The pronouns I used for the wereraven when writing were female, then "it," then male, and then back to "it." Apologies in advance if I failed to correct them all.

Supernatural (c) the CW


As Sam moves yet another wooden beam out of the way, he wishes he were wearing gloves. He's going to be picking splinters out of his palms and fingers for days. He treads carefully through the mess of shingles, moss, and what used to be studs but are too far gone to be called such. Anywhere a small child might be hiding or hidden, he looks.

He can hear doors being opened below him when the hinges scream. Light peeks through the gaps between the floorboards as Dean sweeps the flashlight around.

Sam hopes his brother doesn't notice that the only sound under Sam's feet is the occasional ripping and tearing of wood fibers. Sometimes the floor gives way a little under his weight, but he pushes on. He can't stop. Olivia has to be here, because if she isn't, Sam and Dean don't have a snowflake's chance in hell of finding her in time.

The sounds of Dean conducting his own search get fainter as Dean moves ahead. Then there's a silence and Sam hears a different sound, like something heavy falling.



There's no response. Sam dares to take longer strides forward, ignoring the the fact that running is probably more likely to send him crashing through the floor in a shower of splinters.

Ahead of him is a large hole in the floor. Sam drops to his knees when he gets to it and rips the wood up to make it large enough to fit through. He sees the Nachtkrapp looking up at him from below. Hard to believe it's the same creature as the man he met earlier. It really is like a gigantic raven, though not so gigantic it can reach the hayloft just by stretching its neck.

The wereraven does stretch out its neck, but only to open its long beak and croak. It's loud and Sam cringes, but once the hole in the floor is large enough, he drops through, kicking at the wereraven's head before he lets go. He doesn't expect to hit it, only get a little extra time.

He lands on his feet, blinking in the darkness. His flashlight is still up in the loft; he can make out something on the ground near the wall that looks like Dean's, broken. His brother is lying motionless on the ground, Sam hopes only knocked out.

The wereraven's feathers are glossy even with the minimal lighting. Unlike in its human form, it's about as tall as Sam is. It's hard to tell, though, when it's jabbing its head at the hunter, trying to peck him. Sam dodges the humongous beak, getting closer and closer to the monster until he can jump onto its back.

The wereraven's body isn't as big as the feathers made it seem; now it's difficult to know where to hold on. Sam's various initial plans once he was on the wereraven are canceled and he struggles to hang on.

The thing is clever, as anything in the shape of a raven should be, using everything it has against Sam. It beats its wings together above its back and Sam has to duck to avoid being knocked out cold between them.

Then the wereraven reaches around and Sam gets a good up-close-and-personal look at the beak—a little over a foot long, slightly curved, and sharp-looking—before the monster pecks at his face. He wrenches his head out of the way in time and it hits his left shoulder. Its beak hurts just as much as he thought it would, but at least it doesn't feel like it broke skin. That bruise is gonna last a full month.

He tries a sharp tug on some feathers on the other side of the bird's neck. The wereraven croaks in protest and Sam has time to get his gun out. A shot to the base of the neck, maybe. If he hits the spinal cord, he could possibly paralyze it.

The gun is gone from his hand before he gets off a shot. Sam's fingers and thumb are sliced open by the wereraven's beak as it pecks him. The gun falls to the ground; the wereraven picks it up and flings it yards away.

Sam hesitates to draw his knife. If he uses his right hand like normal, he risks getting blood in the wound. Becoming a wereraven is not something he wants to add to the list of insane shit that happened to him today. Left hand it is. His maimed shoulder makes the quick draw he was going for into an ordeal in itself. Pushing through the pain to draw and raise the blade isn't that hard at first but he pays dearly as he tries to put force into stabbing the giant bird.

The shrieks are so loud Sam wonders if he's going to lose his hearing for good as he pushes the blade into the wereraven's flesh over and over. The silver is making the flesh burn; he can smell it. He isn't piercing the heart, though; the monster isn't dying. It's flapping its wings again, this time trying to achieve enough lift to shake Sam off and fly away. As Sam stabs into the front of the bird again, he feels the chest muscles moving with the wing. It's making the tip of the knife scrape back and forth against the breastbone, deep in the wereraven's flesh.

Bird anatomy, Sam realizes. I'm not going to get to the heart from this angle. So where do I shank it?

He doesn't waste stamina on repeatedly stabbing the wereraven while he tries to think of the path of least resistance to its heart.

Then there's another screech from the wereraven as its right wing is stilled. Dean has come to and he twists the wing again, producing another cry of pain and breaking bones. Sam can feel them crack through the bird's body.

"Sam!" Dean makes a throat-slitting gesture.

With his right hand, Sam grabs a handful of feathers on the back of the bird's head. He yanks back and grunts in pain as he raises his left arm one more time to draw the blade across the wereraven's throat. He lets the knife fall as soon as it's done. The creature struggles for a few seconds, flapping its free wing, but as its blood pours out, it collapses.

Dean helps Sam to his feet, pulling him away from the wereraven's still-breathing form and the growing pool of blood.

"What happened? Did you find Olivia?" Sam asks.

"It came up behind me. Dunno where it was before."

