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Look not with the eyes

Chapter Text

THEN


20 YEARS AGO

Dean was barely four years old when the Advent began.

He was sleeping quietly in his bed when his mother's screams woke him up. He sat up on the bed, eyes opening wide and his heart thundering in his chest.

"Mary!"

At his father's yell, Dean was up in a split second. He ran towards the door and he yanked it open, hurrying to reach Sammy's nursery as fast as he can.

The door of the nursery was already opened, Dean's father was in the doorway and when Dean arrived to him, he could see  why .

The nursery was on fire and it was impossible to move even one step forward. Sam's high-pitched cries were desperate and Dean wanted nothing more than to scoop him up and protect him with his arms.

John attempted to pass through the flames, desperately trying to reach his youngest son. Dean prayed the Spirits to let his father succeed. Where was mum? Maybe she could help.

"Dean!"

Dean suddenly looked up at the ceiling and was unable to tear his eyes away. His mother -his beautiful, lovely mother- was on the ceiling, her stomach opened and her blood spilled all over her white bed robes. She had her mouth open, screaming silently, and her body was on fire.

Dean screamed and screamed as his father took him in his arms and ran outside the burned house. As he realized that Sammy's cries had stopped, Dean just screamed more and more.

When they reached the road, John collapsed on his knees, clenching his firstborn in his arms, crying openly.

Dean stopped screaming and he looked at his house, at his perfect life shattered. With a sideways glance, he caught the view of all the other houses in the road also being burned. The street held many screaming and crying people, all in the same state as his father.

Dean didn't know, but that same day every nearby town had been burned to the ground. Hundreds of people lost their families and friends.

Dean also didn't know that miles away the Hell's Gates had opened and, thanks to a group of fearless Hunters, it was being closed again. However, that left the demons who already arrived through the portal wandering in the Countries.

It was the first day of the Advent.





NOW


Gordon turned out to be the biggest dick Dean had ever met, and that said a lot coming from someone who had dealt with demons for most of his life.

Gordon Walker was considered one of the best Hunters around, and he'd arrived in the area before Dean so he was the most informed regarding the kidnappings of young women. That was the only reason why Dean forced himself to swallow his immediate dislike in favor of completing the job in the shortest period of time possible.

That didn't work out very well.

Dean only knew of Gordon indirectly, through Bobby's stories, so he didn't think even for a second about skipping that town; not trusting Gordon to fix the problem. Gordon was a fierce Hunter, one of the best, but he was so focused on killing demons that everything else lost importance. Even people. And people were the most important thing for Dean.

Dean didn't ask him for help or any kind of alliance; he conducted his own hunt with Sam. He found the horned demons that were kidnapping young women in the woods and he had every intention of following them and finding their den, but Gordon ruined everything by jumping the demons and scattering them away.

When Dean and Sam joined the fight, Gordon didn't take it so well. He acted as if his façade of loner hunter, all rugged and tough, meant everything and he had to maintain it. Well, as it turned out, Gordon had some serious issues concerning Dean, so when he had the chance, he stabbed him  by accident .

That damn son of a bitch stabbed Dean and left him behind, preferring to chase his stupid horned demons instead of looking for the kidnapped women or even checking if he actually killed Dean.  Son of a bitch . He simply left him, running after his prey, leaving him wounded with the rest of the nest of the demons still on the prowl.

That was exactly the reason why Dean hated to hunt with other Hunters. Especially real fanatics like Gordon.

Not that Dean had a queue of eager Hunters who wanted to be paired up with him, so that wasn't really an issue. Dean was well-known among Hunters and definitely  not  for positive attributes.

First of all, Dean had powers. The kind of freaky-mental powers, that scared others off. And he was outstanding in any kind of ritual and spell. For the Hunters, nothing was more evil than that evil disguised, and when Dean joined the Guild of Hunters he became someone known by names along the lines of 'abomination' and 'demon spawn'. Hunters were human, and they killed in the human way -with weapons, and, sometimes, with the help of Clerics with rituals.- And there was no way a person with powers could ever be considered one of them.

Secondly, Dean had Sam, who  definitely  wasn't human. Sam was a huge, scary, wolf, and he had been by Dean's side since he was a little kid. For most of his life, Sam had followed Dean around, protecting him fiercely during fights though he was well-behaved when there was no actual danger threatening his master. Wolves weren't the most conventional pet, and never as well-behaved as Sam, and something in the way Sam behaved was not right.

For these reasons, Hunters didn’t trust Dean. They avoided him stubbornly, and that even included his father in the bunch. John never understood why his son, of all children, should have powers. Why he should be an abomination like this. It didn't matter though, not anymore, because Dean grew out of his former self, the kid attached to every word that came out of his father’s mouth, ever since the day John tried to kill Sam, believing him an evil creature. John’s opinions didn’t matter to Dean anymore, not since he had found the support of his adoptive family. Bobby, Ellen and little Jo, and some friends from the Roadhouse, like Pastor Jim, trusted him, and that was enough. And, of course, he had Sam.

They were the only ones who didn't 'give a damn about his powers', like Bobby said sometimes, calling him an ‘idjit’: if Dean had powers, and they weren't used for evil or the wrong reasons, it was perfectly fine.

The only family by blood that Dean had left was his father, but he hadn't spoken with him in years, thanks to that glorious time when Bobby chased him away from the Ellen's Roadhouse with a shotgun. John Winchester was a lovely father before the Advent, but after the deaths of his wife and younger son, he became the fiercest Hunter the Countries had ever known. He started to travel town to town, killing every demon that crossed his path. But he left his remaining son behind, considering him something like a shameful burden.

