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Unseen Heroes, 2/4, PG-13, Dean, Sam, GEN

Title: Unseen Heroes
Author:gaelicspirit
Genre: GEN
Characters: Sam, Dean
Rating: PG-13
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: Thanks for coming back. Hope you enjoy this next part!


Kokopelli Inn, Bluff, Utah, early-morning

“You seriously don’t see anyone?” Dean asked, resisting the urge to grab onto something—the bed, the wall, Eugene—and stop the slow spin of the room.

“Who do you see, Dean?” Sam asked, his pain-wracked voice breathy and scared.

“Yeah, Dean,” Eugene sassed. “Why don’t you tell him?”

Shut up, Dean shot his eyes to Eugene, who had finally managed to get the flap of skin to stay in place. Dean swallowed hard, closing his eyes, pressing the side of his leg against Sam’s bed for balance. Behind his lids, the rotating room seemed to speed up, vertigo wrestling him sideways until he bent slightly, reaching for the nightstand between the beds.

“Dean?”

“Just gimme a minute, Sam,” he whispered. He took a slow breath in through his mouth, forcing his eyes open and refusing to give in to the dizzy spell. “I’m okay.”

“You sure the wolf didn’t—“

“I said I’m okay, Sam,” Dean snapped, pushing himself back to his feet and looking at his brother.

Sam was sitting up in the bed, his back resting against the headboard, his wounded arm cradled against him. He was pale, sweaty, his eyes round and young-looking.

“It’s you I’m worried about. Just need to…” Dean’s voice suddenly sounded hollow and tinny in his own ears.

As Dean watched, Sam’s mouth started to move, but Dean heard nothing. He frowned. Sam tipped his head forward, his lips forming around a silent question and Dean realized suddenly that the room was growing darker, the edges of light tunneling toward Sam.

Oh, shit…

He turned from his brother and in a stumble of tangled, uncooperative limbs, managed to get into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. He pulled air in through his nose, forcing down the bile climbing the back of his throat, going to his knees on the cool tile floor. He would not let this… weakness… take over. What the hell? I’m not even cut that bad…

Pressing the flat of his palms on the floor, Dean started to push himself to his feet and was mildly surprised when instead he found himself leaning hard on his forearms, his forehead resting against the tile.

“Y’know,” Eugene’s sudden voice made Dean jerk violently with surprise. “You kinda look like one of those Tibetan Monks when they pray… all you need is an orange robe.”

“How the hell did you get in here?” Dean rasped, blinking his eyes and rotating his forehead on the tile.

“Why don’t you just tell him you’re hurt?” Eugene asked, tilting his head to regard Dean’s prone form with curiosity, leaning a hip on the edge of the bathroom counter. “Or hell, I don’t know… call someone to help?”

Closing his eyes again, Dean pushed himself slowly upright until he was resting on his knees. “Do you ever shut up?”

“Occasionally,” Eugene said, pulling at piece of skin that had started to curl up against the gaping hole in his neck. “Used to be really quiet, actually. Guess being dead’s given me a new lease on life.”

Dean wiped sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand, feeling steadier. He grasped the edge of the counter and slowly pulled himself to his feet, turning on the cold water.

“So… calling for help… not an option I take it?” Eugene persisted.

Dean cupped his hands under the liquid and let it fill the hollow of his palms, then splashed it on his face. The shock of the chilly water was bracing. He did it again and again until he was sure that he could straighten up and look at himself in the mirror.

“No,” he rasped. “It’s not an option.”

He looked almost as bad as Eugene — jagged gashes and slashed throat aside. He could see his freckles standing out against the pallor of his skin and purple smudges shadowed his eyes. Water traced a pattern down the sides of his face, gathered at his jaw line, and dripped from his chin.

“Is it like an insurance thing?” Eugene continued helpfully, oblivious to Dean's look of weary disbelief. “’Cause I used to know this guy who pulled like all kinds of scams to get treatment at a hospital when he needed to—“

“Dean?”

Dean jumped at the sound of Sam’s voice on the other side of the door interrupting Eugene.

“Hang on,” he called.

“Dean, I—“ Sam’s voice caught and Dean tucked his face against his shoulder, wiping some of the water away with his T-shirt. “I can’t…”

A soft thump on the other side of the door had Dean turning from the mirror and reaching for the handle, his focus complete; Eugene, dizziness, weakness forgotten. Sam sat slumped against the wall on the other side of the bathroom door, trembling, sweat glistening on his face, his eyes closed.

“Goddammit, Sammy,” Dean whispered, crouching in front of his brother. “What are you—"

“W-was worried… ‘bout you,” Sam muttered, his eyes fluttering. Dean stood and went into the bathroom, wetting a towel with the still-running water and returning to Sam.

“You gotta pay extra for towels here, y’know!” Eugene protested.

Dean ignored him. Using the cool rag, Dean wiped his brother’s sweaty face, carefully checking the wrapped wound. It hadn’t started bleeding again, but Sam’s forearm was swollen and the area around the puncture marks was red and angry-looking.

“Let’s get you back up into the bed,” Dean said, reaching for Sam’s good arm, rocking back on his heels to shift Sam’s weight forward.

Sam helped as much as he could, but wavered once vertical. Dean gritted his teeth as the effort of moving Sam’s taller frame echoed like a scream through his side. He eased Sam down on the bed, cupping the back of his brother’s neck and helping him lay back against the pillow.

“Just hang in there, Sammy,” he whispered. “I’ll… I’ll figure out a way to find this… shaman.”

“Front desk,” Sam said, his eyes closed.

“Huh?” Eugene’s voice came from just over Dean’s shoulder.

Dean jerked, glancing quickly at Eugene. "Stop doing that!" He snapped, then turned back to Sam.

“The front desk?" Dean prompted. "Of the motel you mean?”

Sam swallowed, turning his head on the pillow to face Dean. “Lady at th-the restaurant said they have a lot of… tourists.”

“Hey! Smart kid,” Eugene said, snapping his fingers. “Aw, dammit,” he growled in sudden disgust.

Dean looked at him. Eugene was frowning at his right hand; his index finger was gone. Dean shook his head, resisting the urge to look at the floor for the missing appendage.

“Good idea, Sammy,” Dean said, patting Sam’s shoulder and standing up.

Eugene lifted his eyes, a rather puzzled expression on his face. “You think it just… disappeared?” He looked down at his feet, twisting his body to look around him. “I mean… where the hell did it go?”

“I don’t give a rat’s ass about your finger, man,” Dean hissed as he reached for the phone.

“What’d you say?” Sam mumbled, blinking his eyes open slightly.

“Nothing, don’t worry about it,” Dean sighed, picking up the receiver and dialing “0.”

