Title: Common Bonds
Author: Dhvana
Crossover: Numb3rs/Supernatural
Pairings: Don/Charlie, Dean/Charlie, Dean/Sam
Rating: R
Warning: Incest and slash
Summary: Two pairs of brothers, one nasty monster, and the threat of imminent death--so much for a peaceful little hike through the woods.
A/N: My first crossover, this story has been lingering in my mind for months now, and even though my muses are being uncooperative in every other aspect of my writing (uncontrollable bitches that they are), they managed to spit this out in just three days. Enjoy!


"Having trouble keeping up?" Charlie grinned, glancing back at his older brother, who seemed to be huffing and puffing a little as they made their way up the trail. "If you need me to slow down at all..."


"Yes, Don?"

"Bite me."

Charlie chuckled and continued along the trail, picking up the pace a little. It wasn't that he wanted to torment his brother...actually, it was exactly that. There were few things he did better than Don, and since he had the time to go out hiking--unlike his brother, who was generally stuck in the office twenty-four/seven--this was one of them. All Don had to do was ask him to slow down, and he'd behave, but since Don would collapse first... Charlie chuckled again, using his hands to help himself up over a fallen tree.

He looked behind him to make sure Don made it--not that he had any doubts, but he liked watching Don and his ego struggle--and forged on ahead. Fortunately, the trail had reached its peak and they'd be going downhill from there on. Once they made it back down into the woods proper, it would be a two and a half mile stroll through the trees and they'd be back at the cabin for dinner, and if Don wasn't too worn out, for dessert.

Charlie looked back at his brother and smiled. Maybe they should start with dessert, and then have dinner, followed by another round of dessert. It was a rare day when he and Don could spend time together without having to worry about work interfering or, worse, getting caught. Their time alone in the cabin was definitely an opportunity they should take advantage of.

He glanced back again and this time, Don caught him looking, and smiled. Suddenly, Charlie wished he'd chosen a shorter hike.

"Hey Donny, you want to lead for a bit?" After all, he didn't want his brother to be completely winded by the time they got back, and he could think of worse things than spending an hour or so with his eyes glued to the back of Don's jeans.

"Getting tired there, buddy?"

"Of the view, maybe. Just trees and tress and more trees. A little variety might be nice," he said with a wink.

Laughing, his brother rushed forward and grabbed him by the waist, swinging him off his feet.

"Hey!" Charlie protested, though the laughter in his voice and the lack of struggling showed he wasn't protesting too hard. "Put me down!"

Nuzzling his curls, Don returned him to the earth. "So what is it about our view you don't like?" he asked, nibbling on his brother's ear.

"I'm not saying I don't like it. I'm only saying it could use something to enhance it."

"Anything particular in mind?"

"A little denim wouldn't hurt," he said, closing his eyes and arching his neck as Don's mouth traveled down his throat.

"I knew there was a reason I wore jeans all the time," Don said--practically growled--as his hips pressed against Charlie. That was enough of an invitation for him.

"Hey Donny?"


"Ever had sex in the woods?"


Charlie's eyes flew open--that was not the answer he was expecting. "You have?"

"Haven't you?"

"No!" He turned around so he was facing his brother. "When did you?"

Don gave him a frank look. "Do you really want to know?"

"I don't know. Do I?"

Leaning forward, Don softly kissed his lips. "No."

"Then forget I asked," he smiled, wrapping his arms around Don's neck. Just before their mouths met, he paused. "It wasn't Billy, was it?"

Don laughed, holding his brother close. "No, it wasn't Billy."

"Okay," Charlie grinned. "Now you can forget I asked." He moved in for a kiss that would hopefully end with them stripped naked and getting wild in the wild. Unfortunately, his plan was literally shot to hell when a shot echoed through the trees.

Don immediately tensed, pushing Charlie towards the ground as he automatically reached for the sidearm he'd left behind on this supposedly non-threatening hike through the woods.

"Get down!"

"Don, the shot wasn't anywhere near us," he said even as they both crouched low against the dirt.

"Charlie, do you know how far a bullet can travel?" Charlie opened his mouth and Don quickly cut him off. "Never mind. Of course you know, but we don't have time for the four hour lecture."

Charlie shot him a dirty look but decided to refrain from making any comments. Don was in federal agent mode and anything Charlie said would go right by him until Don was positive the danger had passed, so he simply joined his brother in trying to spot the shooter.

From where they'd stopped, they didn't have much of a vantage point into the forest--ironically enough, there were too many trees in the way. They could hear, though, and both of them tensed as something large came crashing through the brush, followed by something much smaller--a couple of somethings. Charlie started to speak, but Don held up his hand.

"Listen!" he hissed, and Charlie did to hear the sound of two voices yelling at each other through the woods.

"Do you have a shot?"

"If I had a shot, don't you think I would have fired by now?"

"Didn't stop you the first time!"

"Yeah, well, I don't see you hitting anything!"

"That's because I know I need to have something to aim at first! Of course, it helps that at least one of us can hit a moving target."

"I see something moving right now, little brother," the voice growled. "You might want to be careful it's not you."

"Who do you think you are, the vice president? Well, I guess with your aim..."

