-1Summary: A routine hunt goes terribly wrong and a young life is lost. Sam Winchester can still see the blood of a child embedded into his hands the tragic and unfortunate accident pushing him closer and closer to the edge. Finally he finds himself rewarded with blissful ignorance in a place far from reality, a familiar voice calls to him until it is impossible to ignore and he is drawn into a second chance at the life he always thought was going to be his. Happiness and Joy, comfort and consistency… And the love of the one woman he thought he had lost forever are once again his… Or are they?

Dean Winchester watches helplessly as his brothers grip on reality slips further and further… Can he save the one person he has promised to watch over and protect? Or will he lose the only thing in his life that he has left?

Fighting against time, fighting against reality, fighting against themselves two brothers are in for a fight unlike any they have ever fought before.

Don't know. Don't own. Don't Sue.

And A Child To Lead Him

Chapter One: One Wrong Move

February 12th 2008:

Sam Winchester sat sluggishly in the passenger's seat of his brothers 1967 Chevy impala, rubbing feverishly at his temples and trying to will the throbbing pain behind his eyes away. He knew however that this was a vain gesture, this wasn't just some everyday headache, or a migraine even… This was the aftermath of another stomach knotting future forecasting vision, and the only way the pain was going to subside was to wait it out like the aftershocks of a horrid earthquake.

They were headed in the direction of Allenhurst, New Jersey, a city so small, Sam doubted you could even find it on a map with a magnifying glass. He hated these small towns, he always felt like he was stepping into some Stephen King novel, a classic page turner where the outcome was destined to be disastrous.

"Tell me again what you saw." His brother's voice drew him out of his own thoughts and back into the real world.

Glancing over he offered the older man a small sign before speaking dropping his hands from his temples in an attempt to seem more composed, "Ummm… A young girl, couldn't have been more than ten, dark hair, running… Being chased through the town… The streets are bare as though everyone has just disappeared, it's only her, her and this thing-"

"The Custodis - Liberi?" Dean asked with a raised brow.

"Cust-odis Li-ber-I" Sam couldn't help but correct him clearing his throat.

"Yeah that… What's the translation again?"

"Keeper of Children."

"Creepy… "

"Yeah." The younger of the two swallowed hard and shook his head a little, "according to research this thing is fairly new, it's only been around about 400 years or so… It harvests the children and then feeds off their blood for weeks… sometimes months even before finally killing them. The blood of a child provides it with strength, energy, and allows it to keep feeding… Hunting…"

"Now there's a bed time story for you. And the only way to kill it is your standard silver bullet?"

"Yep, since the demon is a descendant of the classic shape shifter."

"Fabulous… Anyway continue."

"Well, there's not much else to tell… He catches up to her in front of a bike shop, Allenhurst Bike Shop… She screams… And…." Sam visibly shook at the memory closing his eyes again. He hated being directly connected to the grim fate of the unknowing human race… he hated seeing these things and knowing that they were in fact going to happen, and he hated all of it even worse when it was an innocent child wrapped in the thick of it….

Dean frowned a little and gripped tighter to the steering wheel making the silent decision not to push for the story to continue but still he needed a few details… Markers to look for.. "Was there anything around, you said the town was pretty much baron, but were there any signs? Anything?"

"Not pretty much baron Dean, it was completely and totally empty… We're talking The Town That Dreaded Sundown here… But ummm there were a few things, There's a neon open sign and an uhhhh Elvis in the window…"

"Elvis as in the king of rock n' roll?"

"The one and only…."

"Well it's good to know these people aren't completely cut off from modern society."

"Yeah… How many more miles?"

"Only about 115, just sit tight and we'll be there in no time alright?" Dean couldn't help but cast another weary gaze in his little brother's direction, he could tell how disturbed, how worried Sam was… It was a state that even for compassionate and big hearted Sam Winchester, was slightly unexpected and set an uneasy feeling inside Dean's stomach…

With Dean behind the wheel it took only another hour and fifteen minutes before they were swinging into the parking lot of a not so surprisingly empty small hotel near the center of the tiny Mayberry-esque town where their new hunt had lead them. There was only one other car in the parking lot, a small grey Sedan which both brother guessed to be that of the night clerk as they made their way inside.

"Cooshy." Sam mumbled under his breath looking around there was a small desk near the back of the room behind the counter which the two men now stood in front of, nothing on the horribly painted pastel yellow walls a side from a single black and white photo of some not so fortunate looking family that hung on the wall by the door in a decrepit wooden frame.

Therefore it was again not surprising when the wooden floorboards creaked beneath his feet as Sam bounced on his heels. Definitely horror movie material this place was.