The woman at the front desk was more than happy to direct Dean to the closest Native American settlement with a shaman. She assured him that the local Indians would welcome him as they depend on tourism as much as the town did. She wished him well and hoped he would find enough information for his book.

“My book?” Dean asked, pulling the phone slightly away and looking at the receiver, brow furrowed in confusion.

“No, asshole, my book,” Eugene spoke up from his dejected slump in the chair next to the small table. “You’re in my room, remember?”

“Oh, uh, right,” Dean said to the woman on the other line. “Thanks.” He hung up and turned to look at Eugene. “Book, huh?”

“You get the directions?” Sam asked, his voice husky with pain.

“It’s on Navajo Code Talkers,” Eugene answered Dean. “That’s why I’m here.”

“I got ‘em,” Dean said to Sam, his eyes on Eugene. He folded the paper and stuffed it into the front pocket of his jeans. “It’s not far.”

“Well… why I was here…” Eugene muttered. “Don’t know why I’m here now… not much more you can do to a guy after you rip his throat out and burn his body to ashes…”

“Help me up,” Sam blinked his eyes open, trying to roll to his side.

“Maybe it’s penance or something,” Eugene was saying, absentmindedly flicking a flap of skin at the base of his throat. “I’m being punished…”

“You’re not coming with me, Sam,” Dean said, working to split his attention between Eugene’s ramblings and Sam’s efforts to stand.

“Or…” Eugene’s voice sounded slightly brighter. “Maybe you’re being punished… yeah… it’s you!”

“What are you talking about?” Sam squinted up at him. “I’m not letting you go alone.”

“You’re in no condition to go anywhere, Sam,” Dean shook his head, heading over to the table and the weapons bag. He stuffed the .45 into his waistband, staring at his knife, considering.

“I can’t seem to go anywhere you’re not,” Eugene was saying. “You’re the one that got me killed… heh, how ‘bout that. Someone’s punishing you.” Realization burst upon him. "Hey… I'm… I’m haunting you!"

“Dean, you’re… you’re not acting like yourself, man,” Sam said. “What if…”

“’Course… it kinda sucks that I gotta stick around just so that you—“

“Enough!” Dean snapped, spreading his hands out so that one was directed at Eugene, the other at Sam. When the room was momentarily silent, Dean reached up and scratched the back of his head, staring at his knife on the table. “Sam… you can barely stand. We can’t risk—“

“I’m coming with you,” Sam said, his voice stronger.

Dean looked over at him. “Sam…”

“Dude, you just bit my head off for no reason,” Sam argued, finally able to swing his legs over the edge of the bed. “Something’s going on with you… something’s… not right.”

“I coulda told you that,” Eugene commented. Dean shot him a look. Eugene held up his hands in surrender, then let them fall back in his lap.

“Fine,” Dean agreed. “You can come, but we need to go now before you get any worse.”

“Dude, I’m dead… doesn’t get much worse than this,” Eugene pointed out, tilting his head and staring back at Dean’s glare with benign eyes. When Dean turned silently away from him toward his brother Eugene sighed. “Oh. You mean him.”

Dean helped Sam pull on his boots, then clenched his jaw against the tremble of pain that shook loose in his side as he hauled Sam to his feet. Sam swayed slightly, reaching over to grab onto Dean and steady himself. His hand hit the cuts on Dean’s side and Dean grunted slightly.

“You okay?” Dean’s voice was strained.

“Yeah,” Sam breathed. “Just… yeah.”

Dean moved to the door, maneuvering it open and stepping through. He glanced back at Eugene. “You comin’?” he asked softly.

“Huh?” Sam looked over at him.

“Nothing,” Dean said, watching as Eugene brightened slightly, and stood, striding toward the door. Just before he reached it, Dean pulled the door shut, chuckling softly at the thump he heard on the other side. “Sucker.”

The cool of the night still clung to the early morning air and filtered through Dean’s warm body, his shiver radiating through Sam as he eased his brother into the passenger seat. Sam dropped his head back, his eyes closing the minute Dean released him. Dean shut the door, a frown etched into his features. Hang in there, Sammy…

He moved around the front of the car, pulling out his keys as he did. The pinkish-gold rays of the sunrise rippling across the desert glinted off the sliver of his ring as he reached for the door handle. He glanced up once at the open expanse of the mesa on the other side of the road, his mind’s eye flashing to the night before, the fight with the wolf, burning Eugene’s body…

Shaking his head and ignoring the unsettled feeling in the pit of his stomach, Dean slid behind the wheel and fired up the engine. Glancing at Sam’s slumped form and closed eyes, Dean dragged the gearshift down to reverse and hooked his elbow over the back of the seat to look out the back window.

Eugene’s torn visage met his startled eyes.

“Son of a bitch!” Dean cried out, jerking back, the sudden movement pulling at the cuts on his side. By a sheer miracle he managed to keep his foot on the brake.

Sam’s head shot up, his eyes wide and glazed. “W-what?”

“I told you, man,” Eugene said as Dean closed his eyes and pressed a hand against his side. “You’re stuck with me. Believe me, it’s no day at the circus from where I’m sitting either.”

“Nothing, Sam,” Dean breathed. He turned around and flicked his eyes up to the rear-view mirror, snarling a bit as Eugene’s face was framed neatly in the center. “Scoot over, man.”

“I’m against the door, Dean,” Sam moaned softly.

“Why? Am I blocking you? Can’t see through the ghostie?” Eugene bobbed a bit in the mirror, waving a three-fingered hand at Dean.

The muscles in Dean’s jaw bunched; if he clenched his teeth any tighter, they would crack. The heat in his eyes could have melted lead as he stared at Eugene in the mirror. Eugene seemed to feel a bit of that wrath through the reflection, and sat back rather demurely.

“Wouldn’t hurt for you to ask nicely, y’know,” Eugene grumbled, sliding slightly so that he was positioned behind Sam.

Dean pulled in a shaky breath, backed out of the lot, then dug into his jeans for the directions. Glancing down at the paper, he blinked as the words swam in front of his eyes. Shifting to drive, he headed toward the rising sun.

Not five miles down the road, Sam groaned weakly. Dean glanced over at him and felt his heart kick at the sight of his brother’s white, sweaty face. Sam was getting worse.

“Pull over man,” Sam whispered.

“What?”

“Dean! Now!” Sam flopped a limp hand at the door handle.

“Dude, he’s gonna ralph,” Eugene warned.

“I know,” Dean snapped without thinking, wrenching the wheel to the right and coming to a hard stop as Sam practically tumbled out of the door and to his knees in the gravel on the side of the road.

Dean shoved the car into park, opened the door and sprinted around to the other side of the car as Sam’s body convulsed violently, the contents of his stomach traversing the side of the road, his wounded arm clutched protectively to his body.

