Author's Notes: Written for sncross-bigbang. I'm taking some creative liberties with this story, which is likely going to leave it AU for season 3 of TW (such as Sheriff Stilinski's name, Derek's age being tweeked to fit my needs…) For SPN, other than a few vague mentions of Purgatory and the trials, there's not a specific setting within season 8, but this is before the "trials" have fully come into play. Warning, this story will include Teenchester flashbacks and possibly mess with the canon timeline ever so slightly (though, with SPN's disappearing soap-opera years, I have no clue how the canon timeline actually fits together now, so we'll just have some fun with it).
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or Teen Wolf. No money is being made off this story. Title inspired by the Metallica song.
Of Wolf and Man
Chapter 1 : Here Comes the Rain Again
The Impala's wheels parted the water over the slick blacktop as she roared past the charming "Welcome to Beacon Hills" sign, her headlights slicing through the night and casting a slight glow over the surrounding woodland. Her steady rumble would have been lullaby enough without the patter of water on the windshield or the dragging melody of CCR from the radio—'I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?'. Dean could feel his eye lids growing heavy.
Yes, he could damn-well see the rain, and it didn't appear to be letting up any time soon. So much for sunny California, not that any place was sunny at midnight.
He knew without looking that his brother had already surrendered to sleep, despite the small pile of papers spread out over his lap, but Dean gave him a sideways glance, nevertheless. Sam's head was pressed against the glass, mouth slack and eyes closed, and their dad's journal was still tucked into his side.
Dean couldn't help but snort in annoyance at the mere sight of the book. There was absolutely nothing useful in there. Not anymore, at least. Which wouldn't have been all that strange, accept there should have been a helpful page or two—just somewhere to start—waiting for them when they opened it up. What they found was a suspicious gap where a month in the fall of 1995 should have been mentioned. Dean had never noticed its absence until now, when they found themselves in need of info, and that was why he could feel a lump of dread sitting heavy in his stomach.
Why the hell had Dad skipped that hunt in his journal?
It was probably nothing. The page probably fell out. Sam had agreed when Dean had offered up the excuse, but neither of the Winchesters believed it for a second. Their job meant developing an instinct for trouble. And Dean could tell himself this was pie, just another hunt that a man they hadn't spoken to in nearly two decades had called them in to handle, but that didn't make it true.
"Damn it, Dad…What happened?" Dean muttered. He switched off the radio and let his hand fall back, slapping Sam's arm gently. "Hey, we're here. You wanna call Deaton?"
Sam hummed an answer before lifting his head off the window and wiping the sleep out of his eyes. He gave his watch a quick, narrow-eyed glance before forcing himself to sit up a bit straighter. "Dunno, man. It's late. Maybe we should just book a room and meet him for breakfast. He still works a day job, doesn't he?"
Dean couldn't hold back his smile. "As far as I know," he answered. "Jeeze, I remember when we were here last, I could never get you to leave the animal hospital. You had to visit every kennel daily."
Sam chuckled, sitting up a bit straighter. "That was when you realized you had a cat allergy, wasn't it? Dad called you 'Sneezy' for a while after we moved." When Dean only snorted at the reply, Sam shook his head, glancing out the front windshield. "When did it start raining?"
"A couple hundred yards before we passed the city limits. Just like last time…" He blinked, eyes narrowed as he tried to remember what life was like back then, before Heaven and Hell and everything in-between was an issue. When it was just hunt or be hunted. "You were such a geek that you got pissy from getting so many days off because of the weather. I'm pretty sure you were the only kid complaining." Dean's amusement fled quickly as he steered the conversation. "How much do you remember about the last time we were in Beacon Hills? You were only, what, eleven? Twelve?"
"I remember plenty. I also remember that Dad didn't tell us much of anything about what he was hunting here. He didn't even let you do any research for him, and you were already hunting by then, weren't you?" Sam chewed his bottom lip, biting back whatever he wanted to add to that statement before giving his brother a pointed look. "You think that's why the entry wasn't in his journal, don't you?"
Dean rolled his shoulders in acknowledgment. "You know Dad. He was a need-to-know kinda guy when we were kids. Figured that's why he kept us in the dark back then." He let out a slow breath, pushing any thoughts of his father aside. "Man, we were only here a few months, but it wasn't so bad. You had fun here. Made friends." A ghost of a smile curled his lips. "Hell, even I made friends."
It was Sam's turn to snort. "Yeah, the kind of friends you liked to spend time under the bleachers with…But you're right. It was one of the better pit-stops. I wish Dad had let us stay a whole year here. We never did figure out why Dad made us pack up in the middle of the night and haul ass out of town."
