A/N...here we are, at the end. Thank you all for coming on this long ride, especially those that took the time to leave me a kind workd. I really, really appreciate that, I do. I can't tell you how much! For those that didn't, well, maybe today is your day? Just a word or two, at the end, where it ways "review this chapter"...please?
Don't forget, Branchsuper, this story was for you!
Also shout out to Peter at space2develop (follow him on twitter) who suggested a story on vampire dogs. I took license with the brief, but ah well, that's the way it goes, sometimes...
"How far could the damn dog have gone?" Dean grumbled for the umpteenth time as he scrambled along the dry creek bed behind his brother. "I'm cold and I'm tired and the dead man's blood will wear off soon"
Sam sighed. "I get it that you're hurting, Dean, but if we don't find the dog tonight it may run off and we could lose our chance of bringing it down"
"Yeah, I get it" Dean grunted as he slipped a little, the effort of keeping his balance pulling on the raw stitches in his stomach.
"Tracks still lead this way" Sam shone his flashlight ahead. "We can't be too far off, we've travelled for a couple a miles"
"Do you hear that?" Dean asked. "Kinda, I dunno, like a motor?"
They both stood for a moment, and the roar of a motor filtered down the creek bed, the lights from the vehicle shone up ahead.
Both boys started to run, but by the time they caught up to where the bike had pulled up there was nothing there.
Nothing, except two arrows, blood, and a few clumps of white fur.
"Dammit" Dean exploded as he kicked at one of the arrows. "Someone found the dog. They could have taken it anywhere'
Sam leaned against the steep banks of the creek. "Not just anywhere. It would have to be town, and most likely a vet"
"These are farming folks. They'd probably stitch up the dog themselves"
"Yeah. Yeah, they probably would. But who would be out here looking for a dog in the middle of the night?"
"Son of a bitch!" Dean scrubbed a hand over his face, from forehead to chin. "We have to walk back the whole way?"
"Well, at least we don't have to walk back in the creek bed. It'll be easier going through the fields"
Dean didn't answer. Sam shone the light in his face and he threw up a hand to cover his eyes.
"What's wrong? Dean? What's the matter?"
Dean looked up at the high sides of the dry creek. Sam immediately knew what the problem was. His brother wasn't able to climb the high banks. He'd been hurt too bad this night, and even though he wasn't mentioning it, he would not have the strength or ability to get up more than a couple of feet, even with Sam helping him.
"Um, look, Dean? I don't think I can make it up these high sides. I got a couple of bruised ribs, maybe cracked, and my head's pounding. If we walk back a way I think the banks weren't as high"
Dean let out a relieved breath. "Yeah. If you need too, sure" he said, and turned to trudge back the way they'd come.
Jack pulled the ATV up in front of the barn and turned off the motor. He dismounted, and lifted Scout up as gently as he could and carried her gently into the barn.
He lay her down on the soft hay that she had been using for a bed and checked her wounds.
They were almost healed. If it were not for the blood stains on her thick coat he would not have found the holes at all.
She was still semi conscious, though, and Jack couldn't figure out why. Maybe she had hit her head when she fell? Maybe the arrows were poisoned?
He didn't think poison would be the culprit, if the bow hunters had been after game. You don't poison meat you going to consume later.
He couldn't think of any other reason his dog had been shot. It's not like anyone knew about Scout. There was only Nina and Candy…..Todd and Kerry had known, but that was…that was…
He couldn't think about it. Not now.
It hurt, it hurt so very much.
He felt dizzy, the pain of his loss so strong it threatened to overwhelm him.
Taking a shaky breath, then another, he mentally shook himself, resolving to focus only on the dog.
He could do that.
He covered her with a horse rug and ran to the house.
Nina was sitting on the sofa, her face drawn, her expression vague. The doctor had given her something to 'make her comfortable'.
She wasn't comfortable.
She was numb.
That's probably what she wanted to be.
Hastening to the kitchen he found his daughter Candy at the table, a bottle of scotch in front of her and a half filled glass.
She looked up at him with red rimmed eyes.
Jack gave her a little nod. He couldn't blame her, she had found her own way to make herself comfortable.