“Take it easy, man,” Dean soothed, his hand on the small of Sam’s back. “You’re okay.”

“Ugh. If I were you,” Eugene said in a strained voice. “I’d be joining him.”

Dean shot him a silent glare, continuing to rub gentle, easy circles on Sam’s back, just as he’d done when Sam was younger. “Want some water?” he asked when Sam eased back onto his haunches, the back of his hand pressed against his mouth.

Sam nodded and Dean went to the trunk, grabbing a bottle of water and handing it to him.

“Want some help?” Dean asked, nodding toward the car.

“Just… wait a minute,” Sam breathed, tipping his head against the doorframe. “Still feel…”

“Oh, don’t tell me there’s more digestive pyrotechnics,” Eugene groaned.

“Okay, that’s it!” Dean barked, facing Eugene through the window. “Shut the hell up! I don’t want to hear another word out of you!”

“Well, that’s just too damn bad isn’t it,” Eugene leaned forward. “Because you’re stuck. With. Me.”

“Fine! I’m stuck with you, but you leave him the hell alone,” Dean growled, his shoulders thrust forward, pointing at Sam’s bewildered face.

“I haven’t touched him!”

“That’s not what I meant and you know—“

“Dean!” Sam finally snapped. “What. The. Hell?”

Dean took a breath and turned away from the Impala, running his hand over his mouth, across his forehead, then over the top of his head, ending at his neck. He tightened his fingers on the tense muscles there and turned back to Sam.

“Sam,” he said, looking away, then back at his brother. “Eugene’s in the backseat.”

Sam blinked, frowned, blinked again, then slowly turned his head to look at the backseat. Eugene waved at him, smiling. Sam’s eyes ran right through him, scanning the backseat, then returning to Dean.

“Dean, I—"

“Listen, I’m not crazy,” Dean thrust his hands out at his sides, his green eyes focused on Sam's face. “This isn’t a demon-infested figment of my imagination, or some Special Kid whammy… there is a dead guy in the backseat.”

Sam swallowed. “And… you can… see him?”

“See him. Talk to him. Friggin’ touch him.”

“And it’s the dude from the restaurant. Eugene.”

“The one and only,” Eugene piped up. He looked over at Dean. “Thought he was a smart kid.”

Dean looked at Eugene, shrugging one shoulder. “Hey, this is weird, okay? Even for us.”

“You’re talking to him… now?” Sam said, glancing to the backseat once more.

“So, you guys deal in weird a lot, that it?” Eugene asked.

“Yeah,” Dean said, answering both of them.

“Didn’t you… burn him?” Sam shifted back up on the seat of the car, cradling his wounded arm.

“'Course I burned him,” Dean replied, leaning on the opened car door.

“You are disturbingly comfortable with the idea of burning bodies,” Eugene said, playing with the loose flap of skin at his throat again.

“Then why is he here?” Sam asked, closing his eyes, his voice fainter.

“Dude, that’s just gross. Stop that,” Dean said, grimacing at Eugene’s actions. “And if I knew why he was here, I could do something about it, couldn’t I?” Dean looked at Sam, waited while his brother pulled his legs back in the car, then shut the door.

He got back behind the wheel. Glancing up at the rearview mirror image of Eugene, Dean watched as he reached up to his destroyed cheek, his fingers tentatively reaching through the skin and touching his exposed teeth. Sam groaned and Dean shifted into drive, looking at his brother.

“You aren’t looking so good, man,” he whispered.

“I know,” Sam and Eugene answered in unison.

Navajo Indian Reservation, near Medicine Hat, Utah, morning

The windows in the Impala were rolled down, allowing the desert air to travel through the car and vent away the imagined odor of death and the real smell of sickness. Dean hooked his left elbow on the windowsill, driving slowly down the dusty road of the small village, nodding back at the curious stares that were tossed his way.

“Maybe it’s your music,” Eugene offered.

“I doubt that,” Dean muttered, offering a friendly smile to an old man sitting in a folding chair just outside the opening of a small hut. The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes crooned softly from the speakers; Dean had given in to the pressure of silence about ten minutes after their brief detour and fished out a CD, ignoring Eugene’s frequently voiced musical requests.

No one knows what it's like, to be hated, to be fated, to telling only lies…

“I’m telling you, man,” Eugene said, leaning forward. “I'm pretty sure Native Americans hate Pete Townsend.”

Dean flicked his eyes to the rearview mirror. “Well, you get a point for even knowing who Pete Townsend is.”

Eugene looked offended. “Hey, I do own a TV.” He glanced back out of the window. “I mean I did… you can learn a lot from VH-1 Classic, y’know. And don’t get me started on CSI and using The Who for every single spin-off—“

“Dean?”

“We’re almost there, Sam,” Dean reassured his groggy brother. “Go back to sleep. I’ll wake you up when I find him.”

Sam nodded and let his eyes drift shut, his head lolling a bit on the back of the bench seat.

No one bites back as hard on their anger. None of my pain and woe can show through…

Dean pulled to a stop in front of what looked to him like a convenience store. He left the car running and sprinted inside, telling the man behind the counter what he was looking for. The clerk nodded to the east saying that he could walk there. Dean returned to the car and shut off the engine.

“Sam?”

Sam didn’t reply. His chin trembled, his eyes rolled behind closed lids, and Dean saw a bead of sweat roll down the side of his pale face.

“Hang on, Sammy,” he whispered, lifting his head and looking in the direction that the clerk had indicated. Clapping a hand on the opened door, Dean started walking as quickly as his wounded side would allow.

“What’s the rush?” Eugene said sprinting next to him.

“Don’t want to leave him alone too long,” Dean said, glancing to his side. “You lost your thumb.”

“What? I did?” Eugene pulled up short, looking at his three-fingered hand. “Dammit.”

Dean kept walking, eyes scanning the sun-bright desert for the hut the clerk had described.

“So besides werewolf killing, what else do you guys do?” Eugene asked, next to him once more.

Dean saw the windowless dirt hut and hurried toward the door. “What are you talking about?”

“I mean… you got like, real jobs, right?”

“This is our real job.” Dean stepped through the door and into a sparsely-furnished square room. The air inside the hut was stifling; no wind sifted through the openings that flanked the doorway. Eugene didn’t follow him inside.

“What, killing… creatures of the night?”

Dean shot a look over his shoulder as Eugene stood in the doorway, blocking the light from the outside. “Okay, one too many comic books for you.”

“They’re called graphic novels and you didn’t answer my question.”

“Don’t plan on it either,” Dean said, looking back into the room and scanning the area for signs of life.

“Why not?”

“None of your freaking business, that’s why not,” Dean said.

