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30 September 2011 @ 09:53 pm
The way of the warrior Chp 6, (7/14), R, Sam & Dean Winchester.  
The Way of the Warrior Chapter 6

The Impala had hardly come to a stop when Dean pushed open the door, gritting his teeth against the jolt of pain that shot across his ribs. He wrapped his right arm round himself and pressed his hand against the left side of his ribs. “Dean, what the fuck? Just wait a minute, will you.” Sam said in a frustrated tone as he watched Dean struggle to get out of the car, opening his own door, ready to follow his brother.

Sam glimpsed the stubborn and determined set to Dean’s features, as he hauled himself out of the car, but even he couldn’t hide the grunt as his abused ribs howled in protest. Dean closed the door without looking back then walked slowly towards the motel.

Sam was muttering under his breath about damn mule-headed morons when he caught up with Dean. He was still reeling from what had happened back on the site. When he’d been running towards Dean, he’d seen the warrior fire as Dean had crashed into Amber. The force of him hitting her had turned her exposed back away from the ghost. But that action had meant Dean had placed himself in the line of fire. Sam’s heart had leapt into his mouth when he saw Dean jerk as the bullet struck him.

By the time he’d reached the prone figure of his brother, Amber had been struggling to get from underneath him. He seen Dean flinch when Amber’s elbow had hit him hard in the ribs then he was by Dean’s side, helping him back to his feet. As he’d held Dean by the elbows, his jacket had moved and he’d caught a glimpse of blood on his shirt. When he looked at Dean, asking silently if he was alright, his brother had pushed away from him.

“Sam, come on, man. We need to get out of here fast, someone is gonna have called the cops. There’s a site full of guys who saw men waving guns. We can’t be here when Five-0 gets here, ok? I’ just gotta do something first.” Sam had watched as Dean had spoken to Amber. Then he started to walk towards the Impala. He quickly fell into step beside his brother, fighting down the urge to help Dean to the car. About now they needed to look as ‘normal’ as possible, but Sam had insisted on driving. When Dean had gotten in the car, he’d automatically wrapped his arm round his ribs and breathed slowly through his nose, clueing Sam in on how much it hurt. The drive back had been silent, both men lost in their own thoughts about what had taken place on the site. Sam was concerned about Dean. The sooner they were back at the motel and he could check his brother was fine, the better.

Now stood outside their room Dean was pale and his forehead beaded with sweat. Sam quickly unlocked the door and guided his brother through it. He closed and locked the door, “On the bed now, dude.” Sam was tearing off his tie and undoing his collar, before stripping off his jacket. He was rolling up his sleeves, when he heard Dean snigger; he turned to see Dean stood by the bed, slowly slipping off his jacket with an expression of intense concentration. Sam knew he was trying not to show how much the movements were hurting him. “What’s so funny, dude?” Sam asked as he grabbed the first-aid kit from his bag. With Dean’s tendency of getting hurt, he always felt more relaxed, knowing he had the kit in easy reach.

“Nothing. Only I have to tell you, Sam, I’m not the kind of boy who puts out on the first date. No matter how tingly I get when you take control.” Dean was smirking as Sam shuddered at the thought of that.

“Hate to tell you, bro, but you’re exactly that kind of boy. I’ve spent enough time in motel rooms waiting for you to come home. Now sit down so I can take a look.” Sam scowled at him and Dean sat down slowly, wincing when his body jolted as he made contact with the bed.

Sam moved in front of him and knelt down. As he opened the kit he could see Dean was taking off his tie. He was just about to undo the buttons on his shirt when Sam produced a pair of scissors and started cutting it.

“Whoa, dude, what the hell? Come on, man, I’ve only got a couple of these damn things. Now you’ve gone and ruined it.” Dean complained as Sam continued to get his shirt off.

“Dean, I don’t know if you noticed the blood, or the bullet hole but I think this shirt is done. I’m pretty sure our budget can run to another Wal-Mart shirt. Now what are you doing?” Sam asked in an exasperated tone, when Dean grimaced as he reached for his jacket.

“I’m just checking for bullet holes in this. Looks like it’s gone through the seam - I can repair that. Damn, that’s good news. At least I don’t have to replace that.” Dean smiled, relieved he wouldn’t be buying a new suit, as well as a shirt. He hated wearing the damn things, and buying them just went against his principles.

