Some ideas/concepts come from from the White Wolf roleplaying game "Werewolf - The Apocalypse" and "Wraith - The Oblivion", I'm no fan of how the show deals with shapeshifters in general or werewolves in particular so I based this very loosely on the WW books. You don't need to know about the RPG, everything will be explained in the scene.
Based on two characters from the UK TV show "Being Human".
What else... As usual, this wouldn't have been written without the other half of my soul. Thank you so much for keeping me going, I'd have turned my back on writing soooo long ago if it hadn't been for you. I love you for keeping my mind going and never giving up on me.
Warning No.1: John and Sam only, no Dean. At all. Don't like, don't read.
Warning No. 2: AU. As AU as it can be, really.
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back --
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.
The Law of the Jungle
~~ Rudyard Kipling ~~
That was one hell of a shot, I know he was at the other end of the street before I blacked out, guess I should be lucky you made him practice so often. You’d have been so proud of him tonight, Mary, he saved those kids, he didn’t hesitate, not for a second. He’s every bit the hunter
It was such a dumb move, he could have got himself killed tonight and I couldn’t have done anything about it.
I don’t know what to do. Part of me is thinking about sending him back to the others. He’d be safe there, safer than he’ll ever be here, with me. I should do it, every fiber of my being wants him away from here, as far away as possible. It’s not his life, it’s not what I want for him, he should go to school, learn something important. He’s smart enough to go to college.
I know you wouldn’t want that, you’d be mad at me if I told you. He belongs here, with me, with his family and you’re right, he does. He won’t go. I know that, he won’t go and nothing I could say would make him leave.
I have to find a way to keep him safe, he can’t risk his life like that again, it was such an idiot move—
It’s not a bad idea, not really.
There might be a high possibility that it will get him mutilated to some degree, or maybe even killed, but, right now, this plan is all he has.
It’s not as if he has a choice anyway, when faced with the decision of saving your own neck or those of a bunch of civilians who wouldn’t stand the slightest chance against the monster prowling them. There isn’t much you can do. At least his plan will even the odds, it will no longer be one werewolf against four unarmed, unsuspecting kids but against a trained hunter with a few tricks up his sleeves.
If he can get the beast’s attention that is. At the moment it is sniffing the group out, no doubt assessing who’s the weakest member and will be the first to go. All Sam has to do is get himself to the top of the wolf’s to-kill-list and then deal with it. He can do that, because that’s where his plan comes in, there is enough he can do to distract the wolf for however long it will take him to summon the talisman. It’s the only ‘weapon’ he has that works on this creature, he has to call it to him and hope that the werewolf won’t kill anyone in the meantime. And that will be it.
So, all in all, it’s not a bad plan, after all, werewolves do have kind of an aversion to silver, so shooting at one of them with a silver bullet is an easy way to ensure its immediate and undying affection.
Oh, he knows that shooting it will screw up the hunt the moment he pulls the trigger, he’ll ruin everything he’s worked so hard for in the last months—years. There will be no going back from it. Hunting, as he knows it, will be over, his father will never allow him on a job again. Maybe he’ll even ground Sam for the rest of his life. It’s a small price to pay to save a group of innocent people, so he should be able to deal with that, but still… It’s the first hunt he’s on where his father didn’t get a second hunter as back-up, it’s just him and his dad. It’s a test, he has to prove himself tonight, has to show that he is capable of having John’s back.
And that sucks, damn it, it’s so fucking unfair, this whole situation isn’t his fault but he’s still the one who will be blamed for it. And if he doesn’t do something right about now there won’t be any people left to care about, the wolf is getting ready to attack—
Sam mentally counts to three, takes a deep breath and steps out of his hiding place behind one of the cars, steadying his aim carefully before he pulls the trigger.
The gun goes off, ridiculously loud in the silence of the night, and the silver bullet hits a hairy flank a split second later. It has the desired effect, the sound of the shot is still echoing off the concrete walls when the creature roars in pain and whirls around to face him. Sam gets a glimpse of feral eyes flashing dangerously in the shadows, zeroing in on his neck immediately, and that’s his cue to turn and start running for his life.
