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30 September 2011 @ 09:51 pm
The way of the warrior Chp 8, (9/14), R, Sam & Dean Winchester.  
The way of the warrior, chapter 8.

"It means blood, Dean; the debt can only be paid with blood.”

Dean glanced over to the ghosts; there wasn’t a flicker of movement or change of emotion on their faces. “How do you mean, blood? Are we talking knife across the palm kinda blood? Or will it be the case of all of us getting our throats cut, and our scalps ending up as trophies, kinda blood?” Dean licked his lips and looked at Amber, she bridled at the mention of scalps. Dean gave a smile, “Great, good to see you back with me. What do Great Bear and the rest of the guys mean by that? I’m hoping it’s the first one of my suggestions, and not the second one.” He was looking worried as he spoke.

Amber gave a slight smile at Dean’s words; he was doing what he did best - trying to lighten the situation. But there was no way to lighten this situation; she had to tell him what the tribe was demanding. “Great Bear has offered us a way out, but it means that someone will have to shed their blood. He and his men want to know that we are still worthy of their protection, that there are still those who walk the path of the warrior amongst us.” Amber started to bite her nails anxiously.

Dean took hold of her hand, “Ok, let’s pretend I don’t know what you’re on about. Can you explain how we are supposed to do that? Take on one of his men in a fight? Play rock, paper, scissors? What do they want us to do, Amber?” Dean had no choice but to press the woman for an answer; he had to know what he and Sam would have to deal with.

Amber took a deep breath before she answered him, “It’s simple really. They’ve demanded one of us undergo a trial by torture. And if our champion passes The Trial then we will be free to leave here.” Her voice shook as she spoke, and she shivered slightly.

Dean relaxed a little when she told him that, “Amber, that’s great news.” He grinned in triumph at her.

She looked at him like he’d gone mad, “Are you nuts? Do you have any idea what happens to someone during this?” Amber’s voice was getting louder and more fearful.

Dean tried to calm her down, “You don’t get what I’m trying to say here. I’m not happy that one of us is gonna get their ass kicked seven ways from Sunday. We’ve just been given a fighting chance. Listen, if it had just been me an’ Sam, then we would’ve tried to fight our way out of here. But it’s not just the two of us; there’s you and your friends for us to worry about. This trial means we have a better chance of getting all of you out of here. Now why don’t you tell me what the hell happens in the Trial, and then let me worry about going over there and asking for volunteers?” Dean squeezed her arms and hoped she understood.

Amber nodded, finally understanding just what he meant when he’d been happy at the news, so she began to talk to him softly, explaining what would happen.

Sam sat, watching his brother and Amber as they faced the council of warriors. Again he felt a sense of unease growing. He knew Dean only too well, and just what he was capable of offering, if it meant saving him and the others from harm. After Dad’s death he had only gotten worse. Now Sam was convinced this might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Then he heard a moan from just behind him. He turned to see Daryl shifting in discomfort. Sam got up and moved towards him, “Are you ok, Daryl?” He asked quietly.

Daryl nodded, looking miserable as his arm throbbed and he shivered with pain, moving again to try and get comfortable, sat on the canyon floor.

Sam looked at him and asked, “Why did you do it? Why summon Great Bear and his men? What did you hope to gain from it? I know you told Amber that it was for the tribe, to make the casino stand out. Was that all it was, or was there something else?” Sam waited for Daryl to answer him; wondering if Dean was risking his life for a man just out to make money for himself. A snake oil salesman, as Dean had called him. If that was the case, then Sam was more than ready to wring his neck himself.

Daryl looked up at Sam and shifted again, “I promise you, Sam. I did all of this for the tribe. Do you know how many Casinos are out there? I saw we needed an edge, something that would make us unique. Then it hit me....a haunted hotel. I’d trained as a shaman. I was sure I could control the ghosts. I was going to summon them when I needed them to be there. We could’ve made a fortune and, I’m sure Amber would’ve understood eventually why I was doing it. Just think of all the good the money could do the town and my people.” Daryl’s words were sincere, and his eyes were lit up as he talked about his casino.

