Part 1

They were gathered at the home of an elder, listening to the stories that were passed down from one generation to another.  The children formed a circle, sitting down cross-legged in rapt attention.

“Once upon a time there was a little girl and she lived in the forest.  The forest was a scary place, but not for the little girl who knew all the mysteries of the forest.  One day a hunter, following a deer, got lost in the dark forest.  He thought the trees were attacking him and he fell when a branch swiped low causing him to trip.  He got hurt, a slash across his arm, and was lost.  The forest would have swallowed him, but the little girl found him.  She made a bandage from the leaves and helped the hunter.  He wanted to pay her, thank her for helping him.  She took no payment, showing him the way back to his world, warning him never to come back.”

“She was a good little girl,” a girl with a red braid said.

“Do you know why?” The elderly woman leaned down, sweeping her eyes over the children.

“Because she helped the hunter,” a little boy answered, putting his hand up at the same time he answered the question.

The woman shook her head. “Because no one was allowed in the forest. The hunter did not belong there, and she made sure he did not return.”


“Why did you come if you were just going to bitch the whole time?” Caleb asked as he dodged a tree limb. It was difficult to see the darkened wispy limbs at night with a limited amount of moonlight. Night time was the best time to seek out wendigos coming out of their lair to pillage the area for food.

Joshua was walking by his side, the Winchester brothers were up ahead. “Because we are running very close to another coven that is not connected to my coven,” Joshua answered.  “Not connected to any coven for that matter.”

“And the reason couldn’t be pregnancy hormones?” Caleb replied.  Carolyn was four months along, and through the family grapevine Caleb had heard the cravings had started.  Josh was scurrying at all times of the night to the supermarket to buy exotic fruit regardless of it being in or out of season.  Evidently, Carolyn wanted papayas and mangoes all the time.

“No. Carolyn is fine.” Joshua picked up the pace, getting closer to Sam and Dean.

“We know where the boundary line is.” Dean turned around.  “You told us--repeatedly.”

“The wendigo doesn’t know,” Joshua replied. “And I know how in the heat of the moment you do not pay attention to the technicalities.”

“What’s so special about this coven that has you spooked?”  Caleb asked.  Joshua had told them all they were to be careful about this hunt, sent maps to their phones, and then decided to join them.  There was something more going on.

“I am not spooked.”

“Has you concerned,” Sam added, slowing his pace so he shifted back.  Caleb took his position near Dean.

“They don’t associate with the other covens, refuse to meet and reports are that they use the dark arts,” Josh’s voice lowered. “I can imagine the potential trouble for you three.”

“Human sacrifice?” Caleb asked.  He recognized when Josh did his voice of doom and gloom it meant only one thing.

“Allegedly. But, I’m not surprised there’s a wendigo nearby.”

“You think it was one of them?” Sam asked.

Caleb wondered if a wendigo with knowledge of witchcraft would be harder to take down than a normal wendigo.  He was now thankful that Joshua had come along, even though all the talking was making his head throb. He was in the mood for short answers that did not require him to listen.

“I don’t know.” Joshua paused.  “There is a strong possibility.”

“Great,” Caleb mumbled.

Dean bumped him. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s find the sucker, toast him and get out.”

Caleb raised his eyebrows. His friend had given him an opportunity to tease him, having finally met Dean’s secret girlfriend, albeit not in the best of circumstances.  But, he had healed from the attack, and Juliet had done a nice stitching job. “This big rush to finish the job wouldn’t have anything to do with Juliet, would it?”

“Go back to teasing Josh, Damien,” Dean replied. 

Caleb could not remember the last time Dean was protective about a relationship. He understood with the curse of the Winchesters--everything that could go wrong, would go wrong; Dean was trying to safeguard Juliet.  He hoped they went the distance, and he figured they would have to in order to eventually have a son.  He had learned that from James’s visit. Held on to it, in fact.

Dean snapped his fingers. “Hey, you with me man?” They had gone dark a while ago, not allowing the hint of flashlights as they traveled.

Caleb shook his head, headache flaring once more.  “Yeah, just getting bored.”

Dean didn’t answer; instead he lifted his hand to halt them.  Then they all heard it, the unnatural rustling of leaves.  Like a trained unit they spread out.  The wendigo was a supernatural entity, it was quicker than them, and they had to use their training and skills to kill it.

They made a half circle. The wendigo would have to pass through them to go any further, and it would be tempted by their flesh.  They were each armed, ready to burn up the supernatural being. 

Caleb seemed to have lost time, next thing he heard was the yelling. His abilities helped him react as the wendigo charged him, but it was the push out of the way, catching him on the side on to the pine needle covered floor that had saved him.

He shook off his confusion, reacting by raising his arm and firing at the eight-foot-plus tall monster as it ran from him.  He aimed and fired at the wendigo’s shiny, well-muscled skin. He heard it roar and knew he had hit it enough that it slowed down and dropped whoever it was carrying. Although it hard large feet, it stepped quietly and used its tall legs to its advantage.  Caleb tried to get another shot, but it ran too fast. It was like shooting at the remains of a shadow.

With his abilities, he reached out in fear, trying desperately to gain information on which member of their team the wendigo had grabbed. Like a jolt of electricity, he sensed who it was.  “Deuce!” he yelled out as Sam and Joshua came running, yelling for the fallen Guardian.

