Friendly Fire

By Ridley C. James, July 2007

Beta: Tidia

Disclaimer: Nothing Supernatural belongs to me.

Words: 4.974

Timeline: Preseries. Young Winchester.

Brotherhood Timeline: After Heroes Revisited; before The Line



Caleb Reaves's voice broke. Dean briefly closed his eyes as Caleb’s warm blood-slicked hands shoved kitten-weak against his.

“Please…just stop.”

Dean wanted nothing more.

He wanted to stop everything, starting with the steady flow of body fluids seeping from his injured friend. Dean wanted to stop the little grunts of pain his life-saving measures of pressing on the wound were eliciting from Caleb. He wanted to end the knife-like hitched breaths and intermittent whimpers from Sam that were layered with Caleb’s misery.

Dean wanted to stop the cold tentacles of fear invading his senses, breaching his pock-marked defenses with all the ease of the dew being wicked by his jeans from the wet ground. The physical and emotional conditions were working in tandem to wrack his body with minute shivers, just as Caleb’s was trembling from shock and pain.

Dean wanted it all to fucking stop. “I can’t stop.” Ever. “Just stay with me, Damien.” It was all he asked from those he cared about.

Then his father and Bobby appeared.

“Johnny.” The way Caleb said the man’s name made it sound part desperate prayer, part exasperated expletive. “’bout damn time.”

Dean flinched when his father laid a calloused hand on the back of his neck and another hand on Caleb’s sweaty brow.

“Goddamnit, boys.”

The greeting was rough and classic John Winchester, but the squeeze to Dean’s steel-banded muscles was gentle as was the way his father brushed his hand over Caleb’s hair. “What a fucking mess.” John hissed.

The momentary warmth vanished with his dad’s brief touch and Dean shuddered at its loss. The unrelenting cold quickly reclaimed its ground.

Dean seemed to float up from the earth, out of his body as he watched his father check Caleb’s pulse, and rest his hand on the injured hunter’s chest. “I thought we said no blood on the battlefield today, Private?”

“When…do I…listen to orders?”

Another set of hands cupped Dean’s arm and the teen felt himself plummet to reality anchored by Bobby Singer’s rough voice. “Let me see, Dean. Move.”

Dean released the blood-soaked shirt he’d uselessly been holding to Caleb’s side for what seemed like hours. His muscles felt like limp noodles. Dean was Atlas suddenly relieved of the world.

“Hold his hands,” Bobby ordered.

Dean bristled, but did as the mechanic said. He wrapped his fingers around Caleb’s wrists, the blood on both their hands making it slippery work. He could feel his best friend’s racing pulse beneath sensitive digits. “What took you two so fucking long?” Dean demanded.

Bobby lifted the make-shift bandage and grimaced, his whiskered face paling. “We had to finish the elf.”

Really? Dean wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Had Sam not explained it was an emergency? He wanted to scream. Strangle some-fucking-body. Their lives were a mess.

Caleb’s cry of pain brought his pity party to a screeching halt. The psychic was trying to wiggle away from Singer’s none too gentle exam.

“Watch it, Bobby!” Dean snapped, not caring if his father gave him the ‘shut up, Dean’ look. He glared right back as he tightened his hold on Caleb. Reaves reciprocated, his sticky digits grasping Dean like a lifeline.

“How bad?” John asked.

Bobby looked up. “Not good,” he replied, using the first aid kit to render field triage. “But not so bad.”

Dean shot Singer another heated look. What the hell kind of assessment was that? Where was Mackland when they needed him?

“Damn it.” John exhaled.

Dean clenched his jaw. The concern etched in his father’s soft voice was like a lightning strike to parched prairie land. John didn’t get to be worried now. He’d brought them all to this.

“Easy, Caleb.”

Sam’s soft voice breathed life into the spark of anger John’s word’s had ignited. Dean glanced up, briefly meeting his fourteen-year-old brother’s eyes. The fear and worry he saw reflected in the solemn gaze temporarily extinguished his fire.

Sam was on his knees at Caleb’s head, fingers methodically brushing through the injured hunter’s hair in a soothing gesture Reaves wouldn’t have accepted if he hadn’t been so out of it.

“It’s okay.” Sam kept up the litany he had started from the moment he’d knelt by the fallen hunter. “Dad’s here now.”

It suddenly struck Dean funny. One minute Sam found his father the executioner and next the savior. Hot and cold. That described his brother, teenagers in general.

