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30 September 2011 @ 09:56 pm
The way of the warrior Chp 3, (4/14), R, Sam & Dean Winchester  
The way of the warrior, chapter 3.

Dean woke slowly and groaned as he felt the pull of the bruises that covered his body. Fuck! He hated it when Sam was right about him being hurt; speaking of Sam he looked round the room, there was no sign of his little brother. Dean pushed himself up in bed and threw back the covers; he got up slowly, wincing as his stiffened body protested at being forced to a vertical position. Dean walked towards the bathroom, eager to have a shower and get dressed before his brother returned with breakfast hopefully, and then they were going to hit the road. When Sam got back to the room he was hoping to find Dean still asleep in bed, but instead he was greeted by his brother sitting at the table fully dressed, and sharpening the knife he kept beneath his pillow. “Morning there, Sammy. Oh good, breakfast! I’m starving. Hope you’re in the mood for a little driving today, we got lost time to make up for. And ya better have brought something decent, and not oatmeal or that kind of crap.”

Sam put the bag down in front of Dean, “Don’t worry, Dean, I got your usual heart attack in a bun, and a large black coffee.” Sam pulled out a chair and sat down.

Dean opened the bag and just before he tucked into the breakfast of kings, he looked over at his brother sat there without anything to eat. “Relax! I grabbed something to eat while I was out. I knew you’d want to be on the road as soon as possible. I filled the Impala with gas, and all we have to do is pack the car and we can be out of here.” Sam sat back and watched as Dean inhaled his food. He hadn’t been lying; he’d eaten earlier. He knew that as soon as Dean was awake, they would be on the move.

That’s all Dean did these days was move forward, it was as if he was scared to stay still. He was trying to outrun whatever destiny was waiting for Sam, and Sam knew that sooner or later they would have to stand and face what was coming. But for now he’d keep moving with Dean, and keep hunting as they moved.

Dean licked his lips as he gathered together the remnants of his feast and crumpled the bag into a ball, then lobbed it with precision into the trash can. He stood up and drained the rest of the coffee, looking down at his seated brother, “Well, come on, Sam, we’re burning daylight here. If you’re nice to me I might let you drive a little later.” As he spoke he was putting on his jacket, his face contorting slightly when his jacket landed against the bruises on his back.

Sam frowned when he saw that. Whether Dean liked it or not he’d be doing some of the driving today. He stood up and followed his brother out of the room. Soon they were back on the road with Dean playing Led Zeppelin, his fingers beating out the rhythm as they drove.

The first time they stopped, there was a short but impressive argument over who was going to drive. Sam won that one by snatching the keys and then holding them above his head. Dean had stood there with a pout on his face, finally conceding defeat. He muttered something about freakish little brothers out-growing devilishly handsome older brothers, and their freakishly long arms.

He stalked round to the passenger side and got in the car. As they drove Dean tried to relax but again his battered body wasn’t allowing him to rest. The Impala glided over the asphalt and the brothers drove in silence. Instead Dean let his mind wander to the hunt they were driving towards. It was an unusual haunting. They had faced multiple ghosts a couple of times, and it always got pretty hairy. Normally ghosts didn’t tag team, but if this really was a disturbed burial ground then the spirits would be angry and desperate to protect their ‘home’. Add in the battle raging between the construction and the protesters, and this had all the makings of a Winchester disaster. Dean was determined that wasn’t going to happen; if they were lucky it was a couple of the protesters turning up, dressed as ghosts to scare people off the site. Dean was starting to hope that this was going to turn out to be an unaired Scooby-Doo episode, because, if not, then this hunt could go real bad and fast. But if it meant that Sam’s mind was off the whole destiny thing, then he was prepared to watch his back and protect his little brother.

With that settled in his mind Dean tried once more to go to sleep, and this time he was successful. Dean jerked awake, realizing that they had stopped. He grinned - this was his chance to take over. He looked up to see where Sam was. He could see that Sam was paying for gas, and like he did yesterday, Sam was getting snacks for the journey. Carefully Dean slid over to the driver’s seat, and waited for Sam to get back to the car.

