Trent pushed open the back door of the main house and went inside. His eyes automatically roamed the almost empty kitchen, seeking out his best friend Andy who had left the training ground before him to get lunch.
“Shoes!” called a bored voice from behind the kitchen counter.
Trent immediately went back outside to wipe his shoes on the mat. A few seconds later when he thought that his shoes were clean enough, he went back in.
“Hi, Adrianne. Have you seen Andy?” asked Trent as he walked to the counter. A blond woman with shoulder length straight hair was busy in front of the oven, baking cookies. She kept her back toward Trent as she twiddled with the button on the oven.
“He came here few minutes ago to grab some cookies then went inside. Don’t you guys have training this morning?” asked the woman..
“Uh, we’ve finished early because Joe needs to go somewhere to investigate a case,” replied Trent. “I think he let us have more free time because the other hunters are due to arrive this afternoon.”
“Yes, and I still need to prepare more food. Since Maggie is not here, I have to do it alone,” said Adrianne with a tired sigh.
“They haven’t returned yet?”
“No. Apparently the ghost hunting took a surprising turn and they needed more time to wrap it up but I think they called Garth this morning to tell him that they’d be here tonight.”
“That’s good, I guess.”
“Damn! I forget I have to deliver this pie to Sam and Dean.”
Adrianne slapped her palm to her forehead before bending down to take a still-warm blueberry pie out of the cupboard. Trent watched her glancing over to the oven, perhaps calculating the time she needed to go up the hill and back. There was still fifteen minutes on the timer but Trent knew that she wouldn’t be able to get back in time to take the batch out of the oven. She worried her bottom lip, looking at the pie in her hands.
“Hey, why don’t I take the pie up there?” asked Trent, volunteering.
“You sure?” Adrianne cast him a hopeful look.
“Of course! I don’t have anything better to do until all the hunters arrive anyway. May as well make myself useful.”
“Alright then!” exclaimed Adrianne with a relieved smile. “Let me just put it in a box. Wouldn’t want you to drop it on your way there.”
Trent rolled his eyes. “I am not Andy.”
“I know,” said Adrianne with a laugh. She bent down again to take out a transparent plastic box from the bottom-most drawer before securing the pie in it.
“I didn’t see Sam or Dean at breakfast this morning. Will they be at the gathering tonight?” asked Trent tentatively. He wanted to know if Dean would be there tonight but was too embarrassed to ask that outright.
“Well, Sam said Dean did not feel well this morning. So he came down here to take their breakfast back to the cabin while all of you were outside at the training ground.”
Concerned and a little curious, Trent asked, “Is he okay?”
“You mean Dean?” asked Adrianne, glancing up at Trent. “Sam said he’s okay, just an episode in the night. Nothing to worry about.”
“I still can’t believe that he was there, you know, in Purgatory. And he managed to get out to help us all,” said Trent, awestruck. He knew that he must look like a starry- eyed teenager hero worshipping his idol but he couldn’t help it.
He thought Dean Winchester was the bravest and most amazing person, not to mention a damn good hunter. The best, in his opinion. Not to say that Sam or the other hunters were bad but Trent had such a deep admiration for the man that it was hard to notice anyone else.
“Here you go!”
Adrianne handed over a transparent plastic box with Dean’s blueberry pie in it, into Trent’s eager hands. It was his favourite, Trent remembered. He took the box from a smiling Adrianne and hurried out of the kitchen with Adrianne’s words telling him to be careful, sending him off.
He took the narrow path from the back porch towards the hill where Sam and Dean had built their cabin. Trent had come to live in the hunters’ compound six months earlier; a month after his parents had died. Monsters, called Leviathan, had suddenly appeared, roaming the earth, killing and eating anybody in their way. There were lots of them and they were savage. They could change form to resemble the people they had eaten, so they could move among humans undetected. The government was soon infested by them and homes were no longer safe.
Trent and his best friend Andy had run away from their homes after finding out that their parents were no longer human. In the middle of the chaos, hunters had emerged from the shadows. Trent and Andy spent a couple of weeks among a group of hunters called the Ghostfacers who told them about the supernatural. The Ghostfacers used to hunt only ghosts but due to recent circumstances they’d decided to branch out. It was not easy to kill Leviathans and borax just slowed them down a while but it was the only weapon they knew.
It was not until a hunter named Garth saved them from becoming dinner one night that their survival odds became a bit better. He told them the story of Sam and Dean. At first, the Ghostfacers were sceptical. It seemed they had met these Winchesters before and had parted ways less than pleasantly. Harry even had a list of curse words for them. Garth told them about a hunters’ compound in the North near Sioux Falls. It was kind of like a training ground and a school for hunters. Sam and Dean were gathering forces and training new hunters to fight the Leviathan.