From a small doorway at the back of the room stepped a man about John’s age, deeply tanned skin weathered from years outdoors, jet-black hair cut short and falling across his forehead in stick-straight bangs, and dark-brown, almost black eyes hitting Dean like a punch, then glancing away and out of the door.

“You bring disease here,” the man said.

Dean swallowed, fighting the urge to reach out to the wall and steady himself. The heat in the room was making his head swim and his eyes blur. He pulled the list of ingredients from his pocket.

“Listen, the guy at the store said you could help me,” Dean said holding the paper out to the man.

He didn’t move to take it. “You need to leave.”

“Be happy to, just as soon as you tell me where I can get the stuff on this list.” Dean’s tight smile didn’t reach his eyes.

The man looked at the paper, then once again shot his gaze over Dean’s shoulder and out of the doorway. Dean frowned, following the man’s eye line. Eugene stood just outside of the door staring rather forlornly at his hand.

“You need to leave,” the man repeated, his eyes plainly on Eugene.

“Wait, wait,” Dean stepped forward as the man turned away, reaching out and grabbing the man’s sleeve. “You can see him?”

The man looked down at Dean’s fingers fisted in his loose shirt. “Let go.”

“Listen, man, if you know what’s going on here—“ Dean stopped suddenly as the room tilted sideways. In desperation, Dean let go of the man’s shirt and reached out blindly for the wall.

The man turned with Dean, grasping his shoulders and carefully propping him against the dirt wall. He sighed as though giving in to the inevitable.

“Yes,” he said softly. “I can see the ghoul.”

“Hey!” Eugene protested, but one glance from Dean’s warning eyes silenced him.

“My name is Maneulito. My father was the Hatálíí.” He let go of Dean’s arms and stepped back. Dean stayed where he was, the support of the wall too much to give up at the moment.

“The what?” Dean asked.

“The medicine man… shaman. He was killed a month ago. By a skin walker,” Maneulito said.

“Holy shit!” Eugene exclaimed. “I’ve read about them!”

“Skin walker,” Dean breathed, his eyes shifting to the side in thought. “Not… a werewolf?”

Manuelito frowned. “Werewolf?”

“Forget it,” Dean sighed, rubbing a shaking hand over his face. “Listen, I need the stuff on that list to help my brother—“

“Hey, watchit!” Eugene suddenly exclaimed, drawing the attention of the two men in the hut. He was standing just outside of the doorway, trying to dodge two woman that were walking past the opening, talking, and completely oblivious to his presence. Dean noticed Eugene cast no shadow.

“How come you can see him, and I can see him, but… no one else seems to be able to?” Dean asked.

“The men in my family were cursed with sight,” Manuelito said.

Dean lifted an eyebrow. “Yeah, I guess vision is highly overrated.”

Manuelito looked at him. “Sight through the veil that separates this world from the next. Sight that divulges the future.”

“Oh,” Dean nodded, the back of his head rubbing against the dirt wall. “That kind of sight.”

“My grandfather had it. My father had it. I have it. And… my son… has it,” Manuelito looked down, his voice suddenly sad. “Most chose to channel it into healing. Others… others chose differently.”

“Went to the dark side, did they?” Eugene tossed out.

“He was killed… violently,” Manuelito stated, looking back at Eugene.

Eugene glanced in at Dean. “Wow,” he commented dryly. “This guy doesn’t miss a thing.”

Dean shook his head, rolling his eyes.

“Yeah,” Eugene looked at Manuelito. “Friggin’ big-ass wolf killed me violently.”

“It did not take your heart,” Manuelito stated flatly. “That is why you are a ghoul.”

“Seriously, enough with the name—“

Dean interrupted him. “Why can I see him, then? If anyone in my family has… sight, it’s my brother, not me.”

Manuelito reached out and took the list from Dean. “He was bonded to you before death,” he said, scanning the ingredients in the dim light of the hut. “A debt, a wish, a promise… something connecting you.”

Eugene looked at Dean. “Told you.”

“Shut up,” Dean grumbled, not happy to hear this. Being bonded to Sam by a promise was one thing; being bonded to Eugene… “How do I… get rid of him?”

“Ouch,” Eugene put the hand still graced with all fingers against his chest. “That hurts.”

“The only way to rid yourself of the ghoul is to kill the skin walker that took his life.”

Figures, Dean thought. “Will that save my brother, too?”

“Your brother,” Manuelito asked. “He was attacked by the creature that killed your friend?”

“He’s not my friend and yeah, it bit my brother.”

“When did this happen?”

“Last night,” Eugene and Dean answered in unison.

Manuelito frowned. “Killing the skin walker will not save your brother.”

Dean felt his body betray him, sagging weakly against the wall, a tremor starting at his fingertips and working its way up his arms to wrap around his heart. Too many damn times… “I can’t… I can’t do this again…” Dean whispered, his eyes staring sightlessly at the earth floor.

“We have to perform a Nadáá,” Manuelito said, turning from Dean and starting back to the small doorway he’d stepped from.

“W-what?” Dean asked. Realization that hope had just been handed to him in the casual words of a stranger sifted strength into his weakening knees. “We have to do a what?”

Manuelito paused and turned. “A Nadáá. It’s a ceremony for warriors returning from battle. It rids the body of evil—evil seen and evil felt.”

“Warriors…” Eugene said softly, looking at Dean.

“What do I have to do?” Dean pushed away from the wall.

“You need to bring your brother to me,” Manuelito held up the list. “These medicines will help him, but we need to perform the ceremony soon. The bite of a skin walker is deadly within days.”

Dean swallowed.

“What about a scratch?” Eugene asked suddenly, his eyes still on Dean.

Manuelito’s face cracked slightly with his disbelieving smile. “I’m afraid a Nadáá will not help you. The skin walker left you hovering between this life and the next.”

“But if a bite can kill…”

Manuelito lifted a shoulder. “A scratch will make you ill, very ill in fact. But it will not kill you.”

“I’ll go get my brother,” Dean said heading toward the doorway.

“He is close?”

“Very close,” Dean looked over his shoulder.

“I will prepare,” Manuelito said. “Bring him to the building in back.”

Dean approached Eugene who stepped back out of his way.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Eugene scampered alongside Dean as he barreled through the dusty street and back to the car.

“About what?” Dean shot a look over at him.

“About the cuts on your side,” Eugene pointed at Dean.

“This isn’t about me,” Dean said. “It’s about Sam. You heard him — skin walker bites are deadly.”

“And the scratches make you wicked sick,” Eugene argued.

Dean reached the Impala, panting slightly. “Aw, Eugene,” he flicked his eyes at Eugene’s torn face. “You like me, you really like me.”

Eugene narrowed his eyes at Dean, holding up his three-fingered hand and folding down two fingers. Dean smirked, then opened the passenger door.