Sam rolled his eyes, “Oh, that’s wonderful news! You don’t need a new suit but you’ve been shot and you’re bleeding all over the place. But hey, at least you’ve saved us some money.” Sam said through gritted teeth as he continued pulling the remains of the shirt away. He was just about to start on the wife beater beneath when Dean smacked his hand away.

“Lay off the merchandise, dude, I got this. Just what happened out there today? Where the hell did they all come from? God knows how many bags are hidden around that site; I’m telling you, Sam, somebody somewhere loves us. Because those ghosts could’ve wiped all of us out in a minute, if they’d put their minds to it.” Dean gritted his teeth and began to pull at his remaining shirt.

Sam sat back and watched Dean as he struggled to take off his wife beater. He knew his brother would be doing some running repairs to his clothes after this. Yes, he would save the jacket but the wife beater was a complete loss. But Dean could be damn stubborn about things like that. Finally Sam couldn’t take the bitten-off moans any longer as Dean was pulling the tight material over his head. He leant forward and grabbed the ruined material; using the band aid principal he pulled the shirt up and over Dean’s body quickly. For a second he got tangled in the leather cord around Dean’s neck, trying not to strangle Dean with his amulet. Although right about now he was sorely tempted to throttle the stubborn jackass.

“Son of a bitch! For god’s sake, Sammy, warn me you’re gonna do that next time. Anyway you don’t need to worry. It just winged me and it’s stopped bleeding. Just stick some gauze on it and I’m good to go. Man, that was lucky.” Dean’s bravado slipped slightly when Sam gently ran his fingers just under the wound, pressing against bruised flesh, making him hiss.

He hated to admit it but Dean was right in his assessment of his injury. The ghost bullet had ploughed a shallow furrow along his ribs. And it really summed up how screwed up their lives were, when he agreed with Dean about it being lucky he’d only been winged. Otherwise he would’ve been trying to patch up a bullet wound on a motel bed, with dental floss for sutures. It wouldn’t have been the first time Sam had to do that, and sadly it wouldn’t be the last time. Sam sighed softly to himself. Seriously though, did he look like one of those damn doctors in Grey’s Anatomy? He smiled slightly; Dean would’ve probably christened him McBroody. Sam shook his head at the thought. Time to stop wishing life was different, and take a good look at what had happened to Dean this time.

By the looks of it, the wound had bled pretty badly when it had first happened. Sam decided that, judging by the state of Dean’s shirts, but now the graze was only oozing sluggishly. Sam picked up a sterile pad, ripped open the package then reached for the antiseptic. He knew this was going to hurt like a mother. He needed to take Dean’s and his own mind off what he was about to do.

“Why summon them like that? It doesn’t make any sense, to just have them appear then do nothing?” Sam edged a little closer to Dean; he was contemplating how to approach this when Dean lifted his left arm and rested it on Sam’s shoulder, his green eyes fixed intently on the motel wall. Dean tensed slightly, waiting for Sam to start cleaning. He hated to be crowded like this, but he relaxed as his instinctive trust of Sam took over.

Dean shrugged one shoulder, “What worried me was what happened after they appeared. They stood and waited for Great Bear to appear. Did you notice how he seemed to be listening to what Amber was saying? If she is the one summoning them, I don’t get what she was trying to achieve by having them appear like that. And Sam, did you see Amber and Daryl’s faces. We’re talking shock here, Sam....HOLY SHIT!” That exclamation was due to Sam cleaning out the bullet graze. Sam was wiping the area with firm deft touches and Dean gritted his teeth. Sam relaxed when Dean bitched and yelled when he was cleaning out the wound; that meant it was pretty superficial. His brother had a strange inverse reaction to injury, he got a paper cut and you’d think he’d cut his hand off. But a broken arm was shrugged off with, “M’ fine Sammy.” The whingeing meant Dean would be fine. Ok, it couldn’t be much fun getting a bullet graze on top of badly bruised ribs. But all in all, Dean would be his usual pain in the ass self.

“Do you think they would have attacked if Norm hadn’t run?” Sam asked as he cleaned the area around the wound. He frowned at the additional bruising that was appearing. When he’d applied pressure to Dean’s ribs there had been no movement, so at least there was nothing broken.

“Oh, so it was Norm that ran? Not really surprised there. I think the ghost reacted to an enemy, running, and responded to a possible threat. Sam, do you think Great Bear was there to have a little chat with whoever’s been summoning him and his men? Because I got the impression they were there uninvited.” Sam suddenly looked up at Dean, a look of shock on his face. Dean returned the look unblinkingly.

