A/N...Well, I know the story jumps, we have a ten year time span and I don't give you a clue when you are, I let you figure it out...but I wanted you to think and ride along with this one... I hope I managed that.

See what you think...


Dean itched. He was sure that he had brushed up against some poison oak, or something that made his skin itch.

He tried not to think of why he felt so miserable.

He barely remembered his mom, really.

He had been only four when…..well, he'd been only four.

He'd talked to other kids, over the years, about what they could remember from when they were four.

Not much, is what they all said.

He remembered more than most, probably because he clung to it so desperately.

Most of the time, he could get by. He had Sam, and his job was to protect Sam. Most of the time that was a full time job.

He had his training. Dad made sure that every day, pretty much, they trained.

He had Pastor Jim, and Caleb.

And Uncle Bobby.

He wished Uncle Bobby was his dad.

Uncle Bobby would never make them train every day, or shift from town to town, school to school, life to life.

He didn't think Uncle Bobby had every been married, but that's okay, he didn't really want another mom. Just a home. A clean bed, the same school every day for Sammy.

He sighed. Even at thirteen, he knew that was a stupid way to think. It would just make him miss, more and more, what he didn't have.

"Sshhhh" Bobby hushed Sam who had been humming the latest girly pop song.

Dean looked up and saw what Bobby was pointing at.

There were several deer ahead, quietly walking, stopping to pull some grass, then moving on.

Three or four turned and loped off, leaving only two large bucks and a smaller, juvenile male.

Bobby raised his rifle, and nodded at Dean to do the same.

The younger deer turned and loped off after the does, leaving just the males.

Bobby thumbed his site, ready to take one down.

Dean stole a glance at his little brother, who had grown still, and had turned pale.

He turned his wide soft eyes to Dean, a tear gathering in the corner.

Dean felt the tension change, and looked at Bobby.

The man's face held only shock.

He looked at the deer, and had to forcibly stop himself from crying out when both the deer changed into men.

Sam's eyes became huge, but he didn't react audibly.

Bobby just pushed the boys down, out of eyesight from the men, and moved himself back down as far as he could without losing view of the shifters.

They stayed this way for ages, Dean's thigh's cramping and burning with the strain, and Sam had started to silently cry, tears running down his face, but he made no noise.

He was only nine, but already had been well trained.

Finally Bobby touched Sam on the top of the head.

"They're gone, kiddo. Why are you crying?"

Sam's face was red. "I need to go, Uncle Bobby, I need to go real bad"

"Go! We should be safe, for now. Hurry up, though, I wanna git back to the house as quickly as we can"

Sammy peed like he's been hanging on for hours, Dean just sat on the fallen log, his face dark.

"Wot's eatin' you boy?"

Dean looked up at Uncle Bobby, but didn't speak.

"If yer wonderin' why I dint shoot those suckers, it's coz I aint carrying silver bullets, and I aint gonna start huntin' with the squirt with us."

Dean nodded. "Yeah. That's what I was wondering"

Not, I knew there were deer-shifters here, I saw them three years ago, wasn't thinking that at all.

They walked as quickly as they could back to Bobby's.

"What are you gonna do, Uncle Bobby?" Dean asked him.

"Have to get a few hunters up here to clean out those woods. If there's two, there'll be more. Probably the whole herd we saw"

Dean nodded, but his stomach felt cold. He remembered the little boy he saw three years ago, holding his mom's hand.

That little boy was probably the juvenile male they saw today.

"Why would you hunt them?" he asked quietly.

Bobby looked confused. "They're monsters, boy. That's why"

Dean nodded. "Yeah, I get that. But have they hurt anyone? Have they done anything wrong?"

Bobby seemed thoughtful for a while. Then he tousled Dean's hair.

"You're right, of course. Maybe we just leave them be"

Dean smiled. That was all he needed to hear. He ran ahead with Sam, and playfully pushed and shoved as they walked, feeling much better than he had in days.

Bobby just frowned as he watched the boys frolic the whole way home.

X

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X

X

"Well, what if we do a little fishing? That okay with you two vegan PETA girly boys?" Bobby frowned at them.

