaced in disgust mainly because upon pinning the creature between the grill of the car and the tree trunk, the metal had acted as a sword, decapitating the being. It's head bobbed by a few strands of muscles and hair, staring at Dean through the small opening of glass, almost teasing him to come out and stroke it, just to be sure it was dead.
"Dean." Sam's voice broke into the silence of the car, quiet and strained.
Dean narrowed his eyes on the figure in front of him, mesmerized at the oddity. They had hunted so many bizarre creatures that it was almost amusing to him that out here in the middle of nowhere, they would encounter something like never before. Something that bewildered and awed him. But then he remembered where they were. In the middle of nowhere, where his father had warned them long ago wicked things liked to roam. He let out a long sigh, not noticing he had been holding his breath and the cold air mirrored it back to him. The temperature was dropping fast without the small comfort of the Chevy's heater running.
"Dean." This time Sam's voice was more pressing, more commanding, controlled with a hint of desperation behind it.
Dean studied the creature, wiping again at the windshield as it started to fog on him a bit. "Yeah, Sam?"
"There's something staring at me."
Dean's head whipped to the right in his brother's direction. His sight traveled to Sam's profile, still pressed against the window. Even in the dark, Dean could see the color was leaving Sam's face, his lips were dry, chapped and his eyes were locked in with the almond shaped eyes of the same kind of animal that the Impala decapitated. It stared at the two of them from the outside of the car door. Glaring it's beautiful eyes, full of anger, looking for prey, looking for revenge and currently stilling itself on Sam. It breathed quickly, rapid breaths that clouded the window and then cleared it within half of seconds. It snarled it's teeth at Sam, drool falling from it's gaping mouth. Dean could see Sam shudder, the breath of the creature seeming to halo his head over and over again. Steadily Dean reached over and grabbed his brother by his jacket, pulling him closer to him. Sam winced in pain and started to pant. The animal pressed it's head closer onto the pane of glass and took in a deep breath letting out a high pitched screech from the hub of it's body. Dean's hands flew over his ears and Sam grunted in pain from the sound, the car seemed to vibrate underneath them. It was a scream of terror, of pain. Dean looked over and the animal gazed into his eyes, it's eyes broadening to his as in warning. He felt Sam shake under his arm and to his horror, noticed Sam's breathing was coming on more hurried and shallow. Dean could see he wasn't getting enough air into his lungs his brother's head tilted back onto the seat, his mouth began to suck as much air as it could.
Oh my God. I'm not going to be able to get him out of here. It suddenly crept up on Dean. Sam. My God. My Sam. He was dying in front of him. Dean's hands went across his brother's chest. "It's okay, Sammy," his voice low, to his ear, "Breathe like me, remember? Breathe. You can do it."
Sam's eyes slid over to look at Dean. He made the connection, their eyes locked. And he tried. He held his breath for a second and tried to slow himself down, tried to match Dean's breathing, but to no avail. His breaths were coming so quickly, skipping around and he could start to feel his heart beating faster, skipping along with his breaths. He gasped.
Dean edged in on him, refusing to give up, refusing to let Sam give up. "Come on, Sam." And when Sam looked away from his brother, Dean bellowed at him, "Sam! You do this! You breathe! Like me!"
Screech! From outside the car, the creature was starting to pace, back and forth over and over again. It leaped towards Sam's window and flared razor sharp nails, scratching vigorously at the glass between it and the boys. It fanged it's teeth at Dean and shrieked at him raking in hissing breaths and shrieking again.
Dean focused back to Sam and tried to calm himself as best as he could. There was only one thing that mattered and right now that thing needed to breathe. "Sam, like me, right? Remember?" He placed his brother's hand back on his chest again and placed his own hand to Sam's.
Sam looked back and nodded, trying again. He breaths wheezed in and out, like Dean's and Sam could feel his heart start to slow down. His brother smiled down at him. "That's it, Sammy," but Dean knew they couldn't keep this up. He had to get him out of this car, with that… thing staring at them through the glass. Then what? Through the snow, the ice and where from there? Dean shut his eyes and felt his shoulders sag.
