The call had been from Bobby. An old friend of his had gone missing, and the wife hadn't known who else to contact. She'd been in hysterics when Sam had called. Apparently during the night her kids had gone missing too.
The brothers jumped in the car, and reached her house the next day.
Dean parked on the side of a dirt road a little back from all the police activity. There was yellow tape surrounding the backyard, and officers with bored expressions took pictures of patches of trees with very little evidence around them.
The Winchester's weren't wearing suits, or impersonating any type of law enforcement. The woman knew who and what they were, and the disguise was unnecessary.
For a moment they leaned against the car.
"That's a nice house."
Dean sarcastically looked at the forest surrounding them. "A little isolated."
Sam snorted. "This coming from you? Mr. Isolationist?"
"Psh. We can defend ourselves. Civilians living out here? That's just asking for trouble."
Dean's phone rang. He flipped it open. "Hello? Hey, Cas." He rolled his eyes and grinned. "You don't need to find random reasons to hang out with us... No, I… No Cas, it means… No… Whatever, we're kind of busy right now so if you want to..." Dean glanced over and found Sam grinning widely at him. He scowled and punched his brother, quickly starting a mock fight between the two.
Sam darted a hand out, and snatched the phone from Dean. "Hey Cas!" He said brightly, before rattling off their address.
There was a fluttering of wings and then the angel stood before them. He tilted his head to the side, analyzing Dean. "Why would I want to 'hang out' with you? I do not wish to see you hanged."
Sam waggled his eyebrows at Dean.
Dean shoved him. "Bitch." He grabbed Castiel's hand and started tugging him towards the door. The angel smiled at him warmly.
Sam laughed and ran to catch up. "Whatever, jerk."
Their footsteps crunched as they made their way up the gravel driveway. A man walked passed them wearing some kind of blue windbreaker and a hat with giant yellow lettering. Dean laughed. "Sam look, what's NCIS? Too good to be a cop, but too bad to be in the FBI?"
Sam elbowed him sharply as one of the agents looked up from his notebook and glared at them. He looked like he was about to walk over when a shout from the door arrested their attention.
"Oh, thank God, thank God!"
A young woman launched herself down the stairs of her house, and quickly ran the short distance to the three men. She threw herself into Sam's arms and began to cry softly.
Sam wrapped his arms around her and whispered comforting words. Dean placed a hand on her arm. "Can we talk inside?"
The woman pulled back and nodded as she wiped at her eyes. "Of course, where are my manners? Come in, come in."
The house was well furnished, with dark wood floors and a wide open design that made it seem twice as big as it really was. She led them through a set of oak doors, and into a cozy living room.
Dean pulled Castiel close, his eyes wandering across the many pictures hanging on the walls. He cleared his throat. "Bobby didn't give us a lot of details. Could you tell us a bit about your family?"
The woman nodded sadly, and wrapped herself up in an old blanket. She indicated to a few chairs, and sat herself on a couch. "My husband used to be in the Navy. He loved to hunt. Then a few nights ago he said that something was out there. He thought it was a bear, he, uh, he found some deep gashes in a few trees or something." She sniffed. Sam placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Anyway, a few days ago he heard something near by, and he went out back and… and… there were screams and he never came back."
Sam and Dean shared a look. Dean nodded.
Sam smiled reassuringly at the woman as Dean leaned close. "When did the kids go missing?"
A hand passed over her eyes, as she shuddered, struggling not to cry. "Last night. David and Lizzy. They're both ten. Twins. They were outside waiting for their father to come home, and then they were just gone."
A few tears tracked down her cheeks before she stood up abruptly, needing leave before she completely broke down. Castiel was immediately in front of her, his blue eyes staring into hers imploringly. "We will find your children."
His gaze was clear, and his voice was sure. He was not hoping, he was promising. She could not help but believe him. She fell into his arms, and held him tight. "Thank you."
There was a knock. Everyone looked up. The same agent from outside was watching them suspiciously. Castiel watched him with equal intensity. "Excuse me Miss. Do you know these men?"
