"Dean watch out…shit!" Sam whirled, raising his crossbow and then watching as his brother dodged the massive shadow at the last second, rolling and coming up on one knee to coolly let loose an arrow into the snarling form. The effect of the holy water treated arrow was instantaneous as the hell hound pitched back, its deep throated snarl transforming into a pained yelp. Sam, being a dog lover, would have maybe felt bad about this if the hell hound wasn't easily a massive two hundred pounds, its eyes weren't glowing a sullen red, it wasn't breathing the steam of hell out of its bellowing nostrils, and, oh yeah, trying to kill them. He watched the hound start to rise, frothing at the mouth, the arrow still buried deep in its muscled side. He started to raise his own crossbow but paused when Dean sent him a heated glare. "It's mine Sammy." Dean always did tend to get a tad possessive about his kills.
Sam lowered his own crossbow and scanned the rest of the old house. The lower level demon that had been occupying this old cliché of an abandoned house had apparently had guards in the form of actual demonic hellhounds, which, the geeky, scientific part of Sam's brain not actively involved with hunting and avoiding being killed by said hell hounds, thought was really, really cool. 'Cause…hell hounds. That was almost as good as the time they'd tracked down a real live…well, dead, zombie. He watched Dean take the second shot, this one going straight through a glowing red eye and hitting whatever passed for a hell hound brain, the massive beast dropping without a further sound as it emitted one final puff of hell steam from its gruesome nostrils.
Dean took a second to efficiently reload, gave the large open room one final scan for potential threats and then lowered the crossbow turning to give Sam a cocky grin. "Scratch one hell mutt."
Sam smiled back wryly. "And you didn't even get any guts on your jacket this time."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Tell me about it 'bro. Shit, the goblin guts from last month were the worst." Dean loved his leather jacket. Not as much as the car of course. Nothing came close to the car.
Sam pulled his EMF reader and frowned at the readings. "Dean, I've still got EMF activity going on. It's too much to just be residual." He did a slow circle and stopped when the EMF needle jumped. "There's something through that door." It was a solid door, looking much more formidable than the rest of the abandoned house actually.
"Another hell bitch?" Dean asked with cool interest, crossbow immediately rising again as he took point.
"Well, yeah, Dean," Sam answered sarcastically. "Because the needle moved to the 'hell hound' section of the EMF reader so that must be it."
Dean rolled his eyes and tossed Sam a "bite me," as he cautiously approached the closed door.
"On three," Dean ordered as Sam hastily stuffed the EMF reader back into his jacket pocket and raised his own crossbow going to the left of the door as Dean took the right.
"One, two…three!" The door swung open and Dean went low while Sam went high. There was a moment of frozen silence as the occupants of the room looked up at the brothers and the brothers looked down at the occupants of the room. Hell hounds. Baby hell hounds. The little guys were huddled together in a dogpiled mass of wriggling black fur and smoldering red eyes. Sam had just enough time to think they were actually kind of cute before a collective growl rose and the miniature monsters from hell attacked en masse. Thank God they were only about twenty pounds each and their little hell roars were actually more along the lines of hell squeaks because they were vicious little bastards, every one. Sam felt a small pang as he shot one of them through the heart but knew they didn't really have any choice in the matter. These hell puppies might be 'relatively' harmless to an adult human now but they were still vicious killers and without a demon around to control and direct them they would probably turn rabid, attacking anything and everything in their path.
Dean didn't seem to be having any trouble with his conscience as he efficiently shot cross bolt after cross bolt into the attacking furballs. They took down the six with relative ease and were starting to stand down when they heard the whimper. Crossbows were immediately raised again and, pinpointing the noise as having drifted up from behind a crate half-shoved against a wall, the two brothers exchanged a quick look before slowly approaching. Sam nodded to indicate he'd take this one and Dean nodded back that he'd provide cover. Moving forward, Sam cautiously used his foot to shove the crate aside and pointing the crossbow, finger on the trigger, he froze in surprise at what was hiding behind the box.
As expected it was a hell hound puppy but unlike its litter mates it wasn't growling and hissing and trying to glare them to death with red demony eyes. Instead it was cowering and whimpering and trying to squeeze back further against the wall, shivering in its fear.
"Come on Sam," Dean prodded him impatiently, eyes scanning the rest of the room, still on high alert. "Kill it and we can get out of here. I'm hungry."
Sam absently ignored Dean's prodding as he continued to hesitate before the sight of the baby hell hound. It just…it didn't look dangerous. Sam knew that didn’t necessarily mean anything but well, the other hell hound puppies had looked evil. Small and maybe not able to do much damage to a full grown human yet but from the way they'd attacked, Sam knew if he and Dean had been helpless or if it had been defenseless children facing them the now dead puppies would have ripped them apart and eaten them for lunch. This pup was clearly terrified and also a good deal scrawnier than the others had been, maybe ten pounds soaking wet. It had black fur except for a splotch of lighter brown across its muzzle and the fur on its head stood up in odd spikes and tufts as if someone had taken hair gel to it which--since the odds of its now deceased demon owner deciding to gel a hell hound puppy's hair were pretty low to Sam's way of thinking--was probably natural. The little guy was just so…cute. Without making a conscious decision his crossbow lowered.