Sam walked back to the Impala and opened the driver’s door, he’d left Dean asleep. He’d drive for a little while longer; he knew that sitting in the passenger seat wasn’t ideal. But it was better for Dean than have him driving for twelve hours straight. Or some other stupid stunt, to prove he was ‘M’fine, Sammy’. Sam jerked back in shock when he saw Dean, sitting in the driver’s seat with his hand held out for the key to the Impala.

“Damnit, Dean, are you tryin’ to give me heart failure? Come on. Let me drive a little longer. You need to get some rest.” Dean just raised his eyebrow and Sam knew he was going to lose this argument; he handed the keys over and walked round the front of the car. He got in and sat down then tried one more time, “Come on, man, it won’t hurt you not to drive. I can get us there by tomorrow. Besides, I know it can get uncomfortable scrunched up behind the wheel.”

Dean looked over at his brother, who was now kicking himself for daring to suggest that Dean’s baby was anything less than five-star luxurious comfort. Dean reached out and patted the dashboard gently, “There, there, sweetheart, Sam didn’t mean it. Sammy, I should make you apologize to my girl for insulting her like that. If you’re really nice to me, I might let you drive in a couple of months or so. Ok, then, where are we, Sam? And how far out of Creek Ridge are we?” Dean grinned as Sam huffed. Sam furnished him with the information he needed. Sam was right; they wouldn’t make the town until tomorrow, but he could still get them pretty close. Dean put his foot down and the Impala sped forward.

Sam sat, watching the world fly by and began to relax. Despite all the mocking, this was where he felt safest, this was the closest thing to a home he’d ever had. These four wheels and the man driving it was what Sam thought of whenever he’d been asked about his home at Stanford. Eased by the familiar comfort of the seat and the knowledge that Dean was behind the wheel, all was right with his world. Sam allowed himself to be gently rocked to sleep.

“Sam, hey, Sammy. Come on, sleeping beauty, time to get up, and go to bed. Can you check us in man, I’m done?” Sam sat up quickly, looking round. It was dark and they were sat in a motel car park. He glared at Dean who gave him an innocent smile. Sam got out of the car muttering about stubborn assed idiot brothers, and checked them in.

When they got to the room, Sam went in first. Dean followed slowly. Sam watched him as he moved stiffly. It was pointless starting the same argument; instead he decided to go over their plan of attack for the hunt. “When will we hit the town, Dean?” Sam asked as Dean sat down on his bed.

“About lunch-time tomorrow. I say we get settled in a motel then start asking questions. Where’s the best place to start, construction or protesters?” Dean felt every second of his twenty-seven years and then some, or as Indy had put it, “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

Sam sat and thought about the question, “Well, from what I can see from the local press and blogs, the construction office and the protesters’ headquarters are both in town. We can decide when we get there, and I’ve got the names of all the eye witnesses who’ve seen the ghosts. We’ll try and track them down as well tomorrow, if you want.” Sam watched as Dean eased himself back on the bed, a look of relief sliding over his face as he did. “Dean, what cover are we gonna be using? I think going in as Feds might be a little heavy handed.”

Dean looked over at Sam and smiled, “Oh, don’t worry, Sammy. I think I got that one covered.”

The next afternoon, just as Dean promised, they checked into the Desert Rose Motel. No cliché had gone undisturbed in the decor of the room. Dean had not been too impressed with the steer skull nailed up over his bed; he wasn’t sure whether to pull it down then salt and burn it. Or sleep with a crash helmet on, in case it fell down in the night. Sam had laughed at Dean, until he’d seen the rattlesnake lamp beside his bed. “Oh, come on, man, that’s just wrong.” Dean had said when he saw it, and suddenly he felt a great deal of affection for his steer skull.

They stood side by side, getting dressed in their suits then Dean had handed over the fake identity they were using for today. Sam had taken one look and said “You got to be kidding me, right?” Dean had just smirked at him, and walked to the door, Sam following behind him, lips pursed in displeasure.

