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Gift or Curse?

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The nightmare was the same every night. It used to occur only once in a blue moon, but it increased in frequency and sharpened in graphic clarity as he got older. Now it plagued him on a nightly basis. The horrible dream never ceased to cause him to awaken in a cold sweat with a scream. Every wretched scene felt as if it was from his point of view. Flashes of slashing claws, snarls, and blood had expanded into him walking through his home finding his parents in pieces. He thought he was losing his mind.

Despite the chronic exhaustion, Sam Wesson was an average high school senior; floppy-haired and hazel-eyed with dimples and good grades. Eighteen years old, he was on the Varsity Football team, he had a gorgeous girl on his arm, and he had two loving parents at home in the suburbs. He had it all. He had no clue that everything was about to change.

Strange things had also begun happening at school. During the latest game, Sam’s senses and reflexes were off. He fumbled the ball and missed a few plays, frustrating the crowd. After being taunted by one of the players on the opposing team, Fisher, Sam attempted to run the ball again, this time getting the better of his opponent. The kid hadn’t liked that, and before the next lineup, he’d confronted Sam and headbutted him. At first, Sam was stunned, bleeding from his nose. Then a rage that he’d never felt before suddenly took over.

Sam made an inhuman, impossible leap across the field and landed on top of his target. ‘Prey,’ resounded as a whisper within his head and before he’d realized what he was doing, he was attacking the young man beneath him. He nearly bashed the guy’s helmet in when he’d come to his senses. Fisher sustained a severe head injury.

Sam had no explanation for his actions. The principal, the other boy’s parents, the police, they all were in complete shock because Sam had never acted out in such a dangerous manner. Sam was suspended for a week.

While he was out, he’d had some time to relax and reflect on what had been going on. He’d gotten frequent headaches. They were so intense it was as if his skull was trying to split. He had been too busy to think about it before, but he also recalled losing stretches of time. His parents had been trying to support him through the nightmares and the attacks of debilitating pain, but Sam was able to see the worry and helplessness on their faces.

One night, his entire life took a turn. Sam was out with his girlfriend, Jessica; they parked in a secluded clearing in the woods under a beautiful starry night and a gorgeous full moon. It had been about as romantic a setting as a couple of horny teenagers had the patience to create. Sam was nervous; he felt itchy beneath his skin, overheated. His head was beginning to pound again.

“Aww, relax baby. You know you don’t have to be nervous and shy with me. You need something to get your mind off of all the weird shit that has been going on. You’re so tense lately.” She leaned toward him and began to kiss him heatedly. She moved to his neck and Sam felt his blood boil. His eyes suddenly flashed red and his teeth became fangs. He moved more aggressively into Jess’ space and as he attempted to nip at the sensitive skin on her pale neck, he accidentally bit her.

Jessica flinched and pushed Sam away and he lost control. Jessica had noticed the change in Sam and screamed. She pushed him away, opening the driver-side door. Sam exclaimed in a foreign, gravely voice, “Don’t, stop, don’t run!” He reached for her and noticed his clawed, furred hand. As she jerked away, his claws sliced into her shoulder, shredding her shirt. He was in shock as Jessica made her escape.

“You’re a monster!” her voice echoed as it faded into the night.

Sam was left alone, the pain in his head and the rest of his body bringing him to his knees. He screamed as he collapsed, and just before he succumbed he thought he heard a roaring howl.

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When he regained consciousness, he assessed his surroundings with blurred vision. He recognized his parents’ living room furniture and wondered how he had gotten home. There were no lights on in the house; it was dimly lit by the natural moonlight filtering in through the curtained windows. As his vision cleared, he discovered that he was covered in blood. “Mom, Dad?” he groggily called out. He received no response. He got up from the couch and staggered through the room, seeing the dark trails and splatters of blood on the floor and the walls. He followed the trails on the carpet until he nearly tripped over something. He picked it up before realizing it was his father’s forearm, jaggedly ripped off at the elbow.

“No, no, no. NO!” Sam’s heart was racing as he continued to move through the house. Strangely, he noticed that he was able to see much clearer in the dark; it was as if he had night vision. He started to smell the blood more deeply than he could before; it was becoming cloying, overwhelming. He could tell the difference between his mother’s and father’s and how recently the stains had permeated the surfaces in the house. When he reached his parents’ bedroom that was where he found the remaining bloody, mangled body parts of his parents. Their faces were twisted and frozen in terror. ‘I am a monster!’

“Oh, my g- I’m so sor- AAAAARGH!” Sam’s voice became strangled as his body began to change. His teeth elongated into the fangs he had before when he lost control. Pain brought him to his knees. His joints ached as if they were beginning to dislocate, his skin was suddenly covered in fur, and his hands were adorned with razor-sharp claws!

A bright flash of light snapped him out of his grief-induced transformation. The police arrived with Jessica and aimed a floodlight into the windows of his house in an attempt to find and arrest him. Shockingly, with Sam’s new ears, each of their voices could be heard as clearly as if they were standing next to him. Jess called him psychotic, and the officers were already describing him as armed and extremely dangerous. Sam had no choice but to run.

He was lost and unsettled as he attempted to figure out what was wrong with him and if he could stop it. He’d been able to figure out the label for the creature he was powerless to turn into. He tried to research ways to rid himself of the monster within, but the only solution he was able to consistently find was death. He was a werewolf, or Lycan as some legends called it; there was no coming back from that. So, he took to the road, randomly hitching rides from place to place to avoid hurting anyone else as much as he could. There were just times that the transformations couldn’t be stopped, and then one night he killed again.

At a truck stop, Sam stepped out of a big rig, thanking the driver, and headed toward the diner across the parking lot. It was a clear night, the full moon helping to light the darker areas where there were no street lamps. A young woman, closer to his age than he would have expected, approached him, looking at him with appreciation. “Hey there, gorgeous, you look like you could use a good time to relax. I wouldn’t complain about helping out a fine looking guy like you.” A physical vision like him was a real blessing in contrast to the badly built, greasy, crude men she was so used to picking her up.

‘You have no idea the danger you’re trying to put yourself into,’ Sam wryly thought to himself.

“Uh, I bet,” he said with a shy smile. “Sorry, I really have to get going,” he politely declined and walked into the diner. He quickly looked around, taking in the vintage theme before finding a booth. He had a simple meal of coffee and a blueberry muffin and grabbed a road map from the arrangement on the table. He discovered he’d been heading East, even though he thought he was aimlessly moving without a destination. It was as if something was compelling him.

As he was leaving, he heard the sounds of a woman in distress coming from between two eighteen-wheelers. He went to investigate and discovered the girl from earlier being repeatedly slapped across the face by one man in a biker vest while another watched and laughed. Her flimsy shirt had been ripped along the seam at the neck and shoulder. It left a thin, ragged collar that the biker had a tight hold of, and the entire sleeve dismantled. Sam yelled, “Hey! leave her alone!”

The one doing the hitting paused just long enough to side-eye Sam and grumble out, “Your best bet would be to walk away, friend,” before he forcefully turned his victim around and bent her over an oil canister he’d had her cornered against.

“Help me, these sons of bitches are insane! Please!” she struggled to cry out as the thin material was pulled taut around her neck.

“Shut your filthy mouth, bitch! I’ll let you know when I’m ready for it!”

“Oh ho ho! You show her who’s boss, man!” the other biker slurred, drunk off his laughing ass.

“If you don’t get your hands off of her, I just might get angry. Believe me, you don’t want that.” His voice began to change as his claws extended. The hands-on biker halted his abuse then, his attention piqued.

“Oh? And just what do you think you’re gonna do? Just because you put a little bass in your voice.” He left the girl gasping for air and stalked quickly toward Sam who was still mostly hidden by the dark shadow of the truck. He landed one punch to Sam’s face before being lifted in the air by his throat. Sam roared as he stepped out into the moonlight, fangs glinting.

The other man sobered immediately and began screaming in fear, “What the fuck, man?! What is that thing?!” as Sam gave in to the beast. He ripped into the first man and then charged the other while he was still frozen in sheer panic. The girl finally screamed and ran as bloody bits flew out from the carnage of Sam ripping the men to shreds.

When he regained control, he cleaned himself up as best he could and noticed the bikes that belonged to the attackers, now deceased. He grabbed a leather jacket that was draped over one of them and heard the keys jingle from within one of the pockets. He removed the license plate from the motorcycle, crushed it, and rode off, heading as far from this disaster as he could.

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Sam rode through the night and found a rundown bar with a small crowd that looked like everyone had some sort of secret they were running from. No one looked his way when he walked in, and it felt like a relief. The break didn’t last long.

He sat at a massive bar, an old, sturdy thing made of dark-stained wood and brass accents that spanned the entire center of the floor. Lost in his dark thoughts of guilt and mourning, He was approached by a scruffy, one-eyed man. Introducing himself as ‘Wild Joe’, and dressed as if Crocodile Dundee and Walker, Texas Ranger had a baby, ‘Wild Joe’ took a seat next to Sam. “You look like life kicked ya in the balls and took your dog. Bet it’s rough, dealing with everything and trying to find your way when your just startin’ out. It ain’t even easy after you get used to being different.”

Sam looked at the man, annoyed and confused. He was shocked to see an inhuman eye and a mouthful of razor-sharp fangs. He was a werewolf just like Sam. When Sam tried to ask him for more information, Joe fiercely turned him down. He seemed incredulous over the fact that Sam had no idea he was a wolf. He was offended when Sam asked him for information on how to stop it. "Why? So you can be human? Why would you wanna be like them? Weak, clueless. You're a predator, it's in your blood. Didn't your parents teach you nothin'?"

“They didn’t know, alright? I’m adopted,” Sam revealed.