Dean carried on, “I mean, think about it. You said someone would’ve had to disturb their graves to get the pieces of bone. Now that would piss anyone off, but the spirits of men who died in battle to protect their families and tribes? Dude, angry is the understatement of the year. Not to mention as far as we know, there were no bags outside of the hotel. So how did the ghosts get there?” Dean hissed softly as Sam applied some antibiotic cream, breathing through his nose as Sam dressed the wound. Once Sam was finished tapping the dressing in place he relaxed a little.

Wordlessly Sam patted him on the knee then handed Dean a clean T-shirt. Sam waited while he pulled the shirt on, managing to resist the temptation to help Dean on with the shirt. He knew he’d filled his quota of mother henning for the day, now it was time to get back to work as far as Dean was concerned. Sam stood up and closed the first-aid kit, putting it back on top of his bag. Then he sat on the chair by the table and considered what Dean had said. He remembered what Daryl had been doing.

“Dean, did you happen to hear what Amber was saying at all? Maybe we could identify what Chant she was using, and counter act it? Oh and Daryl was saying something over and over.” Sam turned to face the table, reaching for the lap top.

“Sorry, Sam, Amber was speaking way too fast and quiet for me to make out the words. Then everything went to hell and I was a little busy after that.” Dean grimaced in pain behind Sam’s back then shifted on the bed, easing himself back. He pulled the pillow up higher, resting his back against it.

Sam glanced over his shoulder, “Ahh, yes, your little charge. I think we need to have a little talk about that. You keep on pushing your luck like that, and one day it’s gonna run out.” Sam watched as Dean shot him an unrepentant grin; he knew Dean would never change. There had been people in danger on the site, and Dean’s first instinct was to protect them, no matter the cost to him. It still scared him half to death, just how willing Dean was to lay down his life for others, and after Dad’s death it had only gotten worse. Sam knew it was because Dean felt unworthy of the deal Dad had made, but Dean was wrong. There was no one who was more deserving of the second chance he’d been given. But now Sam was terrified that Dean’s lack of self worth would one day lead him to sacrificing everything for another.

Sam turned back to his lap top. There was nothing he could do right now, not while they were on a hunt. But later he and Dean were going to talk and he’d make Dean see sense if it was the last thing he did. Sam opened a site with Cherokee to English translations, repeating the words Daryl had spoken over and over as he typed in the words. Sam sat up, surprised at what he read. He spun around on the chair to face his brother once more, “Dean, I’ve gotten the translation of what Daryl was saying, U ne la gi a da de li se di A yv. It means forgive me. What the hell did he need forgiveness for? Building the casino? Disturbing sacred ground? I don’t get what Daryl meant.” Sam’s face wore a confused expression.

Dean sat forward quickly. He bit his lip as his body flooded with pain when he moved, remembering what Albert had told him. “Sam, I think we got a problem here. When I was talking to Albert he told me that Daryl and Amber had both been training with him. That Daryl was naturally gifted but lacked the patience to continue his studies. Shit, just what we need. We could be dealing with the Native American Anakin Skywalker and by the looks of it he’s using the dark side of the Force.” Dean began to edge his way off the bed, realizing they now had three suspects who could be summoning the ghosts.

“Ok, Dean, tell me why you think Daryl is behind this.” Sam asked in his best Stanford lawyer tone, he needed evidence to discount Amber as the prime suspect.

Dean licked his lips. How to convince Sam? After all his gut was screaming at him it was Daryl, and not Amber behind this. “For a start, Amber said it was her first time on site. Sam, what if Daryl was the one who planted the bags? I know I joked about the whole haunted hotel thing last night, but what if that’s what the damned idiot has got in mind? Look, if he’s willing to set up a whole Disney Pocahontas scene, then maybe he thinks having authentic Native American ghosts on hand will help.” Dean watched Sam think over what he said.

Sam thought about Dean’s argument and produced his counter argument, “How can you be so sure it wasn’t Amber? After all, the ghosts have caused havoc on site, and that benefits her more than Daryl. When I was talking to Amber’s friends, one of them let something slip. I saw how guilty they looked when Daryl accused Amber about the truck; I went over and talked to them. They all but admitted there is an inside man, and I think he let the brake off the truck. They kept saying the truck was only supposed to roll into building materials that had been delivered that day to cause a delay. Only the incline was steeper than they thought. Plus an inside man would be ideally placed to put the bags around the site. As I said, Amber would have done all the hard work already with making the medicine bags. Hiding them then summoning the ghosts is easy after that.” Sam sat back, pleased with his logic.

