Rites of Passage

By Tidia

Disclaimer: Eric Kripke for creating Supernatural and Ridley for creating The Brotherhood

Notes: I mentioned to Ridley that I wanted to write the story of Caleb being beaten up by Ian, Fisher and Joshua, and she said go for it –I did, taking my time. Thank you Ridley for the push. Weechesters make an appearance later on. Order wise, this would fall after Hold Fast. I had to adjust Joshua's age from 5 years to 4 years older than Caleb. All mistakes are my own since my beta is super busy.


Chapter 1/4

Caleb Reaves growled as his cellphone rang. He placed an arm over his eyes, and tried to ignore it. If it was Dean, Sam, his father or someone important then the theme from Star Wars would play. It was a running joke and seemed fitting. Anyone else got the generic, boring, default ring.

This was the default ring, and the person was not leaving a message. Damn them. The phone rang again. Granted, he would have exerted the same amount of energy if he lowered the ring volume to silence, but instead Caleb answered the phone.

"What?" It was not a friendly greeting.

"Caleb, this is Carolyn."

The name was unfamiliar. There was a girl about a month ago in Montana. Her name could have been Carolyn. Could have also been Betty, Linda, Kelly or Tara for all he remembered. She had been a brunette. Maybe blonde?

"You got the wrong number." Reaves closed the phone and sighed. He turned on his side, phone tucked underneath the pillow. Just a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep would be fine.

It wasn't meant to be. The phone rang again. It was his fault. He hadn't put it on silent, and Carolyn was evidently persistent. He stared at the phone. It wasn't even morning. It was 4:30 am. Night time was not over.

Caleb Reaves was annoyed. He used protection each and every time. There were no little Caleb's running around. If this girl was going to play this game with him, she had another thing coming.

"Look, sweetheart. . ."

"I'm not your sweetheart. My name is Carolyn Vannis. I'm in your father's network." She said quickly. When Caleb didn't hang up, she gave more of an explanation. "I'm the data removal specialist."

Reaves rubbed his face. He vaguely remembered his father mentioning a Carolyn. He had probably met her too, but the only member of his father's beloved geek squad he recalled with acuity was Allison. Drop dead gorgeous and to Caleb's dismay, a lesbian. "What do you do?"

Carolyn's voice dropped. "I make sure that The Brotherhood remains a secret society."

"Err, right, yeah, doing a great job." Reaves tried to feel more upbeat at 4:35 in the morning. He knew the techies had thankless positions, while the hunters out on the field got all the glory. But, there wouldn’t be success without the researchers. It was also rare that hunters were called directly. "And why are you calling?" Caleb was suddenly alert with worry. "Is Mac okay?"

"The Scholar is fine. The Winchesters are fine, well, as fine as they can be. They do make our jobs quite difficult. Goes without saying that you do to, although you really seem more responsible lately. . ."

"Thank you." Caleb cut off Carolyn's rambling comments. It was an odd feeling knowing a passing acquaintance had intimate details about your life. "Is there a reason you called at four thirty in the morning? It's rare I get to sleep in."

There was a pause. "Joshua Sawyer is missing."

The psychic wasn't sure about the terminology. Josh was not one to disappear. He had the annoying habit to show up when least expected. "Missing?"

"Well, I have his last location in Northern Georgia. I tried his cellphone and he's not picking up. He hasn’t checked in either."

Reaves was unaware of Sawyer's latest mission. He wasn't involved in the day to day dealings of The Brotherhood, taking a more active approach to protecting the Winchesters. "Who was his contact? It wasn't me."

"It was Fisher, but he was called on another hunt." Carolyn's voice dropped again. Caleb noticed it was when the woman felt uncomfortable. "Harland was supposed to be the backup."

John Winchester always spoke of the chain of command. Arrangements had already been made, and Caleb was not going to interfere. There would only be confusion. "Carolyn, you should call Harland if that was the arrangement."

"I tried that. He wouldn’t answer his phone."

"So you called me." The psychic sighed. Harland Sawyer's parental skills were lacking. Luckily, Joshua had his mother, Esme, to make up for the deficit. "How overdue is he?"

"Twelve hours." Carolyn began babbling again, her speech picking up speed. "This is very unusual for him, and I saw from the logs that you were the closest and then there is Pru that needs to be considered. . ."

Reaves frowned. He hadn't realized Joshua was dating anyone seriously, but the blond hunter tended to keep his personal life private. "Pru?"

