--St. Louis, Missouri--
A woman is standing in the upstairs hallway of her home. Her scared children, both younger than ten, hide behind her. She and the children have heard noises coming from the living room, and have gotten out of bed to investigate.
Her hands shaking, she raises her son's wooden baseball bat and starts down the stairs. Another loud bang makes her stop, and her kids jump with fright. She turns to them. "Stay here," she whispers, her voice straining with fear. "If anything happens, run to Mrs. Bing's house. Got it?" The children nod, and the woman continues down the stairs, baseball bat in her quivering hands. As she turns the corner, a familiar sight greets her, and she lets out a breath. Her husband is sifting through a drawer on the nightstand. "Honey, what are you doing down here? You scared the life out of me and the kids." Her husband turns to face her, and He smiles as his eyes glow yellow for a split second. The woman rushes for the back door, but the creature runs after her .
Upon hearing their mother scream, the kids bolt for the front door and get out of the house. The girl stops when her brother trips over something big on the front porch. "Hailey, what's this?" The boy uncovers it, and screams in terror. Their father lie dead on the front porch, blood all over his disfigured face. Hailey grabs her brother and they run next door as their mother screams inside the house.
--Altoona, Pennsylvania, Present Day--
Sam Winchester tossed and turned in his single bed. His brother, Dean, was sleeping like a rock in the bed next to him. Sweat poured down Sam's face, and his head was aching like nothing he'd ever felt. The pain was so intense that it brought tears to his eyes. His dreams had been plaguing him for the past few nights, but this one really made his head hurt. He thrashed around in bed, and finally shot up with a shout. Dean aroused and sat up.
"What's the matter?"
Sam put his hand to his head. "I had another vision. We need to go to Missouri, and we have to leave right now." He got up and started to dress rapidly. Dean threw the covers off of him and sat on the edge of his bed.
"Sam, what did you see?" Dean watched his brother throw things into a black duffel bag. "Seriously, what did you see? I've never seen you act like this."
"I"ll explain in the car." Dean complied and got dressed. His brother's visions had stopped for a while after they killed the Yellow-Eyed Demon, but recently he'd began having flashes in his sleep. Nothing had ever made him jump out of bed at 3 a.m. and leave.
By the time Dean was ready, Sam had already packed all of their things and was loading the Impala. Dean ran out after him with a laptop bag. "Dude, slow down before you forget something. What did you see that made you want to drive from Pennsylvania to Missouri at 3 in the morning?"
"A shapeshifter. It was terrorizing this family. It took the shape of the woman's husband, and it killed her. The kids found their father on the front step and ran to a neighbor's house. That's all I saw."
Dean stood there for a second, staring at his brother. "Do you know where in Missouri we're going?"
"Maybe St. Louis."
Dean wanted to roll his eyes in annoyance, but he knew the seriousness of the situation, having confronted shapeshifters before. He knew they had to get rid of it before it caused any damage they couldn't fix.
"Let's go kill the son of a bitch." The brothers got into the car and started for Missouri.
--2 days later, St. Louis, Missouri--
Police tape surrounded the exterior of the farmhouse. Sam stared at the front porch intently. It was there he had seen the dead man and the children running. He wanted so badly to go into the house and investigate. Dean was inside the neighbor's house, talking to the children. They were posing as FBI agents today. Sam was to be Agent Brooks, and Dean had chosen to be Agent Danforth. Sam pretended to look for evidence in the front yard, as to not arouse suspicion.
"Thanks for your time, ma'am." Sam looked up as he heard his brother's voice. Dean jogged over to him. "The kids could barely talk about it. They didn't see the thing."
"We have to get into that house," said Sam. There were police officers and CSI everywhere. It was going to be hard to look for their kind of evidence with them in the picture. "Shall we, Agent Danforth?"
"Follow my lead." They walked across the grass, and a police officer met them halfway.
"This is a crime scene. You'll have to get back behind the tape." Sam and Dean flashed their fake FBI badges. "Oh, sorry. Go on in, fellas."
The first place thy investigated was the living room, since CSI seemed to be done with the place. "There's residue all over the place, Dean."
"The place is a wreck. I don't think he expected Mom to come downstairs." Dean stepped over books, papers and broken glass. Couch cushions were ripped from the couch, leaving huge tears in the fabric. Anything that once sat on a shelf or in a drawer was now on the floor, broken or otherwise. Sam picked up a broken photograph. It was a family portrait, possibly from a vacation. He studied their faces. He remembered the look of terror on the mother's face in his vision. The father was a handsome man. Sam remembered what the shapeshifter had done to his face. But why this family? What was so important about this house?