Dean shrugged. "Maybe he got in a fight with Deaton or something. He never did use the guy as a researcher again after we left." He frowned. "At the time, I thought it was because he'd finished the job and wanted to move on to the next."
"Obviously not," Sam muttered.
"Sam - "
"I'm not criticizing him, Dean," Sam assured, despite his hardened jaw saying otherwise. "You talked to Deaton on the phone. He said this was the same thing Dad hunted. I'm just saying, that wasn't like Dad, leaving a hunt unfinished. Leaving us without a place to start…"
Dean was silent a moment, letting the sounds of the storm and the rumble of the engine fill the car. "Maybe it was exactly like Dad," he said, quietly.
His brother heard him, he was sure, but Sam didn't respond to the comment. Didn't have time to.
A flash of lightning above lit the road, and the trees surrounding it. It, that quick glimpse, was all the warning Dean had. He pushed the brake pedal, resisting the urge to grind it to metal, just in time for the Impala's wheels to catch on the soaked blacktop. The creature bounced off the front fender in its haste, a crunch and a flicker of white light announcing the demise of one headlight, but despite the impact, the animal didn't lose any speed as it darted into the darkness between the trees beyond.
Neither brother spared a single second pulling out the handguns stored in the dash and darting out of the dry comfort of the Impala and into the wet misery outside. Dean rushed off the edge of the road, taking a standing slide down the slick ditch until he was level with the forest floor. He paused, listening for movement, the only sounds coming from the sky above and his brother at his six.
Nothing. One second the creature had been there, the next it had vanished.
"What the hell was that?" Sam breathed. "Black dog?"
Dean knew Sam hadn't gotten the better look at it. Dean had been the one staring straight ahead, but it had been moving so quickly, its silhouette shattered by the flash of the storm clouds above, that he couldn't put an exact name to it.
"Looked like a friggin' wolf. A big-ass gorilla wolf."
"You don't want to know."
Dean took a step back, away from the woods, and pulled a hand down his face, wiping off the rain water that now soaked him to the core. Sam stood in the path of the Impala's single light, both car and man idle and breathing heavy from their spot on the empty road.
"We need to talk to Deaton. Now." Dean's lips set in a hard line. "We need to find out what the hell we're supposed to be hunting here."
Water turned to ice.
The hail clicked against the metal of the car, bringing a grimace to Dean's face and forcing him to pull off the road at the next gas station, where he could rest the Impala under some semblance of a shelter. It wasn't until he looked up from the pale glow of the lights above the pumps that he saw the vehicle rolling in behind them, too close for comfort.
"So much for our evening's plans," Dean noted. "Looks like we have a welcoming committee."
Sam raised a brow before noticing the Sheriff's car parked behind them. "Think it's him?"
"Let's hope so."
He shared an exhausted look with his brother before moving for his door handle. Ice hit the tin high above them, each ping sounding like a gunshot and drowning out the noise of their footsteps. The sheriff stepped out to join them, a heaviness to the frown on the older man's face as he surveyed the Winchesters.
"Your headlight's out," he commented, coming to a stop in front of his vehicle.
"Hit a dog," Dean answered. "Gonna write us up?"
The sheriff's frown broke into a smile, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. The Winchesters would have recognized the worry on his face, even if they'd forgotten what the man looked like; one didn't forget the expression of a man about to lose everyone he loved. Paul Stilinski had been wearing that same look the last time they'd met as well.
"I'll let you off with a warning," he answered, softly. He gave the brothers a once over, surprise showing in his raised brow. "You boys got tall. I wouldn't have recognized either of you if wasn't for that ride of yours. Good to see she's still running."
Dean gave him a crooked grin. "And you got a promotion, Sheriff. Suits you a lot better than 'deputy.' Plus, it's always good to have an in with the locals."
Stilinski gave a soft chuckle, but the increased clatter from the hail cut it off. The light amusement on his face melted away, the storm reminding him of why he was standing out in the cold. He shook his head.
"Don't take this the wrong way. I'm glad that you're here, but how did you boys know?" he asked, barely loud enough to be heard. "I tried… I tried finding a way to contact your dad, but, God, it's been so long, I didn't know where to start."
Dean's brow wrinkled in confusion, and he glanced at Sam, knowing his brother was thinking the same thing he was, Why the hell didn't Stilinski know they were coming?
"Deaton didn't tell you?" Dean voiced. "He didn't tell you we were on our way?"
