Disclaimer: well I still don't own the boys or any other characters nor do I own the show it belong to kripke and the cw. The only thing I own is my made up characters

BETA: the awesome Vonnie836

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Three months later - Montana

A lot had happened during the past three months; Dean and Melinda had finally stop beating around the bush and started to date. The first date didn't go so well between them but they managed to fix it when they went on a few more dates. Sam, accompanied by his brother, continued on the quest to help innocent families, while John helped other hunters by assisting them with hunts or teach how to kill the monsters they are after.

Sam was in a hotel room watching his daughter, who was sitting on the couch watching Blue's Clues. He smiled, observing how innocent she was while watching a blue dog help out a guy solve clues. His brother and Bobby were on a hunt nearby and would be back soon. Outside it was already night and one could see car headlights as they drove by. They were heading back to Bobby's place after visiting Melinda's grandmother and sister, as well as Jessica's mother, who was living with Leslie. On the drive back Dean had found a hunt in Montana and decided look into it. During the commercial Gracie turned to look at her father.

"Potty tiwme" she insisted, while getting up and running to the bathroom. Sam chuckled and walked after her, just in time to bump into Melinda, who was on the phone with her grandmother as she entered the hotel room

"Oh Sam, I'm sorry" she said.

"Naw, its fine, I was on my way check on Gracie in the bathroom" he said pointing to the restroom

"Oh, okay good, well I need to continue this call" she smiled at the young man then disappears through the door that adjoined this room to the other.

Meanwhile - Fitchburg, Wisconsin

A little girl was saying her prayers just as her father walked into the room to put her to bed. He sighed softly, watching his daughter and listening to her pray about her sister, who was in the hospital. Once the prayer was over, the father tucked his daughter, whose name was Bethany, into bed. After that the father turned the light off and walked out the room to go call his wife and find out, how their other daughter was doing.

Her mother was staying there with her sister until she would get better. While sleeping Bethany started to wig out as she began to hear slight noises. The curtains created all kinds of creepy shadows, tree branches were tapping on her window and what not. As she cowered beneath her duvet, the silhouettes of branches outside the window resolved and turned into the shadowy form of a bony hand, eerily elongated. The hand opened the window from outside and a dark, shadowy figure approached the bed.

The long, bony hand reached out to pull Bethany's bed covers back and all that could be seen of the figure it belonged to was a mouth opening wider and wider in the middle of a face hidden beneath a hood. Bethany screamed loudly.

Next morning

Dean walked into the room with some food and a newspaper. He threw the paper at his sleeping brother, which makes Sam startle awake and give his brother a glare.

"Wake up time Sammy, we have a new case." he spoke up, while putting the food on the table. Turning around he smiled upon seeing his niece sleeping on the other bed with her teddy bear.

"Can't it wait until I'm up and Gracie also." Sam groaned, getting off the bed with the newspaper in his hands. Walking over to the table, he sat down and read the front page of the national newspaper

Fitchburg, Wisconsin- Local hospital officials, law enforcement and parents can't understand how or why children are getting sick. Doctors can't figure out the cause for some of these children going into coma states nor can parents understand why this is happening. New cases have been occurring for the past three weeks and it continues get worse.

After reading this, Sam looked up at his brother "Yeah, this is our case; somehow I sense something else is at work here. Let me go get ready then we can head out once Gracie is changed." He said just as Bobby and Melinda walked into the room both drinking coffee.

A day later- at the local hospital Fitchburg/Wisconsin

The boys entered the hospital and walked up to the reception area to talk to a nurse, who was sitting there. Dean managed to succeed in convincing the woman that he was Dr. Jerry Kaplan of the Centre for Disease Control, and even flashed a fake CDC ID card, after which she obligingly offered directions to the pediatric ward. En route, Dean noticed an unkempt old lady sitting in a wheelchair in a private room with an inverted cross on the wall, which gave him pause for thought, before he hurried to catch up with his brother.

