A New Breed of Hunter
“I… I can’t do that. Don’t ask me to do that.”
“I’m not asking. I’m telling you! Kill me, Sam. Kill me now because I… I won’t live like this. I won’t be what we’ve fought nearly all our lives!”
Sam Winchester refused to look behind him; he refused to look back at his older brother. Not because it hurt to see Dean in chains, but because the guilt behind why his older brother was currently chained in the Panic Room demanding Sam kill him was nearly as bad as every other piece of guilt currently eating him alive.
The past 48 hours had been a roller coaster of emotions for the younger Winchester. Not only had he learned what had been missing within him since his return from the Cage but he was also once again reminded that there was only one person he could truly count on to have his back, to not betray him, and now he was faced with possibly having to kill that person as the results of multiple betrayals and one man’s bitter hate had caused the unthinkable to happen.
“Where the hell is my brother?” Sam demanded as he stormed into the base that the hunters working with Samuel Campbell, the father of the Winchester’s late mother Mary, were occupying.
For a year, since his return from the Cage, Sam had worked with his grandfather and cousins. He let himself be kept from his brother and now he knew why. Now, as he shoved past a startled Mark and Christian to grab Samuel by the front of his shirt, he understood why it had been so vital to keep him away from Dean until it suited Samuel’s purpose to have them together again.
“Take a second and calm down, Son. I’m sure whatever’s got you worked up can be—ugh!” Samuel had motioned the others to stay back. He was sure he could contain Sam’s rare showing of emotion easily enough until his head snapped back from a hard fist and a gun was aimed at his face.
“Do not call me that.” Sam’s tone was hard and cold, much like he figured the group of hunters were used to hearing as he’d been cold and hard since his return.
The rage inside him was vast, as was the guilt and now fear that he might be too late to stop what he’d just learned was Samuel’s master plan of revenge.
“Only my father had the right to call me that. You are not my father. Hell, as of right now I’m not even considering you my grandfather! In fact, if you don’t tell me in the next five seconds where Dean is and just what the hell you assholes did to him, the only thing I will consider you as is a dead man.” Sam stared into Samuel’s hard eyes, unwavering even as he moved the gun smoothly to fire it into the cement floor next to where one of his cousins was about to lunge at him. “Move on me and the next bullet I fire goes into Samuel’s head,” he warned the room. “One more time. Where is my brother?”
Samuel frowned slightly as he took in the tightly clenched jaw, the hard eyes and no-nonsense tone of his youngest grandson. The tone was cold but there was an underlying emotion there that he wasn’t used to hearing since he’d been reassured that Sam would not have those emotions now. He’d also been told the boy would be able to be controlled.
Now, as Sam shoved the barrel of his pistol against the side of his head, the older hunter was starting to realize something drastic had happened and it wasn’t good from his perspective.
“Dean was with you the last time I saw him,” he reminded Sam slowly while trying to move his one hand back to feel for something behind him. “If you lost your brother then maybe you should ask yourself why he’d run from you if you boys were so close. I also think you should relax a bit until you come back to your senses.” Samuel’s hand jerked up with a needle clenched in his fist, aimed for Sam’s neck with the plan to inject him with the drug that they’d used in the beginning, only to swear when the needle was knocked out of his hand. “Sam!”
“Not happening again, old man.” Sam had caught the motion and had been warned that Samuel would try to drug him if possible, so he’d been ready; jerking him away from the wall of shelves and against the heavy table in the middle of the floor, Sam leaned over his grandfather and hissed, “You had all your fun drugging me and using me that you’ll get. Oh, and before you get the idea to have the assholes behind me try to jump me? Think again.”
Christian and Mark Campbell had just been about to do that when suddenly the whole base seemed to shake and they, along with the other few hunters there, were blown back away from Sam. They all stood frozen as the doors opened to allow a grim faced angel to enter along with a pissed-off, grizzled, old hunter.
“Damn it! I thought you said he was back to normal! That whatever the hell was done to him got fixed!” Bobby Singer yelled as he aimed his rifle at Christian when he tried to move. “This does not look like the boy I’ve known!”
“With the restoration of Sam’s soul, he is back to normal. Or he’s not as cold or quick to kill as he has been while working with the Campbell’s,” Castiel replied calmly even as he took in the scene in front of him. “True, it might take some time for Sam to return fully to normal but this is more… the pissed off Winchester side of his personality, I believe. He does share Dean’s temper once it’s ignited, despite it being harder to ignite unless someone threatens what is his.”
“Like my brother.” Sam ignored his back-up for the moment to focus on his clearly enraged grandfather as it became obvious to Samuel that his plans were falling apart. “Dean went back to pick up the rest of his stuff from Lisa’s place while I, liked the drugged out, soulless little puppet you’ve had for the past year, went to check out that little ‘tip’ you gave me.” He shoved the barrel of his weapon a little harder into the side of his grandfather’s neck. Now, he could vividly recall the past year and hated every memory that came to him as well as the man in front of him.
“The only thing was… it wasn’t a tip of a possible werewolf, but a trap. You sent me into a damn trap set by your hunters with the plan to jump me, drug me, just to… what? Get me down so your demon buddy or the asshole angel behind me could steal a bit more of my soul? Or was it to keep me away from Indiana, away from my brother while you sent Christian and Mark after Dean?” Sam demanded tightly as anger and guilt fought for control of his returning emotions.