He opened the cooler and took out a large jar of sheep's blood and poured a good measure into a jug.
He placed that into the microwave and turned back to his grieving daughter.
"Feeding your useless monster dog?" she slurred, her eyes not quite steady.
"She's not useless. She tried. That woman, well, she was a monster. More so than Scout."
Candy just shrugged and drained her glass.
Jack's brow furrowed as he came across a thought.
"Candy, you didn't tell anyone about Scout, did you? I mean, yesterday when you went to town, you didn't tell anyone about Todd getting attacked, or how the dog saved him?"
Candy shrugged. "What does it matter? Whether I did or didn't? Won't bring Todd back, will it? My brother, he's gone….and he….." Her breath hitched and she placed her head on her folded arms, flat on the table, and sobbing. "He won't be coming back. Not ever"
The microwave beeped its cycle completion and Jack stepped forward, placing a hand on his daughter's head, trying to comfort her, knowing nothing would help.
She sighed and raised her head. "I can't bear this. It's too much" She filled her glass again, her hand shaking, slopping the amber liquid over the table.
"I told those guys that were investigating the sheep deaths. FBI"
Jack gasped. "You told them? The agents?"
"Yeah. I bumped into them. They saw I was upset" She swallowed a burning mouthful of whiskey. "Those FBI guys, they said Scout escaped from a lab. She was part of some genetic experiment, or something. She's not a vampire, dad. She's just a mistake"
Jack thought about this for a moment. "She escaped from a lab? Would that have been where those other things came from? The ones that attacked….ah..the sheep?"
Candy shrugged. "Probably. Yeah, I'd say so. Why else would the Feds be interested?"
Jack stroked her hair and grabbed the jug of blood and walked back to the barn.
Candy was right. Why else would the Feds be involved?
Dean leaned against the car, his last bit of resolved had left him. Walking four miles in the dark, over rough terrain would have been a hard slog at the best of times, but in his current condition, it was more than he could cope with.
He could barely breathe. He didn't even have the strength to open the car door.
Sam was exhausted but coping better than his brother. He could see the condition Dean was in and opened the rear door.
The car they had 'borrowed' this time was a family wagon, large back seat complete with throw rug and a couple of pillows. He helped Dean into the back, worried that his brother hadn't protested in the slightest, especially when Sam tucked the pillows under him, gently supporting the slightly feverish head and then wrapping the blanket around his shoulders.
"Dean? You just take a nap, okay?" he touched his forehead again and his worry increased when he felt the clammy skin, the heat radiating from his brother seemed to be escalating quickly.
Sam rummaged through the glove box and found a bottle of pain killers. Pulling the cap off, and grabbing a bottle of water from the car floor he returned to the back seat.
Dean had already drifted off. "Dean? Wake up a bit man, I just wanna give you these"
Dean tried to turn over. "I'm not that drunk" he groaned.
Sam shook him again. "Wake up, bro, you need to take these"
"Aw, dad, five minutes" Dean managed to turn a little, not quite succeeding with the limited room.
Sam supported his brother's head and slipped two tablets in between the parched lips, then held the bottle to that same mouth.
Dean's eyes flickered open, but were groggy and unfocussed.
Dammit! Sam mentally kicked himself. He should've realized Dean was hurt worse than he was letting on. With all that they had to do today, he was lost in his own self pity and pain, he had just thought Dean was keeping it together.
Dean's eyes rolled but he took a slug of water. "Little more" Sam encouraged.
The water was tepid and most probably stale, but it was better than nothing.
Dean managed a few mouthfuls before trying to push the bottle away. Sam would have to be satisfied with that for now.
He laid Dean's head back down and arranged the blanket back around him.
"Thanks, dad" his brother whispered.
Sam felt his heart skip a beat. He couldn't process that, not right now. Today had been too traumatic, he didn't need to think about his brother confusing him with his dad.
Instead he shut the rear doors and climbed into the driver's seat.
Taking a couple of tablets himself he twisted his face at the brackish staleness of the water, then gunned the car to life and drove off.
They had to find the dog, and kill it.
That was the last piece of this puzzle, this madness.
If he could just kill the dog he could take Dean away, to a hospital if need be, or to Ellen or Bobby's, and let him rest up for a few weeks.