Charlie stifled a laugh, earning him a dark look from Don.

"What?" he shrugged. "It was funny."

Don rolled his eyes, but a little of the tension seemed to ease from his body. The people making the voices seemed to come to a halt--Charlie guessed they'd lost whatever they were chasing.

"Sounds like a couple of guys doing some illegal hunting," his brother surmised as he stood up.

"Yeah, but what were they chasing? I didn't think there was anything that big around here."

"Doesn't matter. They could shoot someone--namely, us. Stay here."

It was Charlie's turn to roll his eyes. As if he would let Don wander into a situation like this alone. Ignoring his warning glare, Charlie followed his brother down into the woods towards the still-bickering voices. They were moving now, but slowly--most likely tracking whatever they were hunting.

"My aim's a helluva lot better than yours. Maybe if you'd put down your pencil just once in three years and picked up a gun, you might be able to hit the broad side of a barn."

"Oh, here we go again. How many more times are you going to throw Stanford in my face?"

"The rest of our lives, college boy," a deep voice growled. "The rest of our lives."

"You just can't let it go, can you? Or is it just her you can't get past?"

"What? Look, man, I don't care who or what you did during your little tantrum--"

"Tantrum! I'll have you know--"

"Sammy," he said in a patronizing tone, "I've heard your reasons a thousand times--"

"Dean, wait--did you hear that?"

Don and Charlie froze, but it was too late. Exchanging looks, they began moving forward again.

"Yeah. Shut up so I can keep hearing it. And get your gun ready."

"Don?" Charlie hissed, alarmed. "They're coming right towards us!"

"I'm always ready. Do you see it?"

"Stay back!"

"No, I--wait, I've got a shot!"

"So do I!"

Charlie's eyes widened. "Don!"

"Then shoot it!"

"FBI! Freeze!"

The two guns lowered, two matching expressions of disappointment and annoyance on their faces.

"Fuck," the shorter one said.

"Fucked," the taller one corrected.

The first one sighed. "Yep."

"Drop your weapons!"

Holding his I.D. ahead of him like a shield, Don approached the two men, who dropped their rifles into the leaves.

"Bags on the ground and put your hands behind your heads!"

They slid their backpacks off their shoulders and put their hands behind their heads, their elbows sticking out on either side of their ears like wings. They were younger than Charlie had expected--younger than both he and Don, though their eyes made them look far older. The taller one appeared apprehensive, his gaze constantly searching the forest around them. The shorter one, on the other hand, flashed them a cocky grin that made Charlie want to smile in return.

"Now, Agent..." he peered at the I.D. and his grinned widened, "Agent Eppes, I can assure you, it's not what it looks like. I was just teaching my brother here how to shoot--these guns, they're just BB guns. I figured I'd start him off small, someplace where he couldn't hurt anyone. If you could see his aim, you'd understand."

The taller one swung his elbow against his brother's arm, a scowl on his face.

"Do I look stupid?" Don growled. "Those are not BB guns, and I'm pretty sure that one's not legal." He gestured to the gun at the feet of the shorter brother, who shrugged.

"I'm not a big fan of nature--we don't get along well, so when I go out in it, I like to cheat."

"Try using that one on the judge," Don said, picking up the weapons, handing the legal one to Charlie as he removed the bullets from the second gun. "I'm sure he'll get a big laugh out of it right before he slaps you with a nice big jail sentence."

"Now, Agent Eppes, is that really necessary? After all, we--"

"Dean!" the tall one warned, his eyes widening.

Dean began twisting around, all humor vanishing from his face as he focused frantically on the sounds coming from the woods around them.

"What is it?" Charlie asked and Dean's eyes landed on him. He spotted a spark of interest in the green gaze right before it became all business.

"There's something in these woods, something you really don't want to run into, and I think it's coming for us."

"Right," Don scoffed, trading guns with Charlie, who'd also begun looking around them. Whatever it was the hunters had heard, they hadn't imagined it.

"Don, there's something out there."

"It's probably just a deer."

"It doesn't sound like a deer."

"Agent Eppes, you might want to give us our weapons back," Dean warned.

"That's not going to happen," Don said, though his gaze was a little uncertain as he glanced at Charlie, clearly concerned for the welfare of his brother.

"Dean, it's getting closer!"

"I can hear it, Sammy!"

"Any ideas?"

"Yeah. Run!"

"No one's going anywhere!"

"Uh... Don?"

"Charlie, stay out of this."


"RUN!" Dean shouted and the two hunters sprung forward, snatching their bags from the ground along the way. Dean grabbed hold of Charlie's wrist while Sam grabbed onto Don, pulling them into the woods and away from whatever was chasing them.

"Don't drop that gun," Dean growled as he led Charlie through the trees. "We're going to need it."

He glanced down at the weapon--he'd forgotten it was still in his hand, but now he clutched his fingers around the barrel, afraid to let go. He attempted to spot his brother through the trees, but Don and the other hunter had veered off away from them as they tried to avoid hitting branches and he couldn't see them anymore. He turned to look behind him at the thing crashing after them, but all he caught was a vague glimpse of thick brown fur and what could have been long, sharp teeth.