“Here.” Dean groaned as he got to his knees. He stayed upright just long enough to reveal a dazed expression before collapsing forward.

Caleb’s heart stuttered, recalling a 16-year-old Dean feeling fine one minute and having a brain bleed the next. He slid in next to his friend, feeling the dampness of earth soak through his jeans. He carefully helped Dean unfold himself and dragged him a foot so he could rest against one of the pine trees.

Sam and Joshua rushed in with Joshua holding a flashlight that made Dean squint and raise his hand against the glare.

“What happened to you, man? You were in a daze.”  Sam asked Caleb as he crouched down near his brother.

Caleb shook his head. “I thought you had it cornered.” He was going to excuse his behavior and accuse others.  “How did it get past you guys?”

Sam frowned. “It moves fast, right bro?”

Joshua’s flashlight continued its examination and hovered on Dean’s arm, blood-smeared flesh silenced the group for a second.  “It bit you?”

Caleb gingerly reached for the wounded limb. The bite was wider than a human mouth, deeper in some places; blood still seeped with skin missing. Wendigos did not have a tender touch.

“Just pour some holy water on it, and let’s find that thing.”  Dean pulled his arm towards him with a hiss and cradled it. “Guess it’s good that I got that tetanus shot.” He relaxed back against the tree.

“You did this on purpose so that you would be the godfather,” Caleb said as he unpacked the medical kit. He needed to focus on a task or else his guilt would overtake him. During the attack he had been in a daze, lost track of time and it scared him.  He wondered if the wendigo was some sort of witch that had put a spell on him.

“What?” Joshua bent down, sliding off his messenger bag, and placing his flashlight on the ground so it shed some light on them. Caleb could see the grimness in Joshua’s face.  

Dean chuckled. “He’s talking about Baby Sawyer.”

Sam withdrew his flashlight, and Caleb gestured for Sam to hold the flashlight steady on the wound. He tried to keep the mood light at his own expense.  “I’d prefer a boy, but if it’s a girl then that’s okay, too.”

Joshua frowned, moving his flashlight to shine in Caleb’s eyes. “Did you hit your head?”

“No, why?” He shut his eyes at the onslaught of sudden light directed at him. 

“Godfather? Really?” Joshua snorted.  “Carolyn still talks about how you insinuated yourself into her announcement.”

“I did her a favor. It would have taken her weeks, maybe months to say something to you.”

“Wounded guy here,” Dean said. “Sammy, can you give me a Band-Aid so we can get this show on the road.” He attempted to reach for the med kit but the move brought a sharp intake of air and he pulled his arm from Sam’s grip and cradled it to his chest again. “Shit,” he gasped.

Sam’s brow furrowed, showing worry. “All right, take it easy,” he murmured. “Joshua, can we just use holy water on this?” Sam peeled his brother’s arm from his chest, and guided it on top of his pack to keep it elevated and have access to help the wound. 

“Let’s try the holy water first.” Joshua nodded to Caleb who had the squeeze bottle ready.

The blood seeping from the wound was mixed with an oily white substance. It shined when the flashlight glare hit it and Caleb had a visceral reaction—they had to get it off, had to get the skin clean.  “You guys ready? Deuce?” Caleb swallowed, knowing the pain he was going to cause, that he was at fault because of his momentary lapse. He wished that he had been the one to have been injured.

“This isn’t my first prom, Damien.  Just get it over with.” Dean tried to right himself against the tree.

“You’ve never been to the prom,” Sam replied with a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

Caleb was of the school of thought to make this process as quick as possible, he faltered though as the holy water took effect, bubbling the evil away with a vengeance.

“Shit!” Dean gasped again. He drew in quick, shallow breaths and the heels of his boots dug into the yielding earth as if he was trying to push himself away from the pain.

Caleb winced. “I’m sorry, man. I know. Goin’ as fast as I can.” With his free hand, Caleb clutched Dean’s upper arm, not only to hold the limb still but to offer physical contact—as if by touching his friend he could transfer the pain to himself. He almost stopped the process all together when he saw the sweat beading on Dean’s forehead, and the grip that Sam and Joshua had on each shoulder.

“Okay!” Dean breathed through gritted teeth. “It’s clean. Enough, that’s enough! Stop!”

Caleb watched the last of the greasy white liquid rinse away to the forest floor.  “It’s done,” he announced when he finished.

Dean was taking calculated breaths--in and out. 

“You okay?”  Sam asked, releasing his brother’s shoulder, giving it a pat.

Dean’s arm was sitting in his lap, relaxed and wet. Joshua moved closer, trying to get Caleb out of the way, but Caleb stayed firm.

“I’d like to put a poultice on it to stimulate healing, but that’s hard to do with you taking up so much space.” Joshua gave him a stern look.

“Give the sibling rivalry a knee.” Dean sighed, and rolled his eyes. “If you keep it up he’s going to pick me as the godfather.”

Caleb was relieved that Dean had recovered somewhat.  This would all be forgotten with a white bandage, a guilty conscience and a six-pack after they found the wendigo.  “You? You’re not even in the running. He’d pick Sammy over you.”  Sam was still studying him, and he wanted to divert his roommate’s attention. “I’ll hold the flashlight.”