For over a year, Sam had felt something was off inside him but he hadn’t been able to place it. He’d known he was lacking emotionally and knew he’d been doing things for Samuel that he normally never would’ve considered doing while working with his brother, or even their father, but had never considered why that was. Until recently. And now that he knew why, he was furious at not only himself but also the trench coat wearing Angel behind him.
“You know neither of those boys will forgive you for this stunt, don’t you?” Bobby aimed this toward Castiel while he covered a few of the other hunters. “You’ll be lucky if Dean just doesn’t gut you with your own damn angel blade when he finds out just what the hell part you’ve played in this whole mess.”
The angel actually was very aware that in his desire to stop the civil war in Heaven, he’d allied himself with the new King of Hell to find the door to Purgatory; a door to power that would help them both. And all he had to do was betray the two humans who he’d tried to help since meeting them. Castiel knew even by helping to return the lost pieces of Sam’s soul, helping him now would not be enough to ever return him to the good graces of either hunter; especially if this cost Sam the life of his brother.
Samuel had been about to sneer at his grandson when he suddenly tossed a look of surprise over to the stoic angel. “You gave…” he stopped, quickly rethinking this entire situation as he knew that if Sam had his soul back, if he had knowledge of the plan that Castiel and Crowley had been working on, or at least the part he suspected the angel had been told about, then it would be impossible to take the path he had been planning on. So knowing this, he changed plans. “Why would you think I’d send your cousins after Dean?” he asked calmly, a small smirk forming. “After all, he’s barely the great hunter I’d heard he was. He got soft after he retired. Maybe he decided when he went back to… ugh!”
The barrel of the gun cut off the sneering words as Sam shoved it harder into the soft flesh of the older man’s throat while reaching into his jacket pocket as he glared at his grandfather. “Dean might have left hunting, he might have ‘retired’, but he did it because I made him promise to go to Lisa if anything happened to me. Even retired for a goddamn year, Dean is still a better hunter than you or half the assholes here, including those two bastards who do your dirty work for you!”
Sam’s hand pulled out something that immediately caught Samuel’s eye and this time it was Sam’s turn to smirk. “Mark has a bad habit of taking things from people he kills while Christian likes to use that blade of his a bit too much.” He pressed the speed dial button on his phone and almost instantly a familiar ringtone was heard across the room.
“Dean started to send me a text before I was jumped by a couple of your hunters and before Castiel and Bobby showed up along with a very pissed off Death. After I woke up from having bits and pieces of my soul shoved back into my chest, I tried to call my brother but he didn’t pick up.” Sam glanced over his shoulder to where Bobby was yanking the ringing phone out of the hunter’s jacket before looking back down at his now simmering grandfather. “I went back to Indiana. I went back to that house where Dean believed Lisa and Ben would be safe and I found what looked like a goddamn massacre had happened! I found Lisa and Ben dead like a wild animal had torn them apart.”
“Maybe your so-called perfect brother finally snapped!” Christian said with a smirk as he glared at Sam. “He isn’t a hunter! He’s an out of control bastard trained by someone too obsessed with something he knew nothing about! Now he’s something that needs putting down! Now he’s a killer! Now he’s something that will be hunted like the animal he is and ugh!”
“Sam!” Samuel shouted when his grandson spun to fire his pistol, the bullet hitting Christian in the shoulder. “The boy’s right! Dean’s been out of control for years and whatever happened in Indiana…”
“Y’see, that’s where you’re screwing yourself because while on the surface it looks like Dean either lost control, that maybe your so-called ‘cure’ didn’t work, and that when he went back he lost it and killed Lisa and Ben, I know my brother.” Sam wondered how long it would take to get the visions of that nightmare out of his head as he could still recall the brutal sight he’d found upon walking into that house. "I know how my brother thinks, Samuel. I watched him fight when he’d been turned to not lose control so I know, despite what it looked like, that Dean didn’t kill the Bradens.” He shot a hard look back at where Gwen was trying to stop the blood coming from Christian’s shoulder.
“I’ve hunted with them long enough to also know how each of them hunts. Mark’s a trophy killer but Christian’s a sadist. Ben’s throat was cut shallowly enough that he bled out slowly while probably watching his mother be killed and I bet when I find my brother, Dean’ll show wounds from trying to defend them and himself.” Sam leaned closer to Samuel’s face without even being aware of how his tone had taken the same edge he’d heard so often from his own father when John Winchester was well and truly pissed. “Dean might have changed with his time in Hell, but he would never hurt a child. So now you tell me where my brother is or I’ll show you how much I’ve changed because while I’ve got my soul back, while I’ve got my emotions back, I am more than willing to push them down and do to you what you had those two do to Lisa and Ben.”
Bobby glanced over to see the way Sam’s face was set and could see that Castiel was actually frowning as if the angel was sharing his concern that perhaps all of the soulless side of the boy hadn’t gone yet. “Sam!” he yelled when he saw a change on his face that he’d seen on Dean right after the boy got back from his time in Hell. “If Dean’s here then he’s got to be somewhere in this place. Castiel and I’ve got this covered; you go find your brother.”
Sam didn’t move for several seconds before he finally relented and stepped back from Samuel, but not before he gave a hard and fast punch to the older man’s jaw. “Whatever plan you had for him, whatever you did, if Dean’s hurt severely, I promise that you will hurt ten times as much,” he promised quietly. “Don’t let any of them follow me and I’ll handle any that I encounter.”