"Is it a bear?"

Dean snorted. "I wish. How close is it?"

Charlie looked over his shoulder, but even though he could hear it, it had managed to slip out of sight. "I don't know."

"Shit," he said and started running faster, dragging Charlie after him. Once they'd put a good distance between themselves and their pursuer, he yanked Charlie behind a large tree. The hunter pressed him up against it and covered him with his own body. "Don't move," Dean whispered into his ear. "Don't make a sound."

He nodded, trying to focus on the noise in the woods around him, but all he could hear was the beating of Dean's heart and the heavy sounds of his breath, the warm air brushing across the side of his face. He could feel the tension in Dean's body as he pressed against him, could feel the warmth surrounding him. The man was hot, and he wasn't referring to the superficial use of the word. Charlie estimated that that Dean ran a couple of degrees warmer than other people, though he consented that it could just have been a result of his exertions running from the animal. Still, his entire body felt enveloped by Dean's heat, and it wasn't exactly an unpleasant sensation.

"It's coming this way," Dean said so softly, Charlie almost missed it. Swallowing past the sudden lump in his throat, he nodded, a shiver running beneath his skin. Dean reached up and buried a hand in his curls in a gesture of reassurance and Charlie relaxed a little, resting his head against the other man's shoulder.

The crashing drew near, accompanied by a snuffling sound. It was clumsy, whatever it was, making no attempt to mask its presence. Charlie could hear the smaller trees creaking against its weight, some of them cracking, their trunks snapping in two as they fell to the ground. He desperately wanted to look, but at the same time, he was terrified of moving his head and giving them away. Instead, he breathed in the intoxicating scent of sweat and leather and motel soap that surrounded the hunter. For a few moments, he forgot they were in any danger and he was only aware of Dean's scent, and his all-encompassing heat.

And then both were gone.

Dean stepped away, eyes glancing around the now silent forest.

"Is it safe?" Charlie whispered.

"For the moment," he said and his gaze came to rest on Charlie. "You okay?"


Dean's eyes took a second to look over his body, whether to assure himself Charlie really was okay or for another purpose altogether, he didn't know, but he felt himself flush all the same. Abruptly, Dean turned and began walking into the woods, expecting Charlie to follow behind. Seeing as how he had no other options, he did.

"That's the thing about Behemoths," Dean said, leading them in a fast walk over the dirt and leaves, "they lose steam quickly, but they're stubborn sons of bitches. It's out there, waiting for us to let our guard down so we can make it easy for him."

"You don't think it's gone after the others, do you?"

"Worried about your boyfriend?" he asked, sounding a bit too casual for the weight of his gaze.

Charlie looked away from the piercing green eyes. "Don's my brother," he said, hoping he'd kept his voice steady and hadn't given anything away.

"Your brother. Right. You also a fed?"

"No, I'm a mathematician."

Dean arched an eyebrow. "Seriously? You do math for a living?"


"Damn. I didn't even know that was a career. What do you do all day? Fill notebooks with multiplication tables?"

"I'm a professor at CalSci, as well as being a consultant for NASA, the NSA, the FBI--"

"Giving you a chance to spend time with your 'brother'," the man smirked. "Nice."

"You don't understand. He really is my brother."


The hunter sounded skeptical and that made Charlie nervous. In the short time during which they'd had their confrontation, what had he and Don done to make the man suspect? He couldn't think of a thing. "Yes."

"Huh," Dean said, eyes puzzled for a moment, then he shrugged it off. "Well, you don't have to worry. He's got Sammy with him."


"Sam. My brother."

"And you're not worried?"

"No," he said, though Charlie noted the way his gaze flickered in the direction the other two had run. "Sam can take care of himself, and your brother, too. He knows what we're up against."

"What are we up against?"

"A Behemoth. Big, dumb, nasty and stubborn as all hell. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to kill, if you can get the damn thing to stand still long enough."

"A Behemoth," Charlie frowned. "I've been hiking around here for a while and I don't think I've ever heard of one before. Is it native to California?"

Dean gave him a sly look. "Not exactly. You might call it an import."

"Like someone's exotic pet that got loose?"

He chuckled. "That's one way of putting it."

"So what does that make you--a big game hunter?"

At that, Dean laughed outright. "Professor," he said, clapping him on the shoulder, "you have no idea."

It didn't take a genius to know there was something else going on here, but seeing as how he was wandering through the middle of the woods with a complete stranger who carried illegal guns, Charlie thought it might be best not to pry. All he wanted to do now was find Don and put as much distance between himself and Dean as possible--purely for safety reasons, of course. "What's next? Are you going to keep looking for this thing?"

"Not with you along. We can either find our way back to my car and wait for our brothers to show up, or we can make our way over to your car and wait for our brothers to show up."

"I don't have a car," Charlie said absently, though he knew that wasn't the issue.

"Your brother's car then. Whatever."

"You really think they're all right?"

Dean looked at him and smiled. "Yeah, I do. If we're lucky, it's still tracking us."

Charlie glared at him. "That wasn't exactly reassuring."

