A/N #1: This story contains a lot of the stuff I had to cut from the drabble. We got Hurt!Dean, Irate!Sammy, Guilty!John and Bemused!Bobby Singer and Pastor Jim Murphy. There's also a lot of nausea and stomach upset still in this story. The opinions of Dean Winchester do not represent this writer. Chapter title taken from the song Pretty Women – The Ladies Who Lunch, written by Stephen Sondheim for Sweeney Todd.
A/N #2: Thanks to Phoebe Davis for her research into growth spurts. Also want to thank everyone who reviewed the Fresh Meat drabble. I haven't had time to respond back to you yet. I have time now, and I will respond. I really appreciate your reading and reviewing, and I want to read and review the wonderful drabbles that were submitted to last week's E/O Challenge.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sam, Dean, Bobby, John, or Pastor Jim. Eric's letting me play with them for a while.
Summary: This is the expanded version of the Fresh Meat drabbles I wrote for Enkidu07's birthday. Teenaged Dean hunts cannibal fuglies and gets closer to the action than he intended.
Chapter 1 - let's hear it for the ladies who lunch
"Depends who you talk to," Jim Murphy said solemnly. "Some say they were human, once." It was kind of unreal, sitting at his kitchen table in Blue Earth, discussing man-eaters. The kitchen was sunlit, plain but cheerful. Dean knew that Mickey Mouse cookie jar on the counter was a gift from one of the parishioners, just like those bright green flowered curtains at the window.
Bobby Singer sat on the wooden chair on the opposite side. John Winchester sat beside Dean. Dean tried to look bored, but he had to admit he was kind of jittering inside, in a good way, though. It was really something, being included in on something like this. Showed that they trusted him with whatever his part was going to be in this, otherwise he'd be on the back porch cooling his heels with Sammy.
This was gonna get messy. Dean was sure of that.
The kitchen table was covered with crime scene photos (no telling where Bobby got those from), books from Pastor Jim's own library, copies of other hunters' journal entries and various other police reports and yellowed newspaper clippings.
"Some say they were part of the Donner party." It was Pastor Jim's own version of one of Dad's marine lectures, but coming from him it really did sound like a sermon. "They ate long pig, and liked it. And they've liked it ever since. Others say that they're a civilized version of Wendigo."
John huffed at that. Bobby grimaced slightly. Wendigos were ravenous hunger given solid form. Even "civilized" would be bad. Hellacious bad.
"And for whatever reason," Jim continued quietly, "they decided to live among their food source. Us. The only constants, the only things we know for sure is this: They're always female. Always tall, and pale, always silver blonde, with light grey eyes. Their teeth and claws are retractable. Needle sharp, very poisonous. Oddly enough, they can be killed with silver, either bullets or blades, and every year they gather together for a feast."
"How many?" John rumbled.
"There are supposedly thirteen of them."
Dean glanced down at this woodprint in one of the open books that showed a demon with pointed teeth chowing down on the guts of this wide-eyed shepherd boy. Damn thing was slurping the kid's intestines down like spaghetti. Some of the crime scene photos showed some of the victims (well, their remains, really) with that same look of disbelief on their faces, mouths stretched wide in a silent, eternal scream.
Dean knew that Sammy was hovering around nearby on the porch, just past the screen door, waiting for them to finish so he could eat lunch.
One of the victims was just shreds and strings of pinkish muscle on gnawed bone. There was just enough skin left that Dean could tell that the fingers and the tip of the nose had been eaten off.
Dean figured he'd pass on lunch.
Dad looked tired. Dean didn't like the redness around his eyes. He'd heard the old man come in the night before, and the fact that Dean heard him at all, stumbling around in the dark, was worrisome enough. Usually John moved silently, like a ghost.
"This time," Jim added quietly, "we have the location and the details for the next feast. We have Gordon Walker to thank for that. He encountered one of these, ah, ladies a few days ago. Convinced her to talk to him before she died. It's at a house out on 4566 Outer Mason Road, in Calumet County, about one hundred twenty miles from here. According to Gordon, she told him that they needed thirteen for the feast. There has been a rash of disappearances in the area. Eight people so far."
"Huh," Bobby scowled. "And why isn't Gordon here himself?"
Pastor Jim smiled. "I called in a favor, and Gordon has been detained by Sheriff Hensen. Just for the next forty eight hours. The feast is tonight. I don't think Gordon's, ah, suited for this kind of operation."
"We need somebody on the inside," John said wearily. He pinched the spot between his eyes. "I'll--"
"I'll do it," Dean said simply. He didn't usually interrupt his dad. John stopped and looked at him, one eyebrow raised.
"Why not? It'll be cake. And besides, Dad," Dean cast a mock serious eye on John and laughed. "Bet they like young, fresh meat. Like me. Your old ass might be a little too tough for 'em."
Pastor Jim sighed. It was obvious that he wasn't thrilled with the idea, either, but this would not have been Dean's first hunt. The boy was smart, resourceful, and level-headed, better than most of the adult hunters Jim had ever seen, even at the age of eighteen. Still…
"We have to discuss this," Jim said gravely, and Bobby, Dean and John nodded solemnly.
Out on the porch the floorboards creaked as Sam got up and started walking away from the house. Dean was the only one who noticed; no one else did.