Consequently, Dean lived with Uncle Bobby, a retired Hunter, learning how to fight, control his powers and fit into the Singer's family with Aunt Ellen and Jo. He managed to become a Hunter by himself and with Pastor Jim's help, he also learned spells. Most importantly of all, Dean found himself an adoptive family; a father, a mother, a little sister. Then he met Sam.

If those shameful, horrible powers weren’t enough, the spirits blessed Dean with another unconventional gift. He could communicate with Sam just fine, ever since he was seven years old.

Dean didn't care what other people thought of him, especially dick-heads like Gordon. Well, now that he'd stabbed him during this particular hunt, Dean had time to reconsider his position. If Sam wasn't so worried about keeping demons from Dean and Dean's conditions in general, he probably would have jumped at Gordon's throat. Hell, Dean himself was more than okay with getting Gordon in his own hands.

'Dean .'

Dean closed his eyes, pressing his right hand over the bleeding wound in his side. The pain was almost unbearable, but he managed to extract the dagger. He kept his grip, gritting his teeth and focusing on remembering the correct words for the healing spell. He started to chant them with a steady voice, completely missing the last part of Sam's fight against the horned demons.

There wasn't anyone else in the whole world who Dean could put his life in the hands of with no regret. Well, in Sam's case it was big paws and sharp teeth.

Dean finished his litany with a last groan of pain. The wound was almost cicatrized, a scary red line was all that remained in his side, with his skin tickling and burning painfully.

The Hunter opened his eyes, sighing. Sam was in front of him, carrying Dean's backpack in his mouth, his light brown fur coated with blood and mud.

"Hurt?" Dean asked, pointing at Sam's fur.

Sam growled, handing the backpack forward.  'As if I am the one bleeding to death. '

It was just a whisper in Dean's mind, but that made him receive many different images of blood, Gordon's face, Gordon's throat sliced by Sam's sharp teeth, horned demons and Dean's pale face twisted in pain.

Since they were kid and cub, Dean and Sam shared that particular bond. At first, Sam could only transmit to Dean his thoughts, hopes and fears just by mental images. But after some years, maybe following Dean's own sentences in response, Sam learned to formulate sentences in his mind, adorning them with projected images, and he made an effort to communicate them to Dean.

"You know, I understand why you want to keep pointing out my wounds, Sam. You want to be thanked for your flawless job as furry knight in shining armor," Dean joked back. "But you won't receive any compliments from me, let me assure you."

'Stop being an ass, Dean, and take care of Gordon's gift. I swear, you are insufferable.'

"Whatever,  nanny . You’re no fun."

Dean stretched his hand out, reaching for the front pocket of his backpack where he kept his potions. Dean was very good with spells, but he was a disaster at brewing and preparing potions: the whole art of picking up ingredients at the right time, weightening them accurately and waiting for them to be ready, was something that required patience and attentions for the details. Something Dean wasn't good at.

Therefore, every time they reached a big town Dean bought a set of potions, most of them for healing purposes. As Sam pointed out, Dean was always in need of healing potions.

Dean took one of the vials, looking at the green liquid with grimace. Dictamus, the perfect final touch for his healing spells: it accelerated the process of healing, shrinking and deleting the scar. He poured the content of the vial down his throat, hissing at the burning sensation through his esophagus.

"That son of a bitch," he commented in the meantime, with anger. "I'm going to kill him."

Sam put the backpack down and tilted his head to the side, looking so human that Dean couldn't believe Sam was actually a wolf. Sometimes, actually, Dean wondered. Sam had so many human reactions, that Dean asked himself if they came from him and Sam was mimicking him, or if Sam was simply different. In every way.

'Well, you kinda of ask for it,'  Sam retorted, sitting down besides him.  'This does not justify what a dick he is nor is this going to spare him a slow and painful death. Still...'

"What? I didn't do anything!" Dean protested. "He stabbed me!"

'Yeah, because you insulted him, claiming that he is a girl with a dick,'  Sam added, starting to lap his fur, cleaning himself from blood spots.

"I'm not going to argue while you are lapping your genitals," Dean looking for a map in his backpack. There was no way that Gordon would come back for him nor was he prone to go and find the horned demons' nest and free the women, so that was Dean's job.

'Jerk, ' despite his insult, Sam stopped and looked at Dean, eyes full of worry.  'How do you feel? '

Dean leaned his head against the tree trunk, feeling the pain gradually fade away as the dictamus began doing its work. “Stop fussing around, Sam. I'm okay now.”

'Yeah, sure. If you're up to it, we can run and chase Gordon down.'

"We will," Dean gritted his teeth, studying his map. He was searching attentively for any indications of caves or other caverns in the area, someplace where demons could take six women for their twisted purposes. "Are you able to track demon's smell? We need to find their nest."

'Of course, but right now you need to rest. '

"Come on, they need us," Dean protested, trying to get up.

Sam snarled.  'Dean, you were bleeding to death a few minutes ago. Now, sit down and rest.'

"Later," Dean said dismissively and he stood, feeling a little light headed from the blood loss. He pulled a long cloth out of his backpack and tied it around his side, stabilizing his wound. "Come on. If you want me to rest, help me to finish this as soon as possible."

'Stubborn. ' Sam looked at him with critical eyes.  'But if you fall, I'll leave you behind. '

"You say the sweetest things to me. Come on, hurry up, doggie."



*



Gordon's face was worth the trouble of being stabbed. That was definitely a blast and Dean tried not to look too smug when he arrived in town a couple of hours later with all six women by his side, with nothing more than a few scratches on their faces, and the news that there were no more demons around.

