Characters: Sam, Dean
Spoilers: Virtual Season story; VS 2, episode 18
Summary: While taking a break from the action, the brothers run into what they believe to be a werewolf. However, this hunt may prove to be their hardest one yet, their anonimity as hunters being both a blessing and a curse.
Disclaimer: They're not mine. More's the pity.
a/n: Continued from Part 1A. Thanks for reading!
The man turned to another table and Dean dodged quickly in front of him, preventing him from grabbing another diner. The man was quickly tumbling off the deep end.
“Hey!” Dean barked. “Hey, take it easy, okay?”
Dean reached out and grabbed the man’s arm, turning him roughly to face him, forcing him to look Dean in the eyes.
“What’s your name?”
Dean watched the man’s eyes dart from his face to just over his shoulder and knew instantly that Sam stood behind him. His brother’s formidable height was frequently tempered by his sympathetic eyes. Dean hoped that Sam was turning on the puppy-dog charm at the moment because this guy was two blinks from a full-on freak-out.
“Hey, guy,” Dean snapped his fingers in the man’s face, redirecting his focus. “What’s your name?” He repeated slower, his voice soft.
“Eugene,” he said, shivering slightly. He reached up with his free hand and pushed his glasses back up his nose. “B-but my friends call me Clint.”
Standing out of Dean’s line of sight, Sam quickly reached up and covered his mouth, hiding his instant grin. He caught Dean’s slight head tilt and realized his brother was trying to do the same, settling into the seriousness of the situation and not the sad humor Eugene was opening up for them.
“Okay, uh, Eugene,” Dean said, the tremor of humor in his voice expertly quelled. Carefully moving them to the side of the room, nearer the booth they’d just vacated, he continued to question Eugene. “Why don’t you tell me what you saw?”
“I was, uh,” Eugene’s voice squeaked as he looked from Dean to Sam and back. “I was walking over here from the Kokopelli Inn — it’s this place just up the road, nice place, good beds… hard to get good beds in some motels, you know—“
“Eugene,” Dean dropped his chin, his eyes calm on Eugene’s.
“Right, well,” Eugene swallowed. “I was gonna meet this Indian guide I talked to earlier… was, uh, gonna meet him for dinner over here, and I thought I’d walk and I was almost here and I heard something and I turned around and the guy — the Indian guide, well, Native American, y’know not really Indian, that’s just our lazy way of…”
Sam watched Dean’s shoulders visibly tighten. Evidently the motion was carried through his arm to his fingers because Eugene squeaked again.
“Hey! This isn’t easy, man!”
“Just take a breath,” Dean said, his voice a forced calm that warned Sam of a pending explosion. “You said he turned into a… monster?”
The restaurant tittered slightly at this. Sam realized suddenly that every eye was turned, focused on Dean and Eugene in the corner of the room, waiting to see how the drama would end.
“H-he stopped, right in the middle of the road, and he started to like… twist and bend all… well, you just can’t bend like that and then he turned into a…”
Dean dropped his head, then lifted it again, his patience rice-paper thin. “Dude, seriously. Just spit it out already.”
“Wolf,” Eugene squeaked.
“He turned into a wolf,” Eugene said, deflating, his confession finally over.
The restaurant patrons started to chuckle a bit at this, turning back to each other and their conversations, the dull hum of disinterested background noise blending seamlessly once more with the country music. Dean straightened up, but didn’t release Eugene’s arm. He looked over his shoulder at Sam, an eyebrow raised.
Sam wanted to deny the inevitable. He wanted to return to the booth and the beer and the banter. He wanted normal for just a little bit longer. But the look in Dean’s green eyes, and the way Eugene was trembling in his brother’s grip, couldn’t be ignored.
“Here we go again,” Sam whispered. He dug some money from his jeans pocket and set it on their table, then nodded to Dean.
“C’mon,” Dean tightened his grip on Eugene and started to turn him toward the door.
It took Eugene a second to realize what was happening, but the moment he registered that Dean was taking him out of the restaurant, he quite literally dug his heels in and actually managed to stop Dean’s forward motion. Sam nearly slammed into Eugene’s back, so surprised was he that the skinny man had halted his brother’s muscle.
“No!” Eugene shook his head vigorously. “No way, man. I’m not goin’ back out there!”
“Eugene—“ Dean started, tugging on the scared man's arm.
“Didn’t you hear me? There is a GUY that turned into a friggin’ WOLF out there!”