Stilinski shook his head. "He said he'd try to find help, after I told him what was going on. But, hell, he said that last year, too, when I wanted him to have someone look into some local animal attacks. Didn't pan out then." He ran a hand over his head, anxiousness rolling off him in a bitter wave. "And after some of the things I spouted off at your dad last time he was in town, I wouldn't have blamed John for not answering my calls, but I figured, after all this time, he'd understand…I mean, if anyone could get what losing Sarah was like for me…"
Sam stiffened. "Sarah, your wife? What happened? When did she die?"
Stilinski hesitated a moment, confused. "She passed in '04. John didn't tell you boys?"
Dean frowned. Dad, what the hell? But it was Sam who answered.
"I'm sorry for your loss," Sam said, even though Dean knew his brother hadn't had a chance to get close to the couple their dad had been helping. Dean, on the other hand, had spent some time with Sarah and Paul, even though John hadn't wanted him involved in the hunt.
"Dad passed away. Several years back," Sam added, as explanation. "And we would have been… It would have been hard to contact either of us last year."
Something akin to regret flickered across Stilinski's face. He let out a slow breath. "I'm sorry to hear that."
Dean's mouth tasted sour all of a sudden, and he hoped it didn't show on his face. He wanted off this subject in a hurry. "Sounds like we've got some catching up to do, but we wanted to get to Deaton's tonight. See if he can fill in any gaps."
Stilinski hesitated a moment before shaking his head. "No. It's late, boys. We've got the extra room at my place. You can follow me. We'll talk after a few hours sleep."
"Paul - "
Stilinski raised a hand to cut them off. "Listen. If this is…if this turns out to be as bad as it was last time, I'd rather you set up base closer than the Relax Inn on the edge of town. And we'll all be better off if we wait until morning for this discussion."
Dean gave the man a hard look and realized Stilinski was probably more tired than the two Winchesters combined. "Then you're sure it's the same thing?"
"Three younger kids are already missing from surrounding towns. Been on the phone all night making promises about them, but they're not going to be found. This storm rolled in just a few days ago. Comes and goes." The man swallowed before locking eyes on Dean. "And my son's been having nightmares, getting into accidents. More than that, though, I can feel her nearby. Like last time. She's back, and…I don't know why, but I think she wants to take my boy this time."
Sam tapped his elbow against Dean's, pulling himself into the sheriff's line of sight again. "She won't get him," he promised.
It was empty, but it was enough, for the moment.
"You could use the door to leave, like a normal person." Scott smirked at his friend's frozen form. "Just a thought."
Stiles paused at the window before turning on the heel of his muddy sneaker and raising a pointed finger at his friend. "You know, with everyone window hopping these days, I kind of forgot how to use one of those 'door' things. Let it be known that I started the sneaking trend."
Scott chuckled, collapsing back onto his desk chair, exhausted. "I'll make sure you get full credit. Especially if my mom ever figures out how many times I've snuck out."
Another night spent considering a call to Allison, another night he'd come home early instead to find Stiles rifling through his games while his mom was at work. At some point, he realized, he should probably do some laundry or something. Scott shrugged that thought off, considering his friend again, who was so antsy he was practically twitching as he readjusted the bag hanging over his shoulder.
"Stiles, are you skipping your Adderall again?"
Stiles gave Scott a wide-eyed look. "What? Yes? Adderall? Oh, uh, no. It's not that," he rambled. "I just…I don't know, the last couple of days have been kind of strange, and Dad's acting all weird and jumpy and protective. I keep trying to avoid him, but if I avoid him when he's home, he wonders why I'm not home, and then he gets all anal about the not-being-home part, even though I haven't even broken any laws or anything for, like, a whole week."
He paused to take a break, his voice lower when it returned, "He knows something."
Scott sat up straight, mouth gaped. "He knows what? About what?"
Stiles rolled his eyes. "About my love affair with the tooth fairy, obviously." Stiles snorted, his heart not in the joke. "What do you think I'm talking about? He knows something about our werewolf shenanigans."
Scott waited for more, but when Stiles went quiet, he shook his head. "We already knew he was suspicious of something, but your dad doesn't believe in the werewolf stuff, right?"
Stiles plopped on the end of Scott's bed. "Yesterday, I would have said the same thing, but I…I saw him scratch this mark into the door of my car, where he thought I wouldn't see it. It was weird, this little circle with these lines inside it. But it looked familiar, and then I remembered where I'd seen it. When we were first researching all the werewolf stuff, there was this list of symbols, protection charms."
"Protection from…?" Scott let the question hang. "But I was just in your car."