At first, 'Wild Joe' laughed it off, "I woulda loved to've seen the looks on their basic, human faces when they witnessed you turning for the first time." He laughed more and then fake-screamed, mocking the parents as Sam looked on with disdain and hurt. Joe seemed to get the hint and stopped. He squinted as he told Sam, “I’m bettin’ your actual parents were from the towns back East.

"You don't have to be bitten to become one?"

"You can be -the storybooks ain’t that far off- but they're just mutts. Purebreds, like you ‘n me, are born," Joe stated with pride as he pointed between them.

"Wait, there're more?"

"Well, I didn’t slash my own eye. There's a pack, one of the oldest; the most vicious pack on this pitiful, POS planet.” He stopped, looking contemplative. “They’re uh... extra secretive; I've already said too much." He moved to leave. Sam grabbed his hand, looking more desperate than ever. "I need to know how to find them. I don't know anything about any of this. PLEASE."

"If I show you where they are, kid, you didn't get this from me, understood?"

Sam had just barely nodded in acknowledgment when 'Wild Joe' punched him then threw a dart right at his face. Sam’s newly developed reflexes came in handy when he barely dodged the speeding projectile. By the time he recovered, the man vanished. Sam looked in the direction where the crazy bastard threw the dart. He did a double-take when he realized that it was deeply embedded in a map on the wall. Looking closer, he removed the dart to see that it struck with pinpoint precision, indicating a town called Lupine Ridge. As Sam rushed outside and sped off on his motorcycle in the direction of the town, he missed Joe, perched on the roof, watching like a hawk.

He drove non-stop until he saw the sign. It was overlooking the small, country town from a high cliff. Lupine Ridge was compact, off the main road, and well-hidden from nearly anyone who was not specifically searching for it. Once he entered the town via the single, main road that passed through it, he noticed the quaint, old-fashioned storefronts that lined it and stopped at the only place that wasn't pitch dark inside, Smith’s.

Walking in, Sam observed the place was mostly full of rough-looking characters. There were various groups at different tables, and every eye was on him. There was an especially dangerous-looking man seated at a table near the pool tables at the back of the room. Dark brown hair with some gray in his beard, there was a feral look in his gold-colored eyes like he was partially wolfed out all the time. He looked at Sam as if he was fresh meat; like an actual thing to kill.

Sam decided to mind his own business and took a seat at the empty bar. A young woman popped up from behind the bar, very drunk, and offered Sam a drink. He ordered a beer. Looking at him with curiosity, she asked, “Why’re you here?”

“What?”

“We don’ get many newc’mers here, a place like this. So, either u’re bad news, or u’re runnin’ from somethin’.” He smiled in comprehension and stated, “I’m looking for work.”

She countered, “There ain’t none,” with a wink. She stumbled off toward the back and passed another bartender coming out with a box of supplies in his arms. He stopped and looked at her questioningly and she coyly motioned with her eyes in Sam's direction. Then she continued in the direction of the supply room.

As Sam looked on, he was immediately drawn to the tall, bowlegged, dreamboat standing with his back to him. He tried to pride himself on being too respectful to stare at his ass, but something wild within him just didn’t give a shit about manners at that moment. When the bartender turned to face Sam, the boys' eyes met; bright sage and deep-sea hazel during a sunset. For a moment the world stood still as their eyes flashed a bright, ice-blue. Nostrils flared with deep breaths as they instinctively, inconspicuously scented each other. Then, the bartender blinked and shook himself out of the trance. He turned toward the wall of liquor bottles, his back to Sam.

Just then, a woman approached Sam. "You're new... and cute. Wanna dance?"

"Sorry, but I'm not much of a dancer."

She tried to persuade him further, even being so bold as to put his hand on her waist. But Sam declined. Frustrated, she skulked off murmuring some very colorful slurs. Sam huffed a sardonic laugh, turned back toward the bar, and focused on his beer. As he took a swig, the tall drink of water from behind the bar asked, "What's your name?"

Choking a little at the depth of the voice addressing him, he looked up and returned, "Uh me? My name?"

"Oh, sorry darlin, did I stump you?" Dark blond, cropped hair, he smirks and winks.

"Naw, it's uh Just- Justin."

"What are you doing here, just Justin?"

'Justin' grinned at the joke. "Well, definitely not out looking for trouble."

“Hmm, stranger in a small town, comes to a bar alone at night, turns away the one person trying to be ‘neighborly’? That would be the exact opposite of not looking for trouble.” Sam’s dimples made an appearance as he blushed.

“So what’s your name?” he asked, beginning to relax for the first time in weeks.

Hot guy bartender suddenly stopped smiling. He looked past Sam at something toward the back of the room, then stopped talking and turned away before Sam could get his name.

A young, drunk local decided at that moment to confront Sam. He said the woman from before was his girl and she accused Sam of grabbing her ass. Sam denied it. “What, she’s not good enough for you to give her a dance, but it’s A-OK to play grab-ass, is that it?” Through all of Sam’s denials, the man still pursued his argument. He was simply looking for a fight.

“Brady, cut it out. Tonight ain’t the night, especially in my bar,” warned Green-eyes, who happened to own the bar.

“Stay in your lane, Smith. I’m just talkin’ to the rude newcomer here.” A low growl escaped his throat.

“C’mon, man. You don’t wanna get kicked outta here tonight do ya?” Smith threatened lightly, trying to keep it friendly.

“You gonna try that with all of us Dean?” challenged another patron named Caleb. The entire crowd got involved, surrounding Sam and Brady, and they were not on Sam's side. Low growls were coming from many different directions.

Sam put his hands up in a gesture of peace. “Alright, I’m leaving. Happy?” He walked out as hostile, gold-colored gazes and snarls faded behind him.

He stayed outside, hidden, watching the bar until the main rowdy group finally left together. Then he began to walk back toward the bar. He was stopped by an older man who said he recalled overhearing Sam asking about work.

"Yes, sir. That I am." Foregoing trying to see Dean Smith again that night, he followed Bobby Singer home on his motorcycle.

The next day, Sam was out on The Singers' farm. Bobby was giving him a tour of some of his crop fields on a tractor when it hit a huge pothole and stalled. Sam hopped down and showed an unmistakable feat of strength by singlehandedly pushing the tractor out of the hole. Sam acted like it was nothing at all. “It must not have been in there all that deep,” he said. Bobby said nothing but was contemplative.

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Over the next few weeks, Sam worked hard and seemed to find peace and safety. He felt a great sense of gratitude for Bobby and his wife, Ellen. They never asked him where he came from. If they had any suspicions that he’d been on the run, they hadn’t shown it. Bobby simply asked that the work be done. Sam busied himself in the corn, soybean, and wheat fields, cleaning the barn, and feeding the sheep, despite the fact that they bolted at the very sight of him. As great as things were, he still felt like a freak.

The peace was interrupted one day when the dark, feral-looking man from Smith’s walked up to Sam while he was pitching hay in the barn. He seemed perturbed by the fact that Bobby hired Sam so quickly. He circled Sam as if he was trying to suss something out. “New hand, huh?”

“Uh, say what now?”

“Where ya from, kid?”

Sam cleared his throat, confused as to why he kept finding hostility within this man and his friends. “I’m sorry, but, who are you?” He kept the man in his sights, feeling uneasy about how he was trying to dissect him with his wild, golden stare. It was becoming a tense dance, neither willing to give in.

“John. I see you’ve met my new farmhand, Justin.” Bobby appeared, breaking the tension. He took a challenging, almost protective stance next to Sam.

“Awfully strange you picking up a stray, Bobby.”

“He ain’t no stray, John. He’s my nephew from out West.”

“Your nephew or Ellen’s?”

“What’s your business today, John?” Bobby had a warning tone to his voice; the clock on his hospitality was counting down.

“Couldn’t help but notice you at the bar the other night, too, Singer. And yet, you never spoke to the kid.”

“Sure, I was there. Hadn’t recognized him at first sight. It’s been years since we’ve seen him. I barely recognized him that night he came into the bar.”

“Hmm, see ya ‘round, kid.” John seemed skeptical of the explanation, but he left. Sam let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.

In the middle of the night, the quiet was obliterated by a vicious roar; and a lamb bleated in terror. In the morning, Sam found the mutilated, half-eaten corpse. Distraught, he couldn’t help but wonder whether it was him. Especially when Bobby came up to him.

“Animal.”

Sam cringed. “W-what?”

“Well, animals actually. Wolves have been seen in the area. When prey gets scarce up in the hills, they tend to come down here to find something to feed on.”

“Oh… wolves. Makes sense.” Sam visibly shrank with relief. The last thing he wanted to do was give the Singers a reason to throw him out. Bobby told him to get the carcass to Ellen so the rest wouldn’t go to waste. During an exquisite dinner with lamb chops as the centerpiece, Sam asked Bobby if the town got its name from the wolves in the area. He answered, explaining cryptically that Lupine doesn't quite mean wolf, it means wolflike.

After dinner, while Sam was enjoying watching television with Bobby and his wife, the news came on with a report of a manhunt looking for someone the authorities were calling Kid Carnivore. The two bikers had been found and their gruesome crime scene was being compared to his parents’ deaths. He jumped to turn it off before anything was seen or said to implicate him. When the couple stared at him, confused, he announced, “I thought I’d take a walk. It’s a nice night. Might go into town for a bit.”

“Did ya have to turn off the TV for that son?”

“I, uh, thought I should tell you.”

He hopped on his motorcycle and headed to Smith's. As he was walking inside, he was stopped by an unfamiliar voice. “Hey, Sam. You’re Sam Winchester, right?”

Stalled for a moment by hearing his actual first name, and then a surname he’d never heard before, he said, “‘Fraid not, it’s… Who are you?”