John raked a hand down his face. “Fine mess you got us in, Junior.”

“Sorry to ruin your fun.” Caleb’s attempt at a laugh came out more of a pained sob. The stupid crooked grin held and Dean looked away. “Who knew… woodland creatures …packing heat these days.”

“Yeah. Who knew?” Dean gave his father credit for keeping his own forced smile in place. ”You were just bound and determined to win that bet weren’t you?”

“I’ll…do anything for a C-note.”

Dean recalled the conversation, the one Reaves cleverly started to end the escalating argument between Sam and John.

‘I’ll bet you a hundred dollars we finish off the elf and have Sammy back in time to finish his boring paper before the sun sets.’

Dean hated to tell Caleb, he’d lost that wager. Night was almost upon them. The elf might have been dead; but Sam wouldn’t finish his paper. Never bet against the house, especially when the Winchesters lived there.

“What the fuck happened, Dean?”

Dean blinked. His father was staring at him. Sam’s rambling had stopped. Even Caleb’s harsh breathing seemed to quiet. “What?”

“Want to tell me what the hell happened?”

“I’m sorry, Dad,” Dean said. “It was me.”

Dean felt Caleb tense through their entwined hands. He briefly met the injured hunter’s confused gaze and watched a different kind of pain flicker within the gold flecks. “I didn’t know it was him.” He stumbled on through. “I thought it was the elf…”

“You did this?” John looked skeptical. He licked his lips. “What the hell, Dean?”

Caleb slipped his hands free of Dean’s grasp, the spilled blood making it impossible for the younger hunter to hold on. Dean glanced down at his friend and Caleb looked as if Dean had shot him again. This time on purpose. In the back.

Dean swallowed the lump in his throat. “I…” he started.

“I didn’t …report my location, Johnny. My fault... sorry.”

Dean frowned. Caleb didn’t report because he hadn’t been contacted. Why the hell was he apologizing?

Caleb coughed weakly. “All these years of hunting…and I’m taken out by friendly fire.”

“I’ve done what I can here.” Bobby’s report killed any levity Reaves was attempting. “We need to get him somewhere I can dig this bullet out, John.”

“How about a fucking hospital?” Dean growled. His father was still staring at him, a mix of disbelief and good old disappointment written across his grim features.

“No.” Caleb closed his eyes, shook his head. “No way.”

“He’s right. No hospital.” John agreed, looking away from Dean. “Too many questions.”

Dean wanted to pound his fist in his father’s face. This was his entire fucking fault. “It’s a hunting accident. Happens all the damn time, Dad. How hard is that?”

John’s dark eyes zeroed in on his eldest, “What the hell were you hunting with a 9 mm hand gun in the off season, Dean?”

Dean wanted to scream at his father. It was the fucking Ozarks where some freakin’ animal or another was always in season. And Caleb wasn’t shot with a handgun, but a rifle. That was a plausible story they could use. But he didn’t. Dean didn’t say one damn thing.

And John didn’t give his son time to argue further. He bent down and slid an arm under Caleb’s shoulder. “Come on, kiddo. Let’s get you home.”

Home was a two-bit apartment/motel room off the intestate where they had been holed up for the last two months. Still, the way his father said it made Dean wish he had some ruby red shoes. He yearned to be anywhere but where he was.

“Do I still…get a purple heart for this?” Caleb bit out.

“You’ll be lucky not to be demoted, kid.” Bobby said, taking his share of Caleb’s weight. “Or drummed out of the service if your daddy hears about it.” Between the two senior hunters they managed to get Caleb on his feet and staggered off to the trail leading to the car.

Dean turned to collect the weapons and his father’s gear when a hand on his arm stopped him.

“Do you think he’ll be okay, Dean?”

Sam’s eyes shone bright with unshed tears in the waning light. “He’s tough, Sam. He’ll be okay.”

The fourteen-year-old lowered his voice. “I’m sorry, Dean. I didn’t mean to do it. I saw a flash of green. I thought it was the elf. I’m so sorry.”

Dean sighed. “I know, Sammy. I know.”

No one was sorrier than Dean. Sorry he had tormented Sam about elves and how they liked to take young boys. Sorry he hadn’t been able to stop his brother’s unplanned and unsighted shot. Sorry he had been compelled to lie to his father…to hurt Caleb. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

But being sorry didn’t change one damn thing. If it did, Dean’s whole life would be different. The past hour would have only been the beginning of things Dean would have done differently.