"Yeah, well, obviously it didn't work on werewolves, but still, it means he believes there's something supernatural going on. I think he's suspicious, and hell, why wouldn't he be? With Matt and Jackson and Derek…We didn't do a great job of covering our tracks."
"Yeah, but normal people don't jump to conclusions involving the supernatural. They always rationalize things," Scott insisted.
"I know, Scott! But he must have seen something he couldn't explain. Maybe we should ask Derek if something happened. Something that Dad might have noticed. But maybe ask him in a way that doesn't actually bring my dad up? I don't want Derek to know he knows, if Dad knows, because, you know, it's dangerous to know, and the pack might think he's a danger if they know he might know - "
"I know!" Scott blurted. He made a face, not at all pleased with that plan or the babble. He still hadn't digested it entirely.
After what had happened between them, between all of them, over the last month, he wasn't sure if he should be kicking that hornet's nest. But Stiles was right. Scott knew he hadn't done anything strange in front of the sheriff over the past few days, but that didn't mean one of the other wolves hadn't made an appearance. And Derek's small pack had seemed…off, ever since Erica and Boyd had skipped town. And Jackson's choice to move away with his grandparents at the end of the school year wasn't helping to stabilize their small group of…whatever they were to each other.
"Maybe," Scott admitted. "But we don't know that your dad knows anything. So just act normal. Maybe he's just more superstitious than the average person."
Stiles gave him a doubtful expression, then his eyes widened again when he looked at the computer screen at Scott's side. "Oh crap, is that time right? Dad'll be headed home by now. I need to beat him there, before he decides to hide my keys and lock me in a tower."
Scott followed him down, watching his friend dart off into the rain toward his Jeep. He smiled when Stiles nearly slipped in a puddle in his haste to get in the driver's side door. He was so going to be busted.
A scent dropped down with the midnight rain, tickling at Scott's preternatural senses. It was foul, like day old road-kill, only not as familiar as decay. Scott put a hand over his nose, covering it, and stepped back inside, watching the shadows around his house for movement. He couldn't see anyone, or anything, but he couldn't shake the feeling that something had been watching them. The sense, along with the scent, seemed to fade even before Stiles' taillights disappeared in the distance.
The smell of the hospital seemed overpowering, but John figured maybe that was all in his head, a side effect of being stuck in this too-clean, too-tainted building for too long. Hours. That's how long he'd stayed, waiting on the sidelines, just outside the room as the family said their goodbyes.
He couldn't bring himself to interfere, even to give his apologies. Those would just be empty words, and these were full moments, memories the Stilinskis would carry with them for better or worse. If anyone knew what it was like to have those moments stolen away, it was him.
So he kept back and told himself he wouldn't wait for the end. Yet, there he stood.
Finally, he heard movement to his side, and he hoped to God it was Deaton back with his coffee. It wasn't.
It was the boy. Why did it have to be the boy?
"Hey, kiddo," John said, his voice harder than he meant it be. He tried to force a broken smile onto his face and knew he was failing.
The kid couldn't be more than, hell, was he even eight yet? John tried doing the math and his brain stayed fuzzy, popped out coordinates and Latin and nothing relevant to the second, because big honey eyes were staring him down.
The boy…John, for the life of him, couldn't remember that kid's name. Just that Sarah had wanted to give him her grandfather's and Paul had hoped he could talk her down from it because, Christ, it was one of those horrendous family traditions that would get him eaten alive as soon as he entered public schooling.
John's boys had been named for their grandparents, too. The thought was a lead weight in his chest, and for a second, he could see Dean, too-quiet, when he was younger than this child. When he'd lost his mom, too.
"Where's your dad?" John asked, hoping the elder Stilinski would pop out and remember his kid was missing.
The boy shrugged once, then repeated the gesture, as if he couldn't stop himself from moving. Quiet didn't always mean subdued. John could relate, feeling his contagious jitters reach his leg.
"With my mom," he finally answered, saucer-eyes finding the floor. "She's leaving today."
Like "we're having pizza for supper" or "I fell off the swing at playtime". Kids had a way of just saying it. John swallowed hard, putting one heavy, calloused hand on the child's shoulder.
Little Stilinski nodded, eyes wet. "It's today," he said, softly, then looked back up, brow wrinkled. "She's leaving because of me."
John ran his free hand down his face, hoping he could wipe away whatever answer was showing in his expression. The kid didn't need to see it. Didn't deserve it, that moment of doubt. He squeezed the boy's bony shoulder.
"Your dad needs you, kiddo. Go back to him."
