Fic title: The Dog Who Belonged to Himself
Author name: liliaeth
Artist name: spn_2008
Word count: 25168
Betas: Much thanks to creepylicious and Mary Laws
Warnings: mentions of child abuse, both sexual as physical, trade in children, non graphic depictions and mentions of adults raping children, non graphic flashback to the rape, abuse and dehumanization of a child
Summary: Shortly after John Winchester lost his wife to demons, he lost his oldest son to a Skinwalker. Now, twelve years later, he's hunted down every single Skinwalker he could find and killed them, unaware that his oldest is still alive. That the monster that took his child hadn't taken his life, just his humanity. That she'd turned his child on the command of a human slave ring that traded in Skinwalker children. Dean ended up saved and raised by the Hunter Bobby Singer, but what's a young pup to do when his foster father goes missing and the only one who can help him find him, is a Hunter who despises his kind and would kill him on the spot?
This is the second story in my Skinwalker Dean series. The prequel can be found here
Masterpost Art: Can be found here and is made by the far more awesome than I deserve spn_2008
Masterpost Fic: http://liliaeth.livejournal.com/400286.html
Willis wasn’t even sure what they were waiting for. They could just head up to the door and talk to Winchester. For some reason Bruce seemed to think they needed to wait. Wait for what, Willis didn’t know, Bruce wasn’t a complete idiot and he didn’t bother Willis too much with accounts of his hook ups, so Willis figured he might as well let the man have his way, just this once.
Winchester’s car had just returned, sitting there in the bright light of the afternoon. It was one of those old American cars, pretty to look at, but hard on gas mileage and maintenance. Willis much rather had his own truck, it wasn’t attractive, but then neither was he, and it fit him perfectly.
He wished he knew what was going on in Winchester’s room, but they hadn’t been able to get that close. Winchester would have spotted them the second he saw them. Not that that should have mattered. They were Hunters, all three of them, that ought to mean they were all on the same side, but then, these days, what did any connection like that mean anymore?
The door of Winchester’s room slapped open and the boy came running out. Not the dog, Winchester’s brat. Willis kept watching as the kid ran up to the car, kicked its tires and then sat down, back up against the wheels. The boy seemed pissed off about something and Willis wondered what it was. Winchester stood in the door for a moment, staring at his brat.
“Sam.” He said, cold, calm.
“Just leave me alone, Dad, I can take care of myself.” Defiant, Willis knew if he’d ever talked to his own father in that tone, he’d have gotten his ass handed to him on a platter. Winchester instead stayed in the door, before closing it, leaving the boy outside in the sun.
It made Willis wonder what the hell was up, and then the door opened again and Winchester came back out, closing the door behind him, locking it for good measure before he headed up to his son and sat down next to him.
“You didn’t have to hurt him, Dad, he wasn’t doing anything.” Willis could hear the boy’s voice in the silence.
“You’re right.” Winchester’s low voice answered “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Then why did you dad?”he was talking quietly now and Willis had to strain to hear a word.
“He upset me. “
“When your brother died, I… I was lost for a long time, Sam. Because it was my fault. I got drunk, I sent him out of the room, I told him to leave me in peace and he was taken because … because I wasn’t there. “
The boy tried to protest, but Winchester stopped him.
“Finding out what it was that took Dean, finding that Skinwalker skulking out at the place where they found the remains of those children, it pulled me out. It tried to talk, tried to seem human, as if it somehow were as much of a victim as the children it tore to shreds. I didn’t let it finish. I killed it. And then I swore over the burning shreds of its corpse that I would hunt down every last Skinwalker I found and destroy it. “
The boy didn’t even seem all that interested, as if none of this was new to him. It probably wasn’t.
“Being in the same room with that thing, seeing it act as if it’s human, it disgusts me. “
“Because it makes you think of him as a person?”
Winchester didn’t answer, it was obvious that even the things he had said were an effort, something he’d forced himself to do. Willis couldn’t blame him, talking was something girls did, not men. Hell Willis' own father had never said more than five words to him in a row. That wasn’t how you said you cared, you didn’t explain, you just did. And Winchester obviously lived by the same idea.