As soon as Garth told their story, Trent was hooked. The hunter told them how Dean had been trapped in Purgatory after he’d managed to kill the Leviathan boss, Dick Roman. The reason why he was there was unclear but Garth was sure that it was due to the evil intervention of a demon. Garth also said that Sam, Dean’s brother, tore up the rest of the Leviathans to find the doorway to Purgatory in order to save Dean. Somehow, he’d succeeded. Garth was not sure how, but Sam was finally able to drag Dean out of Purgatory after he’d spent a year there.
The Ghostfacers were still wary but Trent and Andy were ready to believe the story. They agreed to go with Garth to the hunters’ compound. It was the night before their departure when they found themselves swarmed by a horde of hungry Leviathans. There were at least ten of them in the field. They had hidden themselves in an abandoned barn waiting for sunrise to continue their journey but somehow, the Leviathans had found them.
They were outnumbered and the Leviathans soon surrounded them in the middle of the field with only a gallon of borax on them. That was when help arrived in the form of Sam and Dean Winchester. Dean had this wicked weapon that could kill the Leviathans for good. He was fast, faster than those big Leviathan mouths and he was efficient; a true killing machine. The first time Trent laid eyes on him he was gone. He swore that he would follow Dean wherever he went and would do anything he said. He had found his hero.
Trent was sure that Sam was no less good than Dean but he was too busy watching Dean and ignored everyone else. It was not until Sam tackled him to the ground to evade a Leviathan’s attack that he was shaken out of his daze. The fight was over and Sam rounded up everybody, asking them about injuries and such. Dean stood there in the middle of the Leviathans’ corpses, bathed in black blood. He vaguely heard Sam arguing with the Ghostfacers about something but in the end he left them to Garth and went to see his brother. Sam grasped Dean’s face in both his hands and talked to him in a soft hushed voice. He maintained eye connection and waited until Dean nodded his head slightly before letting go. He then wrapped his arm around Dean’s shoulder and steered him towards the rest of them.
Dean stayed silent during their journey to Sioux Falls. Trent and Andy sat in the back of a black muscle car that made Andy drool. He could not stop gushing about it and Trent rolled his eyes at him. Sam just smiled at them through the rear view mirror and asked them about their lives. He frowned when Trent told him about their parents but Sam reassured them that they would be safe in the hunters’ compound and they would be able to train to defend themselves if they wanted to. Of course they wanted to, was he kidding?
Upon arriving at the compound they were surprised that there were so many youngsters like themselves there. They got there mid morning and it seemed most of the inhabitants were on the training ground practising, training or teaching. Trent and Andy were beyond excited. The Ghostfacers, not so much, but they were willing to give it a try. Garth then ushered them to the main house and introduced them to the rest of the hunters, including Adrianne. He did not see Sam or Dean for the rest of the day and later he found out that they had gone back to their cabin and had not come out again. They had their own place on top of the hill behind the back yard of the main house.
Trent was too busy reminiscing and didn’t realise that he was already stood in front of the cabin. He quickly went up the stairs to the front porch and knocked on the wooden door. A small panel slid open in front of his face to reveal a small camera. Trent stood right in front of it as another smaller square panel opened, revealing a metal pad. Trent touched his thumb to the pad and winced when he felt small needles go through his skin. The main front gate had the same security system besides the rotating guards that were stationed there. This compound was the safest place in the state, courtesy of Charlie, and the only training ground in the country but there were other compounds like it throughout the country that served as resistance pockets against the Leviathans and other supernaturals.
Ever since the Leviathan began roaming the earth freely, hunters started to come out of the shadows. They fought the supernaturals openly as they went from town to town, rounding up the survivors and taking them to the nearest compound. From the hunters talk around the dinner tables, it was Sam who brought up the idea of hunters’ compounds. Some said it was because he was tired of fighting alone and wanted to save as many people as he could. Others were sure it was because he wanted to create enough hunters so that he did not always have to join the fight and had more time to take care of his brother. As badass as Dean was, he was not that stable. He stayed in the cabin most of the day and only came out during breakfast. Usually Sam spent the rest of his day teaching and training the new hunters to fight but he never hunted without Dean. Sometimes, they went out in the morning in that black beast of a car but always returned before dark.
Many said that Dean was crazy. Of course Trent did not believe them. He never saw anything weird about Dean and he always appeared normal, well, as normal as a hunter could be when they were having breakfast in the main house together. He was a nice guy and had vast knowledge about supernaturals that he didn’t mind sharing. Although, Sam was the one who got to go to college, it was clear that Dean was highly educated on combat and battle techniques. Sam usually spent his time during breakfast catching up with Charlie about her latest programs and gadgets or talking about the current situation with Garth and Joe. Dean just ate quietly until someone approached him to talk about something or just hang out with him, usually there were cards involved. Trent had spoken with him several times and he was always nice; always smiled at Trent and asked about his training. He once asked Dean if he wanted to train them since he had witnessed his fighting skills first hand, but he always subtly declined, saying that they already had Sam as a trainer and he would leave it all to him. He said that he would only ruin it anyway and Sam would be pissed at him.