Up on the pediatric ward, the brothers talked to a Dr. Hydecker in their guise as CDC officials, lying ever so smoothly, as usual. They were both far too good at the plausible lying. So far there had been six cases in five weeks, he told them, presenting as ordinary pneumonia but not responding to treatment in any way.

"The kids aren't responding to antibiotics. Their white cell counts keep goin' up. Their immune systems just aren't doing their job. It's like their bodies are wearing out." Dr. Hydrecker explained to Sam and Dean

Nearby a nurse further added that the way the disease spread was new to all of them, working its way through families, one sibling after another, and only ever the children. None of the children were conscious, so the brothers ask to interview some of the parents, and were directed to young Bethany's desperately worried father, who was blaming the illness of his daughters on an open window in the bedroom.

After talking with some of the parents and medical officials they decided to head over to where Bethany family lived. They started to scan young Bethany's bedroom with EMF meter and UV light, and other equipment. Sam eventually opened the window – which was mentioned by Bethany's father as the suspected source of illness – to take a look outside and there finally found the evidence they had been looking for: a long-fingered hand print rotted into the wood.

"Hey Dean, come over here, you were right, it's not pneumonia. This is rotted. What the hell leaves a handprint like that?"

Dean stared intently at the handprint and it was instantly obvious that he recognized it and was dismayed by the sight. If his father was on this case, he would finally get his chance to gank this creature.

Flashback

A young Dean could be seen studying a photograph of a similar handprint while, a beard-free John finished packing up to head out on a hunt.

"All right, you know the drill, Dean. If anybody calls, you don't pick up. If it's me, I'll ring once and then call back. You got that?"

"Mm-hmm. Don't answer the phone unless it rings once first."

"Come on, dude. Look alive. This stuff's important."

"I know, it's just – we've gone over it, like, a million times, and you know I'm not stupid."

"I know you're not. But it only takes one mistake, you got that? All right, if I'm not back Sunday night?"

"Call Pastor Jim."

"Lock the doors and windows, close the shades, and most important –"

"Watch out for Sammy. I know."

"All right, if somethin' tries to bust in?"

"Shoot first, ask questions later."

"That's my man."

Young Sam, meanwhile, could be seen sprawled in an armchair watching cartoons, completely oblivious to the entire proceedings.

"You know the drill," John told Dean. "We've gone over it, like, a million times," Dean replied.

Sam didn't even look up from the cartoon he's glued to, which was 'Thundercats' , when John left, he's so accustomed to his dad going away, completely taking it for granted.

"Again, if something tries to bust in…" "Shoot first, ask questions later." Dean had it drilled into him

Back in the present

Dean looked visibly shaken. This had been the moment the rug had been pulled out from under his feet. It felt like a slap to the face as the long-buried memories of a hugely formative event in his life were starting to flood back to the surface, yet he tried to hide his reaction from his brother. .

"Dad faced this thing before, and since we are here we need finish the job."

Sam was taken aback.

Later outside the motel, the Impala pulled up in the rain. As the brothers got out, Sam was still questioning Dean, who was playing things as nonchalantly as he could manage, when Melinda came around the corner with Gracie in her arms, shielding both of them from the rain with an umbrella.

"So, what the hell is a Shtriga?" Sam questioned, walking besides his brother to the motel door.

"It's kinda like a witch, I think. I don't know much about 'em."

"Well, I've never heard of it."

"Dad hunted one in Fort Douglas, Wisconsin about sixteen, seventeen years ago. You were there, don't you remember?"

"No."

"Well, from what we gathered in the hospital about the patients, we might be dealing with the same thing" Dean replied back.

"Wait a moment now," Melinda interrupted the boys as came over with Gracie "have you noticed the park down the street, there were barely any kids there earlier"

"Yeah, bunch of kids are sick due to a Shtriga." Dean explained.

"Wait, how is this thing still alive?" Sam questioned

"It got away!"

"Got away?" Sam questioned again

"Yeah Sammy, it happens."

