Chapter Twenty-Eight - Second Chances

After a quick shower and throwing her clothes back on, Mackenzie regrettably left Dean after one quick kiss in passing. She wished they could forget the world and stay in bed- like a normal couple, but they were not normal and their life was not normal.

Like always, they had a job to do; they had a shtriga to find and stop before anymore innocent children were hurt- which was why Dean was heading for the library to research. While he was gone, Mackenzie stayed behind at the motel to keep an eye on Michael, while his mother, Joanna, was still at the hospital with her youngest son, as well as Sam and Quinn.

For the next several hours, the two hung out and ordered pizza for dinner since Mackenzie couldn't even boil water. She was glad to see him eating several slices since he only had a sandwich earlier. Later on, she suggested watching a movie- hoping to distract him with what was going on with his brother.

They were half way through a movie when she noticed he had become really withdrawn and quiet. Turning down the volume on the television, she asked him if he wanted to talk, but he was determined to be strong and wouldn't say a word. She couldn't help but softly smile; he reminded her a lot of Dean, the strong and silent type. Not to mention, Michael also had to the whole protective big brother thing going on too.

When she realized he wasn't going to talk, she did like she would with Dean and decided not to push him to talk before he was ready. Turning the volume back up, she began to watch the movie again, but kept glancing at the younger boy from the corner of her eye.

Minutes later, she paused the movie again when the phone began to ring. After answering the call, she spoke to Joanna briefly as she called to check on Michael and give her an update on Asher. The older woman thanked her for helping out with Michael, then asked to speak to him.

Later after he sat back down beside Mackenzie on the couch, she could tell he looked even more worried and depressed then before. She silently watched him for a few minutes as he tried to get control of his emotions.

Reaching up to wipe at his eyes, he stared straight ahead, as he said,"Asher's getting worse."

"Is that what your mom said?" Mackenzie asked.

"No. She's trying to be positive but I can tell. He's getting worse." Michael said, his tone low.

"I'm sorry." She softly said, as she laid a hand on his shoulder, hoping to comfort him.

"I would do anything to save him. I have to save him and not just cause he's my brother but because this is my fault." He stated, his voice breaking as more tears filled his eyes.

Raising her head to look at the ceiling, she blew out a breath as she tried to get her own emotions under control- she hated seeing him hurting and blaming himself. He was just a kid; just like Dean was years ago when the shtriga came after his brother. Neither one was at fault, the truth was, there was no way they could have stopped it even if they tried.

As the tears took over, Michael slumped against her and she hugged him closer. She lightly ran a hand in a circular motion on his back, as she silently vowed to herself to stop this shtriga once and for all. It would not get away this time, it would not harm anymore kids, it would not destroy any more families or cause siblings to live with guilt the rest of their lives. No matter what, they were gonna kill the evil son of a bitch.

By the time the movie had finished, Michael had fallen asleep on the couch, his head resting on her lap after crying himself to sleep. She didn't bother to move him, she left him sleeping on her and brushed her fingers through his shaggy hair to help calm him from nightmares; like a mother would a child.

She wasn't sure how much time had past when she heard a door open. Seeing Dean pop his head in, she placed a finger against her lips- telling him to be quiet, when she saw his mouth open to speak. He nodded his head in understanding when he saw the young boy sleeping on her.

Carefully, she stood up from the couch, then rearranged Michael where he would be more comfortable. Grabbing a blanket from the back of the couch, she covered him up, then followed Dean outside. The two were silent as they made their way over to his motel room where Sam was waiting for them.

"Please tell me you all have found something." Mackenzie sighed, hoping they had some good news.

"It's the doctor." Dean said, getting right to the point.

"Dr. Hydeker?" Mackenzie asked surprised. When the two brothers in front of her nodded their heads, she added,"Are you serious?"

"We should have thought of this before. A doctor's a perfect disguise. You're trusted, you can control the whole thing." Sam pointed out.

Folding her arms across her chest, she shook her head with a sigh of disgust. Sam was right; it was the perfect disguise. She just couldn't believe he was under their nose the whole time, pretending he cared so much about the kids when he was the one harming them.

Now that they knew who it was, next step was figuring out how to stop him from striking again and hopefully find a way to save Asher and the other kids. She knew how it felt to lose a sibling and she did not want to see Michael go through that.