Sam walked about a quarter mile, out to the pond in the pasture behind the rectory. It was quiet and peaceful back there. Dragonflies zipped through the air all around him. Frogs croaked noisily. He'd spent many a summer back there, catching frogs and dragonflies and letting them go, just to see if he could. The place never failed to calm him.
Not this time.
He was able to hold it in, but when he reached the water's edge his gut rebelled at last, and fourteen year old Sam Winchester was violently ill.
Dean sat on the front porch swing two hours later. Sam had The Look on his face. Dean figured something was up.
Sammy was deadly serious; that no nonsense attitude radiated out from him in waves. He was a miniature John Winchester, his blue green eyes flat and almost slitted. Dean schooled his own features into a neutral look as he strapped the knife sheath to his right ankle. He didn't want to laugh. That would further enrage the smaller beast.
"What are you gonna do if they handcuff you?" Sam said flatly as he eyed the silver knife Dean slipped into the sheath.
Dean flexed his calf muscles against the straps. Snug fit. Just right. He shrugged. "I'll pick the lock."
"Pastor Jim says they eat people. "
"What if they cut your hands off first?" Sam gritted out.
Dean smirked as he slipped four large silver metal paper clips onto the topmost strap. He pulled the leg of his worn blue jeans down. "I'll pick the lock with my teeth."
Way wrong answer.
Everything went stark blinding white in the next second. Dean's ears rung like cathedral bells, and it took him a second to realize that the little snot had actually punched him in the face.
Dean couldn't see, but he sensed it, Sammy's fist coming straight at his already throbbing nose for another go round. Dean put his hand up and his fingers closed around the kid's closed hand. Dean flinched as a fresh bolt of pain shot through his face. "Dude, what the hell is your damn problem?"
The fog burned away, finally, and Dean saw double. The two pissed off Sams melted into just one. Sam's look of outrage deepened.
"You gonna leave me here with Dad. Is that it?"
Dean let go of Sam's fist, experimentally wriggled the tip of his nose with his fingers. Damn. Still hurt, but it probably wasn't broken. "No. We're gonna leave you here with Pastor Jim," he said nasally. He frowned at the sound of his voice.
"Why are you putting yourself out there as bait? Why can't Dad do it?"
"What the hell are you talking about, Sam?"
"You go out there and get yourself killed, I'm stuck with Dad."
"Dad's never here for us, and you know it. You know I'm right, but you take up for him all the time. I heard you in there, Dean. Heard you tell Dad you'd be the bait so he wouldn't have to. He doesn't care about anything but the hunt---"
Dean growled then, low and deep in his throat. He was up on his feet and on Sam in a heartbeat. Dean fisted both hands in Sammy's thin blue t shirt as he turned him around and slammed him hard up against the side of the porch.
"Don't you say it," Dean snarled roughly. "Don't. You hear me, Sam?"
Sam didn't care. Didn't care that Dean was taller than him. Didn't care that he knew that Dean absolutely did not want to hear the words tumbling out of his mouth.
"What'll happen to me if you die out there, huh? You take care of me. You care about me. Dad doesn't. He's never around, and you know it. He's lied to us, Dean. Long as I can remember, he's lied to us. He's never here. You think Mom really wanted us to live this kind of life — "
"Shut up. Shut the hell up, you hear me? I'm not gonna die. I'm not." Dean punctuated each word by pushing Sam back into the porch railing with a hard thump. "You're gonna stay here with Pastor Jim and we'll come back for you when the job's done. And I don't ever wanna hear you say that shit again, you hear me, Sam? Not ever."
Sam growled back. He swiped at Dean's hands, but it was already over. Dean stepped back, watched as his brother jerked away from him and stalked off.
Jesus. Dean remembered a time when Sam wasn't like this, all brooding, and irritable. The slightest thing nowadays set him off. They'd gotten into an argument about toothpaste once, for God's sake. The thin, scratchy bedsheets in the motel room they were staying in was the subject of another Sam bitch rant the next night.
And Dad? John Winchester's failings were a sore spot with Sam, something the kid prodded and poked at all the damn time now. It was easy to moan and bitch about Dad. There was always something for Sam to complain about.
Dead rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. Rolled his shoulders as he felt that now familiar knot of tension form between his shoulder blades. His stomach felt slightly queasy.
Dean rolled his eyes. Damn. Not now.
Dean knew that Sam would come back into the house, before they left on the hunt. Sam would want to talk about Dean's feelings then, and what the hell good was that gonna do? That emo stuff was poison, and Dean stayed as far away from it as he could, whenever he could. He couldn't understand why Sam bitched like a damn girl now. He was getting worse every day.
Dean pushed it all down, the tension and the nausea, pushed it down deep, into his body. It was the only way he knew how to deal. It was his way, and it had worked so far, hadn't it? Now was definitely not the damn freaking time for all that damn freaking emo crap.
This was his gig. His. Not Dad's. He was better suited for it, didn't mind pulling his own weight, doing what he could to keep the family together. Dean took a deep breath, rolled his shoulders again. They were loose again. He felt solid again. It was all good.
He had work to do.
A/N: This is complete. Next chapter's up Saturday, and I will post every other day after that. Phoebe has threatened me with great bodily harm if I do not update Coyote's Tale, among others. SOON. Step away from the whip, Davis. Everybody else, if you don't mind, hit the button and let me know what you think.