"Story of my life," he shrugged as he knelt down and studied the earth in front of him.

"Are you tracking it?"

"No, I just like looking at dirt. If we're going to find the Behemoth, I need to track it."

Charlie did a double take. "Wait--what? If we're going to find it? I thought we were going back to the car?"

Dean glanced up at him and grinned. "Unless you want me to leave you here, then yeah, we're going to find it. There's just as good a chance that it'll follow you instead of me, so I've decided the smart thing to do is for us to stick together."

Which was the last thing he wanted. He didn't know what it was about Dean's smile--the inherent danger in it, or its utter appeal--but looking at the man was making him increasingly nervous. "You know," Charlie said, staring up at the sky, "I think I can find my way back to the cabin from here. You go chase your Behemoth. I'll...I'll see you around."

"You're going to go alone?" Dean asked, standing up.

"Well, yeah," he said with what he hoped was a confident smile. "I'll be fine. I may not be as good at tracking as you are, but I can tell it's not going in the direction of the cabin. I don't think I have anything to worry about."

The hunter shook his head. "I can't let you go alone."

"Sure you can. Really, I'll be all right."

"Whatever you say," Dean said, shouldering his bag and standing next to Charlie. "So, which way's the cabin?"

"You don't have to do this."

"You either come with me, or I go with you. Your brother the FBI agent would kill me if I let anything happen to you, and I figure I'm in enough hot water with him as it is. Abandoning you to become a bloody corpse is not going to do much to win his favor. So, which way?"

Charlie studied the man's determined stance, the stubbornness in his eyes, and knew he wasn't going to escape from Dean that easily.

He sighed.

All right, these were his options. He could either make Dean take him back to the cabin, leaving the Behemoth to run freely through the woods and possibly go after Don, or they could find and kill this thing before it ever reached either of their brothers. There was only one answer. He would rather die than let anything happen to Don, especially if there was something he could do to prevent it.

"This thing...it could really hurt someone?"

"Would I be chasing something that big and nasty if it was harmless?"

Good point. Charlie sighed again, this time in defeat. "All right. Let's follow it."

"Atta boy, Professor!" Dean grinned, clapping him on the back. "So, you know how to use a gun?"

Charlie's lips curled in a little half-smile as he lifted his shoulder in a bashful shrug. "I've been known to hit a target or two."

"Great," the hunter said, pulling a handgun from his bag. He checked to make sure it had a full clip and handed the gun to Charlie. "If you see the Behemoth, shoot it. That'll slow it down enough for me to take care of the rest."

Charlie stared at the gun in his hand, calculating the weight of it, and the only thing running through his mind was that if Don caught him holding it, his brother would wring his neck. Looking back at Dean, who was loading his own gun, he nodded. "You can count on me."

"Good to know," Dean said, eyes crinkling with amusement as he started walking. "Come on, let's go find this thing. If we're lucky, we'll be done in time for dinner."


Thinking back to his own now-defunct dinner plans, Charlie snorted. And then looked at Dean in horror. "Wait a minute--you're not going to eat this thing, are you?"

Dean made a gagging sound. "Hell, no! Trust me, a Behemoth is not fit for eating, and if I do my job right, the only thing left of it will be fertilizer." He frowned. "Not that anyone would use it for fertilizer, unless they want their crops to turn on them."


"Nothing. So tell me, Professor, what's your name?"

"My name?"

"We didn't have time for formal introductions, and unless you want me to call you 'Professor' for the rest of our time together..."

"It's Charles. Charlie."

"Charlie," Dean nodded, looking at him. "It suits you."

"Thanks. I think."

"You're welcome," he smiled. "Professor Charlie Eppes, mathematician. Tough gig. You must have been a real babe magnet at school."

"Hardly," he chuckled. "They were all much older than I am."

"Oh yeah? How's that work?"

"I skipped a few grades."

"Really? Smart guy, huh?"

"You could say that," Charlie said, hiding his smile. He didn't want to intimidate Dean with his intellect, though he wasn't sure if there was anything he could say or do that would intimidate the man. He seemed so self-assured, so certain in everything he said and did. He had the same easy manner Don always had whenever they were spending time together away from work. If Dean had been one for obeying the rules, Charlie bet the man would have made a pretty decent agent.

"Me," Dean said as he ducked under a branch, "I was lucky to make it through high school. Not because I'm stupid," he said, quick to patch up any holes in his image he might have caused. "We just moved around a lot and school was never a priority. At least, not for me. Sammy, on the other hand, he'd have been thrilled if he had nothing better to do than climb on the jungle gym with his friends and enter spelling bees."

"Spelling's never been my forte. Just numbers."

"And this is mine," Dean said as he crouched down to study something hanging from the rough bark of a tree. He lifted up a few strands of fur between his fingers and held them to his nose. He sniffed, then quickly drew his hand away, his face scrunching in disgust.


Dean handed him the fur and Charlie took a quick sniff, then coughed, dropping the hairs to the ground.

"What is that? Sulfur?"

"Yep," Dean nodded, standing up.

"What kind of animal smells like sulfur?"

