"Do you see anything yet?"
"No. Just like I couldn't see anything the last time you asked me. Ten seconds ago."
"Come on, Sam, don't exaggerate. It was at least thirty seconds."
Sam glanced at him and tried to glare but ended up matching Dean's smirk.
"I thought so. Seriously, we've been sat here what? Two hours? I'm dying of boredom here, Sammy."
"You know you said that after the first fifteen minutes. Look, this isn't exactly my idea of fun either but what do you want me to do? Tell you a story?"
"Yeah, cos I'm five years old."
"You've certainly got the attention span."
Dean nudged him with his knee then shifted in his seat, trying in vain to find a more comfortable position. Much as he loved his baby even he had to admit after two hours sat in the same position his ass was starting to go numb.
"You're sure this is the place?"
Sam gritted his teeth. He hadn't been kidding about the attention span thing.
"Yes, Dean, this is the place. Which you've also asked me about twenty times since we got here by the way. You want me to go through it all again from the top? For those of us who weren't listening the first fifty times."
"Thanks, I'll pass. It was boring enough first time. You know if you made this stuff sound less geeky and more interesting, I might actually hear it instead of lapsing into a coma halfway through."
"Whatever. Just don't come crying to me when you get yourself killed because you missed a vital piece of information."
Dean grinned at him.
"Ah, but that's what you're here for."
Sam looked over and after a second couldn't help but grin back. He was pretty sure there'd been a backhanded compliment in there somewhere, about how his brother trusted him to watch his back.
You had to take what you could get with Dean.
"I say we give it another half hour and call it a night." he continued, bringing Sam's attention back to the present.
Truth was it had been a bit of a shot in the dark anyway. Although the reports seemed to suggest the presence of a wendigo it could also just as easily have been a bear. They'd been staking out an old cave, situated right next to the parking area where all the victims had left their cars, but the cave itself had revealed none of the usual stuff they'd expect to find in a wendigo's lair. Their stakeout meanwhile had done nothing except remind Sam why this was the part of the job he liked least.
Two hours stuck in a confined space with Dean, with nothing to do, would have tried the patience of Mother Theresa.
Just then they heard a rustling noise. Instantly alert they both sat up straighter, peering out into the dark and straining their eyes to see.
"Anything?" whispered Dean and Sam shook his head.
Dean opened his door, very slowly to try and minimise the creaking, and stepped out. He moved cautiously round the front of the car, listening hard and scanning the trees next to the cave.
Sam watched apprehensively, splitting his gaze between the cave and his idiot brother. He definitely did not remember the part of the plan where Dean got out of the car alone to get a better look. He carefully opened his own door, grabbing the flare gun that lay on the seat, and eased himself out of the car. Dean glanced round and motioned him to stay put but Sam ignored him, instead creeping round to the front to join him.
Dean didn't waste his breath berating Sam for not doing as he was told but he did glare at him, which Sam also ignored. They stood there silently for a moment, nerves tense with anticipation, when they heard the rustle again.
Dean silently motioned the direction it had come from and Sam nodded. Dean pulled his gun from his waistband – it might not kill the creature but it would slow it down long enough to use the flare – and led the way, his footsteps barely making a sound. Sam followed close behind, the flare gun primed and ready in his hands.
They stopped in front of the place where the noise had seemed to come from. Dean leant forward, peering in between the branches. He turned to say something to Sam when the bush literally exploded and something hit him from behind, hard.
He heard Sam's yell but he was busy trying to breathe, as whatever it was now had him pinned to the ground. Not to mention the fact all the air had left his lungs when he'd hit the dirt at speed. He grunted and tried to turn round so he could get a grip on it, the gun having flown out of his hands when he hit the floor, and dimly registered that he could feel fur and not the smooth skin he'd expect from a wendigo.
Just then there was the deafening sound of a gun shot, and whatever it was stopped struggling and instead collapsed on top of him. For a moment the weight was unbearable, then it lifted. Hands grabbed under his arms and pulled him upright, making the scenery tilt slightly.
"Hey, are you alright?"
He turned to face Sam's anxious gaze and nodded, coughing slightly.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Little squashed, but fine."
With Sam's help he got to his feet, wincing as he felt bruises already appearing and brushing at the dirt all over the front of his jacket. He looked down and saw what it was that had attacked him.
"Huh. Guess it wasn't a wendigo after all."
Sam shook his head, his face grim.
"Not this time."
Dean bent down, surprised at both the size of the bear and at the bullet wound that went clean through it's temple. He glanced up at Sam, who still had Dean's gun in his hand.
"Nice shot, dude."
Sam didn't look all that pleased though, in fact he looked a little guilty. Dean was about to remind him he'd had no choice but to shoot the creature when he spotted something out of the corner of his eye. Frowning, he turned the bear over and grimaced at the smell.
"Damn, that's nasty. Sam, come and look at this."
Sam leant over and put his hand over his nose.
"Oh man – what is that?"
"Looks like a broken off crossbow bolt. Some idiot would-be hunter must have shot the thing and then let it get away. Poor bastard must have been in agony."
"Which would explain why it started attacking humans, especially if it was sick. That's been infected for days by the look of it." said Sam, grimly.
"It didn't stand a chance. You know I'd love to get my hands on the moron with the crossbow and see how he likes getting shot in the ass. Not only is he responsible for making this creature suffer, he's also responsible for those hikers getting killed as well."
"I know. Unfortunately there's no way of working out who it was. I bet those bolts are everywhere out here and if it was someone up for hunting season, they could be long gone by now anyway."
Dean stood up, brushing off his hands and looking down at the bear with a frustrated look on his face.
"This really sucks."
"I know." said Sam, still feeling bad that he'd had to kill something 'normal'.
Dean glanced at him and saw the look.
"Hey – don't go feeling guilty about this, ok? You put him out of his misery, wasn't anything else anyone could have done at this point. Besides, he was about to rip me to shreds so I'm definitely alright with you taking the shot."
Sam gave a slight smile. Dean did have a point there.
"Plus he won't be attacking anyone else now. You did good, Sam."
Sam nodded, appreciating the words but still sad that such a beautiful creature had ended up in such a terrible state purely because some idiot with no clue what he was doing had wanted to play hunter.
"What should we do with it?" he asked and Dean contemplated the corpse for a moment.
"Leave it here. The rangers will most likely find it and hopefully they'll put two and two together and realise what was killing those people."
Sam took one last look before following Dean back to the Impala. He supposed they'd been lucky really, at least they'd solved the mystery and taken care of the problem with relatively little damage. Even if it wasn't exactly their kind of thing in the end. He opened his door and watched Dean wince as he got in on his side, making a mental note to check later that it really was just bruises his brother had been left with.
As they pulled back onto the highway Dean's phone beeped. He felt around in his pocket, pulling it out and glancing at the screen before throwing it to Sam.
"See what that is would you?" he said, as Sam caught it. He looked down at the '1 missed call' message and opened it up, dialling the voicemail number and putting it to his ear.
Sam listened to the message, his eyes suddenly widening. His face paled and he reached out, grabbing hold of Dean's arm in a bruising grip.
"Ow – dude, what the hell?" said Dean, before he looked across and noticed Sam's face.
"What? What's wrong?" he demanded and Sam met his gaze, his expression grim.
"We need to turn around and head back south."
"Why?" said Dean, already doing a u-turn.
"It's Bobby. He's in trouble."