"His cat. She needs someone to check on her. . ." Carolyn began to discuss the feline in earnest.

"Josh has a cat?" Caleb smiled. He loved having ammunition to use against Sawyer.

"His name is Joshua, and Pru is a Bengal cat." Carolyn's voice went lower for a moment as she defended the other hunter.

Caleb ignored Carolyn and propped himself on the bed, against the pillow. "Fine, whisper sweet nothings in my ear."

"Excuse me?"

Carolyn sounded insulted or she couldn’t appreciate bawdy humor at 4:40 am. "Tell me what you know, and I'll check it out."


He was only supposed to take a quick look, then decide if this was something that needed to be pursued. Silas had asked him to look into it. Joshua's home base was North Carolina, and it was easy for him to head over the border to Georgia.
The North Georgia Mountains were beautiful, part of the Appalachian Province. The area contained one of the richest flora in the world and there were more kinds of trees in the area than are native in all of Europe. It was the reason he wanted to go on the expedition. Flora, fauna and roots were needed for potions and craft work. His stores were dangerously low.

It was his mistake that he did not believe there was actually a Panther Man. He had been sent on a lot of investigations about half-animal, half-human creatures. He was still skeptical. More so after speaking to the teens who had seen their little dog killed.

"It was a panther, but standing on two legs." The boy squinted as he did his poor imitation of the scary Panther Man.

Joshua pulled off his aviator sunglasses and studied the teen. "You've seen a panther before?"

The boy looked at what Sawyer assumed was his girlfriend, who had also been a witness. "No, but something ate the dog!"

"It ate Sissy!" She cried, sniffing back tears. The Maltese had evidently been hers.

The boy threw his arm around the girl in poor comfort. "Then it came after us."

"We . . .could have . . . been killed." She stuttered. "My dog. . ."

It was a shaky story-two teens, one small dog did not a hunt make. But, Joshua preserved, knowing it was a poor assignment. Silas was a friend of his father, and passed jobs onto Joshua that held no interest for him, no fame either. Joshua figured that out long ago, but did his job. He was a hunter, part of The Brotherhood.

Joshua went up the mountain, using a walking stick, stopping along the way to collect specimens. He brought a pup tent, just in case. He brought the whole backpack, just in case too. He really didn't get a chance to use the camping equipment much, and it was top of the line.

He bent down, smiling as he found a white truffle. Carefully, he dug around it, needing its root. He heard the growling, and sighed.

"Please, let it be just a wolf. Please let it be just a wolf. . ."

He looked up, and there was nothing there. He pulled the gun from his holster, removing the safety, and relaxed, lowering the gun. He took a few steps back. He needed to confirm the existence of Panther Man and then get help or dismiss it as an animal and head home.

The click of the branch made him spin around as he was attacked by a black, bipedal animal. Joshua fell backward, the backpack breaking his fall, but also making him off-balance. Its jaws snapped at him, and he punched it once, then again as he struggled to reach the gun, which had scampered out of his hand.

As he stretched, he felt a claw slash at his side.

"AHHH!" he screamed as the burning sensation reverberated through him. The gun was almost in reach. He kneed the creature, trying to break its hold. Succeeding, for a moment he stumbled to his feet, crouching, he got to the gun as the Panther Man clipped him, slamming him awkwardly against the tree. He felt his leg snap, but was unable to pay attention to the injury as his head smacked against the tree sharply. His grip on the gun remained.

One shot, two shots and then a third before the creature tumbled away from Joshua with a whimper and then was silent. Joshua slid down the tree, and with his foot kicked at the thing that had attacked him. It didn’t move.

Lurching to his knees, Joshua studied the black creature. Truly, it looked like a panther with soft black fur and cat like features, but there were also humanoid features too. A well muscled chest and hind legs that could support the body.

A moment later Joshua vomited, his lunch spilled on the forest floor. His head throbbed, leg hurt, side burned and blackness was encroaching. He opened his eyes wide to overtake the coming unconsciousness, but it was too late.

When he awoke there was full darkness of night. With a groan he moved away from his vomit and the dead Panther Man. He needed to tend to his injuries, then dispose of the creature's body. His backpack had remained secured on his back. He found the quick release on the straps and it fell. He opened it, searching for his cellphone, hoping for a weak signal.

Unfortunately, his Motorola Razor did not stand up to being slammed on the ground and then against a tree. The protective case was in pieces as was the phone. Sighing, he took out his medical kit and flashlight.

