I'm running like a bat out of hell- the sound of Sam's feet slapping the concrete surface of the old warehouse where we'd gone earlier that night a distraction. The little shit isn't supposed to be here. He was ordered to stay in the car, but Sammy isn't big on following anything Dad says; so he's racing behind me, right on my heels. And he shouldn't be. I'm older, and faster. Hell, I'm still nearly a foot taller than the kid, but somehow he's right with me, running for his life.
There's a werewolf behind us. It's a full moon and we're in Wilmington, Delaware in some stupid location just off the interstate, some crack head's paradise, but Dad says it's a werewolf's hunting ground. And that's good enough for me. Dad's been considering me a real hunting partner lately. I like that, but I'm thinking that pride comes before a fall, so I best stop thinking and start reacting.
It's a werewolf, which means 26 days of the month, give or take, it's a human. Dad says the only thing to take it down is a silver bullet to the heart and that when it dies it goes back to being human again. He tells me not to let that stop me. Their bite? Fatal, and if they leave you alive, next full moon? Yeh, you're one of them. So, like I said, fatal, which is why Sam and I are presently running for our lives. I know I just need to turn and fire, but Sam's too close and so is the monster. I run hard, but my chest hurts, it burns, and it's tight.
I can't even believe it, but I'm pretty sure. It's an asthma attack. Super, right in the middle of a hunt. I'm no asthmatic, but I've had a few run ins with heavy breathing and wheezing, just not recently. So I pretty much forgot about it.
"Sammy, we gotta split up. Let him….follow…me." I rasp. "I've got the gun."
"Dean, no." Sam pants. "It'll catch you, too slow."
"Gotta plan. Do it Sam. Trust me."
Sam seems reluctant, but veers off to a hallway on the right as I continue forward. As expected, the werewolf is hot on my trail. And it seems this path leads to nowhere. There's almost no light in the corridor, and Sam has our only flashlight. I can barely make it out, but up ahead seems to be the door to the elevator. It's not a working elevator. This is an abandoned warehouse, but still, maybe if I can get into that shaft , maybe the werewolf can't get to me. And honestly, there's nowhere else to go. I'm wheezing so hard now. I can't get enough air. My body demands more given the speed I'm running, and, as I try to take a deep breath, the pain is worsening.
The old elevator doors stand open. I doubt there's a flooring there, but there's bound to be a cable. We're on the third floor, so the fall, if there is one, won't be too bad. I can't see a damn thing as I literally take a leap of faith. But seriously? There's a werewolf on my ass, so it's dog chow or some broken bones, really, is there even a choice?
No problem, because there is a cable! I grasp it and start pulling myself up as fast as I can, which isn't too fast because the wheeze isn't a wheeze anymore and I am struggling to get air. I'm trying desperately not to panic, because I know that'll just intensify it. However, when the next thing I feel is a tug on the old elevator cable, and I realize the werewolf is still on me, I have a real tough time relaxing.
I'm pulling and yanking and straining and lifting myself up when I let out a shriek. Damn thing grabbed at my ankle, just above my boot, and its claws got me. Claws okay, teeth bad, I remind myself. It's the bite that'll turn you. When there's another tug on the line I'm pretty sure this is the place of my death.
Whatever it is, it's not that much weight, but it occupies the werewolf's interest and gives me a chance to climb up a few more feet. Honestly, I'm not really thinking who or what just caused the distraction. I'm just glad for it.
I've got one chance. I turn and fire, there's a grunt. The werewolf swings away from the cable briefly twirling me with him and before I can stop it my gun is tumbling into the darkness below….and it's over. Over at age sixteen. But then, as I'm bracing for my death, I hear it. My brother's voice. Just one word, calmly spoken, deep, intense. "No!" Suddenly the cable is lighter. The release of weight swings me the other way around and I start to lose my grip. Survival instinct must be overriding my common sense because I'm moving higher up to get away. There's a quick jerk on the line, and then I hear Sam shouting from below me.
"Dean, stop climbing! We gotta go down." My stubborn little brother must have circled back and…well I don't know what he did. "Dean?" He's worried. I'm not answering. There's tears in my eyes and I'm still having a hard time breathing. I don't really know what just happened. Sam says we need to go down. I don't know where the werewolf is or where my gun has landed. I think I heard a thud, I hope it wasn't far. I feel a tug on my pant leg and start to descend.
