A 'Supernatural' oneshot, referencing the Season 2 Episode- 'Bloodlust'. Contains some language and violent themes. I do not own 'Supernatural' or any of the characters featured within.
This was my contribution to The Fandoms Fight The Floods compilation, which raised money those affected by the flooding in Australia earlier this year. Thank you to everyone who donated.
23rd January 1995
'Easy Sleep' Motel
The full moon should have been a dead giveaway as far as John Winchester was concerned. However, he had to cut his son some slack since the case at hand was the first he had allowed Dean to actively participate in. Despite the fact that John had been hauling his children across the continental US since they were practically infants, his own conscience would never have permitted him to actually include them in a hunt until they were of an appropriate age. The eve of Dean's sixteenth birthday seemed the ideal time to John to take the boy and fashion from him 'the man' so to speak. John had considered what his late wife Mary would have thought about her children being raised up as hunters, but he had decided nonetheless that sending the boys out into the world naive and unprepared was just downright irresponsible. John had always been honest with his boys as to what exactly may be lurking underneath their beds, thus it had seemed almost cruel to refuse to arm them against such things.
Since Mary's death Dean had waited eagerly for the day that he would be permitted to fight at his father's side. Now that day had finally arrived, Dean didn't mind admitting that he was as edgy as a plump turkey at Thanksgiving.
John watched through narrowed eyes as Dean sat on the edge of the motel bed stuffing shells into the barrel of a shotgun. His hands trembled visibly but John paid no mind to his son's obvious nerves; after all, fear kept a man on his toes and more often than not kept him breathing. Dean had been taught to discharge a weapon from an early age but tonight the shotgun felt almost alien to him. His discomfort was evident but as usual Dean was ready with a cocksure smile designed to throw everyone off the trail.
"You know what we're dealing with here Dean?" John barked, watching as Dean fumbled with the shotgun and almost sent it tumbling to the floor. John gritted his teeth, knowing that patience would be a requirement to get him through the night.
"Yes sir," Dean replied, straightening up under his father's scrutiny, "Werewolf."
In actual fact 'werewolf' had been third on Dean's list of possible suspects, which to John's chagrin had been topped by 'Freddy Kruger' and 'Pumpkinhead'.
"Then you know that shotgun's not gonna do a lick of good?" demanded John, one thick eyebrow raised in questioning. Dean swallowed hard and nodded.
"No sir," he answered, hesitating before he added, "but one of these in his hairy ass will sure as hell slow him down a little."
John's lips curved upwards into a small smile that he quickly masked behind a cough. The hunt was just about to begin and the last thing arrogant young Dean Winchester needed was a swelled head.
"You think this is a joke Dean?" John demanded, cocking his head and appraising his son. Dean vehemently shook his head and half stumbled to his feet, clutching his weapon in front of him. John noted that he looked less now like a little boy playing at soldiers and more like a young man who meant business. John nodded his approval.
"Just remember to stay away from its teeth and you'll be alright," John advised, slapping Dean encouragingly on the back as he collected his own belongings and gestured towards the door of the motel room. "Sammy! Let's go."
The Yankee Doodle Diner
There had been seven attacks within the last two months, all of which had occurred during the full moon. The victims had all been mutilated to the point that dental records had been the only sure way of identifying them, and those were some case photos that Dean had not relished looking at.
The little that Dean knew about werewolves had been gleaned from a combination of such movie classics as 'An American Werewolf in London', and an ancient book of lore that he had discovered one rainy day at Bobby's house. Dean knew that the only sure way to kill the sucker would be destroying the heart, preferably with something silver, and so when he had watched his father loading a crossbow into the trunk of the Impala a shiver of excitement had coursed through his body. Dean knew that before the night was through he would be bagging himself a wolf hide with that crossbow, and he could hardly wait. However, for the moment, Dean was otherwise engaged.
John had pulled over at The Yankee Doodle Diner on a fact finding mission and Dean, having spotted the head cheerleader at his current high school in the parking lot, had volunteered his services without hesitation. He was a devoted son indeed.
"So Amy," said Dean, leaning against the bonnet of a parked car and flashing the cheerleader a winning smile.
"It's Edie," she replied, her expression somewhat indignant. Dean deliberately ignored his blunder and reached out in order to push a tendril of hair behind Edie's ear. Her cheeks coloured a little and Edie gazed up at Dean through thick lashes.
"You sure you don't need someone to walk you home sweetheart?" Dean enquired, his green eyes sparkling with the hidden promise behind his words. Edie sighed, her disappointment evident in the downward turn of her lips.