We are so screwed.
And the sound hit him, buzzing from behind him like a moped on speed. His eyes opened and he watched as the creature gawked back from the window, moving on hind legs, it met Dean's eyes again and screeched once more at him. Falling on to it's front paws it ran swiftly away from the car, taking a thick tail trailing behind it. Dean swallowed hard as the sound became louder from the outside. He could see the light bouncing off the trees and looked out the back window just in time to see what he thought was a snowmobile fly by the car. He looked out to where it seemed to be traveling, confused. Reaching for the handle on the car, he started to open the door when another white glare hit his face and the large body of a man, holding a flashlight, slid over the hood of the Impala, skidded on the ice he landed on and followed the path of the snowmobile. Dean swung the door open and stepped out into the cold air, the snow beginning to cover his brown short hair immediately.
"Hey!" he screamed in the direction of the men. He heard footsteps approaching from behind and turned to see three more men running towards the car, flashlights springing in their hands. Dean waved his arms in the air, signaling for them to stop, screaming as his eyes were blinded. A bearded man slowed his progression down the slope, seeing Dean, the car, and the impaled creature against the tree. He came to a stop a few feet away from the wreckage and put his hand up to stop the other two from barreling on through. The two men halted at the silent command. They were younger than the bearded man, each leaning forward resting their hands on their knees, wheezing from being out of breath. Each of them were sweating, rolls of water falling from their faces caused by the chase they had embarked on. The older man shone his light on Dean's face and then over to the dead animal.
"Cheese and rice," he stammered. He looked up to Dean, bright blue eyes flickering, beaming behind the bulb of the flashlight. From where he was standing, Dean could see the man take a huge gulp. "You killed it."
Dean glanced over his shoulder, realizing with embarrassment that he had his hands above his head as though the police was stopping him. He hesitantly lowered his arms and tipped his head. "My car, we hit it."
The bearded man walked by Dean straight to the damage in front of him. He waved one of the other men over to survey the remains. The younger man walked by Dean, he was short, stocky and wore a ball cap dipped over his eyes. He reached the bearded man and reached in with his pudgy hands and lifted the animal's head up and down. "Don't look as bad without no head."
The bearded man nodded. He pushed the younger man back. "Don't… don't touch it too much. It looks dead… I mean, I think it's dead."
Dean frowned at the two of them. "It's dead," he stated matter of fact.
The man with the beard diverted his gaze to Dean. He was taller, medium build and had snow pants pulled up over him held up by suspenders, a wooly scarf blowing and getting entangled in the suspender straps. He sloshed through the snow, deep long strides over to Dean and extended his hand. "John Joe," he announced.
Dean nodded. "Dean." He zipped his head into the car door and looked at Sam, still breathing, gasping. "This is Sam." Dean lifted his eyes back up to the man. "There a hospital around here? I need to get him to one fast."
The man stepped up from behind Dean and peered into the interior of the car. "Cheese and rice," he whispered. "What happened to this snapper? He's turning blue." Without waiting for an answer, the man climbed into the car beside Sam. He reached over and pulled the jacket back from Sam's body. Sam looked up to John Joe, his eyes heavy, his mouth puffing for breaths. The bearded man ran his hand along side Sam's torso and stopped when he felt the air escaping from the hole fashioned in his chest wall. He met Sam's eyes and gave him a small reassuring nod and an attempt at a smile. He could feel the cold that had settled around the puncture site and how it had spread across the boy's upper body. It wouldn't take much time to take him now and he could tell by the look in Sam's eyes that the kid knew it. John Joe turned quickly to Dean. "You smoke?"
The question surprised Dean. He shook his head. "No."
Dean shrugged. "I think maybe there's a pack here somewhere."
John Joe reached up and felt along the dashboard. "Where?"
Dean stared at him, unsure of his motive.
"Where?" John Joe's voice was louder, more demanding.