The eyes of the people in the restaurant once again started to turn to them. Dean rotated to face Eugene, his strong hands gripping Eugene’s shoulders. Sam watched his brother’s eyes soften, all irritation and anger simply drained from him in the wake of Eugene’s abject fear. He’d seen this look before — had seen it directed at Lucas, had seen it directed at Michael… had seen it directed at him. Dean just seemed to instinctively know when fear reduced you to a child and you needed to be told that there was nothing under your bed and the closet was monster-free.
“Listen to me, okay,” Dean said, his voice soft, his eyes steady. “You listening?”
Eugene’s nod was stilted, scared.
“We believe you, okay? My name is Dean,” he flicked his eyes over Eugene’s shoulder to Sam. “That big guy back there’s my little brother Sam. We’re gonna help you.”
“Hey, listen, I promise,” Dean shook Eugene once. “I promise nothing bad’s gonna happen to you, okay?”
Eugene brought his eyes up, meeting Dean’s. He seemed to be weighing something as he paused, then looked back at Sam who smiled tightly. He looked back at Dean, his throat working, and Dean felt slightly heavy as the trust he saw in the dark-brown eyes was handed over to him.
“O-okay,” Eugene said and allowed Dean, albeit reluctantly, to lead the way to the restaurant door.
Sam followed, nodding at the waitress and offering a salute-like wave to the last of the diners that stared after them. Dean kept hold of Eugene’s arm and opened the back door of the Impala, half-tossing him onto the seat. He joined Sam at the trunk.
Eugene swung his legs out of the car, bending at the waist to look around the end of the car and listen.
“You think two extra clips?” Sam asked.
“How many silver bullets do we have?”
Sam shrugged, “Enough for two extra clips.”
“Okay, smartass, why’re you asking me then?”
“Just want to make sure you’re on board,” Sam said. He looked up at the darkened sky. “Cloud’s are covering the moon.”
“Yeah, well, it’s the right time in the lunar cycle — tail end of it anyway.”
“You got your knife?” Sam looked over and saw Dean flip up the tail of his shirt to reveal the knife sheath he’d fashioned to hold his Bowie knife behind him. “Good.”
“I’m bringing the gun.” Dean reached into the depths of the weapons cache for the large, sawed-off shotgun. The barrels had been cut down lower than the required 18 inches and hollowed-out. Dean liked the extra bang for the buck the highly-illegal 15 inch barrels promised.
“What? No way!”
“Yes, way,” Dean said. “We can use those silver pellets you melted down awhile back.”
“We’ve never even tried out the silver pellets, let alone fired that gun. You don’t know how accurate it is.”
“Dude, it’s a shotgun… stand close enough, accuracy doesn’t really matter.”
“What are you guys doing?” Eugene piped up. “Silver bullets? Shotguns? What the hell?”
Dean and Sam exchanged a glance. Sam tilted his head, lifting a shoulder.
Dean pulled in his bottom lip and shook his head. Sighing, he glanced around the end of the Impala.
“Hate to tell you this, but, uh your friend? Is a werewolf,” Dean stated flatly.
“Way to break it to him gently,” Sam remarked dryly.
“What?!” Eugene shot upright, cracking the crown of his head on the doorframe of the car and sat down again, rubbing his head. “What?” he repeated, softer.
“Where’d you last see this wolf?” Dean asked.
Still rubbing his head, Eugene leaned low out of the car door and looked at Dean, watching with wide eyes as Dean shoved shells into the shotgun and clicked the chamber shut.
“In the middle of the road,” he said.
Dean looked over at Sam, who shut the Impala’s trunk, rolling his eyes. Dean squared his shoulders and with a slow tilt of his head, slid his eyes back to Eugene.
“Which way did he go, Eugene?” His voice held a measure of patience that Sam didn’t always give him credit for.
Eugene dropped his hand and looked up at Dean. “I didn’t wait around to find out,” he shook his head, pushing his glasses up his nose. “I just ran for help…”
Dean rubbed at his forehead, then glanced over at Sam. “Well, it’s gotta be around here somewhere. Between here and that… Coca-Cola Inn.”
“Kokapelli,” Sam and Eugene corrected him in unison. Dean headed to the driver’s side door, tossing Sam a whatever, Frances look.
“Get in, Eugene,” Dean set the shotgun on the seat and waited until Eugene had closed the back door before starting up the engine. “Which way is this motel of yours?”
“Uh, that way,” Eugene pointed behind him. “So, what, are you guys like… Buffy?”
Sam’s laugh made Eugene jump slightly, and Dean simply shook his head as he hooked his elbow over the back of the bench seat, watching out of the back window as he reversed out of the parking space and turned in the direction Eugene had pointed.