It’s dark, it’s the middle of the night, and Sam has no idea where he is going. Streets fly by at a dizzying speed but he can’t slow down, there is no time for details, not even a second to spare for paying attention to more than making sure he isn’t running into things. If he stops, he’s dead, it’s as simple as that.
There is no way he can outrun it, the beast is way too fast. Even on a good day he is no match for its speed. The silver, while ensuring him immediate ‘affection’, doesn’t slow it down at all. The only thing it has accomplished is to send an already excited werewolf into a murderous frenzy. Silver will do that to them, it will literally make them see red and kill the first thing they can get their claws on. While Sam is trained to jog at a swift pace for miles, running at top speed is draining his stamina and energy pretty quickly. He needs to find a place to lure the wolf to, or he’ll have to face it in the middle of the streets for everyone to see. And that is not an option, whatever he’ll have to do to hold it back, to overpower it, he’s going to have to fight with everything he has and that sure as hell isn’t going to happen in silence. The only way to finish this, to survive with all his bones and internal organs intact, is to get away to a safe place. He isn’t even picky about details. Give him a place where he can fight and doesn’t have to worry about witnesses and he’ll be fine, ready to stop and fight back—
There’s a loud crash behind him. It sounds as if the wolf hits an unyielding surface—bricks from the sound of it—and a furious growl echoes through the small street. It sets Sam’s nerves on edge and he has to fight against his instinct to turn back and look. It would only slow him down and he can’t, he can’t do that, he has to keep moving, has to get away.
Claws scrape across the pavement behind him, steps pick up speed, get closer.
It feels like he’s been running for ages, his legs are growing heavier with every step, his breath is starting to hurt his lungs. He can’t seem to get enough air if the black spots dancing in his line of sight are anything to go by. Cold midnight air cuts through his clothes, biting into his skin while his mind is caught in an endless loop of need to get away – shouldn’t have used silver – need to get away…
The next snarl sounds so close to him that he almost jumps out of his skin. A rush of panic quickens his steps and he searches his surroundings desperately, looking for anything that might lead him to a safer place. His gaze settles on the warehouses at the other end of the street. He dimly remembers they’d been talking about checking them out later and something about most of them being deserted. It isn’t ideal, but it certainly beats running for the rest of his probably very short life.
With a destination in mind he manages to add another burst of speed to his long flight. He leaves the sidewalk and heads toward the small alley between two of the large houses. He ends up in a maze of dark passageways, rounding corners randomly while trying to get as much distance between him and the apartment houses as possible. By now he is more stumbling through the narrow passages than actually running and he just wants to sit down and catch his breath. Sam turns into an alley lit by a single light bulb and it’s as good a place as any to stop. He allows himself the luxury of leaning against a wall for a second. He doubles over, resting his hands on his knees, gulping in as much air as he can. Sweat is running into his eyes and he wipes it away distractedly, trying to gather his thoughts.
One minute, he just needs one fucking minute, 60 seconds—maybe less—to figure out what to do now—
The sound of heavy claws scraping over the pavement is the only warning he gets. Sam whirls around in time to see a massive, four-legged shadow round the corner. It stops for a second, sniffs the air even though its dark eyes are already fixed on his throat. Before Sam can do more than take a step back, the shadow starts moving, races toward him at a frightening speed.
The beast reaches the middle of the alley before he can so much as take in a surprised gasp and it jumps, its heavy body clearing the ground and sailing through the air, aiming for his head.
Sam doesn’t think, lets his reflexes take over.
Before the wolf can get close enough to tear his head off, Sam brings up both hands to his chest and thrusts them toward the beast, palms facing away from his body. He yanks them sharply to the side, as if warding off a blow in hand-to-hand combat, letting out a loud, wordless shout at the motion.
The effect is immediate and powerful. It looks like an invisible wave crashes into the giant body. The wave hits with such force it actually changes the wolf’s direction, inches before the shaggy creature would have hit him it is slammed sideways and into the wall, crashing headfirst into the bricks. The wolf grunts and slumps down into a tangle of muscled legs and twitching paws.