Sam grinned at Bobby. "Dean likes fishing, you know"

Bobby raised his brows. "Really? Then fishing it is. We'll stop by the lake near my house and set up camp there, just the three of us. Coupla days fishing sounds like what the doctor ordered to clear up that cold of yours, Dean.

Dean grinned. Turning out to be a much better weekend than hunting with four of Bobby's douche bag hunting mates.

These guys were real hunters, demon hunters, but they like to take some down time every now and then and kill any poor creature that moved.

Dean hated them.

They pulled into a nice spot near the lake as dusk caressed the horizon and pitched their tents, Sam expertly lit a camp fire while Bobby and Dean grabbed their rods and made about catching dinner.

Hour and a half and four good sized fish later, Bobby looked at the boys as they sat, faces in darkness, firelight behind them, Sam chatting on endlessly about any subject that popped into that complicated little old man head of his, Dean listening, mostly, encouraging, asking questions, occasionally teasing his baby brother.

Bobby felt his heart grow warm. These boys meant the world to him.

John loved them, he knew, but he didn't realize what a lucky bastard he really was.

Dean was growing up to be quite a stunner, girls everywhere had better watch out…as well as the most awesome hunter.

And Sam, that funny, wise, silly boy, was just a delight to have around, his thirsty, inquiring mind constantly pushing him to ask, learn, test and strain every situation.

Bobby loved them.

With all his heart, he loved these boys, and didn't think there was anything on this earth, his wife excluded, that he'd ever loved more.

They ate their catch, still laughing and having a great time, until Sam's yawns decided bed time.

"Uncle Bobby?" Sam yawned as he climbed into his tent.

"Yeah, kiddo?"

"Thanks for the best day. For not killing the deers"

"You're welcome, boy. Now both of yah get some sleep. Up at dawn!"

X

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X

X

Dean got up to go to the bathroom. Too much Dr Pepper before bedtime again.

He heard Uncle Bobby talking to someone.

He crept to the stairs to listen. Maybe it was his dad, back early?

It wasn't his dad.

"Just, take care of them. There musta been, I dunno, seven? Eight?"

"Why caint you come with, Singer? Not like you to chicken outta a job"

Dean heard Bobby sigh. "I got John Winchester's boys here. Don't think he'd be too keen on me dragging them around trying to kill off a herd a shifters"

"I hear yah. I'd rather hunt a dozen zombies than get on the bad side a that guy"

Dean heard glasses clink.

"Just ring me when it'd done. And Pete"

"What?"

"I don't' want these boys findin' out"

"Fine"

"Pete!"

"I got it, Singer, you don't need to tell me again."

Dean heard enough. He crept back up the stairs.

What could he do? He had no way to find the deer-boy, or even to know if he was in this forest. Last time Dean had seen him had been at the cabin.

That was what, sixty, seventy miles from here?

Dean felt desperate. That little boy. Those hunters were gonna kill that little boy.

And his mom.

That made up his mind.

He got dressed, very quietly, and made sure Sam was tucked in and sleeping before he climbed out of the bedroom window, expertly clinging to the down pipe as he made it to the ground.

It was not too dark out, the full moon lighting his way quite well.

He didn't know where to look, or how far to walk, just that he had to get into the woods, and find the deer.

And hope it was the right one.

He didn't want to go talking to a deer that was a real deer.

That wasn't gonna help anything.

X

X

X

x

Dean groaned quietly. He loved that Bobby let him drink beer with him, but now, he needed a whiz so bad, but he didn't want to leave the tent.

Sam, the big girl, was curled half outta his sleeping bag, his arm wrapped around Dean's waist in a flashback to his years sleeping in the same bed as his big brother.

Dean lifted the arm and Sam raised his head sleepily. "What?" he murmured.

"Just going for a leak. Go back to sleep"

He stumbled out of the tent, the firelight still lighting his way as he made it to the closest tree.

When he finished he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He was a tall boy, a young man, shoulders broad, sandy hair, tousled from sleep shining in the moonlight.

And something, or someone, was watching him.

He heard the smallest step, a footfall on a dry leaf or small twig.

Trained well, he had a gun in the back of his waistband, grabbed as he exited the tent.