"Not one created by nature," Dean said as he stood up, brushing his hand against his jeans. His eyes searched the forest, his entire body on alert, exactly the way Don's was when he was nearing in on a suspect. Watching him, Charlie tried to ignore the thrill that ran through his blood. Don in agent mode had never failed to turn him on, and seeing the edgier, rougher version of that in Dean was having the same effect.

And the jeans were definitely not helping.

It was amazing how the possibility of a gruesome death was made more bearable when accompanied by a nice ass in a pair of jeans. Still, it wasn't enough to distract him from yet another of Dean's odd statements.

"One not created by nature? What are you talking about?"

"Long story," Dean said. "Highly uninteresting. No numbers involved at all. I'd tell you, but I wouldn't want to put you to sleep."

"Why don't I believe a word you just said? Beyond 'long story', that is."

"Because I was lying. Trust me, Charlie," he said, turning around enough to meet his eyes, "this is a story you're better off not knowing. Working with your brother, I'm guessing you see the bad side of people every day. That's enough for one person to handle. You don't need to know what else is out there."

"More than just the Behemoth?"

"A lot more."

Charlie gazed into his face and what he saw there sent a chill down his spine. "Okay."

"You're a smart man, Professor," Dean smiled, shoulders relaxing with relief.

"Yes, I know."

"Modest, too," he chuckled. "So what do you do for fun?" Dean asked as he returned to his search.

"My job."

"There's that babe magnet status again."

He blushed. "I can't help it. My work takes up most of my time, not that I'm complaining. I love it."

"And when you do get a moment to yourself?"

"I do this--sports, I mean. I hike, I play basketball, snowboard, and I've recently taken up golf."

Dean snorted. "Golf's not a sport."

He chuckled. "I'm not all that fond of it myself, but my dad's teaching me and it's a chance to spend time with him, so I suffer through it."

"Oh yeah? Well, in that case, I guess it's not too bad."

Charlie was not oblivious to the wistful note in Dean's voice. "Do you get to see your dad often?"

"Not so much anymore. We've grown apart over the past year, not that we were ever really close. My family's not what you would consider..."

"Normal?" Charlie supplied, then shrugged. "Whose is?"

"Yeah, but my family--we go beyond the usual normal of abnormal. My mom died when I was young, and it destroyed us. My dad never recovered, and my brother took off the first chance he got to get away from him."

"Sounds a lot like my family, only my brother took off first, then my mom died, and my dad... well, he's actually doing better than the rest of us. Don and I... I was kind of the reason he left, so it's only recently that we've actually gotten a chance to be brothers. Is that how it was with you and Sam?"

"Something like that, except we've always been pretty close. It's only now he's stopped resenting it."

"Your closeness?"

"That. Our family. Me." Dean stopped and turned around to look at Charlie. "I lost the trail. We need to double back, try to pick it up again."

"I'm sorry," he said, feeling distinctly uncomfortable when Dean stepped towards him with a predatory look in his eye. "I shouldn't have been distracting you."

"No need to apologize. I was the one asking questions, Professor," he said, brushing against Charlie as he passed even though there was more than enough space for the two of them. "I should have been paying more attention."

Charlie couldn't help feeling a little relief after Dean had moved on down the trail. He had been so certain that he might--that he would...but it wasn't important. It hadn't happened and there was no point dwelling on it.


He shook himself out of his stupor. "Yeah," he said, and hurried to catch up.

"So what do you think our brothers are talking about?" Dean asked, his eyes glued to the ground.

"Just like we're talking about them, I'm sure they're talking about us."

"Yeah," Dean smiled, "that's what I was thinking."

"It's the only common factor between us."

"I don't know about that. We've just pointed out several things we have in common."

"True, but Don's not exactly known for his interpersonal communication skills."

"Neither am I, yet here I am, blabbing to you. Plus, you don't know Sammy. He's got that instinctively trustworthy air about him--people just naturally start telling him their life stories without him even having to ask. I'll bet your brother's talking up a storm right this very minute."

Charlie chuckled, shaking his head. "You don't know Donny. He won't give in that easily. He's trained not to."

"Want to bet on that?" Dean asked, taking his eyes off the trail long enough to wriggle his eyebrows at Charlie, who shook his head.

"I just met you. It would be rude to take your money so quickly."

"You'd just end up eating your words, Professor. I'll put my baby brother's puppy dog eyes up against your brother's government training any day."

"It'll take more than a pair of puppy dog eyes to win over my brother."

"Really? So he never gives in to yours?"

Charlie blinked. "Mine?"

"Yes, yours. You're telling me your brother's immune to your puppy dog eyes?"

"I don't have puppy dog eyes, and even if I did, my relationship with Don is not based upon that sort of adolescent manipulation. We're adults, and we treat each other as such."

Dean didn't answer beyond keeling over with laughter, and Charlie glared at him.

"I'm being serious."

"I know," Dean said between guffaws as he turned around. "That's what makes it so funny." Still chuckling, Dean lifted Charlie's chin with his free hand. "Charlie, you have two of the biggest puppy dog eyes I have ever seen, and when you look at him with those eyes surrounded by those dark curls, I'm willing to bet your brother can't resist you. Hell, I barely can, and I've just met you."

