Sam didn't exactly feel sick any more, but he didn't exactly feel a hundred percent either. Most of all he just wanted to sleep. He made good use of Dean's discarded bottles and lined them up along the edge of the door after Dean had left, where after he unceremoniously dropped into bed and was out cold ten minutes later.

He only woke up when something jabbed the back of his left shoulder. Expecting it to be Dean, he rolled over on his back.

"Wakey wakey, Sammy."

Hearing Bela's voice caught him off guard, mainly because he thought he had taken every precaution and knew she shouldn't have been able to get in without him hearing it. "What the ..." he started and stopped short when his eyes fixated on the gun she was holding.

"Where's the box, Sam?" she asked.

"I don't have it," he said and pushed himself up on his elbows.

"Now you and I both know that's not true, Sam. You haven't let it out of your sight since our little encounter in that diner. Very smart of you to go grab it like you did, but not smart enough. I want it and I want it now," she countered.

Dean was right. She looked more desperate than cocky right now. "And I just told you, I don't have it," Sam countered and started to sit up.

"Uh-uh, that's far enough," she said and the warning note in her voice was sincere enough for Sam to comply. "And stop playing games. You know I won't hesitate to pull the trigger."

She wasn't only desperate, she was scared too. He could almost smell the fear on her. "Yeah, I know. You've proven your psychotic tendencies already," he said. "But this time there's no rabbit's foot involved. What makes you think you'll hit me?"

"What makes you think I'll miss?" she shot back. "Stop stalling. I want that box," she insisted.

Sam closed his eyes briefly and sighed. "I – don't – have it," he countered, stressing each word. "Dean took it with him. He's visiting a friend in town who might know what it contains."

"Yeah right," Bela hissed. "Look, Sam, I realize by now that neither you nor your brother give a damn one way or another, but that box belongs with my buyer. He claims ownership of it because of the amount he paid for it. And if I don't deliver it, he'll do things to me far worse than killing me."

Sam stared at her for a moment and was actually a little bit disconcerted by the fact that he really didn't care if her buyer tore her to shreds. "You shouldn't have sold it before you had it then, should you?" he countered and couldn't help a small smile. "Why don't you just give the guy his money back? You can't tell me you've already spent over ten million dollars."

"That's not how this works, Sam. I am paid to perform a service and he does not want the money. He wants the box. And I have promised him the box. If he doesn't get it, he will take me out and then he will come after you. And believe me, you don't want that to happen," Bela said, now decidedly agitated. "You'd better get on your phone and call you brother. Tell him to bring the box back here or he'll end up being an only child."

Sam sneered. "I don't think so," he countered.

Bela bared her teeth in an almost feral display. "You have no idea what you're up against," she snapped and grabbed the pillow from Dean's bed.

A little disconcerted by the almost crazy fear he saw in her eyes, Sam tried to determine when to make his move, but realized too late that the fear she was displaying wasn't even the tip of the iceberg. Before he could make a move, she slammed the pillow onto his left thigh, jammed the gun against it and pulled the trigger.

The pillow dampened the shot enough that nobody outside would have heard it – not that anyone was around – but it most certainly didn't lessen the explosion of agony a shot wound like that caused.

With a repressed yelp, Sam reared up, grabbing for his leg with one hand while he tried to grab the gun from her hand with the other, but Bela was prepared and pulled back out of his reach. "That was a warning shot," she snarled. "The next one is going to do some real damage."

"You bitch," Sam snapped while clawing his fingers into his thigh just above the wound.

Bela pulled back further, caught sight of his phone lying on the table next to the laptop and grabbed it, then threw it onto the bed next to him. "Call Dean. Tell him to come back here with the damned box right now or I'll really hurt you," she persisted.

"Screw you. You think I'm gonna risk drawing him into this?" Sam pressed out, barely able to speak around the pulsating pain from his leg.

"If you want to live, you will," Bela said. Her tone had gone deadly cold now and he saw nothing but murderous intent in her eyes.

