Disclaimer: If anyone owns anything in this relationship, Supernatural owns my heart. And won't give it back. And won't pay me for it. (i.e. Don't own, don't profit)
Characters: Dean, Sam
Word count: 871
Author note #1: Friend and beta of amazing, lavinialavender, has done a fantastic job, as usual. All errors that remain snuck in there under my watch, like gremlins, man...
Author note #2: I originally wrote this for the prompt: "Dean v. some kind of big time old magic beast, a giant or a basilisk or a griffin or some such...Mirror: Oh, hey, he's actually a medieval knight" at:
By the sixth time Sir Dean Winchester, eldest son of Lord John of Lawrence, slams his sword through the monster’s skin, he starts to think that maybe he should have taken his smartass little brother’s advice.
(“It’s a male Alps griffin, Dean. You’d be better off just taking bronze.”
“Sam, this sweet blade is triple-forged Spanish steel. I’m pretty sure it can get the job done.”
“I still think you should bring that knife. You know the bronze one that Mom—“
“God’s teeth, Father Sammy, you just let me worry about the monsters, okay?”)
Sam’s just fourteen, and, as second son, destined for the priesthood. Personally, Dean thinks Father just wants him out of the castle, somewhere he won’t be quite so much of a pain in the ass. Sam can read and write in Latin and Greek, speak four or five languages—Dean’s lost count—and Dean can still get under his skin about girls, or monsters, or how short and skinny he is. Sam complains that he likes girls too much to be a priest. Father says that’s not actually an issue. Then they fight—about things from personal hygiene to theology—until Dean can’t take the sound of them screaming at each other and he goes out hunting.
(“Does killing things make it better, Dean? Is that how you block out all the merde he says about Mom and God and the Devil—"
“No, Sam. But it makes me happy.”)
Dean blocks a massive claw going straight for his head, ducks a wing, and gets taken down by a bloody tail. He scrabbles across the the ground, using hunks of feathers on the griffin's body to pull himself upright again. Thank God he’s in chain and not plate, or he’d never get up. He's glad he left Impala, his gorgeous Arabian stallion, tied several clearings back. He planned on sneaking up on the griffin—ha, what a joke—but now he's just glad he didn't have to watch his horse get gutted. This feathery bastard is fast.
You never know, any second now Sam might be the eldest son and won’t have to go to seminary. That would make his day, until he and Father start going at each other again. If Dean were a betting man—and, you know, not dead—he’d put his money on patricide. Sam’s just too smart.
The griffin's beak misses him by inches, and one claw rakes his arm hard enough to send a vibration all the way up to his hand, loosen his fingers just enough for the blade to slip out.
Dean backpedals, but the beast’s not stupid and presses the advantage.
There are a lot of things that Dean wishes he could have said. He just hopes that his brother read them on his face and in his daily teasing the way Sam can look in a book and makes sense out of all those mysterious squiggles.
The griffin goes for his throat, and Dean reaches for his last weapon when an arrow zips between them and lodges itself in the monster’s chest.
Dean thinks it's kind of unfair that the griffin's been taking a yard of sharpened steel to the abdomen more than once and shown no reaction, but when the arrow hits, it jerks back like at last something hurts.
Then a second and third arrow bury themselves in the creature’s skin, and he looks over and, sure enough, there’s Sammy, face set, sending bolt after bolt into the griffin's vitals organs.
It’s good, it’s the distraction that Dean desperately needed, but it’s not enough to bring it down. The griffin's too big.
So Dean pulls the bronze knife—with Mother’s family crest etched into the handle—and charges back in.
It’s easier this time, when the half-bird, half-lion actually reacts to the pain. When—after slitting its throat—it actually bleeds, shudders, and dies.
When they both know it’s dead, Sam comes down from his vantage point to stand beside him and look down at the beast.
Dean is sweaty, breathing heavy, and exhausted because, you know, he just spent about half an hour just barely not getting eaten by a griffin. Sam is almost gasping, he knows, not because he gets that tired using a bow—unfair that a shrimp as smart as his brother is good at everything else too—but because he hasn’t seen that many fights, hasn’t watched people he loves get killed, at least not as much as Dean.
“Bronze arrow heads,” Dean says. It’s almost a question.
“Mom’s,” Sam answers. He swallows. “Don’t tell—“
“I won’t. Though we should dig them out. Put them back.” Dean hesitates—God’s blood, he’s covered in gore—but eventually wraps his arm over Sam’s shoulders, and tugs his brother close.
Sam’s shaking, but he leans his head against Dean’s shoulder.
There are a lot of things that Dean wished he could have said, before when he was dying. Maybe he shouldn’t leave them all to chance. “I’m proud of you, Sam,” he says. “Always am.”
“I knew that.” Sam looks up and smiles. “But it’s good to hear.”