Dean was walking a little bit limp, due to a long cut along his calf that was newly reduced to a mere scratch. The townspeople surrounded them, greeting him for the liberation of their young women, with Sam by his side, trying to look as harmless as possible.

Gordon was looking at Dean with hateful eyes. He was at the locksmith, having his ax sharpening. He instinctively put a hand on his dagger.

"Did you negotiate with demons, Winchester?" Gordon shouted. "They should have been very prone to have a deal with an abomination like you."

Before Dean could say anything, Sam snarled threatening at Gordon, gritting his teeth and scaring a few people away. Dean nudged his leg against Sam, warning him to chill out.

"Keep your demonic dog on a leash, Winchester," Gordon spitted out.

"Shut up, Gordon," Dean retorted. “You’re just full of shit.”

Sam bent his knees, ready to jump on Gordon, but Dean stopped him, putting a hand over his head. "Stay calm," he whispered.

'The hell! He stabbed you!'  Sam immediately snapped back. His mind was so full of bloody images of death that Dean actually felt the taste of blood on his tongue.  'What happened to our original plan to inflict him a painful death? '

"He's not worth it," Dean replied, and winked at Gordon. "Come on, I need to eat."


*


Since Dean saved the day, the townspeople offered him dinner, alcohol, refurbishment, and a place to crash for free. For one glorious night, Dean could actually lay down on an real bed, with clean sheets that smelled like lavender, and a roof to protect him and Sam from the pouring rain outside.

Dean lay there for a long time; face down, half-naked and almost asleep. He wasn't used to have such treatment nor that level of reward, but when it happened it was very much appreciated.

'Roll over ', Sam said, placing his front paws on the bed.  'Dude, you are all sprawled out in my part. '

"Beds are for humans," Dean responded automatically, rubbing his right hand over his face and feeling exhausted. It was their old joke: Sam would ask to sleep next to Dean on the bed, Dean would protest, and Sam would snarl back. It wasn't a problem dividing the bed with Sam. Hell, Dean slept almost all his life with Sam's soft fur under his hands, but he liked the familiar bickering between them.

'I saved your sorry ass, ' was Sam's immediate response.  'Beds are for people who deserve them. '

"I killed demons today."

'You let Gordon stab you, ' Sam jumped on the bed and settled down besides Dean, pressing his muzzle against the Hunter's side, a few inches over the wound.  'I still want to spill his blood, though. '

Dean chuckled and finally moved aside, letting Sam taking half of the bed. He rolled on his left side, and, with his eyes still closed, he passed an arm over Sam's fur like when he was a kid and, on lonely nights, he fell asleep waiting for his dad with the sole companionship of his only friend.



*



They hit the road at sunrise, rested and sated after a full night of sleep. The woods welcomed them with mist and a chilly temperature that accompanied them through the morning until late afternoon, when it started pouring rain.

They stopped and found shelter in a cave among the rocks, where they could sit down and build a fire. Sam shook the traces of rain from his fur and Dean reached against the wall of the cave, where he was setting up the wood.

Dean raised his hand, palm down, until he created a small spark of fire. When the fire was stable enough, Dean spun his hand in circle, speeding up the pace at every rotation and letting all the dead wood catch fire. Satisfied with his job, Dean took off his wet clothes, placing them near the firepot, while Sam sat down at his feet.

'We're just a few days away from the Roadhouse, ' Sam said.  'We could make a stop there. '

Dean pulled his additional cloak over his shoulders, draping himself with it like a blanket. "After Hammock, we will.." He smiled, picturing how much his little sister must have grown up in the past few months: almost a year had passed since Dean's last visit, and, though he would never admit it aloud, he was missing the comfort his family gave him.

Sam placed his muzzle over Dean's lap. He always did when he felt that Dean needed it.

Sam used to say that Dean saved him, back the day of their first encounter, but in reality, it was Sam who saved Dean. What kind of person he would be without Sam? Maybe a bitter son of a bitch like dad, or a civilian with a wife and a bunch of kids.

The Hunter found Sam a couple of months after his seventh birthday. At that time, Dean was mute. He couldn't vocalize a word since he'd seen his mother and little brother die, and his father wasn't in his best mood around him. He'd tried to make him talk and then he gave up, leaving him at Bobby's and hitting the road.

Uncle Bobby was okay, and even if Dean missed his dad, he found himself at ease with Bobby. For once, he didn't feel guilty over being alive, or having powers. Bobby let him wander around without yelling at him, allowing him to play with his puppies and teaching the little things.

Bobby became a Hunter after his wife was killed, almost twenty years ago. He later retired from the Guild after a nasty accident involving his legs, settling down in Salvage Yard and taking his old friend Ellen Harvelle as a spouse. With Bobby retired and Ellen as the owner of the Roadhouse -inn and point of meeting for all Hunters- some of his old friends knocked at his door often, looking for one of the famous guard dogs that Bobby trained personally. Mutts especially, he trained to fight side by side with their Hunter.

Dean was anxiously trying to find his place in that family, always feeling like an outsider no matter how Ellen acted like a mum and Bobby let him do anything he wanted in the yard. They even let him near little Jo, who was nine months old and looking so similar to Sammy that Dean felt guilty every time he looked at her. Dean would have liked to say something to them, anything to vocalize his gratitude, anything to sing something to his little former sister. He knew he could talk; he just couldn't force any sounds out: he felt like he had a lump in his throat, preventing him to let words pass his lips. It was frustrating, disheartening, and so damn humiliating, because Dean hated to be a burden to Bobby too. It was more than enough being one for his dad.

