Battles, Choices and a Painful Loss
Disclaimer: I don't own anything that even remotely resembles Supernatural.
We made our way cautiously down the slope towards the old run down cabin. The closer we got to the creatures' lair the more concerned I became for John Winchesters well being. His scent was getting stronger but so was the smell of blood. I mean sure there was a slight scent of blood during the trek from where he'd been taken, but it was growing stronger the closer we got to him.
I stopped, my ears perked towards the rear of the cabin, as I heard the unmistakable sound of a man screaming in pain. That couldn't be a good thing. I looked at Dean and it became apparent that he had not heard the muted screams.
We approached the cabin warily. Dean began to head for the front of the cabin but I growled at him as he stepped away from me. The screaming had stopped which probably did not bode well for John.
"What?" he asked as though I'd be able to answer him.
I just looked at him then led the way around back where the scent of his father was the strongest. Looking back several times to make sure he understood he was supposed to follow me.
The back of the cabin was practically covered in thick vegetation except for a well worn path leading to what was probably the old root cellar for the cabin. John's scent was emanating strongly from the double doors that secured the entrance. So was the scent of the Wendigo and so was the blood.
I closed my eyes and perked my ears in the direction of the doors. Slight moans came from the cellar along with the horrible sound flesh being violently ripped violently from bones. It wasn't the first time I'd heard the sounds but it sickened me every time I heard it. This time was worse because I knew now that there wasn't much hope for my new friend.
I changed forms and looked at Dean. "They're both down there," I told him quietly.
"Let's go then," Dean said checking the load on his flare gun. "Can you lift the door?"
"Yes," I told him. "But Dean…"
"It's…," I wasn't sure how to tell him. "There's a lot of blood down there."
I gotta give him credit. He didn't freak out on me like I thought he would but his face lost all expression and his eyes grew coldly fierce before he replied. "Then let's get going."
I nodded and as quietly as possible I lifted the heavy door.
"Wait here," he told me as he looked down the steps that led into the dark interior of the cellar.
"Like hell," I replied and changed back giving him no chance to argue with me. I'm not completely stupid though. I let him lead the way since he was the one with the weapons.
Once in the cellar it became more difficult to pick out John's scent. There were several other people that had either recently been occupants of the root cellar or were current occupants. As my eyes adjusted to the sudden darkness I looked around. The cellar was large seeming to span the entire length and width of the cabin maybe more. It was empty except a few old barrels and some shelved lined with jars and cans. Several doors on the left drew my attention. I stepped away from Dean and headed towards them sniffing each and listening carefully.
Dean followed gun up and ready. I changed again, leaned over and whispered in his ear. "It's behind the second door…," I told him, "eating."
He started for the door but I stopped him with a hand on the shoulder. "Wait," I said quietly. "It's too late for him. We have to get the others out while it's distracted."
"What others?" Dean asked through gritted teeth.
I could tell this was tearing him up inside but he kept his anger in check. "First door," I replied lifting up the bar that locked the door in place. I turned the handle and opened the door slightly before changing back into my leopard form. I wasn't sure exactly what I was walking into so best to be prepared. Dean stayed outside the door covering the room the wendigo was currently occupying.
I nudged the door open the rest of the way with my shoulder and entered cautiously. Three people were in the room. A woman was standing against the opposite wall a look of relief, then fear crossed her face as she saw me enter. A man had been sitting next to her and stood as I entered. Moving away from the door I followed the wall around towards the man who lay face down on the ground unconscious. As I'd hoped the moment I was away from the door the other two ran for the exit.
I heard Dean tell them to get out as I reached the prone figure. I knew even before I reached him that it was John. No mistaking his scent. I nudged his head trying to get him to wake up. When that failed I licked his face. Damn, the man not only looked good, he tasted good too. He didn't wake so darn the bad luck I had to lick him several more times before he did. Then of course I wished I hadn't done it because before I could jump back he had his hand around my throat trying to squeeze the life out of me.
"Come on cat," I heard Dean whisper under his breath outside the door. It wasn't loud enough for John to hear, but I knew the boy was getting impatient to kill the thing he thought had killed his father.
I didn't fight John as he had me around the throat and I nearly passed out from lack of oxygen before he came to his senses and let go. "Sorry, Mags," he said. "Where's Dean?"
I dropped to the ground and sucked air into my tortured lungs before standing and leading him to his son.
"Dad," Dean said in relief when he saw his father. "Thank God, I thought you were dead."
"What took you so long?" John asked his son half seriously as Dean handed him one of his flair guns.
Dean grinned at his father then looked at me and said, "Blame Maggie. She decided to take a nap before coming after you."
I growled menacingly at both of them which they ignored.
"Where is it?" John asked.