Dean thought about what Sam had said, and yes, on the face of it he was right. All the evidence pointed Amber’s way, but something still felt off, then a thought struck him. “Sam, you said the ground had to be blessed by a shaman to help make it sacred ground. Making sure the ghosts could appear away from the canyon, right? Well, who better than Daryl? If Amber had been seen wandering around or even if it had been one of her friends, I think security would’ve had them off site in a second. Plus, who else has complete access to the site without raising questions? From what we heard last night, Daryl’s a pretty hands-on boss and is always around. It would be easy for him to keep reinforcing the magic that keeps the warriors in place.” Dean grinned in triumph.

Sam drummed his fingers on the table. Dean was making a hell of an argument for Daryl summoning the ghosts. And he hoped Dean was right, but there was still the fact that Amber was the one with the most to gain from stopping construction. “Dean, perhaps the reason Daryl was shocked to see Great Bear was Amber had summoned him. Don’t forget that she was stood by him both times Great Bear has appeared. And I’ve never seen Daryl with either a totem or a medicine pouch. Whereas Amber wears hers round her neck and she was using it both times.” Sam countered Dean’s gut feeling with logic.

“You’re right there, Sam, unless you count crap taste in ties as a totem. Look! What if all Amber and her friends are guilty of is a little sabotage? Remember, dude, Amber doesn’t really object to the casino, just Daryl’s theme park.” Dean continued with his argument.

“Maybe so, but then again what better way to show Daryl the error of his ways, than to summon Great Bear and his men? It would be the ultimate show of power.” Again Sam pressed his argument for Amber summoning the ghosts, keeping his voice dispassionate.

Dean groaned in frustration. This was getting them nowhere fast; he looked at Sam. Damn! The kid would’ve been one hell of a lawyer. Sam smiled at him, seeing his brother’s impatience. “Look! I’m very fond of Amber and I really don’t want it to be her who is behind this. What I’m trying to say is this. We can’t be certain which one of them is summoning Great Bear and his men. They both have a motive, and they both have the ability. But we don’t know which one of them is behind it. So what’s our next move? Do we go after Amber, or Daryl? But if you’re right about Great Bear and his men turning up without being summoned, then we have a whole new ball game. One that means whoever is summoning the ghosts is losing what little control they have over them.” Sam stopped speaking and waited to hear what Dean had to say.

Dean eased himself further back on the bed and sat, thinking. Sam was right; they couldn’t be one hundred percent sure which one out of Daryl and Amber were behind the summoning. Dean made his decision, “Well, I suppose we could go and interview both of them again, but after what happened on site today I think we have more pressing problems. The ghosts are turning violent, Sam. If we wait around and try and figure out who is behind it, then someone is gonna get hurt and hurt badly. I say we hit the canyon tonight and perform the appeasement ritual. It should buy us enough time to figure out who’s behind it all and deal with ‘em.” As he spoke he looked over at his brother to see if Sam agreed with his plan.

Sam nodded in agreement. They had a plan in place and it was time to get to work on it. “Ok, I’ll see what we need to perform the ritual...and where the hell do you think you’re going? Dean, for pity’s sake just lay still, will you.” As Sam had been speaking, he’d noticed that Dean was moving toward the end of the bed once more.

Dean waved a dismissive hand at his brother as he got off the bed; he stood slowly, his arm wrapped round himself once more in a futile attempt to ease the discomfort in his ribs. He walked carefully to the table where he left Dad’s journal, “Here you go, Sammy. While you were researching this morning I found the entry concerning the last appeasement ritual in Dad’s journal. We’ve got most of what we need; I made a list of the other stuff. It should be relatively easy to get the rest. Come on, then, we got work to do. I think we should go out of town for this stuff. We don’t want anyone to clue either Amber or Daryl in on what we’re doing.” Dean stopped speaking and leant forward, he felt shaky. But he didn’t have time to rest; they were in the middle of a hunt. Sam stood up in one easy motion, took the paper from Dean’s fingers and slipped his arm around his brother’s shoulders. He guided Dean back towards the bed, ignoring the grumbled protests from him as he tried to get away, but Sam just tightened his grip.