When they parked in the town they looked around; Creek Ridge was like many small towns. It was slightly shabby, and a lot of the shops looked like they needed a lick of paint. But there seemed to be an air of desolation hanging over the town, as if the heart of it had been torn out. Dean looked over at Sam in askance, “There used to be a big factory here, but it shut down around three years ago. The place has been slowly dying ever since. Then Daryl Gray Bear managed to get the tribal elders to agree to the casino, and suddenly this place had a new lease of life.”

Dean looked around again, “I hate to say it, but where, man? I’ve seen more life in a corpse. Shall we start with the saviour of the town? Mr Snake Oil himself? I’d like to hear his version of events first. I’m not in the mood to be lectured on the evils of gambling. I mean, where’s the harm in a little poker now and then?” Dean asked innocently as they walked down the sidewalk. Sam smiled at the mention of one of their forms of income; it tended to be less bruising than pool hustling.

They found themselves standing outside a smart-looking set of offices. Through the smoky glass window they could see inside where there were leather sofas and chrome and glass tables. The sign above the window proclaimed this was The Phoenix Construction Company. Dean looked up at it, “Nice touch - the town rising from the ashes. Come on, Sam. The only thing the guy ain’t got is a cardboard cut-out of himself with a cheesy grin.” Dean rattled the door impatiently. Sam quirked an eyebrow at his irate sibling.

“What’s crawled up your ass and died, Dean? Look! From what I’ve read, this guy has the town’s best interests at heart. You keep this up, and you’ll be joining the ranks of the protesters calling for the casino to be stopped. I’d have thought the idea of a casino would be right up your street. You know, a den of iniquity.” Sam’s words stopped Dean attacking the door.

Dean turned back and spoke to Sam, “I’ve got nothing against the idea of a five-star hotel and casino, with hot and cold running showgirls. I just don’t like the whole ‘I’m saving the town’ spiel. Just be honest and say I’m making a shit load of money, and while I’m about it I’ll throw in a few computers for the school. Where the hell is everyone?” Dean leant against the doors and looked across the street; he started to laugh.

“What’s so funny, Dean? “ Sam asked as his brother continued to laugh.

“You know when you said the construction offices and the protesters’ headquarters were in town, I didn’t realize you meant opposite one another.” Dean pointed at a building, and Sam’s mouth dropped open.

“You said that Amber Moon River chic was a protester. Would she happen to hang out at the Creek Ridge Inter Tribal Community Harmony Centre?” Dean said with a grin.

“Amber Moon Haven, Dean. Well, as Mr Gray Bear appears to be out at the moment, let’s see if anyone is home over the road.” Sam led the way and as they got closer they saw movement inside the building, “Now remember, behave yourself. We’re here to get information. No cracks about casinos and no Dances with Wolves comments, please.” Dean looked contritely at Sam then grinned behind his back.

They stepped inside the ‘Harmony Centre’ and Sam was in his element. All round the walls were displays covering the history of the local area - from how many tribes lived together, to why they came to be in the area. Sam was itching to go over and read them, when he heard Dean move. Dean was staring intently at something...no, scratch that, someone. Someone who was bent over a display of books, a very shapely someone. Sam glared at Dean who raised his hands in surrender. Sam turned back and looked down at the woman’s ass, just as she stood and turned round.

A pair of deep brown eyes sparkled with annoyance and the woman frowned at Sam. Sam looked horrified, realizing she thought it had been him ogling her instead of his brother. He looked over his shoulder at Dean, who just brushed past with his most charming smile on his face. Dean took in the figure stood in front of him. The woman was beautiful with almond shaped brown eyes, and long black hair, pulled back from her face in a loose ponytail. A full pair of lips were pressed tightly together as she looked at the two men with suspicion.

Dean’s smile grew broader; this was the kind of interview he liked to conduct. He was about to put out his hand and introduce himself when the woman spoke first, “Can I help you, gentlemen? If you’re looking for Daryl Gray Bear he’s having a few problems over at the construction site.”