Willis stared at them both, but even trying to hear anything else was lost in the sounds as cars started speeding by and Winchester had already headed back inside before the silence returned. Leaving the younger one sitting outside in the sun. Willis kept an eye on him to be safe. A kid that age shouldn’t be alone in a place like this.
The boy stayed behind, even as Winchester came out, the Skinwalker right behind him. Singer’s dog got into the shotgun position as soon as Winchester ordered him, he was dressed slightly different from how he’d been at the Roadhouse. Gone were the jacket and the extra layers, instead all the boy wore was a shirt and jeans, sneakers with zippers on its feet and that hat that hid his disheveled hair. He looked like a child, a deadly child and it only made Willis want him more.
Dean was scared. He wasn’t afraid to admit it. Coming to a place like this, heading towards a dogfight, all that belonged to a different life. A life he’d left behind him when Bobby found him, it was only for Bobby’s sake that he was doing this.
Winchester led the way into the bar and Dean followed behind him, a respectful step or two behind him that is. He took a deep sniff, and caught a scent that crawled down his spine and made him shiver. Far too familiar, forcing him to remember. He kept his head low, respectful, obedient and it was only when he spotted the origin of the scent that he stopped for a moment, waiting for Winchester to look at him, before he pointed the way with a nod. No words, not from him. They’d expect Winchester to punish him for the affront if he dared to speak in public. And what kind of dog would he be, if he offended his master like that in public?
The man stank, not just of cheap booze and cigarettes, but of blood and fear. Winchester went up to him, ordering Dean to stay put with a glare. When the man asked something, John pointed at Dean. Dean took of his hat, holding it in his hand, as he lowered his shirt, showing off his collar.
Dean had to fight the urge not to sink down on his knees and show his neck.
The stranger said something to Winchester who just ordered Dean to follow. They entered a small office and Dean could smell the scent of other Skinwalkers on the mat in front of the desk. He looked at John for orders first. Good dogs waited for orders.
“Tell it to heel.”
Winchester slapped his thigh and Dean quickly knelt down beside him, his head still bowed, his fingers wrenched around his hat as if it were a security blanket, he wished he could nibble on it, it’d make him feel better even if Bobby would tan his hide if he found teeth marks on the lining.
The man came closer, Dean had to fight the urge to run, no idea what was so horrifying about the man, he hadn’t even said anything to him yet. But his scent, along with those eyes, it made him remember something, threatened to drag him back to the dark time and he fought the urge to get lost in pain to hide from it. Instead his muscles froze up.
The man grabbed Dean’s face and forced him to look up. Dean did so, opening his mouth on command and allowing the man to check his teeth as his hand touched the markings in his ear that were barely covered up by his earrings..
“How many fights has he been in?” The man asked.
Winchester was still glaring but answered: “None. I only just got him in a poker game, its previous owner wasn’t much interested in watching it fight.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” The man’s hand brushed over Dean’s hair and down Dean’s neck, Winchester grabbed the hand before it could get any further.
“Are you always this grabby with other people’s property, Donald.” The name was said with such total disdain that it made Dean worry that they weren’t getting out of here alive. Well… Winchester wasn’t. Dean doubted he’d get out that easily.
Instead ‘Donald’ broke out laughing.
“Don’t worry, I wasn’t planning to mess with it, much.” He walked around Dean, his hands moving across the muscles of Dean's arms. “I’ll need a picture of its true self. For the adds, people like to know what kind of dogs they’re betting on.”
“Singer, change.” It was the first time that Winchester said anything even approaching to Dean’s name, so it took him a second longer than he intended before he got rid of his clothes, the hat falling on top of the heap, and transformed. He went back to heel position as soon as the last bits of bones had finished reshaping.
“Well what do you know, it’s as pretty on four paws as it is on two. Are you sure you want to risk it in a fight, I know more than a few people who’d pay good money to have it bred with one of theirs.”
The very thought made Dean nauseous, but he had to remain calm and let Winchester call the shots. Winchester wouldn’t be part of something like that, he wanted to kill Skinwalkers, not make more of them. Dean forced himself to remember that, he had to, to stay calm and keep playing his part. Winchester’s one track mind was almost a comfort. God, he needed to put his teeth in something.