But first, he had to find that dog.
Scout was sitting up, she seemed a lot stronger now as she gratefully lapped the warmed sheep blood from the plastic jug.
She stopped lapping and her ears flicked forward.
A low menacing growl emitted from her, and Jack felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck.
Were those sheep killing mutants back?
Or maybe it was whoever was hunting his dog.
Scout stood and backed up, placing herself in between Jack and the barn door as a tall figure entered, a machete held high, and gun in the hand under it, both aimed at the dog.
"What are you doing?" cried Jack, jumping from the milking stool he'd been sitting on, startling the dog and spilling the jug.
"Just move away, mister, the dog is dangerous"
Scout was growling louder now, her canine fangs had been replaced with her vampire ones, saliva dripped from them as she pulled her lips back, her ears were flat against her skull, her eyes blood red.
"Leave her alone, she hasn't done anything wrong!" Jack placed a hand on the dog's back and she turned and lunged at him, her fangs grabbing his arm, tearing deep.
Three shots hit the dog, making her yelp and release the farmer's arm.
She turned to Sam, her mouth now dripping blood and she lunged at Sam, leaping straight for his throat.
Sam may have been injured, tired and distracted, but he was a hunter.
One sweep of the machete and the dog's head flew in another direction, her momentum crashing her body into Sam and sending him flying against the barn wall.
He was winded, it took him a few moments to clear the spots from his eyes and let his chest accept a forced breath.
He was sure he had cracked a rib, maybe two.
Groaning, he pushed the heavy carcass from himself and struggled to stand, taking a couple of attempts to manage to pull his tall frame upright.
A scream from the barn door made him whip his head around, an action he immediately regretted as his vision swam and bile burned the back of his throat.
Swallowing convulsively he blinked a couple of times to clear his vision and saw the pretty daughter of the farmer…what was her name? bending over her dad, trying to stem the bleeding from a deep bite on his upper arm.
"Call nine-one-one" Sam told her. "He's bleeding heavily. He needs an ambulance"
Candy turned to him. "That dog? That monster dog? She did this to him?"
Jack held his hand over the wound, trying to stem the bleeding. "I startled her. She didn't mean it"
"She meant it when she leapt at my throat" Sam told her. "She was dangerous. Like rabies"
Candy pulled her cell out from her pocket. "Rabies? Oh my God, my dad has rabies?"
"No, no, like it, but not the same. The dog needed to be put down. She has, now. She won't hurt anyone else. Candy, isn't it? It's over. It's finished."
Jack leaned back against a hay bale. "Over?" he asked, his sad, pained eyes turned to the hunter. "But at what cost?"
Dean's hand was shaking as he handed the glass back to his brother. "Thanks, man" he said, letting his head flop back onto the pillow.
"I still think you should be at the hospital, Dean. If your fever's not better by morning that's where I'm taking you"
Dean lifted his head again. "Dude, you look as bad as I feel." He rubbed a hand over his face. "You wouldn't make the drive. Get some sleep."
Sam sighed. He wanted a shower more than anything, but Dean was right, he was feeling pretty bad. He knew they had to be out of town before the cops started to figure out they weren't FBI, but he wouldn't be able to drive very far. He kicked his boots off and planted face first on the bed.
Within minutes he was asleep, snoring heavily into the slightly smoke scented motel pillow.
"You guys look like hammered shit" John snarked as soon as the gag was pulled from his mouth.
"Feel like it, too" Dean answered him. "Least I aint sitting in my own piss"
John glared. They had left him in the abandoned warehouse too long, and he hadn't been able to hang on any longer.
Dean held a water bottle to the man's mouth and he drained it, the whole time he watched the hunter, trying to find a clue to his welfare.
"I guess you're not going to let me go. You wouldn't have given me the water if you were"
"And we have a winner!" Dean sat heavily on the old stool. A trickle of sweat ran down his cheek unhindered. John noticed this.
"Man, what happened to you guys? Vamps give you a little make over?"
Sam pulled up the other stool.
"We're trying to decide what to do with you, John" Dean wiped a hand over his brow. "My brother here thinks we should let the police know where you are. Me, I'm thinking scum like you should just be put down like the diseased animal you are"
John felt his heart beat a little faster. He didn't know how to answer this, so he didn't say anything.