Joshua made no comment when the light shined on Dean’s arm and there were black veins tangling from the original bite site.  Caleb reached for the saline in the medical kit and nervously squeezed the bottle over the wound hoping it would remove the tendrils.

With a light touch Joshua palpated the area.  “Does that hurt?” he said in a hushed tone.

“Yes, that hurts,” Dean pulled his arm back towards his chest.

“What’s going on?” Sam asked. “He’s going to be alright, right?”

Caleb wiped a hand down his face, causing the flashlight to jump unsteadily, mirroring his gut. “I fucked up.”

Josh was grim. “The Wendigo bite is poisonous.  The holy water had no effect.” He rested back on his haunches. “But I can minimize the pain.”

Dean studied the wound. It had gotten puffy in a matter of moments. “Damn.”

“Could he become a wendigo?” Sam asked, moving closer.

Josh rifled through his bag, avoiding the question. Both Caleb and Sam stared at the Advisor, willing him to answer.

Sam broke the impasse. “Wendigos are made by cannibalism not by bites. Right, Joshua? Just because this wendigo may have been a witch shouldn’t make a difference.”

Josh sighed as he applied a paste to the wound. “There is always death,” he said quietly. “I haven’t heard of them biting. I don’t know of any lore about their poison.”

Dean let his head fall back against the tree trunk; Caleb placed his hand on his friend’s leg to ground himself.

“Does this put me ahead of Damien and Sammy as the godfather?”

“You come through this, stop scaring the shit out of me and I’ll relinquish it, but I’ll still be a kick-ass uncle,” Caleb answered with a grin he didn’t feel.  He took his phone out of his pocket with the hope there would be cell signal, so he could reach out to his father for medical help.  But there was a large X in the corner of the phone’s screen. 

Part 2

Exactly what he was trying to avoid was happening.  They were going into the dark coven’s territory. Beside him, Dean was shaking, the pain making his teeth chatter audibly. Joshua and Caleb had their arms locked across the Knight’s back, supporting him as they walked.

“Well, it isn’t like they have skeletons to warn off trespassers,” Caleb said, shifting Dean’s weight slightly. “Maybe they don’t live up to their reputation.  All talk?”

There had been warning signs as they crossed over but not something hunters would notice. There were some things only a witch could see, and Joshua had seen enough warnings to know every step took them closer to something dark. “This is against my better judgment.”

“We decided that we couldn’t make it back to the car and this help was closer,” Sam replied from up ahead. 

They had taken turns practically carrying Dean.  Joshua with Caleb’s help had forced Sam to take a break. Caleb, it was apparent, was trying to punish himself, and Joshua was not going to get into a psyche discussion at this moment when time was running out for the Guardian.   No hospital would be able to help Dean, and Joshua didn’t know if his own coven had the ability.  “If they’ll help.”

“We’ll make them an offer they can’t refuse,” Dean stuttered, lifting his head as he attempted to put one foot in front of the other instead of the intermittent foot dragging.

They reached the clearing. Joshua called Sam over to take his place.  “I have to go out there alone,” he said as he squared his shoulders and walked twenty feet from the Triad so he stood in the center of the area. He could sense they were out there watching him.  This situation was so reminiscent of his entrance into his coven with Caleb’s life hanging in the balance then.  He had lost his freedom for Caleb’s life. He wondered what was at stake now with Dean’s life--he had to think about Carolyn and the baby.  “I ask for asylum and help. I am Joshua Sawyer, one of your kindred.”

There was no reply in the chilled night air.

“Hey, anyone home?” Caleb yelled from the trees that provided them some sort of protection.

Joshua turned, glaring at them in the night even though he knew they could not see him. The dark coven’s silence was broken by a distant, monotone female voice. “Not one of ours, Joshua Sawyer. You bear a different mark.”

Witches were all about drama.  Joshua stepped closer to the voice as he opened his jacket and lifted his shirt to show the brand. “But a mark all the same.”

She seemed to float to him, but Joshua knew that was not possible.  It was the long black skirt, the hooded top that completed the look. She did not make eye contact with Joshua, looking to where Sam, Caleb and Dean were hiding. “What brings you here?”

She had dark hair, either short or pulled back, Joshua would estimate in her early thirties, but then again, witches like his mother defied their age.  She was tall, not having to look up at Joshua, but Joshua had the feeling she didn’t look up to most people regardless of her stature.

“Our friend was bitten by a wendigo.” Joshua had already told Caleb he was going with the truth for once.

The edges of the night sky were illuminated by globe-shaped lights that shimmered in the air. Joshua at first thought the illumination was a spell, until he realized there were people out there holding lanterns, staying hidden until the right moment.

“Come now, more than a friend. More like a leader, Advisor of the Brotherhood.”  The female witch beckoned for Dean, Sam and Caleb to draw closer.

Joshua stood his ground, but he could feel the power of this woman, which was rare in a skill that was based on alchemy talent, not genetics.

The trio made it to the center of the clearing slowly, but Dean seemed aware enough to know he could not show how ill he truly was.  He held his head up but Joshua strongly suspected it would be in vain. This witch probably spent a lifetime developing a sense for weakness.

“Are you going to help us or not?” Caleb bluntly asked. “We’ve got guns and aren’t afraid to use them.”