"What about Olivia?"

"Haven't found her yet." Then Dean gestures to Sam's bleeding digits. "Are those cuts from the wereraven?"

"Yeah, but I'm pretty sure no blood-"

"Go back to the car and bandage it. Now."

Sam hesitates.

"I'll take care of Big Bird and keep looking. You really wanna risk turning into this thing?"

"...Stab it under the wing," Sam advises before turning and heading back to the car.


Dean isn't ready to face his brother when Sam finds out Olivia is dead.

He plunges the silver knife coated with potash into the body of the Nachtkrapp; it's dead and reverted to human form before Sam is out of the barn. He turns back to the stall where he found the kids and steps inside, ignoring the source of the stink of meat. His flashlight is broken and he doesn't know where Sam's is. But it's better to approach the little body by moonlight. The injuries clear to him already from six feet away...

This child can't be alive.

He drops to his knees and kneels next to her. He studies the shape of her face, searching for similarities. What if this isn't Olivia, then maybe Olivia is somewhere else and alive, maybe things will be okay.

It's only a few seconds before Dean closes his eyes in defeat. He knows Sam's face as well as he knows his own and he'd recognize it anywhere. That's Sam's daughter all right. Olivia.

Olivia what? Dean never even asked Sam what her last name was. It doesn't matter much anymore. She's dead—Olivia Winchester is an accurate name, even if it isn't her real name.

He opens his eyes to look down at her again. Little kids, toddlers, shouldn't die, and they definitely shouldn't die like this. Not with flesh missing from her bones, not bloody. The wereraven had been eating away at one arm when it must have heard Sam and Dean and hid in the horse stall opposite. It was probably almost done with it; even if Olivia were still alive, she'd probably never regain use of that arm. The rest of her is peppered with miscellaneous scratches and puncture wounds from the wereraven's claws.

Dean shrugs out of his jacket and wraps it around Olivia's body as he scoops her up. He's recalled a motto: a person isn't dead until they're warm and dead. Hypothermia isn't what killed her, but being flown across Chesapeake Bay with only one thin layer of pajamas protecting her from the wind probably helped her to the other side. To humor Sam, he'll start warming her up. Blood seeps into his shirt; he ignores it and holds Olivia close to him.

He still can't face Sam yet.

Dean sits in the corner farthest from the decaying flesh, knees drawn partly up, arms cradling his niece.

"Y'know, I've been hunting ghosts almost my whole life, and I've died, I dunno, four or five times at least, but I still don't know if talking to dead people works after they take the elevator up. I don't know if you can really hear me, Olivia. But if you're still around, I want you to listen to me.

"I don't know if you figured out that Sam is your dad. Hell, he didn't know until today, either. He would've done anything to save you from this. ...Things he wouldn't do for me right now. I think right now you're the person he cares about the most. And that really means something, kid. When your dad cares about something, a lot, not much is gonna stop him. ...I- I stopped him from doing something a little while back. Maybe you saw it, in that old church? I don't regret it, but now he doesn't trust me, so- so now... I just hope Sammy doesn't try anything stupid to get you back. Because I won't be able to talk him out of it."

Dean blinks back some tears as he sniffles and exhales. It doesn't help; his voice still comes out broken.

"Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, your mom and dad love you. Your mom did her best taking care of you; Sam did his best to save you. I want you to know that, in case they don't get a chance to tell you. They love you. They're sorry, and I'm sorry... I'm sorry that you died in pain, scared, alone, and when you're just a little kid... I'm sorry that me and Sam didn't protect you from this, because we're hunters and we should've kept you safe."

He strokes Olivia's hair, avoiding the stiff strands he suspects are held together by dried blood. He closes his eyes again and rests his head against the wall.

"God damn it," Dean whispers as his amen.

This is going to just kill Sam. Maybe literally. Dean doesn't know by whose hand, but somehow this might actually kill his brother and then what the hell will he do?

Nothing, Dean realizes. Earlier today he told Sam that he'd let him go after he held his kid.

He's holding Sam's kid.

Tears spill from his eyes as he chuckles at the sick irony.

Then Dean hears something outside the stall, roughly in the direction of the Nachtkrapp's body. He can't see anything from this angle.


No response. Dean sets Olivia down carefully so he can investigate.

The Nachtkrapp looks just as dead as it did before. Dean does his best to scan his surroundings in the dark and fails miserably until he spies some light outside through what used to be the other set of barn doors. It's just a large, rotting, slightly mossy square hole in one end of the barn now.

Sam comes around the corner, lantern in hand.

"Dean? I came back going 'round on the outside to- Oh my god, Dean!" He gapes at the blood on Dean's shirt.

Dean glances at the large damp patch staining the front of his shirt. He slowly raises his eyes to see his little brother approaching him, eyes pleading with Dean: Don't say it, Dean, please don't say it. Please. Don't.

When they're just under two arm's lengths apart and Dean hasn't said a word, Sam stops.

"Dean, is- is that..." Sam breaks eye contact for a couple seconds. He fails to collect himself completely, just as Dean failed. He rasps, "Is that her blood?"

Dean swallows hard.