Methodically, he cleaned the wound on his side, using minimal water while holding the flashlight between his teeth. Joshua knew there was water nearby, but he didn’t know when and if he would be able to reach it. He placed an herb packet on the injury to stem the flow of blood then a sterile bandage over it. He felt the bruise against his temple, but calculated it was a minor injury. His leg was a significant injury, already black at the break. He spied his walking stick, and sacrificed it by breaking it in half to make a splint. He placed some salve on it to provide some pain relief. Satisfied, he returned his medical supplies to the backpack, took out a pouch and resettled it on his back.

He took in two deep breaths, and brought himself to a standing position. He placed his arms out, steadying himself. Soon it would be dawn, but he needed to but some space between him and the carcass.

As he regained his composure, he noted his surroundings. He ambled and placed some dead leaves around the body. He found another branch to use as a cane but first he used it to make a ring around the body. He mumbled the incantation under his breath as he made a circle three times.

Finished, he made invisible marks on the body. He opened the pouch and poured the brown powder over the body. The invisible marks he made glowed a burning red. The circle would protect against a forest fire, keeping the smoldering inside the circle until the body was charred then incinerated to dust over the course of the next few days.

Joshua pressed forward. The sun had risen, and disposing the body had taken time. He had to make his way back to his car or to another person for assistance. He tried to keep his mind occupied thinking of a publicity campaign for a cable show. He liked the premise of the science fiction show, and knew with some cleverness the show, and its actors would be a success. They just needed to listen to him.

The pine trees brought coolness because they blocked the sun and Sawyer shivered. Joshua knew he had to find some water. Somehow he found a trickling stream. It would be sufficient, and he made camp nearby. He had traveled for a few hours, but it was slow going. He pulled the pack off his back. It had been cut, along with his side. He removed the small tent. It was damaged, but a tent with a slice was better than no shelter at all.

It was a struggle. He gathered some rocks and twigs and formed a rough ring for a fire. He said the incantation and snapped his fingers, the flame jumped to the kindling. He stared for a moment before the throb in his leg needed his attention. He found his medical kit, and pulled out the salve. It would lessen the pain, but not heal it. Spells and potions could only do so much. Only six weeks in a cast would repair the injury.

He brought his attention to the wound on his right side. It was aggravated from the climb down. He got the other herbal patch, his last one and placed it over the wound. Its location made it impossible for him to suture it without leaving an ugly scar. Unlike other hunters, he did not believe scars were a badge of honor, more like a reminder of a mistake.

He had made a lot of mistakes, and thankfully his scars were on the inside where no one could see them.

He lay back in the tent. He would need to gather some strength before continuing, and fell asleep.


He felt the hand on his foot, and was startled awake with a jolt. His side burned, and his vision swam. He squinted, hoping the dizziness would pass. "What the hell are you doing here?" Joshua ground out through his clenched teeth.

Caleb Reaves squatted down with a wide smile. "Saving your ass."

Joshua looked heavenwards, praying for some patience. He was in no mood for a verbal sparring session with Caleb Reaves. "I seem to be doing that all by myself."

"Want me to leave?" Reaves's eyebrow rose up.

Sawyer looked away. He didn't want to admit he was feeling poorly, and maneuvering his way down the mountain would be difficult alone.

"Didn't think so." Caleb smirked. He gestured for Joshua to move over and make room.

Joshua shifted over. It was a one man tent, and the psychic was sitting partly on the opening of the tent and partially on the ground. "How the hell did you find me?"

Caleb's eyes raked over Joshua's injuries. He placed a hand over his forehead to hide the bruise. "Carolyn said you hadn’t checked in."

"You know Carolyn? Wait, what about Fisher?" Joshua was having trouble keeping up with the conversation. First, he needed to know about his contact.

"Fisher got called on a hunt. . ." Caleb began to explain.

Sawyer frowned, but when his forehead creased the wound responded. "So who was his backup?"

"Your father."

Joshua let his hand drop from his forehead. He hadn’t expected that answer. He couldn’t complain about his father. "Oh."

Caleb examined Joshua's leg. "So what happened to you? You know the rule-no hunting alone."

Sawyer appreciated Reaves's attempt at distraction. "I was on recon. We are spread a little thin these days." Joshua winced at the manhandling.

"Panther Man get you?" Caleb snickered, and shook his head.