He grabbed it, safety off, and held it two handed in front of him.

"Who's there?" he growled, sounding older that he was, and very dangerous.

Movement to his left made his swing, gun ready, and then he let out a held breath.

A boy.

A small, naked boy, no more than four or five years old.

Just behind him, holding his hand, was his mother.

They looked at Dean. They looked worried.

He looked down, at the gun he was holding, and tucked it back into his waist band.

They smiled at him.

The woman stepped forward.

She was beautiful. Her skin was creamy white, and her chestnut hair hung to below her waist.

Her lips were full, red, and pouted.

Her eyes were large, dark gypsy brown, with the longest lashes he'd ever seen framing them.

"You saved us again" she whispered.

Dean frowned. He wasn't sure that he'd saved the shifters when he'd sneezed today.

Didn't matter.

He just didn't want Sammy seeing the deer get shot.

"Didn't save you. We had real bullets, not silver. You woulda survived"

She tipped her head to one side. "You think that they would have just let us go, once they saw who we really were?"

Dean gave a small duck of his head. "No, I guess not.' He leaned against the tree and looked down at the small child.

"How do you live like this?"

She smiled a him. "This is what we are. We hurt no one. We keep to ourselves, although it is getting harder. My husband…. He was hunted. Killed."

Dean looked alarmed. "That last time? When the hunters..?"

She shook her head. "No, before that. Before my son was born"

He nodded and gave her a smile back. "You know that I'm a hunter, right?"

She flicked an eye brow up. "You have never hunted me, or my kind. That is all I know"

The little boy stepped closer. He looked up at Dean, his big brown eyes round with wonder.

"This is the closest he has ever been to a human"

Dean gave him a grin. "This is the closest I've ever been to a deer-shifter thingy"

He pulled one of the leather straps that decorated his wrist and handed it to the boy.

The boy just looked at it.

"Go on. Take it. It's for you."

The boy grabbed it and turned and ran, his change into a deer smooth as one footstep to a hoof beat.

The woman came closer and kissed Dean gently on the cheek, then she, too, turned, changing into her animal form and running, leaping after her son.

Dean stood for a long time.

His father would not have understood. Probably, neither would Bobby.

Hell, he didn't know if he did himself.

Just the innocence on that child's face….

He crawled back into the tent, Sam was still snoring softly into his make shift jacket-pillow.

Dean kicked off his boots and lay on top of his sleeping bag, wondering if he'd ever get to sleep. Sam grunted and turned over, his sleeping bag around his waist, and threw his arm over his brother, spooning up behind him.

Dean smiled to himself and just lay there listening to Sam breathe, feeling his chest move against his back.

Before long the soft sounds lulled Dean into a restful, dreamless sleep.

X

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X

X

Bobby threw the large knife and it hits the first man in the eye, knocking him backwards.

Sam kicked his small camp stool back and shot the middle man repeatedly in the chest, the bullets pushing him backwards but not stopping him.

Dean grabbed his knife from his boot, it was triple coated with pure silver and he rushed towards the third man, easily ducking the outstretched hand that tried to hit him and twisted, grabbing the larger man and flung him around, pulling him up back to chest, his arm encircling the man's neck, the silver knife to his throat

Dean let the silver nick the man just a little, and the sizzle of flesh confirmed his suspicions.

"Shifters!" he yelled, and Bobby fell back, reaching for the weapons bag that was always at the ready.

"Fall back or I kill him!" Dean yelled, and the man Sammy was shooting stopped advancing.

The one Bobby had thrown the knife at sat up, the huge knife hanging out of his eye. He pulled it out, blood spurting as he did, and stood, knife in hand, ready to attack.

"Let him go or I kill the boy" he sounded menacing, and very sure of what he was threatening.

Bobby grabbed the bag and the man threw the knife, it hit Bobby's arm and sent him backwards.

Before anyone could react the third man had leapt forward and grabbed Sam, one hand in the teen's hair, the other at his throat.

Everyone froze.

"I can snap his neck before anyone moves" the attacker growled, Sam's eyes were bulging and he gasped at his air supply failing.

Dean pressed the knife harder into his captive's throat, and the man screamed.

