"What the—?" Dean stomped around the Impala to the back driver's side door and yanked it open. "Dude! Seriously, we have been over this. You cannot stay with us. We'll come back and visit. Hell, we'll even spring for the beer, but you need to go home. You do have a home, right?"
TJ nodded solemnly, crossed both arms over his chest, dipped his chin and pouted. Pouted! He looked like Sam.
"Damn thing pouts like you too," Dean grumbled and sidestepped just far enough that Sam's punch aimed at his shoulder did nothing but skim through thin air. Snorting and giving Sam a sidelong glance, Dean pulled his gun free and waved it at TJ. "Out! Now! Or I'll shoot your fuzzy ass and drag you out."
Sam darted forward, sliding between Dean and the car. He huffed out an exasperated breath. "You're not shooting him." He turned and looked over his shoulder at TJ. "He's not shooting you. Dean put the gun away."
TJ made a growling noise and pushed out of the car, lumbering to his full height. He shook his head and patted the top of the Impala.
"Hey, watch the paint job. Don't you have a family? Friends?" Dean leaned forward and ran one hand over the top of the car, ensuring himself there were no claw marks.
Nodding, TJ rumbled a soft noise, touched his chest then Sam's then Dean's.
"Yeah, we're your friends," agreed Dean, "but, dude, you can't stay with us. You'd seriously stick out like a sore thumb."
TJ grunted and repeated his earlier gesture, poking Dean's chest three times and Sam's twice. He then patted his own chest twice and the air next to him three times before pointing into the forest.
"Wait—you have a brother? Dean, I think he's saying he has a brother, like we do."
"Good." Taking TJ by the arm, Dean started leading him toward the edge of the road. "I bet your brother is worried about you and misses you and is looking for you so, taa taa."
TJ did his best imitation of a smirk, shrugged his shoulders, and nodded. He followed along with Dean—for about three steps. Digging in his heels and planting his feet, TJ came to a complete stop. Dean, forward momentum still going strong was yanked backwards and nearly fell over. TJ pointed to the car and shook his head.
"I don't think he's leaving, Dean."
Straightening his spine and regaining his somewhat frayed composure, Dean glared at Sam and TJ. "Lemme guess—he's the snot-nosed little brother."
When TJ jumped up and down, clapping his hands, Sam snickered then wiped the back of one hand over his mouth and turned away, mumbling, "I knew I liked him for a good reason."
"I already have one little brother; I sure didn't sign on for two. You," he pointed to Sam. "In the car. You," he turned and aimed the same finger at TJ. "Back in the woods, go home where you belong. Find your own big brother and annoy him."
When Sam just shook his head and opened the car door, sliding inside, Dean did the same. They both turned when the car rocked and the driver's side back door slammed closed. They stared at the Sasquatch. TJ, arms crossed over his chest again, stared back. Dean gripped the steering wheel, leaned forward and banged his forehead against it a few times.
"You know, Dean, we've got bigger problems than a hairy beast in the back seat."
Turning his head to look at Sam, Dean huffed and sat up. "That sounds so wrong." He rolled down his window. Opening the car door and getting out, Dean muttered, "Okay, fine."
"Where are you going?" Sam was out of the car, sprinting to the other side.
TJ peeked out of the window, shrugged, opened his door and got out.
Dean was not going to be outsmarted by an overgrown, stinky version of an ewok.
"Here's the thing, we've just been informed by three," Dean held up three fingers and started to pace. "Count them, three different supernatural beings who probably would rather kill one another than look at each other," He paced closer to the car, reached in the front driver's side window and wound his arm around so he could press down on the lock of the back door, "that the Apocalypse is coming, and they've all admitted to doing something to gain favor with Lucifer and side with him."
"Yeah." Sam frowned, watching Dean as he moved back and forth near the car. "That can't be good. Fighting them is going to be really difficult until we can identify them and…" His words trailed off when Dean took his arm and ushered him around the car to the passenger side, opening the door.
"Get in," Dean hissed in Sam's ear ignoring the odd look he got from his little brother he gave Sam a shove toward the car.
"Will you quit shoving me!" blurted Sam, digging his heels in like TJ had moments before.
"No. He," Dean pointed at the Sasquatch, "needs to go home—HIS home—and we need to get on the road."
"I'm not disagreeing with you, I just…" Sam's words were cut off when TJ let out a gusty sigh, batted Dean to the side, and grabbed Sam. With uncanny ease, the Sasquatch tossed Sam up on his shoulder, spun around, and jogged away from the Impala. Sam yelped at the sudden, unexpected change in altitude and orientation. He thrashed around but TJ had too good a hold on him for it to make the least bit of difference.
"Sonuva—" Regaining his balance, Dean lunged after them.