“Come on in, Trent!” Sam’s voice was heard from inside after Trent heard a click, signalling that the system had unlocked the door.
“I brought pie!” Trent called out as he stepped inside.
There were sigils on the floor and another large symbol drawn on the ceiling in the middle of the room. The whole house was covered by sigils, many of them Trent did not recognize. He walked timidly further into the cabin as he surveyed the room. There were only two other rooms in the cabin; a bedroom and a bathroom. The main room that served as a living room was only furnished with a worn couch near the wall and a wooden table with four chairs in front of a small kitchenette.
“Just put it on the table. I’ll be right out!” Sam’s voice said, as it drifted out from the bathroom.
Trent inched his way to the table in the corner of the room while his attention was absorbed by Dean who was sitting on the wooden floor, drawing something on the floorboards with his knife.
“Uh, hi, Dean!” said Trent with almost uncontained enthusiasm. “I... uh… brought you pie!” He lifted up the pie in his hands, hoping that Dean would look up and see him bringing in his favourite food. “It’s blueberry. Don’t you… don’t you like it? It’s delicious. Not that I tasted it before but… uh, Adrianne made it… so, it must be good, eh?” Trent babbled.
Great Trent! Way to make yourself sound like an idiot.
“Hey, Trent. Just put that on the table over there.”
Sam finally came out of the bathroom and gestured at Trent to put the pie on the only table in the room. Trent did just as he was told and stood next to the table, watching as Sam approach Dean on the floor. Sam wrapped his big hand around Dean’s right fist, the one that held the knife, and automatically stopped its frantic movement on the floorboards. He knelt in front of Dean and leaned over to speak in a hushed voice into Dean’s ear. Then, he grasped Dean’s shoulders and lifted him up. Dean went with him.
Sam seated Dean on one of the chairs at the table before he went to the kitchenette to get some plates.
“Sit down Trent. Let’s enjoy the pie together. I’m sure Dean won’t mind,” said Sam.
Trent sat down slowly, eyes trained at Dean who sat rigidly in front of him. He had an unfocused gaze of emotional detachment in his eyes; the kind that people usually called ‘a thousand yard stare’. He seemed to look right past Trent who sat in front of him. Trent fidgeted in his chair before looking away. He could not bear to see Dean looking like that.
His gaze fell on the table then, on Dean’s hands to be exact. Both hands were curled into fists on top of the table, shaking. The knife was gone; presumably Sam had put it away. Trent realized that Dean’s whole body was tensed and his muscles were pulled tight, ready to attack. Yet, what he saw in Dean’s eyes and Dean’s face was completely different. It was like his head was detached from his body and they showed two different reactions at the same time.
Sam returned, putting three plates on the table. He quickly took the pie from its plastic container and shared its slices between the three of them. Trent could not even touch his pie.
Sam put a plate in front of Dean then held Dean’s right hand with his left as his own left palm was rubbing Dean’s shoulder, slowly moving from left to right, all the while calling Dean’s name near his ear.
“Dean … … … Dean …”
Sam had to call him twice more before Dean blinked rapidly and turned his head towards Sam’s voice. Once he held his brother in his eyes, a blinding smile grazed his features, wiping away the traces of the long lost look it had had seconds before.
Dean was good looking, Trent thought. The first time he’d thought about it, he’d been surprised and more than a little bit confused. He always thought there was something odd about himself. Even when he thought girls were pretty, he found that he was not attracted to them. Dean was attractive and Trent believed that many people would agree with him. The trainee girls around the compound were always blushing whenever Dean looked at them. Dean had many excellent qualities from the tip of his golden hair to his sexy bow legs and now Trent saw it, his striking smile too..
“Hey, Sammy,” said Dean as he looked at Sam as if for the first time after a very long time apart. Trent could see the tension in his muscles gradually lessen until it was all gone with a huff of breath. Trent was sure that Dean was close to jumping on Sam and hugging him if his relieved voice and his happy smile were any indication. It was as if Sam was the answer to the secrets of the universe, the last hope of humanity and Dean’s lifeline.
“Hey Dean,” Sam replied with as much relief, if not more.. His dimples were coming out in full force as he gazed at Dean with fondness. “Hey, look what Trent brought you.” Sam gestured to the plate of pie in front of Dean.