“Wait… Buffy was vampires… who kills werewolves?” Eugene said, frowning.
“We do,” Dean said, watching the road for the motel. Seeing it only a half mile away, he turned in and parked in an empty space. He shoved the gear into park and turned sideways in his seat. “Out.”
Eugene shook his head.
“I mean it,” Dean jerked his thumb over his shoulder. Eugene sat back and crossed his arms over his chest. “I can drag your ass out of here, man.”
“What if it’s waiting for me?”
Sam dropped his head, his chin tucked into the chest, content to let Dean handle their stubborn passenger.
“It’s not going to be waiting for you.”
“How do you know?”
“Because…” Dean rolled his eyes, staring daggers into the side of Sam’s head. “Werewolves can’t… open doors, okay?”
“I’m staying with you,” Eugene shook his head.
“Dude, we’re going after the wolf,” Dean said. “If you’re scared, the last place you want to be is with us. You’ll be safe here. I promise.”
“Out! Now.” Dean made a move for Eugene’s arm, causing the skittish man to back up.
Sam bit the inside of his cheek.
“Fine! Fine, I’ll go,” Eugene sputtered, shoving the door open. “But I don’t like it.”
“I’ll try to live with that,” Dean shot back.
Eugene slammed the door, and stormed up to the front of the building. He glanced back once, then dug out his room key and unlocked a ground-floor room, slamming the motel room door behind him. Sam started laughing the minute the door shut.
“Don’t you start,” Dean said, hefting the cannon of a shotgun in his right hand and grabbing two small Maglight flashlights as he got out of the car.
“I think I’m beginning to like that guy, man,” Sam chuckled.
Dean glared at him. “We can leave the car here and head back to the restaurant, see if we can pick up the tracks.”
“You take left, I’ll take right,” Sam said and Dean nodded, tossing one of the flashlights to Sam.
They walked slowly, unconsciously in-step with each other, scanning the dirt on the quiet roadside.
“I can’t believe no one in the restaurant’s come this way yet,” Dean commented.
“When’s the last time we hunted a werewolf?”
Dean paused. “Don’t think we have since we were kids,” he replied, then froze at the sound of rocks skittering across the road. Without glancing at Sam, he whirled, his gun up in point position, facing the threat approaching from behind.
Eugene squeaked, stumbling backwards, hands raised. “Don’t shoot! It’s me! Eugene!”
“Son of a bitch,” Dean breathed, lowering the gun. “Are you crazy? I could have killed you. What the hell are you doing here?”
“I can see that, Eugene.” Dean considered pointing the gun at him again. “I told you, man, we’re Going. After. The. Wolf.”
“Yeah, I know,” Eugene tossed a look over to Sam waiting silently on the other side of the road. “And you got the guns. I’m sticking with you.”
“You’ll be safer back in your room, man,” Sam offered, his voice kind.
“That… thing… knows who I am,” Eugene pushed his glasses back up on his nose, looking at Dean. “It—he—was meeting me for dinner.” A shaky, nervous laugh colored Eugene’s next words. “I’m not safe anywhere.”
Dean sighed. “Oh, hell.” He handed Eugene the flashlight. “You just stay close to me, okay?”
“Dean! What the hell?”
“He’ll be okay if he stays close, Sam,” Dean called over to his brother.
“You aren’t seriously letting him come with us,” Sam shook his head.
“I got him.”
“Damn right, you got him,” Sam grumbled. “He’s just gonna get in the way.”
“Hey,” Eugene piped up. “Right here, guys.”
“Shut up,” the brother’s snapped in unison.
“Right, gotcha,” Eugene nodded, grimacing slightly as the wind picked up and the cloud cover vanished to reveal the silvery light of the full moon.
“Hey,” Sam called.
“Yeah,” Sam motioned toward the open mesa on the other side of the road. “Tracks head toward those… weird looking trees over there.”
“They’re Joshua Trees,” Eugene offered.
“C’mere,” Dean grabbed the front of Eugene’s shirt, pulling him closer than his shadow as he crossed the road and followed Sam.
“Y’know the Native Americans used to use the leaves from the Joshua Trees to weave sandals and they’d roast the seeds for food—really rather tasty, so I’ve heard… kinda like pumpkin seeds…”
“Shut up,” Dean growled, the fine hairs on the back of his neck sticking up as he followed about twenty feet behind Sam, keeping his eyes glued to his brother’s back. The wind tossed the clouds haphazardly across the sky skittering shadows across the ground and playing tricks with Dean’s eyes.
