Courage

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15

Someone shook them. Dean didn't know how much time had elapsed while they were unconscious, but it couldn't have been much. The people around them were still looking scared, still as if entranced by the noises of fighting from outside. There were yowls and yelps, growling and then there was the sickening sound of two bodies colliding.

Dean looked up at the person who'd shaken them awake. It was Lockhart.

“What's going on out there? Those aren't teenage hooligans, are they?”

It was the story they'd told him earlier about why they had to find his students. Teenage delinquents from town were out drunk in the woods with baseball bats. Of course, that story had flown out the window with the kind of fighting noises that came from outside.

“Remember when I told you about werewolves in these woods?” Dean asked.

Lockhart merely looked at them.

“I didn't lie about that.”

Dean tried to get up, but their muscles were all screaming in agony and so they more crawled then walked up to the window. They looked outside.

What they saw looked like a mini-war. While one side was clearly superior, the other side didn't seem to get tired of attacking. Every now and then, one wolf seemed to just shoot by everybody else going straight for the building they were in but was always stopped by another running into him, clawing at him.

Dean looked around into the scared eyes which were, in turn, all watching them. They reached for the gun at their back, and thankfully, it was still there. All their other weapons had been in the lost backpack. Again crawling, rather than walking, Dean moved to the middle of the cabin, sitting with their arms raised, their gun pointed. Should one of the wolves break through, they would be the last line of defense. They would not let anyone get at these kids.

And then they waited. Nobody said a word, there were just gasps and whimpers accompanying the noise of the battle outside. Dean had no idea how much time had elapsed when suddenly, something heavy smashed into the door. The wood cracked in places but still held together. A vicious roar could be heard from just outside. After that, it got eerily quiet.

Everybody inside the building was looking at Dean, they could feel it without even turning their head. They were listening, straining to hear more fighting, but there was nothing. Somehow this was even scarier than the noises before.

They all kept sitting in the corners of the big room, huddled together, frightened. Dean looked around and their gaze was finally caught by big blue eyes. Desmond was awake and all attitude seemed to have gone out of her. She looked ashamed, sick, beaten.

Dean would have liked to go over to her and say something comforting, but what could they have said? That it wasn't her fault? That things would get better from now on? They weren't sure about these things themself.

After a while, the teens started talking among themselves, but they whispered.

Dean still listened for any kind of noises from outside, but there were none. Finally, Dean was still pointing the gun at the door, their shoulders and arms hurting, their phone rang, rousing everybody. They pulled it out, holding it to their ear, but couldn't think of saying anything.

“Hello? Boss, you there?” It was Jace.

“Yeah.” Dean had to clear their throat because their answer came out as a croak. “Yeah, I'm here. How late is it?”

“Just half past five, sunrise.”

“Oh,” Dean made. They pushed to their knees and looked out the window. And indeed, the sky was lighter now, the dark blue a welcome sight. “So it is.”

“We tried to reach you last night, but you didn't answer. Is everything all right?”

“I doubt that, but... I'm alive and so are all the students and their teacher.”

“Well, that's good news, isn't it?”

“Yeah, listen. I'll have to get back to you. I've gotta check on something.” Dean got up stiff-joined, suppressing a groan as their muscles protested against any kind of movement.

“Okay, talk to you later, boss.”

“Bye." Dean put their phone away but held onto the gun as they walked toward the door.

Dean opened the door to the morning song of some birds. The fresh air was welcome after spending the night in a room full of people, too scared to open a window. They almost stepped into some blood that had seeped into the floorboards. They stared at it for a moment, then stepped over it.

It was strange. Around the cabins and the main building, there were the signs of a fight – dirt disturbed, a broken banister at one of the cabins, scattered wood, thick branches broken – but despite all that it was quiet except for the birds, the water, the rustling of leaves. Nobody was there.

“Where are they?” someone asked the question behind them.

“I don't know,” Dean answered.


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