She sniffed the air and circled towards them, around them before answering. “The Guardian gets no preference here, and shoot us if you wish…you will be cursed for eternity.”

“Can you help?” Dean asked. “Or give us ride to the nearest hospital, or lend us a broom….“ He fell silent when Sam interrupted him with a low utterance.

“We can help.” She snapped her fingers, and the others who had surrounded them with light moved forward.

“I didn’t catch your name-“ Joshua stated, wanting to thank her, and collect information if possible to know who they were dealing with. 

She did not answer, gesturing two women to either side of Joshua. “He stays here. It is unseemly for another witch to be in our parts. We will help your Guardian, but you two,” she looked at Sam and Caleb, “must get the blood of the wendigo to heal him.” Two men moved in closer to the Triad.  “Your Guardian must come with us.”

Caleb did not look as if he would relinquish his charge. Joshua tensed, waiting for vehement resistance, but Caleb only challenged her with his gaze.  “Only if Josh can stay with him.”

She raised an eyebrow, and Joshua wondered if she would disagree, or take away her hospitality. “This coven does not engage in negotiations with outsiders.  He will be allowed to see The Guardian. No more, no less.”

Joshua’s attention moved from Caleb to the two brothers. Dean’s head had lowered slightly and, even in the dim light, the pain registering on his face was evident. His good arm was draped over Sam’s shoulder and his fist held a white-knuckled grip on his brother’s plaid shirt.  There seemed to be some silent communication going on between the two because a few seconds later Sam lightly tapped his brother’s chest and they gently handed Dean over.

 “How long do we have?” Sam asked, crossing his arms as if holding himself back as Dean groaned.

“The few hours until dawn, Scholar,” she replied, but they were already drifting away. Joshua was being prodded forward.

“We’ll be back, Josh. You take care of Deuce.  You hear me, man?” Caleb called out, and the lights that were so bright before began to dim.

“Yes,” Joshua answered and hoped he had been heard.  He wished he had been listened to earlier.


Caleb kept a punishing pace, the flashlight dancing to lead them back where they had last seen the wendigo.  He tried to control his harsh breathing and he could hear Sam doing the same, exhaling short breaths through his mouth.

As much as Caleb wanted to keep pressing forward, they also needed to be careful.  He slowed down to a fast walk.  He did not mean it as an opening for conversation regarding his guilty conscience.

“What’s going on with you, man?” Sam asked.

Caleb rolled his eyes. “I don’t know, Sam.  Maybe the fact that your brother is hurt and we have to bleed a wendigo and the clock is ticking.” Caleb stopped and turned to face Sam, challenging him with all the vitriol and frustration that had built up in him since Dean was injured.  Dean was injured because of him. “What’s your problem, Sam? Don’t you care about your brother who’s dying? We had to trust some dammed witches that make Joshua twitch.”

“Are you done?” Sam pushed him physically and psychically with a mental twinge that flared his headache. “I don’t know what happened back there, but I know you zoned out.” Sam kept a hand on Caleb’s chest.  “Talk to me. What’s going on? I live with you and know you’re hiding something.”

Caleb pushed the hand away. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, and we’re wasting time.”

“I know what I know. You reek of guilt, Caleb. You can get this wendigo and save the day, but it’s not going to be the end of it.  Dean’s worried.”

“He should be. The Trinity’s an issue, Sam, for all of us.” Caleb knew he wasn’t up to his usual standards. He thought it all stemmed from the appearance of the Trinity, but it was difficult to convince his roommate.  “I think we’ve had enough of a break.”

Caleb began his hike again, leaving Sam to follow. They headed back to the scene of the attack—to the last location of the wendigo. But finding that place to begin with had been difficult, and they had utilized a spell to get an area.  Now, they were short a spell caster and crunched for time.   

It was as if Sam had read his mind, or living together had them on the same wavelength. “We’re going about this all wrong and we’re running out of time. We need to get the wendigo to come to us.”

“And how do you suppose we do that? This isn’t like hailing a cab in New York.” Caleb tried to wait patiently for an answer, but instead returned to the brutal pace.

“We’re two psychics in the forest alone with a wendigo.”

“It’s like the start of a bad joke, Sam.” Caleb did not turn around.

Sam raised his voice, “No, wait, if we send out a psychic shockwave, then the biggest entity that we notice should be the wendigo, and we go straight for it.”

Caleb halted. This had potential to work with better effectiveness than backtracking. “And set a trap,” Caleb reminded Sam. They had to bleed it to get the cure for Dean, not just light it up. “How do we do this?”

Sam exhaled sharply. “In theory, our psychic ability is energy, that’s why it can be disrupted. So if we envision our abilities as external instead of keeping things internally, then we should be able to get some feedback.”

Caleb deciphered Sam’s explanation. “Like reading someone’s mind on a large scale?”  Caleb would go into someone’s mind to pull out information, unless he got a vision. “I’ll take north and east and you take south and west.”

Caleb curled his toes to ground himself, closed his eyes and began to picture the forest in front of him. He could ignore most of the living things because they were not a blip on his radar. He turned physically to cover the next direction, a headache blooming in the center of his eyebrows, which he ignored.  Again, the forest was alive, but he was looking for a specific energy. “Bingo.”

“You have to give it a nudge,” Sam said, “so it comes to us.”