As that thought crossed her mind, she glanced around for a moment, realizing her sibling was nowhere to be found. Turning to look at the brothers, she asked,"Hey, where's Quinn?"

"She's in her room resting." Sam said.

Nodding her head at the answer, she got back on subject, as she asked,"So do we have a plan?"

Sam shook his head, as Dean spoke up,"Yeah we do."

"We do?" Sam asked confused, as he turned his head to look at him.

Nodded his head, Dean said,"Shtriga, works through siblings, right?"

As Mackenzie and Sam mumbled an answer, Dean continued,"Well last night..."

"It went after Asher." Mackenzie finished, understanding what he was saying now.

"So I'm thinking tonight it's probably gonna come after Michael." Dean added.

"Well we gotta get him outta here." Sam stated, as Mackenzie nodded her head in agreement.

"No, no. That would blow the deal." Dean argued.

"You're kidding, right?" Mackenzie asked in disbelief.

"You want to use the kid as bait?" Sam questioned. "Are you nuts?"

"It's the only way. If this thing disappears it could be years before we get another chance." Dean explained.

"No, no we are not doing this." Mackenzie stated, as she took a step toward him. "Michael is just a kid. I am not letting you do this, Dean."

"Dad did not send me here to just walk away." Dean said with a determined looked on his face. She knew how badly he wanted to make this right, but she can't agree to putting an innocent person in danger.

"Send you here?" Sam asked confused. "He didn't send you here, he sent us."

"This isn't about you, Sam. I'm the one who screwed up, all right. It's my fault. There's no telling how many kids have gotten hurt because of me." Dean finally admitted to his brother with a pained look on his face.

"What are you saying, Dean. How is it your fault?" Sam asked. When Dean didn't answer, he sighed then added,"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?"

Sam saw his brother lower his head and Mackenzie step closer to him. From the look on her face as she watched Dean closely, he knew whatever was going on she knew.

Pleading with his brother, he added,"Now talk to me, man. Tell me what's going on "

Mackenzie reached out to grab Dean's hand, giving it a squeeze to let him know she was there for him- giving him strength and letting him know he wasn't alone. He glanced over at her, glad she was by his side, then looked over at Sam as he finally told him what happened all those years ago. He explained how he went against John's orders and almost got him killed.

When the story was finished, Sam looked down at the floor in thought, he honestly didn't remember any of that. He was just a kid so it's not that surprising, but Dean was just a kid too- which is what he told his brother as he raised his head to look at him.

"Don't. Don't. Dad knew this was unfinished business for me. He sent me here to finish it." Dean argued.

"And you will finish it, Dean." Mackenzie spoke up. She leaned into his side and waited until he turned his head to look at her, then continued,"But you're not in this alone. We are all here to help and we will get him this time."

"She's right." Sam agreed. "But I'm still not sure about using Michael."

"Me either." Mackenzie said, then suggested,"How about one of us hides under the covers, we can be the bait?"

"No it won't work. For one; I'm not ever letting you be bait for anything." Dean said to the girl still pressed against his side, then added,"And two; It's gotta get close enough to feed it'll see us." Pausing for a moment, he shook his head, then said,"Believe me I don't like it, but it's gotta be the kid."

Sam sighed as he ran a hand over his face in frustration. Looking over at Dean, he gave in,"Okay, I still don't like this and I know Kenzie doesn't either." He waited a moment as she nodded her head, letting him know he was right, then he continued,"But okay, you can at least ask him."

"Fair enough. We'll explain it all to him and-"

"No not we." Sam interrupted. "You, Dean. You will explain it to him and ask if he wants to be used as bait. But just ask, don't force him into it."

"I never force anyone into anything." Dean argued. "I'm a nice, understanding guy."

"Yeah, right." Sam snorted, then added,"Well good luck with that." He wasn't sure if he was hoping Michael would agree to help or not.

He opened his mouth to say more, but before he could, he heard his cell phone ringing and pulled it out of his pocket. He looked at the caller id, then looked over at Dean to nod his head, letting him know it was someone he had called earlier to check out Quinn's story. He quickly answered the call then made his way outside for privacy.

With a sigh, Dean sat down on the edge of the bed and dropped his head as he ran a hand through his hair. Honestly, he wasn't a fan of using Michael as bait, but he didn't know any other way of tricking the not-so-good doctor. He would love to use himself as bait, but they only had one shot at this and he couldn't chance getting caught before they could light his ass up.