"Not very often" Melinda chimed in.

"What else do you remember?" Sam asked his brother as Melinda handed Dean the motel room key, just as Bobby drove up and parked.

"Nothing, I was a kid all right" He sighed walking inside the room

Flashback

Young Dean had poured a glass of milk for young Sam, who'd wanted to know when Dad would be back. 'Tomorrow', Dean had told him, 'probably late.' Young Dean had cooked Spaghetti O's for his younger brother, who - being little and contrary – promptly had told him that he didn't want 'Scabetti O's' but now had wanted Lucky Charms instead. Dean had grumbled that Sam had asked for the Spaghetti O's and had tried to tell him that there weren't any Lucky Charms left, only for Sam to have pointed out that he'd seen the box. It was right there on the shelf behind Dean, cunningly concealed in plain view. There had been no reason the box couldn't have been sitting there empty, but rather than using that as an excuse, Dean had tried a different tactic, arguing that there was only enough left for one bowl and he hasn't had any yet.

Squabbling over the last of the Lucky Charms, Dean had wearily had given in in, dumping the Spaghetti O's in the bin with a very bad grace and getting the desired cereal for Sam because Sam was the baby, who had to be looked after and who always came first. Sam, being an adorably cute six-year-old, had employed his puppy dog eyes again and offered Dean the toy surprise from inside the box as a consolation prize. And he'd been completely genuine about it, too, absolutely earnest in his sincerity.

Back in the present

In the motel room Dean was pottering around with a bunch of books and papers.

"Well, you were right. It wasn't very easy to find, but you were right. A Shtriga is a kind of witch. They're Albanian, but legends about 'em date back to ancient Rome. They feed off of spiritus vitae..." Sam explained

"Spiri-what?" Dean questioned.

"Vitae, it's Latin; it translates to 'breath of life'. Kind of like your life force or essence."

While they talk, Melinda sat on the couch with little Gracie, who watched cartoons. Sam looked over every so often and thought about how he put his daughter in danger by having her here, while he was on this case with his brother. But he knew nothing was going happen to his daughter.

"She takes your vitality, maybe your immunity goes to hell; pneumonia takes hold. Anyway, Shtrigas can feed off anyone, but they prefer –"

"Children"

"Yeah, probably because they have a stronger life force. And get this: Shtrigas are invulnerable to all weapons devised by God and man."

"No. That's not right. She's vulnerable when she feeds."

Sam was rather gob smacked by this unexpected tidbit of information so casually dropped into the conversation by his brother.

"If you catch her when she's eating, you can blast her with consecrated wrought iron buckshot, or rounds, I think."

"How do you know that?"

"Dad told me. I remember."

"Oh."

The fact that Dean remembers so much detail about the Shtriga, when his sole encounter with one occurred over a decade and a half ago, when he had only been about ten years old, stood as evidence for just how heavily the experience must have weighed on his mind afterward. Having said this much, however, he clammed up like an oyster all over again, and Sam decided to let it ride. He stared at his brother for a moment, knowing damn well that there was something going on here, but Dean kept playing it dumb and Sam opted not to press the point, although one could tell he wasn't happy about being held at arm's length like this. Taking on board the possibility of being able to kill the Shtriga when they found it, he noted the finding that it wasn't going to be easy, as it could take on a human disguise, when it wasn't hunting.

"Historically, something innocuous – it could be anything. But it's usually a feeble old woman, which may be how the whole witches-as-old-crones legend got started."

That snippet of information got Dean's brain working. Pulling out a map, he showed Sam that he'd plotted out the locations of all the households that had been hit so far. They were all dotted around the hospital. And in the hospital, of course, he saw that old woman…

"An old person, huh?"

"Yeah."