Joshua was insulted; his father dismissed him in the same way. It was the reason he kept his own confidences. "You know how many of these I check out? Too many-Squid Man, Squirrel Boy-all myths. This one was. My bad."

Caleb rubbed a hand over his mouth. "Shit assignments."

"Sometimes." Sawyer shrugged his shoulders. "It's not always about demons."

Reaves gave him another appraising look. "You're looking disheveled."

"Broken leg, possible concussion, bleeding on the side." Caleb's hand went to Joshua's flank and he waved it off. "Taken care of."

Caleb grabbed Joshua's hand, and lifted the shirt up. "You're still bleeding."

Sawyer sighed. There was only so much herbs could do, it would form a seal with time enough for him to get to a hospital. "It'll stop soon."

"You did your witch mojo over it?" Caleb began to pull off the bandage. "Damn that smells." The younger man wrinkled up his nose.

Sawyer placed a hand over the bandage to reattach it. "I'm not a witch, Reaves. Neither is my mother nor grandmother. We do not belong to any covens." He was getting tired of explaining the situation. It was very simple. He was not a witch, wizard or warlock. If he was then he would have to swear allegiance to a coven, and he could not serve two masters. He was a hunter of The Brotherhood. "No loyalties that way. I prefer the term 'crafter.'"

Caleb snorted. "Dude, you made that up."

Joshua grinned. He coined the term when he was sixteen. "My first foray into PR."

Reaves gestured to the injury again. "I can stitch it up. . ."

"Leave it. I rather it be someone with M.D. after their name." Sawyer huffed. He was annoyed by Reaves's stubbornness.

"I learned from the best."

Had Mackland Ames been there, then Joshua would have easily relinquished himself into the doctor's care. "You know surgeons are known for not doing their own suturing."

Caleb was unrelenting. "I let you stitch me up before. . ."

Joshua was impressed Caleb was playing that particular card. He was touched. The psychic was concerned. "And so now I owe you? No thanks. If I were to let anyone stitch me, other than a doctor or my mother, it would be your buddy Deuce."

Reaves shook his head. "You're only saying that 'cause he's the next Guardian. Suck up."

"No, I'm saying that because he does nice, even, small stitches."

Caleb licked his lips. "At least let me change the bandage."

"Okay." Joshua sighed. The bandage was saturated, and changing the bandage would help prevent infection. Sawyer tried to stop the hiss that escaped as the slice wound was exposed to the air.

"Guess you're not up to a hike down just yet?" Caleb asked as he wrapped the dressing all around Joshua's torso keeping the herbal pack in place.

He shook his head. "No, but if you want to go on ahead, please do. I'll catch up."

"And have you whine about how I left you up here, wounded? Worse, have your little friend Carolyn hunt me down and make my life miserable. I think not."

Joshua frowned. Evidently, his injuries worried the other hunter. "She's not my friend. She's Ian's girlfriend."

Caleb moved towards the opening and stoked the dwindling fire. "Someone wants to date Ian of their own free will?"

Joshua lay back down. "I have to say, those are not two people I would put together." Ian was in the best of circumstances-uncouth. Carolyn was a nice girl. It didn't gel.

"We should try to get closer to civilization. I'm going to pack up. What other gossip do you have? I'm not in the loop." Caleb's voice was distant.

Sawyer lifted his head, and saw the psychic fixing his pack and Joshua's. "You are the loop."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Caleb held out a hand to Joshua.

The blond hunter accepted the assistance. It was a struggle to get out of the tent, and then to standing. "There's always talk about you, Sam and Dean."

"Dude, we're heterosexual." And as if to prove his masculinity, Caleb roughly took down the tent as Joshua watched from the tree he leaned against.

Joshua rubbed a hand over his mouth. He was thirsty. "They're not questioning your sexuality. You know what it's about."

"I've been dealing with it since I was fourteen. I know, Josh." Caleb passed a canteen to the injured hunter. "Here."

Joshua should have been upset that Reaves had used his abilities. He didn't want his privacy respected at the moment. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Caleb sounded confused, as he helped support Joshua's weight as they walked forward.

Joshua slung the canteen over his shoulder. "For what happened back then. I was older. I knew better. I wasn't a kid." His steps were halting.

"Yeah, forgive and forget. Do you really want to talk about this now?" Caleb was concentrating on the uneven ground.

"Have to talk about something to keep me distracted." Joshua was trying to keep the pain at bay. "I remember everything, you know, about that day. . ."

Onto Chapter 2


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