One day, Dean was wandering near the Salvage Yard, daydreaming until he heard a whining coming under a blackberries bush. Curious, Dean kneeled on the ground and he found a wounded wolf cub, its light-brown fur coated with blackberries juice, and his leg trapped in a pair of pincers.

The cub looked at him with scared big eyes, but he stopped whining. He stayed still, afraid of Dean's movements, eyeing him cautiously.

Dean didn't feel any hesitation: he raised his hands, trying to reassure the animal enough to approach him. He thought he could almost feel the cub's fear, as if he was actually in his position, stuck in a trap, small and vulnerable.

"Easy, there."

Dean blurted out those words without thinking and without realizing what he actually did. The sound of his own voice surprised him, but it made him proud at the same time. Dean's voice was hoarse, unused for almost two years, and the lump in his throat was still there, but he was determined not to let it stop him. He had every intention of getting the cub trust him.

Dean licked his lips and repeated the soothing words Bobby used with his favorite dog, Rumsfeld, when he had to patch him up after a fight with demons.

"Easy, easy, boy."

The cub wiggled, trying to making himself look small, drawing his body into a ball.

The little kid moved slowly, trying to reassure the animal of his intentions. "I'm not going to hurt you."

The cub looked suspiciously at Dean, but he stood still. That gave Dean enough room to stretch out his hands, palm up, trying to buy the wolf's trust. He didn't lose eye contact, and he was rewarded when the frightened look changed into a curious one.

"It's going to be okay."

The cub sniffed at Dean's hand and the kid tried not to squirm. With his sharp teeth, the cub could easily bite Dean's hand, causing him permanent damage. Dean encouraged himself to be brave, letting the cub sniff and lap his fingers. When the animal felt reassured, he let Dean stroke his fur, half-closing his eyes. Then, a little caress reached Dean’s mind, like a soft blow of wind, but wrapped in so much gratitude and fright that Dean felt overwhelmed. He looked down at the little cub, pressing his hand on his head, trying to fight against the lump in his throat.

“It’s going to be okay,” he repeated hoarsely. “I’m here.”

That was the beginning of their friendship, and even if today Sam was no longer a cub, nothing changed.


'De. ' Sam called him.  'What are you thinking about? '

Dean shook his head, pushing aside those memories. He hated chick flick moments, most of all if he had to admit them to Sam. He opened his backpack, looking for any dried meat. "I was wondering about Jo... she would be eighteen soon and she is just one step away from enter in the Guild. Ellen will be so mad."

'Sure, but I think she would feel reassured if Jo comes with us, ' Sam replied.

Dean snorted. "If it was up to me, Jo would never leave home."

'You call me a nanny. '

"She's my little sister," Dean replied, looking at the fire in front of him.

Sam woofed, starting to groom himself.  'I know, spoilsport. '

When he was little, Dean didn't realize once how weird it was to coax a wolf - a wolf, not a stupid, wild mutt! - into trusting him, but years after their first encounter, he was proved right.




*



Hammock had a huge problem with witches. Dean hated them because every time he had something to do with one of their kind it got messy, much messier than if he had to deal with demons.

According to the stories, Hammock was one of the few towns to survive the Advent, despite being just a few kilometers away from where the Hell’s Gates opened twenty years ago. There wasn’t a plausible explanation, but apparently the town had never been plagued by demons’ raids or any kind of soldiers’ incursions in the past ninety years either. Hammock claimed to be blessed by the spirits and they thanked the outstanding work of their council, a congregation of seven people that descended from the original family founders. But there was something in that town that reeked of fakeness.

When Dean and Sam arrived in town, the Hunter felt immediately that there was something wrong. At first glance, the town had nothing different from any other town they'd ever stepped into, but something in the air made Dean’s magic drizzle madly.

‘Dean, is everything alright?’ , Sam asked, pressing close to his leg.

“I don’t know why, but there is something off here,” Dean whispered. He focused on that sensation, unleashing his power to locate the source of distortion. As soon as he found it, a sharp stab of pain hit his head, forcing him to cut off the link before he could be affected too much. He dropped to his knees, stroking Sam’s fur, gripping his neck in search of support and familiarity, using it as an anchor to the reality.

‘Dean! What is it?

Dean touched his forehead and rubbed his eyes, trying his best not to black out. Slowly, the pain disappeared, leaving Dean with a terrible headache and a sensation of frozen cold along his spine.

“Something evil.” He looked around, but no one was paying any attention to him. Quite the opposite actually. People were walking right past him, totally disinterested in the curious stranger with his spooky wolf, which was an extremely uncommon reaction.

Dean shivered as a new pang of pain hit him. Whatever source of evil Dean discovered, it seemed that waking it up wasn’t a very wise idea: as if a mephitic smoke, it slipped in Dean’s mind, clouding his judgment and thoughts. He felt like a dangerous ‘intruder’, someone both troublesome  and  useful. Dean tightened his grip on Sam’s fur, feeling his friend get closer with the clear intention to give him all the support he needed.

Suddenly, he was drowning, all the air in his lungs disappeared. He was in his home again, surrounded by flames, with his mother on the ceiling and his father nowhere to be found. Dean left behind there to die along with the rest of his family.

Then, someone put a hand on his shoulder and Dean stopped fighting against the darkness. Looking up, Dean could see a black woman smiling at him and cleansing his spirit with her powers.

Sam snarled immediately at her, showing his teeth, but before he could do anything, the woman smiled warmly to them. “Look at you! You’re more handsome than I ever thought you could be, Dean.”

