Courage

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16

It had started to rain. The drops fell so quickly onto the surface of the lake that they caused uncountable ripples, making it look like waves.

Dean looked over the lake from the porch of the main building. Except for the rain hitting surfaces, there was little noise.

The bus with the high schoolers and their teacher had left about half an hour ago. Lockhart had been in a near panic and had just given his students ten minutes to pack before he herded them to the bus. Dean had taken him aside for a minute and told him to have an eye on Desmond, to call social services or the police, whatever it took to get her out of her abusive home. Lockhart had looked at Dean for a long moment, then he had nodded and left.

Dean hoped it was going to be all right. They also hoped that the kids weren't too traumatized to live the lives they wanted to live. They knew how that could sometimes happen.

Footsteps on the stairs roused Dean from their thoughts.

“I found your backpack,” Tasha said as she came closer. She placed the bag by the banister, then leaned against it herself. “How you're doing?”

“Exhausted. You?”

She nodded. “A couple bruises and cuts.”

“So, what happened?”

“We fought the Coltons. We won.”

“And that's all?”

Tasha turned and looked over the place where the battle had occurred. The remnants of it had been washed away by the rain or put in order by John Hamsford who owned the cabins. He'd invited Dean to stay as long as they wanted, but Dean didn't really want to. They just wanted to gather strength enough to not fall asleep at the wheel of their car.

“It got kinda insane. I don't know why the Coltons and their friends weren't going to just give up when they saw they were outnumbered... I guess it was the hunger.”

“Was somebody killed?”

Tasha looked at the boards in front of the door, deep red from blood. “Somebody was. It was Timmy. I killed him.”

Dean let out a long breath, shaking their head at the waste. “He the only one?”

Tasha nodded. “Yeah, though some are pretty banged up, broken bones, concussions.”

“I'm sorry that you had to do that.”

“Me too. He was the one who slammed into you on the way inside. He slipped through the perimeter we had formed and just made a run for it. He was fast.”

“He sure was. I didn't see him coming.”

Tasha turned back to Dean, looking at them. “Those of the Coltons who could still stand are in custody, though we're thinking of letting them go to settle somewhere else. Legally they haven't done anything but started a fight. None of the kids were hurt.”

“What about attempted murder? Or conspiracy to murder?” Dean asked angrily.

“Technically, yes, but there won't be any way to prove it, not in a court that doesn't believe in werewolves, that is.”

Dean nodded. “Then I guess, they'll become my problem. Or another hunter's.”

“They'll not gonna stay close. I doubt you'll see any of them again.”

“I wouldn't know, I only ever really saw Tim Colton.”

Tasha put her arms around herself, though Dean doubted that she was cold. They remained like that, thoughtful, silent. The aftermath was always anticlimactic when one realized that there were no winners in a fight that cost a life. Dean had never understood how wars could exist. Didn't people feel how utterly senseless the loss of only one life was? How could anyone stand the thought of hundreds or thousands dying?

“Are you going to stay a little?” Tasha asked. She didn't look at Dean, but at her shoes.

“No, I'll probably gonna leave later today.”

“You got a long drive?”

Dean smiled. Was she asking where they lived? “Not too long, maybe 7 hours.”

“That is long,” Tasha disagreed. “You could stay awhile, you know? Cord says you could stay in the guestroom. Even Grey offered you your room back, for free, and he never lets anyone stay for free. Rumor has it he charges his family members who visit.” Tasha smiled.

It was such a beautiful sight, it broke Dean's heart. “I can't stay.”

“Gotta get back to work, rescuing damsels and killing monsters,” Tasha said.

“Or rescuing monsters and killing damsels, depends on the day of the week," Dean tried to make a joke that fell flat.

Tasha took a step toward Dean and stooped down to them. They looked up startled, but saw only determination in her dark eyes, no threat. She put her hands on their chest and grabbed onto their shirt. Then she pulled Dean out of their chair with the remarkable strength of a werewolf. She kissed them hard.

Dean melted against her, barely standing on their tiptoes. The heat emanating from Tasha, the aggression of her mouth and tongue, the sheer need between them, was magnetic, irresistible.

But over too quickly. With a thunk, Dean landed back on their heels. Breathless, they looked up at Tasha who grinned.

“I just wanted to let you know, I might be interested.”

“That's,” Dean croaked and cleared their throat. “good to know.”

Tasha turned and left.

Dean looked after her, regretting that life wasn't always as simple as they wanted it to be.


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