"A hunt gone wrong leads to consequences that none of the Winchester's ever could have predicted. All three will have to adapt in order to survive, particularly Sam.
Pre-Stanford AU - Sam is seventeen, Dean is twenty-one."


[1]

"Man, these things are freaking amazing!" Dean grinned, listening to the slight hiss and crackle of static over the walkie-talkies. "Don't you think so, Sammy?"

"Yeah," Sam drawled sarcastically. "Really amazing. I seriously can't believe how excited you are over walkie-talkies. I swear to God you're just a big kid. You do realise that you're twenty-one, right?"

"Shut up," Dean snorted, and then, slightly more seriously. "I still can't see anything. You think that this whole thing was bogus? Bobby getting back at us for accident ruining his 'filing system' when we were wrestling last week?"

"Nah," Sam replied around an answering snort. "As pissed as he was, Bobby wouldn't lie about something hurting kids. Or witches. And dad always does his research."

Eating kids, Dean corrected mentally, and then shivered a little – glancing convulsively around the large warehouse storeroom. He hated witches.

"True," Dean acknowledged, and then, "But the west side is seriously all clear. Where are you? I'll head over and we can do the rest together."

Sam didn't reply.

"Sam?" Dean was frowning now, all traces of amusement gone. "Sammy? Sammy!"

A burst of static interrupted his frantic snapping, followed by what sounded like a large bang on Sammy's end; a human shout of pain (Sammy's shout of pain, because Dean knew every noise that kid could make) a strangely animalistic whine, and then a snarl and a second, human scream.

Female, this time.

It didn't really matter – Dean was already moving as fast as his legs could carry him through the warehouse, to the last room that Sam had informed him was clear, and then straight past it when he saw a tell-tale flashlight beam from the room at the end of the hall.

He didn't slow his pace until he saw the blood splattered onto the door, and even then it was only to draw his gun and gently nudge the door open with the toe of his boot.

Nothing moved in the room beyond, and Dean abandoned all pretence of caution – slamming the door open and scanning the room quickly. There was a crumpled form on the floor, directly in his line of sight, and the empty eyes were staring out of a dead face that he recognised – Ivy Deveroux. Their witch.

Unfortunately, Sammy was nowhere to be seen, and the fact that she'd had her throat torn out in a more than animalistic fashion was more seriously disturbing when paired with this – and the fact that Dean could see shreds of what appeared to be Sam's jeans, and his gun, lying abandoned on the floor – his flashlight illuminating the room in a wavering pattern as it rolled across the floor.

"Sammy?" Dean called, and froze when a sinister-sounding growl came from behind him. Slowly turning, Dean came face-to-face with a large dog (which, his mind quickly corrected, was actually a wolf). For a second Dean froze in fear, and then the wolf met his eyes, and his fear was replaced by anger and distress.

Because never before had he seen a wolf with eyes that exact colour. A honey-brown mixed with bright green and a dazzling blue.

"Sammy? That you?"

The wolf dipped his head once, slowly and evenly, and damn if it wasn't the closest thing that Dean had ever seen to a canine-nod.

"Well, shit."

-o-

Dean loved his brother, he really did, but that didn't mean that he was willing to tarnish his baby's leather interior with dog fur and witch blood; which was how, nearly twenty minutes after discovering that his brother was now a lot less human, Dean abandoned his efforts to find a tarp in the trunk, and settled on fishing out an armful of blankets that had been put in the 'we really need to wash these like, now' pile.

Some of them were matted with dirt, and some with blood, but the substances had long since dried, so Dean felt a little more reassured about letting them touch his baby's seats then letting his brother.

He still wet a cloth with some holy water before returning to Sam's side of the Impala, frowning when he noted that Sam was sitting, slouching against the side of the car, his head resting on the cool metal.

It was only then that Dean saw the thick, red blood dripping from the side that Sam had (probably deliberately) kept facing away from him since he stumbled out of the shadows.

Suddenly the cloth in Dean's had took on a whole new meaning.