He allowed himself a few seconds of thought, then grabbed the phone and speed-dialed Dean's cell. Unfortunately, his brother obviously didn't want to be disturbed, because it went to voice mail at once. And the fact alone that Sam couldn't get in touch with Dean right now made his blood run cold. "He's not answering," he pressed out.

"Try again," she said, waving the gun at him.

Sam sneered, then tried again with the same result. "Voicemail," he said.

"Too bad for you," Bela growled and aimed the gun at his chest.

"Wait!" Sam raised one hand, suddenly afraid for his life. The fear brought darker undercurrents with it that rattled him a little, but he didn't really have time to focus on it.

Bela, however, was in no mood to wait. She aimed, then covered the muzzle with the pillow and again pulled the trigger. At the last possible second, Sam shifted his position and the bullet slammed into his right shoulder rather than into the center of his chest. The impact knocked him back down on the bed, but it didn't knock him out even though he wished it had.

Bela stepped up to the bed, grabbed a handful of his t-shirt and yanked him up. He couldn't keep a yelp of pain at bay from his injured shoulder. "You tell that brother of yours that I'll be back for the box. And next time, Sammy, you won't be so lucky," she snarled, then released him and left.

It took him a moment to gather himself enough to move at all. The whole situation had left him a little numb, but he had no doubt that the pain from both wounds would erupt as soon as he moved. But he couldn't just lie there and bleed either. He had no idea when Dean would be back and couldn't rely on his brother to save the day right now. He needed to stop the bleeding.

He'd been shot before, but never quite like this. The bullet wound in his shoulder was extremely painful, but the one that had torn through skin and muscle alone on his thigh seemed to hurt twice as much.

With a grunt and teeth clamped together, he struggled to sit up, his right arm nearly useless, his left leg pulsating with pain, and he realized that even if he could get off the damned bed, there was no way he could get to the duffle with the first aid kit. Not without help. Biting down hard on a curse, he grabbed his phone again, his left hand slick with blood already, and dialed Dean's cell again. He needed to leave his brother a message at least. With a little luck, Dean would check his messages at some point.


"This is a nice place you've got here," Dean said while trailing through the ground floor of Lucy's humble abode. There wasn't much of anything that could be called extraordinary, no flashy paintings on the walls, no gilded cups or statues or anything else that might indicate she was into anything weird and Dean smirked at Sam's concern over her.

"Thank you," Lucy said from the kitchen. "Can I get you something to drink?" she asked and turned up in the doorway. "You strike me as being more into beer than wine," she added and held a bottle out to him.

Dean took it and arched an eyebrow. It was his favorite brand. "You pecked that right," he agreed with a grin and took a swig of the beer.

"So, how is your brother?" she asked with a vague smile and returned to the kitchen.

"Getting better," Dean countered and briefly considered checking his messages. "He's a little sensitive, you know."

"Really?" she asked. "He didn't strike me as particularly sensitive when I ran into him out by the motel."

Dean smirked. "Yeah, well, he wasn't in the best of moods then. We'd just had a bit of a fight," he said.

"You fight a lot?" Lucy asked.

"Not really. It's more like we disagree on certain issues," he said and leaned a shoulder against the doorframe. The need to smile at the situation tapered off. "He used to be such a goody-two-shoes, you know. But he's changing."

"That happens. People grow up, change their ways. In my experience, most people lose their innocense and start seeing the world for what it really is fairly early on," Lucy said.

"Yeah, I know," Dean agreed. "It just bugs me that it's happening to my little brother."

"I don't blame you," Lucy said, grabbed her glass of wine and nodded toward the living room.

Dean led the way and settled down on the couch. Lucy's taste was a little bland. There wasn't much of anything identifying her in the furniture and there were generally no nicknacks, although she did seem to be fond of candles.

Lucy settled down next to him and eyed him for a moment. "One thing that strikes me as a bit odd here is that you signed into the hotel under different names," she said.

Dean instantly tensed. He couldn't help it. When someone called him on a bluff, he got cautious. "Uh ... well ..."

"Is there any specific reason for that you use aliases?" Lucy asked on, totally unfazed by his reluctance to answer.