As that thought hit him he felt his muscles tighten as the pressure of it all hit him at once. They only had one chance- if they screwed up, there was no telling how long before Hydeker popped back up again. From his research this thing would appear every 15 to 20 years in a new town. They couldn't wait that long to track it again- it was now or never.

Feeling a set of hands on his shoulders, he jumped slightly for a moment until he caught a whiff of strawberries and mint. He had been so lost in his own thoughts, he had almost forgot Mackenzie was still in the room. When he felt her rubbing his tense shoulders, he let out a deep groan and felt them loosening up.

With his head lowered, he reached out and rested his hands on her hips, then brought her toward him. Once she was straddling him, he raised his head and with one look could tell she was concerned about him. She knew how important this case was to him, it was more than stopping a monster, it was a way to right a wrong that has haunted him for years.

Laying a hand on the side of her face, he gave her a short nod, answering her silent question and letting her know he was okay. He slid his hand to the back of her head, then leaned forward to press his lips against hers, but was surprised when she pulled back to stop him, and instead rested her forehead against his.

She squeezed her eyes shut, still seeing the crushed look on his face when she stopped him from kissing her. She hated to hurt him, but when she saw him leaning toward her she panicked. Now that they were out of their little bubble and back into the real world, her fear was back- she was terrified of needing him again and ending up heartbroken like two years ago.

Maybe she was just over thinking things and being paranoid for nothing, but it seemed like one way or another everyone always left her, and there wasn't many people she had in her life to begin with.

Laying her hands on the back of his neck, she opened her mouth, wanting to explain all of this to him, but it was like her voice had failed her and no words would come out. He pulled back to look at her, seeing her struggle to open up to him about the thoughts running through her head.

When he saw her mouth close, followed by a small shake of the head- as if to say nevermind, he blew out a small puff of air in annoyance, before tapping her leg to signal her to get up.

"I should go talk to Michael." He stated, as he stood up from the bed once she moved from his lap.

"Okay." She softly said, as she glanced down at her hands as she nervously messed with them.

He had only taken a few steps when her head shot up and she breathed out his name. Coming to a stop, he waited to see what she wanted and felt one of her hands close around his before she stepped closer to him.

He looked down at her, reading each emotion as it crossed her features. He knew she was scared, nervous and unsure about things when it came to them, but there was nothing he could say to ease her mind- it was something she had to figure out on her own. He knew what he wanted and he can tell she wanted the same, but fear was holding her back.

Her breathing picked up as she lifted her head, their lips almost touching, but it was like she couldn't close the gap. Gripping the sides of his jacket, she wanted to pull him closer, but couldn't even do that, instead she closed her eyes as if waiting for him to take the lead.

Blowing out a breath, he laid a hand on the side of her face, his thumb lightly caressing her bottom lip. He knew she wanted him to kiss her again and every part of him wanted to kiss her badly, but he couldn't do it, not this time. With a small shake of the head, he whispered,"I can't always be the one who makes the first move, sweetheart."

Pulling back to look at him, she bit her bottom lip, wishing she could do like before and stop thinking about all that could go wrong and just be in the moment with him, but for some reason it was harder this time and she couldn't make the move.

Seeing his face fall slightly when he realized she was putting her wall back up and closing herself off, she flashed him a small smile, as she whispered out,"I'm sorry, Dean-"

"It's okay." He choked out. Taking several steps away from her, he added,"We said we'll talk about this later, right? So we'll talk about it later."

"I know, but I... I don't want to be like this, Dean." She said, feeling frustrated at herself. Seeing the confused look on his face, she tried to explain,"I don't want to like this toward you. I don't want to go back and forth, and sending out mix signals or be so difficult about this, and above all, I don't want to hurt you-"

"You didn't hurt me, sweetheart." He interrupted, causing her to blow out an annoyed breath at his tone. It amazed her how there were two different ways he could toss out that pet name. There were times he would call her sweetheart in a loving matter, but other times it came out as a insult- this time was the latter.

"Well, I guess that tells me everything I need to know, huh?" She scoffed, as she folded her arms across her chest.

"I don't know what you want from me, Kenz!" He exclaimed, as he threw his arms out in frustration.