Forty-seven minutes earlier…

“Do you think Dad and Bobby have finished it?” Sam asked for about the tenth time. “We’ve been here for hours. I want to go home.”

Dean grinned at his brother. “You better hope they have the bastard. You remember what I told you about the boy-fetish the elves have.”

“Shut up!” Sam growled. “I’m not afraid of a stupid elf. I have a paper to do and semester tests tomorrow.”

Dean wasn’t dissuaded. He was tired of his brother complaining about being forced into the night’s hunt. “Sure you’re not.” The eighteen-year-old continued to pick his way along the path. “Just keep your eyes and pointy ears on alert for Herbie the flesh-eating toy-tinkerer who wants to be a dentist.”

Sam grunted a terse reply and Dean smiled to himself in satisfaction. He really should have sent Sam with their Dad, if only on principle alone. The five hunters had split up upon entering the forest. Bobby and John had gone west, Dean, Sam and Caleb east.

When the trail the boys were on divided suddenly, Caleb took the right avenue, while Dean and Sam continued on the left. They’d use the radios to stay in contact and meet at a creek where the topical map showed the trails merged once more. It was typical recon. Caleb and Dean had done it a hundred times before.

Dean was frustrated there had been no sight of the elf they were tracking. Unlike Santa’s little helpers the creature they were after liked human flesh instead of candy canes and gum drops. They should be meeting up with Caleb again soon and it was going to suck to come up empty-handed.

Then Dean heard it. A rustling of branches in the distance, a snap of a twig off to their right. He turned as Sam hissed out his name.

His brother was a few yards behind him, stopped in his tracks, gun at his shoulder.

“I saw something,” Sam said, urgently gesturing with the rifle.

Dean reached for the radio attached to his belt just as the sharp crack of gunfire shattered the eerie silence. “Sam! No!”

It was too late. Sam had taken the shot. By the surprised look on his young face Dean wasn’t sure if he had intended to or not.

Dean depressed the button on the side of his walkie-talkie. “Damien? What’s your 10-4?”

There was no answer. Dean licked his lips, took a quick breath to hold the panic at bay. “Caleb! Answer me, damn it.”

“Dean?” Sam’s voice wavered. “I thought the safety was on. I think I hit it.”

He’d hit something. Dean had heard it go down. If it wasn’t the elf, Dean prayed it was a deer. He moved towards his brother, pulling his own gun from the back of his jeans. “Let’s go.”

Dean moved stealthily through the thick forest in the direction Sam fired; the feeling of dread miring each heavy step.

They found him less than a hundred yards away. Caleb was face down in a tangle of limbs and underbrush. He was stirring, struggling to push himself to his knees.

“Oh, God.” Sam stopped. The rifle slipped from his fingers. “No…no.”

“Caleb!” Dean returned his gun to his jeans as he ran, making it to the fallen hunter’s side in three quick strides. “Caleb?”

“Deuce…” Reaves gasped as Dean touched his shoulder and gently eased him down. “I think…I’m shot.”

“Take it easy, man.” Caleb’s eyes were wide and unfocused, jaw clenched, and hands clasped to his abdomen. “I got you.”

“I…tried to get…radio.”

“Sam get over here.” Dean called to his brother, struggling out of the light jacket he was wearing to get to his flannel shirt underneath. Even though it was early May, the mountains were cold. Dean was glad he had dressed in his usual layered style.

“Help me,” he ordered Sam, who had moved to his side but was still standing transfixed, unable to take his eyes off the quickly spreading red stain on Caleb’s blue shirt.

“Oh, Caleb…” Sam whispered.

“Find something to elevate his feet, Sam. Use your coat to cover his legs.” Shock was going to be a problem. The ground was wet and the temperature was falling along with the fading light.

“I…it came out…nowhere.” Caleb was rambling. “Didn’t see…or sense anything…but you.”

Dean nodded. “I know, man. Just take it easy. Don’t talk. Let me check you out.”

The eighteen-year-old pulled Caleb’s hands from the wound. The entrance was high on the abdomen, but off to the side. If they were lucky, no vital organs would be damaged. No exit wound. That could be a blessing and a curse.


“It’s just a flesh wound, princess,” Dean reassured. “Won’t even leave much of a scar to show off.” Dean forced a grin, patted the side of his best friend’s face. “We’ve just got to get the bleeding stopped, and you’ll be fine.”