Dean blinked. "Uh, try the glove compartment." Dean watched as the man reached over Sam and opened the compartment door. Dean's eyes focused in on his brother. Sam's head was tipped down, his body arched seeming to crave the air it wasn't receiving. Dean blatted his eyes hard. I want you to watch out for Sammy, okay? His father's words echoed in his mind and Dean abruptly became conscious of the fact that he was so cold. He looked at the creature, dead on the hood of his baby and felt a chill run through his body.
"Got it!" John Joe yelled.
Dean knelt into the car and watched as the older man took the pack of Orbits Mojito Mint and carefully unwrapped the cellophane. He took the pack of gum, threw it on the floor board and then turned to Sam, placing the fine plastic over the leaking hole. He quickly removed the scarf from his own neck and wrapped it around the young hunter's chest cavity securing it in a knot. John Joe removed his right hand glove and very gently held up his bare hand to the site. He closed his eyes and waited. "Okay," he looked at Dean. "We got a temporary solution, Whipper." He reached up and pulled himself out of the car. "But it's not gonna last for long. We gotta get this kid medical attention."
Dean nodded. "Yeah. No hospitals?"
John Joe was moving to the back of the Impala, waving his arms in the air like a maniac towards the back trees. "Donnie Lee, you see those headlights comin' back this way?"
The third man, apparently Donnie Lee Dean concluded, cupped his hands over his face and looked out into the trees. "I do." He stared waiving his arms as well. "Billy Mac!" He hollered. "Over here! Billy Mac!" The sound from the snowmobile started to become louder as the vehicle approached the crash site. Dean walked over to John Joe and shrugged his shoulders at the man.
"We have a guy back up the way, the town we live in," John Joe started, "it's not much, but he's all we got right now."
Dean watched as the snowmobile came into his line of sight. "You can help us." It was more of a surprised observation than a question.
John Joe lowered his eyes to Dean, they sparkled down upon him even though there was barely any light to catch them. "He's a medic. He's there right now, it's a small clinic, just two rooms, but there's supplies and Fish Sticks is good with his hands."
Dean lifted his eyebrows into inverted V's. "Fish Sticks?"
He shrugged. "Talk to his mamma."
The snowmobile pulled up beside the car and the driver jumped off the seat. "Fuckin' sweet car," the guy said directly to Dean. He cased the Impala from the back to the front, his eyes shot to the hood, the metal, the animal. "Shit!" He looked back at Dean and gave him an almost toothless smile. "You killed your car, man!"
Dean nodded. "Apparently Fish Sticks doesn't do teeth," he mumbled under his breath.
John Joe commanded two of the boys over to the open door. "Okay. We got to get this boy up the hill to Fish's clinic." John Joe went over to the passenger door and opened it up. Billy Mac and Donnie Lee flanked either side of him and waited direction from the older man.
"What happened to him?" Billy Mac asked looking at Sam. "He looks dead."
Dean raced over around the car as best as he could through the piling snow. John Joe looked over at Billy Mac. "He's not, but he's not well, either." The bearded man reached in and pulled Sam's legs out of the door as the younger boys grabbed him under the arms in a fireman hold. On three the men pulled the younger Winchester out of the car and carried him to the snowmobile. Dean awkwardly stepped out of their way as they carried his brother by him. He felt sick to his stomach, his head throbbed, he was cold all over, his heart ached and he couldn't move. Billy Mac climbed on the back of the vehicle and brought his feet in. John Joe leaned down to him. "You keep your arm around him here," he placed Billy Mac's arm around the scarf John Joe had tied on. "Don't let him go. You get up to Fish Stick's fast, don't stop and tell him this boy just killed one of them."
Billy Mac nodded and started up the snowmobile. Dean watched as he started to pull across the road, carrying Sam's flaccid body with him. Dean suddenly snapped out of it. "Wait! Wait!" he yelled, running up as quickly as he could. Billy Mac hesitated for a moment. Dean approached and put his head down next to Sam's, which was already resting on the handlebars. "Sam," he requested.
Sam didn't respond.