There was something wrong in the bar, he only just now started noticing it. It was always harder to spot a lack of sound, then the start of one. But the bar had gone quiet, no chairs scratching the floor as people got up, no people talking, just the music playing in the background. And then it started, crashing.
Dean wanted to tell Winchester that something had happened. He reached out to Winchester, but it was already too late and the door of the office fell in . Winchester made a grab for his gun, before he realized he didn’t have it with him. Donald saw who came in, two men, four dogs and made a run for the door in the back. Winchester was right behind him. Dean stood frozen for a moment, staring at the attackers for a moment, before looking back at Winchester.
The dogs surrounded him, snarling and growling. Dean’s own growl rumbled out, before he yipped.
“We’re not your enemies.” One of the men said, reaching his hand out to Dean. Dean growled one last time before taking a jump over one of the dogs, missing a snarled snap at his paws before he jumped through the window and out of the room.
They didn’t come after him, he stopped for a second, trying to find out what kept them from following him. The man had his hand raised and was looking at him. Dean’s mouth opened, his nose lifted. They felt like home. Dean kept running.
John grabbed Donald out of the way before he fell into the claws and teeth of the Skinwalkers waiting for them outside. Donald threw him a card as he pulled some small glass orb out of his pockets. He threw it to the floor, breaking the glass and the very stench of it spread the room, leaving the Skinwalkers gasping for air. John could see him running for the door, while he looked back, wondering what was keeping Singer’s dog from joining them, in the end he couldn’t care and got out.
It was one thing to deal with humans, but if any of the Skinwalkers found out who he was, they’d tear him to pieces on sheer principle. He’d killed enough of them that the mere mention of his name had many of them scrambling for escape.
He got to the car and grabbed for his gun, seconds before the Skinwalkers following him did. It was then that he saw the Rottweiler he’d arrived with running up to him. He raised his gun, ready to shoot the thing if it had betrayed him. But instead it attacked the Skinwalkers before they got to John, shielding him from their teeth.
John got into the car and opened the window, yelling at Singer’s dog to jump in. It did, landing on the seat, its claws messing with the leather, but John was already hitting the metal and getting out of there. He didn’t notice the Skinwalker was bleeding, until it turned back to its human form. The red gaping cuts standing out against its pale white skin.
Neither of them had thought to grab the creature’s clothes before they ran out, leaving John to wonder how the hell they were supposed to explain it if they got stopped on the way.
It took almost half an hour before he felt safe enough to park the car. The engine fell still and he sat there for a moment, his hands on the wheel, while the Skinwalker shivered in the cold. He figured they’d gotten far enough and got out. The Skinwalker didn’t move as he opened the trunk, grabbing first a blanket and then a med kit. John knew Skinwalkers could only be killed with silver, but that was no reason to have the seats ruined with the thing’s blood.
He told the dog to hold still while he bandaged its wounds. The cut wasn’t too bad, but it was still bleeding. He threw it the blanket once he was finished with the bandages, but didn’t bother saying a word as the dog seemed unsure what to do with the blanket. Finally it wrapped itself up in it and got into the car, looking at him as if silently asking if it had done right.
It was quiet as they drove back to the motel, too quiet for John’s tastes. The Skinwalker sunk into the chair. And as the landscape past by them in the dark, John could almost imagine another boy that used to sink into the car like that, trusting it to lull him to sleep while Mary and John prayed for a good night’s rest.
John was almost grateful when the phone rang, waking the monster out of its doze. He stared at the name, Sam, he had no idea why his son would call him so soon.
“Yes.” He said, unable to help the annoyance that slipped in, unable to let Sam know that it wasn’t him he was pissed off with.
“Dad, I need you back here.”
“Sam look we… “
“Dad, two guys came in after you were gone.”
John was almost glad he hadn’t stopped driving, turning instantly back in the direction of the motel while waiting for Sam to continue.
“Are they still standing?” John asked, meaning ‘are you ok, did they hurt you?’
“Barely,” Sam whispered, “I got a shotgun on them.”
Good kid, John had no idea how to tell his son just how proud he was of him. But he knew better than anyone to think that meant his boy was safe.
“I think I recognized them from the Roadhouse. They said they needed to talk to you.”
