It was starting to remind Sam of Pennsylvania. That shapeshifter dead-set, literally, on reenacting all his favorite monster movies – starring as the monster. He just didn’t know what else to compare this with, and neither did Dean.
There had been a recent outbreak in Madison, Maine of wolf sightings.
They’d not thought anything suspicious of it when Bobby had informed them over the phone, even going so far as to laughingly point out that wolves in Maine shouldn’t be anything worth a fuss. At that point, Bobby had seen fit to point out that residents were seeing a wolf the size of a small house and the missing person’s reports were through the roof at the local PD.
Which was how they’d ended up in Maine, not knowing what to expect. An expectation that was confirmed when a couple of helpful, spooked locals had pointed them in the right direction to the woods that were apparently the creature’s haunt.
Now they were searching the woods, becoming more puzzled by the minute.
“What the hell?” Dean’s voice was laced in disbelief as he picked free a chunk of black fur that was caught on a high branch.
“I don’t –” Sam broke off with a miffed tilt of his head as he considered the fur. “It’s definitely wolf.”
Dean looked up at him, expression deadpan. “Thanks Ranger Rick, that helps.”
Sam scowled at him, not bothering to grace Dean with an answer. It wasn’t as if he had one, he was just as confused as his brother. There was only one way to figure this out, and that was to find the creature. So he set out again, eyes on the forest floor and the surrounding trees to try and pick out a trail.
For hours they searched the woods, until the coming night became a close certainty. They didn’t have much aversion to hunting in the dark, but that was usually when they knew what they were tracking. So cutting their losses for the night, slowly they began to double back to where they’d left the Impala.
The rest of the evening was spent amongst beer and Chinese take-out as Dean prepped more rock salt rounds and Sam scoured all the obscure lore he could find on wolves. He knew there had to be something somewhere. They’d never run across a creature yet that wasn’t mentioned in some book, even if it was only one book.
“It just doesn’t make any sense.” Sam huffed out in frustration as he forced his laptop further into the depths of the internet.
“You’re telling me.” Dean held a round up critically in examination before setting it aside, satisfied. “My guess is, that shapeshifter from Penn had a brother.”
Sam frowned, “it just doesn’t feel like a shapeshifter, Dean. Hiding out in the woods? That’s pretty unlike them, they usually prefer to be right in the thick of it, and enclosed.”
“We’ve seen weirder shit than a shapeshifter with social phobia.”
Sam silently agreed, but it didn’t change his mind. He continued to track down potential suspects, crossing more than half off the list for the very reason they were as real as Bigfoot.
That night they turned in with no more answers than they’d had before, yet Sam had an infinitely smaller list of suspects. Neither of them slept easy, though, not while knowing there was a massive canine on the loose… and perhaps Dean had more reason to toss and turn than most in light of that.
Morning came calling much too early, and Dean left to hit up the nearest diner for take-out and any new information. Which left Sam to enjoy a cold shower whilst cursing Dean for leaving him without hot water, again.
Still, he could only glare for so long when Dean brought back food, along with Castiel close in tow. A sight that made him smirk and go back to his laptop so that he didn’t have to watch Cas stare with such puppy-like adoration at an agonizingly clueless Dean.
He was afraid that in an attempt to kick a clue into Dean, he’d somehow miss and end up connecting with Castiel.
Sam was halfway through his pancakes and an impromptu performance of his brother trying to get Cas to try hot sauce on eggs when his mind came to a screeching halt. And then just as suddenly, it came back online as his fingers flew onto the laptop keyboard and then waited impatiently for the page to load and prove his memory right.
“Holy shit!” Sam swore vehemently, causing Cas to startle and Dean to have no reaction at all.
Slamming the laptop shut, he stuffed a last piece of pancake into his mouth before grabbing his coat and dashing for the motel room door. “Gotta go!” He hollered behind him as he fled through the doorway.
Dean blinked after his brother, then shrugged before turning back to Castiel with a wicked smile and a forkful of eggs with Tabasco. “Try it. Everyone has to try this at least once in their life, and you’re going on six millennia or something.”