Charlie gulped as he looked up into Dean's face and saw the barely checked desire there, a desire echoed within himself. In that moment, if Dean made a move, he knew he wouldn't even put up a fight.

"Dean, I..." But then he caught something shifting out of the corner of his eye and his blood turned to ice. "Dean, it's behind you!"

The hunter whirled around, firing his gun the second he spotted the Behemoth. The bullets grazed the monster's side and it sent up an enraged howl into the forest as it charged them.

"Charlie, fire!" Dean shouted as he reloaded his gun, running at the monster, then screamed as it clawed him across his stomach and sent him flying into a tree.

Feeling as if he was watching the whole scene from a distance, Charlie raised his arm and pulled the trigger, firing off one shot after another into the head of the beast until his gun was empty. Blood sprayed up from where the bullets hit the creature, smoke rising from its wounds, but didn't seem to slow it down.

The Behemoth was unlike anything Charlie had ever seen.

It had an oval-shaped head with two holes on either side for ears and its nose lay flat against its face with two flaring nostrils above its upper lip. Its mouth looked like a bear trap from the way it opened flat to reveal spiny sharp teeth, and then snapped shut with a force he knew would sever anything caught in-between. It had a long neck that was attached to a large, round body, its skin covered in the thick brown fur they'd found earlier. Its legs were thick as tree trunks and its feet ended in razor-sharp claws that shredded the earth beneath it as it ran.

It was the eyes, though, that frightened Charlie the most. The monster's eyes, as brown as its fur, were not the eyes of an animal. They looked human.

"Charlie, down!" Dean shouted from where he was struggling to his feet.

He dropped to the ground, a little too late. One of the Behemoth's paws swiped at his arm as it rushed past, sending the gun flying into the brush. He cried out a the sudden pain, a burning sensation flying up his arm, but quickly pushed it aside and scrambled towards the area where the gun had landed.

"Charlie!" Dean shouted, falling to the earth next to him as the Behemoth circled for another run--fortunately, something that large had a hard time slowing down and turning back around. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine!" he said, his hand grasping the cold handle of the gun. "But I'm out of bullets."

Dean was already digging through his backpack and handed Charlie a couple of clips. "Keep it distracted," he said, pulling out a book and a wicked-looking knife with a blade as long as Charlie's forearm. "I've got to get close enough to shove this into its chest."


Shrugging, Dean flashed him a grin. "Pure dumb luck would be my guess. Now get ready, because here it comes!"

They both jumped to their feet, Dean moving off to the side and leaving Charlie to face the creature on his own.

This time, he was fully aware of his surroundings as he met the Behemoth's eyes and was again struck by how human they appeared. If it wasn't for the raging bloodlust and unbridled cruelty he saw in them, he might have mistaken the Behemoth for an elaborate costume. The human appearance of its eyes made it difficult for him to raise the gun--the lack of humanity in them made it easy for him to pull the trigger.

He aimed for the right knee of its front legs and managed to blow it out. The Behemoth stumbled towards the ground, howling its fury as it snapped at him with its teeth. Charlie fired again, aiming for its gaping mouth until it was a mangled bloody mess, but still the creature refused to relent. By now, the air was filled with smoke and reeked of sulfur, both coming from the beast's wounds. Charlie knew this was significant, somehow, but his brain was only taking in information, not processing it. Processing would cause a breakdown, one he couldn't afford until all this was over, and possibly not even then. Emptying the first clip, he reloaded and continued firing.

The sound of chanting reached his ears between cracks from the gun and the screaming of the Behemoth. He glanced over to see Dean approaching the creature, the book lying open in one hand, the knife in the other. Charlie processed the sight, then turned back to watch with detached interest the effect the words had on the beast.

Its skin began to writhe across its body, moving as if pushed by invisible waves. It reached with its long neck to snap at Dean, who jumped out of the way without once stopping his chanting. It tried to lift itself up, but its weight was too great for the injured leg and the ground shook as it fell. Growling, it again reached for Dean but the hunter dove beneath its grasping jaws to drive the knife deep into the monster's chest.

The Behemoth released a scream that had Charlie dropping the gun so he could cover his ears. He stared as the monster's skin started to bubble and smoke, its teeth still trying to get a piece of Dean in spite of its obvious agony, but the hunter was running away from the beast and towards Charlie. Dean grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into the forest, casting fearful glances behind them.

"Shit!" he shouted and pushed Charlie to the ground, dragging him under a bush and again protecting him with his own body. "Stay down!"

He didn't have much of a choice. He was about to ask why when an explosion shook the ground and made his ears ring. Pieces of the monster, heavy and wet with blood, showered down on the forest around them. The thick leaves of the bush fortunately protected them from the carnage, but the stench still reached them and Charlie quickly buried his face against Dean's chest to keep from gagging.

After a few minutes, when his hearing had returned and the forest settled down around them, he became aware of the slow, harsh breaths coming from Dean's chest and the too-still weight holding him down.

"Dean?" There was no change in breathing or movement. "Dean, are you okay?"