“Hey, Sammy,” he said softly, tapping Sam’s sweaty face. “You with me, man?”

“Dean?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” Dean pulled Sam to him. “I found someone to help you.”

“Hurts,” Sam whispered. Dean felt his heart lurch.

“I know, man,” Dean rotated Sam’s legs from the car, bent and slid his brother’s limp arm over his shoulder and pushed himself to his feet with an effort. “But you’ve had worse, right?” He forced out through teeth clenched in pain, kicking the door shut.

“Poison bullet,” Sam said, slumping against Dean.

“Right! Right, see? Th-that was much worse…” Dean started back toward the hut, hauling his brother with him, Sam’s feet dragging in the dirt. “H-how ‘bout when the Hookman skewered you, huh? N-not fun. Or… the vampire choke-hold?”

“This is worse,” Sam whispered.

“Yeah, well, uh… how ‘bout being trapped in a coffin… gotta be worse than this.” Dean stumbled slightly, growling low in his throat as he regained his balance.

“That was you,” Sam reminded him.

“Oh,” Dean shifted Sam’s weight against him. “Right.”

“How long have you guys been… doing this?” Eugene asked.

“All our lives,” Dean replied, fixing his eyes on the hut. Keep moving…

“And you just keep going?” Eugene said. “No matter what?”

“Somebody has to,” Dean replied on an exhale.

“With your shield or on it, huh?” Eugene’s voice was soft with awe.

Dean glanced at him. “What?”

“A warrior’s code. Back in ancient Greece. Come back from battle with your shield… or on it.” Eugene reached up to pull at some loose skin at his throat.

“You t-talking to… him?” Sam asked, trying to open his eyes.

“Too bad you didn’t get stuck with Sam,” Dean said, reaching the hut and moving to the structure in the back. “You two are like… walking encyclopedias of weird.”

Manuelito stepped into view, saw Dean’s struggle and immediately reached out to take some of Sam’s weight. They staggered as a group into a smaller room, darker than the hut, the heat nearly suffocating. Dean opened his mouth wide to pull in air. Manuelito helped Dean set Sam on the ground at the base of a large circle.

“What is that?” Dean asked breathlessly, looking at the circle.

“Sand painting,” Eugene supplied before Manuelito could answer. “The Navajo use sand paintings to channel power.”

Dean swallowed, his eyes traversing the hastily-drawn, but brilliantly-colored painting. He saw the figures of three men, a large, black, dog-like creature, the sun and the moon, and several symbols that he couldn’t identify.

Sam leaned weakly back against Dean’s legs, his eyes closed, his breathing rapid.

“Remove his shirt and the dressing on his arm,” Manuelito instructed. Dean watched another man, long white hair flowing down his back, enter the room, step around he and Sam and sit down on one side of the sand painting.

Eugene moved around the old man, studying the sand painting.

Dean sensed the room closing in around him. There were too many people and not enough air. He felt his lungs press flat in his chest, thirsty for air; sweat trickling down his face, his neck, gathering at his collar bones and the small of his back. He felt the weight of his gun uncomfortable against his skin.

Focus, Dean, he chided himself. He crouched down in front of Sam, tipping his brother forward so that he could balance Sam’s nearly inert form. He pulled Sam’s white T-shirt off, then carefully removed the bandages from his arm, exposing the angry, red puncture marks.

“Have him drink this.” Manuelito handed Dean a wooden bowl filled with foul-smelling liquid.

Dean jerked his head back in reaction. “Holy hell,” he exclaimed. “What is that?”

“It is the result of the ingredients you came here for,” Manuelito lifted an eyebrow. “It will bring down the fever.”

“Yeah, well,” Dean took the bowl and turned to Sam. “Don’t blame me if it brings up something else,” he whispered. “Sammy,” he grasped his brother’s chin, forcing his head back slightly. “I need you to drink this.”

Sam wrinkled his nose. “Guh,” he uttered, turning his face away.

“Sam, c’mon, man,” Dean ran the back of his hand over his upper lip, wiping away the sweat. “Just one drink, okay?”

“What’s it?”

“Medicine,” Dean held the back of Sam’s head, helping him drink. Eugene crossed behind Sam in his ceaseless tour of the small room. “Would you hold still?” Dean complained, shooting a look at him.

“Crimeny, first it’s shut up, Eugene and now I can’t even move around?”

“You’re making me dizzy,” Dean groused.

“Your cuts are making you—“

“Shut up,” Dean snapped, knowing Manuelito could hear Eugene.

“Lay this on his arm,” Manuelito said, handing Dean a warm, damp poultice. “Then sit across the room from him.”

Dean laid the poultice over Sam’s swollen forearm. “I’m not leaving him.”

“You must balance the circle or the Nadáá will not work,” Manuelito insisted.

Dean looked at Sam. “He’s too weak,” he shook his head. “He won’t be able to—“

“I can do it, Dean,” Sam whispered, forcing heavy-lidded eyes open, resting his conviction on Dean’s shoulders with a look.

“You sure?” Dean said, pressing his free hand in the dirt for balance.

“I can do it,” Sam repeated, slightly stronger.

Dean regarded his brother a moment longer, then nodded, stepping carefully over the sand painting, sitting as Manuelito instructed directly opposite his brother. Manuelito sat opposite the white-haired man. Eugene paced.

“I think I saw this in a movie once,” he whispered.

Dean sliced through him with his eyes.

“Sorry, sorry,” Eugene held up his disintegrating hands and took a step back.

Manuelito closed his eyes, the white haired man following suit. Soon their voices pitched and fell in undulating, distinct rhythms. Dean glanced from one to the other, then over to Sam whose eyes were once again closed, his body listing slightly to the side, arm cradled against his middle.

They're singing, Dean realized. Each was singing their own chant, their own rhythm, in their own language.

It was discordant, disturbing. He frowned as he watched Manuelito’s hands begin a purposeful tremble, his right hovering slightly over Sam’s wounded arm. Dean was about to reach up to stop him, when he suddenly realized Eugene had joined in with the singing… only not in Navajo.

“Josie`s on a vacation far away. Come around and talk it over. So many things that I wanna say…You know I like my girls a little bit older…”

What the hell? Dean thought, looking at Eugene incredulously. Eugene lifted a shoulder, his tattered shirt rippling, and kept singing. Dean blinked, looking over at Sam. His brother seemed to be weaving slightly with the clashing rhythms that he could hear. What the hell, Dean decided, couldn’t hurt. He began to softly sing the first song that came to his mind.

“I awoke last night to the sound of thunder. How far off I sat and wondered. Started humming a song from 1962. Ain't it funny how the night moves…”

As the Navajo words rose and fell around him, the heat in the hut increased and Dean felt himself sway as he watched Sam. Without warning, Manuelito’s voice rose sharply in pitch, his hand shaking so fast over Sam’s arm that it was a blur to Dean’s eyes. Dean closed his mouth with a click, tensing as Sam’s head snapped back, the tendons in his brother’s neck standing out.