"Well listen, smartass, she had an inverted cross hangin' on her wall." Sam's smile faded as he realized his brother might actually be on to something here. After saying bye Melinda and Gracie, the brothers drove off to the hospital

At the hospital

Dean and Sam made their way along a corridor. Hearing voices ahead, Dean stuck a hand out to stop Sam and they both took cover against the wall, while Doctor Hydecker and Nurse Betty from earlier said their goodnights and moved on past. Keeping a sharp eye out for anyone else, who might recognize them, the brothers continued on into the hospital until they reached the room of the old lady Dean saw earlier. Dean pulled out his gun and Sam opened the door for his brother to move through ahead of him.

The room was dark but the old lady was still sitting there in her wheelchair. Sam also pulled out a gun as Dean approached her, peering cautiously at her, getting closer and closer…

"Who the hell are you?" She asked them sharply.

Dean almost jumped out of his skin, leaping backwards and crashing into a cabinet. Sam also jumped startled.

"Who's there? You tryin' to steal my stuff? They're always stealin' around here."

"No, ma'am, we're maintenance. We're sorry, we thought you were sleeping."

"Oh, nonsense, I was sleeping' with my peepers open! And fix that crucifix, would yah? I've asked four damn times already." One tap and the crucifix fell the right way up again.

Back at the motel.

It was wet and windy again. Young Michael and his brother Asher slept peacefully in their room as a shadowy form of a long, bony hand resolved itself among the silhouettes of tree branches outside, and opened the window.

Next morning

Everyone woke to ambulance sirens coming into the parking lot of the motel. Both brothers rushed to get dressed then ran out just in time to see two paramedics with a stretcher hurry towards the office then come back out a few minutes later with a young child on it.

Walking to the front office they noticed young Michael sitting nearby looking unhappy and wandered over to ask what happened.

Michael told them that his little brother was being taken to the hospital with pneumonia and that he was blaming himself fiercely for leaving the window open. This self-flagellation stroke a resounding chord with Dean and he instantly strove to reassure the boy.

"Listen to me, I can promise you that this is not your fault, okay?"

"It's my job to look after him." Michael said with a sad almost voice.

Sam eyed Dean curiously, noticing how personal he was taking this, up and above the big brother vibe he shared with Michael.

Joanna, the kid's mother, appeared at that moment, arms loaded with blankets and teddies, preparing to go and sit with her son in hospital. Michael, apparently, was being left home alone, while she was doing this, under strict instructions to turn on the 'no vacancy' sign and with someone organized to cover room service. Michael protested that he wanted to go with her to see his brother, but she was adamant that he wasn't coming. That was when Dean intervened.

"Hey, Michael, I know how you feel, okay? I'm a big brother, too. But you gotta go easy on your mom right now, okay?"

Joanna was in a terrible state of nerves, afraid for her little boy's life and Dean instantly leapt into knight-in-shining-armor mode, insisting that he drive her to the hospital, rather than let her go alone in such a state of distress. He was a complete stranger to her, just a random customer staying at her motel for a couple of nights. He could be anyone, but finally she agreed, handing over her car keys. Before heading around to the driver's side, Dean leaned closer to Sam for a vehement private parting shot.

"We're gonna kill this thing. I want it dead, you hear me?"

Sam informed Melinda of what was going on and what he and Dean were planning to do. The young female nodded and agreed to stay in the motel with the little girl.

A.W. Stowe Public Library

Sam was beavering away with the research, and picked up his phone to call Dean, who was still at the hospital. Searching through old newspapers on microfiche, Sam had unearthed a huge number of cases involving the Shtriga coming out of hibernation to hit a new town every 15-20 years.

"Dean, this thing is just gettin' started in Fitchburg. In all these other places, it goes on for months, hitting dozens of kids, before it finally moves on. Kids just languish in comas and then they die."

That's pretty grim news, with so many children already desperately ill. The earliest case Sam had found was in the 1890s and as he spoke to his brother, he pulled up a photograph from one of the articles.

"Whoa."

"Sam?"

"Hold on. I'm lookin' at a photograph right now of a bunch of doctors standing around a kid's bed. One

of the doctors is Hydecker."

"And?"