"You we're expecting the Hilton?" Dean quipped leaning over and pushing down on the small silver bell. "Hey maybe we'll get lucky and Lurch will be our bell hop." He joked as the small door that obviously led into some sort of back office opened and an older… Much older gentleman with white hair approached the front desk.

"Oh, I'm sorry… I didn't hear you come in…"

"Well there is a surprise." it was Dean's turn to mumble now his face looking in Sam's direction mouth hardly moving, his retort earning him a swift and hard sock from his brother before Sam stepped forward a little closer smiling kindly at the man.

"That's quite alright sir…"

"Oh please call me Alfred. Sir was my grandfather."

Dean snorted at that with a snicker putting his hand over his mouth to keep another remark from flying freely into the air… as they often did.

Sam glared his jaw twitching, nostrils flaring and then releasing as he shook his head retrieving his wallet from his back pocket, "Alright then, Alfred. I'm Sam and this is my brother Dean… We need a room."

"How long will you two be staying for?"

"We're not quite sure yet. Maybe a week or so…. Just needed to get away from the busy city life for a while and decided that the smaller the town the more relaxation we would find you know?"

"Well, you picked a hell of a place then boy, I'm sure that you took notice, but you two are the only customers… have been all month, we don't get many passers through town these days… Never have, not to sure why my granddaddy even opened a hotel around here… Not much need for it… But still family business and all that."

Sam nodded kindly making sure to keep the smile pressed on his lips as he reminded himself why he rarely found himself indulging in conversations with the elderly… Because they had so many stories to tell… And they wanted to tell them all to every stranger they met on the street, in the supermarket, or at their family owned hotel front desk.

"Two singles I take it?"

"Yessir… I mean Alfred. That'll do us just fine."

The older man held out two keys to room 6 and Dean found himself wondering if 6 was the last room they had in a hotel like this one… Hell in a hotel like this one he doubted they needed more than one room… But again he kept his comments to himself as he retrieved one of the keys smiling graciously imitating his brothers forced grin. "Thanks."

Sam socked his brother again the minute they were out of eyeshot from the front office the glare returning to his eyes as he did so with a huff.

"Ow, what the hell was that for…."

"Why do you gotta be so damn rude to every person we meet… It's not going to kill you to be nice once in a while"

"I wasn't being rude!"

"Yeah whatever… just try not to be so nasty while were here okay, this is a small town and I don't want these people ganging up on us and burning us at the stake because of your smart mouth."

"They stopped burning people at the stake a long time ago Sammy, no need to worry, these days, they just take you out back put a bullet in you and bury the body."

"That's comforting." Sam whispered unlocking the door, "Thanks."

"Just glad I could help." The other man made his way into the room and flopped down on the bed closest to the door dropping his bag at his feet and sighing, "I saw the bike shop on the way in, Elvis and all it's about two miles down the road, we'll settle in here then scope it out and see what we see, ask around in the morning about this kid you saw see if we can get a name, an address or something."

"see if there have been any others disappearing …"

"You know what I don't get though? Why here, why some small shit-splat middle of nowhere town like this one? I mean there can't be all that much fresh meat for him to chow down…"

"I don't know." Sam offered up a few seconds later after mulling it over, "easier access I guess…"

February 13th 2008:

"Daisy Pierson." Sam let the little girls name escape from his lips for the tenth time since they had heard it earlier that day, as the two Winchester brothers now sat parked out in front of the small bike shop on the corner of main street, the infamous Elvis Priestley cut out owned by most middle aged American woman peering out at them from the shops window. Giving the eldest of the two men a small case of the creeps.

Tearing his eyes away from it and back to the man in the passengers seat he rolled his neck slowly with a sign before rubbing the bridge of his nose. "And she's the first one? You didn't dig up any other suspicious disappearances in the area…"

"Nope. No mysterious deaths, no missing children nothing, the biggest upset around here in the last 20 years was the death of the town matriarch last summer, Mrs. Annabell Warren who died at the age of 102 from natural causes…"

"Well that's odd… Maybe your visions have finally begun to get a head start on things and we can stop this fugly bastard before he claims anyone at all…"

"That'd be a first."

"Yeah a welcomed one… You get anything out of good old Al back at the hotel?"

"Anything useful." The younger man shook his head, "He had a hundred stories to tell, but none of them had anything of interest to the child or Custodis - Liberi…"

Dean laughed, "Sorry man, it's the dirtiest part of the job, but someone has to do it…"

"Yeah well, Next time you're on history detail."

Dean rolled his eyes and resumed watch out of the windshield of his car, something about all of this… this whole scenario…. This hunt… seemed off, like there were pieces missing, still Sam's visions were not to be taken lightly so he said nothing. He buried his suspicions and kept them to himself, figuring giving Sam more to worry and fuss over would only complicate the situation further.