The man across from Manuelito called out staccato beats of sound and Sam jerked, a cry of pain erupting from his mouth and slamming into Dean like a physical blow. Dean reeled, reaching out to stop himself from falling backwards and feeling a hand wrap around his wrist. Blinking his eyes into focus, he saw Eugene’s blue-tinged fingers. What was left of them. Eugene released him as he caught his balance. Dean shot his eyes toward Sam and his frantic gaze met the calm black of Manuelito’s.

Dean took a breath. Did it work?

“Dean…” Sam breathed and Dean watch him start to crumple forward. Dean pushed himself to his feet, leaping over the sand painting and dropping down next to Sam, pulling his brother to him.

Sam was completely pliant. His bare skin was slick with sweat, but he was no longer trembling. The poultice slid from his arm; the puncture marks were present but no longer red. Sam’s eyes were closed, but calm. Dean didn’t see him wrestling, alone in the dark, with the demons that had chased him through his life.

“Sam?”

“He will wake soon,” Manuelito promised, slightly winded. “He will need to sleep again, but the evil is gone.”

“Gone?” Dean asked.

“Gone,” Manuelito stood, retrieving a package from the ground behind him. “This is for later.”

“What is it?” Dean asked his arms tightening convulsively around Sam’s shoulders as Manuelito approached them.

“Fry bread and corn,” Manuelito set it next to Dean.

“What the hell is… fry bread?”

“It’s like a Navajo taco, man,” Eugene spoke up, watching Sam closely.

“There is more medicine,” Manuelito said, glancing from Eugene back to Dean. “A poultice and liquid to bring down fever.”

“Thought you said it was gone,” Dean frowned, looking down worriedly at his unconscious brother.

Manuelito stepped back over to the sand painting, swiping a hand through the intricately patterned colors, erasing the picture and ending the ceremony.

“It’s not for him,” he said, then stood. Just before he left the room, he turned and looked Dean in the eye. “You will find the skin walker at the Casa del Eco Mesa. To kill him, you must remove his head.”

Dean licked his dry lips. “How do you know where it’s gonna be?”

Manuelito glanced down, then looked over at Eugene. “It is my son.” With that, he turned and left the hut.

Dean looked down at Sam. “And I thought our family was screwed up,” he said softly.

Sam stirred weakly, blinking his eyes up at him. “What… what happened?”

“You missed the show stopper, kid,” Eugene said, resuming his pacing. “Chanting, singing, a little jazz hands…” He demonstrated, spreading his remaining fingers and shaking them rapidly. The little finger on his formerly intact hand fell away. “Dammit!”

“You’re gonna be okay,” Dean said, easing Sam to a sitting position.

“No… no wolfing out?” Sam asked, his eyes already looking clearer.

“No wolfing out,” Dean grinned. “You look beat, Sam.”

Sam glanced at Dean. “Were you… singing?”

Dean chuckled. “Yeah, a little.” He looked up at Eugene standing above them, frowning at his hand. “Dude, seriously. The Outfield?”

“What? Your Love is a classic.”

Dean smirked, shaking his head.

“What do you want from me?” Eugene shrugged. “I’m a child of the ‘80’s.”

Dean stood and pulled Sam up with him. He ignored the fact that once upright, they were basically leaning against each other for balance. He looked down at the package Manuelito left him. Lifting his eyes to Eugene he grimaced as he watched him run a finger along his teeth... through his cheek.

“Do you have any idea how disturbing that is?” Dean asked.

“What’s he doing?” Sam asked.

Dean shook his head. “You don’t want to know.” He bent and picked up the package Manuelito had left him. “Too bad you couldn’t actually be useful,” he commented to Eugene as they exited the hut. “Carry something.”

“Sorry, man,” Eugene said, trying to make a fist with his remaining fingers. “I’m too busy leaving bits and pieces of myself all over Utah.”

Kokopelli Inn, Bluff, Utah, late afternoon

Sam was sleeping.

He’d fallen face-first onto the bed when they returned to the motel and had barely moved since then. Dean sat on the floor next to Sam’s bed, back against the wall, eating fry bread and corn. Eugene sat in the chair next to the table, looking at the papers stacked next to their weapons bag.

He hadn’t stopped talking since they left the reservation.

“…served in all six Marine divisions from '42 to '45,” Eugene was saying. Dean heard the word Marine and tuned in.

“Who did?”

“The Navajo Code Talkers,” Eugene repeated patiently. “I’ve been here researching them for a book, trying to interview locals, find out more about their culture… what would make them do what they do.”

“You mean… talk in code?”

Eugene lifted an eyebrow. “Haven’t you been listening to me?”

Dean simply looked at him.

“Fine, okay,” Eugene sat back. “I can take a hint.”

“Ha!” Dean barked sarcastically.

“It’s just that they’re amazing — real heroes, you know? Not like these guys you see in movies that get beat to hell and somehow keep going even though you know they should be curled up in a ball and crying. These guys, the Code Talkers, passed messages in Navajo and the Japanese never did figure out how to break it. No one knew about them, but without them… we probably would have lost the war.”

Dean nodded, thinking. Sam stirred slightly on the bed shifting his weight away from his arm, and burrowing his face deeper into his pillow. Dean relaxed back against the wall, his head turned to the left so that he could keep his eyes on his brother.

“I don’t understand you,” Eugene said suddenly, his voice gently curious.

Dean looked over at him. “What’s to understand?”

“You’re getting sicker,” Eugene commented. “I can see it.”

“I’m fine.”

“I don’t get why you are so willing to do whatever it takes to save your brother and you won’t do a thing to save yourself.”

“I don’t need saving,” Dean tipped his head against the mattress. “Sammy’s the one who’s… been marked since he was six months old…”

Eugene sat forward with a creak of the chair, listening.

“All the bad stuff out there… all the evil… he’s like a magnet for it. It just goes for him, hunts him down, tries to… to get him, kill him, change him…”

“And you’re the one that stops it?”

Dean closed his eyes. “I try to. Mostly I just seem to buy us a little more time.”

“It’s just you two?”

“Our Dad’s out there somewhere. Fighting the good fight, I guess.”

“How come he’s not with you?”

“Long story,” Dean yawned.

“You can’t call him either?”

Dean shrugged. “I could, but…” he sighed, opening his eyes and looking at Sam. “Sammy’s always been… my job, y’know? My responsibility. If I call Dad it has to be when we’ve killed this demon, not when I’ve screwed up keeping Sam safe.”