"Apparently nothing." She shrugged. She could tell him pulling away and trying to distancing himself from her- like he was trying to convince her that he didn't care about any of this enough to let it hurt him.

With a roll of the eyes, he threw up his hands, signaling he was done with the conversation, as he turned to walk to the door. He got his point across even more when he slammed the door behind him, causing her to flinch at the noise.

Standing in the middle of the room, she ran her fingers through her hair and squeezed her eyes shut, holding back an angry scream. She couldn't believe they were back here- back to what they said hours ago they weren't going to do anymore, but yet here they were fighting again.

As much as she wanted to be pissed at Dean, she knew she could only really be mad at herself- she was the one holding back and being difficult. She was the one too scared to be honest with him about her feelings.

Hearing the door open, she snapped her eyes open and saw Sam walk in after ending the phone call he got earlier. As soon as she saw him she could tell something was bothering him.

"Everything okay?" Mackenzie questioned.

"Yeah, yeah, everything's good." Sam lied. He couldn't tell her the truth- he couldn't tell her that one of his contracts didn't come through. Then he would have to tell her that neither him or Dean trusted her sister. He knew how happy she was when Quinn came back into her life and he didn't want to take that from her.

As he walked further into the room and saw her clearer, he could tell something was bothering her as well. Shooting her a concern look, he asked,"Are you okay?"

"Mm-hm." She nodded her head, before turning away from him.

"Let me guess... Dean?" He sighed. As she kept her back toward him and didn't answer, that told him all he needed to know. With a shake of the head, he added,"I thought you two worked things out?"

"We did." She answered. Turning to face him, she released a sigh, as she added,"Or maybe we just made things worse... I don't know."

"What happened?" He questioned.

"I don't... I..." She tried to explain, but tripped over her words. Throwing her arms out to the side, she admitted,"I screwed up!"

Sam opened his mouth to ask how, but she cut him off as she began to pace back and forth. "I'm not good at this! I just... I'm not use to needing anyone, you know? I basically grew up alone while my father was either gone on revenge fueled hunts or either he was passed out drunk when he was around. I always took care of myself..." Remembering her father's motto, she added,"Plus, getting close to someone is a hunter's greatest weakness, right?"

He opened his mouth to tell her he didn't believe that, but before he could say a word, she came to a stop in front of him and began to talk again. "I mean, the only time I talked to anyone around my age is when we all went for pizza when we were kids. That's pathetic, right?"

He didn't even try to answer her this time as she began to pace again and added,"And then, years later, I ran into your brother again and there was something there between us- I think it's been building and building all these years and we finally gave into that feeling and I fell hard." Coming to a stop, she squeezed her eyes closed for a moment, then with a shake of the head began to ramble again,"Or at least I think I did... or maybe it was all in my head, I don't know."

When she began to pace again, he stepped in front of her, placing his hands on her shoulders to stop her. "Wait, Kenzie, just wait." Bending at the knees to get to her level, he said,"I think you know exactly how you feel... You're just too scared to admit it."

"I was finally going to do it..." She said, her voice barely above a whisper. Her vision blurred with tears, as she continued,"I was finally going to completely open myself up to someone; I finally realized I did need someone and that someone was your brother." Brushing the tears away before they could fall, she added,"I let my walls down, I was feeling things and then I lost everything again. All at once I lost my father and Dean."

"But you didn't really lose Dean." He pointed out. "He's still here, Kenzie. He never left you, he never walked away."

A soft smile appeared on her face, as something he said earlier crossed her mind. "He told me before that he thinks time can mend... that it can heal all the pain and hurt."

"Maybe it can." Sam suggested.

"But what if it can't?" Mackenzie quietly asked. "I mean, even though now I know back then wasn't his fault, the pain and hurt is still there. That day destroyed me and the only thing that kept me going was my own revenge filled hunt to find Quinn." Blowing out a shaky breath, she questioned,"What if I start letting some of that go- like vengeance and anger and pain to let other things in, but those other things ends up hurting me again?"

"That's just the chance you have to take, Kenzie." He stated. "None of us are promised an easy or painless life, but in my opinion, it's a little less painful if you're not alone... when you finally let go and just let someone completely in."

A sad smile appeared on his face as he thought of his girlfriend, Jess. There was a time he wasn't even sure if he could carry on without her- her death had left a hole in his life. He knew the pain would never fully go away and he knew it would always feel like something was missing now that she was gone, but even with knowing how it all ended, if he had to do it over, he would still be with her. He wouldn't trade their time together for anything.