“Mark, Mark Campbell. I guess I’d be your second cousin.”

“What? I don’t-”

“Listen, kid. Everybody else might be scared to say, but you gotta get the hell outta dodge. You’re gonna get us all killed,” he gritted out, trying to be quiet.

“Look, you have me confused with someone else.”

“I know exactly who you are. Just be glad he hasn’t figured it out yet. But it’s only a matter of time and oh fuck, when he does...”

“When who finds out what? What the hell are you talking about?”

“John, man! Fucking John. The law can’t even stop him, they don’t even bother coming here anymore. He decides who gets to live or die. He fucking banished my brother, and that was a mercy since he damn near killed him!” At some point, while he was talking, John showed up near the rear door of the bar and was leaning on the railing, watching them.

“Oh fuck, no man no. Look, just get your ass out of here, please kid.” His voice trembled with fear as he ran off into the darkness.

Sam went into the bar. He saw the girl who served him last time drinking a beer behind the bar. “Excuse me.” She started, looking like a kid with their hand in the cookie jar.

“What? I’m allowed. I am part owner of this fine establishment,” she slurred.

"Stop soaking up the inventory, Em." The velvety, mesmerizing tone of Dean Smith’s voice sounded from the backroom as he exited. Emma handed her beer bottle to Sam as she retreated with a sly smile and a wink.

"So, back again, huh? Good thing Brady and his slutty girlfriend aren’t here tonight."

“Well, this is the only bar in town,” Sam raised an eyebrow, smirking back.

“And what’s your verdict on our little town so far?”

“It’s got its quirks. And apparently, plenty of secrets.”

Out of the back popped Emma. “Hey, Judgy-McJudgenstein! How about nex’ time... I tell you when you... when I’ve had enough, ahhright?” she scolded before disappearing again.

Sam chuckled after Dean’s, “Yeah, yeah sure, sparky.”

“Is she gonna be alright?”

Dean looked back at the empty spot where his sister was just bobbing and weaving with a combination of fondness and concern. “As alright as she gets.”

“How is she still employed?” he asked, completely avoiding the question of how Emma was still standing at this point.

“Kinda hard to fire your little sister.”

Impressed, Sam confirmed, “Oh, so this place really is yours. Are you some kind of small-town royalty or something, Princess?”

“Small-town heir, to be exact. Em’s and my parents are both dead.” Sam looked down at the bar and apologized. He then shared that his parents had died as well.

They toasted to orphans.

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Later that night, Mark walked along the dark, dirt road that cut through the woods when he heard the familiar rumble of John Winchester’s off-road truck. John parked and he and a few of his pack members got out, standing around the vehicle. John leaned on the hood as he greeted the lone drunk. The Alpha had a few questions about Mark’s conversation with the new kid. “Justin, was it? What’d you tell him?” He was calm, too calm.

“That asshole? I don’t even know his name. I didn’t tell him anything. Well, basically just to hit the fucking road. Leave town,” he replied with a nervous sniff.

“Why’d you feel the need to do that, Mark?”

“‘Cause I saw him tryin’ to get all cozy with Dean, you know? I didn’t want him pissin’ you off.”

“I thought I heard my name. What’d you tell him about me, Mark?”

“N-nothin’ man! Fuck... no. I didn’t say shit about you.” Mark was now visibly shaking. “Just, you know, made it about the town, man. Y’know, small town, don’t much like outsiders?”

“Huh, see, I’m having a bit of trouble with this, Mark. I know this kid is from one of the bloodlines, possibly from here but more likely from the Synod back East. But the thing that puzzles me is why Singer just took him right on in, and why the fuck a useless piece of shit drunk like you would even bother talking to him!” a low snarl crept from his throat. “I don’t like secrets, and this feels like a big one.”

“C’mon, John! You know everything I know, honest!”

John stalked forward until he towered over Mark. “This doesn’t have anything to do with your brother, Christian, does it? I’m not gonna get any bitchin’ from your family or anyone else if I rip this kid to shreds?”

“No. I swear. I don’t know anything.”

“Well look at that. You’ve convinced me.” Mark considerably relaxed as John continued, “So I guess all I have left to do is make sure you keep your mouth shut so you don’t tip him off before I’m ready to deal with him.”

“I-I will, you have my word.”

“Aww, Mark. You know good n’ well the currency of your family’s word don’t you?”

“John, please.”

“I think you need to just be grateful I’m giving you a head start.”

“No.”

“You should probably get goin’ now,” he gritted out as he began to shift. “Been a long time since we had a good hard run and a hunt, huh boys?”

“NO!” he called out as he bolted into the trees. The pack whooped and cheered as they also changed. Within seconds, a huge, ghostly grey werewolf with a black muzzle stood before his feral wolfmen. With a snarl, John led the charge as the hunt for Mark began.

Sam, riding his bike on the main road back to the farm, heard blood-curdling screams coming from the woods. He parked the bike and then went on foot to investigate. He crept through the trees, stopping when he heard some commotion coming from a clearing ahead in the distance. He still wasn’t able to see anything, but at that moment, he nearly jumped out of his skin when his arm was grabbed. He looked to see who snuck up on him and he met eyes with Dean signaling for him to be quiet. Dean asked him if he could smell the carnage in the air. He told Sam 'they've' killed someone and he needed to find out who. He led Sam to higher ground where they looked down upon a celebration around a campfire. They saw John and his pack celebrating after their hunt. Still shifted in their wolfman forms, some laughed and frolicked around the campfire. Sam and Dean spotted one sitting on a log devouring what looked like a human forearm.

“What the hell are they eating?” whispered Sam.

"More like who. It’s Mark, Mark Campbell," Dean whispered to Sam. Sam cringed, trying not to gag.

John, sitting relaxed in his human form, suddenly tensed up as if he sensed that someone was watching him. Peering into the thick, dark brush, he knew someone or something was out there, but he didn’t know where they were. He wasn’t worried, if anyone were to show themselves now, the pack would annihilate them. Dean hurried Sam away, well aware of the danger they were in.

“Every one of them, they were...”

“Wolves, yeah, just like us.” Dean met Sam’s shocked gaze. He’d revealed what they both suspected of each other. They collected his motorcycle and instead of hopping on, they walked back to Singer Ranch.

As they reached the Singers' farmhouse, Sam walked in and saw his face again on the TV. Before Sam could bolt, Bobby explained to him that they’d had it recorded. Ellen rushed over, sweeping Sam into her arms and crying. "Sam, we are so, so sorry." Hearing them call him by his real name stunned him enough to stay.

"I don’t understand, what do you have to be sorry for?"

"Because, son, I'm afraid this was my fault. We need to talk. Come with us."

Bobby and Ellen went upstairs to their bedroom. They pulled out a beautiful old hope chest. It was made of red cedar, with ornate carvings of a huge tree on the front. The leaves had hints of tinted stain for just a touch of color. It was beautiful and had been cherished and cared for over the years. Ellen gently opened the lid and began taking out photos and memorabilia. Bobby told him, “The young lady in this photograph is Mary Campbell, your mother. She was my niece, my sister’s daughter. She was an absolute beauty.”

Sam took the picture in his hand and gasped. He felt an instant connection to the bright, young face smiling back at him. Bobby explained how they come from a long line of purebred wolves. Four main families made up the founders of the town, the Campbells, the Singers, the Smiths, and the Winchesters. They migrated here on the first ships to America in the 1800s.

“Over time, the old lines were thinned out because most of us eventually interbred with humans. Like Ellen over there, completely irresistible.” He aimed a sly grin her way and she blushed.

“I’m not part of the pack, but I love this scruffy bastard.”

“So you aren’t a werewolf?” asked Sam.

“There are only two ways to become a wolf, Sam. You are either born into the pack like you, me, Dean, and Emma, or you are bitten, infected. The bitten can change, but it is weaker, diluted; they have none of the power of a pure-born wolf. John is from the Winchester line, one of the last purebred Lycans for miles.” John explained to him. Then he sighed, sliding his hand down his face. “This whole mess started because John came into town and Mary caught his eye. She was one of the last of the pure lines here. Let him tell it, she was made for him. So he snuck in during the night and claimed her by force.”

“Mary got pregnant and her father found out. He threatened to kill her,” said Ellen. “Bobby couldn’t allow it, so we faked Mary’s death and I put her up in our cellar so she would be safe until she came to term.”

“Wait, so what you’re telling me... that psychopath out there is my father?”

“He’s your blood, boy, no denying that,” Bobby continued. “We agreed that no good would come of John finding out about you. So Ellen convinced her that adoption was the safest bet. But it weighed on her something terrible.”

“She ended up so broken-hearted without her baby boy, she got ill. She withered away to damn near nothing so fast, and she passed just three months later.” Ellen recalled Mary’s fate with tears freely flowing down her face. Sam went to her and wrapped her in his arms, also feeling the devastating loss.

“Without Mary, John became ruthless,” Bobby went on. “He turned people, created his own pack. They lived out in the woods, in the wild, more often as wolves than humans. They became feral, unruly, and murderous. The law was unable to control ‘em, so an agreement was made that they could keep their territory in the hills and the town wouldn't interfere with them. The town wolves, civilians, and John's pack would keep each other's secrets from the world.”

“But now, what’s changed? Why was he so interested in me when he came here?” Sam asked.

“John is getting older, thinking about his legacy. He wants an heir and he's got his eye on one of the last purebred wolves and the only Omega left in town.”

“What? No, you don’t mean...” Sam looked around the room, indignant until he locked eyes with Dean. He’d found some research about Omegas before, not much, but the word and what it meant here was not foreign to him.

Dean had been standing near the door, completely silent until then. He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck, clearly nervous. “Yeah, me.”