You're my big brother, there is nothing I wouldn't do for you. Dean pushed the words Sam spoke to him back, feeling they were said so long ago now. Perhaps in another lifetime.
Dean leaned in closer. He knew he didn't have much time. "Sam, we're getting you help. Just remember to breathe like me." Dean felt a lump in his throat and swallowed it down. His hand came up and he tussled his hair affectionately. "I'll be following you up the hill. Remember to breathe like me." He met Billy Mac's eyes and gave him a look. Take care of him, I'll hunt you down, I swear kind of look. He stood up, silently giving the driver permission to continue on without him. Dean felt oddly cold again and not just because of his current elements. He stood in the snowy tire marks from where the car careened off on to the side of the road and watched until he could no longer see the red tail lights from the snowmobile.
"What the hell happened here?" Dean heard another voice join the chorus behind him. He turned and saw the larger man who had slid across the Impala's hood earlier reunite with the other men.
John Joe pointed up towards Dean. "He crashed into it. Killed it."
The man briskly walked to the tree and stared at the creature in the eye. "Sonuvabitch. Tryin' to kill these stupid things for years and you just run over one?" He looked over towards Dean. "Luck of the Irish?"
Dean shook his head. "Unlucky maybe."
The large man looked back down at the carcass. "Lucky for us. Check that one off the to do list, huh?"
John Joe laughed. They stood for a few seconds, appearing to soak in what had just happened. The bearded man looked over once again at Dean. "We got to go up that hill there, Whipper. You got anything you need from this ride of yours?"
Dean nodded, unsure of what to say to the name change the man had given him. "Yeah, I got a couple of duffels." He walked over to the trunk of the car as John Joe ordered Donnie Lee to help him with his luggage. Dean handed him his and Sam's clothing duffels and waited for him to take one to the stocky fellow, which Dean couldn't remember if he had ever caught his name. Relishing the few moments of privacy he had, Dean grabbed the last duffel, pulled the lever and grabbed the sawed-off, a machete, his Bowie knife, a .45, and two extra rifles. The duffel had plenty of ammunition already packed. Dean pulled the lever back and calmly shut the trunk, hoisting the larger, heavier duffel over his shoulder. He could hear John Joe telling the larger man the story of coming across the two travelers in their crashed car and how Billy Mac had just left to take the injured player to see Fish Sticks.
"What about the car?" Dean heard one of the younger boys ask.
John Joe held his arms out. "Can't get it out right now, can we?" He looked at the large man. "How 'bout it Del? You can come on back down later, right?"
The big man looked over at Dean, just entering his line of sight. "Hell, yeah, I'll send the truck down here, we'll get it dug out and see what we can work on." He nodded at Dean, encouragingly, "We'll get her runnin' again. It'll take a couple of days, though." Dean smiled and the man held his hand out, engulfing the younger man's hand in his. "Del Bert."
Dean's eyes sized him up. "Someone with just one name, huh?"
Del Bert gave him a baffled look. "No, it's two names," he corrected.
Dean sighed, adjusted the duffel on his shoulder and shot a look up the mountain, which everyone had came toppling down from just moments before. The group started again, it's steep campaign slow up the rocky terrain covered in ice and snow. John Joe hung close to Dean, guiding him up as they went along. "We have a trail over here, it's not in the best condition right now."
"I'll manage," Dean replied.
They walked in silence for a few moments, each seemed to adjust to the task in front of them, fine-tuning their own step with their body weight, shifting from right to left, breathing in, grunting out, using their hands to steady themselves when their feet slipped. Dean puffed near the rear, John Joe positioning himself behind him, telling him where to grab when his feet slid out from underneath him. The air was cold, blazing his lungs and the climb was causing his nose to run. The snow still fell, pelting against his coat in tiny marbles falling to the rocks below and sticking to his lashes mixing in with the sweat and blood on his forehead. Dean glanced up and squinted. It didn't seem the mountain ever reached a peak from where he was, it just kept growing into the darkness above.
"Didn't get the other one, eh, Del Bert?" John Joe yelled from behind Dean.