It takes no time to realize that the elevator was about two stories below were we were. Sam produces the flashlight from his pocket and I can see that the werewolf is 99.9% dead, because lying on the floor below us is a naked human. Sam's flashlight traces over the surface of this being and I see the bloody shoulder from where I winged it, but the killing blow, the shot to the heart. There's no evidence of it; so why is it lying dead and in its human form?
"Dean, gun." Sam wastes no words as his beam shines on my fallen piece. I take it in hand and point it at the creature, but only now I realize it is just a man. He's already dead. "Dean. Shoot him." I can't see Sam's face, but his voice is chilling. My baby brother sounds cold and emotionless as he demands I finish the job. "Dean, put a bullet in his heart." He demands. The shot rings out, echoing in the old elevator shaft.
"We gotta go," is all I hear from Sam. If he's noticed my breathing, he's not commenting. He looks up towards where we came from, then he's on his hands and knees, groping around with his flashlight. I realize he's trying to find an opening into the elevator car. Sure enough there is one and together we tug the latch free. The flashlight shows a floor, littered with debris, but it looks solid. Sam's about to jump in and I stop him.
"I'll….first." I gasp as I lower myself in. Asthma or not, I'm not letting Sammy get hurt. The floor holds my weight, so it'll hold his. He follows me through and shines the light on the doors. They pry open easily and once they are open I realize why. On the other side is Dad.
"What are you doing in there?" I can't see his face cuz Sam turned off the flashlight, but his tone is pissed. "Sam, you were told to stay in the car."
There's no apology, there's nothing, not a sound from the little whelp. Dad continues.
"I got the werewolf we were after. We need to get moving. There's civilians in here and someone's apt to call the police."
"Yep." I manage to reply. I follow him towards the exit. He stops when he realizes I am gasping.
"Dean, what's wrong? Are you hurt?"
"Can't really….talk." Dad stops. I feel his hands run down my face, then my chest checking me over.
"Sammy, what's wrong with your brother?" Sam doesn't answer.
"Think asthma." I answer.
"Okay Dean, just relax, we'll be at the car in a minute." Dad's not panicking and that eases my own fears. I just wish Sam would talk, because after what happened in the elevator shaft, well I need some sort of explanation.
The Impala is sitting two blocks away. Dad hastily grabs the first aid kit from the trunk, tosses it to me, and then we are off. There's an inhaler in the pack that's been there since I was thirteen. Got a prescription for it when I had my first asthma attack on a hunt for a zombie, or a revenent, or whatever. Turned out it was a ghoul that pinned me to a wall and used its filthy finger nail to draw blood which licked from my cheek. I was so freaked out and helpless. By the time Dad blew its head off I was in a full blown attack. I guess I was a little asthmatic as a toddler, back when Mom was alive and we had regular doctor's visits, but Dad was sure I'd grown out of it-until I nearly got eaten alive by a monster on a hunt I was too unprepared for. Dad was pretty freaked out then too, maybe he felt bad that he'd gotten me into a hunt that I had no business being a part of. Anyways, one ER trip got me a nice long prescription for Albuterol. I never ended up needing it, until now. Sure it had expired two years ago, but Winchesters are used to expired medications.
Stuff still works, because I slowly start to feel the pressure in my chest release and the air flow return. Sam says nothing, but he rubs circles on my back.
Dad asks. "Sam, how's Dean doing?" When Sam sits silently I grunt out "peachy". Dad isn't pleased. "Sam, answer me boy. We're you hurt?"
"No, sir." Is all Sam manages.
"What the Hell were you boys doing in that elevator shaft?"
"There was another. Dean killed it." Sam lies, it was dead before it hit the ground. But like Dad, I wanna know what happened in that elevator.
"We get to that motel. Both you boys are going to do some talking."
"Yes, sir." We say in unison.
Dad hauls ass to a motel near Philadelphia. Must have needed some distance from the scene of the crime. By the time we head in to the room I'm breathing fine, in fact I feel good except for the burning sensation in my right ankle. I try not to favor it too much as we unpack the car, but Dad notices right away.