“Who the fuck are you?” Dean shirked from her touch, twisting his fingers slowly, and ready to hit her as soon as she would reveal herself as a threat. “Why do you know my name?”

She shook her head, almost disappointed. “I was watching you for a very long time, Dean Winchester. You and your friend Sam.” Sam tilted his head by the side, curious and suspicious at the same time. “I’m Missouri Mosely and I was waiting for you for a very long time.”




*




Missouri lived at the farthest end of the town, nearest to the pond, and she was posing herself as a healer. Reluctantly, Dean followed her, mostly because he couldn’t stay in the town anymore, but he couldn’t leave either. Not when there was something wrong there. For all it was worth, when Dean reached for her mind, he found only a serene calm, nothing evil, nothing like the darkness it was clouded him as soon as he stepped in to Hammock. Dean still didn’t trust her. Not in a million years. But Dean had to admit that he couldn’t feel any threat coming from her.

“Of course not, Dean,” she answered. “I’m by your side.”

“Stop reading my mind!”

Missouri didn’t seem impressed. She sat down in her kitchen, motioning Dean to do the same, and pointing at the remnant chair. “Don’t behave like a kid, Winchester, sit down and let me explain what is going on.”

‘Maybe you should listen.’

Dean glared at Sam, but, trusting his judgment, he sat down, willing to listen whatever Missouri would like to explain to them.

Missouri smiled. “You are so similar to John.”

Yeah, it turned out she did know John. It happened a long time ago, when Dean was still an infant, back in his home. Missouri was the lady across the road, apparently, and she moved out of the town after her house was burned to the ground.

“How do you know about Sam?”

Missouri laughed, amused. “I knew, Dean. I have powers too, and I can see your bond with my own eyes. It’s very clear to me.” She seemed pleased. “I can see how strong it is. How much love and trust you put in each other.”

Sam quivered and Dean put absently a hand on the wolf’s head. There was nothing to be ashamed of, although, it was a little bit embarrassing having a stranger peek at something so personal.

“Have you ever thought about being human, Sam?” Missouri asked directly to Sam.

Sam whimpered. He was afraid and ashamed. Dean tried to instill all the comfort he could through his mind, fighting against Sam’s fears.

“Ok,” Dean interrupted. “Can we get back to talking about this town?”

Missouri kept looking at Sam for a long moment before turning her attention to Dean. “You know the stories. This town was immune to the Advent. No demons crossed the board.”

They were the councilors, seven of them, all wizards and witches, they sold their soul to demons long before the Advent. Their souls in exchange for protection.

“And they had protection,” Missouri started to putter around, preparing a meal. “But the demons are starved, they always need new souls, and they've started to feed on the townspeople. They can’t live. They are bound here, but none of them have realized it.”

“Then we need to kill the councilors.”

“It won’t be so simple, I’m afraid. Not just because they are strong and they are using their powers combined, but they also have something that enhance them.”

‘She can’t leave,’  Sam said.  ‘She can’t leave the town. They are feeding on her.’

Dean looked at Missouri. “Is it true?”

The woman shrugged, looking guilty. “Yes, it is. As soon as I came here, they bound me. My powers are weak now, nothing like before, and they kept using me to grow theirs. Until now, at least.”

‘They targeted Dean,’  Sam was immediately worried.

Missouri nodded. “Yes, they sensed Dean’s powers and they tested him as soon as he stepped in. It won’t be long before they will start to suck your powers through you. That’s why we need to stop them first.”

“How? You said that they have something to enhance their powers.”

“They have a ball of light, an obscure artifact designed by demons to absorb and retain magic. Once it's absorbed enough, it can be a source of energy strong enough to deliver a huge amount of power and accomplish a difficult spell or ritual.” Missouri pointed her finger at him. “You know what kind of ritual they would like to perform.”

“Open the Hell’s Gate,” Dean rubbed a hand over his face. Damn. This was more difficult than he thought.

“Have you ever thought of being human?” Dean asked in a whisper while Missouri was preparing dinner.

Once, maybe twice. I try not to think about it.

"Why not?"

Sam did a strange motion of his shoulder, which was his way to ask Dean to leave it.  'It's painful. I don't like it. And you, Dean? Have you ever thought what it would be if I was a human?'

Dean looked Sam, taken aback.

"I don't know, man," Dean said. "You've kind of always been yourself. How I can picture you without fur and claws?" He chuckled quietly. "It wouldn’t be you."

'De, ' Sam said, his muzzle over Dean's leg while the human's hand was stroking his neck.

"Uhm?"

'I did ', Sam confessed.  'I did picture myself as a human, I do, when I am with you. '

Dean had a vision of hazel eyes, brown hair, and tanned skin in his mind, as Sam blurted out his dirty little secret. He saw Sam being able to keep Dean in the circle of his arms, nuzzle in his neck, and place small kisses on his lips.

Dean inhaled as he took in a flood of images of human Sam touching and hugging Dean with his big hands, skin to skin, and being able to trace every freckle on Dean's face with the tip of his fingers.

'I'll follow Missouri.'  Sam moved away, stopping the exchange of thoughts abruptly.

Dean remained flat against the wall, motionless, asking himself how he could possibly reply to something like this and thanking Sam for going away.

Chapter Text

***


Missouri’s powers were different from Dean’s: where Dean’s were more based on instinct, Missouri’s were ‘more mental’. She could read thoughts, she could whisper to anyone’s mind and made them do anything she wanted.

That was how they managed to get into the palace, anyway. That, and Dean’s spells.

Once inside, Dean and Sam tried to find a way through the vault, where the ball was locked away, following Missouri’s mental directions.