It’s a huge beast, easily five feet tall, with dirty black fur covering a body built for power and speed. Its head and jaws are massive, saliva dripping from the sharp fangs and onto the asphalt. The creature studies him from the ground, seems in no particular hurry to get back to its feet. With the big head cocked to the side like some oversized pet dog it looks as if it’s thinking about the most painful way to tear Sam’s limbs off. Which, for all he knows, might even be true. It’s not attacking, not yet, and Sam takes his chance.
“Try to calm down…” he whispers softly, fighting not to flinch back when the head moves even more to the side. The creature almost looks curious like that, no sign that it might attack him, but Sam knows better than to let his guard down now. “Come on, it’s me, you know me, I know you can do it, try to calm down…”
He feels stupid talking like that to a creature hell-bent on tearing his heart out through his throat, but he has to try it at least. He slowly takes a step back and keeps talking in a low voice.
“Come on, catch my scent or something, you gotta get out of this, man, you know me… Please, please let this work, snap out of it….”
He’s not really talking sense, of course the wolf would have already caught his scent, it has been chasing him through half of the freaking town, but still, nonsense is better than the shaky, nervous, slightly panicked yell of frustration that’s fighting to break free. This has to work, he needs him to calm down, they both know he’s stronger than that—
It’s a subtle bunching of muscles that catches Sam’s attention a split second before the beast moves again, but it’s enough to get Sam moving out of the way barely in time. Sam twists to the side, following the beast’s course with his hands as it sails past him. This time he doesn’t counter its movement, instead he increases its momentum with as much telekinetic power as he can put into the effect, sending the werewolf head-first into the wall behind him. Sam isn’t quick enough to get clear of the large body completely; a giant paw hits him on the shoulder and sends him stumbling into the other wall. Both he and the wolf go down this time, the impact with the hard floor knocking the air out of Sam’s lungs.
The werewolf stays down on the ground, a long crack in the wall above it testimony to the force that had been behind the collision. The wolf doesn’t move, it looks as if it’s down for the count, but Sam isn’t fooled, he knows he only has a few seconds, maybe a minute before it will be up again. It’s sheer desperation, the need to survive that gets him back to his feet much faster than he could normally move and he backs away, eying the wolf suspiciously. It seems as if the impact has really knocked it unconscious, buying him a few seconds.
It isn’t much, but it has to be enough. Distraction, he needs a distraction now, something to occupy the wolf with while he prepares the talisman…
Sam takes a deep breath, tries to calm down and closes his eyes. The adrenaline coursing through his system makes it difficult to concentrate on the necessary technique, but somehow he manages to reach the state of mind that allows him to access his power. Slowly, bit by bit, the walls of the warehouses appear before his mind’s eye and he concentrates on what he can sense around him. It’s hard to pierce the veil in cities, even if you’re just trying to look at the other side. It takes him a lot of energy and time to do it, time he doesn’t really have. He knows what he is looking for, he knows what he needs to make this work, how powerful it has to be, but the spirit world is almost as deserted as the real world. There’s the nervous energy of a wraith gleaming nearby, blue sparks of ghostly energy flickering across his senses, but it’s weak, not even remotely as strong as he needs. In any other case he wouldn’t even consider this, but with the situation as it is he has no other choice.
Before he can change his mind he reaches out, mentally calling out to the specter, commanding it to his side. It doesn’t put up much of a fight, isn’t strong enough to resist his less than polite handling and, frankly, he simply doesn’t have the patience to play nice and follow the rules. He’ll make it up when this is over.
If he’s still breathing then that is.
Once the spirit is close enough he reaches out again, curling his power around it and giving a hard tug, pulling it over and into this world—
It’s nothing more than a feeling, the hair on the back of his neck rising a moment before there is the scrape of claws over concrete and the wolf is moving again.