“Sam!” Samuel yelled as his grandson started to head for the back of the base to where he knew the other sections were located. “It’s too late! You might find your hero, but he’s not the man he was! Christian was right when he said he wasn’t anything but an animal to be put down now!”
Sam hesitated to consider those words. He knew what he feared had happened when he realized who had probably jumped Dean back in Indiana, and while he didn’t understand the reason behind their grandfather’s hate for his brother, Sam just wanted to find Dean and would deal with the how and why once he had him.
“If you lied to me about that cure working, or if you screwed us over by not doing it correctly and Dean’s hurt because of it, I promise that whatever deal you made with Crowley to come back from the dead won’t be worth it. I will send you right back to hell,” he promised grimly.
“Did your bastard father know he’d raised a couple of incestuous faggots?” Christian called out as he batted Gwen away, but stayed still when a shotgun was aimed at his face. “Did he know, or does this old man know just what the hell you two freaks used to do? Samuel should’ve let us kill both of you ‘cause just having you alive tarnishing Campbell blood makes me sick!”
Sam had gone still, fingers fisting. He wasn’t upset at the names his cousin had used as he and Dean had both accepted the line that they’d crossed years ago. He was upset because he knew the only way Christian could’ve learned about that little grey area between them was if they’d somehow gotten into Dean’s head because Sam knew it would take a lot to make his older brother admit to loving him in a way that was neither legal or ethical.
Slowly, he glanced back to stare into Christian’s eyes, ignoring Bobby and Castiel and the obvious surprise on Gwen’s face while Samuel stared at him stoically. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have any Campbell blood in my veins. My mother stopped being a Campbell when she married my father, and given what I’ve come to learn of the so-called great and mighty Campbell family line of hunters? I’d rather admit to being a Winchester because there ain’t a one of you that’s really impressive. And as for what Dean and I did or have done in the past, or who knew about it? That’s my business.”
Sam left the room to the lessening shouts and curses. He knew Bobby and Castiel could handle Samuel and the others, and if any others were still in the base and tried to stop him then he’d handle them himself.
The base had a level below it but Sam was aware that there was also a second level below that; one that Samuel had always refused him entrance to and now, with the return of his soul as well as several memories of his last year, he suspected he knew why that had been.
Before, he’d never questioned Samuel’s demands that certain monsters be taken alive or what was done with them later on. Now he suspected he had a clue to where they went or at least temporarily, and if he was right then he suspected he knew where his grandfather would have locked his brother up… if Dean was still alive.
Sam ran through the base to get to where he knew the entrance was, only to have to waste more time than he cared for picking the damn locks on the heavy steel door that would take him to the section he hadn’t been allowed before.
“Shit,” he whispered once he entered the long, dimly lit corridor that was lined on both sides with heavy steel doors to see that all of them were open but one; the one at the very end of the hall and it was locked with multiple locks. “Dean!”
Learning the truth of his escape from the Cage as well as just how Castiel had been involved and the lies that had been told to both him and Dean bothered the hunter, but Sam knew there’d be time to deal with the angel as well as Crowley later. All he wanted was to find Dean, get him the hell out of this place, and hopefully make it all right between them again.
Sam feared Dean would blame him for letting him be turned into a vampire and everything that had happened because of that since, but he would take his brother’s hate as it came if he needed to… once he found him.
“Dean? Dean! Hey, hang on!” Sam wasn’t sure if his brother was even being held behind the door but the gut feeling in his belly told him he was.
Samuel’s hatred for his brother had been explained in basic terms by Castiel, who’d had the story told to him by a too talkative Crowley it seems, and while it made no sense to Sam, he suspected that their grandfather would want to punish Dean a lot more before letting him die as he saw his brother as the reason behind not only his own death but also for their mother’s.
There was a lot that Sam knew he’d be making up for, not only to Dean but to others given what memories he had. Death, while lecturing Castiel about playing with souls and making deals with demons, explained he’d try to put up a wall to shield Sam’s mind from the events of Hell but even now Sam could tell that wall might not be strong enough, so he focused on picking the locks until the last one was off and he jerked open the door to nearly gag on the thick stench that hit him the moment it opened.
The smell was a mix of old and new odors but the stench of blood, of decay and things that made Sam’s already rolling stomach pitch dangerously, almost made him hesitate until a sound from inside the dark cell caught his ears and the smells were no longer an issue.
“Dean? Can you hear me? Hang on while I try to get some light in here and… oh shit.” Sam had been cursing his own haste for not thinking to grab a flashlight. He’d been reaching into his pocket for his lighter when a sound had him glancing up quickly and immediately realized that in his haste to find and rescue his brother that he’d left himself wide open to one of the first mistakes he’d been taught to avoid. “Shit!”
Sam had been so intent on finding Dean in the darkened cell that he’d let his hunter’s senses drop and missed the way the hair on the back of his neck had been standing up in warning of possible danger. He hadn’t realized what he’d stepped into until it was too late; he was trying to avoid having his throat ripped out or his arm dislocated when he went flying across the cell to crash on the hard, sticky floor with a solid weight pinning him down. “Dean!”
Even in the dark cell with very little to no light available to see his attacker or even to see to fight back and as a hand gripped his throat to start to squeeze it while other pressed down on his chest, Sam realized he didn’t need to see to know who was trying to kill him. He’d felt a similar grip ever since he’d been old enough to spar with his brother.