Caleb licked his upper lip, tasting the salty sweat that had broken out in his concentration.  “FYI, wendigos do not have a sunny disposition.”

There was a roar in return that rattled through the forest.

“I said nudge.”

“Sorry, Sammy, I did use some finesse.”  Caleb bent over for a second as his head swam.

“Let’s set this trap and get back to Dean.”


Part 3

The witches settled Dean on a cot, forcibly escorting Joshua from the room. Dean couldn’t really protest, he wouldn’t admit this to anyone—he felt weak. He felt the poison growing in his body, flaming it and sapping him. Dean was impressed with the effort Joshua was making not to be removed from the room.

“You follow our orders here and now.” The woman shut the door to the room.

“That’s not how you go about making friends,” Dean remarked, his hand going to his injury as it throbbed sharply.  He had to remain aware; obviously Joshua did not trust these witches.

She did not answer, instead pushing him to lie in the bed, then making quick work of his jacket and shirt.

Dean tried to maneuver away from her even in his weakened state. “You get to see my body, but won’t tell me your name?”

She wiped away Joshua’s work with disgust, saying something under her breath before answering, “You may call me Sida.”

He wanted to pull his arm from her clutch, especially after she had removed all the stuff that Joshua had on that was actually keeping the pain bearable. “That’s short for something.”

She turned her back on him, but Dean followed her with his eyes. She was mixing something. “Like you, there is much more to me than meets the eye,” she replied.

“Like me?” Dean wondered how much she knew about him.  He was The Guardian, and he carried those secrets with him. She returned, scooping what looked like guacamole and placing it on the wound.  “Hey, that hurts.”

“It will get worse.” She kept her hand on the injury and it seemed to cool under her touch.

 “You’re supposed to help by keeping me alive.” He was feeling tired, but he struggled to keep his eyes open.

“You’ll survive this,” she whispered.

He heard what she said, but it was coming from a distance.  He tried to speak; no sound came out, so he lifted his head only to have it pushed back and then go into oblivion.

Dean woke in tempting stages. His first misconceived thought was that he was home at the farm with Juliet by his side. The bed though was all wrong and there was no warm body near him. With the bits of wakefulness also came alertness of his body. “I feel cold.” He licked his lips, relishing that his voice had returned. He wasn’t expecting a reply.

“It’s from the herbs they’re using.  They’re trying to slow down the poison.”

“Josh,” Dean opened his eyes. “What’s going on? Are they back?” He was worried about sending Caleb and Sam on the mission without him.

“No, not yet.” Joshua leaned in. “You need to be still.  They haven’t told me much, but they said not moving was important.”

Dean tuned into the room, more of a shed, but the door was open leading to a larger room.  There were people listening. Dean lowered his voice, “Still being shut out?”

“Yes.  I don’t like what I see.” Joshua was worried, losing the cool façade he usually carried. 

“Frog legs?” Dean joked, trying to concentrate on being awake.  “People can say they taste like chicken, but how can frog taste like chicken?”

Joshua sent him a withering glance.  “There is power here, but it is heavy.”

The way Joshua spoke gave him away as a PR man.  “And your coven is what? All light and airy?”

“Somewhat – it is permeable.” Joshua clasped and unclasped his hands.  “I can’t explain it, but we need to leave as soon as possible.”

It was difficult not to move. Dean fingered the rough sheet in his hand.  He was used to the thin over bleached sheets at motels, but these were worse in their stiffness.  “Are they going to let us leave? Are  Sammy and Caleb in danger?”

Joshua gave a sidelong glance. “They will honor their agreement, but it will come at some cost.”

Dean tried to become comfortable, but every movement resulted in awakening the agony in his arm. He wanted to be out there with his Triad. He kept tabs on them in New York, but he was unable to know what was going on now. “Is it one we can pay?”

“I hope so.” Joshua turned to the open doorway as someone walked by.   Joshua turned his chair to give them the illusion of privacy.

It was surprising to see Joshua trying to provide some protection.  “Your firstborn child is not an option.”

“I would think not.” Joshua lost that worried look for a moment. 

“Are you going to name Caleb as the godfather?”  Dean understood why his best friend wanted the job. Caleb was never going to have his own children, but being a godfather strengthened his uncle position.

“No,” Joshua repeated again with a roll of his eyes.

 “What’s Caroline’s vote?”

“She’s unable to make a logical decision at this point.” Josh huffed.

 “What’s that mean?”

“She’s pregnant,” he replied in a harsh whisper.  “Her mood changes quickly.”

“You did come on this hunt to run away from her. That’s what she thought, you know.” Dean blinked as his head started to ache, then a wave of nausea crashed down on him. He felt his mouth water.

“I did not.” Joshua crossed his arms in protest. “And I wish that you and my wife would stop having these conversations.”

Dean could no longer keep up the repartee.  Caroline, to some extent, had turned into an excellent confident.  He had told her that she would make a great mother, and that Josh would make a good dad.

 Joshua leaned in, “Dean?”

Dean was unable to answer, but must have alerted Joshua that he was in trouble.

“We need help here, immediately!”  Joshua called out as he gingerly lifted the arm. “Don’t die on me Dean.  You need to wait until Sam and Caleb get back here.”