This made Sam's attacker rip the boy's head back harder and Sam cried out.

"Don't you hurt him!" Dean's voice betrayed his one weakness.

His family.

"Oh, we gonna hurt all of you. You decide in what order, boy" the man with the ruined eye growled. "Hunters. Think you can come into our forest and pick us off, one by one. Well, we've had enough, and it's all gonna end here with you three"

X

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X

Dean was getting very tired and his thirteen year old legs were killing him. If he couldn't find any deer soon he'd have to turn back, he needed to get back before dawn. He was using every skill Bobby had taught him over the years, tracking the deer for miles.

Then he heard it. The soft rustle of the shrubs as they moved against fur hide.

The almost muffled snap of a twig as a gentle hoof touched soil.

He crept forward, his breath under control, his steps carful.

He was already a consummate hunter, every move Bobby had shown him was ingrained into his very sinew.

There, at the base of the tallest tree he'd ever seen, a doe stood, grooming her nearly grown fawn who was laying at her feet.

Dean stood and the doe jumped, startled. The fawn leapt to his feet, ready to run.

"Hey, it's me, do you remember? Do you remember me?" he asked, his hands held out, palms up, his voice soft and non threatening.

The deer just stood there, looking at him, ears and tails twitching nervously.

"Look, I could just be talking to deer, here, but I need to tell you guys something really important"

The deer stepped back a little, ready to run.

"Please, if you're the deer-shifter people. You gotta listen to me. They're coming. Hunters."

The deer continued to step back, but didn't take their eyes off him.

"Real hunters. Not the type that shoot animals. The type that kill monsters. They'll kill you. They'll keep hunting you till everyone is dead'

The deer moved further back. "You can't tell everyone. If they don't find you, they won't stop. Just you two. You gotta go. You gotta go now. They'll be here at dawn"

The deer turned and flew off into the forest, leaving Dean wondering if he'd just laid this dilemma on actual wildlife.

There was nothing more he could do. Dawn was fast approaching, the taste of the air had changed and he could hear birds start to move, already sensing the rising sun.

He hurried back to Bobby's at breakneck speed, and shimmied up the drain pipe unnoticed.

He couldn't sleep for the adrenaline running through him, he felt like his senses were on fire.

There would be no way to tell if he'd been successful.

At least he had tried.

X

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X

Bobby was holding his bleeding arm, and he rocked back a little on his haunches. "Let the boys go. They've never hurt any of you. Ever"

"Gah!" Sam gasped as his head was pulled back even further.

A shot rang out and the man holding Sam dropped, a bullet hole in his forehead.

The man with the ruined eye turned and his head snapped back as the crack of a bullet rang out, a chunk of the back of his skull flying free.

Dean stabbed the man he was holding through the heart and let him drop.

He turned to see who had been shooting, and there, still holding the smoking gun, was the woman deer-shifter.

Her son stood beside her, his young face grim.

Bobby stood, still holding his arm, and Dean bent to help his brother up.

"You okay?" he asked checking the already purpling bruise at his neck.

Sam nodded, but Dean had him tight by the shoulders. "You sure? You're okay?"

"Yeah" Sam gasped, not taking his eyes from the naked woman holding the gun.

Bobby moved sideways to his boys.

"That's the boy" Bobby spoke low, not taking his eyes off the pair. "The one that came to my house to thank us"

Dean turned and dropped his silver knife, then walked up to the woman and her son.

"Dean!" gasped Sam, his throat raw and his voice gravelly.

Dean just waved a hand from behind his back to indicate he was to be quiet.

Bobby stood shoulder to shoulder with Sam and watched to see what would unfold.

The young hunter walked up to the woman and her son, his face unreadable.

The woman handed him the gun. "This is yours" she spoke quietly, Dean had forgotten how smooth and velvety her voice was.

"My son took it from your bag earlier, no one saw"

The long lashes blinked, and she looked passed him to the hunters, then back at him.

"You saved us" Dean said.

She gave him a self conscious smile. "They were here to kill you. They had been planning this for many years"

"You didn't have to save us" Dean said. "But I am grateful you did. Thank you. Thank you for saving my brother and my uncle, as well"

She nodded. "You have saved us more than once, hunter. You have warned us at great risk to yourself. We would do more, if we could. We are alive, only because of you"

Dean nodded. She leaned forward, her scent wild, woods smells of grass and dirt.