“Okay,” Eugene sat back. “I’m gonna skip right over that whole demon killing thing because even dead guys have their limits. But from what I saw, Sam’s pretty capable of taking care of himself.”

“Yeah,” Dean nodded, his eyes drooping. “He’s good at everything he does. Always has been. And he can be bad-ass when he needs to be,” Dean’s sleepy smile was proud. “But he’s still my brother.”

“Huh,” Eugene sat back. “I don’t have a brother. I don’t have anyone, really.”

Dean blinked at him, feeling suddenly sad. “No one?”

“Well, don’t go getting all weepy on me,” Eugene said, scratching at his torn throat. “I never really cared about it before. I have… er, had friends. People who knew my name... I think.”

“Yeah? Which one?” Dean smirked.

Eugene pulled away more skin. “Ha freakin’ ha.”

Eugene looked over at Sam and Dean realized that his face was actually a bit bluer — almost purple in the dim light of the motel room.

“Y’know… come to think of it,” Eugene continued. “People didn’t much listen to me when I was alive, either. Guess that’s why I was going to write a book. Kind of a way to…”

“Be immortal,” Dean finished his thought.

“Yeah,” Eugene nodded. “You think like that, too?”

“Not really,” Dean shook his head slowly. “But I think in some ways Sam does. He wants people to know what we do. And my Dad… keeps a hunters journal. Says it’s for us so we know what we’re up against, but I think… it’s kinda his way to make sure there’s a piece of him left behind if he doesn’t make it out of this fight.” Dean pressed a hand against his side, pushing back the ache. “I miss him,” he confessed softly.

“How come you don’t trust him?”

“Who, my Dad?”

“Your brother,” Eugene clarified. “How come you don’t trust him?”

“What are you talking about? I trust him.”

“Then why do you hide from him?”

Dean sat up straighter, his sleepiness momentarily forgotten. “Hide? I don’t hide.”

“You sure as hell do,” Eugene lifted an eyebrow, his purplish skin making the whites of his eyes look jaundiced. “He knows something isn’t right with you, but you won’t tell him you’re hurt.”

“That’s not hiding,” Dean protested. “That’s protection.”

“Oh, I get it,” Eugene sat back, eyebrow raised, stretching his torn skin over his gaping jaw. The piece of skin separated and he was left with it dangling from his remaining fingers. He sighed and put it in his shirt pocket, then looked back at Dean. “You’re protecting him from you.”

“Something like that,” Dean grumbled.

“So, you take care of him, protect him, and… what... die for him?”

Dean slid his eyes to the side, thinking. If that’s what it takes… He didn’t answer Eugene. Sleep pulled at him with hungry fingers. He leaned his head against Sam’s bed, his brother’s arm inches from his forehead.

Yawning, he said, “Just gonna… rest my eyes a bit, man.”

“Great,” muttered Eugene as Dean’s eyes fluttered closed. “Not like I can go anywhere… don’t mind me. I’ll… just sit here and… watch my fingers drop off.”

www

“Dean.”

Dean groaned. His muscles protested even that slight movement of air vibrating through vocal cords. Last night couldn’t have been worth it…

“Hey, Dean, wake up.”

Sam’s voice was clear, insistent. Dean blinked, trying to bring the world into focus.

“Have you been on the floor this whole time?”

Dean’s weary eyes sought Sam’s face. He realized that he was actually lying on his side, one arm bent beneath him, the other twisted behind his back.

“Time is it?”

“Almost midnight I think,” Sam said. “Why didn't you get up into bed? What are you doing down there?”

“Watching out for you,” Dean groaned again, pushing himself upright on shaky arms. Sam grasped his shoulders and Dean bit back a gasp as the movement shot a hot poker of pain through his side. He blinked up at Sam’s clear eyes. “Man, you look… good.”

“Wish I could say the same for you,” Sam muttered. “What the hell happened to you?”

“Uhhh, let’s see,” Eugene’s voice suddenly spoke up. Dean closed his eyes. He’d almost forgotten about him. “He got attacked by a wolf and then saved your ass—"

“Just tired is all,” Dean said, cutting off Eugene’s tirade. “That ceremony really worked, huh?”

Sam lifted him from the floor and steadied him once upright. “Yeah, man, I feel… I feel great. I mean, my arm’s a little sore, but nothing like before.”

Dean grinned. He felt lighter than he had since Eugene burst into the restaurant last night. “That’s great, Sam,” he said.

“Why don’t you get some rest — on a bed this time — and we can, y’know get our own room tomorrow. See the sights,” Sam turned Dean toward the bed.

Dean pulled away, his tired eyes hitting Eugene. He grimaced. In the time he’d been out, Eugene had really started to go to pieces. A flap of skin on his chest was literally hanging by a thread and Eugene was trying vainly to press it back in place. The rest of his skin was drawing back revealing the bone structure underneath.

He was a mess.

“We can’t, Sam,” Dean said rubbing the heel of his hand against his eye. “We gotta go get that skin walker.”

“What? Why?” Sam tilted his head. “I’m okay — the ceremony…”

“We got us another problem, man,” Dean said, nodding towards Eugene.

Sam turned and stared at what was, to him, an empty room. Then realization dawned. “Aw, crap.”

“Yeah,” Dean nodded. “And I hate to say it, but… the guy’s falling apart.”

“You can say that again.” Eugene muttered.

“Oh, man, you mean he’s like… crying?” Sam’s eyes turned soft.

“Crying?!” Eugene protested.

Dean chuckled as Eugene’s incensed expression. “No, I mean like he’s literally falling apart.” Dean pushed his hands away from each other in an imitation of something crumbling.

“Dammit!” Eugene suddenly exclaimed as the piece of skin he’d been trying to reattach fell away. Rolling his eyes, he added it to the growing amount that was now dangling from his pocket.

Dean wrinkled his nose in disgust. He could see into the deep red cavern of Eugene’s chest, the white bone of his ribs reflecting the pale light from the bedside lamp.

“Dude… I think that’s my… lung,” Eugene said, peering down at his chest.

“Seriously, Sam,” Dean swallowed and looked away. “We gotta take care of this.”

Sam looked from Dean to the empty space in the room occupying Dean’s horrified attention. He saw nothing, but it was obvious Dean did and that was good enough for Sam. He shoved his fingers through his hair. “Okay,” he sighed, his eyes darting in thought. “Okay, so… we find the wolf and… what? Sneak up on it?”

Dean moved around to the end of the bed, sitting down stiffly and shaking his head. “Nah, this thing, Sam… it’s smart. I mean, I think it went after you last night just to mess with me. Besides… we have to cut off its head to kill it.”

“You think it can calculate like that?” Sam leaned against the wall next to the door, crossing his arms over his chest, his eyes on Dean.