Dean would have laughed because it sounded like Joshua wanted him to wait for his brother and Caleb to return to die.  Dean wasn’t planning on dying at all, but the darkness made it a distinct possibility.


Sam was surprised he had convinced Caleb to go along with his plan, but now with time against him, he thought he made a poor decision. “This is not a good idea,” he said to Caleb as they rotated positions, each taking a turn to creep around the blood perimeter they had created.

“You thought of it,” Caleb groused. Sam recognized Caleb’s crankiness as worry for Dean.

“I didn’t expect you to agree with me,” Sam stuttered, insecure.  It had been difficult to find his confidence with hunting once more, having led Dean and Caleb to an almost catastrophic mistake with his idea to become Lucifer.  Wendigo’s are smart.”

Caleb snorted as if disregarding Sam’s comment. “If you made me sacrifice friends of Bambi for nothing, plus digging around in a wendigo’s mind, Sam-“

Sam shook his head. Caleb was leading the wendigo to them, but they needed to create a further enticement. Rabbits and raccoons were used as wendigo bait.  They smeared the blood, creating what Sam hoped would be a tasty trail for the supernatural creature. “No, it’ll work.” Sam shivered wondering if it was a sign that it was all amiss, but it was his ring alerting him. “Dean?”

“He’s in trouble,” he clenched his hand with the silver band. “Come on you stupid piece of wendigo shit.” Caleb got up from his crouch. “I’m taking a tour.”

Sam nodded, knowing his assurances would be thwarted.  Caleb needed action.  Sam kept his ears open, adjusting for the natural night sounds, guessing where Caleb had moved to until he heard the crunch of footsteps.

They were heavier than Caleb’s so Sam prepared himself as the wendigo came into their trap. The wendigo sniffed the air as it paused.  Sam wished his abilities could will the wendigo deeper into their trap. Sam inhaled and exhaled twice before the wendigo stepped into one of their setups.

It went up with a roar. Large and struggling in the trap, Caleb’s shots rang out.   He came forward, gun emptying, but the wendigo was still struggling.  It would not die until it was charred, but first the wendigo had to be bled.

Sam gathered their supplies, studying the wendigo strung up by its feet.   Caleb grabbed a log and hit the wendigo’s head, beating it into submission, or at least until momentary unconsciousness. 

Up close the wendigo’s fetid smell was almost unbearable. Sam brought the back of his hand to cover his mouth and nose. He didn’t know how Caleb was bearing it, knife out, readying to pierce the wendigo’s skin. “Blood’s red, but its thick.”

Sam made his puncture into the thick, almost reptilian, skin. He felt as though he was doing some mad experiment.  The wound bled sluggishly.  He placed the bottle underneath the cut, watched as it filled slowly.

They each filled a bottle. Caleb waited until Sam was finished and dosed the revived wendigo with kerosene.

 “Toast it!” Sam called out, showing that he was clear. Caleb threw the match. The wendigo waved it arms and cried out; the rope caught fire, dropping the wendigo to the ground.  It was too late for the wendigo, but not for Dean. 

Part 4

They reached the designated meeting place with Caleb feeling the minutes ticking by, the night sky becoming lighter. He reached out with is mind to connect with his friend, sensing he was still alive, but weak.

“Where the hell are they?” Caleb called out.  He knew the witches were keeping them waiting, sweating them out. He could feel that they were around him.

“They’ll be here,” Sam answered, frustration creeping into his voice. “They have to. They can’t go back on their word.”

“They’re witches, Sammy. Dark ones. They can’t be trusted to keep their word,” Caleb yelled out the last part, waiting for it to echo back.

There was no echo, instead a reply, “We are here.” 

Caleb turned to see the glow of flickering lights.  Witches were theatrical, and Caleb was going to tell them what they could do with their Harry Potter crap, but Sam clasped his arm.

The witches waited for Caleb and Sam to go to them, another power play on their part to point out The Brotherhood was in the weaker position.  “And here I thought you wanted to be friends,” Caleb groused.

“No, you are mistaken. We want you in our debt,” the nameless woman answered.

It did not give Caleb the warm and fuzzies to know that she was escorting them without Dean or Joshua. However, his ring had not been zinging like it had before. He took that as a good sign. “How’s Dean?”

“He is still your Guardian,” she answered, leading the way into a well-hidden encampment.

Sam was looking around, taking in everything.  “Nice setup you have here,” he commented.

The houses were of wood and no more than 1000 square feet, but they seemed to be painted with camouflage or something that allowed them to undulate and weave into the trees. 

They were pushed into the small room where Josh was leaning over Dean.  The Guardian’s chest was covered in a wet cloth with a green gritty substance all over it.  He was pale and looked uncomfortable.

“Josh, what happened?” Sam asked, the room becoming too small to hold them all.

“He had a seizure. He’s been unconscious ever since.” Josh got up from his chair, giving a sidelong glance to the other witches. “Did you get the blood?”

Both Caleb and Sam could pick up Joshua’s broadcasting.  He didn’t know what was going on, but they needed to get out as quickly as possible with Dean healed.  Sam pulled the blood out. “We hope this will be more than enough for you to create the antidote.” 

“Leave the room,” the witch said as she lifted one of the bottles of blood to the light.

“I don’t think so,” Caleb answered, his arms crossed. “We stay with him.”