The large man didn't turn around. "Nope," his answer came stumbling down through the frigid air.
Dean continued pulling up the slopes, winding to the left and the right when needed. He caught a glimpse of the bearded man behind him and was impressed at how close the old man was, even if he was use to the trail. Dean grabbed a hold of a medium size boulder and hoisted himself up, standing to take a couple of breaths. He half turned to John Joe and nodded towards the bottom of the mountain. "What was that down there? That thing I crashed into?"
John Joe had already reached Dean in his climb. He reached out and turned Dean's shoulders away, encouraging him to keep ascending. "Don't worry about it," he muttered.
Dean frowned, half way because of the answer, half way because he was being forced to continue to climb. "It's just that, it looked like an animal, but…"
"But not." John Joe responded. Dean placed his left foot ahead and slid on the snow, regaining himself almost immediately and scooting ahead again. "There's things out here," John Joe attempted, "that are just pure evil, Whipper. Things you would never believe if you didn't see if for yourself."
Dean huffed. "Yeah, I think I know what… you mean." He panted out the last part, shoving his legs into high gear as the hill seemed to becoming steeper.
"What happened to your… friend?" the bearded man tried, ignoring Dean's previous question.
Dean swallowed. "My brother."
"Cheese and rice," John Joe made it sounded sympathetic. "Okay, what happened with him? That was no bullet hole."
Dean shook his head. "No, no, not shot." Dean climbed on, not responding back to the man in back of him. He hated being in these situations, strangers seeming to have a hint of what was going on, knowing things didn't look… natural. All he really wanted to do was get up that hill and get to Sam. He felt so cold, so out of place, so lost on that hill and he needed to know his brother was okay. Breathing, talking, laughing, alive.
"Looked like somebody took a stake and tried to drive it through his heart. Just missed a little."
Del Bert stopped his walk in front of Dean and turned around to look at the two men trailing him. "You talkin' 'bout the other kid Billy Mac took up to see the Doc?" John Joe nodded at him and Del Bert glared at Dean. "You bring us one of those goddamn vampires, boy?"
"N-no." Dean stated. "He's my brother, not a vampire." Shit they knew about the vampires. Fucking vampires. No more vampires.
John Joe edged the men back up the hill. "You got messed up with the vampires, though?"
Dean panted. "Yeah," he admitted. There was no use in pretending, there was going to be more questions when they got to the clinic anyway. "My brother and I are… hunters. We hunt evil things and, well, kill them." He didn't say anything after that, giving the two men time to let the revelation sink in. He waited for obvious questions, surprised gasps, denials, but they didn't come. So Dean continued, "But that thing down there, that was just an accident."
"A happy accident," Del Bert chimed in from up above.
John Joe saddled up behind Dean. "You kill those vampires?"
"My brother and I did," he answered, "but the last one, he threw a stake and…" he couldn't say it, his heart sinking, it didn't matter anyway, they all knew what followed the and.
"And we're going to nurse that kid back to health," Del Bert again ringing in, seeming to know that they needed to keep spirits elevated.
Dean glanced up and thought maybe he could see an end to this nightmare, Donnie Lee had stopped walking and looked like he was resting, waiting for the slackers to catch up with him. Dean felt John Joe push on him, urging him up, Dean looked down between his legs and met the older man's stare. "You gonna tell me now." Dean revisited.
"Tell you what?"
"What the hell that thing was that killed my car?" Dean kept staring, not moving from his crouched position.
John Joe looked down and then back up. "Kitsune."
Dean frowned. He stood taller and turned to John Joe. "It's some sort of a killer kitty cat?"
John Joe scoffed. "No. It's not human, but it can look sort of human, it changes it's shape, morphs. It's limited, though. It always has a big tail, usually nine smaller tails that make up one."
Dean tried to take that one in. A creature, a shape shifter, and a killer? He'd dealt with worse. "So what exactly is this kitty… kits…"
"Yeah, that. What is it?"
John Joe's voice was low, sad. "Soul stealer."
A/N: This story is about six chapters long! Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!