“Dean, please just take it easy. I can get the rest of the herbs and stuff; you try and get some rest. You know we’re gonna be having a late night, and I’ll need you to provide me with back-up while I perform the ritual. Now I’ll just get changed then I’ll head out.” Sam gently pushed Dean onto the bed, turned away and began to strip out of the rest of his suit. While he changed Sam was thinking about the ritual later. By rights it should be simple. There was no need for the two of them to go; he’d have to wait for the moon to rise as per Bobby’s instructions. Then he spotted the first-aid kit and he had an idea. He opened it slowly, and grabbed what he was searching for. He slipped it in his pocket. Now hopefully, he could ensure Dean would be out for the count. In fact, he was about to make sure of it.

Sam turned back to see Dean lying down. The crease between his eyebrows was back again, as he struggled with his aches and pains. “Hey Dean, would you like a cup of coffee before I go?” Sam moved casually to the counter and the mugs. As he made the drink Sam slipped the capsule he was carrying into the hot liquid. He felt guilty but Dean needed to rest - after all, he was hurt. And he knew that Dean would go perform the ritual with him, to watch his back.

But he was capable of doing this alone, damn it, and it was time for Dean to let him grow up and prove that he was as good a hunter as he was. Sam finished stirring the coffee knowing the powerful painkiller would keep his brother safely in bed, so he took it over to him.

Dean lay with his eyes closed, his breathing slow and controlled, relaxing as best he could. His left side was on fire, but he could live with it. He’d dealt with worse before and he would again. Now all that would happen was he would lie here and stiffen up. But if it made Sam happy....Speaking of Sammy, Dean opened his eyes. He spotted his little brother stood by the bed holding a mug of coffee. Dean grunted in greeting then said, “Put it down there, thanks Sam. I’ll drink it in a minute, you better get going. The next town is twenty miles away, and we need those supplies today. By the way, Sam, don’t forget to bring us some food for later. We can’t hunt on an empty stomach.” Dean gave his little brother a mischievous smile and a wink.

Sam turned towards the door, checking he had his wallet. Just as he reached it he heard a sound. He glanced over his shoulder and spotted Dean picking up the mug. Good, he could relax. Pretty soon Dean would be safely asleep, and he’d be able to do this without worrying about him.

Sam returned to the motel room several hours later, having gotten everything on Dean’s list. The hardest thing to get hold of had been the drum, but he’d managed it. He turned the key in the door and stepped inside. “Dean?” Sam called out softly; he was answered by the sound of soft snoring. Sam smiled and walked over to the bed. He checked the mug and saw it was empty, “Sorry, Dean, but you really need to sit this one out.” Sam turned and walked over to the table, and sorted through what he’d bought for the ritual. Satisfied that everything was there, he picked up the duffle and began to load it, ready for later.

He was concentrating so hard, he never noticed Dean opening his eyes. Dean smiled at the back of his brother’s head. He’d known from the second Sam had made him the coffee, exactly what Francis had done. Sam wasn’t as stealthy as he thought he was. He’d seen the pill bottle in the first-aid kit and he’d been ready when Sam had brought the coffee. Dean had taken a drink, and after Sam had left he’d got up and thrown the coffee down the sink. Then he’d gone back and lay down, getting what rest he could. Now he got up, cursing to himself when his stiff muscles twinged and ached and his ribs felt as if they were on fire. Taking a shallow breath, Dean managed to straighten up, and took the few steps to where his brother stood. By the time he’d reached Sam, the natural swagger he carried himself with was back. He rounded the table to watch what Sam was doing. Sam’s head snapped up suddenly, and he looked at his brother with shock and comically wide eyes.

“Hey, Sam, how’s it goin’? Looks like you got everything we need for tonight. By the way that was an awesome cup of coffee, sent me right to sleep. I feel refreshed and ready to go. Something the matter, Sammy?” Dean asked his dumbstruck brother; he leant forward and patted him on the shoulder. “Now don’t look like that, Sammy. I appreciate the thought, but there is no way you’re doing this alone. I get the feeling that Great Bear is just getting started, and I don’t want you doing this without back-up.” Although he was smiling as he spoke, Dean’s tone made it clear there’d be no argument.