He watched Sam’s flashlight play along the ground and kept his ears perked to the sounds of the desert. The chill of the night contrasted sharply with the heat he knew this area of the country could bring during the day. Sam’s steps were slow, methodical, and Dean matched him stride for stride, keeping Eugene’s shirtfront fisted in one hand, the large shotgun in the other.
When the wolf struck, it was silent.
Dean felt the impact before he heard a sound, the large, black body plowing into him from the side, driving him to the ground on top of Eugene, forcing the air from his lungs, knocking the shotgun from his grip. He had a moment to pull in a stuttered breath before the sharp claws raked heat across his left side and he cried out in surprised pain.
Sam whirled at his brother’s cry, his pistol up, flashlight trained on the back of the black beast that continued to swipe at Dean’s struggling form. The wolf was monstrous, muscles bunching and gathering beneath its broad shoulders, paws as large as Sam’s hands.
Sam drew a bead on the wolf’s back as he ran, firing once. He missed.
“G-get… get him…” Dean was struggling to say, and Sam saw that he was somehow, impossibly, keeping the wolf’s talon-like claws at bay for the moment.
Eugene had scrambled out from underneath Dean and grabbed the barrel of Dean’s gun. With a cry worthy of a Navajo warrior, he swung the butt of the shotgun at the wolf’s head, knocking it sideways and freeing Dean just as Sam reached them.
Dean tried to roll to his side; Sam tried to aim at the wolf’s head. Neither of them were fast enough. With the speed of the devil whispering a lie, the wolf grabbed Eugene’s forearm between its massive jaws and turned, sprinting off across the mesa, dragging Eugene behind it, screaming bloody murder.
“You okay?” Sam reached for Dean.
“We gotta get ‘im,” Dean panted, struggling to his feet and pressing his arm tight against his side. “Where’s my gun?”
“Here,” Sam handed him the shotgun.
“Let’s go,” Dean took off after the wolf, the trail easy to follow even in the stammering moonlight. I promise… nothing bad’s gonna happen to you… Dean shook his head, hard, banishing the thought. Intent on keeping his promise.
“He’s close,” Sam panted, running along side of him.
Dean looked over at him, drawing Sam’s eyes with the moment they were in. They had hunted together, fought together, for so long that in moments of need Dean knew Sam could practically read his mind. Dean gestured to his eyes with the index finger and middle finger of his left hand, his right clutching the shotgun. He then pointed a finger in one direction and the flat of his hand in the other. I’ll watch for you. You head that way, I’ll flank it…
Sam nodded and veered to the left.
They came up on Eugene in about ten more strides. They were too late.
The wolf had slashed his throat, leaving Eugene gurgling and gasping wet huffs of useless air as his body jerked and thrashed on the desert floor. The wolf had a paw raised, ready to slash toward Eugene’s heart.
“HEY!” Dean barked, bringing the beast’s eyes up, its muzzle coated with blood, teeth bared, eyes gleaming in the moonlight. Dean brought the shotgun up, but a heartbeat before he could pull the trigger, the wolf turned away from Dean, spring-boarding off of Eugene’s body, and slammed into Sam, knocking him to the ground.
“No!” Dean screamed and then his world went silent as Sam’s scream pierced the air.
Dean brought the shotgun up, but dropped it an instant later, afraid he would hit Sam with the untested weapon. On a flat-out run, Dean pulled his Bowie knife from the sheath at his back and dropped to his knees as he approached Sam, sliding toward the wolf and his brother, knife raised, eyes wild. As his forward motion slowed, the wolf released Sam’s arm, and without a backward glance, darted off through the cacti and Joshua Trees into the desert night.
Dean panted for air, his desperate eyes searching the dimly lit night for any sign of the beast. It friggin’ aimed for Sam… Dean dropped his knife, and looked down at his bleeding, unconscious brother. A screech owl shook the silence of the desert, and as if its cry was a signal, the night calls returned, cocooning the brothers in sound.
“Aw, Jesus, Sammy,” Dean breathed, his chest heaving with the effort to draw in air, his mouth dry, his side burning.
He reached down and carefully turned Sam’s left forearm with gentle fingers. The bite was deep and bleeding freely. Sam hand was limp in his and as Dean’s eyes flew to his brother’s face, he noted the pallor of Sam’s features causing his brother’s lashes to stand out like dark shadows on his cheeks.