"No.”

“It’s not ideal, Sammy, but it’s the least shitty deal,” reasoned Dean. Sam huffed out an incredulous laugh. The first time Dean said his name and he already had a nickname. It cut him to the quick.

“Damnit, Dean just... no!" Sam thundered and stormed out of the house. He wandered the fields, absorbing everything he learned. ‘This place is where I was born. My family name is Campbell; Winchester is my father. His actions led to my mother’s misery and death and now he believes he’s entitled to Dean? I can’t… I won’t let that sonofabitch ruin any more lives! But what can I do? It is his choice. I don’t want to be the same kind of asshole to Dean that John is planning to be.’ When he got back to his room, he fell into a dreamless, uneasy sleep from sheer physical exhaustion.

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In the morning, Sam set to work on his chores to get his mind off of everything and his temper worked off. Dean found him chopping firewood outside the barn. He was still very upset about Dean’s decision, but he knew that he couldn’t just make Dean renege on a deal that was made before he even met him. There had to be more to it than Dean supplying a demand. That still didn’t stop him from making a stink.

"You're seriously going to let this happen?" he asked as he angrily chopped at a log of wood.

"It is what has to happen, or he'll butcher the town. My sister, the Singers, everyone. If I give him a son, then he'll let me go and I can live my life."

"A son, what, like me? What if you just tell him about me? I mean, why would he need to do that, to hurt you like that, when he’s had an heir all this time? I should just tell him; it would get him to leave you alone.”

“You don’t understand, Sam. He targeted me because he wants another Omega, one he can control.” Sam looked mortified. “Please don’t judge me, not you. I had made my peace with the way things are until you.”

Sam looked away, eyes burning, throat flexing in agitation. He wasn’t judging Dean; he was shocked that John would be forcing Dean to bear him a child, taking that child, and then mating him, too. “Then this evil will just cycle over and over.”

"It's always been this way. It has never been easy. If it was as simple as him passing on his genes, he could have taken me or Emma by force just like he’d done with your mother.” He sighed, hating what he was about to say, already feeling like he couldn’t live without Sam. “You shouldn't have come back here; you're too good for this place." Sam looked at his feet, gutted.

"Don't."

"Why?"

"Because… you wouldn't say that if you knew." Dean looked at Sam with questions in his eyes. "I… I slaughtered my parents. I ripped them to pieces and I don't even remember doing it. I'm no good to anyone." He began to walk and Dean went along.

“You’re no worse, you just never grew up in it to know.” Dean shared the story of how his parents died. His father was drunk, lost control of his wolf, and killed Dean's mother. Then, when he'd regained control of himself and seen what he'd done, he'd slit his own throat in guilt.

“Em and I bounced the same theories back and forth for years before we came to a conclusion. Maybe it was his human anger, maybe the wolf, or maybe the drink. We'll never know, but it was always lying somewhere under the surface for him.”

Dean explained to Sam that he understood that there was a fine line they all walked as wolves, between human and beast, man and monster. He knew how capable they all were of being killers. He and Emma didn’t blame their father.

“But you, you're different. I just don’t sense the potential for blind murder in you.”

“I can feel the violence in me, the pull of the moon.” Sam kicked at a few stones in the road in frustration.

“I know, I can feel it too. The question is, is it a gift or a curse?”

Sam stopped near the cornfields, contemplating the question. “So what do you think it is?”

“Let me show you. There’s more to this than you know.”

Dean led Sam into the field, heading toward the thick brush of trees surrounding the property. About halfway through, he shifted, but instead of a Lycan standing before him, there was a large, beautiful sable-colored wolf with bright green eyes looking through him more than at him. Sam could hear Dean’s voice in his head, telling him more about what it meant to be a purebred wolf, closer to nature. As Sam concentrated on the voice, the scents in the air, and the sounds of the wilderness, he found himself a bit closer to the ground and on all fours. He’d shifted into his full wolf.

‘That is a strength that is rare even among the pure-born. It can only be achieved with pure wolves when they’ve found their True Mate. My momma always told us that was our power, our gift.’ Dean told Sam as he moved into a run, taking them out of the cornfield and into the woods. Sam felt invigorated and carefree as he chased Dean. He felt as if he knew every twist and turn through the trees and he veered off, taking a shortcut. It took a moment, but then Dean realized that Sam was no longer right on his heels and he stopped short in a clearing. As he looked around calling out for Sam, a huge, midnight black ball of fur came hurtling down to pin him from a low-slung branch.

‘You’re a quick study… Alpha.’ Sam felt his face heat up from the praise and the term of endearment made his wolf preen. “C’mon, farmboy, I’ll help you finish your job before the sun starts to go down,” Dean whispered in Sam’s ear, once again human. Sam pushed himself up and found he was also on human legs again. He reached down to grab Dean’s hand, helping him up. They took a leisurely pace on the stroll back to the barn, putting on articles of clothing as they found them along the way.

After all the work was done, they sat in the barn loft, up above and tucked away from the rest of the world. For a moment, they watched dust motes drifting through the beams of sunlight streaming through the window as sunset approached. Sam was finally calm as he asked, “So, since this is a gift, what do we do with it; free the beast and just let it loose on anyone in our way?”

“Naw, ‘course not. We control the hands we’re dealt.”

“We use it instead of repressing it, and we’d only use lethal force when something threatens those we love.”

“That’s beautiful, Sammy. I just got all tingly.” Dean reached out and caressed Sam’s face as he moved in for a kiss.

Sam shrank back just a bit, clearing his throat. “Dean, umm, I don’t know if we should…”

“You concerned about my honor, Sam?” asked Dean playfully.

“It’s not that, it’s just… it’s kinda been a long time, y’know?”

“A long time like what, ever?” Dean gently tugged at Sam’s chin, making him look him in the eye as he fondly smirked. “Should I be concerned about your honor?”

Sam, huffed a shy laugh, “No, I mean. There were… times, but something always killed the mood.”

Dean’s eyebrows rose in comprehension. “Ah, so you’re afraid to let go, with me, because you might really let go?” Dean’s eyes began to change. “First of all, I’m made of ‘sterner’ stuff. Second, I’m encouraging you to really… (kiss) let… (kiss) go. It’s nothing I can’t handle, no less than I’d want.”

Dean began kissing Sam in earnest and as things heated up, they both shared growls and nips from slightly protruding fangs. The sound of fabric ripping as claws extended was drowned out by snarls of pleasure. Jackets and shirts were unfortunate casualties. Sam pressed his body down on top of Dean’s as he took his time scenting and tasting his skin. He hissed as he felt Dean’s claws carve into his back and then sighed in ecstasy as the gashes healed in an instant. An intense relief filled Sam as he realized exactly what Dean meant. They would never harm each other and didn’t need to hold back.

Nimble human fingers returned to open Sam’s belt and jeans, yanking them down to his thighs as he completely divested Dean from his. Dean then wrapped one leg around Sam’s slim waist and flipped their positions, smiling down on his mate. The light still filtering in the window created a halo surrounding Dean’s fair and freckled skin and dark, sand-colored hair. Sam worshipped Dean’s chest and abs with large, powerful hands, squeezing his pecs and teasing his nipples. He sat up to devour Dean with kisses, embracing him before Dean palmed his chest and none too gently pushing him back.

Sam let Dean take control, let him fill himself with Sam’s length. He watched Dean’s thigh muscles flex as Dean rose until he could feel the bulbous head of Sam’s cock at his rim. Then Sam gripped his hips, meeting each of Dean’s descents with a powerful thrust into tight, slick heat. Their movements were frenzied, passionate, and all-consuming. The sky darkened, then filled with stars as they laid claim to each other, their bodies making their promises for them until their climaxed howls filled the night air.

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The next morning, Bobby wandered into the barn looking for Sam. He’d hoped by giving Sam some space to think, he would adjust to the avalanche of information that was thrown at him. The kid jumped right down from the loft, hair tousled with straw, clothes shredded, and a renewed pep in his step. The kid was much more relaxed, and Bobby wasn’t born yesterday. He asked Sam if he’d seen Dean just to bring a blush to his cheeks. Dean hopped down just as spry as Sam and asked to borrow a shirt. The man laughed and said he'd find something.

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Later on, while Sam was cleaning up before dinner, Bobby called the remaining pure wolves in town to his house. There were only two aside from Bobby, Dean, and Emma. Gwen Campbell, Mark's older sister, and Mayor Jim Murphy. Bobby was trying to appeal to them to fight John for the control of their town, for Dean’s safety. Now that Sam was there, they had a chance to win.

Sam caught the end of the conversation as he descended the stairs.

“Now is the time, Gwen. If there was anything so important that it was worth our lives, it is defending ourselves.” Gwen was still grieving, angry, and didn't want to risk her life for the kid that got his little brother massacred and eaten. She’d just finished expressing that thought when Sam walked in.

Bobby made the introductions and smiled proudly when he saw the various looks on the town wolves’ faces. Emma was beaming. “I could smell you the moment you walked into the bar! I knew it! Didn’t I Dean?”

“Yeah, yeah alright already. We all did, Em.” Dean’s eye roll was more fond than annoyed.

Bobby continued, “Gail would be your, uh, second cousin. I suppose you remember her little brother, Mark.”

“Yeah, they met, right before he was hunted down as dog chow the other night,” snarled Gwen. Sam looked bereft.

“I’m sorry. I never planned for any of this to happen. I had no idea.”

“Hear that, y’all? He didn’t intend on kicking a hornet’s nest. He just… tripped over it and it got kicked. Big words from the so-called long-lost hope.”

“Sam came back because he belongs here, Gwen. We’re the only family he’s got left. You can understand that can’t you?” Gwen winced, and then looked contrite. She understood that more than anyone in the room.