Sam stood up straight and glowered at his smirking brother, “Damnit, Dean, stop treating me like a kid. I can handle this. And you’re not at the top of your game right about now, and Great Bear’s got...” Sam stopped, going red with the thought of what he’d been about to say about the War Chief. The way he looked at Dean last night still played on his mind, and on the site today the chief had been the last ghost to vanish. When Sam had reached his brother the ghostly figure had remained, watching them, and once again there had been the same assessing look in his eyes. Sam had felt that Dean had made quite the impression on the Chief, and he really didn’t want Dean to have to face him again.

Dean quirked an eyebrow at his younger brother “Great Bear’s got what, Sam? Come on, dude, if your spidey sense is tingling I need to know now.” Dean folded his arms and looked at him expectantly.

Sam licked his lips. What could he say to Dean? He could just imagine Dean’s response to his gut feeling that his big brother was measuring up to the Chief’s standards as an adversary. Dean would take it as a compliment then do his very best to goad the ghost into going after him. Especially if he thought Sam was in danger during the appeasement ritual.

Dean could see Sam weighing up what he was going to say. He knew what was on his mind - the challenge Great Bear had issued him last night. Sam was afraid if the ghost appeared and did it again, Dean would accept the challenge. “Come on, Sammy, so I got the stink eye off Great Bear, so what? It’s nice to know I got admirers. What can I say? When you’re hot you’re hot. Look, Sam, I appreciate what you were trying to do, but dude, if you’re gonna knock me out every time I upset some damn spook, I’m gonna end up like Sleeping Beauty and you are not kissing me awake....that’s Angelina Jolie’s gig. Listen, how about I do the ritual, and you watch my back? Will you be happier then?” He offered the compromise with an air of sincerity.

Sam slumped in defeat. Dean was going to do this no matter what he thought. But at least he could protect Dean while he performed the ritual; he could live with that.

Dean could tell when Sam had given in; there had been a slight lowering of the shoulders. Now all he had to do when they reached the canyon was tell Sam he couldn’t read Dad’s chicken scrawl, and he’d watch over Sam while he did the chanting. “Ok, we good then? What did you bring to eat, Sammy, I’m starving? I’ll just hit the head and get cleaned up.” Dean moved towards the bathroom, looked back and watched as Sam put the duffle on the floor. Then he got several bags of take-away out, and started to open them.

Dean smiled as Sam busied himself. Now all he had to do was make it through the rest of the day without getting even more banged up. As long as they remained outside the canyon they would be fine. Then they could deal with whichever idiot had started the whole mess in the first place.

When Dean returned from the bathroom, Sam noticed he’d gotten changed into his jeans and had added extra shirts. Sam felt a little more relaxed, but he was still worried about his brother. Dean really needed to be resting, not dragging himself out in the desert in the middle of the night. But he was fighting against years of John Winchester training and commandments, which included “Thou shalt not leave a hunt unfinished, even if you are bleeding to death, and one arm is hanging off.” Sam had been witness to Dean attempting exactly that kind of thing on more than one occasion. And each time, it had reduced his life expectancy by around ten years; at this rate he’d never see forty.

Now Dean sat opposite him, smiling happily at the food, “Great Chinese! Sam, you’re a life saver, pass the rice, would ya?” Sam watched as the older man demolished his food, listening to the happy moans of joy, as he crunched his way through an order of ribs. Finally they finished eating, and Dean sat back with a smile on his face. Sam stood up and cleaned away the empty cartons.

“Dean, do you want to go and have a lie down? We still got a few hours before we need to be at the canyon.” Sam voiced his concern, as Dean shifted in his chair subtly attempting to ease the discomfort he was in.

Dean shook his head, “No thanks, Sammy. I got to run a weapons check and besides, I’m not a hundred percent sure you won’t try to sneak out, and leave my poor little wounded ass behind.” Dean grinned and Sam returned the smile. He should’ve known better than to try and ditch his brother. Now all he could do was try and make sure Dean came back to the room in the same state as he left it.

The next couple of hours passed with the two men working on the hunt. Dean checked and re-checked the shotguns and packed extra salt cartridges in the bag. He also loaded spare clips for their hand guns, and sharpened a couple of knives. While Dean worked, Sam ran through the ritual with him, telling him when to put the offerings on the fire. Warning him at one point, “Dean, just remember the drum rhythm needs to be in time with your heartbeat, not a Metallica drum solo, alright, Lars?” Dean had pouted at that but nodded.