The clock on the dashboard turned from 11:52 to 11:53 as Dean cradled his .45 to his chest, the small piece already loaded with six silver bullets and ready for firing as he let out a bored and tired yawn glancing toward his brother, "Sammy, maybe the thing isn't coming tonight… Maybe the wires got crossed in transmission somewhere and-"

The older man's words were silenced as Sam's hazel colored orbs widened and his finger came up pointing out into the quiet, empty, blackened street before him. "Dean… DEAN!"

Both men were out of the car in a matter of seconds with their guns drawn as a young girl in a white nightgown headed their way, screams irrupting from her lips, her features etched in fear. She was the same child Sam had seen in his vision, the Same child they had been keeping their eyes on all day, watching from a far as she left for school in the morning, played with her friends at recess, and returned home at approximately 3:15 pm to the small mint green house around the corner from the before mentioned bike shop.

"You're alright now…" Sam whispered comfortingly as he met her half way, the small child panting and gasping for breath as he swooped her protectively into his arms… "You're alright now, I've got you…"

"He's coming, he's going to get me…. Please help me…" Her fear filled and broken sob was quieted as Sam pressed her trembling face into the shoulder of his jacket shushing her.

"You're safe now…"

Dean who had been watching the scene before him only for a second turned back to face front as he heard a new set of footsteps approaching.

It was by far one of the ugliest things he had ever seen… And Dean had seen a lot of ugly things in his days of hunting…

Eyes the glowed a deep and disturbing red against the night sky, pale, wrinkled skin clocked by a black robe and hood… A long thin nose that came to a sharp point at it's end…

"Dude.. Disgusting…" He quipped quietly more to himself as he aimed the gun and fired off double rounds.

But this thing was fast, to fast and moved before the bullets could hit, causing a woosh of electricity to crackle in the air.

"SAM?!?! Where the hell did it-" Dean felt a strong grip against his throat and without meaning to dropped the gun to the ground, his fingers coming up to defend himself weakly against the tight grip. "Sam-…."

Eyes wider now Sam blinked and set the child down, "Katie listen to me alright? You stay right here… "

Frozen with fear, the girl nodded her innocent eyes welling and spilling over once more with tears.

Managing to use his foot to kick the gun Dean felt only slightly at ease when Sam retrieved the piece and was aiming it at the Demons back side closing his eyes to keep the smoke from them, and firing away…

What happened next, the events that followed were unclear even to those involved, three shots were fired, and with the third came a shrill and piercing cry, Not the welcomed shrill of a dying demon…. Not a joyous sound….

A painful one…. A heart wrenching one, the cry of a child.

Sam's eyes flew open just in time to see the young girl he had come to protect plummeting toward the ground blood flowing freely from her chest as the lightly slowly went out in her eyes, the color draining from her cheeks…

And the demon, the thing he had been firing at was gone, no sulfur, no ashes, no bones, not even a single stream of smoke… Nothing.

"Oh… oh god…." Sam whispered still holding the .45 out in front of himself his body being over whelmed by a tremble he couldn't hold back, swallowing down thick bile that had found it's way into his wind pie, as he watched Dean drop to his knees next to the motionless child.

The next seconds passed like hours, like an eternity before Dean's eyes came up to meet his again, a sadness, a sympathy placed inside them that Sam hadn't remember ever seeing before as he shook his head slowly…. "She's dead."

His knees refusing to hold him up anymore the younger man quickly found himself crashing into something hard, his world tail spinning his mind racing….

He had come here to save her, come here to protect her… And his hand had killed her.

So there you have it the beginning to chapter to what I'm sure is going to be a very long and hopefully interesting tale of Sam Winchester! As always you know how I feel about reviews and criticism the more you feed me the faster I'll produce another chapter for you!!!

Custodis - Liberi: Latin translation meaning Keeper of Children

Cooshy: Slang meaning posh, elegant and fashionable, classy: Used by Sam in the S2 episode Crossroad Blues

Allenhurst, NJ: Small town in New Jersey, very small town actually population (as of year 2000) 718, and yes the bike shop is a real place there!!!

The Town That Dreaded Sundown: 1976 horror film starring Ben Johnson about a Texas Ranger hunts for a hooded serial killer terrorizing the residents of a small town, set in 1946 Arkansas. Losely based on a true story.

Stephen King: Very famous author of amazing horror classics such as The Shinning and Christine

Shape-Shifter: Creature thought up by Eric Kripke who can change shape and morph it's self into anyone it comes in contact with, used in the S1 episode Skin and the S2 episode Night Shifter.