Meanwhile, Sam had rounded the back of the motel where it was mercifully empty. Only then did he stop, not to catch his breath, but to mentally summon a far different angel than the one currently being propositioned by Dean with breakfast.
Sam startled more from the panicked tone than the fact Gabriel had appeared next to him without so much as a wing-flutter of warning. “Gabriel.”
Gabriel’s amber eyes were warm with concern as they looked the hunter over quickly. “What’s wrong? Your voice in my head, you were… panicking?”
Sam had the decency to look sheepish under the archangel’s scrutiny. “Is Fenrir real?”
Entirely taken aback, Gabriel could only blink a moment, stunned, before a smirk suddenly crept onto his lips. “Fenrir? I thought you were the smart one, Sammy, now’s a bit late to be panicking about the rest of my baggage.”
Sam could only stare as Gabriel began to dissolve into laughter, “so he is real.”
Gabriel managed after an effort to get control of his laughter, but couldn’t keep from grinning as contemplated his hunter. “Trust me, I didn’t whip him up from a convenient can of Orange Slice. All my children are real, Fenrir included.”
Sam breathed a sigh of relief, he’d been right. “I figured if angels were real, then maybe all the lore connected to Loki would be. This helps!”
Gabriel pinned him with an indulgent look, even as he reached out both hands to steady the hunter. “Helps? Sammy, formulate a complete thought in words unless you want me to rifle through that cro-magnon skull of yours.”
Gabriel lifted his hands away in a show of surrender. “All the love in the world.”
Sam rolled his eyes with a huff, pinning him with a suspicious look. “Right.”
“And not all the lore about my pagan days is true.” Gabriel defended on sudden inspiration. “Those other pagan gods never managed to get me trussed up.”
Sam smirked indulgently. “Orange Slice?”
“Technically back then it would have been bottles of mead…” Gabriel paused with a flicker of a faraway smirk before he actively dragged himself back to the present. “What’s got you all in a mood about Fenrir, anyway? If you’re jealous I can have kids with you too.”
“W-what?” Sam spluttered.
Falling into laughter again, Gabriel supposed that might have to be a conversation for another day. “Sam. Fenrir. Focus.” He finally redirected, though a salacious smirk remained.
Struggling to regain his equilibrium, Sam grappled for the safe shore that was their latest hunt. “I think Fenrir is here. He’s the only wolf big enough to match the description, the only wolf that large that exists.”
Gabriel looked more puzzled than excited at the suspicions. “I suppose it’s possible. But I saw him last in Finland. He and Sleipnir were there for the 1610 new year.”
Sam wasn’t seeing the problem. “That’s nearly four centuries ago, so what’s your point? I doubt he stayed there.”
“Not in Finland, no.” Gabriel agreed readily enough, “But Fenrir doesn’t like water much, so I can’t see him crossing the ocean on his own. Not unless…”
Sam’s eyebrows raised as Gabriel trailed off, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. “Unless…?”
“In the 1700’s Jörmungandr was having fun making his own version of tsunamis. The kids have always gotten along; it is possible that Fenrir hitched a lift one day.”
“Jörmungandr.” Sam echoed, before shaking his head. Now wasn’t the time to go there with the Q&A session. “Is there any way you can, I don’t know, do some sort of angelic father GPS tracking on your children?”
Gabriel winced, though his amber eyes glittered with humor. “That’s so invasive.” He complained through a smile before gaining a distant expression which lasted only a second or two. The next second he’d grabbed onto Sam and snapped.
Only to quickly steady the hunter who had stumbled backwards on impulse upon being faced with an intimidating row of bared fangs. Gabriel waited until Sam had gotten his feet under him again before pulling away with such speed it nearly knocked Sam off balance again.
“Fenry!” Gabriel crowed in delight, hugging the massive wolf as best he could around the muzzle. “You’ve gotten bigger!”