A movement in the corridor, then, a lightning bolt almost hit Sam, making him jump away from Dean.

In that spare second, a blade touched Dean’s throat, sharp and threatening, and the Hunter stilled. One wrong movement and the woman in front of him would cut his head. Sam was a few meters away, growling and snarling at the enemy, but not daring to move forward.

“Lookie-lookie what I found,” she grinned triumphantly. “A pretty Hunter and his guard dog. Let me guess… are you the infamous Winchester and his infernal little friend?”

“In the flesh.” Dean twisted his fingers slowly, without letting her catch his movements, ready to hit her with his magic.

“Freeze, Winchester. I can see you moving your fingers, I’m not stupid.”

Dean grinned. “Sorry, I assumed.”

The woman glare at him, inclining the blade a little and pressing harder against Dean’s throat, that made him filch and hiss in discomfort.

Sam snarled.  ’Can you move enough, Dean?

“We were waiting for you, Hunter,” Dean could practically see the wheels turning in her head. “Fresh meat.”

“Sorry, but not in the mood.” Dean twisted his fingers abruptly, touching Sam’s mind in the same time.

The wolf jumped on her, aiming for her arm, and Dean moved quickly, feeling a painful cut appear on his throat, but not deep enough to cause him trouble. When he got up, he caught a man with his hands up and the clear intention of hitting Sam with a spell. He twisted his fingers again, whispering a spell and feeling his mouth water with blood, the woman’s blood, spilled in Sam’s jaws. The man fell unconscious.

‘Dean. The vault is near.’

Dean closed his eyes, his head hit by Missouri’s booming voice. That connection was nothing like the bond he shared with Sam. This was intrusive and threatening, and it hurt every time.

By the time they found the vault, Dean lost his sword and was exhausted. His hands were stained with blood, as was Sam’s fur and mouth.

The lightening ball, previously held by the last councilor alive, was now on the floor, white and fogged. Even from meters away, Dean felt his skin tingle from the power.

‘Take it, Dean. Guards are on their way,’  Sam sniffed the air.  ‘You can destroy it later.’




*




They had to rush away from the town: with the councilors dead, all the townspeople were looking for the stranger and his wolf to imprison them and kill him for murder.

Missouri patted Dean’s shoulder, reassuring him that she would take care of everything, but not before she had regained all her powers back. She hugged him and whispered in his ear ‘maybe before destroy the ball, you can use it for one last spell’, and she motioned Sam.

The doubt bothered him all the way, until sunset, when Dean and Sam stopped for the night.

'Dean ,' Sam said, with a soft nudge to his mind, gentle and comforting.  'It's okay, don't worry. I've got your back. '

"You asshole, I'm -"

'Don't' , Sam growled.  'Don't do it for me'

"What the hell do you mean?" Dean held the ball firmly in his hands. It seemed a little dull, but he could see clearly his fingertips from the other side, making Dean wonder if it actually had the power or not. Power or not, Dean was willing to try. Sam was worth it. "Actually, I don't what to hear it, Sammy. Now shut your pie hole and let me focus."

Dean started to focus on the ball, reciting an ancient summoning spell. The ball instantly started to blur inside, creating a whirling fog as the crystal began to warm up at the touch. The fog condensed further, then spinning and shining, glowing in an intense white light, while the temperature rose more and more.
Dean's palm began to burn from the heat and the Hunter had to spit the next words with difficulty, kneeling down on the ground. He refused to lose concentration or stop his plea, so he didn't look at Sam, afraid to lose it if he let himself check whether there was any change at all.

Suddenly a breeze of warm air flooded Dean’s body, making him pant in the heat, and starting to drain his energy. The fog inside the ball spun faster and faster, matching the rhythm of Dean's crazy heartbeat.

The first pang of pain was sharp and ran over his spine before hitting his neck. Dean blacked out for a moment, but regained his senses before dropping the ball and making his try completely worthless. Damn, Missouri was right:  'the magic would test him ' and Dean had no intention to fail.

He went back to focusing, feeling the magic in his veins throb as it was drained away, sucked up by the white ball.

Sam gasped and Dean snapped his eyes open, immediately worried. Sam was arching his back painfully, his limbs trembling. A long howl got escaped his throat, full of agony: it was heartbreaking and Dean wanted nothing more than to protect his friend.

Then, the ball stopped whirling. Sam cramped in on himself and his head snapped up towards Dean, who was still half sitting on the ground. Sam was stared at him intensively with his golden eyes, as if he was trying to communicate something, but nothing reached Dean's mind.

The Hunter panicked. Oh damn, if he had just taken away Sam's ability to communicate with him mentally, Dean would never forgive himself.

Despite the burning sensation in Dean's hands and the disappointment in his heart, he refused to let go of the ball and he tried again to focus, picturing how Sam could be in human form, remembering when Sam indulged in the little fantasy of being human. Snippets of his physical appearance appeared in Dean’s mind: long limbs, big hands, tanned skin, hazel eyes.

The whole wolf's body suddenly began to glow, and then the light plastered around Sam's figure, shaping his muscles, his head, body, tail, ears and long legs. The wolf growled again, ripped with pain, as bones started to crack, dislocating, and re-locating themselves in different positions.

In a blink of an eye, Sam lost his fur, apart from his hair, now long and bouncy, and a thick beard over his chin. Then his bone structured changed and when Sam finally looked at Dean again, he had a nose, a set of dimples and a tall forehead.

Sam's eyes were big and full of wonder while he watched his hands lose the fur and long claws. His mouth was half-open, but no words escaped from his lips.