He gasped when Sam pulled out a large, very shiny knife.
"Um, look, John? The thing is, if we give you to the police, there's gonna be a lotta questions that you can't answer, and we don't want you to" He got up and walked over to the bound man. "We'd rather not have those questions asked in the first place"
He moved behind John and bent.
John could feel the cold knife blade against his hands as Sam sawed at the bindings.
He stood and returned to his brother.
"Thing is, Johnny boy, we can't kill you, either. Call it a code" Dean placed on arm against his wounded stomach.
John pulled at his bindings, but he was still held tight.
"I've cut almost all the way through. You should be able to work your way out in a couple of hours"
John growled. "I'll go straight to the cops!"
"Do that." Sam gave his brother a hand up off the stool. "We have a couple of hours to plant enough evidence to frame you for all the murders. So yeah, go. We'll be long gone by then. Only, the police will think you've killed us, too, and stashed the bodies."
The hunters turned to leave.
"This is bullshit! There's no way you can do that, I'll just tell them the truth!"
Dean placed a hand on his taller brother's shoulder for support and turned his head to face the angry man. "Yeah. Let me know how that works out for yah. Vampires, fake FBI, and a dozen dead girls. Or, the police can believe what we left for them. Believe me, John, when I tell you this. Aint the first time we've done this. Aint gonna be the last. We've left you a change of clothes and a stolen car. Get outta town. Keep your nose clean, or I promise you, one day you'll turn around, and we'll be standing there"
John's mouth snapped shut with an audible click. These men were injured, one bad, but by the look of them, but they were still a damn site scarier than the vampires he'd worked for.
He believed them.
They scared the shit out of him.
He nodded and gave them what he hoped was a sincere look.
They turned and left him in the abandoned work shed, and he felt grateful that he was still alive.
Sam flipped his phone shut. "Bobby said we can lay low at his place for a couple of weeks. Just till I'm feeling better"
Dean moved his jacket against the window of the passenger seat and rested his head against it. "Good idea" he mumbled, closing his eyes against the morning sun and letting the soothing vibration of his baby lull him off to sleep.
Sam glanced over at his brother, not happy that he still had a feverish sweat, but glad that he'd not argued about going to Bobby's.
They both did need some down time, and not just to heal their wounds.
This job had hurt them deeper, been harder than most.
Their very souls needed time to recover.
And Bobby's would be the ideal place to do that.
Sam turned the black, shiny car onto the main highway and drove off into the sunrise.
Jack didn't have to stay at the hospital. A few stitches, a couple of shots and a prescription saw Candy driving him home in a couple of hours.
He accepted her offer to make him some lunch and then he made his wife comfortable in bed, the sedations still keeping her fairly unaware of her surroundings.
He ate slowly, in silence, not really tasting anything, his senses rather numb from all of the trauma they had experienced.
Picking up his coffee he kissed his daughter on the head and went out to the barn.
He was surprised to see no blood, it had all been cleaned up.
He sat his coffee down and used his ATV to tow out the dead dog's body, then he buried her under the oak tree in the yard, he had already dug a hole for trash disposal, so didn't have to go to too much effort.
He walked back to the barn and sat on a hay bale.
A mewling made him look down, and he smiled, sadly, and picked up the tiny black and white puppy.
Scout's only surviving puppy.
Her face was still covered in the blood she'd lapped from the barn floor, her little fangs retracting back into her pink gums as he held her.
Jack tucked her into his shirt, patting her through the flannel fabric.
She had grown so quickly, she was only three days old and already was walking around.
He'd have to prepare for her, at this rate she's be an adult by the end of the week.
A/N...And here it is. Closing credits. Remember that request for a review? Please leave one, just because the story has ended, doesn't mean I don't need those beloved reviews!
For those that have not, please check out my other stories. They are heavier on the Sam and Dean, more so than this one. I had a lot of OC's to include here, and they always take on a life of their own.
And for those of you that still see the need to PM me nasty comments, well, that's your perogative. I can take constructive critisim, but down right attacks are uncalled for.
See you all on the flip side!