Sam realized he genuinely meant what he said; he really thought he was helping the town and tribe by doing this. From what Dean had told him about Daryl and Amber’s past, maybe he thought he would impress her with his skills as a shaman. But he’d been wrong about the whole thing. Now someone would have to pay the price for what he’d done. Deep down, Sam knew that Dean would probably be the one to pay it.

Sam was getting angry with Daryl; all he could see was how he would be a hero to the town, not the consequences of his actions. “You don’t get it, do you, Daryl? You can’t control ghosts at the best of times; it’s like trying to put a leash on a whirlwind. Great Bear and his men died for your people, they promised to remain here to protect you.” Sam sighed in frustration at the man.

“No, it’s you who don’t understand, Sam; this casino is going to bring the town back to life. I’d made sure that everything was safe. The ghosts were bound to the medicine bags, and I did all the chants correctly. My idea was foolproof, and then you and your brother came crashing in and pissed Great Bear off. I know I could’ve controlled them.” Daryl retorted angrily.

Sam clenched his fists - it was that, or grab Daryl. “You were never in control of them; all you did was make them angry. Your arrogance has put you and everyone else here in danger. Me and Dean didn’t piss them off, you did. Do you think they feel that they have been summoned for a worthy cause? All we can do is hope that Amber can convince them that you’re sorry for being a jackass, and hope they’ll let us go.” Sam turned away from Daryl, unable to face him any longer, muttering softly to himself. “More importantly I just hope that Dean doesn’t go and do something too stupid to get us out of here.” He went back to watching the council’s deliberations.

“And that’s it, right? No other nasty surprises. You just need to survive the trial? And then we’re free.” Dean had listened to what Amber had told him, and stood, thinking.

Amber threw her arms up in the air, “Isn’t that enough, Dean? Look! Young men have died undergoing this; it’s not an easy way out. Whoever does this is going to suffer. I can’t ask anyone to do that. I know I’ll...” Before she could say another word, Dean placed a finger on her lips.

“Don’t even finish that thought; you’re too important to the people in the town to risk your life here. According to Albert you’re going to be the next shaman, and you know you’re needed here. Who else will keep Daryl on the straight and narrow? Albert said to me you were both right and wrong. I didn’t get what he meant at first, but I do now. You need to work together, his head for business and your heart for your people.

What’s so wrong with displaying your heritage at the casino? I think Albert wanted you to make sure that the staff wasn’t going to be dressed in buckskin bikinis. Although, thinking about it, Eddie’s got the legs for it. Albert wanted you to understand that the casino is the best thing for the town. That not all of Daryl’s ideas were bad, you just need to curb the worst of them. Which means you have to promise me, no ghost tours around the canyon, ok? Right, I want you to speak to Great Bear for me.” Dean turned to face the assembled ghosts; he drew himself up to his full height. He was ready to do this; he looked at Amber and nodded.

“What do you want me to say, Dean? I’m a shaman not a mind reader.” She smiled as Dean ducked his head, and rubbed at the back of his neck.

“Sorry. Ok, then. Ready? Let’s do this.” Dean began to speak and Amber translated for him.

Sam saw the way Dean and Amber had been talking, and once or twice he’d heard Amber’s voice start to rise in anger. Finally he saw resignation in her body language. Sam pushed down the desire to get up, and run over to his brother to prevent him doing something idiotic. But something told him he was already too late. He watched as Amber and Dean turned around, and started walking towards them. Then he spotted they were being escorted by two warriors. Sam stood up, as he did the rest of the group followed suit, and his eyes never left Dean. He seemed to be nervous about something, Sam’s eyes narrowed, damn what had the self sacrificing idiot gone and done now.

“I don’t believe you just did that, you moron.” Amber hissed at Dean, as they were being escorted back to the others. He just shrugged and winced slightly, as his side took the opportunity to remind him of the fact he was already hurt. That was going to make life more interesting tomorrow he thought.

“Amber it was the most logical thing to do. Great Bear and his men were gonna do this no matter what, at least now we have some control over things.” Dean worried at his bottom lip with his teeth.

“Right of course, some control. Dean do you know what you just did?” Amber’s voice was getting shrill as she spoke.

Dean put his arm around her, “Yeah, I made sure that Great Bear didn’t come over here, and ask one of your friends to put themselves through it. Now relax and smile, for god’s sake, please.” Dean was watching Sam, and he saw the expression on his face....ohhh yeah, Bitch Face No 7. Damn! That was bad.