Hunters. John couldn’t help but worry. Sam didn’t know it, but John still remembered the last time Hunters had come after his boy, how he’d killed every last of the men that had dared threaten his child. He’d shielded Sam from that, but if even one had survived and spread the word about his son’s possible future…
“The guy that got his ass kicked by Singer, and a friend of his. They said they wanted to help with the hunt.”
John almost sighed in relief.
“Tell them to get out of the room and wait for me in the parking lot. If they’re anywhere near you when I get back, they’re dead.”
Sam turned off the phone and John waited for the Skinwalker to say something. He knew the thing had heard both sides of the conversation.
“Got anything to say?” John barked out in command.
The Skinwalker looked away, “Want me to tear them up a bit when we arrive?” The dog said with an amused tone underpinning every word.
John couldn’t help but be amused by the idea. “I’ll keep it in mind.”
He had to kill that thing, he was more sure of this now than ever, because if he didn’t, he might actually start liking a monster. And he could never allow himself to do that.
Bobby woke up when something or someone grabbed his face, lifting it up and forcing him to stare back at them. The man was saying something, but Bobby couldn’t understand a word of it. Bobby felt fingers tugging at his shirt, he tried to bat it off, but realized his hands were still locked behind his back.
He tried to open his eyes again, struggling to do so. The guy handling him was younger than he’d thought he was maybe sixteen, eighteen at most. He’d be tiny even at sixteen. He was walking around the room, a redheaded whirlwind that went from grabbing stuff to grabbing Bobby himself and removing the bits of the broken chair that Bobby had been tied to before someone had thrown him against the wall, chair and all.
He nearly screamed in pain as the boy’s hands touched his chest. Damn bastards had broken his ribs.
“I’m sorry,’ the boy whispered, “I’ll try and be more careful.” The words finally became clearer. It was only then that Bobby noticed the boy had been putting some kind of ointment on his ribs, and that the kid was trying to clean off the blood.
“I’m sorry, Cody said I could make sure you’d be ok. “ Bobby stared at him. “Cody’s our Alpha.”
It was then that Bobby realized the kid was another Skinwalker, a young one, like Dean. It made him worry what the bastards were up to, and what they wanted Dean for. It just convinced him more that he couldn’t let them find out where he was keeping the boy. There was no way he’d let Dean fall back in those scumbags’ hands.
“What’s your name?” Bobby managed to ask. The kid looked away,
“Sugar,” the boy answered, and froze at his own response. He seemed hesitant as he continued before Bobby could stop him. “Only Cody says I don’t have to answer to that anymore. “
“Do you want to?”
The boy seemed to hesitate. “No?” Quiet at first, then stronger, “No! It’s a bad bad name. It’s a pet name and I’m not a pet anymore.” The boy gained in strength as he continued talking. “And they can’t make me.”
“So then what’s your name?”
The kid smiled. “Cody said I got to choose. I think I want to be Alex again, but I’m not sure.”
“Alex, that’s a good name.” Bobby said before coughing up blood. “Was that your name before you got turned?”
The boy shivered, looked at the door and nodded.
“You like talking a lot, don’t you?” The boy’s smile turned into a snarl and Bobby quickly raised his hands. “Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s a good thing to talk.”
The boy looked at him, he seemed unsure whether he should trust Bobby’s words or not.
“Cody says I can talk if I want to. And that no one can tell me otherwise.” Then he added conspiratorially. “But I know he thinks I’ll talk his ears of, so I try not to overtalk when he’s around.”
“That’s nice of you.” With the headache that the kid was giving him, Bobby almost wished the boy would stop talking now, but this was probably his best bet to get any information and at least a chance of getting out.
Another smile from the boy, who helped Bobby sit up.
“Did Cody say what he was going to do with me?”
Bobby hoped the answer wasn’t to eat him, but it wouldn’t be impossible, if the pack was hungry and they didn’t think they could get any more information from him, what else where they supposed to do with a captured Hunter?
“Cody just wants to know stuff,” the boy answered, remembering for a moment he probably wasn’t supposed to be this nice to the prisoner.
“Like where the Skinwalker is, that you smell like?”
“And why would he want to know that?” Bobby wondered about that question, why a packleader would want to find Dean. Didn’t these Skinwalkers have any pride, or was their master’s hold on them that strong?