"Sam, you still with me?" Dean was waving his hand in front of his brother's face.
"Oh yeah. I was just...Dean they look so happy. I don't get why a shapeshifter would terrorize this family."
"From the looks of this room, I'd say he was looking for something, and Mom and Dad walked in on him."
"What could possibly be here that it would want? Those things kill first and ask questions later." Sam set the picture down on an end table. A noise broke his train of thought. "Dean, did you hear that?"
Dean pulled out a handgun and cocked it. "Yeah. Get behind me." Dean and Sam quietly went into the hallway leading to the kitchen. Dean put himself against the wall, preparing to aim his gun. They heard another noise, and inched closer to the kitchen. Dean peeked around the corner, and moved back a few steps. "It's still here," he whispered. "Don't move."
Sam reached into his jacket and produced the Colt. Dean snatched it. "I told you not to bring that thing in here!" All of a sudden Dean felt something grab his shoulder and pull him backward into the wall. Sam faced the shapeshifter, in the form of the cop they had seen out front. He pointed the Colt and prepared to shoot, but the Shapeshifter was faster, and threw him into the wall, knocking him out.
All Sam could hear was blood-curdling screaming before he woke up. Dean immediately went to his side.
"You all right?" Sam sat up and held his head.
"Yeah. I'll be fine." He looked around him for the Colt, but to his horror it was nowhere to be seen. "Dean, he didn't--"
"He did. He stole the damn Colt. I told you not to bring that thing in here! Now that son of a bitch has it, and God knows what he's going to do with it! We have to find him and get it back before he leaves it at another crime scene for CSI to find!"
Sam got up and brushed himself off. "I think I know where he might be. Before I woke up, I saw a woman. She was running from something. She was running down this road. Then there was screaming."
"That's it?" Dean demanded.
"Yeah, who do you think I am, The Amazing Crescin?"
"Let's get out of here before those cops figure out what we've been doing in here." They slipped out the back way and went back to Impala for ammunition. Dean opened a special compartment in the trunk and took out a special knife. He slid it into the inside pocket of his jacket, out of sight.
"You ready?" Dean said, closing the trunk.
"Yep. Let's find this thing before my head explodes."
Dean parked the car around the block, and they nonchalantly made their way around the corner to New Haven Circle. The shapeshiter wanted something, and it wasn't going to stop until it found what it wanted. They couldn't let it terrorize any more families. There had been enough mayhem on this street. If this thing continued to kill, the police were going to really wonder what was going on, and it would be harder for the boys to hunt the shapeshifter.
Sam stopped in front of a white ranch home with black shutters. The number 43 was pasted onto the mailbox. "This is it. I remember the mailbox. She's going to come running out any second." As he spoke, the front door swung open and a woman in a yellow dress bolted from the house, screaming at the top of her lungs. Sam rushed toward her as a man came out behind her. Dean took a shot and brought the assailant down. Sam had managed to help the woman stop screaming, and
Dean went over to check on the assailant. It was a kid about his brother's age. "Oh man," thought to himself. He looked over at his brother, who was talking to the girl, who was still hysterical. Dean turned back to the dead body, but it was gone.
"That son of a bitch." He ran into the woman's house, figuring the shapeshifter had gone back in to retreive what it was looking for. He found the body of the boy in the kitchen. Thinking the kid needed some dignity, he took the tablecloth and covered the body. As he did this, the shapeshifter came up behind him, still in the shape of the boy. Dean sensed something was wrong and spun around to hit him, but was blindsided and took a hit to the head. He went down hard, knocked out cold.
The police had arrived at the scene and were taking over the care of the girl. Sam, still dressed in his FBI garb, went inside to find Dean. He found his brother in the kitchen, kneeling over a body.
"I got her to calm down. The police are here, so we need to get the hell out of here, fast." When his brother didn't respond, Sam put a hand on his shoulder. Dean grabbed his wrist and twisted, bringing Sam to his knees. As soon as he saw his eyes, Sam knew the thing in front of him wasn't Dean. He whipped out his gun with the other hand and shot the shapeshifter's hand, freeing him from his grip. He got up and trained his gun on the creature.
"What did you do to my brother!"
The shapeshifter chuckled evilly, and Sam fired 10 rounds at it. The creature's eyes flickered, like it had blown a fuse in its brain, and fell to the floor, lifeless. Sam tore around the house, looking for his brother. "Dean! Dean where are you!" As he started upstairs, he heard a muffled moan coming from the study across from the living room. He went down into the study and found his brother on the floor. "Dean! Talk to me!" He shook his brother's lifeless body. "Come on, man! I know you're still with me! Dean!"