Amber felt as if she had been out-manoeuvred by the chief, but right now she was more concerned about Dean. She noticed for the first time since this began he looked worried. She looked at him, “Oh, is it sinking in now what you’ve agreed to? Dean, this is serious. What are we gonna do?” She muttered at him, as they neared her friends.

Dean saw his brother looming ever closer and he smirked, “Well, getting Great Bear to let me go through the trial was the easy part. Now we’re coming to the hard part of tonight’s little adventure.” He sounded a little nervous and wasn’t looking at her as he spoke.

Amber followed Dean’s worried gaze, to where Sam stood with a slightly murderous expression on his face. “You think that was the easy? So what’s the hard part then?” She asked.

Dean looked at his glowering little brother, “The hard part will be telling Sam what I’ve done.....Hi there, Sammy, everything alright?” Dean spoke to his brother with a forced joviality.

Sam returned the smile, making a show of looking behind Dean at the warriors stood close to him. “Everything’s fine, Dean. Daryl’s doing ok, and would you like to tell me who your new friends are?” Sam was clenching his fists in an attempt not to reach over and grab his brother and shake him. “Is there anything you or Amber would like to share with us?” Sam’s voice was deceptively calm.

Dean just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, “Oh, nothing much, but we got a deal on getting everyone out of here.” As he finished speaking, the others looked relieved that they would be getting out of there in one piece. Sam continued to watch his brother closely; he still hadn’t explained the escort. Or why another warrior had appeared, and had put a blanket on the ground a distance away from them.

He approached Dean and pointed to it. Dean nodded at the warrior, “Sorry about this bro, but it seems like we won’t be sharing a bedroom tonight. Listen, they’re letting me have a few minutes to explain everything to you, ok?” Dean spoke rapidly, hoping to head off a little brother meltdown.

Just then one of the young women spoke, “We’re done, then? We can get out of here, right? What are we waiting for?” She appeared to be getting ready to make her way to the entrance.

Sam stopped her, “Wait a moment. Something tells me it’s not gonna be that easy. Don’t forget that not long ago Great Bear and his men were talking about killing us. Now they’re just prepared to let us go? And why does Dean have to stay here?” Sam’s voice was low and measured.

Amber felt the tension pouring off Dean, as he got ready to drop his bombshell. She kept a close watch on Sam, unsure of his reaction to what Dean had to tell him.

The boyfriend of the woman just shrugged his shoulders, “Sam, to be honest I don’t give a shit. We’re getting out of here. If your brother wants to stay with these guys then he is more than welcome, but we’re gone.” He took his girlfriend’s arm and started to move.

Sam was stood in front of him in a flash. Amber was shocked; she’d never seen anyone move that fast. She called out in shock, “Jim, Sara, for God’s sake, stop. Haven’t we seen enough blood tonight?” She was hoping the ghosts didn’t think this was another escape attempt; she was relieved when they didn’t move.

Sam was using his greater height to move them back to the fire. As Sam menaced the young couple, Dean spoke. He sounded tired. “Knock it off, Sam, it ain’t their fault. Ladies and gentlemen, I should’ve made it clear what’s going to happen. You all have to stay here until Great Bear is happy that I passed a little test he’s set me. Now everyone, just relax and try and get some rest. It’s gonna be a long day tomorrow.” He smiled confidently.

Dean was just about to turn around and motion to the warriors he was ready to go, when Sam spoke to Amber, “Amber, what kind of test are we talking here? I get the feeling it won’t be algebra. And what will happen if Dean fails the test?” He kept his eyes on Dean as he spoke, noticing how his brother tensed, when he asked the question.

Amber watched as the two brothers just stared at one another. She really didn’t want to be caught between them at this moment time.

Dean shot his brother an indignant look, “What? Don’t you trust me? I’m wounded, dude. It’s nothing to worry about. I got it covered. You get some beauty sleep, Sam. You know how puffy your eyes get if you don’t get your eight hours.” Dean was smiling, attempting to make light of what was going to happen.