“Dean, wait! It’s me! It’s… ugh… Sam!” Sam managed to get his one hand up to grip the wrist of the hand on his throat, feeling the fingers squeezing with a lot more strength than Dean normally should’ve had and a piece of Sam began to go cold right then at that thought.
Growing up together, trained by their father together, had made the Winchesters pretty evenly matched when they sparred or wrestled. Or it had until recently.
Sam, in the last year and some odd months, had put on more muscle mass as he hadn’t felt the need for sleep and so had worked out instead. He was broader at the shoulders now than he had been and so he knew he had the strength to take his brother and flip their positions… or he should have had.
The counter move worked because Sam figured Dean either wasn’t aware that it was him right then or he hadn’t expected him to try the one offensive move that, up until this day, Sam had never been able to pull off successfully. He didn’t have time to feel pleased that it had this time because just as he was about to try to make Dean understand he didn’t have to fight, that he was being rescued from whatever their mother’s family might have done to the hunter Sam’s head and back suddenly hit the ground again as he found himself flipped.
“Dean! Stop!” Sam felt the back of his head explode in pain as it hit hard but then he caught a flash of something that nearly made his heart stop in his already tight chest. “No. Oh, God… no.”
The fear, the dread that had been there ever since Sam couldn’t reach Dean by phone or text and when he got back to the Braden house to see what he had, was almost choking him with guilt and dread. Then when Castiel revealed what he’d known of Samuel’s plans of revenge and Sam realized just how badly he’d been played, he’d feared what he might find when he got to Dean. But it still took him off guard to see what he did when what light from the hallway suddenly showed him a flash of a blurry image above him.
The pain in his head, the lack of air from having his throat gripped tightly had Sam’s vision swimming, but he still caught a glimpse of his brother’s rugged face in that second of light. He saw the badly swelled eye, the blood and bruises on his face and on his throat, but then Sam saw what he’d been hoping he wouldn’t and all of sudden all of his other failures no longer seemed as huge as his failure this time was.
Bobby had tried to tell him that it wasn’t his fault, that Dean wouldn’t blame him for either the vampire mess or even the Braden’s deaths, except as Sam looked up to see the fangs that his older brother couldn’t fight back over the bloodlust that he could tell was hitting Dean hard, the hunter knew it wouldn’t matter who hated or blamed him for anything now.
Sam knew he’d never forgive himself for allowing Dean to be turned, for not making sure Samuel’s cure was valid and lasting, or that his brother was safe from attack while he went to get his stuff from Lisa’s. He caught a flash of green from wild eyes and almost knew for certain Dean was either in shock, drugged, or totally lost in the lust for blood that probably being locked in a cell with the smell of it had caused to be even stronger.
Stunned at the knowledge that either the cure hadn’t worked, hadn’t lasted, or that Samuel had allowed something to turn his brother again and that Dean was truly a vampire rocked the younger Winchester in a way that he hadn’t been expecting.
He’d managed to once again grip the wrist of the hand his brother had on his throat but knew that even if the Campbell’s hadn’t forced blood on Dean to complete the change that Dean’s strength right then would be much greater than his was. Not that Sam was certain he cared as he was abruptly punched in the gut with a feeling of guilt even stronger than he’d been feeling since waking up with his soul restored.
“Dean… it’s okay, Dean. I’m… here. I’ll be with you.” Sam wasn’t sure his words could be heard since he was forcing them out of vocal cords that were being squeezed. Sam was certain if he didn’t pass out from lack of air soon, his throat would be crushed under the strength of fingers that he suddenly could recall once being gentle.
There’d been three times that Sam could literally recall his life flashing in front of his eyes: once he’d been a teenager and had gotten hurt on a hunt; the other had been in Cold Oak when Jake had literally stabbed him in the back; finally, the last had been when he’d been fighting Lucifer for control as he’d beaten Dean nearly to death while in control of Sam’s body.
Those times had been flashes of his life, his past, of growing up with Dean as well as other things more recently such as Jessica, Ellen, Jo, Ash, their Dad and so many others. But this time, as Sam instinctively tried to fight to draw air into his struggling lungs, his flashes were of a different type of memory.
Christian’s jab at the not so brotherly relationship that had been between them since Sam was 17 and since he returned to hunting hadn’t hurt so much as it had brought back the memories that Sam had been trying to bury once he realized something had been wrong with him lately.
It had been the moment in some motel recently when frustration over a case had turned to something more like it sometimes had and Sam hadn’t felt the same burning need that he’d felt since he was 16 that he’d known something was truly wrong with him.
He hadn’t been able to explain it then to Dean and had sensed his brother’s growing concern was turning to more than just doubt about the changes in Sam. Sam had known it had hurt Dean when he’d pulled away, but Sam couldn’t lie to himself or Dean right then. He had been afraid that whatever had been wrong with him might end up hurting the one person he still cared for, even if it was just in a little way.
Now that Sam knew what the problem had been, knew why he hadn’t been able to care, he longed to tell Dean everything as well as tell him what he’d wanted to from the first moment they’d seen one another again. But now Sam had doubts if he’d ever have that chance or if Dean would even want to hear those words from him.
Feeling his lungs and chest burning more while little white lights danced in front of his eyes, Sam considered fighting for his life or at least breaking the hold. But instead of that, he managed to force his other hand up to just touch Dean’s bare chest to press it over his brother’s heart like Sam had done so many other times.