"And this picture was taken in 1893."

Cold, hard fury flooded across Dean's face as he turns to see Doctor Hydecker tending to young Asher and reassuring Joanna, every inch the caring health professional Yet he kept his cool and didn't let anything slip when Hydecker came across and asked, if the CDC had come up with anything.

"Well, we're still workin' on a few theories. You'll know something as soon as we do."

"Well, nothing's more important to me than these kids." The doctor informed Dean.

Back at the motel, Sam and Dean stalked around the room raging at each other, each equally appalled and disgusted by the discovery of the Shtriga's cunning disguise. Melinda was just sitting there watching both of them, while Gracie was in the bedroom sleeping.

"So this doctor guy, who is supposed to be protecting and helping these kids, is actually the one who made these kids sick?" Melinda asked both brothers.

"Exactly" Dean replied back as he started to calm down slightly.

"We should have thought of this before. A doctor's a perfect disguise, you're trusted and that way you can control the whole thing."

"Huh, that son of a bitch."

"I'm surprised you didn't draw on him right there."

"Yeah, well, first of all, I'm not gonna open fire in a freakin' pediatrics ward."

"Good call."

"Second, it wouldn't have done any good, because the bastard's bullet-proof unless he's chowin' down on somethin'. And third, I wasn't packin', which is probably a real good thing, 'cause I probably would've just burned a clip in him for principle alone."

"Getting' wise in your old age, Dean."

"Damn right. So now I know how we're gonna get it."

The Shtriga worked through siblings, Dean explained, and since last night it went after Asher, chances were it would come for Michael tonight. Sam immediately suggested that they would have to get Michael away, somewhere the Shtriga wouldn't find him, but Dean said no. The plan was to use the boy as bait. Sam was horrified at the suggestion, but as much as Dean empathized so strongly with the boy, he insisted that it was the only way.

While they were discussing things, a man was watching from outside the room they were staying in. He smirked. "Tonight I'm going to change tactics" he chuckled then disappeared.

"Michael's a kid. And I'm not gonna dangle him in front of that thing like a worm on a hook."

"There's a reason why we are here and why this is kinda personal" Dean finally confessed to his brother

"What are you saying" Sam questioned.

"This isn't about you, Sam" He turned away. "All right, I'm the one that screwed up. It's my fault. There's no telling how many kids have gotten hurt because of me."

Frustrated and confused, Sam demanded to know, what he was talking about. Finally he lost patience, since it has been obvious from the start that Dean was taking the case very personal for reasons unknown, but was trying to keep that fact hidden.

"Dean, you've been hiding something from the get-go. Since when does Dad bail on a hunt? Since when does he let something get away? Now, talk to me, man. Tell me what's going' on."

When Dean finally started to speak, the brothers were on opposite sides of the room. Dean moved to sit on the bed, keeping his face turned away from Sam, unable to look him or Melinda in the eyes as he told the story.

Flashback - Fort Douglas, Wisconsin

After three nights cooped up in that grimy little motel room, Dean explained, he had been climbing the walls and needed some air. Going stir crazy with boredom, young Dean had decided to leave the motel room to get some air after first checking on young Sam, who had been fast asleep in bed. The bedroom door faced towards the front door, so that Sam could be seen from there if it was left ajar.

Dean had left the room, carefully locking the door behind him and had wandered across the yard to an arcade onsite, where he had been playing video games till closing. Returning to the motel room, the first thing Dean had seen, had been that the bedroom door now had been closed, hiding Sam from view. Alarmed and immediately knowing that something had been wrong, he slowly had crossed the room, pushing the bedroom door open and seeing the Shtriga bending over Sam, sucking the life force from him. Dean had clearly been frightened, but hadn't panicked, but instead had slowly reached for the shotgun beside the door and had carefully taken aim…

The Shtriga had heard the gun being cocked and had looked up, now no longer feeding and at very moment John had burst into the room, yelling at Dean to get down, and emptying his automatic into the Shtriga. John had kept firing as the Shtriga had crashed out of the window, until the gun had clicked empty and then he'd turned his attention to Sam, who'd woken up perfectly fine and wondering what all the fuss had been about. John had hugged him tightly as a badly shaken Dean had crept fearfully into the room.