Giving her shoulders a friendly squeeze, he continued,"Getting close to someone is not a weakness for anyone. Closing yourself off, trying to do everything alone, not letting anyone in; those are weaknesses, and not a good way to live your life."

She slowly nodded her head at his words. She remembered at one time she thought the same thing- anytime her father would say that, she secretly disagreed. She believed the way Sam did; that having someone to turn to was an asset, not a weakness, but she never spoke those thoughts out loud to her dad. Then through the years, she stopped believing in that and began to accept his motto as her own.

Seeing she had a lot on her mind now, he didn't want to push her any further. He gave her a smile, before saying,"Just think about it."

Giving him a nod, she surprised him as she stepped forward to hug him, before mumbling out,"Thank you, Sam."

"Anytime, Kenzie." He said, as he squeezed his arms, giving her a tight hug.

"Looks like those years at Stanford did you good, college boy." She joked, as she stepped back to end the hug.

"I guess so." He laughed along with her until they heard the door open and saw Dean walk in- slamming it shut behind him.

Between his argument with Mackenzie earlier and Michael threatening to call the cops on him, he wasn't in the best of moods. He tried to explain to the young boy what was going on and that they needed his help, but he wouldn't budge. Now they needed a backup plan.

"How did it go?" Mackenzie questioned- unsure if his bad mood was cause of her or his talk with Michael.

"Crappy." Dean answered, his voice gruff.

"What did you expect? You can't ask an adult to do something like that, much less a kid." Sam pointed out.

"Okay, so, now we need a plan B." Mackenzie stated. Looking at the brothers, she asked,"Anyone have any new ideas?"

As Sam shrugged, Dean opened his mouth to respond until a knock at the door interrupted him. He looked at his brother and Mackenzie, the confused look on their faces matching his own as they wondered who could be at the door.

Being closer to the door, Mackenzie walked over to it. After a quick glance in the peephole, she swung the door open and was surprised to see Michael on the other side with a nervous look on his face. The three didn't know if he was there to talk or to warn them that he called the cops and they needed to leave.

Michael didn't say anything until he walked into room, making them even more uneasy, until he looked at Dean and asked,"If you kill it, will Asher get better?"

"Honestly? We don't know." Dean answered.

"You said you were a big brother." Michael said. He waited until Dean nodded his head, then continued,"You'd take care of your little brother? You'd do anything for him?"

"Yeah, I would." Dean said back.

"Me too. I'll help." Michael said, trying to be brave.

Walking up behind him, Mackenzie laid a hand on his shoulder, hoping to offer him some of her strength. "You're doing the right thing, Michael. We'll get him."

"You'll be there, right? Like in the room with me?" Michael questioned, as he tilted his head back to looked at her.

Mackenzie opened her mouth to answer but before she could Dean beat her to it,"I'm sorry, Michael, but she can't be in there. We need him to think you are alone or he might not show."

"I'll be watching though and if you need me all you have to do is yell, okay?" Mackenzie said to the younger boy. When he nodded his head, she squeezed his shoulders, then said,"You can do this, Michael. I believe in you."

"I can do this." Michael repeated, feeling like he actually could.

•••

Unfortunately that feeling didn't last for long. Later that night, Michael, Mackenzie and Dean were standing in Michael's room to get things set up. Dean was in a corner of the room setting up a security camera while Mackenzie tried to keep the younger boy calm.

"I can't do this." Michael mumbled, as the nerves began to set in.

"You can do this. Just think of Asher." Mackenzie said to him, as she sat in front of him on the bed.

He hesitated for a moment, making her wonder if he was going to change his mind, but as his little brother crossed his mind, he blew out a breath then nodded his head- letting her know he was still involved with the plan.

"This camera has night vision on it so we'll be able to see clear as day." Dean stated, hoping to ease his mind by letting him know he wasn't technically alone. Looking into the camera, he asked Sam,"Are we good?"

"A hair to the right." Sam answered from a nearby room- where the three would be watching all night. After Dean moved the camera like he suggested, he called out,"Okay, good now."

"What do I do?" Michael questioned, as he looked from Dean to Mackenzie and back again.

"Just stay under the covers." Dean answered.