Sam nearly choked, bigger? The black wolf he was staring at was easily the size of Bobby’s house, and in possession of not only rows of glittering fangs, but claws that were digging furrows into the earth as Fenrir flexed his paws in cat-like happiness under Gabriel’s fussing.
“How many dick humans have you eaten lately?” Gabriel demanded through a smile, flopped belly-down on Fenrir’s muzzle and chin propped on his hands as he stared adoringly into golden canine eyes.
A sight that had Sam grinning broadly. Years ago, this would have seemed really strange. But now?
“How about pagan gods?” Gabriel questioned then, apparently having been given an answer in the rumbling growls that seemed to suffice as Fenrir’s speech.
Fenrir’s jaw hung slacker in panting joy, claws digging even deeper furrows into the ground.
“You missed out on Odin, you lazy thing. And I sure wouldn’t have minded you taking a chunk out of Baldr, the arrogant son of a bitch, putting his hands all over Kali.”
“Hey!” Sam couldn’t help the indignant outburst, and scowled at Gabriel even as not only the archangel, but said angel’s son took notice of him. He would be pleased to later look back and reflect that he’d not wavered under the salivating look Fenrir gave him.
Gabriel winked back at him, sitting up on Fenrir’s muzzle before turning a pointed look on his child. “Sam is not for eating.”
Fenrir gave an audible grumble of disappointment, ears going somewhat flat.
“Aww now, cheer up.” Gabriel enthused, reaching out to pet the wiry fur between Fenrir’s eyes. “Plenty of dicks out there that need chomping, kiddo. Now put me down and I’ll introduce you.”
It was impossible for Sam not to smile at the way Gabriel was preening all over Fenrir, and Fenrir clearly happy for it. A certain wolf tail was wagging so vigorously that it had already uprooted several trees. But then Gabriel was hopping down from Fenrir’s muzzle and making his way over to Sam looking for all the world like the proudest parent.
Sam smirked down at Gabriel as the archangel came to stand with him. “No one would ever believe you capable of trickery after seeing what I just saw.” He teased.
“I’m proud of my kids.” Gabriel defended with a pout.
“Uh-huh.” Sam agreed laughingly before turning to look in open curiosity at the massive wolf that was now crouched down in front of them and looking between them with questioning golden eyes. “I’m Sam.”
He had no illusions that Fenrir wouldn’t be able to understand him. Even being the child of an angel would probably end up with its merits, and Gabriel was no ordinary angel.
Gabriel was watching Fenrir closely, listening, before lifting a singular eyebrow at his son. “Sleipnir sure gave you some nerve. I am not repeating that, Fenry.” He finally decided with a roll of his eyes and looked over at Sam. “Well go on, he won’t bite. Not harder than me.” He added with a salacious smirk.
Normally Sam might level some self-preservation arguments, something along the lines of petting overgrown wolves, but he believed Gabriel in this. He trusted the archangel, it hadn’t been an easy road to getting there, but he trusted Gabriel. It seemed only fair to make an effort to trust his son too.
So swallowing hard, and knowing it was no use trying to hide the small bundle of nerves coiling in his stomach, Sam stepped forward with hand outstretched. “Fenry, huh?” He murmured, eyes locked onto canine gold as he came within reach.
And Gabriel smiled in secret relief when Fenrir raised his muzzle to brush against Sam’s hand. Meeting him halfway. Could you ever be too proud of your children?
Sam found himself smiling, albeit a bit nervously still as he stroked a hand down Fenrir’s muzzle. It felt almost ridiculous to be taking such liberties with the creature, but the way Fenrir pushed into his touch kept him stroking his hand through the wiry fur. “I’m your dad’s…” he trailed off, wondering the tactful way to put it in accurate words to his archangel’s son.
“You can’t shock him with anything you say. Trust me.” Gabriel smiled from behind Sam. “Besides that he already knows. He’s got the best nose on him of any supernatural creature, and no amount of soap can get my scent off you entirely.”
Sam glanced over his shoulder at Gabriel briefly to see the smug look the angel was giving him. Shaking his head he turned back to Fenrir with a thoughtful smile. For as much of his life seemed impossible, he’d never thought that it would include getting up close to any of Gabriel’s children. He’d just never given it much thought before that they did exist.