“That doesn’t negate the fact that we will all be the ones paying for his return, Ellen.”

“Sam, that is Mayor Jim Murphy. He was the local pastor here, back when things were simpler. He’s got a real optimistic outlook there.”

Murphy, frustrated, shouted, “No Bobby, I am the only one being realistic here! We should stick to the original deal. John is starting to get paranoid and impatient. He already doesn’t like the kid, thinks he’s here from one of the other packs to unseat him. If he even thinks that Sam is getting in his way about Dean, then we’ll have him and his pack from the hills to deal with and they’ll slaughter us all.”

“Not if I can help it.”

“Kid you’re insane. You wanna step up, challenge John this close to the full moon? We all feel it, can barely keep ourselves together,” Gwen said, still opting for self-preservation.

“When is the full moon,” asked Sam. Dean said it fell on Halloween this year. The irony escaped no one, but only Emma could see the humor because she was tipsy.

“Look, I say we only have the one option. Stick to the original plan, and give Sam up as a bonus.”

Dean growled a warning as he stared Gwen down. “Real heroic, Gwen.”

“At least you will survive! Don’t you get how important you are to the pack, Dean?”

“Sam is your family, your own flesh and blood! Bobby too! We are NOT giving that sonofabitch Sam!”

Pointing to herself, remembering the pain of losing her baby brother she cried, “THIS IS MY FLESH AND BLOOD!”

“Hey! Just stop it, alright? Everybody, just calm down. Now, we like to fool ourselves into thinkin’ we got a nice little treaty with John and those rabid wolves of his. But we’ve seen the line crossed; some livestock go missing here, a child vanishes there. We say we can’t be sure who’s to blame but we know where they’ve all gone, each of us can follow that scent as sure as the sun sets in the West. It is only a matter of time before we become targets too.”

“Bobby you know we don’t let this happen because we’re scared; we’re being practical, surviving,” Jim said, pleading. “That pack out there, they’re wolfed out all the time. Some of us can barely remember what being shifted is like, it’s been that long since we’ve changed.”

“Sam is the youngest and strongest of us. What will we have left if John defeats him?” asked Gwen.

“We’ll have the deal,” Dean said. “I make a deal, I stick to it.”

“Well, I didn’t." Sam interjected. "I’m sorry Dean, but ever since I found out who and what I was, I have been straddling a fine line between eating a bullet to end this curse and trying to make it into something good. You told me it is a gift. Somehow, I am the key to his shit and I can make it right. None of you need to do anything you don’t want to do. Go home, secure yourselves. I’ll take care of it.”

Bobby begged him not to run off half-cocked. Dean grabbed him and flat out forbade it. Sam, for the first time, allowed the Alpha within him to surface. He was careful enough when he pushed Dean away, but then he bared his fangs as he roared, “It is done!” Everyone froze, the first hint of hope sparking through the group as all but Ellen tilted their heads to expose their throats. Once he was gone, Dean was the first to shake himself loose of the order. He shot to the door and called out, “SAM!” Then he snatched Bobby yelling, “Damnit, Bobby! You gotta stop him! I can’t lose him!”

Bobby just shook his head, dazed and distraught, and asked, “How?”

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John was busy holding a meeting of his own. He was determined to get answers and then, he had a newcomer to exterminate. The pack kept trying to warn him about the pact.

“Singer already broke the pact, he and those prissy town wolves. They brought that kid here, an outsider! He’s gotta go, and I don’t mean chasin’ his scrawny ass outta town.”

Caleb, for once the voice of reason, chimed in, “Singer won’t have it. He won’t give him up without a fight.”

“Then we’ll give him a good one. Mangy old wolf can die right along with the little bastard.”

“I wouldn’t be so quick to throw that word around, John.” Sam walked out from the darkness of the woods right into John’s tent, the firelight catching his eyes and creating an animalistic glow. “So this is where you and your fuzzy bunch hang out, huh? Neverending camping trip; must be tons of fun.”

“Who sent you here, kid, huh? I don’t mean tonight, I mean what brought you to my town, my pack. Was it the Synod?”

“And what the fuck is that exactly?”

“Well, fellas, I guess Dinner, I mean Mark, was telling the truth. You really don’t know a fucking thing! Wow, I almost feel bad for eating him.”

“I know about Mary. I know you violated her; it’s your fault she’s dead.”

A growl erupted from deep within John’s chest. “You watch your insolence, boy.” The others in the pack prepared to pounce.

“Before you all rush to rip me to shreds, there is something you should know, John. Mary Campbell was my mother.”

All activity within the tent stilled. John lowered his head into a scowl, looking at Sam like he could kill him. “Liar! Mary died before the baby was even born!”

“And you can’t think of any reason why the Singers and the Campbells would prefer that you believed that?”

John’s demeanor changed. He was suddenly quite interested in what Sam had to say. He wanted to know just how far this deception ran. “Oh, really? So, why don’t you tell me what to believe then.”

“She gave birth to me, isolated from her family, without a home of her own, because of you. She suffered through giving me up, exiled by her father because of you, John. She died, an empty shell of herself, three months after I was born.”

“That so? You know what, kid? You got a lotta balls coming here like this. I’m gonna do you a favor. I advise you to run.”

“No. I’m not just here for my mother. I’m here to tell you to leave the town, and Dean, alone.”

“I catch a hint of an ‘or’ in your tone. I’ll play along. Or what?”

“I’ll have no choice but to make you leave.” Now it was Sam’s turn to allow a deep, deadly sound to rumble from within his chest.

“Oooh, I’m shakin’ in my hide. Kill this scrawny fuck. Not enough meat on his bones for dinner.”

“Come on,” he snarled low in his defensive stance. In a blink, he was speeding through the trees. The moon was on his side, coming out in near-full incandescence from behind the clouds. Feeling the power, Sam shifted on the run. If he was going to have to fight, he needed more space.

The pack of wolfmen followed, losing him among the brush. “Slippery li’l shit. Where’d he g-” One member of the pack went down thanks to Sam’s nicely aimed leap from a low branch of a healthy White Oak tree. He held his fists together like he was holding his axe to chop firewood and then swung his arms down, clubbing one wolfman over the neck and shoulders.

He was soon surrounded by three more. He quickly body-checked one into the wide trunk of a tree, and the other two he swatted like flies with his enormous clawed hands. He felt powerful, yet able to contain himself, so that was what he did. He wanted them to quit threatening the town or better yet, leave altogether; he didn’t want to kill anyone. He figured a show of strength should have been enough.

It wasn’t. The pack finally used the strength in their numbers to gain the upper hand. He was taking hits and slashes from every direction. The wolfmen herded him toward a ravine before John signaled for them to stop. He made his way to the front of the line the pack made to bar any escape. He was a massive Lycan, but as he approached Sam he hardly needed to look down to stare Sam in the eye. He looked at Sam with pure, smug contempt as he said, “Looks like my rule’s not over yet, pup,” before he charged him.

“Rabid Dog!” Sam gathered all the strength he could to dodge the attack and take advantage of the opening. He drove his knee into John’s torso swiping his claws at his face. Hitting his mark, he drew blood. John had four deep gashes across his muzzle, but it didn’t slow him down. Just as quickly, the grey Lycan slashed back, leaving Sam with matching marks. As Sam countered clawing at his ribs, John struck lower. He speared Sam’s stomach with his claws and as he withdrew his blood-drenched hand, he brought it to his mouth and obscenely licked at it.

Sam, stunned at the sadistic spectacle, stumbled back from John until he realized he was nearing the cliff’s edge of a deep ravine. He knew that if he kept standing his ground, he would surely be killed. He took a chance, even if it was to rob John of the pleasure of ripping him to shreds, and he let himself fall backward. He looked at the haunting vision of the moon and whispered Dean’s name before he hit the ground.

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Sam’s head pounded as he began to hear familiar voices, conversations he’d already had. They echoed through his mind repeating and overlapping until they all became one.

‘Wolves, yeah, just like us.’ ‘Mary got pregnant.’ ‘...adoption was the best bet.’ ‘Mary died before the baby was even born!’ ‘At least you will survive! Don’t you get how important you are to the pack, Dean?’ ‘...your own flesh and blood.’ ‘I advise you to run.’

’Well, I didn’t slash my own eye. ’ He opened his eyes, or at least he thought he had, and saw ‘Wild Joe’ mocking him. “Wow, kid you really took one for the team. You can’t even stabilize your shift. Get up, or you’re gonna die.”

“Huh, Joe? What the hell-”

“Get up you giant shit.” Sam groaned, feeling like every bit of a sliced tomato. “GET. UP!” This time he really opened his eyes, and then winced at the gleam of daylight assaulting his irises. ‘Wild Joe’ was nowhere to be found, so Sam assumed it was a hallucination. But he got to his feet, limped toward the farm, and fell into Dean's arms. He’d apparently been searching for Sam all night. “Oh no. Damn it, Sam!” he said as he struggled to keep him on his feet. “Bobby! Bobby, help!”

The night before, Dean had heard the guttural scream from Sam after he’d been gravely injured by John. He begged and yelled for Bobby to help Sam, then he threw the screen door open in frustration and ran out to look for him. “Dean! Dean, stop! You can’t help him now!” Bobby yelled into the moonlit night, knowing there was no stopping Dean.

Turned out, Dean had been right, but it was a hell of a close call. They got him home and bandaged him up as best they could, but he still looked like he’d been halfway through a woodchipper. “What the hell were you thinkin’ ya idjit?” Bobby looked at him like he wanted to hit him, but he just couldn’t bring himself to smack a pup that had already been kicked.

“I was trying not to kill them,” Sam mumbled through his busted, swollen lips.