He simply couldn’t imagine Skinwalkers themselves wanting any of their own kind to be enslaved, unless they were trying to use it as a way to get in. Something didn’t fit.
“Cody wants to free our people.” Alex suddenly said, interrupting the Hunter’s thoughts as he was trying to clear his head. Bobby’s head settled against the wall even as the boy let go of him to stand up. “He wants to stop people like you from hurting people like us. Because we’re not pets and we shouldn’t be.”
But if these were the guys who’d taken Dean, then why would they care about letting the boy know this? His head was getting woozy, maybe this was the other side, once the recruiting was over, once the Skinwalkers had learned to hate humans, get them some confidence before sending them after human prey. But then what was the point of letting Alex help him out. Even now the boy didn’t seem to be filled with hatred.
“I didn’t…” Bobby tried to say it, hoping to make the boy understand before the grown ups returned. “I didn’t hurt Dean. I never would. He’s not my pet, he’s my son.” The words came out broken, slurred, and pulled out of his throat as if pulled out by toothpicks.
He saw Alex’s eyes as he looked at him, not believing him, but staring at someone behind him. It took an effort of a life time to look back and see him standing there. The guy the other Skinwalkers had been deferring to.
“Liar.” Was all the man said, deep dark eyes that made you think of a puppy, even without knowing he was a dog in his other form.
Bobby coughed, feeling blood drip down his cheeks.
“Cody, I presume.”
The Skinwalker was on him before he could move, forcing his head to the wall. Alex tried to say something, to ask something of his alpha, but Bobby’s head was too scrambled up to catch the words.
Sam had been working on his summer reading when he heard a sound. He quickly got up and grabbed for his colt that was under the pillow. He left the knife behind, he could make a grab for it if he had to. There it was again, scratching, as if someone was messing with the lock. Sam quickly ducked between the two beds, it was impossible to roll under the bed, the damn thing was sealed shut with one of those pull out shelves that could be used to put linen in. He pulled the shotgun out of the shelf. Best to be sure he had a backup weapon.
The door opened, and a guy marched in. Rough scratched up face, full with a wild beard that half hid a scar covering his cheek. He was quickly followed by some guy that looked like a gangster. Slicked up hair, wearing a suit that made him look cheap and a bulge that clearly hinted he was hiding a gun under his jacket.
Sam stayed hidden, maybe they’d just leave if they didn’t see anyone inside. But the men didn’t leave, the first guy started looking at the notepad next to the phone, while the other one started looking through dad’s stuff at the desk.
It was as the man turned around that he suddenly spotted Sam in between the beds. He was about to say something when Sam shot up, shotgun in his hands.
“Don’t move.” He yelled.
The first guy tried to say something, “Shut up and freeze.” Sam said, repeating the second. Mister Slick tried to get closer and Sam aimed the shotgun his way.
“You messed with the wrong room.” He said, trying to sound like Dirty Harry as he said it, praying his voice wouldn’t break up as he did so..
"Look, son, we'll just..."
“Don’t call me son.”
“How do you know my name?” He grunted out. He needed to sound tough, dangerous, he needed to be like his dad, he needed his dad.
“We’re Hunters.” Scar guy said. “My name’s Carter Willis, we just wanted to talk to your dad.”
“And you thought you needed to break into our room to do that?” Sam couldn’t believe these guys thought he was that stupid. But then these were the idiots that figured it’d be OK to mess with John Winchester’s stuff, so who knows what else they’d do?
“We just wanted to see if he was working on the same thing, I swear.” Mister Slick tried to step a foot closer again, his words a clear attempt to distract. Sam quickly turned the shotgun his way. He didn’t need to say anything, the message was clear.
“Now just put down that gun before I fucking grab it out of your hands, you brat.” Scar guy, or Willis as he called himself hissed. At least he wasn’t pretending to be all nice.
“Take one step closer and I’ll scream.” Sam yelled. The man rolled his eyes. “The clerk here might be an idiot, but even he would come running if he knew a kid was getting attacked.” And they had neighbors, unless it had been these guys, then someone would have to hear something and come running, right?
Mister Slick seemed taken aback by that, trying to pull his friend away.
“Look, just call your dad, I swear, all we want to do, is talk to him.”