“It’s… okay, Dean,” he gasped as Sam now could hear his own heart in his ears and could feel the grip on Dean’s wrist weakening. “I’m… not leaving you. My… fault… I… I… love you.”
Those weren’t the words Sam planned to say with what he figured might be his last breath, but they were what came out and he didn’t care. If he was dying here then he’d at least say the damn words that he’d never gotten to say all that much to his brother over the years.
It was the name that caught onto Sam’s fading thoughts. Dean’s voice was deeper, slightly more gravelly than usual as if he was fighting himself or his throat was raw, but for Sam it was hearing the nickname that was only his brother’s to use that made him try to focus his blurry eyes.
Ever since he and Dean started hunting together again this time, since Sam’s return from the Cage, he’d noticed that as Dean began noticing the difference in him and his lack of emotions that he stopped using the nickname; until now.
Sam felt the fingers around his throat loosen but when he went to move his one hand, the hand Dean had on his chest pressed a little harder as if in warning and the hunter went still.
“Is… is it you?” Dean wasn’t sure what was real right then. His head, thoughts, and body were all fighting for control that he could tell was waning.
Dean’s memories once he got to Lisa’s house were shaky. He knew he’d been worried about his brother’s actions as of late, especially since he’d recalled seeing him in the alley the night of the vampire attack.
As someone who’d known and practically raised Sam all his life, Dean had instantly felt the change in his brother from that first moment back together but he’d been willing to cut the kid some slack given what he was sure Sam had endured at the hands of two pissed off Archangels. It was harder to ignore the way their so-called grandfather, a man that Dean hadn’t cared for when he first met him back in the past, acted or how he seemed to assume control when it came to Sam.
The hunter in Dean had been screaming warnings to him from the first moment of meeting their mother’s ‘family’ but he’d been more focused on his brother and trying to decide if hunting was still what he wanted to do after being retired for a year.
Losing his brother to a damn hole in the ground had been the hardest thing Dean had ever faced. He knew he only went to Lisa because Sam had asked him to, even if he hadn’t actually promised to, but Dean knew he needed something to ground him while he worked to free Sam from that damn Cage.
For over a year he’d tried to adjust to ‘normal’ but had quickly learned that while he might not be hunting like he had, there was no way to take the hunter out of him. So after the Djinn attack, after learning what he had about Sam’s return, about Samuel and the Campbell soup kids, the hunter in him just knew something was wrong.
Dean had known there’d be no going back to Lisa and Ben after what happened that night, so he’d only gone back to pick up what stuff had still been there and to try to explain his actions.
He hadn’t liked leaving Sam on his own, but figured it wouldn’t be for too long. The hunter in Dean had felt the odd vibes when he got to Lisa’s house but ignored it. He’d also felt the odd way his body was feeling but had dismissed that as possible aftereffects of Samuel’s so-called ‘cure’. It wasn’t until it was too late that Dean realized his mistake in ignoring both issues.
Now as he stared down into Sam’s face, he struggled to ignore the burning need for blood that he’d woken up with after the beating he’d taken both at the house and then here.
Dean knew he’d never forget the screams he’d heard in that house. He’d never forget the guilt at what knowing him had cost the Braden family or the fury at what his so-called family had done to cause it.
Dean knew his grandfather blamed him for what happened back in the past with the Yellow Eyed Demon; it didn’t surprise him when he first realized the cure had only been temporary, Dean already knew Samuel would betray him. It did surprise him that so many were willing to follow the old man blindly and do what Christian and Mark had done to Lisa and her son once they’d taken Dean out of the fight.
Dean wasn’t sure if the change had taken full effect now or not; he hadn’t fed before and had tried to fight back his cousin when they forced him near a barely clinging to life Lisa, and Dean feared before he lost consciousness that they’d forced some of the woman’s blood into his mouth.
Waking up in the cell with a smug Samuel promising to make him suffer for his crimes against the Campbell family and how Dean would suffer before he let him die, how his brother would never come looking for him because Samuel owned him, had made Dean furious. But he’d been unable to fight back against whatever they’d hit him with back in Indiana.
The smell of old blood as well as new that had been added to the cell to cause him to lose control had nearly sent Dean over the edge when he started to wake up earlier, but he’d fought it. Then he thought he’d heard Sam calling his name but hadn’t put much stock into it because Sam as he was now wouldn’t give a damn, and he knew Samuel and the others wouldn’t let his brother near him.
It had been instinct now to fight but what startled Dean was how easy it had been to take Sam down. He hadn’t been certain at first if it was his brother even though the voice was Sam’s, and it had been that voice that started to pull at the man who was fighting inside the monster as Dean saw himself now.
Sam’s tone lately had been off. A little colder, harder, and missing that little bit of emotion that his brother always seemed to have when he spoke. This time, as his voice penetrated the red haze of bloodlust, Dean heard the shake, the buried fear. But what finally snapped him back was when he heard Sam say that he loved him and he felt a light tough to the center of his chest.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Sam managed to confirm but wasn’t sure what else he could say right then to prove it. “Death said to tell you that we seriously needed to stop screwing with natural selection. He also said you owed him fried pickles for putting my soul back in.”
Dean almost rolled his eyes about that when he suddenly frowned. “Soul? What the hell was Death doing messing with your soul and how the hell did it… Sonuvabitch!”