“Of course I trust you, Dean; after all, you never do anything stupid, do you? Remember the Devas? How you forgot to mention you’d nearly been gutted by them. If you hadn’t almost wrapped the Impala around a tree, I think you would’ve let yourself bleed to death. What was it you said while I stitched you up? Oh yeah. ‘It’s just a scratch, Sammy’. That damn scratch took over thirty stitches. Now what the hell is the test, Dean and don’t you damn well lie to me?” Sam was becoming more agitated as he spoke.

Dean licked his lips. Crap, he’d wanted to keep quiet about the whole trial by torture thing. But Sam looked as if he was going to march over to Great Bear, and start demanding answers.

Amber stepped forward. She could see a stand-off developing between the two men. She needed to break the deadlock and telling Sam the truth was the only way, whether Dean liked it or not. “Ok, then, Sam, Great Bear offered us a way out of this mess without all of us ending up dead.......” Amber’s voice deserted her - she couldn’t bring herself to tell Sam.

Sam watched Amber’s struggle, and decided help her out. “What kind of alternative did he offer you? During my research into Native American history in the last few days, I’ve come across some fairly graphic descriptions of the kind of test Great Bear is suggesting. None of them were very pretty. Is it a test of courage, skill, or fighting ability? I know my big brother - he might miss out a few small details. Please, Amber, why don’t you tell us everything?” Sam finished speaking, and waited to hear the response, a resolute look in his eyes

Dean went to speak to Sam, holding up his hand to silence him. Amber looked around at her friends and at Daryl. They all looked terrified, she couldn’t blame them. She decided to answer Sam’s questions honestly. “It’s known as a Trial by Torture; it’s conducted by a test of strength, endurance, cunning and courage. Great Bear has said if Dean passes it, we are all free to go. But if he fails then we all die.” Around them there were cries of horror as what Amber said sank in.

“I suppose when you say pass, you mean survive, right? Christ, Dean, why did you agree to this? We could have gotten everyone out of here without you doing this. What if you fail? What happens to everyone then? ” His voice was raw with grief at the thought of what Dean had agreed to.

Dean gave his brother a smile; it was time to give Sam a reality check. “Ok, Sam so I’ve been stupid and reckless again, as you’ll no doubt remind me. I’d like to hear your plan for getting us out of here, it should be easy enough. All we have to do is get out of this canyon, past heavily armed warriors. Then run across open ground with no cover, while Great Bear and his men chase us down on horseback, armed with rifles. How far do you think we will have to run to get clear of them, Sam, before they run out of sacred ground and turn into normal ghosts? You know, the kind that flicker and fade, and the bullets from their guns ain’t gonna put holes in us all. Well, how far? A hundred metres... two hundred... half a mile... a mile? Come on, Sam, I’m waiting for your ideas here.” Dean glared at his brother, angry and hurt.

Sam looked around the canyon, and he knew what Dean was saying was right. If they just ran then they would be cut down. There had to be another way. He had to find a way to save Dean from going through this. He shoved his hands in his pockets and then he smiled as his fingers brushed over his phone

“We don’t have to run. Look, someone is going to miss Amber, her friends and Daryl. All we have to do is delay the trial. Then when they come for them, we’re all free and clear. Look, Dean, you don’t have to do this.” Sam’s voice was hopeful. He looked around and he could see the same hope building within Amber’s friends.

Dean looked at Sam, suddenly feeling old and tired, and stretched too thin. With everything his Dad had put on his shoulders concerning Sammy, and the whole destiny crap, he’d felt out of control, as if he was constantly running in circles. But right here and now, he felt as if he could focus on something for the first time in a long while. He could deal with the trial; it made him feel as if there was something he could do to help, not just blunder around, getting more and more lost.

He understood why Sam wanted them to be found. Sam didn’t want him to get hurt. Hell, he didn’t want to get hurt. But he knew there was no other option. There hadn’t been from the second they’d entered the canyon, Great Bear had seen to that. Now he was going to have to shatter the fragile hopes of everyone stood here. “Hey, Amber, is anyone gonna miss you tomorrow? Have you got somewhere to be or anyone to see?” Dean looked over at Amber when he asked the question.

She shook her head, “No, Albert knew what I was going to be doing here tonight, and he is looking after the centre for me. I told him me and the guys here were going to camp out here overnight and chill out. Everyone will think we’ve just turned our phones off, and are having a good time.” She sounded defeated.