Dean felt Sam move level with him, and Sam asked the question “Is there a problem at the site? Nothing serious, I hope.” Sam’s earnest expression seemed to mollify the woman, even though she’d seemed ready to hit Sam with the pile of pamphlets she was holding when she’d first seen him. Her face lit up in a mischievous smile. And she put the pamphlets down on the counter.

“No, nothing too serious. It appears that Daryl is having some trouble with his cement mixer again.” Dean couldn’t help but warm to the woman. Ok, she was hot, so sue him. He was just about to ask how she knew about the cement mixer problem, when another voice floated from a back room.

“Amber, how many times have I got to tell you kids to leave the damn construction site alone....Oh, you’ve got company, I’ll come back later.” The man had walked into the centre. He was shorter than Dean, and his hair was grey and braided into two plaits. Dean looked at him and the word that came to mind was weather-beaten; his skin was wrinkled and put Dean in mind of worn leather. This was a man who worked outside most of his life. Dean glanced at his hands and he could see signs of manual labour there. Maybe he was one of the construction workers. He watched Amber’s smile as it became warmer.

“Ahh, come on, Grandfather. Not every problem on the site is down to us, stay please. I’m just helping these gentlemen out. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your names?” Amber had rested her hand on her Grandfather’s shoulder; she looked at Sam and Dean.

Sam reacted first, reaching inside his jacket to pull out his I.D. “I’m Sam Lord, and this is my partner, Dean Coverdale, we’re from the Gaming Commission. We wanted to talk to Mr Gray Bear about the casino, and the issues that have developed at the construction site.” Dean watched the smile vanish from Amber’s face; she stood up straighter and glared at Sam. She was completely unfazed by Sam’s greater height and build. Dean knew his brother was in for a rough ride. He looked over at the man stood beside the now furious woman, and he winced. The man returned his expression with a slight nod, and he appeared to mouth ‘ouch’ at Dean.

Amber took a step forward, forcing Sam to take a step back right into Dean, putting her hands on her hips. “Oh great, two more idiots who think that damn monstrosity out of town is just what we damn well need! What, didn’t Daryl pay you enough when he bribed you to ignore the town’s protests? You here for a little kickback. I don’t deal with blood suckers, so you can get the hell out of here now.”

Sam looked stunned and spread his hands out wide in a placating gesture; Dean had a feeling that wasn’t going to help. He decided to step in before Amber found something a hell of a lot more dangerous than a bunch of pamphlets to attack them with. “Sorry. What my partner meant to say was that we are investigating the very valid concerns of the community in relation to the new casino. Plus we only got this gig the other day, and we’re still playing catch-up. Please, any help you can give us would be more than welcome.” Dean gave his best winning smile, in the hope he could at least get Sam to the door, before Amber decided to brain him with one of the weapons being displayed on the walls.

Sam got with the program, and stepped in to help. “My apologies, ma’am. We didn’t mean to cause offense. We are just here to canvas opinion, and report back to our bosses. What are the concerns? Is it that the Casino is too close to town? Or do you feel it may be detrimental to the local community?” Once again Sam unleashed his most devastating weapon from his arsenal - the ‘I’m a puppy and harmless’ look. This time it seemed to work, and Amber calmed down a little.

“For a start, call me Amber. ‘Ma’am’ makes me sound like a school teacher. Are you really interested in what the problem is, or are you gonna toe the party line about all the jobs the place will create?”

Sam smiled a little more and his dimples deepened. He looked over at one of the displays and started to talk. “I’d hate to see such a wonderful and unusual community being disrupted by the casino. I’m not saying we can stop it but our report may help to ease any fears on your part. Please could you explain about different tribes that live here and how that came about? I’m fascinated.” Amber relaxed and walked Sam over to the display, which left Dean with Amber’s grandfather. He moved to stand next to the older man. While Sam was getting the history lecture he’d try and get some insider info himself.

“She’s very protective of the town and the people, isn’t she? You must be quite proud of your granddaughter.” Dean watched Amber’s animated history lesson, and Sam the geek was just lapping it up.