Keeping Sam pinned was easy right then as Dean slowly realized what his brother was saying and then the light bulb literally went off. “Do I want to ask who the hell removed your soul so I can at least rip their hearts out before I have you kill me?” he asked tightly and fought to push the fangs he could feel in his mouth back. “Was it Samuel?”
“He had a part in it but…” Sam hesitated a second until he felt Dean’s fingers slid up to grip his jaw with a grip tight enough that Sam winced. “When Castiel pulled me out of the Cage, he left a good chunk there, and then he’s been drawing little bits away for him and Crowley to use to find Purgatory. Dean, that hurts…” He didn’t want to fear his brother, but he could almost tell the struggle that was going on above him when hot green eyes pinned him even in the dark cell.
“Huh. Okay. I owed him pain for letting you out of the Panic Room that night, so now I’ll kill him.” Dean might have considered the angel an ally once but now he was pissed off and figured if he was going down that he’d take the goddamn trench coat wearing asshole with him just for thinking he could hurt Sam in any way and not expect to pay. “If I move, don’t come close to me. Turn the lights on so you can see me,” he said as he slowly eased away from his brother. “Are you here alone?”
Dean didn’t think Sam was because he could pick up the scents of both Castiel and Bobby on his brother’s clothes. He groaned as a light suddenly flashed on once Sam got to his feet and he steadied his still spinning head to find the light hanging on the other side of the room. “Shit!”
Sam let his eyes adjust to the brightness but knew it had to be worse on Dean since he suspected right now all of his brother’s senses had to be more enhanced. “Dean?” He took in the bruises and dried blood on his brother’s chest and arms, but what made Sam’s teeth clench was when he saw the damage to Dean’s back which was littered with deep cuts, bruises and blood that the younger man knew had to be increasing the lust for blood. “Can I…” he started to take a step but stopped when a hand shot out. “Dean.”
“Stay there.” Dean could hear Sam’s heartbeat and he could smell Sam’s blood, so he knew Sam’s head was bleeding where it hit the floor of the cell the last time. “The cure… either it didn’t work or…”
“Samuel fucked it up on purpose.” Sam knew that as well as he knew anything right then. “He… I’m sorry, Dean. I… I let you be turned and then I didn’t… I’m…”
The guilt, the emotion that he could hear now almost made Dean smile because this was the little brother he’d been missing for so long; this was the brother that wore his heart on his sleeve and the one that Dean now feared he’d have to hurt before this could be handled.
“You didn’t have a soul to be able to tell right from wrong so I think you get a pass for the blame, Sam.” Dean guessed it might be more complicated, but right then he was working on fighting back the need for blood as well as the need to hurt people for what was done to not only Sam but now to the Braden family. “You good now?”
“Dude, I think we need to focus on you right now,” Sam said but understood that even now Dean was just being Dean. He knew his brother would probably always be looking after him even when he was fighting a fight that Sam wasn’t sure how they would win. “Let me get you out of here. We’ll head for Bobby’s and…”
Dean took a slow step closer to see if he could maintain control if he was close to Sam. “I think the change is complete, Sam,” he told his brother grimly, reaching up to ran a shaking hand over his face and he could feel the dry blood there. “They… did you go to the house?”
“I was jumped by a couple of Samuel’s guys before Castiel and Bobby got to me, so that’s why I didn’t reply to that text you tried to send me. After I woke up from whatever Death did, I headed right to Lisa’s place and… Dean…” Sam stopped as Dean’s fist suddenly slammed into the wall in a fit of rage that Sam guessed was appropriate given the circumstances. “You didn’t kill them.”
“No, but I also couldn’t save them either.” Dean knew he’d tried but when the hunters busted in the door he’d already been fighting the return of the symptoms, and then he’d been nailed with a dart of something that took him down hard. “They didn’t care about Lisa and Ben, Sam. They hurt them to get at me. Lisa begged Christian not to hurt Ben but…” he stopped to try to push back the searing memory of blood and screams of people who’d cared for him and that he’d cared for, even though Lisa had already come to the conclusion who meant more to him.
“She was alive when they held me down and let her blood drip into my mouth. They’d drugged me and beat the shit out of me while those two assholes were killing Lisa so I couldn’t move. But I saw her eyes… and other than your face the night my deal came due, I think it’ll be the accusation in her eyes of what I caused to happen that I’ll remember until I die now.” Dean tensed at the hand on his arm but didn’t jerk it off like he would have if it had been anyone else. “They killed them because they thought it would matter to me, and it did but not for the reason I think they expected it to. Killing them just adds more to the guilt I’ve been carrying since we were kids and gives me another reason to want to kill every single Campbell in this goddamn place.”
The anger in Dean’s voice as well as the guilt reminded Sam that while he carried his emotions on his sleeve, that his brother wore his buried guilt there as well; Dean would have a hard time accepting that the deaths of Lisa and Ben wasn’t his fault.
“We’ll make this right, Dean.” Sam wasn’t sure how but right then all he wanted was to get the hell out of the Campbell base.
“There’s no way to make this right, Sam!” Dean whirled with a speed that took the younger Winchester off guard when he grabbed for Sam’s shirt, shoving him against the wall outside the cell door with more force than he’d intended; he saw the flash of pain on Sam’s still paler than normal face but was having a difficult time reining his feelings in. “I am everything we were taught to fight! To kill! I’m a goddamn mon… mnmm!”
