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Spread Your Wings

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Given that he somehow wound up training four angry kids to be hunters, Sam shouldn’t have been surprised when they started crossing paths with other hunters.

Though he could really have done without finding Ben and Tracy Bell in bed together.

“You do know he’s fifteen, right?” Sam said exasperatedly as they teenagers scrambled to get dressed.

“Sam!”

“What?! You told me you were over sixteen, you dick!”

Ben responded by cursing Sam.

“Some of us take informed consent seriously, Ben,” Sam replied, “What are you even doing here? Don’t you have finals right now?”

“Okay, dude, it is really creepy that you know that, and I took mine early. My Aunt’s visiting friends in town. I helped Tracy with a salt-n-burn, and we hit it off.”

“Right,” Sam muttered dryly, “And it’s the end of May. Everyone has finals right now.”

Ben opened his mouth and found he had no response. Instead, he scowled.

Sam shook his head. “Anyway, Tamara’s tackling what looks like a selkie swarm over in Michigan and wants to know if you want in, Tracy.”

Tracy’s eyes widened. “Oh, Hell yes.”

Ben perked up, curious. “Selkies are real? Like the whole seal-people thing?”

“Not exactly,” Sam replied, handing Tracy a folder, “They’ve got black eyes and sharp teeth and gray skin - they look more like the mermaids from the fourth Harry Potter movie than seals. They’re mostly found off the shores of Scotland, and this is the first sighting near a freshwater body. Normally, they’re pretty tame, don’t go around causing trouble, but male selkies become unstable the longer they’re out of the water. Once they start attacking people, there’s no going back, and they need to be put down.”

“How do you kill them?”

“Fatal wounds will do, gunshot are the best. That’s what I used, anyway.

Tracy looked up from the folder curiously. “You’ve taken out selkies before?”

Sam nodded with a faint smile. “I went to Scotland during one of my college breaks. There was a huge infestation there. Cleared it up with Dean and a local breaker - that’s what they call hunters.”

“… You went to college?”

Sam huffed a laugh. “That’s the part you’re stuck on?”

Tracy shrugged as Ben peered over her shoulder at the information in the folder. “You just don’t seem the type.”

“It was a long time ago.”

“What about female selkies?” Ben asked, “Don’t they go loco?”

“Not independently like the males, no. They’ll attack if provoked and defend their mates, but they’re generally pretty stable. The breakers think it’s because the female selkies are more empathic and better at forming long-term bonds with humans, especially since they can bear children. Male selkies are tied primarily to the water, and being on land slowly drives them insane.”

“Can’t they just go back every now and then?”

Sam shook his head. “As far as we can tell, they have to pick one or the other.”

Sam’s phone rang then, and he excused himself to take the call.

Ben rubbed the back of his neck. “Look, Tracy…”

“Ben.” Tracy’s lips twisted wryly. “Look, you’re a nice guy, and a decent hunter. But I’m not interested in committing any felonies.” The older teen pursed her lips. “Well, no more than usual. No hard feelings?”

Ben smirked, “Sure thing. Just one question - was it as good for you as it was for me?”

Tracy punched his arm. “Don’t be a pig, Braeden.”

Ben laughed. “Man, I wish I could come with.”

“Why don’t you?”

“There was a thing with a poltergeist a while back… Sam won’t let me take on anything big until I get my fighting skills up to par.”

Tracy scoffed. “What is he, your Dad or something?”

Ben started violently. “No! Fuck, God no. No way.”

“Yeah, he is kind of a freak, isn’t he?”

“Sam’s a good man,” Ben snapped immediately, rearing up, “He’s saved the world, alright. If it weren’t for him, we’d all be dead right now.”

Tracy’s expression cooled. “Trust me, Ben, plenty of people are dead because of him. I’d say it’s a fair trade.”

“He stopped the Apocalypse and went to Hell for it,” Ben snarled, because he remembered this, remembered eavesdropping on Dean and his Mom when she finally got him to talk. He knew the truth and he knew Sam, implacable, fussy, gentle Sam with a wry sense of humor and a brain bigger than Einstein’s who taught him to fight and control his rage so he didn’t hurt anyone. Sam was a hero and he knew that, even if he still knew jack all about what really went down the years Dean spent in his life.

Sam’s return was a welcome distraction from Ben’s darkening mood.

“Alright,” the older hunter announced, “That’s my cue to head out. I just stopped by to drop off the intel… and keep you from committing more felonies than necessary, I guess.” Sam frowned, looking between Ben and Tracy. “Everything alright with you two?”

“Fine.”

“Peachy.”

Looking between the teenagers with their metaphorical hackles raised, Sam decided discretion was the better part of valor and nodded.

“You’re not coming with?” Tracy asked.

Sam shook his head. “Dean and I are looking into one of Abaddon’s factories in Montana.”

Tracy noticed the way Ben’s face twisted at the mention of Dean and shook her head. “Right, the soulless people. You Winchesters get into crazy shit, you know that?”

Sam snorted. “Yeah. Story of our lives, trust me. Anyway, you run into trouble with the selkies, give me a call.”

Tracy looked at Sam for a moment, considering everything she’d heard about the Winchesters, and then Ben and his reactions. “… I may just take you up on that, Winchester.”

Sam blinked, as if surprised, and nodded. “Ben, you need a ride?”

Ben stretched leisurely. “Yeah, thanks, man. My Aunt thinks I’m at the Gamestop down on Oakland, because all teenagers play video games, I guess.”

Sam chuckled and held open the door. “Alright, come on, Hotshot.”

Tracy watched as Ben made a face at Sam and followed him out. Her thoughts drifted back to her father, a social worker before his death. She’d asked him why he put so much time and effort into the kids he helped. Even now, she could hear his answer.

‘Sometimes, it’s the kids that deny they need a mentor that need one the most.’