Hanging limply in an awkward inverted V position, Sam squeezed his eyes shut as the flora and fauna whizzed by making him increasingly dizzy. With the beast's shoulder pressing painfully into his diaphragm, the young hunter found himself progressively more short of breath, and the rank fur fanning across his face did little to help the situation. "Uhh, TJ," he wheezed, "y-you c-can put me down now. Really. I-I…I'll…we'll…" The Sasquatch's grip tightened and he picked up speed. Sam shut up and held on for dear life. A stray piece of fur tickled his nose and Sam let out an explosive sneeze, accidently thumping his face on the Sasquatch's muscular back during the inevitable recoil.
After what seemed like an eternity, the young hunter felt TJ slow and finally came to a halt. The creature slowly lowered Sam to his feet, and he stood swaying, a little dizzy and somewhat nauseous after his wild ride. Gaze roaming the small clearing, Sam stood drawing in deep breaths, absently noting the acrid tang of wood smoke somewhere nearby. His head jerked to the right as Dean came crashing through the trees, not stopping until he was less than a foot away.
Careening to a halt with a bit of a backpedal, Dean scowled at both the Sasquatch and his little brother, harsh breaths sawing in and out of overworked lungs. "What. The. Hell?"
"Guess he wanted us to come with him," muttered Sam, shrugging.
The older Winchester bent over and rested his hands on his knees, still panting heavily. "At least you got to go for the ride," he groused.
Sam rubbed at his abused abdomen. "Yeah. Some ride. Next time you take the Sasquatch Express and I'll run."
TJ threw back his head and let loose with a loud warble. After a few long seconds, the surrounding underbrush rattled and rustled before a couple of dozen or so other Sasquatches tentatively entered the clearing and surrounded Sam, Dean, and TJ.
Dean's gaze flew to Sam then back to the creatures surrounding them. "Uh, should we be worried?" He instinctively moved closer to his brother, unconsciously falling into a hunter's stance.
Sam contemplated their situation with a slight frown. "I don't," he hesitated, "I don't think so."
TJ grinned wide, showing a plethora of sharp teeth. He chortled and warbled, pointed an emphatic finger at the humans. Then without warning, he clapped the two hunters on their backs causing them to stumble forward with the force of such enthusiastic camaraderie.
One Sasquatch, with darker fur than TJ's, detached himself from the crowd and strode forward. When he reached TJ, a long arm shot out delivering a blow to the shorter Sasquatch's shoulder. As if that were a signal, the two suddenly hit the ground, rolling around and wrestling in a full-on tussle, what sounded like an odd sort of laughter filling the air.
Sam glanced at Dean. "I'm guessing that must be the brother."
Dean chuckled and shook his head. "Yeah and I remember many a time when we solved our issues just like that too."
When the wrestling match was over, the two Sasquatches stood, grinned goofily at one another and, along with the rest of their kind, began to walk away. TJ looked over his shoulder and motioned for the Winchesters to follow.
As a whole, the group of creatures moved deeper into the woods and entered another, smaller, clearing. A small fire burned in its center. TJ, his brother, and several others gathered round and sat, motioning for Sam and Dean to do the same.
A shorter, blonder Sasquatch, clearly a female, approached and offered the brothers a rudimentary bowl filled with an assortment of nuts and berries. She giggled when they refused the offering and patted them both, none too gently, on their heads. She batted her eyelashes and cooed causing both men to squirm uncomfortably.
"Dean, your super smooth Winchester charm is working overtime, I think she likes you," whispered Sam out of the corner of his mouth.
"Uh. Uh. Think again, Sammy," Dean replied, "those big brown eyes are all for you. You must be more her type."
They were both grateful when TJ commanded their attention once again. Their Sasquatch friend held a stick and tapped it on the ground a few times before laboriously spelling out "We Aanyeti" in the dirt.
Sam glanced over at his brother. Dean was staring at the Sasquatch with his jaw dropped down and his mouth hanging open. It took a lot of self control on Sam's part not to reach over and push his brother's mouth shut. Motioning in a circle, hoping to indicate the entire group, Sam asked, "You call yourselves Aanyeti?"
TJ nodded, as did a few of the others.
Dean straightened, looked around then focused on Sam. "At least we got the yeti part right."
Taking a better look at the area immediately outside of the camp circle, Sam tapped against Dean's arm and dipped his head slightly to the perimeter. Dean squinted, leaned forward, sucked in a breath then sat back, amazed expression turned to Sam whispering, "It's like one of those pictures in the newspaper where you find the hidden stuff."
Sam grinned. It'd taken a few minutes sitting there, staring into the woods, but eventually the outlines of huts stood out from the background forest. Some had flowers in front of them. Others had decorations made from grasses, twigs and stones hanging near the doorways. Each one, while blending perfectly with its surrounding was unique and different from the others. Sam could almost look around the group and pick out which individuals lived in which huts.
"It's a whole Sasqu—Aanyeti city," Dean said in a low voice, gaze moving in a slow circle, resting for a few seconds on each hut.
"Yeah," Sam agreed, his voice equally as low as his brother's. "Incredible, isn't it?"