"Yes. They're old friends of mine."
Dean straightened in his chair. "Who are you, exactly?"
"I'm Agent McGee. Could you three step outside please?"
Sam and Dean sighed, and stood up. Dean shook the woman's hand, and Sam smiled reassuringly. Dean took Castiel by the arm and led him outside where another agent was waiting.
"I'm Agent DiNozzo. So, how do you know Mrs. Dawson?"
The boys did their best to look innocent. "She's a good friend of ours. We were just stopping in to offer emotional support."
"Can you account for your whereabouts the past three days?"
Dean's eyes widened dramatically. "On the road, officer. Coming here. Now if that's all we'll be leaving."
McGee eyed them suspiciously as they walked away towards a black car. "There's something familiar about two of those guys."
They did their best to walk calmly. Hurrying is always a dead giveaway that you don't want to be found. Dean opened the trunk. "Windego, right?"
"Great. Just great." He passed two flair guns to Sam and took two for himself. He slammed the trunk shut. "Well, ladies. Let's get hiking."
McGee stared after the three men. They walked over to a black '67 Chevy Impala, got something out of the trunk and then walked away into the woods.
DiNozzo shook his head. "Are you going to help gather forensics probie, or are you just going to watch the pretty boys?" He batted his eyes theatrically before turning back to his notepad. "Watch out, if Gibbs catches you –"
"Catches him doing what?"
DiNozzo whipped around, "Oh, nothing! Nothing, boss."
"It's really nothing, sir. The lady of the house just had three visitors…"
"And we didn't hold them?"
"Alright, someone want to tell me who they were?"
"…We…don't really know, boss."
Gibbs smacked DiNozzo's head. "Then figure it out."
They walked for a long time before they found the right clearing. The entrance was set back in a grove of trees, partially covered by bushes, and hanging branches.
Dean frowned at Sam. Sam shrugged, and together they entered.
It was dark inside. Light from the entrance only penetrated a foot of the gloom, and the rest was lost from sight.
"Dean… this is a really bad idea."
"What are you? Scared?"
Sam glared at Dean. "If we all die, I will so kill you."
"Shut up and hand me a flare."
Something swooped out of the dark, and threw Sam to the ground. Dean fired and missed, lighting up the gloom for a moment and revealing the hideous creature behind them before it darted away.
Castiel helped Sam to his feet.
In the dark, the thing screamed.
McGee got on the phone with Abby, giving her a description of the three men and sorting through a possible list of suspects. DiNozzo went back inside to talk to the widow. He sat down and smiled. "I'd like to talk to you about the three men who were just here."
The woman stiffened.
"We're worried they might have your children."
She scoffed. "They don't."
"How can you be so sure?"
She leaned in close, her eyes hard. "They don't."
DiNozzo's grin faultered, but he dropped the subject. "Can you tell me their names?"
"Why do you need to know?"
"Ma'm, we're just trying to help."
"Then help! My kids are out their somewhere, and you harassing these kind young boys is not helping at all!"
DiNozzo sighed and stood up. He shook her hand and went outside to see how McGee was doing.
"Doing any work out here, probie?"
McGee looked white. "I think we found out who they are."
"Well? I'm not getting any younger over here."
McGee picked up a small laptop from out of a van and turned the screen to DiNozzo. Two of the men stared out of it.
"Yeah, that's them. What are their names?"
"Sam and Dean Winchester."
"What? I thought they were dead!"
McGee nodded, "We all did." His eyes swept the area quickly. "We're going to need more men."
"Cas! Behind you!"
The angel turned and caught the Windego as it launched at him. Holding it securely he propelled himself towards Dean.
The younger Winchester tossed Dean the last flare. Of all the flairs they'd brought, they'd missed each time. If this one failed, they would be royally screwed.
The Windego slashed at Castiel's face and back, struggling vainly to free itself. He could feel the creature begin to slip from his hands. "Dean!" He growled. "Do it now!"
"You got it."