"And if it shows up?" Michael asked, referring to the shtriga.

"We'll be right in the next room. We're gonna come in with guns. So as soon as we do you roll off this bed and you crawl under it." Dean instructed.

"What if you shoot me?" Michael asked, starting to have second thoughts again.

"They won't shoot you. Dean and Sam are two of the best shooters around. They're not going to fire until you're clear, okay?" Mackenzie stated. Seeing him nod his head, she asked,"Have you heard a gunshot before?"

"Like in the movies?" Michael questioned.

"It's gonna be a lot louder than in the movies." Dean explained. "So I want you to stay under the bed, cover your ears, do not come out until we say so. Understand?"

After he gave Dean a short nod, Mackenzie spoke, getting his attention. "Michael, are you sure you want to do this?" As he looked at her silently, she added,"You don't have to, it's okay, I won't be mad and neither will Dean."

"No, it's okay, I'll do it." Michael said to her. He was still nervous about the whole thing, but he remembered what she told him before- to do it for Asher. Turning to look at Dean as he stood behind Mackenzie, he added,"Just don't shoot me."

Dean softly smiled as he patted his shoulder. "We're not going to let anything happen to you, I promise you."

"Okay." Michael said, letting them know he was ready to do this.

After tucking him in, Mackenzie gave him a smile, then as much as she hated to do it, she turned to leave the room with Dean. They were almost to the room Sam was in, when she came to a stop, then reached out to grab his arm to stop him.

"Wait, just wait a minute." She breathed out. As he turned to look at her, she added,"This is going to work, right? And-And Michael's going to be okay, right?"

"I won't let anything happen to him." He promised her. Looking away from her, he told himself not to ask, but he couldn't stop himself. Turning his head back to look at her, he asked,"You trust me, right?"

She was silent for a moment, making him regret asking, while she thought about everything Sam told her earlier. Blowing out a breath, she looked at him closely and ignored all the racing thought in her mind- the ones telling her to be careful and not to get close again, she ignored all of that as she for once listened to her heart instead.

Flashing him a dimpled smile, she honestly answered,"I do trust you, Dean."

Returning her smile, he felt his heart race at her answer. Laying a hand on the small of her back, he nodded toward the room, as he said,"Come on, let's go kill that son of bitch."

•••

Hours later; Sam, Mackenzie and Dean were sitting side by side as they watched Michael on the computer screen. Mackenzie felt bad for the young boy as she watched him sit like a stone, afraid to move. She was really proud of him though, this would be hard for anyone to do, much less someone at his age.

"What time is it?" She asked the brothers who were sitting on either side of her.

"Almost three." Sam answered after glancing at the watch on his wrist. Looking over her head to Dean, he asked,"Are you sure these iron rounds are gonna work?"

"Consecrated iron rounds." He corrected, then added,"And, yeah it's what Dad used last time."

The three fell silent as they watched the screen, waiting for movement at the bedroom window, until Sam spoke up.

"Hey, Dean, I'm sorry."

"For what?" Dean questioned, a confused look on his face as looked over Mackenzie's head to look at his brother.

"You know, I've really given you a lot of crap, for always following Dad's orders. But I know why you do it." Sam softly said.

"Oh, God. Kill me now." Dean mumbled, not in the mood for a chick flick moment. Turning back to look at the screen, he jumped a bit in surprise when he felt someone grab his hand- he was even more surprised when he turned his head and saw it was Mackenzie who had done it.

"Hey, look." Sam called out, breaking the moment between them.

Mackenzie and Dean turned their heads to look back at the screen as a hand began to lift the window. Without looking away from the screen, Dean and Sam reached out to grab their guns, ready to rush in at the right moment as the shtriga appeared in the room.

"Now?" Sam questioned.

"Not yet." Dean answered.

Mackenzie chewed on her bottom lip and felt knots in her stomach as they continued to watch the screen. She wished they would rush in now and save Michael, but she meant what she said before, she trusted Dean and knew he would spring into action at the right moment.

As the shtriga leaned down toward a terrified Michael and began to draw out his energy, Mackenzie hit Dean's arm and called out,"Now! Go now!"

Dean and Sam quickly jumped up and ran to Michael's room with their guns raised. Dean yelled for Michael to get down, then as soon as he rolled out of the bed and crawled underneath, the two brothers opened fire, hitting the shtriga multiple times each.