"I'd love to but my Dad's kind of freakin' out after all these murders. He's picking me up at ten thirty," said Edie, her slightly upturned nose wrinkling in disdain. She folded her arms across her ample chest and pouted.
"Wow sucks to be you," said Dean, "but better safe than sorry I guess."
"You sound just like him," Edie growled, tossing her hair over her shoulder contemptuously, "like I told him- I can take care of myself."
"Sure you can," Dean agreed, his expression earnest although internally he was rolling his eyes and snickering. "But from what I hear some of the... uh... victims... weren't exactly helpless themselves."
Edie shook her head, her blue eyes sparkling as she leaned closer to Dean and dropped her voice to a whisper. "Laura's Dad works over at the coroner's office and he said that the last two guys... Jeff Bride, the quarterback from school, and Kevin Stacey, that crazy old drunk bum that hangs around town... they were like missing their... spleens or something."
Dean swallowed hard, shaking his head as he supplied helpfully, "You mean their hearts?"
"Yeah, yeah, their hearts," Edie confirmed, her eyes widening a little and her rosy lips contorting into an almost ghoulish grin. "How cool is that?"
"Like seven levels," Dean drawled with a sigh. He shot a quick glance towards the Impala where his father hunkered over the steering wheel whilst Sammy sat in the backseat working on his algebra homework. The kid was all kinds of weird as far as Dean was concerned. One main benefit of skipping town so often was that Dean hardly ever was in one place long enough to actually be required to hand in an assignment. Sammy did them all anyway whether he got to hand them in or not.
"Listen Edie," Dean began. He trailed off abruptly as from somewhere behind the diner an unearthly howl tore through the night air. Edie and the several other students who had collected in the parking lot froze and simultaneously turned their gazes towards the direction of the sound. Dean shoved his hand in the pocket of his jacket and his fingers closed around the handle of the silver letter opener he had swiped earlier from the motel. For a few moments there was total silence in the parking lot save for the faint strains of music that could be heard emanating from the open window of the diner. The students exchanged glances and returned to their conversations apparently nonplussed.
"You were saying?" Edie pressed, affixing Dean with a dazzling smile. In the next instant, Dean had flung himself across the parking lot at the petite blonde. The pair tumbled to the ground and nothing but a strangled squeak escaped Edie's lips. Gasping for breath, Dean rolled off the cheerleader and onto his back just in time to see the enormous wolf-like creature land in the spot that only moments ago Edie had occupied.
The monster paused, inclining its long snout towards the sky and sniffing at the air. Dean noted that the face of the human who had fallen victim to the curse was still somewhat discernable; a young male perhaps in his late teens who Dean thought he may have recognised as the son of the town doctor. The theory would certainly explain why almost every one of the murder victims had in some way been linked to the local high school. The guy was an honour roll student who was tipped for success; although his dreams were about to be cut abruptly short if Dean's theory was indeed correct.
Yellow eyes narrowed and slowly focused themselves upon Edie, whose mouth had fallen open in terror. The girl pressed her back helplessly against the tarmac, her breath coming in strangled gasps that Dean found mildly irritating but which he ignored for the moment.
The monster's lips pealed back to reveal two rows of gleaming white fangs that were faintly stained with a crimson substance Dean took to be blood. Then tossing back its shaggy head, the wolf howled once again- a haunting din that sent a jolt of adrenaline through Dean's body. Before the wolf could lunge at the girl for a second time, Dean slipped the letter opener from his pocket and jabbed at the creature. The jocks, frozen in their terror, simply watched as the new kid lashed out at the monster with what appeared to be a pitiful looking blade. Dean raked a long gash across the beast's hairy chest. The werewolf roared in agony as a cloud of steam poured from the wound almost as if the blade had seared the skin somehow. That was when Edie finally began to scream.
As though wrenched to their senses, the three burly jocks raced towards the diner with Edie following close behind. Her intermittent shrieks could be heard in the parking lot long after the door of the diner had slammed shut behind her. Dean grinned at the wolf and brandished the letter opener as though it were a Samurai sword.
"Sit," Dean commanded in a mocking tone that suggested he was addressing a mere Labrador. The werewolf dived at Dean, who deftly side stepped at the last moment, sending the wolf careering head first into a nearby car. The bonnet and fender buckled under the weight of the monster and Dean winced as he felt a pang of sympathy for the ignorant owner of the car. The wolf rose unsteadily to its feet and shook its head as though stunned.