“If you insist then this goes no further.” She stared at him and waited for a decision.  “You are under our rules here, not The Brotherhood’s.”

Caleb hated to be played and ordered around.  “I don’t scare easy. And lady, I don’t care about you or this coven.  I could kill you, go home and have a great night sleep. You understand what I’m saying?”

The witch paled, but crossed her arms and with less vehemence she repeated, “Leave the room.”

Sam pulled at the sleeve of his jacket. “They want us out of the room because they don’t want us to learn their craft,” Sam explained.  “Is that about right?”

The woman nodded. “This is a favor in return for a favor to be performed when we call.  Consider yourselves fortunate that we made this agreement.” She glanced at Caleb. “We only agreed to cure your Guardian of the wendigo bite, nothing more.”

“If I can suggest that you create the antidote in another room and then administer it with us present, unless the administration is also sensitive?” Joshua suggested.  “If your concern is about me, then I am willing to be restrained.  These two are not a threat to your craft.”

“They are disrespectful and doubtful of the power,” the woman agreed. “Especially your Knight-you came to us for help. Best that you not forget that and that your Guardian will be healed.”

“He’s not being disrespectful- there is concern for a brother.” Joshua paused.  “They are unable to grasp the basic intricacies of what you will do.” Joshua gestured to Caleb. “The Brotherhood honors its promises.”

“Josh, did you just call me stupid?” Caleb asked, moving closer to Dean so that he could be reassured by his friend’s breathing and close proximity. “And I am staying.”

“You,” she pointed at Joshua, “will be removed.  They can remain.”

Caleb mentally thanked Joshua for his diplomacy. 

“You will be allowed a few moments together while I prepare.” The witch left the room and, what Caleb termed, the ‘witch enforcers’ came in to take Joshua away.

“Joshua, we’ll see you soon. We’re all walking out together.” Sam patted Joshua on the back.

“He gets one scratch and you’re all dead,” Caleb warned, but was ignored by the burly men.

Caleb took the chair by the bed while Sam sat on the edge of the bed.

“Dean, you hold on. We made it back and now it’s your turn.” Sam placed a hand on his brother’s blanket covered leg.

Caleb leaned over so he was close to Dean’s ear.  For as many times as one of them had been placed in this position, there was always a bedside vigil.  Caleb never remembered the conversations, but he understood the underlying sentiment. “I’m sorry. I screwed up and you’re paying the price. The whole damn Brotherhood’s going to be paying the price,” Caleb whispered.

The witch returned with quiet steps. “I need to complete my work.”

Sam nodded and got up, pulling Caleb with him. Caleb focused on Dean’s face, closed eyes lost in unconsciousness until the witch, blocking their view with her body placed her hands on the wound. Dean’s eyes shot open and a scream ripped through the room.

 “What the fuck is going on?” Caleb asked, moving the witch out of the way.  She was surprisingly soft, letting herself be moved out of the way.

“It is over,” she answered, unfazed by the cursing. “The wendigo bite will heal.”

“Damien?” Dean’s eyes flickered open into slits, then The Guardian took a deep breath.  “What happened? I guess Sida didn’t kill me.”

Caleb nodded at the witch after learning her name. “We’d like our Advisor back now, Sida.”

“How you doing, man?” Sam took up his place once more. 

Dean moved his wounded arm gingerly.  It was still covered with a reddish crusted substance that was flaking off as the injury healed. “Good as new.”

Sam helped him sit up. “That’s good to hear.  You had us worried.”

Pfff,” Dean waved away their ministrations.   “I was in the lap of luxury. Nothing to be worried about. Right, Sida?”

Caleb knew they had not been left alone; Sida had remained at the door, but they were not talking about anything of importance. Caleb pulled Dean’s arm over, wrinkling his nose as they watched the wound seal itself shut. “I’ll say this; she knew what she was doing.”

Dean pulled his arm back, cradling it.  “We owe her one,” he said sotto voce.

Caleb was also picking up that Dean was not happy that The Brotherhood owed a dark coven a favor. Caleb could also sense that Joshua was being brought back into the room; evidently he was no longer a threat to the witches. He wasn’t going to be picking up their secrets.

Joshua was unceremoniously pushed into the room. “You’ve recovered?”

“I had to. We’re an example of brotherly love for you two,” Dean answered, prodding the healing wound. “Plus I’m a shoe-in for godfather.”

“No way.  You’re delusional,” Caleb quickly retorted.  That was his territory, and he was working hard to mark it.

Joshua frowned.  “Why are you persisting with this campaign?”

“He’s trying to wear you down, trip you up so that you agree.” Dean replied.

Sida, do you have something for delusions?” Caleb asked the witch who had remained in the background. He hadn’t forgotten about her, and still wanted to know more about her and asses her threat level.

“You must leave now.” Her hands were clasped in front of her. She gestured to the doorway filled with members of the coven that outnumbered them. She was not joking, and immediately killed the mood.

“This is not hospitality.” Joshua stood in front of her-witch to witch.  Caleb wondered for a moment if there would be a duel. He still remembered his threat about killing her.

“It is not, and there will be consequences if you do not go.” She paused, turning away from Josh towards Dean. “You will be escorted off and you will recover from the bite.  The fresh air will do you well.”