Dean knew he had to get the bleeding stopped before he did much of anything. He started to unbutton his green shirt to use as a bandage when he glanced down at his side. The wolf had nicely filleted him, slashing through both his shirt and T-shirt. His blood was beginning to stain the material.
“Shit,” Dean muttered, looking back at Sam’s face. Gotta stop the bleeding… how the hell… Belt! Sam always wore a belt. Dean reached for his brother’s waistband and unfastened his belt, pulling the leather free from the denim loops. “Any other situation, that might feel awkward,” he muttered.
He wrapped the leather just above the bite; as he pulled it tight, Sam opened his eyes with a gasp.
“Easy, Sammy,” Dean soothed. “Take it easy, I’m here.”
“Yeah, Dean,” he said, fastening the belt. “Who else would it be?”
“What… where’d it go?”
“Ran off,” Dean said tightly. “Need to wrap your arm, Sam. You think you can sit up a little?”
Sam blinked at Dean, his eyes large in the moonlight. His gaze flicked down to the arm resting across his belly and Dean saw realization of what had just happened to him filter slowly in.
“Don’t go there, Sam,” he commanded.
“No.” Dean shook his head once. “Don’t. Just… just help me wrap it and get you out of here.”
Dean swallowed. “He’s, uh… over there.”
“We…” Sam gasped as Dean pulled him carefully into sitting position. “We were too late…”
“Don’t worry about that now, Sam,” Dean said, working Sam’s right arm out of his jacket and used the loose material to wrap around the wound on Sam’s arm. Sam’s jaw tightened, but he stayed silent as Dean finished field-dressing the wound.
“We… we gotta burn him, Dean,” Sam ground out, sweat beginning to gather at his temples.
Dean swallowed, looking at Sam’s pale face in the moonlight. “I don’t have anything to burn… it.”
“Attacked by a werewolf,” Sam whispered. “No telling if he could still turn, Dean.”
“I’ll take care of it, Sam.” Dean said, reaching out to cup the side of his brother’s face and turned Sam’s blue-green eyes to meet his, and away from the gore that was Eugene’s body. “I’ll take care of it, okay? You with me?”
Sam blinked, nodding.
“Let’s get you back, okay?”
“We c-can’t just…”
Dean sighed, knowing Sam was right. “You just keep your eyes open, okay? Sam?”
“Okay,” Sam whispered, slumping forward and cradling his wounded arm in his lap.
Dean stood, looking down at Eugene’s blood-soaked body. He swallowed the bite of bile that stung the back of his throat. Not allowing himself to think about what he was doing—or what he’d done—Dean leaned over and grasped Eugene’s bloody arms and dragged him to the base of a tree.
He dug Eugene’s wallet, and as an afterthought, his motel keys, out of his pocket. There would be someone to tell… someone out there that would be wondering where their son or brother was. He cast about the ground for something to cover the body and ended up with a few dried fronds from the Joshua Tree. It barely covered Eugene’s face.
Dean rotated on his heel and turned back to Sam. Can’t think about that now… gotta take care of Sam… He grabbed his knife, returning it to the sheath at his back, picked up his shotgun, then leaned over Sam.
“C’mon, kiddo,” Dean said as he bent over his brother, hooking and arm under Sam’s right shoulder. “Gotta help me out a little.”
“You okay, Dean?” Sam’s voice was strained.
“I’m good, let’s just get you back, huh?”
“Saw it get you,” Sam slurred.
“Never touched me,” Dean shook his head, wrapping Sam’s arm over his shoulders, ignoring the burn in his side, the image of Eugene’s sightless eyes.
The journey back to the road was silent and arduous. By the time they reached the Impala, Sam was sagging against him, his feet trailing weakly in the dirt, and Dean was trembling with the weight of him. Pausing only a moment to consider his alternatives, Dean propped Sam up against the side of the motel and dug Eugene’s key from his pocket.
“Hang on, Sammy,” Dean whispered, licking his dry lips. “Hang on, man.”
He unlocked the room and maneuvered them into the room, dropping the shotgun inside the door. He managed to wrestle Sam to the closest bed. Sam’s eyes fluttered closed and his breath started to come in short bursts. Dean ran the back of his hand over his mouth, trying to catch his breath.
“N-no… no hospital, Dean.”
“Don’t take me,” Sam blinked bleary eyes up at Dean. “Don’t wanna go.”
“I mean it,” Sam’s voice was stronger. “No hospital. Not like last time.”
Dean’s heart caught painfully in his chest. He’d never been as scared in his life as the moment he realized Sam had been shot with a poison bullet. He’d come so close to losing him…
“Don’t, Sam,” Dean barked. “We don’t know anything, yet, okay?”
