AN: I had an image in my head of Sam and Mike as hunters in the Supernatural world ever since reading Take Care by Kari_Kurofai on AO3, and this is the result! I may explore this further, but either way, please check out the story that inspired this, as it is truly fantastic. Hope you enjoy!
There's a pair of hunters in the Roadhouse that the regulars haven't seen before. They're tucked up in a corner booth, a big mostly-white dog at their feet sleeping. Animals aren't usually allowed in the building, but it's a hot day and hunters are exceptions to a lot of the rules anyway.
The woman has blonde hair tied back in a twisted bun, a red flannel, a black shirt, dark jeans, and thick brown boots. She has a revolver tucked into the back of her jeans, to those whose eyes are more experienced, and a knife sheathed in her boot. There is a scar across her left cheek that bisects her face with a line of white, and her eyes are as weary and jaded as the rest of them.
The man has short brown hair, a dark green hunting jacket, a white shirt, blue jeans, and sturdy hiking boots. At his belt is a machete, and like the woman, he has a revolver tucked into the back of his jeans. At first, he appears to have fewer scars than the woman does, but when his sleeves and collar shifts a little, the watching hunters can see several thick lines of scar tissue lining his arms and torso. When he raises his hand for another round, they also catch sight of the two missing fingers on his left hand.
He's the one facing the room, between the pair of them, and every now and then the rest of the hunters catch him scanning their surroundings, eyes as wary and distrustful as the oldest veterans among them. The set of the woman's shoulders doesn't change, and even among the oldest hunting partners it would be rare to find that kind of trust - and most are either married or family, which they don't think is the case here. The two of them could be together, but if they are, then they certainly haven't made it official legally.
"So, what're the two of you doin' around here?" Ellen finally asks them, cleaning glasses at the bar. From the look she shoots the rest of the room, she'd gotten fed up with the nervous tension filling the place, especially when these people were supposed to be seasoned monster-hunters.
"Just passing through," the man says as the woman finally shifts so that she can see the rest of the room properly. His eyes are guarded, warning all of them away from even looking at the woman too long, from the way he leans towards her so that he guards more of her back.
At their feet, the dog lifts its head finally, sensing a shift in its masters' attention, and oh. That's not a dog, is it? That's a full-blown wolf right there. Or at least a wolf-dog with so much wolf in it that it can't really be considered a dog anymore. They have to drag their eyes away from it intentionally, now a little extra curious about this pair of new hunters.
"Most hunters are," Ellen agrees amicably, not missing the way the pair's gazes have sharpened at those words. Huh. They'd had no idea this was a hunter hub, did they? Well, lucky break for them then.
"We're on our way north to try and bag a moose," the woman says, eyes watching Ellen carefully as she finishes preparing their next round of drinks. Grabbing the glasses, she steps around the bar counter to deliver them.
"We both know you do more than just hunt big game," Ellen says lightly, one eye on the wolf as she sets their drinks in front of them. "Most people who come here do. It sure is rare to see new faces, when it's obviously not rookies."
The duo flick a short glance at each other, communicating silently before relaxing, even if they remain watchful. The woman takes a sip of her drink and raises an eyebrow at the taste approvingly as Ellen leans against a nearby table.
"We keep mostly to ourselves," she says. "Our first case was what, five or six years ago?"
"Give or take," the man agrees. He pointedly lifts his cup with his mangled left hand. "First time seeing the supernatural, got this hand stuck in a wendigo trap and had to cut my fingers off with a machete. What a night that was."
"Your first case was a wendigo?" Robin, a regular who's been in the business for nearly seven years now and who constantly complains about how hunting is starting to make him ache, pipes up. His bushy eyebrows are raised, clearly impressed. A wendigo is no easy feat, Ellen knows. For complete newbies - not even rookie hunters, but civilians - to have taken one on and beaten it is impressive.
The woman snorts into her drink, shooting a look at her partner.
"I wish our first job was just a wendigo," she says, wry amusement clear in her tone. "Try close to thirty. Had to set the whole damn place on fire to get out."
"Thirty?" Joseph's eyes are wide and he fumbles with his glass. The dark-skinned man sets it down fully at a glare from Ellen and turns to face the pair again once her dish is safe, adjusting his cap to try and hide how shocked he is. "How in the hell did you survive that?"
"We had help," the man admits, unashamed. "There was a hunter up there who had been there for years, went by the name Jack Fiddler. He and his family had been up there for decades containing them as best they could. It's a hotspot for wendigo activity since there is a spirit up there that keeps turning people stuck there wendigo when they, well. You know, eat other people."
"We keep an eye on the spot as best we can," the woman says, glancing at the man. "Do a run through the mines once a year to clear out new ones and make sure the spirit is still possessing the same body. It's more contained when it's in a body, and we keep that body locked up."