"Dean, what's wrong with your leg?"
"It's nothing, just a scratch."
"Sam, is your brother okay?" Sam doesn't answer. Sam isn't talking again. Acts like he's in shock, and that worries Dad. If Sammy is hurt or in danger, well it's drop everything and run to the baby boy. Me, I feel like my guts would be hanging on the ground before anyone noticed.
Of course that's not true, and Dad steps to my side and puts his arm under my shoulder to support me. When we enter the room Sam is sitting there at the end of the bed. His hands rest on his knees and he just stares straight ahead. Dad helps me to a chair and goes straight to my brother. Sam lifts his head then, and in the full light of the motel room I can see his eyes. My god, they're vacant and cold. I don't even recognize him. Something weird happened in that shaft, and I'm really worried it's changed my brother.
Dad starts patting Sammy down. Sam stops him right away and tells him to go to me instead. Dad backs away and goes for his duffel instead. Next thing I know he's handing Sam the holy water flask. "Just in case, Sammy. Take a sip." Sam obliges and nothing happens. Dad's shoulders lose their tension and he comes over to me.
I've got two gouges in my ankle just above the top of my boot. They sting and I cuss and writhe as Dad cleans and stitches them up. He lets me swear, but offers no whiskey to dull the pain. He reminds me that I just got over an asthma attack and need stimulants, not depressants. Thanks Dad.
The sun's just breaking the horizon when Dad is satisfied I'm all patched up. He insists I prop my foot up and try to get some rest, but I'm not feeling sleepy at all. Sam's not moved from his position at the foot of the bed, and it's a little freaky. Dad says nothing to him, but tells me he needs to go out for a bit. Where he's headed at 6 AM is beyond me, but I'm kinda glad. Now maybe I can get Sam to open up.
"Dude, what's going on in that freaky head of yours?" He gets up and walks to the window, stares for a minute then turns to me. I expect him to whine, get mad at me for calling him a freak, he hates that term more than anything, but hey, shoe fits. Sam turns, eyes chilling, and he just tips his head.
"I think you know what happened."
"Really, cuz one minute I'm about to die and the next thing-" I leave off on purpose, hoping he will enlighten me. I may have been a little oxygen deprived, but it wasn't that bad. I know that the werewolf was on the cable right below me, took a swipe, got my ankle. I know Sam made some desperate hero's jump and landed on the thing. What I don't know is what happened next.
"It died. I touched it. It died. I don't want to talk about this ever again. You shot it in the heart. You killed it Dean. Not me. Okay?"
He's starting to show emotion the way a freaked out kid on the morning of his twelfth birthday should. It's his birthday, and here we are trying to figure out the great mystery of the dead werewolf. It's his birthday and we should be planning a party, instead were in just another nameless shithole trying to recover from a hunt.
"Sammy, look at me, please?" My voice is wavering. It hurts so damn much to see my brother like this. He's a child, and he just did something last night that most grown men wouldn't have the courage to do. "Sammy, Sam? You saved me. It had me. I was gonna die. What you did, whatever that was, you killed it didn't you?"
"Told you to stop talking about it." The cold stare returned. "Just stop. You killed it Dean. You put a bullet through its heart."
I didn't push him. He wasn't budging.
Dad returned a couple hours later with donuts and coffee for all of us. Sam looked at his first coffee and then to Dad. "You got me coffee?"
Dad smiled. "It's full of cream and sugar, more cream than coffee. You think I forgot. You're twelve now Sam. I think you can have some coffee once in awhile. A flicker of emotion passed over my brother's face. He laid into his birthday donuts with the eagerness expected of a kid. And Dad acted as if nothing weird had happened earlier. He kidded around with Sam and suddenly my brother was back, laughing with a face covered with powered sugar. It was cute made me smile too.
Since Dad was satisfied I'd live, he and Sam took off for a birthday trip to the mall. I was stuck with my foot in the air and old movies on TV. I kinda liked the movies and found myself relaxing.