“That’ll learn ya. That was a big mistake,” Bobby said as he handed Dean a cold compress to put on Sam’s head.

“It’s literally dog eat dog out there, you know that, Sammy.” Dean pressed the compress to Sam’s forehead, getting a hiss in response.

“Ugh, fuck this hurts. I… I need to get to the ER, or would a vet be more accurate.”

“You don’t need a hospital, Sam, you need to shift. You need to shift into your pure form and let your wolf run.” Bobby sent an incredulous look Dean’s way and Dean just grinned and shrugged, not at all contrite.

“C’mon, Dean. It’s too painful. I can’t; I’m done for, you should escape, save yourself.”

“You gotta trust us, Sam. Trust your mate. That’s the bond between you two, right? You found your wolf and he needs to break free. You ain’t gonna heal without him.”

Sam tried to concentrate and shift. The second his bones began to move, he screamed from the pain. “Holy fuck! It’s not happening.” He was almost hyperventilating.

“Woah! Easy, Tiger. Shhh. Relax.” Dean leaned over him, letting his scent drown out the sterile smell of antiseptic. “Breathe with me. Okay. Here, lemme help you.”

Sam let Dean’s scent put him at ease, and then there were soft, full lips on his. As the kiss deepened, Sam barely even noticed his bones re-aligning, his skin starting to heal. He no longer felt like he was dying a slow death. He opened his eyes and smiled, returning Dean’s crinkle-eyed, relieved one. He wasn’t a hundred percent yet, but now he could at least get up and let Dean get him outside.

“Alright Kissyfur, you need to complete your shift and run.” Out near the cornfields again, Dean encouraged Sam to bring his wolf to the surface. “Trust me, you got this.”

Sam closed his eyes and tried to center himself with nature. The sounds of the creatures fearless and at peace in the woods, the feel of the fall breeze through his hair, and the scents of soil, greenery, crops, and livestock… and Dean, surrounded and filled his consciousness. He opened his eyes and started a slow, limping jog, and then he started feeling good and speeding up. The next thing he knew, he was on all four solid, huge paws, running at full speed through the rows of corn and zipping in and out of the trees that surrounded the field.

When he’d all but tired himself out, Sam’s mind was clear and he went back to Dean. He figured out how he could gain the upper hand and protect everyone. Sam understood now that this was one of those situations where he would need to defer to his nature. He might have to kill, but it was far from senseless. He was doing it to protect what was his.

“You good?” asked Dean. He tried to fight off the knowing grin he could feel on his face, but he was already fighting the need to say, “Told ya so.”

Sam took a deep, cleansing breath. “Yeah, uh, much better. This puts a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘walk it off’.” His smile dissolved into solemnity. “I get what I need to do and why; I just… I’m not sure I can. I’m sorry, I feel like I just made things worse.”

“Well, I can’t leave this place and these people behind while John and his pack still run the woods, and I can sense that neither can you. There has to be a way you can take them out, all of them.”

“I think there just might be. C’mon.”

Sam headed back to Singer’s farm with Dean in tow. He led him to a shack at the other end of the property and on the way there Dean’s nose wrinkled up as he asked, “Whoa, man what gives? Where is the funk coming from?”

Bobby chimed in as they arrived at the door, feigning offense, “Excuse me, princess, but that beautifully complex aroma is my very own collection of genuine, grade-A organic, fully-recycled, ovine fertilizer. Better than any cow; great for the soil and the crops.”

“And extremely combustible, right? Would you say, downright explosive?” asked Sam. Bobby looked at him and as he caught up to what Sam was thinking, the plan put a slow smile on the gruff man’s face.

The rest of the afternoon, Bobby helped Sam create and lay the explosive traps strategically all over the property close to the barn. Dean told Sam he wanted to help him fight. Sam wouldn’t hear of it and pleaded with him to not put himself in any more danger. He told Dean to trust him, to get Emma and go home and pack his stuff. Keep himself and his sister safe at Bobby’s until the battle was over, and then he would meet him at the edge of town at sunrise so they could leave together. The town would be free and so would they.

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John Winchester had done a status check on his pack the next evening after their run-in with Sam. “Whatcha got for me, Caleb?”

“The pack’s pretty ripped up. Lots of gashes, broken bones.”

“Well, get ‘em up, make ‘em run it off. They’ll get back to good.” John felt fine, aside from the slashes across his face. Those might stick for a bit. The kid didn’t pull his punches on that one.

“Look, man, it won’t be quick. We don’t heal like you do, like that kid does.”

“That’s IF he lived through that flying leap he took. They’ll get up, or they’ll be put down. You got me?”

“Yeah… right, got it. So, you think he was tellin’ the truth? You think he’s your kid?”

“Not gonna matter soon. I’m done waiting.”

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The moments they all spent waiting for John’s attack were tense. Everyone's hackles were raised in awareness. Sam was outside in the cornfield keeping watch before the sun went down when he heard a blood-curdling, “NO… SAAAAAM!” Sam bolted back to the farmhouse, fear for Dean and rage for anyone in his way flowing through his veins. He froze when he reached the house and it was empty, silent as a graveyard. He called out, “Ellen, Emma, Bobby… DEAN!” as he moved from room to room. He found the makeshift invitation, a clear taunt written in blood, staked to the wall by a hunting knife.

‘YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE MATING CEREMONY FOR JOHN WINCHESTER AND DEAN SMITH BY THE LIGHT OF THE FULL MOON THIS HALLOWEEN NIGHT’

Sam ripped the note from the wall in disgust and rage and ran from the house. The sun sank below the mountainous horizon as he roared out his frustration and sped off to go retrieve what he realized with every instinct in his cells was his. Dean and Sam had both felt the pull as mates when they first looked at each other. They were bonded, and now they had mated. No one was taking Dean from him now.

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Trapped in what looked like an old iron cage, Bobby, Ellen, and Emma stood and observed their surroundings. Feral wolfmen and un-shifted pack members were running around lighting fire pits and erecting torches, creating an aisle. They didn’t see any of the other town wolves or humans. The full moon cast a bright, eerie glow on everything. “Someone had to have noticed them snatching us. They weren’t exactly subtle,” Ellen said, hopeful that the townspeople might finally stand their ground. “Maybe someone will send for help, contact the other packs.”

“When they got me, they drove through town. It was completely deserted. There wasn’t a single human around, as if they knew what was coming,” Emma clarified. She was more sober than she had been in a long time.

Bobby looked around as he confirmed, “She’s right; they knew. Wasn’t much more we could expect from ‘em. The tolerance of the strange shit going on in this town was creeping toward its breaking point.”

“Bobby Singer! Ladies!” John sauntered up to the cage as though he was greeting his future in-laws. “I really don’t know how to thank you for coming to witness my big night.”

“Well, we couldn’t possibly have missed it,” Bobby growled out sarcastically.

“I know right? So, tell me something, old man. Where’s the kid?”

“Kid’s dead. Buried where he landed.”

John’s pretense fell as he stared daggers at Bobby. “Wow, spreadin’ lies for a couple decades is real good practice, isn’t it. Makes the filth you spit flow extra easy, huh?”

“I ain’t lyin’. He was your blood and you killed him. You, who wants an heir so damn bad.”

“Not buying it. If he were mine, that would mean you hid Mary away from me and destroyed her before her final days. That would mean you lied to me all this time, and you must know how you’d suffer for it.”

“What, you gonna kill me? Am I supposed to curl up in the corner and cry now?”

John hammered his fist against the cage and roared. Then he twisted his lips into a homicidal grin and snarled low, “It’s what happens before you die that’s really gonna matter, Singer.”

The pack began to get rowdy, cheering and hooting. Then Bobby, Ellen, and Emma all gasped in shock as they spotted a tent opening and Dean was brought out. John’s emotional roller coaster went uphill again so fast Bobby would never have known the mangy bastard was pissed if he hadn’t seen it with his own two eyes.

“Oh, shit, would you look at that! It’s time! Standing around here catching up with you I was almost late. I’m a little nervous, can you believe it?”

“I’d be happier‘n a fat cat to shred every nerve in your body,” Bobby deadpanned as John walked toward Dean’s pliant, propped-up form. He was barely conscious, the only things keeping him from collapsing were the ropes that bound him.

“What the hell did they do to him?” Ellen’s voice shook with worry for the young man she’d come to view as a son.

“They drugged him. Looks like wolfsbane,” Bobby whispered, shocked that even John would stoop so low.

John got up close to Dean’s face, held it up with his hand, and whispered in his ear, “Don’t you worry my little Omega bitch, this won’t be forever. Hell, it’ll be over before the night’s done, provided you whelp me a pretty little thing that’s just as special and rare as you. He’ll be bonded to me before he’s even born and when he comes due, he’ll rip his way outta you just to be with me. Everyone thinks I’m so heartless, but I think it’s pretty merciful of me to put you outta your misery like that.”

Dean stirred, barely able to hold his head up. Then he made a sudden lunge with his head and snapped his teeth at John in a move that belied just how out of it he was. He narrowly missed removing John’s ear before his head fell to his chest again.

At the edge of the woods on a hill, a couple of pack members sat guard. John hadn’t believed for a moment that Sam died in his swan dive. He wanted to make sure the kid would have a tough time interrupting his ceremony. His orders were to kill on sight.

“Man, this sucks ass. We’re missing the whole party while we watch for some ghost.”

“Hey, if John said the boy will show, he’ll show. And then we can kill him, and then we’ll do some real partyin’.”

Sam did indeed show. In full fury and Lycan form, he began his assault with the lookouts on the hill. This time, he was lethal. The first two from John's pack merely blinked and their throats were ripped out in an instant. He didn’t even pause to look at the bodies he dropped as he streaked over and around trees in a blur to prevent his mate from being taken against his will.