Dean met her eyes and slowly began to catch on to what Sam had been hinting at. He feverishly struggled to find a plausible explanation, suddenly very much aware that she would probably be able to see through any of the normal lies he would toss out there. "Tricky situation," he said after a moment. "Don't really know if I feel comfortable sharing that with you," he added and gave her a sheepish smile.

Lucy's expression remained the same. She looked neither cautious nor annoyed. "Oh, I understand your apprehension, Dean," she said. "Are you wanted by the police or something?"

She was getting a little too close to the core of it and it bothered him to the extreme. "Well ... since you ask," he said and considered how much to tell her.

"I know you're wanted by the FBI, Dean," Lucy interrupted him. "And the local sherif knows too. So I think you should be a little careful about walking around town."

For the longest of moments Dean just stared at her. Normally he was extremely good at reading others, but he had no clue which way she was going with this. A little flustered, he wiped a hand over his lips, suddenly not so much at ease around her any more. He was really beginning to understand Sam's apprehension. And then a thought hit him that had previously eluded him. "Wait a minute ... you recognized Sam when you ran into him?" he asked, totally distracted away from her revelation for now.

All she did was look at him.

"So ... what's gonna happen now? You're gonna call the cops on me?" he finally asked.

"No. Why on Earth would I do that?" Lucy countered and rose. "How do you like your meat? Rare? Medium? Well done?" With that, she left the livingroom and disappeared into the kitchen.

Dean just sat there for a moment. He had no idea how to respond. She had stated the facts calmly, without the faintest shimmer of doubt or concern, and that worried him more than anything else. That she knew he was wanted could be explained, but that she didn't really take a stand on it couldn't. Most people would be apprehensive.

Almost as if on a hunch, he pulled his phone out of one pocket. He needed to distract himself away from this, to calm down enough to formulate a plan. It actually rattled him a little when he realized that he had switched his phone off at some point. "Damn," he muttered. The only reason for that he had decided to take Lucy up on her dinner invitation had been based solely on that Sam could get in touch with him if necessary. He had been in her house for almost an hour now and it had taken him half an hour from the motel to her place, which generally meant that Sam had been totally on his own for one and a half hours. And something about that thought sent a shiver through Dean. He quickly turned on the phone and instantly received three missed call messages. All from Sam. "Shit," he muttered and speed-dialed Sam's cell.

It rang too many times for his liking, but finally the connection was established and he instantly started to calm down again. "Sam? You called me?"

The first thought that popped into his mind when nothing but silence answered him was that Sam was pissed off at him and would leave him hanging. Then he heard Sam clear his throat. "I need help."

Dean had never heard his brother sound this feeble before, but he did so now. He sounded like he was fading. With his grip tightening on the phone, he rose abruptly. "Sammy? What's wrong?"

"Got ... shot," Sam pressed out, his words a little slurred.

"WHAT!?" Sam didn't have to tell him. He knew who had shot his brother and it pissed him off royally. "Hang on, Sammy. I'm coming," he said. "Stay on the line. Don't hang up. You hear me?"

"Yeah," Sam rasped.

Dean strode into the kitchen. "Lucy, I gotta go. Sam's in trouble," he said.

She eyed him for a second. "Is it serious?" she asked.

"Yeah, he's been shot," Dean countered, then sneered. "Dammit, I can't take him to the hospital if the sherif in town knows about me," he added heatedly.

"Let me help," Lucy suggested and switched the oven off.

Dean frowned at her. "Why would you want to?" he asked.

"Because I can," she countered. "Let's go," she added and strode past him into the hallway.

Dean just stood there for a second, then shook the sense that he was missing something major here and followed her while raising the phone back to his ear. "Sammy? You still with me?"

"Yeah," Sam countered.

"Just hang in there. I'm on my way back," Dean said.


Sam had gotten as far as using the pillowcase of his pillow to stem the flow of blood from his shoulder, but he couldn't gather enough strength to do something about his leg, which was bleeding badly too.