She kissed him, this time on the lips, her mouth was soft and inviting and Dean breathed deep her fresh animal musk.

She pulled away and the boy tugged at his arm. Dean noticed the leather strap still tied around his wrist.

"Thank you, mister."

"What's your name?" Dean asked him.

The woman placed her hand on the boy's arm, drawing him back. "We have no human names. We must go. If we are missed….."

Dean nodded. "I understand. So what now? What happens to you two now?"

She smiled her sad, lost smile at him. "We shall go, very, very far away, where men rarely go. We have been lucky too many times, we cannot afford to push that luck any further"

The turned, shimmering back into their animal shapes, and ran off into the forest. Dean watched them go, a sadness washing over him.

"Ah, Dean?" Bobby called to him and he turned.

"You wanna tell us what just went down here?"

Dean frowned. "Not really. Let me see that arm, then we'll get rid f these bodies. I'm thinking camping's over for this weekend"

X

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X

Dean pushed his eggs around his plate, his appetite middling at best.

"You all right, boy?" Bobby asked him.

Dean just looked at his brother, then back to Bobby.

"Sammy, go brush yer teeth" Bobby ordered, and Sam skipped up the stair, oblivious to anything going down.

After the boy had thumped up the stairs, Dean made eye contact with Bobby. "You sent hunters after the shifters, didn't you?"

Bobby pulled out a chair and sat.

"You know why, boy, don't you?"

Dean nodded, barley able to contain his tears.

"How many? How many did they kill?"

Bobby scrubbed a hand through his beard. "Eight big bucks. They got them all"

"There were only males?"

"Well, they shot one doe, but that's all she was, a doe. Not a shifter. My buddies think the male breed with humans, or deer, there's no female deer-shifters."

Dean nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, that's what I thought" he said, and started to fork his eggs into his mouth.

He was feeling a lot better.

Bobby frowned, confused as to why the child was acting like this, till he remembered the doe and her fawn. Kid musta been worried the hunters killed her.

X

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x

They burned and buried the bodies, packed the car and made sure all signs of a camp were erased.

"You wanna tell us what went on there now, Dean?" Bobby asked, and Dean got the distinct feeling this was more of an order than a request.

"That was the boy, the one that went to Bobby's hose, wasn't it, Dean?" Sam asked him.

Dean nodded. He leaned against the car and told them the whole story, starting when he was ten, of every time they had run into the deer-shifter mom and boy, how he'd warned them, and how he had made sure they were safe.

Neither Bobby nor Sam spoke, they just let him talk.

Dawn had started to send soft fingers of light over the horizon as he finished his story. He didn't look at his brother or Bobby, he felt like he could cry, and he didn't know why.

Sam sniffed and wiped a tear from his cheek.

"I remember thinking you were gonna kill that deer's mom. I didn't know you were gonna kill a little boy's mommy" he whispered.

"Yeah, well, it's all over now. Let's go."

He turned and hopped into the passenger side of the pickup, Bobby and Sam got in, not speaking, both confused and conflicted.

Bobby turned the key as Hootie and the Blowfish sang out on the radio.

"Sometimes I feel..

Like a motherless child…

Like a mother…

A motherless child….

A long…

A long way from home…."

"Balls" muttered Bobby, snapping off the radio.

He stole a glance at Dean, the perfect profile highlighted by the rising sun shining through his window.

The gentle rays of gold also picked up and traced the path of a single tear as it ran its course down the softly stubbled cheek.

Bobby drove out of the camping area, his own throat too tight to speak.

Of course Dean could never have killed anyone's mommy.

Not now, maybe not ever.


A/N...Okay, I know Dean kills mommy monsters later when he's all grown up...but they didn't know that then, did they?

Not too much angst, I had planned on more, but that would have been a lot longer story. And I didn't want to wallow on Dean's broken heart. We all know it's there, he wears it on his sleeeve...

Please, leave a review, and have a little look at my other stories... I'm about to star posting a multi chpapter, much longer than this..