A small patrol group had sensed something was wrong and were on their way to the lookout point. A shriek, a crunch, and a yelp shattered the silence of the dark woods as another of the pack was snatched up into the canopy. Blood rained down in thick splatters before a body thudded to the ground. The man’s throat was flayed open and there was a gaping hole in his chest. The rest of the group halted in their tracks and prepared themselves for the onslaught they now knew Sam was determined to deliver.

They could see in the pitch blackness of the dark, but it was muted compared to Sam’s night vision. His deep, glossy, black fur helped him blend into the night. He was invisible unless he moved, and he only moved when he was close enough for one of the others to smell the blood streaming from his claws and fangs. He took out a couple more when he backhanded one against a tree snapping his spine and crushing his skull, and then snatched the last one by his throat just as he was preparing to howl for backup. He lifted him off the ground and squeezed until he could no longer hear bones cracking. Dropping the lifeless wolfman, Sam huffed and snarled before he shot off in Dean’s direction again.

Back at the clearing, John arrogantly began a speech to revel in his delight. He was finally about to secure the future for his pack. “Friends, the goddess flies high in the night sky, blessing us with her light. This monumental event has been overdue for a long time, and how honored is my badass pack of marauders to see it.”

The pack cheered as he continued, “And I absolutely must thank Dean here for agreeing to make me the happiest wolf in these wild woods.” Dean, who had been drugged, dressed in a barely covering loincloth, and tied to a tree trunk, faced John in a daze. “Fuck you,” he said weakly, but with determination.

“Ah, well, that is the plan. You look so delicious trussed up like this for me. I love that all I’d need to do is hook your ankles over my shoulders and let you slide right down my dick.” Dean once again gathered enough strength to spit defiantly in his face. John swiped a hand down his face and laughed as he said, “It’s like we’re mated already. But we still have a couple of obligations yet, my eager Omega. Let’s get down to business.”

“John Winchester!” Brady began among the cheers of the pack.

“Yes!”

“Alpha dog, leader of the fucking pack! Do you take this bitch for… well hopefully just tonight?”

“I sure do.”

“Dean Smith, owner of the only bar in town.” Laughter erupts. “Do you take-”

“Brady, he does,” John interrupts. “So, if you all will just excuse my naked ass for the next, let’s say twenty minutes… oh fuck it, might as well enjoy this, make it forty! Unless anyone has any objections, of course.”

Emma kicked at the cage and opened her mouth to yell but John was ahead of her. “Doesn’t count Emma! Now, where was I? Oh yeah…”

“WHAT IF I OBJECT? DOES THAT COUNT?” Sam’s voice echoed from somewhere within the trees.

Everyone froze and the cheering and rowdy noise stopped. “I WARNED YOU! I TOLD YOU TO LEAVE THEM ALONE!”

“Do you think they’d listen to you, boy? They’re my pack; the only orders they follow are mine!” yelled John, as he slowly turned in a defensive circle. He had no idea where the kid was going to come from.

“Pack? I don’t see a pack of wolves. Wolves don’t terrorize towns, or kidnap innocents, or brutalize women. You rabid, slobbery beasts are hardly wolves in the slightest.” The pack of the bitten snarled and growled collectively at the insult.

“You don’t see wolves, huh? Alright then, boys, let’s show him exactly what we are!” Sam appeared in an instant standing on the hood of one of their trucks. Caleb took a flying leap at Sam and was instantly knocked unconscious. John overturned one of the fire pits, throwing flames and hot coals in Sam’s direction. Sam dodged and hopped over the mess and ripped out another wolfman’s throat on his way to where Dean was still tied up. He slashed at the ropes, freeing Dean from his bonds, and then continued on his lethal spree. He threw a lifeless body at John as he ducked one of the grey Lycan’s powerful arms. Sam was blindingly fast, not allowing John to land a blow. He ran into the forest toward Singer’s farm, John and the rest of the pack in tow.

With Dean free, he shifted to get the wolfsbane out of his system. One of the hybrids moved between him and the cage to attack him and Dean leapt at him, twisting his body in the air and then using that momentum to throw the wolfman over his shoulder. When the hybrid rose back to his feet, Dean dispatched the wolfman within seconds, slicing through his throat. As an Omega, he possessed speed and strength within his Lycan form that would rival most Alphas, so he held his own against the wolfmen easily. It had been a well-concealed secret since he was the only Omega many in the town had ever seen.

Bobby had been trying to break the lock on the cage since Sam left with John’s pack following, but then he froze, surprised and impressed at Dean’s abilities. Dean made his way toward the cage to break them free, but then Brady yelled his name. “You traitorous bitch!” he spat out before he also ran at Dean. Brady slashed at him with his claws, but Dean was too fast and dodged them. He then spun around and punched his fist into Brady’s chest and ripped out his heart. With Brady being the last one there to fight, he was free to kick the door of the cage open. He told Bobby to get to the house and be ready, while he stayed with Ellen and Emma in case there was any more danger.

The remaining members of John’s rabid pack followed after Sam and he led them through the woods back to the farm. Bobby in his Lycan form, followed them until he could take a shortcut back to his house. There, he grabbed a shotgun and prepared to back Sam up, breaking out an upstairs window. Sam took the route that led through the cornfields and to Bobby’s vantage point.

“Okay, here we go,” he whispered to himself. He aimed the shotgun as Sam again tried to warn the pack.

“Listen up!” he said, perched on the roof of the barn. “You all think you can get rid of me, kill me, but you can’t! Turn back, leave, and survive. Stay… and I will kill every last one of you!”

John stood in front of the pack, just feet away from where the traps were buried under the fence bordering the cornfield. “Bring that lanky fucker to me!” he ordered. Sam disappeared into the barn. The rest of the pack were in range when Bobby started shooting. Three explosions rocked the night and cut the pack numbers in half. The rest were stunned and injured, including Caleb, when John looked around in confusion mumbling, “What the fuck?”

As the group recovered, all but Caleb were blindly loyal, ready to continue the fight and follow John’s orders. “Caleb, find him and bring his fucking head to me!”

“Wait, John! We need to be smart about this! We gotta-” The crack of another gunshot rang out as Caleb’s skull popped open, spattering John with blood and brain matter. Bobby cocked the shotgun again, ready to take down more.

Sam exposed his location again, and John roared as he leapt up to the barn loft after him. In the loft, Sam hid again waiting for the rest of the pack to follow John in. Then he jumped to the ground level as the pack entered through the huge, open door. “You can’t hide from me, boy,” he snarled as he searched the dark. While they all sniffed around in an effort to find Sam, the young Alpha had made it outside and closed and boarded up the barn door, trapping them inside.

“Do it, Bobby, now!”

“Aw, Damnit, my poor barn,” he said to himself as he lined up his shot and fired. His aim was true and hit the explosive charges they’d placed on the outside wall. The resulting explosions were immense and annihilated all sides of the structure.

Sam watched the flames consume the barn. He was relieved when none of the remaining wolfmen exited. But then his relief morphed into shock when John leapt from the flaming building with a roar. “This is my town, you little fucking bastard!”

Sam and John tore at each other, exchanging blows and slashes. Every time John would start to get the upper hand, Sam would fight back even harder. After a significant headbutt to John’s face, he exclaimed in frustration, “You! You made me this monster!”

John attempted to return a blow with a swipe of his arm but hit only air as Sam slid beneath him to sink his fangs into John’s leg. John roared in pain, then grabbed Sam, lifted him into the air, and slammed him into the ground, knocking the wind out of him. “Not monster enough apparently!”

Then he threw him into the barn’s exterior. Sam collided with a concrete portion of the wall that supported the lower walls of the barn. As John came stalking back for more, Sam grabbed a two-by-four plank that was lying on the ground and swung. When John flew back from the blow to the head, Sam launched himself onto him, slashing his face with razor-sharp claws. John grabbed his arm, throwing him off as he rolled to stand up, but Sam was there and he landed a punch. As Sam continued, John blocked another hit and grabbed Sam by the throat.

Sam struggled to free himself and once he had, he snapped his jaws onto John’s forearm. Again John growled out in pain as he broke free and slashed Sam across the abdomen, and body-slammed him again. He kept hold of Sam this time dragging him and tossing him through a portion of the fence that was still standing. That was enough to stop Sam for the moment, and John waited with blood dripping from his claws as they caught their breath. “I suppose you had some real fight in you, after all, kid.”

Sam stood, shaking off his daze, ready to finish this once and for all. He snarled at John as he decided to show him just how powerful and determined he was for this to be over. He shifted into his full wolf form, baring his fangs and pawing at the ground, ready to charge forward. His midnight-black coat shone in the moonlight and flame coming from the burning barn.

“Come on!” John demanded. Sam took a running start toward him then feigned left, dropped to his right, circled behind John, and clamped his vice grip jaws on the older Alpha’s Achilles tendon, completely severing it. As John howled and stumbled, Sam shifted back to his Lycan form, landing severe, punishing blows and gashes all over until he finally overcame John, knocking him onto his back.

As John inched backward into the fence for support, panting, Sam heard Bobby say. “Goodbye, John Winchester.” He realized that Bobby was about to shoot him dead.

“No, wait!” he held up his hand, stopping Bobby from making the shot. Sam addressed John, telling him, “You’ve done so many hideous things. You deserve to die.”

After seeing Sam’s true form, John knew the kid was right. He’d forgotten a lot after he’d let the wild consume him in his grief. But, that made him remember the man he had been, the love he’d had when he’d found his True Mate in Mary. He wanted to make sure Sam knew everything, not just what that judgmental asshole Bobby thought he knew. He also wanted Sam looking into his pained, nearly human eyes as he told him, so he shifted despite the excruciating pain. He knew that it wouldn’t heal his worst injuries, but the battle was long over anyway.

