Chapter Three


The snow was muffling the sounds of the forest as Galen made his way towards Dean. Dera had landed by the hunter and was calling soft encouragement—although Galen doubted that Dean would know that, even so, hearing the raven's voice was comforting.

He reached the hunter and dropped to his knees. Dean was cold, very cold and the amount of blood staining the snow was more than a little worrying. Treat the hypothermia first. Galen grabbed the survival blanket out of his pack and pulled Dean into against him, then wrapped the blanket around them both. He also popped the two disposable heat packs he had and tucked them in Dean's coat, over his chest, letting his trunk warm up first.

Dean's eyes slowly opened, blinked up at the falling snow, then lazily turned to focus on Galen. "I'm dead?"

"Of course, the Otherworld is full of snow and trees," Dera said.

"Dera," Galen said, forcing a laugh. "No, you aren't dead, not for want of trying though, judging by the amount of blood."

"Yeah, it caught me as it died." Dean looked around again, blinking. "Galen?"



"No, not Galen, it's one of the…"

"Not helping Dera," Galen growled and the bird fluffed at him. "Yes, who else?"

"Sam? Where's Sam? Is he okay?" Dean tried to push himself up.

"He's with Rob, they're headed this way. Hold still. I have no idea how badly you're wounded and you need to stay warm."

"Is he okay?"

Galen smiled. "Yes, he's okay. Rob brought him coffee."

"Of course Rob did. It's the number one survival require…" Dean broke off and coughed, gasping in pain when he was done. "Where's mine?"

"Your what?"

"Coffee" Dean said with a smirk.

"I'll get you some in a minute."

"Good, I haven't had any for… How long has it been?" He blinked at Galen, confusion clouding his eyes.

Dera glanced at the tress behind them and leaped into the air. "They are coming, the dark creatures. Rob and the other are almost here, but they will not reach us before the creatures."

A howl sounded.

"They're coming back," Dean said, coughing.

"Makes it easier to kill them, less energy wasted on hunting," Galen said.


"I need to put you out, Dean, it'll keep you from drifting further into shock while I fight."

Dean nodded, Galen put his hand on Dean's head and chest, letting the warmth of the Healing flow into the hunter.

"Galen," Dean said, almost unconscious. "Just in case I don't make it, take care of Sammy for me. He's been…"

"We can have this discussion later," Galen said softly as the hunter slipped into the warm sleep Galen had induced.

Moving gently as he could, Galen set Dean down, carefully wrapping the blankets around him, then pulled out his falcata, strapping the sword of the Emrys line on his back. The falcata should be enough, but he wanted to have the magical sword ready just in case.

The dog-like creatures broke out of the cover of the trees and headed straight for Galen and Dean. Dera circled over his head as they approached. Two broke out to lead the pack, as the first reached Galen he swung the falcata, cleaving its head from its body. Judging by the howl of pain from the other, he guessed Dera had taken care of it. More of the pack poured into the small clearing.

Galen backed up to protect Dean, a small whisper of worry in his chest. He didn't want to leave the hunter exposed and he suspected getting him away from Dean was what the things wanted. The creatures stopped, their sense of satisfaction in an easy kill washing through the small clearing. Galen drew the Emrys sword and held it in his left hand, the falcata in his right and braced himself. The creatures were just readying their attack when Dor, followed by Rob and Sam broke out of the line of trees behind them.

"Only twelve?" Rob called, drawing his huge bastard sword. "You want us to sit this out?"

"No, you need the exercise," Galen answered, and caught sight of Sam's face. "He's alive, Sam. I put him out to deal with these things."

"Are you sure?" Sam asked, drawing his gun.

"I'm sure he's alive, he was asking about coffee."

Rob laughed. "See, Sam? I told you, essential to life." He swung his sword at one of the creatures, he wounded it. The thing stepped back, growling as the rest of the pack closed ranks. "We should have brought Flash, he would have loved this," Rob said and stepped into the midst of the creatures.

"There are more coming from the east!" Dera called the alarm.

"Sam! They're going to come from behind!" Rob shouted. "Get on the other side of Dean, and pick off the ones that come that way."

"Got it," Sam said, stepping to block his brother from the creatures.

Galen glanced at his brother, then focused back on the things that were filling the clearing. He heard Sam shout and the sharp crack of the gun as one of the creatures charged. He swung the falcata, aware of his brother fighting to his left. Even with the bond muted, they fought as a single unit, the battle moving from one to the other. Sam's solid back up let them focus on the main pack as the younger hunter picked off the things trying to come from behind them.

"What's going on?" Sam called as one of the creatures howled and the pack turned and disappeared into the trees.

"I don't know."

"They are leaving," Dor said.

"Leaving?" Galen repeated.

"For now. We will follow them and meet you at home," Dera said as the ravens rose into the air in the direction the pack had gone.

Galen turned in time to see Sam drop to his knees beside Dean. Despite his assurance Dean was okay, he watched as Sam reached for his brother with a shaky hand, checking his pulse, then moving the blankets aside to get a look at the wound on Dean's body. "He'll be okay, Sam," Galen said.

"Why haven't you healed him yet?" Sam demanded.

"Hypothermia first, I can't treat the wound and the hypothermia at the same time."

"And there was the little matter of a pack of whatever the hell those things were," Rob said, walking up beside the hunter and clapping his hand on Sam shoulder. "He's okay right now, let's get out of here. We'll call Mike to get the official medical report, but Galen can heal him as soon as we are home."

"Why can't he do it now?" Sam's voice was desperate. "I thought that was why you had the Gift!"

"He can't do it here, Sam," Rob said gently. "His Gift will be tapped from the fight. That's why we have the ability to induce the healing sleep. It lets us stabilize people until they can be treated off the battlefield." He reached in his pack and pulled out a bag. "Help me with this."

"What is it?" Sam stood.

"It's one of my new toys. Flash gets this weird survivalist catalog and this was in there. It's an inflatable stretcher." He flipped on the battery operated pump and a moment later the bright orange stretcher was laying on the snow.

"Nice color." Sam huffed out a laugh as they loaded Dean and tucked the blankets around the injured hunter.

"I think it's supposed to help rescuers find you. Do you want some coffee? There's some left in my thermos. We can have it on the way."

"Thanks." Sam seemed calmer now that Dean was safely on the stretcher and they were moving again.

"If you want, I can take the Impala and you can ride with Dean and Galen in the jeep."

"Yeah, just don't let Dean know I let you drive, okay?" Sam said with a smile.

"Right," Rob grinned back.

A sense of unease was growing in Galen and he had no idea where it was coming from. He concentrated, it wasn't coming from Rob or Sam, but it was there, buzzing under his skin, feeling a little like panic. Galen slowed, letting the stretcher pull past him. He turned, looking through the forest, trying to get a send of what was going on. A howl sounded over the forest, then another, deeper in tone and louder. Galen closed his eyes and let the Darkness that was always there under his feet come to the forefront. Something big was coming, something more than the pack and something that wanted all of them, not just the Winchesters. A sinking feeling closed on him as he realized what had happened. "We have to go. Now!"

To Be Continued