Dean was in the same position as before, with the white bulb still in his hands, looking at Sam's human face and his very naked body, unable to move or do anything else, afraid to screw everything up.

"De," Sam choked out, his voice hoarse and tense. He cleared his throat and tried again. "De. De'n. Dean."

He looked shy, waiting for Dean to do something, anything, and unsure of what to do next, if he had to stay there, on his knees, in the mud or approached him. Since Dean had no intention to do anything apart from look him with gaping mouth, Sam crawled towards him.

"Dean. I'm here. I'm finally here."

"You were always here, idiot," Dean managed to say. He finally dropped the ball, and that fell in the mud and cracked, losing the remnants of power.

Sam chuckled; he stretched his hands and cupped Dean's face with strength. He rubbed his thumbs against Dean's lips and he chucked again, as if he didn't believe it, then he pulled his head down, crashing their lips together.

"De. Dean," Sam repeated again and again, kissing all over Dean's face the tip of his nose, his eyelids, his forehead, each freckle, and his plump lips. "Dean, I love you."




*




They decided to take off from Hammock and head to the Roadhouse, trying to make their new relationship work. Despite everything, Sam didn’t have any major problems in adapting to the new style of life. Dean was worried about wandering into the woods with his best friend running on all fours, barking at the moon and eating raw meat.

On the contrary, Sam was walking by his side, closer than before, on his two feet, acting like he was  born  human. Actually, it was more like travelling with a giant pup, all bouncing and happy, curious about everything –or, in his case, curious about how things changed now that he had to rely on human senses– and Dean had never laughed so much in such a short period of time.

After the first, critical days, Sam began to formulate longer sentences, stabilizing his own voice. He'd still growl when he saw dinner, but then he would look at Dean sheepishly and the Hunter pictured him as if he had his tail between his legs. Sam tried so hard to adapt in the new situation that Dean found his attempts heroic: it must be hard for him, but, according to Sam, it was everything he wanted for himself.

His friend had still some ‘wolfish’ attributes, like a preference for undercooked meat, and an aversion to clothes. That last bit was particularly embarrassing because Dean had almost had to force him into dressing, despite his protests of being essentially the two of us in the woods: Dean took pity on him, looking at Sam tugging on his clothes uncomfortably, but he reminded him that at the Roadhouse Ellen would kick his ass if not dressed properly.

The real reason, though, was Dean’s problem. The strangest thing is that Dean found him incredibly attractive: his high-boned face, hazel eyes, his chestnut hair and long limbs, he was one of the handsomest person Dean ever met.

The most absurd thing was their newly reformed bond, something that didn’t help Dean’s internal battles. Sam was almost touching him, a disinterested caress on his cheek, an arm pressed around his waist, a pat on his shoulder, a brush of fingers against his hand. Sam was everywhere, touching and sniffing him and catching him by surprise with kisses that made Dean's mind fizzle and spin. Dean himself felt drawn to Sam, feeling his skin crackling from the need to touch his bare cheeks, his stubble, his big hands. When Sam was a wolf, their bond was merely mental, but now it was both mental and physical, and the thought of being separated for long time was almost unbearable.

At night, Sam pressed against Dean, his chest naked, spooning from behind and inserting his hands under Dean’s clothes, touching his abs and belly. He nuzzled against Dean’s neck, sniffing where his smell was stronger and placing mindless kisses on the skin.

Dean wasn’t even aware, he just let Sam do everything he wanted and he exposed his bare throat without thinking of the implications.

That night, though, Sam pinned him down on the blanket on the soft surface of under the wood. It was surprisely warm, and the fire near to them was crackling the dead wood.

"I want to touch you," Sam whispered a few inches from his lips. He still had that awed expression that made Dean feel chastised and cherished. He stared at him, mesmerized.

"How might you want to touch me?"

Sam groaned and gently framed Dean's cheeks with his big hands, letting a thumb caress Dean's skin and plump lips. "In every way I can. I want to trace every freckle on your skin, I want to kiss every inch of you. I want to hold you naked to my naked chest, and move my fingers to trace circles around every scar you have. I want to touch you and bring you pleasure. I want to kiss you when you arch your back and come."

Dean shivered and half moaned. Unconsciously he pressed more closed to Sam, in need of Sam to fulfill each of his promises.

"I want you to be mine."

Dean swallowed and wrapped his fist in Sam's hair, drawing him closer and crashing their lips together. The soft touch of Sam’s lips and the wet tickle of his tongue made Dean crazy. Sam, his best friend since forever, was there, finally human, to kiss him and ask him to be his: Dean wasn't never been anyone's significant, not even his dad's.

On the other hand, Sam was everything he had. Before, Dean was used to think that they belonged to each other, even if they were wolf and human, two different species where the only point of contact was a strange mind-reading bond. But now, with Sam human, Dean couldn't find a way to think of Sam as just his friend.

It seemed that his own body was affected by Sam's transformation, like he was starving for his touch. Just having Sam brush his fingers innocently along his arm made Dean shiver. It should be alarming, but with Sam it seemed somewhat 'familiar', reassuring, like it was meant to be.

Then, a thought hit Dean: the bond shared in the past, the one that allowed them to communicate, could have changed along with Sam's radical transformation, switching in a completely different level. That would explain why Sam felt so overwhelmed by his feelings and why Dean felt so dependent on Sam's touch.

Dean sat down, pushing away Sam and ignoring his hurt expression. "Wait a minute, there is something wrong."

"Dean?" Sam leaned forward, getting close again, as if he was actually drawn to Dean. "What's the matter?"

Dean ran a hand across his face. The look on Sam's was disheartening and he had a hard time not reaching out to touch him and make him feel better. It was getting ridiculous how his body was surging to touch Sam again, to lean on him and cocoon in his arms.