"What happened?"

I…I just went out."

John had looked horrified, "What?"

"J…just for a second. I'm sorry."

"I told you not to leave this room. I told you not to let him out of your sight!"

Holding Sam close, John's face and voice had been filled with anger and disappointment, even with a touch of disgust as he'd berated his older son and that memory had very obviously etched itself into Dean's memory, remaining with him ever since.

Back in the present

"Dad just grabbed us and booked, dropped us off at Pastor Jim's about three hours away. By the time he got back to Fort Douglas, the Shtriga disappeared. It was just gone. It never resurfaced until now. Dad never spoke about it again. I didn't ask, but he, uh, he looked at me different, you know, which was worse. Not that I blame him. He gave me an order, and I didn't listen. I almost got you killed."

Sam looked at his brother with deep sympathy and so did Melinda: "You were just a kid." she stated.

"Don't…don't", Dean finished telling the story with tears in his eyes. Melinda got up from the couch and hugged her boyfriend and whispering something soothing into his ear. Sam was now sitting next to him, watching his brother and Melinda embrace.

A little bit later, after Dean had calmed down, both boys decided head out to talk with Michael, while Melinda lay down on the couch so take a nap, oblivious to the danger Gracie would soon be in.

Unsure how to explain things to Michael so the kid would believe him, Dean finally decided just to start. "Hang on a second. Just listen to me. You have to believe me, okay? This thing came through your window, and it attacked your brother. Now, I've seen it. I know what it looks like, 'cause it attacked my brother once, too."

"This thing – is it like…it has this long, black robe?"

"You saw it last night, didn't you?"

"I thought I was havin' a nightmare."

"I'd give anything not to tell you this, but sometimes, nightmares are real."

"So, why are you telling me?"

"Because we need your help"

But Michael refused and no one really could blame him for it. Back in the motel room, Dean bemoaned the fact, while Sam was amused and wondered what more he expected, pointing out that even an adult couldn't be expected to do something like this, much less a kid. Which is, of course, was exactly the same reason, why Dean couldn't be held responsible for the Shtriga attacking Sam all those years ago. Melinda still on the couch in a deep sleep during this conversation.

Just then there was a knock at the door. It was Michael, who had time to think about everything Dean had told him. He asked, if killing the Shtriga would make Asher better and Dean answered him honestly that they didn't know, treating him with respect and equality, rather than talking down to him.

"You said you're a big brother?"

"Yeah"

"You'd take care of your little brother? You'd do anything for him?"

"Yeah, I would."

"Me, too. I'll help."

After that all three left the room to go plan things out, while meanwhile in the bedroom the window opened and a loud cry had Melinda bolting from the couch and into the bedroom. What was in the room horrified Melinda as she let out a scream. This in turn made the creature bolt out of the room. Melinda slammed the window shut and locked it then tried to wake up the little girl. Grabbing the cell phone, her hand shook as she called Sam without success, as he and his brother were busy in Michael bedroom.

Dean was setting up a camera in Michael's room, while Sam monitored the live feed from another room. Dean explained carefully to Michael what exactly was going to happen, making sure he understood every detail and knew that he could still pull out if he wanted to.

While Dean was talking with the young boy, Sam heard his phone ring and finally picked it up. What he heard on the end nearly makes him bolt out of there, alerting his brother, who rushed to his side.

"What's wrong Sammy?" he demanded to know as both hands held down the younger, who seemed on the verge of a panic attack.

"That thing attacked Gracie. I knew bringing her here wasn't a good idea. I need to go, check on her"

"Not now, we need to get this creature and kill it. She going be fine" Dean looked his brother in the eyes.

A/N: Any one reading please leave reviews so I know people are reading this