Dean looked over at the others and saw the hope beginning to die in their eyes. “You heard Amber, Sam, no one is gonna miss them, and I should imagine that Daryl doesn’t hang around town much at the weekend. Have you tried the cell reception in here? Even if we got hold of Bobby, how long would it take him to get to us? Look, face it, Sam, we’re on our own. Besides, do we really want to drag more people into this? We don’t want to give the ghosts any more hostages. This was the only way, man; I wish there had been another choice but...”

Sam looked at Dean, and nodded sadly, “There was another way. You could have talked to us, asked if one of us would do it. But no, it had to be you, didn’t it? Damn it, Dean! I would’ve done it, but no, it’s protect Sammy at all costs. Dad’s damn orders! You think this is gonna be easy for me? Watching you suffer? Shit! How could you be so.....?” He stopped himself before he said what he was thinking.

“How could I be so selfish? Stupid? Ready to throw myself in the pit after Dad? Come on, Sammy; just get it all off your chest, and then maybe we can sort this shit out together.” Dean’s green eyes flashed with anger. He’d had enough of Sam’s attitude lately, and now this. Why couldn’t he understand why he was doing this?

Sam squared up to his brother, the same anger coursing though his veins, “Alright then, I know you miss Dad, and you feel responsible for his death. But he was a grown man, Dean. He made his own choices. We both know no one could influence him. And look at the damn crap he left you with, and you just want to throw your damn life away like this? Screw you, Dean. I don’t know why I bother. One way or another you’ll find a way to get yourself killed. How the hell are you going to get through this while you’re hurt? I should go over and offer myself in your place. Don’t do this.....please.” Sam ignored the startled gasps of the others, as he pleaded with his brother to see sense.

“You’re hurt? Holy shit, Dean, what the hell were you thinking? You don’t undergo this lightly and now Sam tells us you’re injured. I think we should let Sam talk to Great Bear. Please, Dean, don’t be stupid, think of everyone here.” Amber was looking at Dean in a way that made Sam feel ashamed. He’d never meant for this to happen; he only wanted Dean to realize he wasn’t indestructible.

Dean sighed. Great! Now they all thought he was a loser. He scrubbed his fingers through his short hair, and then dropped his hand down; as he did he absently wrapped his arm around his injured ribs. He looked up and gave everyone a dazzling smile, “Don’t worry, Amber, Sam’s just being his usual girly self. It’s just a few bruises. Nothing I can’t handle. I’m fine, trust me.”

Amber folded her arms and looked at him appraisingly, “Oh, so it’s just a few bruises. What about the blood I got on me earlier? Where did that come from, Dean? Well?”

Dean pinched the bridge of his nose. Great! Now he was getting a headache, “Right, it was just a scratch, and no, not the thirty stitches variety. Listen to me. I’d love nothing more than to go and sit this one out, but trust me when I say I have to do this. And no, it’s not some fucked up need to follow Dad to the grave. More than anything I wish we could take the ghosts out, but we’re outnumbered and outgunned.” Dean looked around at them, imploring them with his eyes to understand.

“Now if I was really reckless then I wouldn’t give a damn, and I’d just charge right in, but we have civilians with us, Sam. Whether we like it or not, Great Bear has given us a way out. And I will make sure that every single one of you is safe.” Dean stopped, looking around at the group. He could see that finally they realized just what kind of trouble they were in. Now he had to remind Sam of why he had to be the one to do this.

“Sam, you know me, there’s no way I could watch you go through this. Hell, I’d probably start swinging at the warriors, and get us all killed. Now that’s reckless. I know I’ve got the easy part tomorrow, and I wouldn’t trade places with you for the world. You’ve got the hardest job in this, Sam and I’m sorry for that. I need you to take care of Amber and her friends and keep an eye on Daryl. Now you keep your wits about you, little brother. Stay sharp and keep your hands off my stuff, bitch. Looks like it’s time for me to go.” Dean was watching two warriors approach him. They took hold of his arms, and escorted him to where the blanket was. They let go of him and he carefully lowered himself down slowly, feeling the return of his aches and pains as his body came to a halt. Then he leant back against the canyon wall and closed his eyes, and willed his aching body to relax.