Thinking of Gabriel as a father figure was enough of a challenge. “I’m your dad’s lover.”
“Mate.” Gabriel corrected with unending patience.
“Can I help it that I think of Crowley if I go around using that word?” Sam asked back.
Gabriel’s arms crossed over his chest with a glower. “If I smite him, will that make you feel better?”
Sam opened his mouth to retort, but didn’t get far. For at that same moment Fenrir let loose with a volley of deafening barks that had Sam clapping his hands over his ears and slowly finding himself grinning as he realized Fenrir was laughing.
Gabriel flashed Fenrir a grin as the wolf carried on, “Crowley is fair game for eating.”
Fenrir abruptly stopped laughing in order to swipe a long pink tongue over deadly fangs. It had been centuries since his father had pointed him towards food, and he remembered how exceptionally tasty it had always been.
“Gabriel.” Sam reproached, but was unable to keep the smile off his face.
Gabriel merely winked with a smug expression as he came around to Sam’s side in order to rest a hand on Fenrir’s snout and wrap his free arm around Sam’s hips. Then Sam’s hand was joining his in stroking Fenrir once more, and it was impossible to ignore the warm pleasure it gave him to know Sam was accepting one of his children. Still… Sam hadn’t exactly asked to meet the kids in the way he might have expected. Which caused him to look over at his hunter as the pieces began to fall into place, “Sam?”
Sam made a soft sound in answer, too invested in examining Fenrir’s fur a bit closer as he stroked through it.
“Why did you ask about Fenrir?” He asked solemnly.
Sam stilled his hand a moment, trying not to wince at the question he had known in the back of his mind would be coming eventually. But that didn’t make it any easier to answer it as he resumed his petting, an action which caused Fenrir to wag his tail a bit more enthusiastically. “You really don’t know?”
Gabriel found himself fighting back that ever-prevalent human impulse to sigh, “Fenry, how long have you been here?”
Sam stood silent, still petting Fenrir as he listened to the two of them have a father-to-son chat that ended in Gabriel rebuking Fenrir for staying longer than a week and feeding off of one singular population.
“You’re lucky that Sammy here is smart. I’m not sure you’d like the punishment I’d give you if you’d eaten my mate.” Gabriel informed his son, not at all moved by the drooping ears. He merely rolled his eyes and turned to Sam. “He’ll leave by tonight.”
Sam nodded, “it’d be best that way. I’ll explain it to Dean. Sometimes I guess there just have to be exceptions. I can’t kill your son.”
Gabriel’s eyes lingered on Sam’s face, knowing the hunter was facing a real battle of morals. If he and Sam had never met, never gotten to where they were now, he knew that the hunter would have tried to kill Fenrir however possible. “You could.” He corrected, “but thank you for not trying.”
Fenrir whuffled in sudden agreement.
Sam stayed there hours longer getting to know Fenrir and laughing as he watched Gabriel fuss like a proud mother hen. It was oddly contenting to be here like this with them, gathering blackmail on his lover and seeing the non-business side of Fenrir.
When eventually it came time to part ways, Sam said his goodbyes first to Fenrir before retreating a respectful distance to let Gabriel have a moment alone with his son. There was hugging on Gabriel’s part, and tongue-washing on Fenrir’s, but then Fenrir did leave.
“I’m going to miss him.” Gabriel admitted as he walked over to join Sam. “But… I guess now that I’m no longer in witness protection, it’ll be easier to see them more often. I was trying to protect them by staying away.”
“Invite the kids to Christmas next year.” Sam suggested through a grin that certainly had nothing at all to do with the look that would be on Dean’s face. “I still want to meet them all.”
Gabriel brightened as he considered his hunter. “I wonder what our kids would look like. If you’re wanting to give that muttonhead a real shock.”
Sam could only shake his head in resigned amusement as Gabriel snapped them back to the motel, trying to figure out how he was going to explain this to Dean.