Using all his strength, he rolled the hunter off of him. The green eyes were closed and Charlie felt something warm against his stomach--the front of his shirt was soaked in blood. Opening up Dean's jacket, he saw that the tee-shirt he was wearing was torn and bloodied. He quickly lifted it up to reveal Dean's stomach covered in shallow cuts from the Behemoth's claws, and while the wounds were messy, they didn't appear to be that deep. It was the red surrounding them, reaching out across his skin, that worried Charlie the most. The reddened skin was hot to the touch and Dean was covered with a sheen of sweat--the creature's claws must have been poisoned.

Thinking of his own injury, Charlie pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and saw that the area around the cuts on his arm was red and swelling with vines of red reaching up towards his elbow. The shock of the afternoon began to wear off and Charlie felt the first tendrils of fear and panic take hold. He didn't know how to handle something like this. They needed a hospital--but would a hospital even know what to do with them?

"Fuck," he whispered, wishing Don were there.

"Maybe later," Dean murmured, his eyes fluttering open.

"Dean!" Charlie had never thought he'd be so happy to see those green eyes in his life. "Dean, you've got to tell me what to do. Our wounds are infected with whatever was on that thing's claws. Is there a cure?"

Dean opened his mouth and ran his tongue across dry lips. "My bag. The canteen in my bag."

His bag. Charlie looked around--he didn't see a bag. "Where is it?"

"Out there," Dean said, coughing slightly. "Covered in Behemoth guts."

"Fuck," he said again as he crawled out from under the bush. "Don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."

"Where would I go?" Dean smiled, and Charlie shrugged.


Dean laughed so hard he nearly choked on the coughing fit that followed.

"Damnit, Dean!" Charlie snapped, rubbing his chest. "Breathe!"

Slowly, the coughing fit faded and Dean took several quick shallow breaths. "Heaven," he gasped. "That's a good one."

"If anyone will make it, you will," Charlie said. He leaned forward and pressed his lips against Dean's. "I'll be right back."

Dean looked up at him with wide eyes and smiled. "Now that might be worth hanging around for."

Charlie chuckled and kissed him again, then went in search of the backpack. He tiptoed through piles of red flesh, holding his arm to his nose to try and block out the smell. Even as he searched through the mess, the Behemoth's remains began to dissolve into the ground, though he had a feeling the stench would linger. Long after he left the woods, the stench would linger.

He reached the main mass of the Behemoth's carcass and began searching for the bag, thinking Dean must have dropped it when he went after the creature with his knife and book.

A book. Charlie still didn't know what to think about that, but as his head spun with a dizzy spell, he knew he didn't have the time. He needed to find Dean's backpack before it was too late for either of them. Finally, he spotted it and grabbed onto a strap, carrying it with him as he ran back to Dean.

"I've got it!" he said, falling to his knees and digging through the bag. He pulled out the canteen and held it in front of Dean's graying face. "What now?"

The hunter breathed in a shuddering breath. "First, pour some over your arm."

Charlie unscrewed the top and sniffed at the contents. He didn't smell anything. "What is it?"

"Holy water."

"It's what?"

"Just do it."

Shaking his head, Charlie carefully poured the water over the scratches on his arm. He gasped as his skin began to burn and he quickly set the canteen on the ground before he dropped it. He watched in fear as the wounds began to fizz and bubble, wondering if Dean had done something to make things worse, but then he realized the redness was retreating.

"Again," Dean whispered, and again Charlie covered the wounds with the water. This time, his arm was washed clean, the scratches vanishing as if they'd never even existed.

"Dean, what...?" He looked over at the hunter and saw that the green eyes were staring blankly up at the branches above him, his chest having ceased to move. "Dean!" Charlie took the shredded pieces of Dean's shirt and ripped it open. He grabbed the canteen and poured the water over his stomach, making sure to cover every inch of every scratch.

There was no reaction.

"Come on, Dean!" he shouted as he began to perform CPR, using his palms to press down on the unmoving chest. "Fight, damn you! You're too strong for this!"

Keeping an eye on the wounds, Charlie alternately pressed on Dean's chest and breathed into his mouth, shouting encouragement along the way. He wasn't going to give up. Dean had fought for him, and he was going to keep fighting until the man came back to life. He poured another dose of holy water onto the wounds and nearly cried when this time they began to fizzle.

"That's it, Dean. You can do it. Breathe! Open your eyes! Look at me!"

He doused the wounds again and was relieved when he saw the red had faded significantly and the scratches were beginning to close. He poured the rest of the water onto Dean's stomach and this time the skin washed clean, but Dean's breathing was still shallow and his eyes had yet to open.

"Dean," Charlie said softly, patting his cheeks. "Dean, look at me. Just open your eyes and look at me."

Slowly, the green eyes opened and Dean smiled. "Hey."

Charlie sighed with relief, too happy for words. He just leaned over and kissed the hunter breathless--not a difficult thing to do, considering Dean's strength hadn't returned yet.

"I knew that was worth hanging around for," he said when Charlie finally released him.

"Are you always this arrogant?" Charlie grinned, keeping a hand over Dean's heart.

"Just about," he smirked and took a deep breath, and then another one, just for the thrill of being able to do it. "Ah, the wonders of holy water."