Sam hesitated. If he did as said, dad would know what was going on, but it would distract him. In the end he had no other choice. Willis growled a bit, while Sam did his best to keep them under fire. In the end he repeated his father’s words, telling them to wait outside or his dad would shoot them.
As soon as they got out of the room and Sam had locked the door, key as well as key-chain, he sank down on the floor between the beds, gasping for breath and desperate for his dad to arrive. He had to fight the urge to throw up.
Willis could see Winchester coming from up the road. He rolled up another cigarette, lit a match on the side of the car and took in his first gulp of smoke, just before the car stopped in the middle of the parking lot. He had to fight a cough, but he didn’t care what those fucking doctors said, he wasn’t going to give up one of the few pleasures he had in life. He stared at the cold black monster car in front of him. Winchester got out first, Singer’s dog followed right behind him. Willis wondered what had happened to the boy’s clothes. Was Winchester some kind of pervert, if he were, it’d almost be a pleasure to shoot his ass and get the dog away from him. That was just sick.
He let Bruce take the lead before he spat out his disgust at the other Hunter, staring back at the motel room. Winchester’s boy was staring out the window, and ducked back out of sight as soon as he spotted Willis looking his way. Willis turned his attention back to the elder Winchester, a smirk on his face as he dealt with a man that liked to have the reputation of being one of the scariest motherfuckers on this side of the continent.
Willis wouldn’t mind giving him some competition for that title.
Bruce though, he seemed a bit more weary. Showing his empty hands as if trying to show his neck to the beast before they’d even crossed paths. It made Willis wonder why he even put up with the guy.
Winchester stood there silently, staring at the two of them. “You’ve got ten seconds to explain why I shouldn’t kill you bastards, right where you stand.”
“We can help you.” Bruce jumped into the conversation, or what was supposed to pass for one. “You’re after those Skinwalker recruiters, right? So are we, we just thought …”
“Thought? You were actually thinking when you broke into my room and threatened my son?”
“Oh for God’s sake, we didn’t threaten the brat. We didn’t even know you left him behind.” Willis grumbled. “I figured you took him with you when you left.”
“You think I’d take my only remaining son, my thirteen year old son, into a situation that could get dangerous at any second?” The disbelief was almost solid. And as he stated it like that, Willis couldn’t help agreeing that it had been stupid to even think otherwise. It was only then that he saw a flash of red on the Skinwalker’s flesh before the dog pulled the blanket closer around him.
“Well, it’s not like I thought you’d go right after the bad guys on your first time out.” He muttered. “What kind of a moron goes after a bunch of monsters like that on his own, without even a thought of back up?”
Singer’s dog rolled his eyes at him. It was one of the first things Willis would have to train out of him. It rarely worked, but it was always worth a try.
“And you expect me to trust ‘you two morons’ to watch my back.” Willis just shrugged, he didn’t see the issue, they had the same goals, so why not?
“What? Did you get any better offers lately?”
Winchester glared and Willis knew they had him. The man didn’t like it, that was as clear as the light of day, but Winchester knew as well as the rest of them that going up against a pack of Skinwalkers on your own was a direct ticket to an unmarked grave or the garbage once they were through having lunch on your entrails.
“Stay the fuck away from my son.”
“I’m not a kiddie fiddler Winchester. I wouldn’t touch a kid that age with a ten feet pole and even with the long hair, he’s not nearly girly enough for Brucie here.” Unlike you, he couldn’t help but thinking, wondering whatever the hell had happened to Singer’s dog that it left him naked and wounded. It might be a dog, but it looked too much like a human boy to leave it running around like that.
In truth, Willis could respect Winchester’s kid. Not that he couldn’t have taken him if it came down to it. But it took guts to stand up against two grown men like that, with nothing more than a shotgun in your hand to protect yourself.
So he got up, threw the still smoldering butt into the sand and crushed it with his boot before offering Winchester his hand. Winchester didn’t even pretend he hadn’t noticed it.
“Well I tried.” Willis mocked at Bruce before heading to their room. “See ya tomorrow Winchester, and then you can tell us all about your little trip today.” And let me know if I should shoot you in the balls or not.
He didn’t even wait for Bruce to get in before slamming the door shut behind his back.