"Dean! The woods..." John Winchester yelled, hanging half out of the driver door of the Impala in order to be heard above the sounds of the fray. Dean knew that turning to acknowledge his father would be a fatal mistake and so instead he simply took off running towards the direction of the rather aptly named Hunter's Wood. Without pausing to cast a glance over his shoulder, Dean knew that the wolf was already in pursuit. He could almost feel the fetid breath on the back of his neck. Dean simply smiled as in the distance he heard the comforting and familiar sound of the Impala's engine roaring to life as John prepared to give chase.
The tyres of the Impala squealed as John pulled over in a lay by that was situated conveniently just outside the main entrance of the woods. He yanked the keys out of the ignition and pocketed them, not trusting Sammy quite enough yet to leave him in charge of them.
John's youngest son sat in the backseat, his belt fastened snugly and a textbook open in his lap. Sammy's head was bent low over the book and his features obscured by a curtain of thick brown hair. John was in two minds as to whether or not he should abandon his eleven year old son, who would be defenceless should the werewolf or indeed any other creature happen upon him. John's decision was made for him however as he quickly realised that the crossbow that Dean required was locked away in the trunk.
"You stay right here Sammy, you got me?" John demanded, jabbing his finger in the boy's direction. Sam barely glanced up, too absorbed in his work to devote much attention to his father. Hunting was dumb in Sam's opinion. Why go looking for trouble as hard as his father did when it would find you just as easily if it wanted?
"Sure Dad," Sam replied finally when he realised that John was awaiting an audible answer. "I'll be fine. Now go help Dean."
Sam knew that his brother would be unbearable for the next few months should he manage to take down an entire werewolf alone on his first hunt. Sam was rather eager for that not to happen and, although he hoped that no actual harm would come to his big brother, he would be secretly pleased if Dean was knocked down a peg or two.
John slammed the car door closed behind him. He retrieved the crossbow from the trunk and stuffed a handful of silver tipped arrows into his pocket before taking off at surprising speed into the woods from which he could already hear the sounds of furious howling.
Dean was beginning to tire. He had seriously underestimated the distance from the diner to the woods and was now beginning to regret his decision to eat two burritos in the parking lot beforehand. His lungs burned with the effort his aching calves were putting in, and Dean was certain that he was either going to blow chunks or hyperventilate. Rather than await one fate or the other, Dean elected to slow down.
The werewolf crashed through the trees behind him but Dean jogged on unperturbed. He knew his father would show up sooner or later and so all he had to do until then was hold the ugly sucker off. How hard could distracting one little werewolf be?
Dean made a quick executive decision and selected a sturdy looking tree. Placing the letter opener between his teeth, Dean wasted no time in shimmying up the trunk of the tree and into the highest branch capable of supporting his weight.
The werewolf stood at over seven feet tall and so Dean was careful to ensure that he climbed high enough to be out of swiping distance. The wolf skidded to a halt at the bottom of the oak and reared up on its hind legs once again. It raked its talons down the trunk of the tree, saliva dripping from the corners of its mouth as it stared ravenously up at Dean.
"Oh I bet you'd like a piece of this..." Dean muttered, clinging to the branch above his head and scouring the ground below for any signs of his father's arrival. There were none. Dean cursed mentally, unsure as to how long he would be forced to wait it out in the tree like some overgrown sparrow.
Dean's pondering was answered within the next second when the enraged werewolf began hurling itself against the base of the tree. Dean swayed in the branches, his knuckles whitening as he put in every effort to cling to his perch. The werewolf snapped its teeth and repeated the assault against the oak, which stood unrelenting despite the weight of the creature. Dean was just beginning to contemplate the possibility of the wolf attempting to climb the tree itself when a sickening crack drew his attention to the branch he stood upon. The limb was bowing ominously in the middle. Dean drew in a tentative breath and attempted to remain as still as possible, realising that even the slightest twitch could prove fatal. However, the werewolf chose that moment to renew its efforts at shaking its prey from the tree, and once again slammed its body against the trunk. Dean was tumbling towards the ground before he had even registered the fact that the branch had broken.
Dean fell silently, too shocked and afraid to utter even the faintest cry. He barely had time to screw his eyes closed and brace himself for the impact his body would make upon the leaf strewn ground. Anticipating pain, Dean took a deep breath.
Suddenly, his body jerked and his descent was stalled. Dean's eyes flew open and he realised that he was dangling above the wolf's head now. The collar of his jacket had become snagged on a protruding branch which seemed for the moment to be holding his weight. The werewolf yowled in frustration and crouched low to the ground in preparation to leap at Dean.
Dean kicked out sharply and the toe of his boot connected with the wolf's muzzle, sending the creature sprawling across the ground.