When Dean had finally called back, it had taken him a moment to get his act together enough to speak and he was deeply relieved when Dean told him he was on his way back. Half an hour. He just had to hang on for half an hour longer.

He wasn't so relieved any more when he realized that Dean had brought Lucy back with him. There was something in that woman's eyes that disturbed Sam on a very basic level and he most of all wanted her gone.

The second Dean saw him, his expression tensed to the breaking point. "Call an ambulance," he said to Lucy.

"No, we'll take him there ourselves. You drive us there, but you're not coming in with us," she countered, her tone almost commanding. Sam paled at the idea of having to rely on her for anything.

"If you think I'm leaving him alone, you've got another thing coming," Dean snapped angrily.

Lucy eyed him for a second, then suddenly lashed out and grabbed the front of his t-shirt, yanking him in real close. "You will do as I tell you, Dean. You're brother is in pain and there is no doubt in my mind that if they see you at the hospital, they're going to call the feds faster than you can count to three. You are not going to be any help to him at all if you land yourself in jail," she countered. Her tone was flat, her eyes too dark, and her words seemed to cut through anything Dean had intended to say. She released him and strode into the bathroom, only to return with two towels. The bigger one she rolled up, then wrapped it around Sam's leg and pulled it tight.

Despite being depleted from the blood loss and the pain, Sam reared up. Dean grabbed him, pushing him back down. "Don't. We have to stop the bleeding, dude," he said, his tone uncommonly mellow. Sam noted the way he glanced at Lucy, noted the concern there, but he didn't have the stamina to respond to it.

Lucy wadded up the second towel and handed it to Dean, who pressed it almost gently against Sam's shoulder. Sam squared his jaw and bit back on the need to curse out loud while trying to keep Lucy in his line of sight.

"Let's get him to the hospital. He may need a transfusion," Lucy said. The whole situation seemed to leave her totally calm, which Sam couldn't really make fit with anyone he'd ever run across. Even the most levelheaded of people always displayed a little anxiety when dealing with people who had been shot and this woman was supposedly a former school teacher.

Sam glanced at Dean, then tried to help as much as he could when Dean got him to his feet. Getting off the bed was just about the most painful thing Sam had ever done in his life and considering how many times in his life he had been in pain for one or the other reason, it only served to tell him that Bela had known exactly where to shoot him to hurt him the most.

For some reason, Sam had believe that the going would be easier once he was on his feet, but the world started swaying dangerously and the pain from both shot wounds increased ten-fold to such a point that Sam could barely remain on his feet even with help. His right knee buckled under him and Dean grunted with the effort of keeping him on his feet. "Easy, slugger," he pressed out and waited a moment for Sam to gain some margin of control.

"He's lost more blood than I thought," Lucy said. "The sooner we get him to the hospital, the better."

"Give the guy a chance to find his feet first," Dean growled. Something about Lucy was obviously upsetting him.

Sam tightened his grip on Dean's shoulder as much as his present condition allowed for. "Let's ... go," he pressed out. By now he knew what it was about Lucy that put him off. She felt dangerous. Even when she smiled, she had that dangerous vibe about her.

Dean took one step, then stopped short, jarring Sam in the process. "Sorry, Sammy," he said, then focused on Lucy. "Where's the hospital?"

Lucy gave him a somewhat bland stare. "Columbia Avenue. Why?" she asked.

"Because Sam gets violently sick whenever he goes into town here," Dean said and glanced up at Sam. "Not the best scenario, considering what he's just been through. Isn't there a hospital outside of Whitefish?"

"There is one in Kalispell. It's about half an hour from here," Lucy countered.

"So we'll go there," Dean decided. "I'm not dragging him into a town that makes him sick," he added.

Sam actually hadn't considered that. The enticement of drugs that took the pain away was all he could focus on, but now that Dean had mentioned it, he was glad that they weren't heading back into Whitefish. But before Dean could make a move to get him out to the car, Sam felt his stomach revolt again. "Aw no," he groaned and tried to double over.