Caleb grimaced; his head fell back to the ground. “Shitty…liar…”

It was the first statement that sounded somewhat lucid and remotely Caleb-like. Dean’s smile widened. “Said the psychic who’s reading my mind without permission. Eveyone’s a sucky liar around you.”

“Read…your face.” Caleb closed his eyes. “I know you.”

“Hey?” Dean grabbed Caleb’s chin. “Stay awake, Damien! Don’t even think about checking out on me.”

Caleb blinked, looked up at Dean. “What…happened? Who the hell shot me?”

“I did.” Sam confessed upon his return. The teen dropped to his knees beside Reaves. He had a huge tree limb in his hands. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know it was you.”

Dean took the limb and positioned it under Caleb’s legs, raising them above heart-level. “The safety wasn’t on,” Dean explained for his brother as he took Sam’s jacket and spread it over Reaves’s lower body. “Rookie mistake, that’s all.”

Dean wasn’t sure Caleb understood, but then his hand snaked out and caught Sam’s sleeve giving it a tug. “It’s okay, Runt. I’m okay.”

Sam’s eyes spilled over as he hung his head. “I should have been paying attention…I just wanted...”

“Sammy…let it go.” Caleb glanced to Dean, gave him a nod. “Just… a flesh wound.”

Dean shook his head. A flesh wound that was going to bleed Caleb out if he didn’t do something to stop it. He took his wadded flannel shirt and pressed it to the wound in Caleb’s side, applying enough pressure to slow the blood flow.

Caleb cried out at the unexpected assault. “Sonofabitch!”

“Sorry, Damien.” Dean cut his eyes to his brother. “Sam, use the radio. Call Dad. Tell him Caleb’s been shot.” His father and Bobby had the first aid kit with them. They also had the keys to the vehicles. “We need them here. Yesterday.”

The younger teen reluctantly moved to where he had dumped his rifle and gear and did as Dean asked.

“Hey? You still with me?”

Caleb’s eyes were squeezed shut, hands fisted into the grass and leaves at his side. His face was pale and covered in an unhealthy sheen of sweat. His breathing was ragged and harsh.

“Damien?” Dean freed one hand long enough to rest it along side Caleb’s neck, feeling for a pulse that was way too fast.

The touch had Reaves opening his eyes a sliver. “Sammy…shot me?” He swallowed, licked his lips. “Our Sammy? Really?”

Dean snorted. “Good thing Dad’s not been able to get him on the practice range much, huh?” He let his hand slide to Caleb’s shoulder and squeezed. “We would have been looking at a chest wound, instead of a pussy gut-shot.”

Caleb laughed, but then groaned as Dean readjusted his hands. “Glad he’s…not got your aim.”

Dean licked his lips. “Yeah. Me too.”



“Me…and the kid…” Caleb struggled. “We are so even for that whole…raw head deal.”

Dean laughed, felt his eyes sting…his throat tighten. “Yeah. I guess you are.”


Sam didn’t find the joke funny, even when Caleb had quietly tried to tease him about it on the way back to the motel. It wasn’t going to be something Sam would let go of easily, no matter how many times Caleb tried to get him to. They were a lot alike in that way.

Dean had for the first time felt like an outsider as he rode in the back of the Impala, trying to staunch Caleb’s bleeding. Caleb was settled between he and Sam and the younger teen was in full-blown mother-hen mode. Dean was sure Reaves tolerated it to appease Sam’s guilt, which was tangible in the small quarters.

But Caleb didn’t speak to Dean, nor did he ask for him when the pain got out of control when Bobby dug out the bullet. He called out for John and Dean could admit to himself it felt rather like he’d taken one to the gut. Caleb was pissed and Dean was sure he had every right to be. It was why he waited in the wings, stayed out of the way until Bobby finished and he and John had gone to bed.

Sam had done his Florence Nightingale routine and John had actually praised him for his effort before turning in, leaving the blissfully drugged and unconscious Caleb under the teen’s watchful eye until morning.

Dean had taken over when Sam’s head had started to bob, exhaustion taking its toll. He still held the bed-side post watching both his charges sleep, while he wrestled with what-ifs and should-haves.

The squeak of the floorboards had Dean sitting up, his gaze flicking to Caleb who was closest to him and Sam who had drifted off on the other side of the queen-sized bed. Neither stirred.

“He okay?”

Dean wasn’t surprised to see Singer. The man had moseyed by their door a few times, casually peeking his head in without explanation.