Sam stood watching as his brother was led away. He felt as if his heart was being torn in two, but now there was nothing he could do but wait. He had to accept Dean’s decision. It didn’t mean he liked it, but he would abide by it and help Dean any way he could. With that in mind he turned to the others. “Ok, we may as well try and get some rest. Like Dean said, it’s gonna be a real long day tomorrow.” He sat down and his eyes went to where is brother sat, a look of worry crossing his face.

Amber noticed Sam had positioned himself so he was as close to Dean as possible. She reached over and squeezed his hand, “I should’ve told Dean I was sorry. There was no way he’d deliberately put us in danger. Your brother is a very brave man, Sam.” Amber smiled sadly at him, and then she turned to talk to her friends.

Sam sat watching Dean, he was regretting the harsh words he’d said to him, and he was thinking about what had lead them there, and then he heard Amber and her friends talking; they wanted to hear about what had been said in the council. Sam started to pay attention; it might give him some clues on how to get them out of this.

Amber talked about what Dean had wanted her to translate. He’d told Great Bear and his men that warriors were in short supply these days; that he was a hunter and he would willingly go through the Trial. He knew he wasn’t part of the tribe, but if they were looking for a volunteer then there he was. Then she told them how Great Bear and his men had talked quietly, and the chief had nodded and Dean’s fate was sealed.

Daryl had been sitting there, looking pensive and finally he spoke, “I should’ve been the one to go through the Trial. If I hadn’t been so goddamn dumb none of this would’ve happened. Look, how about if I go over to the chief and tell him I’ll take Dean’s place. Just maybe they’ll be so busy beating the crap out of me, it will give you guys the chance to try and get away.” He went to stand.

Sam was thinking; he’d been going over what Dean had said to him. He was puzzled about his comment about his stuff; he’d have to look in Dean’s bag at some point tonight. He knew that Dean had something in his mind about getting them out of the canyon if he thought he wasn’t going to make it, and the contents of his bag would provide the clue. Dean had a plan, and ok, the plan included getting beat to hell and back, but in his big brother’s mind it was an acceptable piece of collateral damage.

Just then Daryl’s words broke into his thoughts. He lifted his eyes and spoke “Daryl, stop right there. I’ll tell you something about Dean. There is no way he’d let any of us get hurt. Even if it means he’s the one doing the hurting then he is fine with that. Once the chief put that deal on the table, there was never going to be anyone else to be the one to do it. He’ll keep us safe if it’s the last thing he does. Now please just stay here.” Sam’s words froze the other man in place.

Sam turned to Amber; he had a couple of questions for the young shaman. “Did Great Bear seem pleased that Dean offered himself to do the trial? I’m curious.”

She went over the events of the council for a few seconds and then replied, “Now you come to mention it, he did seem pleased with the way things turned out. When Great Bear laid down the challenge, I was going to offer myself....” Amber waited for the exclamations of dismay from her friends and Sam to die down. “Dean wouldn’t hear of it, saying I was too important to the town. Then he offered himself instead. I don’t know why, but I got the feeling that everything was going exactly how Great Bear wanted it to go. Then when I was telling him what happens during the trial, I noticed Great Bear never took his eyes off Dean. It was as if he was weighing him up, checking him for weaknesses or something. Does that help at all, Sam?” Amber wondered what Sam had in mind.

Sam sat thinking about what Amber had just told him. Ever since he’d seen Great Bear’s response to Dean, he knew the chief had wanted to challenge him. He’d recognized a fellow warrior; he looked up and his gaze went over to the chief. The older man was sat alone by the fire, staring into its depths. There was a look of sadness on his face; it was the face of a man who’d seen too much pain and death. His eyes were old, much older than his body, and Sam knew he’d seen that look before. He’d seen it on Dean’s face many times when he thought he was alone, and there was no need for him to be wearing his ‘game face’. That’s when Sam understood what had happened. Great Bear saw Dean as a kindred spirit, another warrior who’d dealt with too much pain in his life. Even so, Dean was still trying to do the right thing by those who he loved, and by complete strangers. Sam finally understood Great Bear’s fascination with Dean.

Chapter 8b

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