"Well damn," Robin whistles through his teeth. "Sounds like you two have some serious grit. Your first experience was with somethin' like that and you still decided to be hunters? Then lasted as long as you have on your own? Credit where it's due."
The man's lips twitch up into a semblance of a smile and he raises his glass to Robin in thanks as the woman nods in her own form of acknowledgment.
"The name's Ellen," Ellen finally speaks up. "My daughter Jo and I run this establishment. We gather cases and send hunters out to deal with them, and serve as a rest stop for people in the know. There's another hunter, Bobby, who can help you deal with the civilians and Feds - has a whole series of numbers you can give out to people asking for superiors when you fake being an officer."
"I'm Mike," the man says, before nodding at the woman. "This is Sam. Our dog is called Wolfie. And thanks for the offer. Sam'll get it from you before we leave, but we might not use it. We tend to stick to the wilder creatures, the ones that don't like civilization much. It's become sort of our specialty."
"Well, someone's got to do it," Joseph admitted. "Most of us prefer sticking to people. Me, I'm not so fond of hiking after seven years of rough hunting, especially at my age."
"Fair enough," Sam smiles. At her feet, Wolfie's tail thumps, and she lowers a hand to ruffle the fur between his ears. "We tend to like the wild spaces. It's peaceful, around the blood and gore. It's nice."
Ellen nodded her acknowledgment of the statement. The wilder, more natural parts of the world definitely seemed to suit the pair of them and their wolf pet more than a city ever would. She walked behind the bar and grabbed a spare bowl, filling it with water.
"Will your wolf there bite my hand off if I come too close?" she asked, carrying it over to them. Mike looked down at Wolfie consideringly, before shaking his head.
"Nah, he's relaxed. You should be fine, but I can do it instead if you don't trust that," he said. Ellen considered the alert but non-aggressive wolf and stepped forward to place the bowl of water beside him.
"Couldn't call myself much of a hunter if I let an ordinary wolf scare me," she stated, extending a hand for Wolfie to sniff. He did, then licked her hand and turned his attention to his water bowl, which he drank quietly and cleanly. Ellen looked up and noticed that both of the hunters seemed more at ease now that Wolfie had interacted with her directly. Catching her look, Mike explained.
"Wolfie has great instincts. If there's no danger, he's calm. If he likes someone, he's trustworthy," he said simply. Sam smiled at him, and it softened her features to where she looked less like a hardened hunter and more like a normal woman in her twenties.
"You two fit together," she said suddenly, almost without meaning to. Sam and Mike looked to her in mild surprise before exchanging a glance with each other.
"We've been best friends since we were kids," Sam said thoughtfully, tapping her boot against Mike's. "Now we're hunting partners too. We're each other's anchors - in a life like this, we keep each other human."
"I'll drink to that," Robin said from a few tables away, downing half her glass. Ellen decided to stop harassing the new hunters and returned behind the bar. The pair finished their drinks quietly, talking between each other and pulling out a worn journal and new folder, seemingly working on a case. They only stayed for a little over an hour before they stood from their table, the wolf at their feet rising easily as well. Seeing that they were headed over to the bar, Ellen grabbed a spare sticky note and quickly scribbled on it before they arrived.
"Thank you for the drinks," Sam said, passing over a few bills - enough to cover their drinks and leave a bit of a tip. "We'll be sure to come back in the future."
"You're welcome anytime - you two and Wolfie both," Ellen replied, smiling at the pair of them. She held out the sticky note.
"Here's the number to the Roadhouse, as well as Bobby's number - the man I mentioned earlier. If you ever feel like callin' him, just tell him you're hunters and Ellen gave you the number. He'll set you up well."
Sam took it and tucked it into the front cover of the worn journal, before tucking it away. She held her hand out to Ellen, and the older woman shook it firmly. She then turned to Mike and offered her hand again. His lips curled up a little as they fumbled a little clasping hands, since he only had three fingers on that hand.
"Keep yourselves safe," Ellen said, leaning back. "Hunters that make it as long as you have tend to be good ones. We could use more like you in this community."
"We do our best," Mike said, a slight smile on his face for the first time, and it took years off him. He then turned to Sam. "Ready to head out?"
"Back to the Mystery Machine we go," Sam said, smirking a little as she stepped into the arm Mike automatically held out to wrap lightly around her back. Mike groaned a little, rolling his eyes.
"You know I hate that name," he said as they walked out the door, Wolfie trotting at their heels.
"I know, why do you think I always use it?" Sam teased back. They continued their bickering in the parking lot, their words muffled by distance. Wolfie hopped easily into the back of the van and Mike took the driver's seat as Sam got him settled.
Minutes later, all three of the newcomers were nothing but a trail of dust and fresh tire-prints in the parking lot. Ellen smiled a little as she cleaned a glass. They seemed like good kids and skilled hunters. She hoped they'd be back one day to visit.