“Skin walker’s remember,” Eugene said, looking up from the hole in his chest. “They know what they’re doing. Did you know that to become a skin walker they have to kill — and eat — an immediate member of their family?”

“Man, that’s just gross,” Dean muttered.

“What’s gross?” Sam asked.

“There’s no way you guys are going to sneak up on it,” Eugene shook his head.

“Is he talking to you again?” Sam asked, looking around the room as if he hoped that he might catch a glimpse of Eugene out of the corner of his eyes.

“Yeah, I think it’s calculating like that,” Dean said, attempting to speak over Eugene’s tireless litany.

“…too fast, too strong, and not only that, they can read minds…”

“So how are we going to get close enough to cut off its head?” Sam asked, rolling his neck.

“…should pay more attention to Native American lore, really, because most of today’s horror movies and ghost stories…”

“We just gotta catch it in a cross fire,” Dean said loudly. Eugene stepped closer to him and Dean worked to ignore the steady stream of words coming from the half-rotted face. “We’ll wound it enough that it can’t get away, and then—"

“Dude, why are you yelling at me?” Sam said, his brows pulled together over the bridge of his nose.

Dean closed his mouth, having forgotten for a moment that Sam couldn’t hear Eugene. He pointed a finger at Eugene. “Stop. I get it. Skin walker equals bad-ass mother.” He pointed to Sam. “Get your stuff together. We’re going after a wolf.”

Sam nodded, pushing away from the wall.

Eugene sighed loudly. “’Cause that worked so well last time.”

Casa del Eco Mesa, midnight

A screech owl cut through the discordant night sounds as Dean crouched next to Sam in the brush at the edge of the mesa. He could feel his clothes rub against his skin, the weight of the shotgun in his hand, the burn of the cuts on his side. His eyes were gritty, tired, his head ached. He wanted nothing more than to simply lie down and give in to exhaustion, simply allow weakness to win.

Without realizing that he was doing so, he leaned a bit more on Sam, his shoulder against his brother’s arm, his knee pressed slightly into Sam’s thigh. Sam looked over at him, asking with his eyes if he were okay. Dean nodded, pulling away from Sam and balancing once again on his own. He just wanted to finish this. Get rid of the skin walker, get rid of Eugene. Get on with their lives.

Whatever that meant. Take a break… sightsee… be normal.

The night went suddenly silent. Dean felt Sam shift next to him, readying his weapon. Dean pulled the shotgun across his body. He heard a rustle next to him and glanced over to see Eugene crouched low, his eyes peering into the darkness, his purplish skin looking almost black in the moonlight.

It just friggin’ figures I get stuck with a ghoul, Dean sighed. He lived his life by a promise, a code, a purpose: keep Sam safe. He’d made it this far by the skin of his teeth. He should have known better than to think that umbrella of protection could be spread over another soul. He hadn’t been good enough to protect Eugene and he should have known it.

“It’s here.” Sam’s whisper was a glimmer of air across Dean’s ear. He nodded, motioning with the barest flick of his fingers to his left. Sam blinked once that he understood and moved silently into position.

Dean smelled the wolf before he saw it. He recognized the feral scent from the night Eugene died, when the wolf had been perched on top of him, ready to cut him to ribbons, and the man he’d promised to protect had saved his life with the swing of his gun. He pulled that same gun to his shoulder, barrel down, waiting.

The wolf stepped into the clearing, nose up. Dean knew they were in trouble when the skin walker’s mercury eyes slid first to him, then shifted in the direction Sam had moved.

No friggin’ way… Dean felt the growl build low in his throat. He stood up, drawing a bead and suddenly realized the wolf was no longer in his sites. Dean brought his head up quickly and saw that the skin walker had moved, faster than lightening, to circle behind Sam.

“Sam! Behind you!” He started to move across the clearing, trying to get to Sam. It was like moving through waist-deep water. The sand reached up and grabbed at his ankles, slowing him, pulling him back.

Dean heard a shot, saw the flash of a muzzle not twenty feet from him, heard the welcome sound of the wolf’s yelp. He brought the barrel of his shotgun up, focusing on where he saw the flash, but his arms refused to cooperate.

His knees hit the desert sand. The barrel of the shotgun rested on the ground. Dean blinked in the direction he’d last seen Sam and instead saw the black face of the skin walker, its lips pulling back to reveal its deadly fangs, his eyes flashing at him in the moonlight.

“C’mon you freak,” Dean gasped. “Let’s see who the bad-ass really is…”

In the space of three heartbeats, the wolf moved forward, Sam appeared like a product of the darkness itself to grab Dean’s shotgun from him and stepped in front of Dean, and with grace that would make the director of Thriller weak with pleasure, Eugene stepped in front of Sam.

The wolf halted, started at the sight of the ghoul standing before it, arms raised, gaping maw screaming Navajo words at it. The wolf stepped back and Sam raised the shotgun.

Eugene continued to wave his arms, scream and advance on the skin walker. The wolf stumbled back, then as the hammer of the shotgun cocked, it turned and sprinted off into the darkness.

“Yeah, you’d better run!” Sam yelled.

Eugene gave chase, but was suddenly pulled up short, jerked back and immediately returned to the brothers as Dean’s eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed completely to the ground.

“Dean,” Sam gasped, dropping to his knees beside his brother.

“He can’t hear you, kid,” Eugene said, looking at Dean’s pale, lax face.

“Aw, dammit, Dean,” Sam reached for Dean’s shoulders, pulling him close. “What happened to you man?”

“Oh, right. You can’t hear me.” Eugene shook his head feeling the skin along his jaw jiggle with the motion. “This is going to work out just friggin’ great. Life mocks me even in death.”

------

a/n: Thanks for reading! Part 3 can be found here: http://gaelicspirit.livejournal.com/47137.html>

Comments

( 2 Tall Tales — Tell Me A Story )
simplycolourful
Apr. 29th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
Uhhh Dean! Why does he always have to be so damn stubborn abot his health (or lack there of)?
Oh wait that's part of the appeal... : )

The native amrican ritual was good, but maybe Sam healed a little too quickly? I guess that why they call it magic : )

Eugene still crack me up, even though his whole situation is pretty tragic, but him whining about falling apart if quite funny... I bet he's the one who comes up with the sulotion : )
gaelicspirit
Apr. 30th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
The native amrican ritual was good, but maybe Sam healed a little too quickly?

Yeah, see, that was my main problem when I wrote with the VS -- I tried to shove too much story into too little space and then had to compensate for that with circumstances.

SO... I just decided that since the point of the Native American ritual was to rid the warriors of evil, then Sam would get better once the evil was gone. *shrug*

Thanks so much for reading -- just posted the 3rd part. I hope you like!

Gaelic
( 2 Tall Tales — Tell Me A Story )

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