“Just… just shut up, okay? Just let me think.” He couldn’t let Sam see that he was shaking.
Sam closed his eyes, turning his face away. Dean took a breath.
“I’ll be right back, okay?”
Sam didn’t move. Dean headed out to the Impala, opening the trunk and pulling out their duffels. As he leaned in to grab the bag of weapons, his side shot a hot spark through him, stifling his breath and bringing him up short. Stuffing the pain back, denying it the attention it sought, Dean closed the trunk and hauled all three bags back into the room.
He dropped the bags with the clothing and first aid kit on the spare bed, sitting the weapons bag on the small table in the corner of the room that was currently strewn with papers, brochures, notebooks and fliers all on Navajo Code Talkers. Dean's flitted over the items, registering them, but not taking them in. He set his knife on the table next to his .45.
He gathered the supplies from the first aid box and eased down on Sam’s bed. His brother’s eyes were rolling wildly under closed lids, his jaw trembling as chills wracked his body. Dean swallowed, closing his mind to what lay back in the desert, to the moment of peace they’d been afforded just one hour before, to his unmitigated failure to protect an innocent, to protect Sam.
“Okay, man,” Dean whispered, more to keep himself balanced as his vision swam than to reassure Sam. “You’re gonna hate me, but I gotta cut your jacket free. Uh, and this… belt. There. Okay, let’s look at… damn, Sammy, that’s… that’s a bite alright… okay, this might sting a little…”
Sam cried out, his head pressing back into the pillow, neck arching slightly as Dean doused the bite with antiseptic. Keeping up a steady stream of inane words, a monologue meaningless in its specifics and deep in its purpose, Dean cleaned and wrapped the bite, pulled Sam’s boots off and wrapped his shivering brother up in the comforter. Sam didn’t open his eyes.
Running a shaking hand over his own sweaty face, Dean pushed himself unsteadily to his feet. He gathered up the first aid supplies and stepped into the motel bathroom. Eugene’s toiletries were organized in descending order by size along the countertop. Dean closed his eyes, leaning his forehead against the cool tile of the bathroom wall. He’d promised…
“Stop it,” he admonished himself.
He swallowed, looking at the red stain of blood on his side. He eased the outer shirt off of his shoulders, reaching behind his head and grasping the T-shirt between his shoulder blades and pulling it free. He used the end of his green shirt and carefully cleaned the blood from his side, then turned and dropped the tattered garment on the floor.
The cuts weren’t too deep and he was able to staunch the bleeding and apply patches quickly. Returning to the bedroom, he dug out a gray T-shirt from his duffel and pulled it over his head.
“Sam,” he whispered, shaking Sam’s leg gently. “Sammy, wake up.”
Sam blinked groggily at him.
“I gotta… I gotta go back out there… take… care of it,” Dean said, hoping Sam would understand.
“Be careful,” Sam whispered, closing his eyes again. Dean watched him a moment more, then grabbed the motel keys and headed for the Impala’s trunk and the supplies he needed.
The walk back to Eugene’s body didn’t seem to take as long as the walk to the motel had taken. He reached the sad, slumped form and only then realized that Eugene’s glasses were gone. He pulled the body away from the tree, trying in vain to blank his mind to the fact that he’d talked to this guy just a little bit ago, that he’d promised to take care of him.
He poured lighter fluid over the body, gagging over the smell he normally didn’t notice. He gripped the match between his fingers for a moment, staring down at Eugene's torn face.
“I’m sorry, Eugene,” Dean whispered. “I’m sorry, man…”
He gave his head a hard shake and forced himself to strike the match, hesitating only a second before dropping it onto Eugene's body. He threw up a hand to shield his eyes as Eugene’s body went up in flames with a whoosh. Dean backed away from the heat and the smell, tucking his nose into the crook of his elbow and pressing his other arm tight against his side.
He waited until the embers burned low, then retrieved the shovel and buried the remains. As he started to return to Sam, he realized that he was shivering. He swallowed. It was just the chill of the night, the release of adrenalin from the fight. That’s all. He wouldn’t let it be anything else. By the time he reached the motel, he was desperate for water. But when he saw Sam, all thoughts of his own comfort vanished.
Sam was twisted in the comforter, his long hair plastered to his face from a feverish sweat. He muttered incoherently about angels and demons, sinking ships and snakes. Dean rubbed his face. After the lives they’d led, dreams were never safe territory. Fevers simply heightened the experience. He sat heavily on the other bed, digging out John’s journal from one of the duffels.
