The peaceful night air rippled with a breeze, bringing with it the faint hoots of an owl. In the distance, a wolf howled as the pack closed in on an injured buck, looking for a way to feed the newborn pups. Leaves wafted in the air, then the breeze changed direction as a huge breath was sucked in.
Dean slept in the forest, his tail twitching in his sleep. The large dragon, over 50 feet of muscle, claws and horns, lay curled in a clearing, one just large enough to keep him hidden from distant viewers. Perhaps if a helicopter was to fly overhead they might spot the tan and freckled form, but the trees were tall and large with full branches to keep him camouflaged.
In his sleep, something pulled at Dean. A lack of a certain scent in the air.
The dragon’s nostrils twitched, searching for the scent of his mate. Dane lay asleep in his mind, leaving Dean alone as he blinked open large green eyes in search of Castiel.
‘Cas?’ he chirped sleepily, having grown used to the small human understanding him when he talked.
A dark figure at the edge of the clearing froze as the dragon lifted up his large head, eyes hardening as he caught the burning tang of silver in the air.
Dean’s lip curled, his tongue briefly flicking out in a draconic reaction. He was adjusting to the darkness of the night, features of this stranger as he came into view.
Dark, dirty blond hair. A leather jacket that smelled of gunpowder and aftershave, glowing like a beacon in the scents of the forest. Worn jeans and a silver knife clutched in a hand. The man stood his ground as the dragon looked him over, both assessing the new threat.
Something twisted in Dean’s chest, and he let out a rumbling grown. ‘Sam?’ he called out, his head moving to the side to look for his companions campsite and fire.
While he was distracted, this new man struck. Lunging forward, he went for one of Dean’s claws, the knife burning into the dragon’s hide before he could twitch it away.
Dean roared in pain. Distantly, the sound of wolves cut out. Branches rustled at the nearby birds flew off. The animals knew to keep their distance when a Drauglin, protector of the forest, was injured.
The temptation to bite down and end the threat there and then nearly came upon Dean, but he held himself back, hauling to his feet and yanking his claw back to free it from the knife.
The man cussed as he was dragged along for a few feet, then fell to his knees as Dean freed himself.
Before he could recover, Dean thrust his head forward. He snapped at the air, making the man fall backwards in an attempt to dodge the implied threat, not knowing Dean had no interest in making a meal of him.
That was when Dean caught the scent of a second human, just faintly there under the thick, cloying smell of this man, this hunter.
‘Sam?’ he called out hopefully, searching for his brother.
The second he moved farther away from the stranger, the fainter the smell grew, until it was gone. He swung his head back towards the stranger. It grew more powerful again.
This man had messed with his brother!
Dean’s eyes dilated, and he hissed. ‘What did you do to Sam?’ he chirp-growled. ‘Did you touch Cas?!’
The man’s own eyes were wide, glancing between Dean and his two large clawed hands on either side of him. Like a cornered animal.
His silhouette still nagged at Dean, like he should recognize it, but he was far more concerned with the faint voice he could hear, calling out.
“Dean, keep back!”
The Drauglin instantly backed off, looking around for Sam. ‘Sammy?’ he called out hopefully. ‘Who is this asshat? Where’s Cas?’
There was no reaction to his call, and the small voice continued on, just barely picked up by Dean’s ears.
“Dean, I think it’s trying to talk. Those chirps…”
The human growled in annoyance. “Seriously, Sam? You think a dragon wants to talk to us.”
“If it wanted to attack, do you think we’d still be standing here?”
In horror, Dean looked down at the man, really looked at him.
A spike of messy hair. A familiar duffel bag on his shoulders. A younger face than Dean had seen in the mirror, years before he was turned into a Drauglin by Cricket.
‘Dean?’ he chirped, his own name coming out mangled in the dragon’s tongue.
The human didn’t react, and Dean changed tactics, signing out the letters for his own name.
“See? That’s sign language! It’s gotta be!”
The voice that Dean just knew was his little brother’s continued, and as he signed out SAM, he inched forward, sniffing at the younger Dean. That smell of Sam was stronger, and the dragon drew close, younger Dean stepping nervously back, Dean happened to catch sight of something tiny moving on that young Dean’s shoulder.
‘Sammy?! ’ he squawk-chirped, jerking in surprise as he realized that there was a person on this man’s shoulder.
In his startled motion, Dean accidentally knocked into his younger self, sending him sprawling across Dean’s large snout. The man shouted, trying to scramble off as Dean raised up his head in surprise.
Leaving the two Dean’s, separated by ten years and a transformation into a dragon, staring at each other in slack-jawed amazement.
The only one who seemed to be unaffected by this, aside from clinging to the human Dean’s collar, was the absolutely tiny version of Sam on his shoulder.
“Dean, do you see that?” he called out excitedly. With them so close, the dragon version of Dean could actually see the fluff of brown hair and youthful face. It was Sam, just like the man trying to find a hold on his smooth snout that did not involve the edge of Dean’s mouth, only younger. His own Sam was worn by years of hunting and months of trying to get Dean back to himself. “Those eyes! That’s not a wild animal!”
Dean stifled the temptation to shake these two strange men from his nose, merely blinking at them in confusion and inhaling deeply, filling his mouth with the strangely familiar smell of himself and a Sam who barely seemed real. He shouldn’t exist.
Any more than a dragon should exist.
The suction against his legs made the human Dean try and scramble on better. “Yeah, well you’re not the one that he’s sniffing up for dinner!”
Dean was offended at the assumption he would eat them. For one thing, he’d never eat a human. For another, this Dean overestimated the meat on his bone. Dean lowered his head to the ground, tilting it until human Dean could slide off, stumbling a few steps away. His silver knife was slack in his grip, and the dragon used his snout to steady the stranger, keeping an eye on the tiny young Sam sitting on his shoulder.
He had so many questions, but neither of them had reacted to their names being spelled. He needed his Sam.