After seeing the shtriga fall to the floor and believing it was dead, Mackenzie ran to the bedroom. As she rushed inside, taking the brothers by surprise, they both turned and pointed their guns at her.

Holding her hands in surrender, she stated,"It's okay, it's just me." Glancing around the room, she added,"Is everyone okay? Michael?"

"I'm okay." Michael's muffled voice called out from under the bed.

"Good, just stay where you are." Mackenzie said. Looking at the brothers, she asked,"Is it dead?"

"I'm not sure." Dean mumbled, as he inched closer to it with his gun pointed. As the shtriga laid still, he glanced over at Sam and Mackenzie, feeling himself relax a bit as he thought it was over- until it suddenly stood up and grabbed him by the throat before throwing him against a wall.

Rushing further into the room, Mackenzie called out Dean's name and tried to check on him, until the shtriga appeared in front of her and threw her across the other side of the room, causing her to hit the floor with a hard thud near the bed. Michael knew he was supposed to stay under the bed, but he was so worried he had to check on her. Scooting toward her body, he reached out to grab her hand, then signed in relief when she let out a pained groan.

Being the last one standing, Sam pointed his gun at the shtriga but before he could fire off a shot, the gun was knocked out of his hand before he was tossed to the floor. He tried to roll away, but the shtriga was above him and began to draw out his energy. Ignoring the pain he was in, Dean stood up and called out to the monster. As soon as he turned his head, Dean fired off a shot, hitting him in the head and knocking him to the floor.

"You okay, little brother?" Dean questioned. After Sam nodded his head and stood up, he called out for Mackenzie, needing to know if she was okay as well, but was scared to look away from the shtriga again.

"She's okay. I-I think." Michael called out, as he glanced down, trying to check on her.

Calling out his brother's name, Dean nodded toward the bed, silently asking him to check on Mackenzie and Michael, while he took a step closer to the shtriga. Just to be sure, he pulled the trigger a few more times, hitting him in the heart and saw all the energy it stole leaving his mouth before he began to deteriorate. Taking a step back, he blew out a breath, he couldn't believe the shtriga was dead- after all these years it was finally over.

Now that the coast was clear, he rushed over to the other side of the room to check on the others. After seeing that Sam and Michael were okay, he kneeled down beside Mackenzie. His heart pounding in his chest as he brushed the hair from her face to get a better look at her. Other than a cut on her forehead, she seemed to be okay, but he would feel a lot better once she opened her eyes.

Letting out a soft groan, Mackenzie's eyes fluttered opened, seeing Sam and Michael standing over her. Turning her head to the side, she saw Dean on the floor beside her.

"Hey, you okay?" Dean questioned, as he lightly ran his thumb over her forehead near the cut.

"Mm-hm." She hummed. With Dean's help, she sat up before asking,"So, did we get it?"

"Yeah, they got it, it's over now." Michael smiled.

"Good. That's great to hear." Mackenzie said back, as she reached out to ruffle his hair, causing him to laugh as he moved his head away. He couldn't keep a smile from his face as he realized it was all over and they all made it out alive.

•••

Even though the shtriga was gone, Michael was still uneasy being alone, Mackenzie offered to hang out with him for the rest of the night while the brothers grabbed a few hours of sleep. The three hunters were mostly okay, just a cut here and there, along with some sore muscles.

As the night turned into morning, one by one everyone began to wake up and made their way outside into the bright sunlight. Quinn played the part of concern sister and placed a new band-aid on Mackenzie's cut then made her way over to the Jeep and tossed her bag into the back.

After grabbing her bag from the motel room, Mackenzie looked over at the Impala as Dean and Sam put their bags into the trunk. Now that the case was over, she needed to talk to Dean- it was time. She tossed her bag into the Jeep then made her way over to the brothers with Quinn following along behind her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Joanna pull into the parking lot. Seeing the brothers first, she walked over to them, wondering where her son was until he ran out of the office building and called out to her. He threw himself into her arms, as the sisters approached the group.

Joanna updated everyone on Asher and the other kids, thankfully they were all going to be okay. After telling her son she would take him to the hospital to visit his brother, Joanna began to tell the group bye and thank them for their help. No one was all that surprised when Michael rushed toward Mackenzie and gave her a hug- it was plain to see the two had got close during their stay and would miss each other.