“C’mon, Dad,” Dean whispered, his arm pressing tightly against his side. “Don’t let me down.” He scanned the pages of the journal where his father had written everything he’d known about werewolves. The only thing he found about werewolf bites was the possibility of severing the bloodline: kill the sire and end the curse.
“Dean,” Sam muttered. “Don’t—“
“I’m here,” Dean whispered, reaching for Sam’s flailing arm. He gripped his brother’s hot hand tightly. “I’m here, man.”
Sam settled slightly at the sound of his voice, but Dean could feel the shiver of fever through their connected hands. He knew he had to get Sam’s fever down, but he suspected that Tylenol and ice packs weren’t going to cut it this time. He needed something else. He needed help. He reached into his pocket, digging out his cell phone. He paused for one second on Dad, but continued down the list until he reached Bearwalker.
He felt weak with relief when the older hunter answered. His hasty explanation was met with calm instructions.
“You’re gonna need to write this down, Dean,” Bearwalker’s rumble floated across the distance and settled in his ears. “You sure you’re okay, kid?”
“’M fine,” Dean mumbled, wiping sweat from his eyes. “I’m ready. Lay it on me.”
Bearwalker recited a list of ingredients for a poultice and remedy to bring Sam’s fever down.
“Where the hell am I gonna find this stuff?” Dean asked, looking at the list of unusual items. “Not like a pharmacy is gonna carry arrowroot.”
“I know,” Bearwalker said. “You’re gonna have to find an Indian reservation, Dean. Can you do that?”
Dean shivered, blinking bleary eyes. He ran a shaky hand over his mouth, watching Sam twitch and struggle against the nightmarish images assaulting him.
“Yeah, I can do that,” Dean said, thanking Bearwalker and hanging up before the hunter could pry deeper as to his own wellbeing. “Where the hell am I gonna find an Indian reservation…”
“You’re standing in one, man,” said a voice to his left.
Dean jerked, wincing as his movement of surprise pulled at the cuts on his side. He stood, automatically reaching back to his waistband for his gun and grabbing air. Where the hell is my gun? He looked in the shadows of the room for the speaker. Did Eugene have a roommate? Had someone gotten in while he was away?
“Oh, big, bad-ass hunter,” said the voice. “Did I scare you?”
Dean gaped and thought for sure he was hallucinating when Eugene stepped from the shadows and into the wan light cast from the lamp between the beds. The right side of his face and nearly his entire throat was slashed, the wounds no longer bleeding but open and raw-looking. His features were pale and blue-tinged, and his shirt and vest were shredded.
Dean’s eyes darted from the ghoulish figure to the small table in the corner of the room where he’d set their duffel of weapons. His .45 gleamed in the yellow light, taunting him.
“Y-you… you can’t be here… I… I burned you…”
“Yeah, I know, I was there." Eugene tilted his head. “Why the hell did you do that, anyway?”
“You can’t be a spirit,” Dean stuttered, backing away from Eugene, putting himself between the figure and Sam.
“Pretty sure I’m not a spirit,” Eugene agreed, looking casually around the room. He reached out and traced a finger down the wall. “I tried walking through things and kinda… bounced off. Not really sure how I got in here. I saw you in the desert, followed you home. Next thing I know…”
Dean swallowed, shaking his head. He looked down at the faded brown and gold carpet of the motel room, running the tips of his fingers across his forehead. The Alp had played with his head too much. He was imagining things.
He’s not real… notrealnotrealnotrealnotreal…
“Y’know, I feel different,” Eugene said, stepping closer to Dean. “I mean, sure, I’m y’know… dead… but it feels different than I thought it would. For one, I don’t need those damn coke-bottle glasses. Guess there's an upside to everything." He smiled.
Dean could see the sides of Eugene’s teeth through the hole in his cheek.
Eugene stepped closer; Dean stepped back, his knees hitting the bed, jostling his wounded side. “I mean, except for these really annoying flaps of skin," Eugene flipped the offending bits of skin with his fingertips, "that I’m sure are rather unattractive… frankly, I’ve never felt better.”
“No… no, you’re not real. You’re not here.” Dean gasped, glancing back quickly as Sam groaned low. Holy shit, he thought, I really have lost my mind.
“Hate to tell you this, Dean,” Eugene said, stepping forward and forcing Dean to either sit on the bed or step aside.
Dean sat, unwilling to open Sam’s unconscious form up to Eugene’s approach.
“But I am real. I’m DAMN real.”