Sam doesn’t waste any time on trying to figure out how it will come at him but moves, throwing himself to the side. Something dark sails over him and a sharp claw catches on his jacket, pulling him off his feet for a second time. He lands on his side and barely manages to break his fall. Before he can get back to his feet, something heavy crashes down on his legs, burying them and forcing a pained yell out of his throat. Hot breath stirs the hairs at the back of his neck and something drips onto his skin—
Sam reaches out with is mind, finds the wraith still hovering next to him and closes his eyes, putting the last of his mental strength into the command he channels into it.
There is a shrill screech next to him and suddenly the pressure on his legs disappears. Sam looks up in time to see a translucent shape hurl itself at the werewolf. It knocks the creature back and it lands on its side somewhere in the shadows at the other end of the alley.
Sounds of a furious struggle fill the alley only seconds later, mad growling, claws scratching over pavement and walls, otherworldly hisses and screams that send shivers down Sam’s spine. He hates this, he hates every second of it, it’s wrong, so wrong to force the spirit to fight for him, it goes against everything he’s learned, everything he’s vowed not to do…
Sam lets his head fall back against the house behind him. Now that he has a moment to settle down, there is the familiar sense of exhaustion creeping into his bones, weighing him down. Using his powers like this, against the wraith’s will, drains his psychic energy out of him, weakens him, right now the mere idea of having to move from where he is sitting is almost more than he can bear. His body is giving in, he feels his awareness start to slip away and he really wants to just give in and take a rest. But he can’t, there’s still a raging werewolf on the loose, a beast ready to kill, and it’s his responsibility, he needs to end this, he’s the only one who knows how.
He doesn’t know where he finds the strength to get to his feet again, but somehow he does, leaning against the wall behind him for a moment when the world tilts to the side and he has to fight for his balance. The sounds of the struggle fade into the background as he closes his eyes and holds out his right hand, palm facing up. He starts mumbling under his breath, words of a language he’s just beginning to learn, that still sounds foreign to his ears, short, abrupt, aggressive to some extent. It’s a simple ritual, he is calling one of three things he’s bound to this effect to him from where it is hidden in the trunk of their car, an easy, yet incredibly handy conjuring-spell his father taught him years ago.
There’s a bluish flash of light and then he’s holding the talisman in his hand. The magical fetish is about as big as his hand, made of small animal bones, feathers and a white, half-moon-shaped marble-stone in the center of it. The stone is cold against his skin and he realizes with a sinking heart that the talisman is empty, it’s powerless like this— there is no magic in it, not yet. It won’t do its trick unless he charges it with magical energy, pretty much like he would do with a cell phone. But for that he needs a source and since, right now, there is no natural node nearby that he can use and he doesn’t have enough time to perform the proper ritual to borrow it from the spirit world, the only thing he has left is his own energy.
It’s a risk, it’s ridiculously dangerous, if he doesn’t do it right, if he mispronounces a word or doesn’t finish it in time it can very well kill him. He has only done it once before, but never on his own, never without someone to keep an eye on him. Back then he had empowered a ceremonial dagger for a ritual and he only had to use a small part of his own energy and still he had been surprised at how weak that spell had left him for hours. What he is about to do, now, is nothing compared to that, it’s not just a dagger it’s a complex spell he has to place on the fetish.
And that’s exactly why you would prepare the talisman in advance if you were planning to use it, take it to a place of natural power and leave it there for days to activate it. They should have thought about it before they went on this hunt, but, to be honest, they hadn’t really expected to be faced with this problem.
If his mentor learns about this—and he will if Sam gets them out of this situation in one piece—it might cost him his current status as apprentice. It’s not that someone told him not to use it, but doing it in a situation like this is definitely not something he’ll get away with that easily.
A particularly loud and vicious growl draws his gaze to the fighting creatures at the ally. All he can see in the dim light is a tangle of wild hair, muscles and sparks of blue energy wherever sharp claws hit home. The wraith’ strength is fading already, he doesn’t have much time left. Sam studies the familiar form of the wolf for a moment as he makes up his mind. He has to do it, he has to get him out of that killing frenzy and back to normal, even if it’s the last thing he’ll ever do.