“Sammy, help me up,” Dean kicked off the sheet. 

“You ready to be vertical?” Sam asked as he held out his hands for Dean to grasp.

Dean was not ready, wavering until Sam got under his arm for support, and Caleb took the other arm. “And what’s your payment for this drive thru service?” Caleb asked Sida with a growl, angry with the witches.

“We will call on you when need be,” Sida moved aside to let them pass.

“Looking forward to it,” Dean answered. 

When they asked for The Brotherhood’s help, they would pay the debt, but Caleb would find a way to make them suffer.

“The other covens will hear about this,” Joshua stated, grabbing their stuff so Caleb and Sam could assist Dean without encumbrances.

Caleb snorted at Joshua’s level headedness. “Way to tell them, Josh.”

Dean did seem to get better as they walked, eventually shirking from the manhandling of his handlers.

“Are you okay?”  Caleb kept asking much to his best friend’s annoyance.  Caleb would not feel better until this hunt was well in the rearview mirror of the Impala. 

Dean now had reached the point where he was ignoring Caleb, the middle finger being the reply. “Did you find the wendigo’s cave?”

“We were a little busy thinking about how to catch it and bleed it,” Caleb huffed, feeling the day catching up to him with a weariness that leeched into his bones. Caleb knew he had been off his game, and now, as each step was feeling heavier, he was getting alarmed that there was something wrong.

 Caleb read Dean’s thoughts that he was worried about his friend so Caleb turned away from Dean and his thoughts.  Instead Caleb directed his questions to Joshua, “Can you guess what she gave Dean?”

“Other than the blood, no, I was not aware there was an antidote. I did take a sample.” Joshua was taking the lead to get back to the car. He turned around. “But, I wish that you had gotten more blood so Adam and I could have come up with a formula. Someone that wants to be considered for godfather would have gotten an extra vial.”

“Well we had other things on our mind—a spare bottle for your experiments didn’t make it on the list. Maybe next time.” Caleb shook his head; he should have gotten another bottle.

“I hope there isn’t a next time.” Sam pushed a branch out of the way.  “I can only imagine what we are going to owe them.”

“We will be paying a high price,” Joshua answered.

“I’m worth it,” Dean raked a hand through his hair.

“And I was getting a vibe from Sida--she liked me, there was potential there,” Caleb added.

There was a moment of stunned silence, then Sam started to laugh and Joshua and Dean joined in.  It was more out of relief, as the car came in sight, than Caleb’s absurd comment.  It was early morning, and the sun was gleaming off of the steel of the car. The black of the Impala could be seen through the greenery that they had used to hide the vehicle.

“You’re not driving, Dean,” Sam put out his hand so that his brother would hand over the keys. Dean did it with a grunt of dissatisfaction.  They cleared off the branches, Sam opening the driver’s side door, his brother on the passenger side with Joshua getting into the backseat. 

Caleb leaned against the trunk of the Impala, catching his breath and racing thoughts.

“Damien, you coming or mooning over your new girlfriend?” He heard Dean call out to him, but it was muffled.

He was unable to form the words to answer, they got stuck somewhere in the back of his dry throat. Caleb cocked his head, turned towards Dean, blinking, hoping there would be understanding. He shook his head to remove the heavy cotton that seemed to grow in an instance, attempted to stand, and then saw the ground rush up to him before there was nothing.


Cressida wanted to sleep. The spell work had taken a lot from her, and The Guardian of The Brotherhood had been a difficult case. It was not their custom to let outsiders in, but Cressida couldn’t deny them, not this time at least.

“You sent them on their way?” Regan rested against a tree, sitting cross-legged, waiting for her.  This was their place in the meadow.

She sat down next to him, leaning into him to enjoy the close intimacy. “Of course. I did as you asked.”  As much as she loved this man, she could not tell him her thoughts about Caleb Reaves, Dean Winchester and the others, keeping her own counsel.  “I still do not understand. Caleb Reaves is the one that is ill.”

“That’s what I’ve been told. My plan depends on it, the legacy for both our people, Cressida,” Regan replied with a gleeful smile.

“How do you know about his illness?” Regan had not mentioned this to Cressida, and it would have been nice to have that piece of information.

“Cressida, The Trinity mirrors The Triad, Jonah is psychic and saw what is to come to Caleb Reaves.”

“And what is to come?” Her hand entwined and stroked the grass, grounding her.

“The Guardian of The Brotherhood will help me find the Sword of David.”

Cressida was still unsure how this plan would benefit her coven. Her research into the Sword of David didn’t lead to it helping her coven, just doubting Regan.  The only benefit she had was the extracted favor, which was promised to Regan.

“I love you,” he kissed her cheek. He was the leader of the Trinity. Set to keep the balance between good and bad and she was in love with him, an outsider. 

She inhaled his earthy scent. They understood each other, making an alliance not just amongst the witches and hunters, but falling for each other, too.

“You’re supposed to say, ‘me too,’ “ he teased.

“I think the fact that I did what I did is evidence enough.” Cressida wondered if she was being used by this man for his own gain.  They had to be ruthless in their roles, but between them there should be trust and openness. Yet, she still had a favor owed to her, which could help her in the future as long as she kept her own counsel in certain matters.

“Actions speak louder than words.” He grasped her hand.

The end