After Joanna and Michael left, it was time for the others to hit the road. Quinn left the group first, walking over to the Jeep and getting into the passenger side. Next was Dean as he walked over to the driver side of the Impala and slide behind the wheel, leaving Sam and Mackenzie standing at the back of the car.

Turning to look at him, she squint her eyes to keep the sun out, as she asked,"Hey, Sam, can you do me a favor?"

"Yeah?" Sam spoke up, then was surprised when she held out her car keys.

"Will you drive the Jeep so I can talk to Dean?" She questioned.

"Finally made up your mind?" He asked.

"Yes, I have." She nodded.

"Then yes I will." He smiled, as he took the keys from her hand and made his way toward her vehicle.

Now alone, she blew out a nervous breath, then walked over to the passenger side of the Impala. Opening the door, she leaned down to look at Dean, as she asked,"Is it okay if I ride with you?"

Looking up in surprise at hearing her voice, he gave her a nod, then watched as she sat down beside him and shut the door. He waited until she was reaching back to grab the seat belt before he said,"You can ride me anytime, sweetheart."

She froze, then shot him a playful glare before saying,"Don't make me regret getting in the car with you."

Laughing at her comment, he started the car then pulled out of the parking lot with Sam following along behind him in the Jeep. He drove silently down the road for a few minutes, then glanced over at her, as he said,"Not that I'm complaining, but why did you want to ride with me?"

"I figured since the case was over we could talk." She answered. "About, you know... us."

"Okay, I'm listening." He said, letting her have control of the conversation since she brought it up. In his opinion he had made his feelings known, she was the one that needed to figure out what she wanted.

Pulling in a deep breath, she figured she would get right to the point- like ripping off a band-aid. "I want to be with you, Dean."

His eyebrows raised in surprise at her confession. He wasn't expecting to hear that so soon. Flashing her a quick smile, before looking back at the road, he said,"Well, I like where this is going."

Playfully rolling her eyes at his comment, she continued,"I've known that since I was twelve and you kissed me for the first time outside my fake house."

Dean chuckled at the memory, remembering when she led him to a random house and told him she lived there since she didn't want him to know that she and her father hunted monsters like him and his family did.

Reaching out to rest a hand on her knee, he tone low as he admitted,"I've wanted you since then too. You are all I've ever wanted, Kenz."

She smiled at his comment, then laid her head back against the headrest to look at him. Blowing out a breath, she confessed,"I know I can be difficult at times, but I don't mean to be. You might even discover later on that I'm hard to love, but I'm trying. I'm just not use to this, I'm not use to needing someone so badly, and, oh, my God, I need you, Dean. I really do."

"In your bed?" Dean joked, as he looked over at her with a cocky grin on his face.

"You just had to ruin a good moment, didn't you?" Mackenzie laughed, as she lightly slapped his stomach.

"Maybe I'm a little difficult too." He admitted, as he glanced over at her for a moment before looking back at the road.

"Maybe? A little?" She teased, causing him to grab her hand and bring it up to his mouth to playfully bite her fingers. She chuckled and pulled her hand away, then leaned forward to bite his shoulder. Laughing along with her, he pushed her away from him, telling her not to start something she can't finish.

Turning in her seat to face him, she grew serious as she asked,"We can do this, right? I mean, this time will be different?"

"Mm-hm." He nodded. Turning his green eyes to her for a second, he added,"I'm not losing anymore time with you, Kenz. I'm all in."

A dimpled smile appeared on her face, before saying,"I'm all in too."

Remembering a question he asked her two years ago, he leaned his head toward her, keeping his eyes on the road, as he asked,"What would you think about leaving with me?"

Chuckling at the question, she couldn't stop herself from giving him the same answer back that she did that day when he asked her to leave with him. "Why, Dean Winchester, are you asking me to run away with you?"

"You bet your sweet ass I am." He said back, just like he did back then causing her to laugh out loud.

Leaning toward her, she wrapped an arm around her neck, before whispering in his ear,"I'll always run away with you, Dean."

•••

a/n - Thank you to everyone reading and/or adding the story. Big thanks to Winchestergirl5, Carver Edlund, Deangirl93, BlackBloodRose64, adaddario, Guest, Sage Londyn, deanstheman, WinchesterSalvatoreLover, deangirl72 and Maggie Valo for reviewing. Happy reading!