Sam heard voices in the hallway, and hoisted Dean over his shoulder. He went to a window and pushed it open with his free hand. He first slid Dean's body through the window, into the flowerbed filled with daffodils and daisies. He slipped out and quietly shut it behind him. Draping Dean' arm over his shoulder, he hurried across the woman's backyard toward the car. Fortunately, he was able to go around the neighbor's fence rather than over it, and got his brother into the backseat of the Impala. He whipped out his cell phone and dialed 911. The dispatcher promised help was on the way, and Sam's next call was to Bobby. All he got was voice mail.
"Bobby, Dean's been attacked by a shapeshifter. We're in St. Louis and I'm getting him to a hospital. He's hurt bad, Bobby. Get here as soon as you can." He flipped his phone closed and redirected his attention to Dean. "Stay with me, dammit!"
During the ten minute wait for the ambulance to arrive, Sam practiced the story he would tell the paramedics. He couldn't tell them that his brother was attacked by a creature that can take the form of any human it attacks. He took a look at his brother's wounds, and glanced at his surroundings. There were woods to his left. He decided an animal attack would suffice. He turned his attention back to Dean, who was unconscious but still breathing.
The paramedics were at the scene shortly, and Sam told them Dean was attacked by an animal while they were walking in the woods. Sam's phone rang as they put Dean into the ambulance.
"What the hell is going on, Sam!" Bobby shouted into the phone.
Sam moved out of earshot before answering. "We were trailing a shapeshifter, and it got Dean. He's hurt pretty bad. I told the paramedics he was attacked by a wild animal."
"And they bought it?"
"Yeah. There's one more thing--"
Bobby sensed the urgency in Sam's voice. "What is it?"
"The shapeshifter has the Colt."
"God Damn it, Sam! We have to get it back!" There was silence, and Bobby spoke again, calmly. "What hospital are they taking Dean to?"
"St. Louis University Hospital."
"Okay, meet me in the lobby." Bobby hung up abruptly, and Sam sighed and slipped his phone into his pocket.
Sam followed the ambulance as closely as possible, trying not to break any traffic laws. The last thing he needed was to be pulled over, recognized and arrested. He had given his brother's name to the paramedics as Dan Farmer, so they could not be identified. He managd to follow the ambulance sucessfully, and parked close to the emergency room.
When Dean was safely inside a trauma room, Sam sat down to wait for Bobby. He didn't have to wait long. Ten minutes after he sat down, Bobby came into the ER. Sam stood up to greet him, but Bobby didn't look too happy with him.
"They've got him back there right now. I haven't heard anything yet." He leaned in closer to Bobby. "His name is Dan Farmer for the time being." Bobby nodded, understanding of Dean's sudden name change.
"Let's go outside and talk." Sam swallowed hard and followed his friend outside. There was not a soul outside the emergency room doors. "So tell me how it got the Colt," Bobby demanded, crossing his arms.
Sam explained what had happened to them in the house earlier that day. Bobby listened intently.
"First of all, you don't need the Colt to kill a shapeshifter. You can stab it twenty times with a steak knife, for all I care. Never, NEVER use that gun on a shapeshifter again, you hear me?" Sam nodded. "It's probably got a lair somewhere around here. We find the lair, we find the Colt."
"What about Dean? I'm not leaving him in this hospital." As he said this, the ER doors swung open, and a doctor in green hospital scrubs stood there. "Mr. Farmer?"
"That's me," said Sam. "How's my brother?"
"He's going to be just fine. There weren't any internal injuries or broken bones, but he's got a good concussion. I'd like to have him overnight to see--"
"No, I can take him home," Sam interrupted.
"I really think he needs to stay here, sir. It's for his own protection." Sam took a long look at the doctor.
"What did you just say?" The doctor came toward them. "I know who you really are, and what you and your brother are doing." Bobby reached for his gun, but Sam held up a hand and stopped him. "Who are you?" Sam questioned.
"Someone you're lucky to have run into. I know what you're after. A man and a woman came into my ER around 4 a.m., barely alive. The man's face was mangled. I was surprised to hear him talking coherantly. That man, Sam, was my son." The doctor reached for the back of his neck and removed a necklace. "He gave me this before he died. I think it's what your demon friend is after."