Dean tore his gaze away from Sam and his smile became even more blinding, if that was possible, when he saw the slice of pie on the plate with its thick blueberry filling. Grabbing the fork, he quickly dug in.
“Hmmmm…” Dean moaned loudly as the blueberry pie melted in his mouth.
Sam chuckled and shook his head before he too took a bite of his share. “Hmm, this is really good. Give Adrianne our thanks, Trent. Her pie is delicious as always.”
Trent’s brain had already short-circuited when he heard Dean’s moan and his pants felt oddly tight. He almost did not hear Sam and had to visibly shake himself off the luscious thought of Dean’s lips to be able to reply.
“Uh… Ehm… uh, yeah. Yeah I will, but… won’t you guys be attending the gathering tonight?”
Sam looked hesitant for a moment before answering. “No, Trent. We’ve talked to Joe and Garth this morning. I… uh… I did not sleep well last night but I will be on the training ground tomorrow morning.”
“Okay,” said Trent with a nod.
“Thanks for bringing us pie, Trent,” Dean said. His pie was already halfway devoured while Trent had not eaten a bite. “Eat your pie! It’s good.” Dean pointed his fork towards Trent’s plate and Trent did just that. It was a good pie.
After they’d finished it, Dean having eaten the most of it, Sam put the dirty plates in the sink while Dean went to get beers. He put one in front of Trent.
“You’re almost twenty, right?” asked Dean with a raised eyebrow.
Trent was stunned. Even in the main house, the trainers were adamant that underage kids should not be given alcohol, at Adrianne’s insistence. So, he nodded his head vigorously and accepted the offer. He vaguely heard Sam snort behind him. He could imagine him shaking his head in fond exasperation as he always did whenever Dean did something like this.
“Only one!” Sam said as he walked past the table, grabbing a can.
“Spoilsport,” grumbled Dean as he winked at Trent, making him blush.
Sam just smiled and he laid his palm on Dean’s nape, rubbing the back of Dean’s head for few seconds before taking a seat next to him.
“So, Trent, tell me what you did in training today,” asked Sam.
Trent was glad for the distraction. He happily launched into his tale about his morning’s exercises and the shooting lesson. Then, he told them about his mock fighting with Andy and Bree. His hands were flying in every direction in his excitement to be able to brag in front of Dean. He even stood up to demonstrate the fight.
“…and then she stabbed me from the back but I was faster because I turned around at the last second and caught her arm, using her momentum to throw her on the ground. That was before Andy tackled me from my left side and I fell …”
Trent demonstrated the way his best friend Andy tackled him, but due to the lack of space between the kitchenette and his chair, he threw his body on the table. Dean jumped up from his seat in a flash, knife drawn and his expression grim, ready to attack. The force of his sudden movement sent his chair tumbling on the floor three feet behind him.
Trent froze. His body half draped on top of the table as he looked at Dean wide eyed.
Sam quickly went to approach Dean but stopped short when Dean aimed his knife at him with a growl. Sam moved slowly in front of the table, shielding Trent with his body.
“Trent, I think you’d better leave.”
Sam’s voice brooked no argument and Trent was just relieved to be dismissed. Dean’s eyes were cold and unfriendly, unlike a few minutes before when he’d teased Trent about the beer or when he’d enthusiastically eaten his pie. Trent had not seen this Dean since that night at the field with the Leviathans. He looked savage and wild.
Trent carefully pushed himself off the table and inched backwards while Sam engaged Dean’s attention.
“Dean, look at me. It’s okay… It’s okay. I’m here, Dean. You’re okay…”
Sam approached Dean cautiously while talking to him in a soothing voice. He tried to catch Dean’s eyes as they flitted around the room agitatedly, as if looking for invisible enemies. Sam inched closer to Dean and reached out to him. Dean suddenly surged forward and swung his knife in a deadly arc but Sam seemed to have anticipated this move and caught Dean’s wrist with his left hand and the next second looped his right arm around his shoulder, pulling him close. Sam embraced Dean with his right arm as his left hand grappled with Dean’s right, trying to dislodge the knife from its hold. Dean struggled and growled but Sam held on, whispering in Dean’s ear. Trent heard lots of shushing noises and after some minutes, Dean’s hand started to go limp. Sam quickly divested him of his knife and slipped it in his back pocket before looping both arms around Dean more securely, his soothing words and shushing not diminishing.
Trent left the cabin with more questions in his mind. No one knew how Sam managed to get Dean out of Purgatory, not really. He wondered what had happened to him there that made him like he was now. The best that everyone had were guesses and assumptions. He was determined to extract more information from the older hunters tonight if he could, especially Garth. The mystery surrounding the Winchesters was intriguing but they were private people who guarded their secrets jealously. It was clear that they were each other’s whole world and there was no place for outsiders.