Sam’s hand suddenly shot up to cover Dean’s mouth. He needed to stop him before that word was said because there was no way Sam could bear to hear it out loud. He’d heard his brother say it once to him, but to hear it said about Dean, to have Dean speak it about himself, was something Sam couldn’t handle yet.
“We will make this right,” he said while meeting and holding his brother’s eyes until finally Dean nodded. The reality of actually reversing the process was slim to none as Sam knew and the alternative was something the hunter in him knew but the brother would refuse until he had no other choice. “Please? Let me take you out of here?”
Dean stared at his brother before stepping back, but kept a hand on Sam’s shoulder another moment. “I… I don’t know how much control I can keep, Sam,” he warned tightly as he could feel the start of burning need building again and feared he knew what the only thing to stop that would be; the one thing that Dean would rather die than do. “I need you to promise me that if it looks like I’m going out of control or if I start to lose it that either you’ll do it or you’ll let Bobby. Promise me?”
Sam bit his lip, understanding what that meant and what Dean was asking, but not willing to give that promise verbally any more than Dean had been the promise to get out of hunting and go to Lisa if their plan backfired. So he merely gave a slight nod while pulling his jacket off to hand it to Dean. “Can you make it up okay or…?”
“Yeah, I think I can walk out of here on my own.” Dean was edgy, and he did feel weird, but he’d be damned if he’d be carried out by his little brother so long as he was conscious. “Sammy?” He hesitated as he was unsure how to say what he wanted to. “You know… well… about what you said back in the cell? You know that I… love you too, right? And that if this whole vampire thing hadn’t knocked me on my ass that I would’ve figured out what was wrong with you?”
“I know, Dean,” Sam murmured and waited until his brother had turned to add softly. “To both things.”
“You also know that right now my hearing is really good?” Dean didn’t bother to look back as he could feel Sam’s closeness and wished he trusted himself a little more to do what he’d wanted to for months.
“Yep, know that too.” Sam offered a small smile as he stayed close to Dean’s side as they headed out of the lower sections of the hunter’s base.
It took them some time to get up to the main section; twice Dean had to stop as his stomach cramped in pain and once he’d pushed Sam away because Dean could feel the desire growing too strong for blood and he refused to lose what control he had with his brother.
By the time they got close enough where Sam could hear voices, he worried that the moment Dean saw either their grandfather or one of the cousins that what control his brother was straining for would be lost. “Dean?”
The hunger was building but so was the anger and as Dean followed Sam into the main room and his gaze landed on Samuel, the urge to tear the man’s throat out nearly got the better of him. The hunter feared it would have if he suddenly hadn’t felt fingers touch his arm and wondered what it still was about Sam that could rein him in when his temper started to get the best of him.
“Bobby? I’ve got him. Let’s go.” Sam understood he was leaving a very dangerous hornets’ nest behind if he didn’t deal with the Campbell’s, but right then all he wanted was to get Dean as far away from this place as possible so they could try to decide what needed to be done.
“Sam!” Samuel snapped while glaring at his grandsons with hate and now disgust. “Your brother’s a monster now. The boys fed him blood, so there’s no going back to human for him… if he ever was human to begin with!”
Dean stepped just slightly in front of his now tensing brother to stare at their mother’s father. “Considering I saw you die and I’m now half certain Crowley brought you back, I’m not sure I’d be tossing the humanity card around too much if I were you.
“You hated our father. You were going to force our mother to marry someone of your choosing so you could continue your little family dynasty even though Mom wanted out. You blame me for what happened back then but you’d already forced Mom away, old man,” he met the heated glare head on while hearing Sam tell someone to back off. “Yeah, you might have gotten your wish and I’ll be dying soon, but it won’t be at your hands. You might’ve made me into this but if and when I die, it’ll be at my choosing. And before I let either you or your little sadistic asshole hunters near my brother again… I’ll make damn certain this line is over before I buy it.”
“You’re worse than a monster, freak!” Christian shouted from where he now leaned against the wall. “Both of you are! If my father hadn’t gotten killed thanks to your old man, you can bet things would’ve been different! Our family never would’ve let you two fuck with one another, and as soon as we or another hunter gank your ass, you can bet we’ll make Sammy-boy there back into the ugh!”
Dean moved before either Sam or Bobby could react. He slammed into Christian with enough force that items on the wall close to them fell from the impact as his hand wrapped around the other man’s throat. “I have held my tongue. I haven’t shot any of you despite wanting to. I owe you and your buddies for not only the beating I took back in Indiana but for what you did to Lisa and Ben. I could so easily use these fangs to rip your throat out, or better yet… make you into what the old man made me.” He saw a flash of fear reflected now as well as hate as Christian struggled in his grasp.
“I could. I know how this goes even if it hasn’t sunk in with Sam yet. You assholes will pass it on to the community what I’ve become, just like those other jackasses did with Sam and the demon blood. I’ll be hunted for the rest of my life or I’ll force someone to kill me rather than be what I am, and that’s true but… understand this,” he growled while hearing Sam calling him and the sound of Bobby’s shotgun going off as if to keep someone away from him. “What you did to me? What you did to the Bradens? Those were huge mistakes; mistakes you and all your little friends will pay for, for some time. The last mistake you will ever make? If you come close to my brother, or if you or any of them try to touch him or hurt him, I will end you long before someone ends me!”