Dean's head whipped around at the sound of his name just in time to see his father crash through the trees to the left clutching the crossbow in his arms. Dean sighed in relief as John raised the weapon in front of him. However, before he could take aim the werewolf was on its feet and diving towards John with its jaws wide open. With little other choice available, John threw himself clear of the wolf and landed hard on his shoulder. The crossbow flew from his hands and skittered across the ground to rest somewhere in the undergrowth. Dean cursed aloud and began furiously swiping at the air in an effort to dislodge himself from the tree.
The werewolf was astride John now and the hunter was using both hands to prise the monster's maw away from his face. Thick globules of saliva splashed onto John's forehead but the man gritted his teeth and continued to wrestle with the wolf that was almost twice his size.
"The crossbow Dean..." John yelled, bringing his knee up into the wolf's stomach and attempting to throw the creature over his head. He remained pinned beneath the monster. With a grimace of displeasure, Dean realised that he was held fast and that there was now only one means of escape for him. Gritting his teeth, Dean began to shimmy out of the distressed brown leather jacket that he had blown over a months worth of poker winnings on. If he survived this tussle with the werewolf Dean knew that he would be shimmying back up that tree to retrieve his coat come hell or high water. Finally, pulling his arm free of his jacket sleeve Dean dropped to the ground.
He landed on his feet but his legs immediately buckled beneath him and Dean rolled to the side as a jolt of pain shot through his right ankle. Feeling something unbearably sharp dig into his chest, Dean groaned and reached around to dislodge the offending object. As his fingers closed around the shaft of the crossbow, Dean Winchester's lips curved into an assured smile.
"Hey, Lassie..." Dean snarled, rolling onto his back and affixing the werewolf with a murderous glare. The wolf paused in its attack and turned to regard Dean, its large head cocked questioningly to one side.
"Come get me," Dean mocked, beckoning the wolf with hand. Seeming to contemplate the challenge for a moment, the werewolf tossed back its head and howled before rushing Dean on its hind legs. When the wolf was within arms length, Dean whipped the crossbow from behind his back and squeezed the trigger. The silver tipped arrow whistled as it cut through the air before the tip embedded itself in the wolf's chest and disappeared beneath the thick flesh. The creature's eyes widened, it staggered for several metres, and then it's mighty body tumbled to the floor with a final, pitiful wail that almost had Dean feeling sorry for the thing. Almost.
Dean flopped back against sodden ground and closed his eyes, a wave of relief washing over every last inch of his battered body. Just as quickly as it had begun, his first hunt was over.
The flames caressed the white linen sheet that John had retrieved from the trunk of the Impala and used to cocoon the body of the werewolf. Within minutes of the monster's death, the feral features had melted away to reveal the face of the unfortunate boy who had fallen victim to its curse. Dean had been somewhat relieved to discover that it was not the doctor's son as he had first thought. Neither he nor John had been able to place the young man's face; a fact that had eased Dean's conscience just a little. Tonight Dean had taken a life. The thought weighed heavy on Dean's shoulders and left him wondering if he was indeed cut out to follow in his father's footsteps.
The two men stood in silence, observing the flames as they took care of the aftermath of the hunt. The body was consumed quickly and although the stench that it gave off was rancid, Dean could not tear himself away from the glory of the fire. John patted Dean gently on the shoulder.
"You okay son?" John asked gruffly, half meeting Dean's gaze. Dean quickly glanced off towards the orange flames, his eyes narrowing as he contemplated the question. Slowly, Dean nodded.
Whilst his fellow classmates were at home studying for tomorrow's trig quiz, finishing up a phone call with that special someone they were working up the nerve to ask to prom, or obsessing over their latest pimple, Dean was making a difference. He only had to glance at his father to know that hunting was neither glamorous nor well paid but Dean knew that it was sure as hell worthwhile. Sometimes the casualties would be trivial like the prized leather jacket he had retrieved from a tree only to discover a three inch tear on the sleeve; and sometimes they would be innocent people or god forbid even loved ones, like his mom. There was not a day gone by that Dean had not wished that someone like his Dad could have barrelled into their house that night and saved his mother from whatever evil son of a bitch had killed her. If Dean could spare just one family, one son, the same heartache that he had endured since he was four years old then he knew that he would be more than ok.
The faint pop and crackle of the now dying embers was the only sound to be heard in the clearing. John Winchester glanced down at the face of his watch and the ghost of a smile played across his cracked lips. For just a moment, his mind was in another place and another time.
John cleared his throat and glanced at his son, who sat on the ground now hugging his knees into his chest as he watched the pyre with weary eyes.
"Hey Dean," John murmured, "happy birthday son."