"De?"

Dean smiled at that nickname, feeling warm and happy. He tried to stay focus on the problem, though. "Sam, don't you feel weird?"

Sam frowned. "What do you mean?" His hand reached for Dean's wrist and he started to caress Dean with his thumb in circular movements.

Dean pointed Sam's hand. "This is exactly what I mean! Dude, we can't stay away from each other! It's like the bond we had before get worse and- "

"Wait a minute," Sam interrupted him, now definitely annoyed. "Worse?"

"You know what I mean," Dean rolled his eyes. "Since you became a human it's like we are whammed to not keep hands off each other. Don't you find it strange?"

Sam squeezed Dean's hand. "If so, what's the problem? Dean, you are my only one. It wasn't my place as a wolf to desire to be human to kiss and hold you, but nonetheless I started to imagine,  hope  things and begin to feel human emotions. I changed because of you and our 'weird' bond, I changed as you grew up and I learned things when you learned them. If we are really whammied, we have been like this for a long time." His expression cringed. "Would it be so bad, Dean?"

Dean let out a sigh, giving up. Damn. Of course it wasn't bad, not if Sam was involved.

Dean buried his face against Sam's neck, his lips bushing on Sam's collarbone. He sniffed at his smell, rich and wild, and felt like he was at home. There was no easy way to admit it, but Dean already considered Sam his, bond or no bond.

Sam wrapped his arms around Dean, pressing light kisses on top of the Hunter's head. "It's not bad. It's okay."

Sam chuckled, exhaling relief. "Are you, Dean?"

"Mmmh?"

"Are you mine?"

Dean felt his cheek flushed. He refused to feel a damn girl, but he couldn't stop a stupid smile forming upon his face. "You know I am."

Sam moved away a little and looked down, grinning like an idiot, full dimples and with a love struck expression that Dean felt almost overwhelmed. "Are you mine, really? Really?"

Dean snorted, glaring at him and asking silently they were really doing that shit. Sam kept looking at him innocently, waiting for him to admit it again.

"I am yours, like you are mine," Dean replied in the end, finding himself smiling with a dopey smile.

Sam's lips pressed against his, teasing them to open up with his tongue. With a groaning noise, between frustration and need, Dean opened his mouth, letting their tongues dwelling.

Sam was sudden everywhere: his breath became frantic against Dean's nose, his hair brushed against the forehead, one of his hands trailed Dean's arm back and forth, while the other slipped under the shirt and touched his lower back. In a quick movement, Sam's hands joined forces to undress the Hunter and himself of all his clothes, then he pushed down Dean onto the bed.

Dean moaned soundly at Sam's first touch of his sex, feeling close to melting away. Sam kissed him hungrily, brushing their chests, creating an addictive friction, while he kept stroking Dean's cock.

"You are so beautiful," Sam exclaimed with a sigh. "All flushed and moaning."

"'not beautiful," Dean protested, feeling his lips swollen and wet from all the kisses Sam gave him. "Ruggedly handsome."

Sam shook his head, stopping masturbating Dean's sex. The Hunter groaned planting his nails in Sam's arms as a lonely finger reached his opening, brushing and teasing the tender area before inserting the tip inside. Dean arched his back for the intrusion and moaned again, when Sam inserted a second finger and began thrusting in and out.

"Beautiful," repeated Sam. His hazel eyes were glimmering, golden with pleasure. For a moment Dean saw himself through Sam's eyes, his cheeks red and his lips parted, green eyes dark with pleasure. Yeah, Dean could understand Sam's point: he looked quite fuckable, but, most of all, he really needed Sam. "Mine."

Dean pushed himself forward, desperately searching more friction. "I need - Sam, I need..."

Sam drew away a little, adjusting himself between Dean's spread legs. He looked down at his lover's body and Dean saw him grinning with a predatory smile upon his face.

"I'm ready, Sam, please."

Sam withdrew his fingers and positioned himself, Dean raised his hips when Sam grabbed his cock and started to push inside. Dean gasped and pushed back into the touch, ignoring the painful burning sensation, in need of more and more.

He positioned his hands on either sides of Dean's head, moving his hips frantically, slamming in and out, searching for pleasure and angling for Dean's prostrate. The Hunter cried softly as Sam found his inner spot, and kept pressing over and over.

For a blissful moment, Dean lost all contact with reality, feeling just Sam's cock moving inside. No burn, just pure pleasure. He arched his back, grasping the sheets, pushing himself against Sam's pushes, deeper and deeper. Sam managed to co-ordinate himself well enough to balance on one hand and his knees while he extracted the other hand and reached for Dean's cock.

When Sam bit his neck, hard, Dean finally came, moaning. He blacked out for a few seconds, all his senses overridden by his orgasm, and when he opened his eyes, he was panting with Sam's teeth still on his neck and his lover's come inside.

"Love you," he managed to say. "Love you, Sam."

Sam fell on the bed, tucking Dean into his arms. He brushed his nose against Dean's kissing him lightly, with devotion. "Love you too, De."

Dean hummed tiredly and let himself being manhandled by Sam until his lover's tongue was on his neck, lapping at the bitten area. He felt completed for the first time in his life, something that came both from his perception and Sam's. With a tentative mental brush, he nudged at Sam and he was surprised when Sam nudged back, with a whole set of sappy images of them living together.

"Lame," Dean whispered.

Sam laughed against his neck, still lapping at him contently. "Can't you blame a guy for dreaming?"

"Nope, I'm awesome."

"Yes, you are."