Flesh Masks

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

"You ain't seen nothing yet

Baby, you just ain't seen nothing yet

Here's something that you are never gonna forget"

~ BTO


Sam found Dean lying on his back on his bed in their room. His brother didn't even turn his head when he slammed the door behind him, but continued to stare at the ceiling, hands laced behind his head.

"So, get this," Sam began excitedly. He stopped short and frowned. "What's up? You sick or something?"

Dean heaved himself into a sitting position, scrubbing at his face with his hands.

"Nope," he grunted, tilting his head to look at Sam. "Whatcha got?"

"M'kay," Sam began rifling through his backpack as he spoke. "Well, it turns out that White Ash can be made from the ashes of Holy Wood. See, the fire acts as a purifier that enhances the mystical properties that are already there. Rub some of that on pure silver and we have the monster equivalent of a grenade."

Dean's eyes narrowed in thought as he listened.

"Bobby's got some Palo Santo, doesn't he? You think that'll work?"

"Probably," Sam shrugged. "I don't see why not."

A short and static-filled phone call to their curmudgeonly mentor confirmed that a branch of Palo Santo would definitely work for their purposes, but they would have to find it on their own. A rough exorcism had used the last of Bobby's supply.

"What've you two idjits gotten yourselves into now?"

"Nothing we can't handle, Bobby. Call you when it's over."

"Just be careful. I ain't interested in looking for body bags."

"Will do."

"Ask the wizard?" Sam asked with a shrug as Dean shoved his phone back into his jacket pocket.

"Looks that way. Unless you know anyone within a few hours' drive that has some stashed away."

Casting an irritated glance at his brother, Sam put the sheaf of photocopied papers on the table and sat on his bed. Dean pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, shaking his head. With a sigh, he opened the nightstand drawer and pulled out a bottle of Tylenol. Dumping a few in his hand, he dry-swallowed the lot and grimaced. Sam narrowed his eyes.

"You sure you're not sick?"

"Nah," rasped Dean, clearing his throat. "Just a headache. Started about an hour ago."

Sam looked like he was about to say more, but a rap at the door stopped him. Dean made his way over to the door and pulled it open, leaning against the doorjamb. Jenny looked up at him and gave a small smile. Peering around him, the older woman caught Sam's eye and nodded.

"Oh good, you're both here. Harry just called. He said he's found something and needs you to come to his apartment right away." Jenny handed Dean a scrap of paper. "Here's his address."

"Thanks." Dean took the scrap of paper. He gave Jenny a strained smile and started to shut the door, but stopped short with a blink.

"Where's your daughter? She's usually the one playing messenger girl for Harry."

"Kess has a headache and decided to lie down." Jenny said slowly, as if unsure of the motives behind Dean's question.

"Well, she had a rough time of it the other night," Sam interjected, coming to stand by his brother. "She should probably be resting more as it is. I'm sure she's just recouping from that."

"I'm sure you're right," nodded Jenny. "I've already assigned her tasks to Tillie tomorrow. Even doing as little as she has been, it's still been too much." She heaved a sigh. "Anyways, enough about my stubborn daughter. You two should go see Harry. He said it was big."

With that, Jenny moved down the hall, knocking on a few doors to quietly ask if the occupants needed anything. With a shrug, Sam picked up his backpack while Dean pulled on his jacket. Locking the door behind them, the brothers thudded down the stairs into the lobby and outside into the gloaming light of early evening.

"Since when have we decided that we trust Dresden?" Dean said abruptly as they headed down the walk and turned the corner. "That happened awfully fast."

"It's not like we have much of a choice," Sam replied. "Besides, the local police trust him, and I get the feeling that Lt. Murphy is pretty careful about who she lets into her inner circle."

"Yeah, well, don't think for a second that he doesn't have the mojo to conjure up some nasties that would rival what we're facing." Dean twisted the car keys in the lock and jerked the Impala's driver side door open.

"I don't think he has the temperament though. I mean, he talks to fairies and makes nerdy sci-fi references." Sam said as he lowered himself into the passenger seat.

"Being a nerd doesn't automatically make him a good guy." Dean pointed out grimly.

After a thoughtful silence, Sam frowned and turned to his brother.

"You know, I can't put my finger on it, but Dresden reminds me of someone."

"In a good way or a bad way?" Dean didn't take his eyes off the road.

"I dunno. I mean, he's competent but downplays it by being a nerd, which makes him come across as kinda juvenile. He has this weird habit of showing up when he's needed and he's a total smartass."

Sam stopped abruptly and his eyes widened.

"Oh my God, he's you."

"Shut up."

The bickering continued as the brothers drove the Impala across town to Dresden's apartment. Since it was the only one with a reinforced steel door, they found it rather easily. Sam knocked and was immediately answered by what sounded like a low bark. A couple of muffled thumps later, the door swung open, revealing a barefooted wizard wearing jeans and a black t-shirt that proclaimed, Han Shot First! in bold white letters. His hair stuck up at different angles and he looked a little ragged, as if he'd been up to something strenuous. Behind him sat an enormous dog. Though its ears were pricked forward, as if on alert, it merely wagged its tail in polite greeting and made no move to get up.

"Holy cow, Dresden!" Dean exclaimed. "That's no dog, that's a horse on Rogaine!"

"Welcome to the Bat Cave. That's the resident guardian, Mouse. And yes, he is my dog," Harry chuckled as he led them across the room. "Want anything to drink?"