“Dean! Leave the asshole alone and let’s go!” Bobby shouted while he aimed his shotgun at a bristling Samuel. “You touch either of my boys and I’ll make sure you go back to hell,” he warned as Sam got his brother away from Christian and out of the base with a grim Castiel waiting for them at the door. “Their Dad wasn’t perfect. Lord knows there were times I threatened to fill John Winchester’s ass with buckshot and he might have been blind to a lot of crap that went on between those boys, but the one thing John never would’ve done was let one of his boys be turned into a vampire just for revenge! You stay away from them and if you try to cause those boys trouble then I will be damn sure to cause you all kinds of it right back!”
The old grizzled hunter paused by the door to glare at the angel. “You keep them from following them and you better make sure you stay the hell away from my door cause I ain’t any happier with you than I am that old fool,” Bobby said before storming out the door. “If you or that demon come around, I will banish both your asses and the Sheriff of Sioux Falls will have descriptions of these bastards! She will only be too thrilled to throw them in jail.”
Once the door slammed shut, Bobby Singer didn’t give a damn about anything else that might happen inside or what Castiel did. As far as he was concerned, it would be a cold day in Crowley’s hell before he let that trench coat wearing angel back in his home or around the two boys that he’d considered his for a long time.
Hurrying outside to where his truck was parked next to the Impala, he saw Sam standing beside the open driver’s door while it was clear an on edge Dean was not happy with being stuck in the shotgun position.
“You have a plan or how many favors do you expect me to pull in to find out anything about curing someone from being a vampire?” he asked even while knowing the lore was pretty scarce on those details.
“Before I left here the last few times, I’d been taking some of Samuel’s books which outdate even some of yours, so I’m hoping for something but…” Sam shot a grim look to the Impala. “He wants me to lock him in the Panic Room until we find something, Bobby.”
Bobby had seen that coming and while he knew it wouldn’t be high on Sam’s list of things to do since the younger man had serious issues with the room in his basement, he could also understand Dean’s reasoning.
“You boys go ahead and get settled, either in the house or in the basement,” he told Sam simply, adding with a look over his shoulder at the base. “I need to make a few stops before I get there and I need to talk to Sheriff Mills about some people. It’s going to be okay, Sam. We’re not letting your idjit brother go without one hell of a fight.”
Sam nodded his thanks and as he started the drive to South Dakota, all he could do was hope there’d be some miracle way out of this and try to ignore that his gut was clenching with dread at the alternative.
Once back at Bobby’s place, it took Sam time to agree to even chain Dean up in the Panic Room. When his brother reminded him that it wasn’t just for Sam’s protection but also Bobby’s in case he lost control of the hunger that was now full blown, the younger Winchester finally did as he was told.
Even though he’d been fed blood before, Dean refused to take any now, not even to take the edge off. He pretended that he couldn’t hear his brother and Bobby either upstairs or outside the closed door talking about their dwindling chances of curing him since the change was basically complete.
“Sam…” Bobby had been saying before something crashed upstairs like a pile of books being swept off the desk in the man’s library. “I ain’t any happier about this than you are but… there also isn’t a lot of options left for us to check out! Campbell made sure the change was complete this time and with it complete… Dean’s craving blood. The longer he’s without it, he’ll either go mad from starving, though I’ve never seen a vamp go totally without it, or he’ll snap on one of us and we’ll have to… damn it boy!”
“I’m not letting anyone kill him!” Sam shouted as something as crashed to the floor and Dean’s head pounded at the footsteps he could hear on the steps heading to the basement.
The hunter in Dean had known the odds of curing him now were slim to none but he’d still, for Sam’s sake, been hoping because he did not want to put this on his brother; especially now that he’d noticed how the return of Sam’s soul had brought back his often too emotional little brother.
However, the last 12 hours chained in the Panic Room had made him face the fact that without a cure he’d eventually be killed by someone. Dean had no doubt that by now the Campbell’s had spread it around that he’d been turned. Dean would rather face his death here than risk putting Sam in jeopardy by trying to defend him or have his death drawn out like he knew some hunters would probably do.
The exhaustion, the worry on Sam’s face as he stepped into the Panic Room, told Dean everything he needed to do and where it needed to end.
“I… I can’t do that. Don’t ask me to do that.” Sam had known the order would be coming, but it still didn’t make it easy to hear or accept that he might have to take that choice.
“I’m not asking. I’m telling you. Kill me, Sam. Kill me now because I… I won’t live like this. I won’t be what we’ve fought nearly all our lives. I won’t risk you getting hurt because of me. Now, before you try to talk me out of it or before I have to have Bobby knock your ass out so he can do this, take the damn machete that’s on the table and kill me!” Dean snapped, voice rougher, harder than usual as he was fighting the urge to yank free of the chains that held him with each beat of Sam’s heart that he could hear now.
Sam’s eyes moved to the table across the room where Bobby had placed the razor sharp machete once he arrived at the house.
He hadn’t slept since arriving here; all Sam wanted was to look through books to hopefully find some way to keep the inevitable from happening. Now as he heard the ragged tone, could almost sense the angst and pain building in his brother, he knew he was running out of options except the one that both Bobby and Dean were basically telling him to take.
Reaching for the blade, he slowly glanced back to see how wide, how dark with blood lust Dean’s eyes had become compared to how Sam was used to seeing them.
“I’m sorry.” Sam whispered as he picked up the blade and turned slowly. “I’m so damn sorry, Dean.”