"That really was holy water?"

"Borrowed from the finest church in Las Vegas."

Charlie arched an eyebrow. "'Borrowed'?"

"I'd say 'stolen'," he grinned, "but all things considered, 'borrowed' sounds better."

"Yeah, I guess it does. Dean, what just happened here?"

"Remember that stuff I told you you don't want to know about?" Dean asked, covering Charlie's hand with one of his own. "File it all under there, and then forget about it. Trust me, Charlie, you'll be better off."

Charlie looked at the man, thought about everything he'd just seen and done, thought about his life before this afternoon, and decided that maybe Dean was right. Maybe it would be best to just pretend none of it had ever happened.

Except for one thing.

"The stuff I'm supposed to forget--does that include you?" he asked, turning his hand over and wrapping his fingers around the hunter's.

"I know that under normal circumstances I'd be unforgettable, but in this case, yeah," he said with a regretful sigh, "it does include me."

"Even though you saved my life, and possibly that of my brother."

"Doesn't matter. I'd have done the same for anyone. Just forget about all of this."

"And while that's a nice thought, I guess now would be a good time to tell you I don't forget anything."

Dean slowly looked up at Charlie, hope lighting up his eyes. "Nothing at all?"

Charlie grinned. "Not a damn thing."

"And you're certain about this?"


"Well, then," Dean said, mirroring his grin, "maybe we should do something to make this moment as memorable as possible."

"It isn't memorable enough already?" Charlie asked, sliding his hand over the smooth, undamaged skin of Dean's stomach, whose breath caught in his throat. Pushing aside the twinge of nervousness, Charlie slid his hand under Dean's shirt and back up over his chest until his palm was again resting over his heart. "And you should probably rest," he said, rubbing a pebbled nipple beneath his fingertip.

"I can rest when I'm dead," he said, quickly reaching up to grab Charlie by the shirt and pulling him down on top of him.

Grinning beneath the onslaught on his mouth, Charlie willingly allowed himself to be rolled over onto his back. Dean's body covered him as it had so often already that day, but for once, their safety was the furthest thing from his mind. Charlie just wanted to feel Dean's skin against his, to have the calloused hand that had pulled him out of danger wrapped around his cock, to look into those green eyes as he came.

"Christ, you're beautiful," Dean said, lifting the shirt over Charlie's head and kissing a path down his chest.

"Yes, I know, I look like an angel," he said, pulling off the remains of Dean's ruined shirt. He'd heard his brother call him that often enough, he knew to expect it.

"No, not an angel," Dean said, snapping open Charlie's jeans and lowering his head towards the emerging erection, "not with those eyes, not with the way you're looking at me right now. No angel could make me burn the way you do."

Charlie looked down into his fiery green gaze, felt the heat with which his body responded to Dean's touch, and decided to break the one promise in his life he'd always intended to keep.

"Dean," he began tentatively, and the hunter looked up at him and smiled.

"Don't worry, Professor," Dean said just before he slid Charlie into his mouth, "you're going to have me, and I'll make sure you never forget."

An hour and a half later, the two met up with their brothers, and after a lengthy discussion involving much yelling and anxiety over the bloodied clothes, and the sharing of a story too bizarre to be believed, Don decided he was happy enough to have Charlie back and in on piece that he let the Winchesters go without a fight. Well, without much of a fight. It took a little convincing on Charlie's part, but in the end, the four separated on fairly peaceful terms.

"You're sure you're okay?" Don asked, his hand on the small of Charlie's back as they began walking away.

"I'm fine, Don. I'm a fairly capable person, you know."

"Charlie, I know that. I wasn't trying to imply that you aren't. It's just...damnit!" he swore, taking his brother in his arms and holding him close. "I was so worried about you. I don't think I'm going to stop worrying until we're back home."

"I know," he smiled, hugging his brother back. "It's all right. I was worried about you, too."

Even as he felt Don's lips touch his forehead, Charlie glanced over his brother's shoulder at the Winchesters. He looked just in time to see Sam slam Dean against the nearest tree and capture him in a desperate kiss, pressing himself hard against his brother's body.

Oh. So that's how he'd known.

Dean returned Sam's kiss, his strong arms clasping his brother to him, but his eyes opened and he caught Charlie's gaze. Waving at him with one hand, Dean winked. Charlie waved back and then Dean's eyes closed and he devoted his full attention to Sam.

Chuckling, Charlie disentangled himself from Don's hug and, with an arm around his brother's waist, led him into the woods. "I don't know about you," he said, sliding a hand into the back pocket of his brother's jeans, "but I'm starving."

"After spending an entire afternoon running around the forest worrying about you, I can definitely say I could use a bite to eat myself."

"Good. So what do you say we start with dessert?"

Don looked down at him and catching the suggestion in his eyes, the last of his worry faded and he chuckled. Placing an arm around Charlie's shoulders, Don pulled his brother to him in a quick hug.

"Dessert sounds good."

"I was hoping you'd say that," Charlie grinned, and with one last look over his shoulder, he reached up and gave his brother a kiss. "Come on, Donny, let's go home, and we can forget this day ever happened."