“Oh, Amber is very protective of our people and culture alright. She took the whole casino thing very badly; she and her friends have been very vocal about it. And just to let you know she isn’t my granddaughter.” The older man smiled at Dean’s puzzled expression.

“Sorry. Amber forgot to introduce me when she decided to give your partner the fifty-dollar tour. I’m Albert Crowe; she calls me grandfather out of respect for my position in the community.” Albert waited for Dean to process this.

“Ok, what position is that? Are you one of the Tribal elders or something?” Dean asked.

“Nothing like that, I’m a Shaman. I still respect the ancestors and try to walk the right path to honour them. Amber is my best student; I have high hopes for her following in my footsteps and becoming the next Shaman.” Dean could see the fondness in the other man’s eyes as he spoke about Amber.

Dean looked closer at what Albert was wearing. Hanging around his neck on a strip of leather was what appeared to be a claw, and he dropped his eyes lower. He could see bead work, and it was attached to something beneath Albert’s plaid work shirt. Dean realized that Amber wore something similar round her neck; it was a small leather pouch covered in intricate bead work. Dean had noticed it because of how it nestled between Amber’s breasts; he’d mention it to Sam see if he’d spotted it.

“A female shaman? I always thought that it was only men who held that position?” Dean was getting interested in this; it could have some bearing on the case. If Amber really had a problem with the development, then maybe she had the juice to do something about it.

Albert unconsciously touched at the shape under his shirt, “Not always. It’s long been accepted that women make better healers, and they do listen to the ancestors better than we do. In the Cherokee culture the War Chiefs were always men, but the Peace Chiefs were often women. Amber isn’t all that unusual, one day she will more powerful than me. But she still has a long way to go; she needs to learn not to be so hot headed. But this business with Daryl isn’t helping matters at all.” Albert sounded a little concerned as he spoke about the relationship between the two of them.

Dean grinned. Now they were getting to the good stuff, “So is there history between those two? And I understand why she is concerned about the development, but surely the town needs the jobs the casino will bring here.” Dean hoped that the old man would let something slip.

“You could say there is history between them. Daryl and Amber were an item once upon a time. Then Daryl began to get interested in development, and suddenly this place wasn’t big enough for him. He moved on, and left Amber nursing a broken heart. Five years later he comes riding back. He has all these big plans for the town. He soon won over the town council and most of the town folk. Amber and a few of her friends are the sole dissenting voices. It’s sad really, because Daryl and Amber are both right and wrong at the same time.” Dean was just about to ask what Albert meant by the last statement when he heard Sam and Amber returning.

They were still talking animatedly as Sam looked at Dean who was practically bouncing on the spot, which meant, either Sam had been clued in about who the ghosts were, or he was looking at a full Discovery Channel performance tonight back at the motel room about the town and its history. “Dean, Amber’s been telling me all about how the town began, and why there are different tribes living side by side.” Dean couldn’t help but smile at Sam’s enthusiasm. His brother was born for this kind of thing, and he’d look forward to hearing all about it later but for now they had a job to do.

Sam had been the bad cop when they’d come in, now it was his turn. It was always easier for Dean to play bad cop, Sam was just so good at smoothing the ripples he caused. Plus he always looked so sympathetic that everyone told him their secrets. Dean straightened up and Sam caught the subtle shift in his posture; he braced, ready for Dean to start asking awkward questions. Dean would rely on Sam having Amber on side, now he was going to upset her.

“I’m sorry to have to break up the history lesson, but there is another reason for us being here. There have been reports of sabotage on the site, and sightings of mysterious figures being seen on site. I can understand your reason for protesting, but resorting to violent tactics will not help your cause. There have been several serious allegations, including that one of the protesters let the hand brake off a truck. There could have been a serious accident, and people could’ve been hurt.” Dean’s demeanour had become serious and the atmosphere changed.

Amber’s face darkened and she looked enraged. Dean felt Albert become tense beside him. Amber stepped closer to Dean and spoke, “Right, so we get to the heart of it now. Daryl’s gone bleating to you about the protests. Listen, all the protests have been peaceful. I can’t help it if Daryl’s crappy machines break down.”

