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Between Earth and Sky
by templemarker

Notes: [livejournal.com profile] lyra_wing wrote this incredible crossover between American Gods and Supernatural, called Dust in the Wind. This story is a companion to that one. It would help to read her story first, but I think you could read either one independently or before the other. [livejournal.com profile] minim_calibre is the Dean to my Sam. Or the Sam to my Dean. Whichever one she's feeling this week. Minus the thoughts of incest. Also known as the second Supernatural story I ever wrote.

This is the story they tell about the Winchesters.

Orphan boys, the pair of them; brought up in the shadow of their mother's death and the anguish of their father's sacrifice. Twice-blessed and thrice-cursed, they roamed the road until the demon they were hunting found them.

Six feet, no, seven feet--eight feet tall they were, shotguns and salt, Latin spilling from their lips as if they were born to speak it. Dean drew chalk-lines and Sam read binding spells, and in their wake they banished not one, but five demons, demons with a plan still spoken of in half-hushed fear.

They emerged from that battle baptized in blood, old scars re-opened and the sounds of hell ringing still in their ears. It's said that Dean dragged Sam back from the edge, sacrificing a part of his own soul to keep his brother from following the demon into hell; and in return, Sam gave to his brother a piece of himself, so that they were forever bound, even closer than before.

This is what new hunters will tell you if you buy them a beer; they'll sketch out the story for you in fantastical tales and astonishing numbers, believing without doubt that the Winchester brothers were real, because this guy he knew had a cousin who saw them coming through Montana one time.

Old hunters tell it a little differently.

They say, remember John Winchester, a right bastard sometimes and fierce hunter always. John Winchester, who taught his boys how to survive in a dangerous world, how to have compassion for innocents and to see the things hidden in the shadows. John Winchester, they'll say, lifting their beers and moving their creaky bones, John was a hunter and he taught his sons well.

His sons were tested again and again, each time more challenging than the last, until they day they were capable and worthy of destroying the very thing that helped make them what they were. It was meant to be, the old hunters say, written somewhere in the stars or the cards or ancient dust-covered books humanity has lost the knowledge to read. Two boys, brought up in the shadow-light to conquer a darkness greater than themselves.

That they survived was the miraculous part.

It was the part that had their name spoken at the crossroads, a whispered "Winchester" given at the start of the hunt. They survived, and the Winchester name lived on long after the hunters of their father's time had died and no one remembered why once Sam Winchester had been feared. Instead, they remembered only that it was his words hurled into the void of the demon's making that kept the world from being dragged into something that could only tear it apart.

It only fed the stories, the legend, the myth, that every now and again two fierce young men with old eyes and well-worn hearts would show up at the moment they were most needed, answering a desperate call to the Winchesters, gods of the hunt and of the road, to help the suffering out of the mess they had made. Shotguns blazing, holy water flying, words and relics and runes and whatever was necessary, the Winchesters gave. They gave it freely of themselves and asked nothing in return, and so again and again their name was whispered at the crossroads, in the bars and taverns and hide-outs, until they were no longer John's boys (they had ceased to be only that long before the slow turn of history caught up with them) but instead were the Winchester brothers, who could vanquish any evil and battle any fierce, destructive thing.

And there was more.

It was said Dean Winchester's voice could charm the pants off anything that breathed, that if you were lucky enough to be in Dean Winchester's bed for the night you would be blessed with pleasure all your days. If you crossed Sam Winchester's path and he gave you a smile, you were like to find that which you sought, whether you knew you were looking for it or not; and if he frowned, all manner of tricksy things might happen to you until you repented of whatever ill you did.

It was said that Sam Winchester could read a man's soul, and Dean Winchester could put a man's soul to rest.

It was their name that hunters spoke when they were in too deep; and it was the Winchester brothers who came even without being called; and it was the Winchester brothers who would sweep into town with sly smiles and roaring car engines and the sweet smell of rain oncoming behind them.

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