"Dammit, Sammy, why didn't you tell me that you were hurt?" Dean snapped without thinking, and the Wolf – Sam – blinked his eyes open lethargically to give his older brother a baleful stare that said it all. "Right, part of the whole canine deal. Sammy no talk. Seriously, you couldn't have just walked on my other side so that I could have seen it, though?"

Sam's body shuddered, and Dean stopped cleaning the wound to hold his wolf-brother steady, not at all liking the way that the wolf's knees were trembling with what Dean perceived to be effort.

"Easy," He muttered. "God, the light out here's awful. Look, I can already tell that it's going to need stitches, so I'm just going to bind it here with a pressure bandage and stitch you up at the motel – alright?"

The wolf's head dipped in agreement again, and Dean quickly wrapped him up. Sam didn't move, and Dean didn't waste a moment groaning at him, just scooped him up and placed him gently in the back seat – drawing a few blankets around him.

As a kid, Sammy had loved to take as many blankets and pillows as he could, and turn the backseat into a nest. Even in motel rooms at the age of seventeen, Sam always found a way to draw the blankets up around him tightly and hunker down.

Dean often wondered if being so tightly wrapped up made Sam feel safe somehow – provided some sense of stability that their life – and their father – had failed to provide.

But Dean was a Winchester. He never asked.

-o-

Sam needed thirteen stitches in the end, one for every witch in the God-forsaken coven, and Dean snorted at the bitter irony of it.

Dean hadn't bothered to strip the bed before placing his blanket-clad brother on it, and he knew that his father was going to go nuts. Although, actually, he'd probably be more freaked out about the whole 'Sam's a wolf' thing than the money they were going to have to pay for the bedding, but whatever.

That was, if he ever answered the phone.

Dean had called him fourteen times in the hour since he'd settled his brother onto the bed, thirteen stitches dotting his side, and a few pints of blood lighter. He knew, logically, that his father was probably still working on the other twelve witches (hopefully with more success than his sons), but Dean could still feel anger swelling up inside him.

His messages had gone from, "Dad, something's gone wrong. Ivy got to Sam, and she's cursed him or something, and he needed thirteen stitches. Thirteen!" to, "Dad, hurry up."

He was going to get it for that, later.

After another half-hour, Dean settled onto his bed and just watched Sam sleep. After stitching him, Dean had (in a chick-flick fashion that he would totally deny later) re-built a little nest for him, and Sam had curled up mostly in a ball – the rear leg on his injured side sticking out a little so that he wasn't pressing it against the wound in his side.

The blanket obscured most of his body, but even from just his face sticking out, Dean found himself admitting that his little brother made for a pretty damn handsome wolf. His fur was long and soft-looking – like a cuddly toy that a small child would cart around – and though his eyes were closed, Dean could remember that the vivid hazel had remained.

The majority of his face was white, with almost husky-like tan and grey markings around his eyes, a smudge of tan across the bridge of his nose, which was a deep, dark black and twitched occasionally even in his sleep. For some reason, Dean was surprised that he had such light colouring – had he have been asked beforehand, he would have guessed that Sam's fur (God, that sounded weird) would be the same dark brown as his hair, or perhaps black.

Three hours after Dean had finished studying his brother, John stumbled back in – accompanied by the first rays of the morning sun. His was face splattered with blood and one of his jacket sleeves was split to the elbow, exposing a shallow cut running the length of his arm.

He was grinning.

"Got all twelve of the alters and grimoires without much in the way of problems – and I managed to get Ivy's, too," He explained, and then frowned at the look that Dean was giving him. "What? Did something happen?"

"I've been trying to call you," Dean snapped.

John frowned, and patted his pockets, his eyes widening in surprise.

"God, it must have fallen out in my truck, and I never even noticed. Why were you phoning me? Did something happen?" His eyes widened as his gaze fell on the end of Sam's bed and couldn't see the kids feet. "Dean, where's your brother?"

Dean hesitated for a moment, and then stepped aside.