“Excuse me. When we came in, even Mr Crowe here thought you and your friends were behind the latest breakdown. You must understand how it looks to us, Amber.” Dean responded calmly.

Amber sighed and played with the pouch hanging round her neck, the gesture seeming to calm her; she looked at the floor and looked right into Dean’s green eyes. “I don’t expect the likes of you to understand what this casino will mean to the people of the town. We are trying to stop Daryl tearing the heart out of this community, and ok, we may have tried to slow him down with the odd spanner in the works. But to try and hurt people? No way, Mr Coverdale. A lot of the construction workers on that site are my neighbours and friends, and I can understand why they have to work there. Now I asked you once before to leave. I mean it this time.” Amber’s voice was quiet but brooked no argument.

Dean moved forward slowly, pausing to ask another question, “You’re blaming the more violent incident on these figures, or should I say ghosts, that the construction workers have reported seeing. Is that what you’re telling me? That we should be hunting for these ghosts, haunting the site?” Dean’s kept his voice level and he never took his eyes off Amber’s face when he spoke.

Amber’s expression never changed but Dean saw the flicker of apprehension in her eyes. He’d hit a nerve when he mentioned the ghosts. “Oh, this gets better. First you accuse me and my friends of being some sort of urban terrorist group, now you drag up the ghosts! Listen, it’s just some crap being spun by guys who’ve had too much to drink and gone on site the next morning and screwed up. They either blame us or a phantom tribe. But if you want to ask them yourselves why don’t you try the local bar? They all gather there after work. You buy ‘em a beer and they tell you all the ghost stories you want to hear. Now the door’s over there, please use it.” Amber folded her arms and glared at Dean.

Dean nodded and turned to leave but as he and Sam reached the door, he turned back. “I’m sorry you feel like this, Miss Moon Haven, but I promise we will be asking the same kind of questions of Mr Gray Bear, goodbye.” Then Dean followed Sam out of the door.

They stood on the sidewalk and Dean loosened his tie. Sam ran his fingers through his hair, “That went well, Dean. Why did you have to upset her like that? She could've provided us with some useful Intel. Now she’s likely to warn the whole town not to talk to us.” Sam was frustrated with Dean and his attitude towards Amber. She’d been fascinating and her passion for the town and its inhabitants had warmed Sam. What the hell was Dean doing, treating her like that?

Dean started to walk over the road, back to the Impala, “Sam, I get it she’s hot, and I bet she gives a mean lecture on local history. But before you get your panties in such a bunch we have to have them surgically removed, did you see what she had around her neck? I spotted it.” Dean leant on the roof of the Impala.

Sam paused, thinking about what Amber was wearing. His face lit up with recognition, “She was wearing a medicine pouch, and there was me thinking you were just staring at her breasts, Dean.” Sam grinned at his brother.

“Sammy, you wound me. As if I’d do something to objectify a woman like that...ok, you got me. But Albert mentioned that Amber is a trainee Shaman, and like you said, she’s real passionate about the casino not being built. What if she’s summoning the ghosts to the construction site? I say we pay it a little visit later.” Dean opened the door of the Impala and got in.

Sam got in beside him, “What about Daryl, or do you think we got our culprit?” He waited as Dean started the engine.

“I say we go and see him tomorrow just to be sure. Damn, I was hoping he’d have something to do with it. Why don’t we hit the bar later? Talk to a few of the locals, see what they say about the whole situation. While we’re at it you can fill me in about your history lesson from the gorgeous Amber.” Dean started the Impala, his mind on the cold beer he’d drink tonight.

The two men were unaware they were being watched. Stood in the window of the centre, Amber and Albert watched as Sam and Dean drove off. Amber spoke first, “So what do you think of our Gaming Commission agents then?” She looked at Albert, watching his reaction.

Albert just smiled and shook his head, “Gaming commission, my ass. We need to keep a close watch on those two. They have no idea just what forces they are up against. They may just go and get themselves hurt”

chapter 4.

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