“You’re right. But you should know, I never took your mother by force.” Sam looked down at John’s face, full of agony, and he could sense the truth. “I loved Mary and she loved me back. We were True Mates, and I can see that you know what that is like. When Mary’s father found out that she was pregnant, he threatened to kill her, so I took all the blame, made myself look like the villain. They took my mate away from me, and I just… became exactly what they said I was.”

Sam absorbed everything he’d just been told and he took a deep breath. He was shocked at just how much he hadn’t known.

“So go ahead, Sam, put me out of my misery. Death would have been a mercy years ago.”

Laughter interrupted their moment as ‘Wild Joe’ appeared, perched on one of the undamaged, lower roofs of the barn. “Wow, well this is touching. It warms my crazy, shriveled heart to be here to witness this little homecoming. It makes it all worth it.”

“Joe fucking Campbell. I knew there was something that didn’t smell right with this whole situation,” John said.

“Wait, did you say Campbell?” asked Sam, looking wildly between the two men as ‘Wild Joe’ slid down the eaves and hopped to the ground.

“Christian Joseph Campbell, the eldest of the Campbell siblings, and Mary’s cousins,” John gritted out between his teeth.

“That’s right! All these years later and I get to look at the great John Winchester, beaten to a pulp, on his back like the dirty fuck he is.”

“I see you still have my mark, Exile. That will never heal, huh?”

“Naw, but I still got my plucky attitude. And my pretty face and bum leg will see you in hell before I forget what you did to me.” Christian pointed a long, bony, accusatory finger at John. He looked at Sam and asked, “You wanna hear something ironic, kid? You know what your old man said to me before he exiled my ass from this town? He said I was too wild, too brutal, outta control. I swore I’d come back and kill ya, didn’t I, John? He just laughed at me.”

As he turned back to John he said, “Ha! But this kid, he was my golden ticket. You had no idea he existed, you never heard the gossip, but my baby brother, Mark! Oh yeah, he told me all about it. I knew I had a way to hurt you to the core.”

John wasn’t backing down. “Look, Joe, why don’t you just go back to whatever hole in the ground you slithered out of?”

“Ho-ho! Hell no! I’m invested. Do you really think I went to all the trouble of tracking this li’l shit offspring of yours down, killing his parents, leading him to you just to walk away and let you keep breathing?”

Sam focused his gaze on Joe. “What did you say?”

“What? Oh, yeah. I slaughtered that household and kinda sorta let the cops believe it was you. You needed to grow up, to get away from that weak human shitshow life. I needed you here to put this asshole in his place!”

“Sonofabitch!” Sam lunged at Joe, but he was already exhausted from the injuries he received from John. Joe put him on the ground with one punch.

“Sorry kid, but you wasted your payload on the boss, here. Both of you are out for the count. I could mop the floor with both of you with one hand. This is my time to be top dog!” He threw his hat into the air as he shifted and a pale-coated Lycan with blood-red eyes stood in his place. “Boy, have I earned this shit,” he said with a growl.

John looked at Sam, at his son, realizing just how much they’d both been played, and made a decision. If these were his final breaths, he would make certain his heir could take down this psychopath. “Hey, Joe. You mentioned Mark?”

“My favorite, my baby bro. Yeah.”

“I seem to remember he made a mighty tasty dinner a couple nights ago,” John said, laughing as he stood, ready to make this count in any way that would give Sam an advantage. Joe, enraged, made a fatal slash through John’s throat. As he fell, John broke the mechanism stabilizing Joe’s bad leg. Joe screamed in agony as his leg gave way, putting him on his knees.

John fell back, bleeding profusely from his carotid artery. With the last of his strength, gagging on his own blood, he looked at Sam imploring with his golden gaze that the boy understood. The light left his eyes and Sam felt the loss like a dagger through his heart. He rose to his feet and yelled, “I’ll kill you!”

Joe was too fast. He grabbed Sam by the neck and squeezed, walking him over to a hay bale and slamming him down on it. “You won’t do jack shit! You, you’re nothing more than a fucking pitbull bitch I trained for a kill!” He pressed harder, and Sam’s eyes began to bulge. “I’ve waited far too long for this, and you won’t ruin it.”

Joe raised a clawed hand to deliver a killing blow when a gunshot rang out. Joe was hit in the shoulder and he fell to the ground. As he tried to crawl away, Bobby walked toward them and aimed his shotgun to shoot again. “It wasn’t that you were too wild, Joe. You were too damn crazy for this town.” Bobby pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed, triggering a release of many curses.

Joe finally found his feet and began to limp-run away toward the cornfields where he could disappear if he made it in there. Sam went after him but wasn’t much faster due to the deep, enormous gashes across his stomach. Still, he persevered and caught up to Joe, tackling him right at the edge of the crops. Joe, coward that he was, tried to talk and joke his way out as he changed back to a man. “You ever been shot, kid? It’s like getting boot-checked in the balls, but this is my shoulder.”

Sam simply stood there looming, unamused. “So you’re itchin’ to kill me too huh? But you’re not a monster, are you, kid? C’mon, you know that wolves, actual wolves, only kill for food or in defense? Just think about that before you do me in, alright?”

“I’m a human being, Joe,” Sam looked down at Joe, every bit of his ice-blue Lycan gaze full of murderous rage.

“But see, that is exactly what I mean. Those stupid, weak people in the so-called normal world out there are still calling you a killer, a cold-blooded monster. That’s not you at all,” he tried to reason as he stood up.

“I’ve killed tonight. Because of you.”

“No, Samuel. Because you had no choice. All this was John’s fault don’t you see?” he said, lighting up a cigar.

“John’s dead now.”

“Yeah, that’s right. I did that for you. We should be right as rain, even stevens.”

“You think so, huh?” he asked with a growl laced with sarcasm. He snatched the cigar from Joe’s lips.

Sam turned his back on Joe and the sheisty bastard started looking for a direction to run. He really thought he was still dealing with the naive, scared kid he met just weeks ago. “You know, Christian, you have a point. I haven’t actually killed anyone in cold blood before.”

Joe was dealing with an Alpha now. “But I learned that life can be… complicated.” He turned around to face the man that had gaslighted him and put him on this path. “And you ate my fucking parents!” He shoved a lightning-fast fist through Joe’s sternum and clutched his beating heart in his claws, piercing the organ. He lifted him in the air and watched his gaping mouth silently scream before his heart gave up and his body slumped. Sam dropped him in the dirt and walked back toward Bobby before he collapsed.

The last thing he saw before he sank into darkness, was Dean, Ellen, and Emma running to him.

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Sam awoke with a start. At first, he had no idea where he was. He was also unable to move, so he took in as much of his surroundings as he could. He was in a bedroom and the morning sunlight created a soft, but bright glow in the room. When his eyes landed on Dean’s sleeping face cradled by his shoulder, he relaxed in an instant. He didn’t remember very much after watching John die, but he knew from some flashes of memory that he would never have to worry about Christian Joseph Campbell manipulating his life again.

It was then that Dean stirred in Sam’s arms. He breathed deeper as he woke up, tilting his head up to meet Sam’s gaze. “Hey,” he drawled lazily, his voice rough and deep from sleep.

“Hey,” Sam returned with a whisper. They shared a few slow, easy kisses before Sam realized he was stark naked under those blankets, and his wounds were all gone. He stole a few more moments with Dean before deciding to get up and check on Bobby. They got up, got dressed, and found Bobby working at the edge of the cornfields. He had cleaned up what remained of the makeshift bombs in the yard and by the time Sam and Dean reached him, he was just burying the last body part he’d found out there.

“Well, that ought to fertilize the next crop of soybeans. And there shouldn’t be any questions popping up. So who’s hungry? Ellen’s got some breakfast brewin’-”

“Bobby, uh, we hate to be so abrupt, but we gotta go.”

“Already?” Sam nodded yes and for all intents and purposes, Bobby understood. He’d hoped Sam would have stuck around for a little while, but anyone would need a change of atmosphere after what he went through. “Well, you know, you always got a home here.”

“Oh, yeah I know. Don’t worry, we’ll come back. It’s just, uh…”

“It’s me, Bobby. I need to stretch my legs a bit, for a little while anyway.”

Bobby looked at the ground, sad that he’d be missing both his boys for some time. “What’s gonna happen with the bar? Who’ll take care of it?” he tried a last-ditch effort.

“Emma will have things under control. There should be a lot less of her stress-drinking without so much of the stress around here. But, hey, do you think you could…?”

Bobby smiled. “Yeah, of course. You didn’t even need to ask. I have her back as easily as I would have yours. Well, if your headin’ out now I’ve got something you should take with you.” He hurried into the house and came back out a few moments later with Ellen and an old looking scroll. They unrolled it and showed Sam an enormous family tree. The four founder names were written at the top.

“This is something extremely rare. It lists all the old bloodlines, tracing families all the way back to the original settlers. So, you keep it safe, you never know when you might run into other packs. Wherever you two go, you look for those names. It’ll be of good use.”

Sam looked at the unassuming piece of parchment with reverence and then gently rolled it up and packed it safely in his duffle. He moved to give a hug to Ellen, thanking her for taking him in and making sure he stayed fed. Ellen gave him a motherly kiss on the cheek while Dean hugged Bobby, then they switched. “Take care and stay safe.” Bobby’s voice trembled with emotion.

“Definitely. Thanks for everything… Uncle Bobby.” Bobby teared up and Ellen put her arm around him. They waved goodbye as Sam and Dean climbed on the motorcycle and waved back one last time before riding toward the little road that led out of a sleepy little town that no one knew contained the things one saw in horror movies.

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