Finally there was nothing left to go over, and the usual nervous energy began to seep into Dean’s aching bones. He could feel the zip of adrenaline coursing through his system, it never failed to excite him. Every hunt was a chance for him to make sure another family didn’t have to suffer the devastating losses that he and Sam had endured. Now he and Sam were getting ready to face down a tribe of angry ghosts. He knew he had to be at his sharpest. The ghosts had already proved they could be deadly, and now he was going to be guarding Sam while he sent them to their rest. In his mind Dean didn’t even acknowledge the danger to himself - he was focused on protecting his little brother, and if it meant he had to tangle with Great Bear again then he was fine with that.

Sam was gearing up for the hunt, watching Dean closely. He could see his brother getting ready to go into battle. Dean was always moving. He fidgeted and tapped pens, almost the poster boy for perpetual motion. Until it came to the moments before a hunt ,and then it was as if Dean pulled all that excess energy within himself, arming himself, ready for whatever they were going to face. Dean would go completely still and Sam used those moments to ground himself. He drew his own readiness from Dean. He’d always been able to feel the energy that flowed through Dean as he got ready to hunt. Dean was always frenetic movement then came the calm, the sense of purpose, and clarity he viewed the world with. Dean saw the world in black and white and on a hunt there was no room for shades of gray.

In another time, Sam had thought that Dean would have worn armour and rode a black horse, galloping to the rescue. Now this very different kind of knight rode to the rescue in a muscle car, his armour a battered leather jacket. Sam felt his own sense of calm sweep over him; they were ready.

Sam looked over at Dean. The once perfectly still figure shifted, raising his eyes to meet his brother’s. As one they stood up. Sam picked up the bags and they walked to the door. They went through and Dean turned off the light.

They drove without speaking - the only sound was a tape, playing softly. Dean hummed along with the familiar and soothing sounds of Plant and Paige. Sam shuffled slightly; he was nervous. They were about to take on numerous ghosts. He wasn’t sure the appeasement ritual would be enough to hold them. But for now it was all they had.

“Sammy, are you alright? I don’t remember putting itching powder in your boxers again. And what have I told you about leaving those midget pole dancers alone?” Dean glanced over and grinned, Sam just shot him a dirty look.

Sam kept a close watch on the roads; they were deserted and he hoped that it would continue like that. They passed the construction site, and Sam felt the thrill of nerves once again. He took a steadying breath, they were nearly there. Finally they had gotten as close as they could by car. Now the rest of the journey was on foot.

“What the hell?” Sam exclaimed. They had arrived, expecting to be the only vehicle parked there. Instead, there was a new Mercedes and two trucks. Dean put the brakes on and turned off the engine.

Dean sat with his hands on the steering wheel, “Ok, that’s unexpected. Come on, Sam, we need to find out what’s going on out here.” They opened the doors, got out and walked around to the trunk. Sam went to pick up both bags; Dean reached out and put his hand on the handles of the one with the weapons in. “No, Sam, you need one hand to carry your flashlight. We ready?” Sam nodded and they set off for the canyon.

As they walked they scanned the darkened area. They were miles from the town, and even the construction site was over a mile away and empty for the weekend. They were on their own out here, and as they picked their way over the uneven and rough ground, Sam couldn’t help the sense of foreboding that grew in his gut. Dean turned off his flashlight suddenly, and Sam paid attention to what his brother was doing, also turning off his flash light. Sam turned to see what Dean was looking at, and he surprised at what he saw.

In a clearing, just in front of the mouth of the canyon was a large fire, with figures around it. Dean started to walk forward again and Sam fell into step beside him. As they got closer they made out who it was. Stood, arguing as usual, were Amber and Daryl. Beside them were the three friends who had accompanied Amber to the site, and Sam noted there were three other young women with them.

“Son of a bitch! Hey, Sam, do you think our friends had the same idea as us?” Dean motioned to the two large hold-alls on the floor by the two combatants.

“This just keeps getting better. Dean, we need to get these people out of here. For all we know, Amber’s here to summon more ghosts and Daryl’s trying to stop her. This is going to get ugly.” As Sam spoke Dean suddenly strode forward; he could see the gleam of anger in Dean’s eyes. Sam jogged to catch up. He wondered if he’d have to protect Amber and Daryl from Dean, judging by the expression on his face.

They reached the fire and Dean came to a halt between Amber and Daryl. He stood there silently until they realized they were no longer alone. They turned to look at him; Dean gave them a cold smile and said by way of greeting, “Is this a private party or can anyone join in?”

Chapter 7.
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: nervousnervous