“No signs of fever.” The eighteen-year-old leaned forward in his chair, rested his hand against Caleb’s forehead once more. It was cool to the touch. Dean cut his gaze to Bobby. “What are you still doing up?”

Singer shrugged, carefully sat at the bottom of the bed facing Dean. “Come to check on my patient. Doctor’s got to do his rounds.”

Dean leaned back in his chair. “Right.”

“You keeping the bedside vigil?” Bobby took a seat. “I thought Stretch was doing the good soldier routine tonight?”

Dean returned his gaze to Caleb’s pale face. “Sam has school tomorrow. I thought I’d take my turn watching Damien’s back.”

“That’s honorable seeing how you shot him and all.”

Dean frowned, but didn’t reply.

Bobby raised a brow. “Or did you shoot him?”

Dean exhaled, giving Singer an exasperated look. “You want a written confession or what? Dad seemed fine with the verbal one and last time I checked he was The Knight.”

Singer pulled something from his shirt pocket and tossed it to Dean. “Damn good thing your daddy ‘The Knight’ was more worried about Caleb than he was about what caliber bullet I dug out of the kid’s gut.”

Dean caught the slug and turned it over in his fingers with another sigh. He lifted a guilty gaze to Singer, but remained silent.

Bobby rested his elbows on his knees. “We all make mistakes, Dean. Every one of us is human after all.” He glanced at Sam and Caleb, sleeping obliviously. “And every damn one of us has the right to atone for those mistakes…to learn from them.”

Dean rolled his eyes, pocketed the twisted steel nugget. “How Plato of you Bobby?”

Singer growled, but kept his voice low. “You protect a person too much, Dean, and you stop helping them and end up hobbling them. That what you want to do?”

“Not everybody has John Winchester for a father.” Dean snapped his tone just as quiet.

“So you’re trying to make up for that?” Bobby snorted. “Damn, son, you’re fighting a losing battle.” He shook his head. “You boys keep trying to make-up for that and one or more of you are going to end up dead.”

Dean didn’t quite understand and it must have shown on his face because Bobby jutted his chin to Caleb. “You two are just alike. Same agenda, different son is all.”

Dean looked away as Bobby’s meaning sunk in. Caleb wasn’t the only one getting hit by friendly fire. “I can take care of myself.”

“I’ve told him that. Just like I’m telling you about Sam.” Bobby smirked. “But both of you listen about as well as John, and we all know how well that is. Not worth a goddamn.”

“Bobby…” Dean started, but Singer raised his hand to cut him off.

“And now it’s going to be you and Junior running two weeks of maneuvers in the closest thing John can find to a jungle this summer while Sammy sips sweet tea on Pastor Jim’s porch with Scout. Now who the hell is that going to help?”

Dean swallowed thickly, glanced down at the floor. “You going to tell Dad?”

“Give me one damn reason I shouldn’t.”

Dean steeled himself and met Singer’s intense gaze. “Because I’ll tell Mackland you performed kitchen-table surgery on his one and only son.”

Bobby looked taken aback, but Dean didn’t miss the way his mouth twitched. “I’m not afraid of Mackland.”

“Jim wouldn’t be too happy about the ‘non-hospital’ visit either.”

Bobby stood, looking a little defeated. “You’re a scheming bastard, Dean Winchester.”

“I know.”

“But I’m glad you’re on our side.”

Dean didn’t reply as the other man walked out, shutting the door behind him. The sound of the squeaking hinge echoed through the room and when Dean returned to his sentry, Caleb was awake and watching him.

“Hey?” Dean was unable to keep the grin off his face. “You’re awake.”

“Hard…to sleep with all the late-night girl-talk.” Caleb licked his lips. “You and Bobby…having a slumber party?”

“No. He just made a house call. You know how he likes to play doctor.”

A dimple hinted at Caleb’s cheek. “With Fiona maybe.”

“Don’t give me that image, Dude. I’ll never fall asleep.” Dean’s expression sobered. “How you feeling?”

Caleb furrowed his brow. “Like somebody let Bobby the mechanic play ‘Operation’ on me with a real scalpel instead of that buzzing thing we used as kids.” He swallowed thickly. “Where is Johnny by the way?”

Dean felt that irrational stab of jealousy again. “He’s sleeping next door. You want me to get him?”

“No.” Reaves seemed to take notice of where he was, glancing to the sleeping teen beside him. “Damn. What time is it?”

“About four. You’ve been out of it for a while.”

“Yeah.” Caleb brought a hand up, raked it over his face. “I don’t remember getting here.”