Keeping his eyes locked on the battle in front of him he starts to chant softly, one hand pressed against the wall to keep himself upright. The ritual itself is very short, no more than two lines he has to recite and even before he finishes it, he can feel it starting to work. It’s starting in his hands, they tingle as if someone is sticking thousands of tiny needles into them. The sensation starts to spread across his arms, right up and into his shoulders. It’s not really painful, more annoying, but he knows that will change, and soon, if he doesn’t catch the right moment to stop. Slowly, the white marble begins to glow in his hand and the cold stone becomes warmer. Sam starts walking toward the back of the alley. Neither the wolf nor the wraith notice him getting closer, too caught up in their struggle. The wraith is fading fast now; Sam can feel what little is left of the specter through the connection he made when he drew it into this plane. He can feel how its energy is dripping out through large tears in the body where claws must have hit. The spirit can’t die like this, not permanently, it will merely reassemble itself once it gets back into the other world.
But even so, using it like this, as a diversion—it’s just wrong.
And then he is close enough to fling the fetish at the wolf. He holds his breath in anticipation, preparing to back away if the device doesn’t work. It almost seems like a slow motion effect how the small artifact flies through the air, spinning slightly, before it touches the shaggy fur and comes to rest on the broad back. For a few too long seconds nothing happens, the fight doesn’t slow down and Sam is almost convinced that it didn’t work, can feel his mind starting to race as he tries to come up with a plan B.
But then suddenly the heavy body flinches violently and the wolf spits out a pained yelp, starts twisting to the side, trying to get the fetish off. It can’t reach it, though, and Sam watches how the once white glow of the artifact turns into a soft, blue light. The wolf goes completely rigid for a second, then slumps to the ground like a puppet with its strings cut, taking a deep, shuddering breath before it falls still.
Sam releases his hold on the spirit, but before he can guide what is left of it back to the other side it dissolves on its own, disappearing into a shower of weak, blue sparkles.
Finally, there is silence, blessed silence.
Sam slumps against the wall and takes a deep breath, trying to shut out the cold, the way his legs protest every time he tries to move them, the painful pounding in his head that’s getting worse each second. He keeps his eyes on the huge lump of wolf a few feet away from him for a second and then closes them, allowing himself just a moment of rest. He leans back against the cold wall, tries to keep his throbbing head from exploding, tries to stay awake so he won’t add falling asleep during a hunt to the things he did wrong this night, but he has no real choice about that matter, too, soon he can feel himself drifting...
The voice seems to come from far away and it takes him a moment to force his eyes open. He blinks up blearily to find his father leaning heavily against the wall behind Sam, right next to where the fight with the wraith had taken place. John is wearing his jeans and a white shirt, no shoes, not even a jacket. There is a dark, bloody patch on his left thigh and his face is pulled into a pained grimace. He limps forward slowly, using the wall to keep upright, moving carefully until he is next to Sam, looking down at him with a frown.
“Really, Sam, silver?”
He sounds equally resigned and accusing and Sam can’t suppress the automatic eye-roll, not keeping the indignant growl from his own voice. “You were gonna rip them apart, I needed to stop you, there was no time to switch bullets!”
John shuffles into the light of a lamp and Sam finally gets a close look at the leg and the bloody stain that is slowly growing bigger. His father is shivering slightly in the cold air, jaw clenched tight against what Sam knows is pure agony pulsing through his leg. Silver hurts like a bitch and takes at least twice as long to heal as any other injury. Sam’s conviction that he has done the right thing wavers for a moment when his father takes a shuddering breath and loses some of his color as he tries to put some weight on the injured leg. Both of them wince, but John straightens and forces his features to relax somewhat, turning a thoughtful gaze at Sam.
“I went after you.”
It’s not a question but Sam nods anyway, forcing a grin. He’s already fucked the hunt up beyond repair, and right now all that counts is to do some form of damage control. “You didn’t hurt me, I had it—I had you under control the whole time.”
