Note: Sorry this chapter is so short, but I wanted to get a little something out before Christmas. Please still enjoy – and thank you all for who voted on the names of the familiars (Raven-Branwen & Snake-Anani), commented, favourited, and followed.
It was nice spring day in the Brecon Beacons. The fairly constant rain had allowed the greenery to multiply abundantly amongst the rocky hills and mountains. Surprisingly, today there was not even a hint of a cloud in the sky, just pure blue and a bright sun. The plush green hills rolled and spiked up from the earth, and a black bird flew to a nearby tree.
If his soul wasn't on the line and he wasn't having hallucinations of the hounds, Dean would have thought it a beautiful sight. As it was, Dean kept his eyes clenched close as Sam held his arm, keeping him grounded in this reality. They sat in one of the valleys on the plush grass, alone as far as they could tell. Except for a few sheep. It was Wales after all.
"Son of a bitch," Dean cursed, and put his fist to his mouth, trying to keep from being sick.
"Dean, it's not real," Sam said, trying to calm his brother. "We still have two days. Let's just try to enjoy them OK?"
After Castiel confessed what the true nature of the Death Master was, the brothers decided they would have to be extra cautious while going about their plan. No one had any idea how the nephilim tracked the contracted souls, so the Winchesters and Castiel took no chances. After dropping off the men in the UK, the angel vanished, not wanting to spook the target. The brothers themselves just tried to act like tourists and that they really did believe that Dean was going to lose his soul at the end of the contract.
Dean had a feeling that a part of Sammy feared that was what would happen; but Dean trusted Crowley – not his word, but rather his self-interest. If the demon took his soul, then their side would lose, and thus he would lose. Not only that, but Sammy would make it his mission to burn Crowley by any means necessary that was for sure. No, Crowley would keep to the contract.
But, fuck if it didn't suck balls in the interim.
"Dean, are you in there?" Sam asked, shaking Dean's shoulder.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm here, Sammy," Dean replied and took breath. He opened his eyes and let out the breath he held when he realized the hallucinations were gone. For now. "Yeah, I'm OK for now." He took in the view and whistled. "This sure is a nice place. Why'd ya pick to come here? How'd you even know about this place? I'd never even heard of Wales before." It was the truth, even though he was play-acting.
"Well, I read," Sam said, and although his tone was bitchy, he was smiling. He did soften his tone as he continued. "And I know you hate the city and just toured London because I really wanted to. So, I researched and thought this would be a nice place to camp. Just the two of us."
"With lines like that, no wonder people think we're gay for each other," Dean smirked, unable to resist, and earned a punch in the arm from his brother.
"C'mon bro, you going to help me set up the tent?" Sam said as he rose from the ground and started to make his way over to their gear.
"Nah, I'm just going to let you do all the work," Dean said as he lounged on the grass. "God knows you owe me from all the time I did all the work when we were kids."
Sam opened his mouth to reply, but thought better of it. Now was not the time to bring up old drama. So, he just sighed and went about finishing making up camp. They had been half way through when Dean heard the howl of the hounds and began to hallucinate.
Dean kept staring at all the greenery when the black bird cawed. It slightly startled the man, though he would never admit it, and he quickly turned his attention to the bird.
It was a large black bird, larger than the crackles he was used to at home. This one seemed strange, though. The bird just stared at him and tilted his head as if it was trying to understand him. When Dean mimicked the tilting, it cawed at him again.
"What are you doing Dean?" Sam called from where he was putting up the tent.
"There's this crow just starin' at me funky," Dean said, and the bird ruffled its feathers in response and turned its head away from the man "It doesn't seem to like me calling it a crow, though."
"Of course not," a voice said behind them. "Branwen is a raven not a crow. Just a matter of a pinion (1), but she get's fussy."
Both Sam and Dean jumped to their feet and turned around to confront the voice.
A black-haired giant (2) with a scarred face and jade-green eyes met their gaze.
(1) Old joke. The only difference between a crow and a raven is that a crow has five pinion feathers and a raven has four... so it's just a matter of a pinion! (Well, I think it's funny.)
(2) For the record, Harry is going to be giant tall like Sam, but not a giant like Hagrid/Grawp.
AN: I know! A cliffie! But, I promise, the next chapter is worth it.