“Thank God for Bobby’s stash of the good pain pills. You need to restock the morphine by the way.”

Reaves nodded. “I could use a shot of that right about now.”

Dean frowned. “You want me to get you something?”

Caleb arched a brow. “I thought you said we were out of morphine?”

Dean grinned. “I can always send Sammy down to the corner to make a score from some of the thugs from his school or just choke you out, one of Dad’s favorites.”

Reaves turned his head, looking at the youngest Winchester. “Sam okay?”

“Yeah. You want me to get him to move to the other bed?”

“No.” Caleb eased back against the pillows, shutting his eyes “Leave him there so I can watch him…just in case he tries to finish me off.”

Dean chuckled lightly. “I think you’re safe.”

Reaves cracked an eye open. “From Sam maybe. But Johnny is so going to kill me once I’ve recuperated.”

Dean looked down at his hands. “Yeah…about that. Look, Damien, I know…”

“You did the right thing,” Caleb said.

The eighteen-year-old glanced up at Reaves. “But…”

“Johnny would have gone all ape shit and he and Sam aren’t on the best of terms as it is.” They both knew it wouldn’t take much to turn Sam against hunting completely.

“He’s not really like us.” Dean met Caleb’s gaze. “I mean…his heart’s not always in the hunt and tonight neither was his head, but...”

“I get it, Dean.”

Dean continued on, telling Caleb the things he couldn’t tell his father. “I don’t know if he’ll ever want it like we do. And I don’t know what to do about that. But I do know he would have never hurt you on purpose.”

Caleb sighed. “Damn it, I know that.” He waited for Dean to look at him. “I don’t care if he wants to hunt, Deuce.” Reaves lowered his voice, winced as his side reminded him of his injury. He took a shallow breath. “I don’t want to force him to love it…to feel about it like we do, but if he’s going to watch our backs…your back, then he’s going to have to be good at it. That’s not an option.”

“What do you want me to do, Caleb?” Dean hissed, his own frustration growing. Of course Caleb was right, but Dean didn’t have to like it. “Dad’s on his case constantly. The more he pushes, the more Sammy pushes back. If Dad would just back off…”

“We both know that’s not going to happen.”

“Damn it!” Dean shoved both his hands through his hair, wishing he could get up to pace, but the cramped room denied him. “I fucking hate this.”

“Trying doing it with a bullet in your belly.”

“I’m sorry, alright. You want me to say it? I screwed you over. There. Satisfied? I lied. And I didn’t even blink an eye. Then that forced you to lie to cover my ass, which I knew you would do, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m a sorry sonofabitch. But I’d do it again and I probably will.” Dean raked a hand over his mouth, feeling sick and wishing he might have a shot of the hard stuff to dull the pain. “I don’t know what else to tell you, man.”

Caleb blinked and Dean couldn’t differentiate between the emotional hurt and the physical. It was all the same. “You don’t have to tell me anything, Dean. I already have it all figured out.”

“Do you?”

Reaves nodded. “Yeah. Sam’s your brother.”

Dean could have been a mind reader as he filled in the last part of the sentiment. ‘And I’m not.’

But he was. Only in a different way. The eighteen-year-old sighed. “It’s not that fucking simple, Damien.”

“Sure it is, Deuce.” Reaves closed his eyes again. “Simple as me trying to explain why I’ll be busting my ass in fucking training maneuvers this summer when I know how to make radio contact before opening fire while friendlies are in the fucking area.”

It was all said calmly and without any heat, but Dean felt the bite. Friendly fire was a bitch. “I’m sorry.”

Caleb looked at him again, and this time anger did tinge his words. “Stop, Deuce.” Dean couldn’t help but to flashback to the same words spoken with such pain only hours before. “Please, just stop.”

Dean wasn’t sure if Caleb meant for him to stop protecting Sam or if he should just stop justifying it. He swallowed thickly. “I can’t stop.” Ever. “Just stay with me, Damien.”

Reaves face softened, and he nodded. In that moment Dean knew Bobby was right. He and Caleb were too much alike. “I’m not going anywhere, Deuce.”

Dean, Sam, Caleb…even Bobby and John were all casualties of the same war. But Dean couldn’t help wonder, as he watched his best friend drift off to sleep, if it would be their enemy’s sword that would eventually fell them, or would the deadly blow come from inside their ranks, done with the purest of intentions. And did it really make a difference? Because in the end, dead was dead no matter who fired the bullet.



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