"Beer, if you've got it," replied Dean. Sam nodded his head in agreement.

Harry padded into the kitchen, opened up an icebox, and began to rummage around.

"Is that real ice in there?" Dean murmured to Sam. His younger brother just shrugged his shoulders and looked around.

The apartment was surprisingly clean for a bachelor pad, though cluttered with books and candles. Thick rugs covered most of the floor and the walls seemed to hold more tapestries than pictures, though a lone Star Wars poster held its own on one wall.

The wizard returned shortly, three of Mac's beers in hand. The barkeep would probably dig a grave just to roll in it if he knew that Harry was serving his beer cold, but the wizard didn't care. Passing them out, he plunked himself down on his couch and gestured for Sam and Dean to do the same. Mouse shuffled over and settled down at Harry's feet with a sigh. The wizard absently rubbed the dog's back with his foot

The brothers pulled up a couple of chairs and settled in. Sam plopped his backpack on the floor between his feet and leaned down to ruffle Mouse's ears. Mouse's tail thwacked against the ground happily and he scooted closer to the hunter so that he could apply more pressure. Sam cheerfully complied and Harry smiled approvingly.

"So," Dean took a swig of beer, "We've got a question about Kess."

"Not sure what she's got to do with anything," Harry frowned.

"Well, when we were trying to figure out what was wrong with her the night the inn was attacked, you made it sound like there was more to the problem than just her getting ripped up," Sam kept rubbing Mouse's head as he spoke. "We're just trying to fit all the pieces together."

"Well, you can toss that one," Harry sipped his beer. "Kess is anemic. Not enough iron in her blood. She's also got something that keeps her blood from clotting. No idea what caused that. Whatever it is, it's only made the anemia worse… but not connected to our monster as anything more than an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anything else?"

"Good for now," Sam said. "What have you got on our monster?"

"Well, I used the samples of hair that I found at Allison's apartment as the focus for some thaumaturgy, specifically, a tracking spell, to try and locate the Skinwalker and its handlers."

"Any luck?"

"Yes and no. I got three different locations all around town. Two in the same apartment complex where Ms. Callahan was killed and the other in a park some ways from there. Pretty scattered, but it does narrow the field." The wizard took a draught of his beer. "Anyways, I sent some associates to go check out the park. They're pretty sure that our monster's there."

"Only 'pretty sure', huh?" Dean leaned back. "How reliable are these associates of yours?"

"Top notch. Given what the stakes are though, I told them to stay back. Just sniff around, don't engage, and run like hell if they thought they'd been spotted. They said they'd smelled something nasty before they'd gone too far in – something they'd never smelled before and they didn't want to smell again."

"Smell?" Sam looked confused.

Harry just grinned, but didn't say anything to elaborate.

"Well, if your information is reliable, I vote we check out the park tomorrow, all three of us," said Sam.

"Agreed. Take out the monster first and then go after the coven once their fangy backup is gone." Dean drained the last of his beer and set it down on the battered coffee table with a thump. "Freaky cavalry's not coming today, bitches!"

Harry idly rotated his beer bottle between the palms of his hands as he leaned forward. A frown creased the skin between his eyebrows.

"One thing's been bothering me from the start. All the covens here are pretty peaceful. Most of the bad ones were killed in the Kravos backlash or skipped town. I've been poking around for days now, and nobody new is in town and none of the regulars have done anything suspicious."

"So how do you explain the hex bags?" Dean challenged.

"Are you saying that witches are out?" Sam asked at the same time.

"I'm saying that it's looking more and more unlikely that a whole coven is in on this. A single person could have put them there, maybe as a distraction, maybe as a precaution." Harry shrugged.

The three men bandied about scenarios for the better part of an hour before moving back to the plan of hunting in the park. With the discussion firmly in the realm of strategy, Sam began rummaging in his backpack.

"That reminds me. Listens-to-Wind said that we'd need White Ash to kill a Skinwalker. These sources say we can get that by burning some Palo Santo. Have you got any, Harry? Our sources are tapped out."

The wizard thought for a moment and then nodded.

"I can get some. First thing tomorrow. Then we'll meet up at Wren's Nest and head to the park."

The brothers nodded in agreement and stood to leave. Mouse rose with them, looking up at Sam with a doggy grin. Sam chuckled and scratched him behind the ears before stepping around him. As they moved to the door, the old rotary phone in the corner let out a jangling ring. Harry answered.

"Hello?"

"Harry, come quick."

"Jenny? What's wrong?" Harry was already slipping on his shoes, eyes wide with alarm. Seeming to respond to his human's tone, Mouse trotted out of the room. He returned quickly, Harry's blasting rod in his mouth. He sat down in front of the wizard and waited for him to take it. Sam and Dean turned and looked at Harry in concern. He gestured for one of them to toss him his duster. Sam obliged and the wizard caught it with his free hand and began to struggle into it.

"Kess's… thing… it's happening again. You need to get here now!"

"I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Hang on!" The wizard didn't wait for her reply and slammed the phone down as he yanked his duster the rest of the way on and grabbed his keys from the table and his blasting rod from Mouse.

"What's happening?" Asked Sam, alarmed at the look on Harry's face.

"We need to get to Wren's Nest. I'll explain later," Harry said tersely as he jogged out to the street. Firing up the Beetle, he drove off, the brothers following closely in the Impala. If the look on Harry's face was anything to go by, fifteen minutes might not be soon enough.

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