TJ gently tapped on Sam's shoulder and motioned him to follow. Sam rubbed at his still sore belly, happy he was being asked to walk, not get another jaunt on the Sasquatch Express. Not only did TJ have boney shoulders, close acquaintance with his fur apparently irritated Sam's sinuses. Standing and stretching before he bent and brushed his jeans clean, Sam waited while Dean did the same. They both stood looking at TJ. He motioned to them again to follow, turned and headed for the huts.
The Aanyeti jogged along a path between two of the larger huts, Dean and Sam following behind him. A quick glance over his shoulder and Sam saw it was the three of them again, none of the others were following. At least not that he could see. Sam suspected if TJ's brother was anything like his they were certainly being followed and watched very closely.
They had gone maybe a couple of miles, Sam couldn't be sure since it wasn't a straight line, there were twists and turns often taking them through a small gorge or around steeper ground. Eventually TJ stopped at the entrance to a cave, hesitated only a few seconds, turned to be sure they were still following, and ducked inside.
Dean followed, somewhat reluctantly, Sam thought. As soon as Sam stepped completely inside, Dean's arm moved away from his side, silently—and probably unconsciously—marking the line Sam was not to cross. Stopping for a few seconds to let his eyes adjust to the dim light, Sam ignored his brother's actions, didn't cross the line, and took a good look around.
It was a cave. Pretty much like any other cave. Dark, dank, moisture oozing down the walls gave them a sparkly look. He watched as Dean looked up, down and to the side, taking in every detail Sam was sure. They hadn't had good luck in caves and Sam knew Dean was as uncomfortable in this one as Sam.
TJ seemed perfectly oblivious, and apparently had ultraviolet vision because he bounced over the craggy ground, leading them deeper into the cave. What they'd thought was one cave turned out to be several connected together. Sam wondered if this was natural or if the Aanyeti had done this somehow. TJ led them to one smaller cave, nothing more than a room really off the main cavern.
Immediately Sam saw a difference in this particular area. The ground was covered with dried grass, herbs, and flowers, taking away the damp, musty odor of the rest of the caverns. The walls were covered with some powdery substance that kept them dry and turned them a lighter shade. There were torches every few feet along the walls.
Dean stepped away from Sam toward one of the torches, pulling his lighter from his pocket as he did so. His attention, however, suddenly became more focused on the wall next to the torch. Against the lighter background were darker markings. Sam edged closer. Reaching out, he pointed to the darker patches on the wall, fingertips not quite brushing against them. They looked like the Aanyeti version of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
"Dean, do you see—?"
"Yeah," Dean whispered. Lifting the lighter, he ignited the first torch.
Sam leaned forward, squinting as he looked over Dean's shoulder. "I think that's you, your jacket, your amulet."
"Yeah, and my gun pointed at your head," Dean mumbled. There was clearly blood coming from the back of Sam's head and he was falling backwards, John grinning triumphantly in the background.
As they moved around the room, lighting torches and looking at the drawings, it was plain all of them were of Dean and Sam, some with John, some with Lucifer. Others showed destruction of cities and land. One particularly disturbing one showed Sam surrounded by the smoky black of demons while Lucifer struck Dean down. Another depicted how the brothers killed John. Together, the pictures told an all too painful story, and all with outcomes Sam never wanted to see and certainly didn't want to think about.
When a shiver rippled down his spine, Dean turned and looked over his shoulder, critical gaze moving up and down Sam. He couldn't do much more than offer Dean a weak smile.
Movement behind them made Sam turn. As he'd suspected TJ's brother had also followed along and was now standing beside TJ, both watching the Winchester brothers quietly. Long, silent minutes ticked by with the two sets of siblings looking at one another. Finally TJ moved, he placed one paw on his own brother's shoulder, Sam saw how his digits squeezed tightly.
Then TJ motioned between them and Sam and Dean and in a second sweeping motion moved his free arm around, indicating the walls of the cave.
"All these different things can happen?" Dean asked. "One of them will?"
TJ nodded, again he motioned between his brother and himself and the Winchesters. Bunching his free hand into a fist he thumped it hard a few times against his chest.
"They're on our side," Sam said softly.
Both Aanyeti nodded, TJ clapped.
When they returned to the main Aanyeti village, the offer of food and drink was gratefully accepted by both Dean and Sam.
The walk back to the car was a quiet one between the brothers. They'd stayed in the Aanyeti village all night, not wanting to risk traveling on foot in the woods after dark. When they reached the Impala, Sam scuffed his toe along the gravel shoulder of the road. He wandered to the back of the car and leaned against it. Dean settled beside him, gave him a sidelong glance but said nothing.
"How could they know all that?" Sam finally asked, his voice sounding small to his ears.
Beside him he felt Dean's shoulders rise and drop. "I have no idea. But, one thing I very clearly got, besides the fact that they're on our side and will fight with us, is there are many possible outcomes."
"It's kind of cool, knowing something so mythical exists and would help us, wants us to win."
"Yeah," Dean agreed.
"In all those pictures, all those possible outcomes, one of us, you or me or Dad, one of us died."
Dean shoved away from the car, dug his keys from his pocket and headed for the driver's side door. "Two of you already have."