When the two of them returned, the memories of Sam jumping that werewolf were starting to fade. Maybe it was the fact that Sam was laughing when he and Dad walked in the door, maybe it was cuz he threw a magazine at me telling me how he wanted to get me Playboy, but Dad wouldn't let him. He had three new books he must have picked out while shopping and he curled up on the bed next to me to explain the plot line of each one. He was back in full geek mode, just the way I liked him.
"Happy Birthday Sammy!" I rubbed his head.
"It's Sam now. I'm older." Suddenly there was a brief flicker of the emotionless werewolf killer, but it passed and I went in for a tickle. Freaky or not, he was my little brother.
I woke up with a start, and gasped. The dream had been so vivid, but it wasn't a dream, it was something that had happened, an old memory. Sam was already awake and in the bathroom. He came out with his hair wet, but fully dressed.
"Hey, bout time you woke up, we got stuff to do today."
"What stuff? I thought we agreed to take the day off." Sam returns to the bathroom and I shout out. "Happy Birthday Sam. How's Thirty-two feel? "
"Ouch! Gotta remind me huh?" He peeks his head from the doorway. His dimples deepening as he kidded. Neither of us made it to thirty unscathed, both of us had died and returned prior to the big 3-0. But hey, freaky, thy name is Winchester.
"Dean, what the hell were you dreaming about? You were mumbling, you didn't seem upset or I would have woke you." We helped each other through hell nightmares, that's what brothers are for.
"Weird thing Sam. It was that werewolf hunt on your twelfth birthday, remember?"
"Yeh, you had an asthma attack, but you got that werewolf good. It was your first werewolf right?"
"No Sam. You killed it. Saved my life."
Sam laughs. "Dude, you drempt that. I didn't kill the werewolf. I came up on that elevator and it was trying to get you, but all I had was my flashlight. So I shined it right on its heart. You picked it off and it fell. So did you almost, but I helped you down and Dad had that old inhaler of yours in the car. "
Sam is a good liar, no, an excellent one with no tells. Most hunters are, but Sam has an additional "problem" no hunter has encountered. Sam's been to hell, had mind and soul separated for over a year. Sam sometimes has difficulty knowing what reality he is currently in; there are times when he thinks he is younger, times when he acts like an entirely different person. Stress sometimes pushed him to this confusion; so as he says this to me with a perfectly genuine face, I am not certain I should press for more info.
"Sam. Seriously. It was a long time ago, long before we ever knew about the whole psychic thing-a-ma-jig. You can tell me. Won't matter. We know now why you were freaky."
Sam glares at the use of that word. "Dean, I don't know what I did. It died. Why you gotta rehash it?"
"Just a dream got me thinking. We don't have to talk about it Sam. Let's just do something fun for a change. What do you want for your birthday?"
And just like that the subject was dropped, but I knew what I remembered was no dream, it had happened. Somehow Sam had tapped into his demon powered mojo and ended that werewolf and saved my life.
Private Journal of Sam Winchester
Dean remembers. Yesterday, on my birthday no less, he confronts me with that stupid incident from 20 years ago. He said he had a dream or something that reminded him. Then he asked me how that werewolf had died. I told him what he needed to hear, that he had killed it with a silver bullet to the heart. Dean wasn't buying my bull, but he knew enough to shut up.
Good! What am I to say?
Her name was Lily. I met her at Cold Oak. She could touch people and stop their hearts. She hated her "gift". Yeh, so would I if that was what Azazel gave to me, but I got visions instead. I know I have other powers, but when I met Lily I didn't know that. Didn't know why we were special and able to do things until Azazel showed me he'd fed us demon blood. That explained a lot, just like how I wasn't going to fully explain what happened in that warehouse in Wilmington.
Dean was in danger. I was the only thing that could stop the werewolf. I was angry. I shouted. I jumped. Next thing I knew the monster reared its head back, let out a howl, then collapsed. I barely had time to catch the cable as it fell.
So what does Dean need me to tell him? That yes, I stopped its heart with the power of my mind? That I was just as freaked out and worried as him? Why bother? Sometimes, you don't need to know all the facts. Dad ran that way his whole hunting career. Worked for him, worked for me when I had no soul.
There are so many things about me that Dean doesn't know. So many things he doesn't ever need to know. I just wish he'd let things be.