Dean fired, and with a soul searing scream the creature lit up, burning internally until there was nothing left but ash.
The three stood for a moment, panting, each trying to catch his breath. Sam noticed the dark stains moving along Castiel's trench coat, falling in dark ropes and drops at the angel's feet. "Cas, man, are you alright?"
Castiel's head tilted as he turned to face Sam. The hunter noticed the front of his jacket was burned black where he'd been holding the creature, and his face was covered with dark ash mixing with blood from the deep gashes covering his forehead and neck. "I will be fine."
"Really?" Dean took the angel's chin in his hand, turning him this way and that. "Cause you don't look fine."
As Castiel's blue eyes bore into his, the gashes healed themselves, leaving nothing but trails of blood. Dean smiled and kissed him softly before releasing him.
"Okay." He grinned. "Let's find the kids."
Set a little back, almost hidden completely by the shadows, they found a boarded up shaft; inside they could hear someone whimpering. Sam grabbed one end of a board while Dean grabbed the other, and they pulled as hard as they could; it didn't budge. Panting Sam took a step back. "Cas, would you mind?"
The angel stepped between them, grabbed the board and pulled. It slipped out easily.
Dean scowled. "Yeah, but we loosened it."
Castiel tilted his head in confusion. Sam laughed and patted Dean's back condescendingly. "Of course we did, Dean."
Slowly they entered the dark cavern before them. In the background there was a steady drip of water echoing back and forth as they descended into the darkness. They walked for five minutes through the narrow shaft before it opened up. Sam could dimly make out wooden beams designed to hold the ceiling up. Hanging in the center of the room were two bodies.
Dean approached the body on the left, while Sam took the right.
There was a scream when Dean touched the girl. "Shh, hush. It's okay, sweetheart. We're here to help." Behind him, Sam was giving the same assurances to a small boy. "Come on. Let's get you down."
Within minutes they were following the pathway out. Castiel led the party, and carefully moved to avoid any rocks or bits of wood to help keep the children from falling. When they reached the open air, the kids started to cry in relief.
The little boy tugged at Sam's hand. "Can we go home now?"
It was a long trek out, and the children were exhausted. As the sun began to set, Castiel picked up the girl so she could sleep. The boy faired a little better, but soon he was cradled in Sam's arms as well.
"I don't see why you don't have to carry a kid."
"Because, Sammy. I'm the navigator, and thus much more important than you."
"Really? Well I think that Cas and I get the beds tonight then. You can sleep in the car."
"What? But Cas doesn't even need a bed!"
"Sucks to be you Mr. Important."
"Damn it. Cas! Give me the kid!"
The angel looked at him innocently. "She is quite content where she is, Dean."
"Then… can I bunk with you tonight?"
They both looked at Sam. He rolled his eyes. "Gah. Okay, fine."
Soon the trees began to thin, and the roof of the house could be seen. Sam paused. "This is going to be bad."
Dean smirked. "What's going to be bad?"
"Think about it. The area is swarming with police, and we're about to walk up with the children. They're going to think we're the ones who kidnapped them in the first place."
Dean looked at the house. He shook his head. "That woman in there asked for our help, and we will give it to her. The officers can shove it."
Sam groaned. "Fine. I've always wanted to be in police custody."
"Shut up, bitch."
They continued walking and soon they were by the Impala. Dean sighed. "Now or never."
Their feet crunched softly as they approached the house. All of the officers stopped to watch them. Mystified, the people with NCIS marked on their hats slowly approached them. Their mouths hung open as though they couldn't believe what they were seeing. As they walked passed, Dean could swear he heard someone say, "They came back? Tell Gibbs."
The door opened and the woman stepped out onto the patio. She gasped, and ran down to them. In their arms, the children awoke, and scrambled down, meeting her halfway.
With a smile Dean laid a hand on Sam's shoulder. "I love when a hunt ends well."
There was a loud click as a pair of handcuffs snapped into place. Sam and Dean followed the silver up to where it met the hands of a detective with gray hair.
Dean smirked. "No good deed goes unpunished."