His father’s face is unreadable; Sam has no idea if he catches his lie. For once his dad’s tendency to black out during a frenzy might actually work to Sam’s advantage.
“How did you stop me?”
This time Sam’s smile is real, if a little rueful, and he raises his hands slightly. “Had to throw you into a wall—into walls until I could get the talisman.”
John’s gaze wanders down to the fetish he is holding in his hand and he studies it for a moment, then looks down at Sam again.
Sam’s answer to that is as automatic as it is a lie. “Yeah, I’m fine, I’m okay.”
His dad doesn’t buy it, not for a second, and they both know it. But there’s the need to get away from the place as soon as possible, before their luck runs out and someone sees them and there’s still the car to get from where they’d parked it and they have to take care of the wound—
“We need to get out of here.”
That’s it, that’s all they’ll be saying about this hunt for now, and somehow Sam can suddenly breathe a lot easier. Not that his dad will let this go, this isn’t over, not at all, but at least he gets a chance to think about what went wrong before having to give his dad the details John is missing. He might even get a chance to work out a strategy to not let this situation ruin the progress he’s made so far.
Sam looks up when John starts moving again, dropping the fetish into his hand as he passes him and heads for the end of the alley, leaving Sam to stare at the crack in the wall for a moment before he turns and follows him slowly, muttering softly under his breath.
“You know a ‘thank you’ would be nice…”
They walk through the dark maze of passageways in silence. At one point Sam catches up with John and hands him his jacket, but other than that they don’t talk. Sam feels the effect of using his powers and the long flight with every step he takes— what’s left of his energy is fading so fast he begins to doubt that he will make it back to where they’d parked the car earlier. The need to sit down, to rest, becomes so strong he can barely concentrate on keeping moving. He has no idea how they finally find the street again, but at one point he turns a corner to find John waiting in the shadows of the warehouse that had lifted Sam’s spirits earlier, watching the empty street in front of them. He joins his father in the shadows. John is leaning against the wall, shoulders hunched against the chill of the night. He turns to look at Sam when he steps closer and frowns.
“You should sit down for a minute.”
Sam realizes he must look as bad as he feels and tries to straighten reflexively. He looks around and sees a couple of wooden boxes, gesturing toward them. John nods and they move to them, sitting down on them with a soft sigh. It’s that single sound, barely audible, that hammers home the fact that his father is in serious pain because of him and facing a couple of difficult days as his leg heals. He will not die from blood loss and it’s not the first silver bullet they had to take care of. The regenerative powers of a werewolf don’t make him immortal, but he can still function with injuries that would incapacitate any other human being. But it’s the first time John is hurt because of him and even though he knows he didn’t have a choice he feels his stomach clench in guilt.
And of course his dad chooses this moment to display that uncanny insight he can have at times, reading Sam in a way that he shouldn’t be able to and that Sam can’t stop.
“I had to get some help to hold you back…” he admits finally and John tenses, studying him again.
I still don’t know what happened, I don’t know why I flipped out, it has never happened before, not like that. I couldn’t do anything, I didn’t even realize something was wrong, it was like a flip had been switched and I was gone.
I chased him through half the city. I had no idea he could run so fast for so long. He says I didn’t hurt him, didn’t even lay a finger on him and all I can think is this time. I didn’t get him this time. What about the next?
I’m scared, Mary, I’m so fucking terrified I might do it again. What if I take him by surprise next time? What if I rip him to shreds before he can get away from me? He’s good with the powers and everything, but I’m fast like that, I know what I can do, what the beast will do if I lose control like that again. He won’t be able to fight me off like that, no matter how much he trains, how strong his powers get.
I can’t do this, I’ve been scared about this day for my whole life, I’ve always feared something like that would happen. That I would hurt you, either of you. I never told you that, but one of the reasons I agreed to raise him like that, like a hunter, was that I wanted him prepared, I needed to know he’d be able to defend himself against me if I couldn’t hold it back. You’ve always known that, I know you have, even though we never talked about it. I needed to know he’d be safe.