His dirty white sneakers dragging, the boy disappeared back around the corner toward his mother's room. John pulled himself up out of the chair, wishing he could stretch out his sudden anxiousness and wanting desperately to get to a phone, see how Dean's last hunt had went. Maybe call Kate and check on Adam, too. Hell, it wouldn't take too long to make a covert stop in Palo Alto…
The calm voice calling his name left John grimacing. He turned to see Deaton already at his side, one stealthy SOB with coffee cups in both hands. John reigned in the sudden wave of anger rushing over him and took his cup from the other man.
"You wanted me to be here for this. I'm here," John answered, by way of reply. "Now, are you going to tell why I'm here?"
Deaton cocked his head, studying him, and John didn't like that man's tone or expression. It reminded him too much of a sympathetic Jim Murphy, which meant Alan Deaton was the least bit likeable, and John didn't want him to be likeable, not at the moment.
"I didn't call you back to make you feel guilty, John." Deaton shrugged one shoulder, leading him away from the room. They stepped down the empty hospital corridor and past the vending machine, further from listeners. "Whether you believe that or not is up to you, but you have nothing to feel guilty for."
"Like hell," John muttered, taking a sip off his coffee.
"We couldn't have known what would happen to Sarah, John." Deaton frowned, shaking his head. "Fine. If you want to carry guilt, go ahead. I know I do. I've spent nearly nine years trying to be of aid, trying in secret to find something to reverse what that monster did that night, and nothing I've found has done more than prolong the inevitable. That's why I try to stay away from Paul. He doesn't need my false hope. And he doesn't need to know how big a role I played in his…loss."
"Thought you had a different family to aid," John said, trying and failing to bite down his bitterness.
Deaton cast his eyes down, a nod. "Yes. I still keep an eye on the Hale family, but I believe you're the one who asked me to never bring them up in front of you again."
John let it go. It wasn't the time or the place. "So if you didn't call me here to remind me of how I screwed up, why did you call, Deaton?"
Deaton glanced over the hunter's shoulder, caution in his narrowed eyes. When he saw nothing, he loosened up again. "Here? At the hospital? Because I thought you should say goodbye. Paul might not know how much I was involved in what happened to his family, but he knows, and remembers, you, John. You were friends with Paul and Sarah, if only for a short time. That's why I asked you to meet me here, but, that's not why I called you to Beacon Hills. The timing was… coincidence, I suppose."
John stared him down when he grew quiet. "You found something."
Deaton nodded once. "I told you, if I ever found anything, I'd call you before Singer or anyone else."
John felt his heart leap into his throat. "You know where the demon is?"
Deaton sighed. "Not exactly. But I think I know where you can pick up the trail." He raised a hand, stopping John from interrupting him. "More than that, though, I think I might know of something that can help you fight it."
"Spit it out."
"It's a gun, John. Hunter lore calls it The Colt. You've probably heard of it before, dismissed as legend. It's not. I've ran into recent information that suggests it's still being held by one of the older hunter families, a family that lived near the weapon's creator, Samuel Colt. You've probably even met its owner before, without ever knowing it." Deaton paused, frowning. "I don't know who has it, unfortunately, but I know it's out there now. If you can find it, you can kill your demon for good, John, and…The worries you had, about your sons, you can - "
John's quick movement cut him off. The hunter was inches from his face, eyes bright. "You have the information on you?"
Deaton reached into his jacket, pulling free a long envelope, heavy with papers. "This should get you started. But, John, this is it. The omens all point to the same thing. You understand that if you go on his journey, you may not return from it? Think of your sons."
John's frown set, he pulled the envelope from the other man's hand. "I've been on this journey since the night Mary died. I am thinking of my boys. This is more about them than you know, Alan."
"You're going to leave them fatherless," Deaton said, a warning.
"If it's safer for them that way." John stepped away. He pocketed the envelope, pressing a hand against it.
Deaton shrugged one shoulder again. "If you're going to do it, do it right. I put a charm in the papers. Draw it onto your body somewhere and it'll keep you hidden. Perhaps not from something as powerful as a demon, but, unless you want them to catch up with you, your friends and your sons will always find you just out of reach. I hope it's helpful."
"Thanks for this."
"Don't thank me for something that's likely a death sentence," Deaton requested. "I owed you one, and this is simply me finally returning a long overdue favor." He smiled, nevertheless. "See you around, John. And do try to remember that this duty of yours, it's not so black and white as it seems."
John tried to hide the flicker of fear in his eyes, hoping Deaton didn't know how much the reminder was unnecessary, especially after what he'd learned, things he couldn't tell his sons or anyone else. About the demon. About what it did to his baby boy. No, it wasn't so black and white, but the gray between was a dangerous place for a Winchester.