John blinked at him, frowning, and then turned back to the bed. Dean saw the exact moment that realisation dawned, and then John was moving towards the bed – eyeing both his son's new form, and the long gash in his side; a small patch of fur missing where Dean had resorted to cutting it off in order to see the wound better.

"Ivy got to him on the west side," Dean informed him easily, moving to drop onto the bed next to his brother. "She must have thrown a curse on him before Sam could stop her – maybe taken him by surprise… although that doesn't seem likely."

Sam's eyes blinked open sleepily, and he wagged his tail for a few seconds before they drifted shut again.

John gently stroked the soft fur behind his ear for a second, and Sam's tail wagged a second time at the gesture, before lying still. Dean couldn't help but bite back a smile at the image – it had been so long since John and Sam had showed genuine affection for each other that he was almost tempted to pinch himself.

He didn't, because Dean knew that he would never dream of his brother being cursed.

"Dean," John said slowly, his finger gently scratching some dried blood that Dean must have missed off Sam's muzzle; there was genuine fear in his voice, and Dean tensed at the sound, his heart already beating faster in his chest. "Please tell me that he didn't kill her."

Dean frowned. "Yeah, after he changed, I guess. Her throat was torn out."

John swore. Loudly.

"I don't know any way to reverse this kind of curse unless the witch herself retracts it," John groaned, slamming his fist into the wall. Sam flinched a little in his sleep, but didn't wake up again. "Or if they happened to keep the counter-spell in their grimoire."

"So?" Dean snapped. "You've got all of the grimoires ready to give to Bobby. I don't see the problem."

John raised an eyebrow.

"Do you really peg Ivy Deveroux as the type to keep a counter-spell handy?"

Dean figured that it was his turn to swear, and he did so.

Loudly.

-o-

When Dean awoke the next morning, it was to a warm body and soft fur pressed against his side, and a head resting on his shoulder.

Blinking his eyes open in surprise, Dean came face-to-face with his wolf-brother, curled neatly into his side like his very own space heater… or stuffed toy. He raised an eyebrow at the fact that apparently wolf-Sam was a snuggler, whereas human Sam had been pretty good at sticking to his own side of the bed.

Across the room he heard his father chuckle a little, and raised his head a little to find him watching the two of them with a smile on his face.

"Google says that wolves often sleep in 'puppy piles'" He said by way of explanation, and then frowned at something. "No, Bobby, I wasn't talking to you? Why would I—"

For a second, Dean was completely confused, and then he noted the cell phone that his father had tucked between his shoulder and neck, as he used both hands to type away at Sam's laptop… usually it would have caused a huge drama (it's my laptop, damn it – I saved up and bought it myself. You can't just take it without asking whenever you want!) but wasn't really a problem today, considering that Sam no longer had fingers.

Gently extracting himself for Sam, who didn't respond other than to give a gentle 'whuff!' of protest and quickly curled back up again – his back leg still sticking out – Dean yawned and stretched, scratching the back of his head idly as he headed over to the motel kitchen to make himself some well-needed coffee.

"Alright, Bobby. Will do, thanks a lot."

John hung up with a sigh, and Dean placed a mug of coffee next to him as he slid into the opposite chair, a mug of his own cooling in his hands.

"Bobby got anything?" He asked, shifting so he could slouch in his seat and keep an eye on Sammy at the same time.

It was strange seeing the kid still sleeping – normally he was the first of them awake, working on schoolwork before their morning run. It probably had a lot to do with both the curse, and the amount of blood that he'd lost the night before, but it still made Dean unsettled.

"We've got to find a library or someplace with a scanner and a computer before he can look at the spell," His father confessed, running a hand over his face in the way that he always did when he was tired. "On the plus side, he doesn't think that it'll take him long to work out what kind of curse it is – whether it has a trigger, or it runs out over time, or…"

John didn't finish. It didn't really matter, because Dean was more than capable of finishing his father's sentence – dread already settling in the bottom of his stomach.

"Or if it's permanent."


End notes: Also posted to ohsam and my own personal livejournal. Reviews are love, and will keep this writer very happy - and encourage more frequent posting!