"Sammy! What the hell?" Dean shot him a disbelieving look and then looked again. Shit, Sammy was getting that look on his face. That look he used to get when he was a pudgy ten year old with a heart too sweet for the life they were leading, trying to rescue stray animals which Dad efficiently put a end to because it was too hard when they were moving around all the time and because he thought Sam was too soft-hearted and had wanted to toughen him up a little. Dean had agreed Sam was too soft-hearted but hadn't really wanted to see his little brother lose the kindness that was an inherent part of him and so he'd helped Sammy on the sly a few times, even if it meant going against Dad's unspoken orders--unspoken because Dad had never actually ordered Dean not to help Sammy. Anyhow, now the kid was looking just like he used to when he'd bring a sick kitten home only this wasn't some cute, half-drowned harmless ball of fluff. This was a freaking hell hound and no fucking way was Dean indulging Sammy on this one.
"No Sam," he stated firmly when his brother looked back at him. "If you can't make yourself shoot the thing, I'll do it. But it dies."
Dean watched his brother ignore him as he cautiously crouched towards the shivering figure and dammit, this particular hell hound didn't look all that hellish but…"Sam…" he hissed warningly when his brother slowly reached out a hand, palm down to the cowering ball of fur. Just because the pup looked harmless didn't mean it wasn't about to reach out and chomp off Sam's fingers with its freaking 'my what big teeth you have grandma' fangs. Dean raised his crossbow and took steady aim, ready to shoot the little fucker if it so much as blinked wrong at his little brother.
"Hey, little fella," Sam smiled cajolingly at the small face which was shrinking into the little body like it thought maybe it was a hell turtle. "I'm not gonna hurt you, sshhhh…"
Sam tuned out Dean's increasingly urgent "Sam's!" and focused on making the animal trust him. He was aware in the back of his mind that this was probably a stupid thing to do and that if his hand came back to him a bloody stump he'd really have no one to blame but himself and would have fully earned having Dean reminding him about his stupidity for all eternity but…something about the puppy was calling to his instincts. He'd kill it if he had to but…he really didn't want to.
The puppy couldn't shrink back anymore than it already was and after holding his fingers in front of the little fellow's quivering black nose for another second he moved his fingers gently, painfully gently, up to the puppy's head, slowly stroking the soft fur, his heart tumbling into something like love when he felt the puppy flinch back from his touch. After another moment of patient, gentle strokes, he felt the puppy begin to relax minutely under his touch and begin to lean into his strokes. "There we go," he crooned and still maintaining the gentle contact risked a look up to see what was going on with Dean.
Dean was staring at him with the same incredulous, what the fuck, look that had been on his face many, many times over the years when he had witnessed Sam doing, in Dean's own words, something particularly dumb ass.
"What?" Sam asked defensively, keeping his voice soft so as not to freak out the little guy.
"What?" Dean repeated incredulously. "Dude, you are petting an evil hound of hell."
"Come on man, the little guy's not evil," Sam said with total assurance although really, he was pretty much relying on intuition.
"It's a hell hound," Dean said very, very slowly through clenched teeth. "Hell hounds are by definition evil as in…from hell."
"Maybe this one's the black sheep of the litter," Sam mixed his metaphors and widened his eyes, going for the slightly goofy younger brother image that he fucking knew got to Dean and it was his job as a younger brother to use that fact to its very best advantage.
Dean stewed at him for a long moment. "Sam…"
"Dean…" then Sam's attention got distracted when he felt a moist sandpapery lick. Turning his attention back to the puppy he broke out into a beaming grin when he saw that the puppy had stopped shivering and was tentatively, warily licking the inside of his wrist. And in a good, normal puppy way, not in a hell houndy, this human would make a good meal way. "That's right little guy, I'm a good Sam." He firmly ignored the choking sounds of disbelief that Dean made at that. Slowly, cautiously he put his large hand around the little squirming body, feeling ribs pushing against his hold as he lifted the pup up in the crook of one arm. Poor little guy was practically starving. It made sense, Sam supposed. If your litter mates were all evil killers and you…weren't, stands to reason you wouldn't get your share of the food. Little guy probably wouldn't have lasted very much longer against his bigger, meaner more psychotic brothers and sisters.
The puppy, responding to what was probably the first gentleness it had ever known in its short life span, snuffled against his neck and began enthusiastically licking. Biting back an umanly giggle, because no way was he giving Dean that for ammunition, he stood up and turned to face his brother, ready to argue for its survival because he didn't care if this was a hell hound. Clearly, it was by some weird genetic quirk not an evil hell hound and…
Dean was looking at him with an unreadable gaze and Sam bit back the argument he'd been about to launch into, instead waiting because he almost, was that a…he watched Dean's mouth imperceptibly soften, noticeable only to someone who knew him inside and out. Noticeable only to Sam.
"That little bitch pees on my seats I'm drop kicking its little punk ass out the window."
Sam grinned at the capitulation. He'd always wanted a dog.