Eugene pressed forward, his hands planted on either side of Dean's legs, his torn face inches from Dean’s. Dean could feel the bed sink and leaned back despite himself.
“And you’d better get used to it, Dean, because you PROMISED that nothing bad was going to happen to me and, well..." Eugene straightened and spread his arms, stretching the torn skin so that the red gave way to a deep purple. "THIS LOOKS PRETTY DAMN BAD!”
“Alright!” Dean yelled, standing and pushing Eugene’s figure away. He stared in shock when his hands didn’t go through Eugene’s body.
Eugene stared back, fascinated. A grin lifted the slightly-less destroyed side of his face. “Hey, how’d you do that?”
“Back off, man,” Dean growled. “Just… just back up.” This is just friggin' nuts…
“Okay, okay, don’t get so touchy. I’m the dead one here, remember?” Eugene replied petulantly, holding up his hands.
Dean opened his mouth to retort when the phone between the beds rang, startling them both. Dean turned to it, running his hand over his mouth as it rang again.
“You gonna get that?” Eugene prompted, gesturing toward the instrument.
“Shut up a minute,” Dean snapped, glancing at Sam’s sweaty, pain-twisted face. He picked up the receiver. “Hello?”
“It’s your five o’clock wake-up call, Mr. Eastwood.”
Dean glanced at Eugene, then said “Thanks” into the receiver and hung up. “Mr. Eastwood?” he smirked.
“I don’t want to hear it,” Eugene said, looking uncomfortable. “We all have our secret identities.”
“Dean?” Sam’s weak voice shot reality back through Dean.
“Sam, hey,” Dean turned, wincing slightly and bent over his brother. “You okay?”
“Thirsty,” Sam whispered.
“Hang on,” Dean said, and turned from the bed, brushing past Eugene, and returned quickly with a glass of water. “Here you go, man.”
He helped Sam drink slowly. “I talked to Bearwalker, Sam.”
“Yeah, he had some ideas for helping you, but I gotta go find an Indian, um…”
“Shaman,” Eugene supplied, looking at the back of his hand with a frown. “Hey, do you think I’m starting to rot? You can be honest."
“Shaman,” Dean said to Sam, ignoring Eugene. He noticed that Sam didn’t even react to Eugene’s voice. He must really be out of it…
“Yeah,” Dean nodded. “There are some herbs and stuff that will help your fever and I think I have a way to, um, keep you from… y’know…”
“Yeah,” Dean’s smile mirrored Sam’s weak attempt. “I just need to find the nearest Indian reservation, get this stuff, and you’ll be good as new.”
“That plan has more holes in it than I do,” Eugene grumbled, rolling his eyes.
Dean tipped his chin down, directing his voice over his shoulder, but not turning. “Just shut the hell up, okay?”
Sam frowned. “Dean?”
“I’m just saying it isn’t easy to find an Indian shaman,” Eugene said, stepping up behind Dean and peering over his shoulder at Sam. “You’re gonna be lucky if you can find the reservation, at the rate you’re going.”
Dean stood, turning from Sam. “Thought you said I was standing in one,” he challenged.
“You are, but an Indian reservation covers miles and miles. I mean, you gotta find the right settlement where the shaman lives, first.”
“Y’know, I’ve had enough of you,” Dean started to move past Eugene and head for his cell phone, intent on calling Bearwalker back, getting a better idea on how to help Sam. Eugene dodged to block him. “Get the hell out of my way.”
“Make me!” Eugene grinned. A flap of skin on his cheek fell loose with that motion and Eugene reached up to try to put it back in place. “Dammit,” he grumbled.
“Just a minute, Sam,” Dean shot over his shoulder. He turned back to Eugene, gesturing impatiently with the flat of his hand. “I am trying to figure out how to help you, but this freakin’ guy won’t—"
“What guy?” Sam weakly pushed himself up in bed.
Dean froze, staring at Eugene, his hand extended. Eugene froze, staring at Dean, still trying to adjust the loose piece of skin back onto his cheek. In unison, they breathed out one question. “What?”
“Who are you talking to?” Sam asked, his voice trembling slightly.
“Y-you don’t see him?” Dean asked, rotating slightly, the room tilting slowly around him.
“There’s no one here but us, Dean,” Sam swallowed, holding his wounded arm carefully against his chest.
“And the hits just keep on comin’,” Eugene whispered.
a/n: Bearwalker was an OC created by kittsbud in a previous VS episode. She let me borrow him for that one scene.
Part 2 can be found here: http://gaelicspirit.livejournal.com/47052.html>