Dean didn't need to answer as the second door exploded open and the creature sprang out so quickly it left John on his back and knocked Dean across the room and he landed badly on a barrel that shattered under his weight. I jumped on the creatures back digging my claws in deeply and reaching for its neck with my jaws. I bit down hard and was rewarded with an earsplitting screech.
The reward lasted only seconds as the creature backed into the wall with so much force that I not only felt, but I heard when my ribs broke. Pain raced along my side and I fell to the ground. There wasn't a damn thing I could do about it when the creature turned, reached down and picked me up. I hung limply in its grasp waiting for the inevitable when I heard the sound of two flare guns firing almost simultaneously.
I fell again, the pain doubling as my already broken ribs smashed into the hard ground of the cellar and I sank painfully into the welcome arms of unconsciousness.
Light surrounded me as I woke blinding me. "Maggie," a familiar voice said. "You always seem to surprise me."
It took a few seconds for my vision to clear enough to be able to see him. "Hey Michael," I said with a grin. "I see your wings have grown back nicely."
Archangel Michael spread his wings as wide as they would go and replied, "Better then before. The boss thought I deserved them for being able to put up with you."
"Oh really," I said jokingly. "What do I get for having to put up with you?"
"A choice," he replied.
I raised my eyebrows at him, "Between what?"
"A normal life, continued existence as a were-cat," he paused and looked at me before he continued, "or coming with me."
"Come with you where?" I asked suspiciously.
He smiled and said, "Home."
"What?" I asked. "And leave all the hunting to normal people like the Winchesters?"
Michael raised a single eyebrow reminding me of the way Dean had looked at me when we first met. "The Winchesters are not normal people. They have been hardened into some of our best warriors."
"Ah, don't take this the wrong way or anything...," I told him. "Those two are good. Better then me in fact, but something's missing. I mean that hunt went pretty bad I don't think they were nearly as prepared as they should have been. I think they need a little help."
Michael looked at me a curiously. "You're right. Sam, the youngest brother has broken from the hunt. He's going to college, but he will join them again."
"If they don't get themselves killed first," I told him.
"Gabriel is watching over them. He's the one who sent you to join them," he replied.
"Nobody sent me," I told him.
"Of course I did," said another voice just before the Archangel Gabriel appeared beside Michael. "I whispered the suggestion to you when you chose this hunt."
"What if I hadn't listened?" I asked.
"Then I'd have sent Michael to ensure that you did go," Gabriel told me. "Thank you," he said before disappearing again.
"It's time to choose," Michael told me.
"Need you even ask?" I told him.
"Second option please," I said. "And Michael…"
"I'm sorry I ripped off your wings."
Laughter followed me as I sank into a light so bright it blinded me. I woke in my leopard form and had no idea how long I'd been out. It must have been several hours because I was in a car my head lay in Deans' lap. I inhaled his scent enjoying it as I rubbed his lap.
"Maggie!" Dean exclaimed. "We thought you weren't going to make it this time. I was taking you to the vet."
The vet? Oh that would have been good just let a vet get one look at my bloodwork and I'd never be able to get away. I sat up on the bench seat and was surprised to find there was no pain from my injuries. I sent Michael a silent prayer of thanks.
"Hey," Dean said, "Don't you scratch the upholstery!"
I changed as he pulled the car over to the side of the road. I looked back and Saw a truck pull over behind him. "I'm fine," I told him. "What about the couple that were locked up with your dad?"
"They'll live," he replied reaching behind the seat and pulling a t-shirt out of a duffle bag and handing it to me. "While I'd love for you to stay dressed just like you are the cops may frown on it if they see you in the car like that."
As I pulled the shirt over my head John walked up to the window, a grin on his face. "Mags," he said. "Nice to see you up and around."
"Thanks," I replied. "I take it you two killed the damn thing?"
"Yep, that crispy critter won't be bothering hikers again," Dean said with a grin.
"Good," I replied and turned to the elder Winchester. "John, can I borrow Dean for a little while?"
John glanced at his son who nodded then back to me. "Sure," he replied. "I'll see you at the motel later. Don't stay out to late Dean. We leave early tomorrow."
"Yes sir," Dean replied.
Now I bet you thought I was going to tell you what Dean and I did for the next six hours but guess what… I'm not.
I told you about the hunt, the first time I met John Winchester. Someday maybe I'll tell you about some of our other encounters but this story was hard enough. I still can't believe John is gone. He was such an awesome warrior. I saw him take some terrible beatings and still destroy the thing he was hunting. But he was only human after all. I wonder now why Gabriel didn't make him stronger by changing him like Michael did for me but I guess that's something I'll have to ask the next time I see Michael.
I grieve for the loss of a great hunter and for the son's he left behind. I pray they find the strength to continue the fight and destroy the thing that killed their father.
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