Sam took the necklace. It was a silver star, hanging on a simple piece of black cord. Only the star had seven points. Sam looked at Bobby, who was just as dumbfounded as he was.
"Now that you have it, maybe that thing will stop terrorizing innocent people," the doctor added.
"Now it's going to come after us," said Sam.
"Exactly," Bobby interjected. "We can set a trap for it, and maybe get that item back that we need."
"I'll get Dean. Bobby, why don't you go rent a motel room, and we'll stake out the place, see if the shapeshifter comes for it." Bobby nodded and took off to start their plan.
Sam checked out his brother and they called Bobby for a location. He gave them the name of a crappy motel about three miles out of town. He thought it better to do it someplace where it wouldn't attract a lot of attention. Sam filled Dean in as Bobby set the necklace on the table in the motel room. Dean took one glimpse at the necklace and told them it was a charm.
"The shapeshifter thinks It'll protect him. Either that or he's into really crappy jewelry." After everything was in place, Sam hid in the bathroom, Dean under the bed and Bobby in the coat closet. If the shapeshifter came, at least one of them would have a clear shot.
Dean lay still under the bed. He wished he had gotten the bathroom, or even the coat closet. Anything was better than hiding among used gum, dust and trash. Suddenly he heard a door open, and he saw shoes that belonged to neither Bobby nor Sam. It was here.
The shapeshifter had taken over the appearance of the gothic-looking girl from the rental office. Bobby recognized her instantly, as he had paid her for the room. As he watched it go for the necklace, something shiny gleamed under the black coat it was wearing. It had the Colt with it. Bobby took out his gun, ready to pounce. If he or Sam could take it down, Dean could lunge with a knife and stab the hell out of it. As soon as the shapeshifter reached for the necklace, Bobby burst out of the closet and took three shots at it. The creature fell to the floor, and Dean slid out from under the bed.
"It's about time! It was disgusting under there." Bobby turned the unconscious shapeshifter over with his foot. "Go ahead, Dean."
As Dean kneeled down to stab her, the bathroom door burst open, and Sam came out. Only there was a man with him, and he was pushing the barrel of a Colt .45 into Sam's back.
Bobby started to shake the moment he realized he had killed an innocent girl. He shakily held up his gun. In the other hand he held the charm. He looked over at Dean, who had traded his knife for a pistol, and had it aimed at Sam and the shapeshifter.
"Let my brother go, you son of a bitch!" Dean cocked the gun. He was ready to shoot the bastard as soon as Sam was out of the way.
"Give me the charm, and you can have him back." Dean moved closer. The word of a shapeshifter was always contorted.
"You're going to kill him as soon as you've got it, so why don't I just shoot your ass and solve everyone's problems?"
The shapeshifter pushed the gun farther into the middle of Sam's back. "Do I have to sweeten the pot?" Bobby was now to the shapeshifter's left, his gun trained on the bastard's head. "How about this wonderful gun? I was going to keep it, but I'd be willing to give it back, if you'll just give me my charm..."
"Forget it, shit eater," said Dean menacingly.
"Dean, maybe we should give it to him," said Bobby. Dean turned his head to face Bobby.
"Are you out of your freakin' mind?! No!" Bobby winked subtly, and started to inch closer and closer to Sam and the shapeshifter. He held up the charm, and dropped it into Sam's waiting hand. He then brought his gun up quickly and shot the shapeshifter in the side of the head. His grip on Sam was immediately released, and he fell Dead to the floor.
Sam picked up the Colt, but Dean took it from him. "Oh no. From now on, this is my toy. You're not allowed to carry this anymore unless I tell you to."
"That's enough. We need to get rid of the shapeshifter and erase all trace of ourselves shooting that girl." Sam and Dean picked up the shapeshifter and put him through the bathroom window, while Bobby erased any physical evidence linking them to the murder of the girl. Before he left with the boys, Bobby took one more look at her. She had to be only 20 years old. And he had cut her life short, because of that God damned shapeshifter. He said a short prayer for her, and rushed into the bathroom to ecape out the window.
Sirens could be heard as the men went deeper and deeper into the Missouri woods. They had to burn the shapeshifter. Finally they found a clearing big enough where they wouldn't start a forest fire, and dug a makeshift grave. They threw the body in and torched it.
Dean sat down by a tree as the body burned in its earthen grave. It had been a long day. He watched his brother chatting with Bobby, and wished that his visions would stop, not only because he hated driving across the country at three in the morning, but for Sam's sanity. He saw what the visions had done to his brother, and he prayed to hell that they would finally stop, and Sam would be out of his personal hell, once and for all.