"What the hell?" Dean exclaimed. "Sam, what's going on?" He helped Sam straighten up again, the concern evident in his voice. But Sam only had eyes for Lucy, who was watching him with slightly narrowed eyes. And as if by magic, the need to hurl subsided again. Whether it was the pain or the lightheadedness or something entirely different, Sam was beginning to think that it wasn't Whitefish he had a problem with, but rather the demon that had killed five people in this town. And he got it into his head right there and then that Lucy St. Clair wasn't really herself right now. He swallowed hard and reared back a little, wanting to put as much distance between his own sorry self and what he now considered a demon-possessed woman.

"Easy, dude," Dean cautioned him. "What's wrong? You gonna hurl?"

Sam shook his head lightly, but said nothing. He wasn't sure his voice would remain steady if he opened his mouth.

"You good to go?" Dean asked, obviously attributing his response to his condition and not to Lucy.

Sam nodded once.


The whole sordid deal made Dean feel like he had abandoned his brother in his hour of need and the guilt was eating him up before they were even halfway to Kalispell's Regional Medical Center. Sam was in the back and he groaned every time the Impala took a corner too sharply or her tires hit a pothole. Dean tried to avoid the brunt of it, but since he kept glancing in the rearview mirror to keep an eye on Sam, he missed some of them.

Lucy sat beside him, quite as the grave. She seemed lost in thought.

"You okay?" he asked after a moment.

Lucy glanced at him, then arched an eyebrow as if the question baffled her. "Just fine," she countered.

"You're not regretting getting into this, are you?" Dean asked and tried a smirk, which he was sure didn't come out right. He was consumed by concern and anger. Concern for Sam and anger at that bitch Bela. He nearly saw red when he just thought about her now.

"Not at all," Lucy countered with a vague smile. "It's the most excitement I've had in a good long while," she added.

Dean was a tad disconcerted by her approach to all this. "Just for your information, that thing the feds want me for ... I didn't do it," he said. He had no idea why he felt the need to justify himself to her, but figured that it had a lot to do with the way he had always idolized her in his mind. Lucy St. Clair had been just about the best teacher he'd ever had.

"I believe you," she said without looking at him and he got the feeling that she did. He also had the feeling that she knew he was innocent, which was an oddly disconcerting feeling to have. How would she know? She had only known him a few weeks and that was twenty-odd years ago. Maybe she was just one of those overtly trusting people, he mused. Then again, she didn't strike him as the gullible type and he couldn't shake the feeling that Lucy St. Clair was more than she appeared to be.

They reached the medical center ten minutes later and Lucy was adamant about that Dean should stay well away. She went to retrieve the male nurses that rushed a gurney out to pick up Sam and she followed them inside, leaving Dean behind to worry himself half to death. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't have cared one way or another if the cops caught up to him, but Lucy had hit the nail right on the head. He wouldn't be able to help Sam if he landed in jail and he really couldn't afford to lose the time right now either.


Sam was not happy about the situation at hand. Two nurses were rushing him along to the ER while Lucy was keeping step with them with no problem at all. She had a hand on the edge of the gurney right next to his left ear and there was something almost possessive about her demeanor.

In the ER, the two male nurses transferred Sam to an examination bed, then left with the message that a doctor would be in to see him shortly. Lucy took up position next to the head of the examination bed and the second the stressed-looking doctor entered the cubicle, she slipped her hand onto Sam's uninjured shoulder.

The touch was almost electric and it cemented Sam's fear that she wasn't merely human.

"And what happened here?" the doctor asked and eyed Sam without ever meeting his eyes.

"This is my nephew. He ran into a bit of trouble," Lucy said, her tone even, composed.

The doctor briefly glanced at her, then carefully dislodged the towel wrapped around Sam's thigh. He grabbed a pair of scissors and expanded the hole in Sam's jeans. "Hmm. Doesn't look too bad," he muttered, then finally looked up to meet Sam's eyes. "Care to tell me how you got this stab wound?"

Sam frowned and opened his mouth, only to realize that he couldn't make a sound. His throat seemed paralyzed.

"He can't talk," Lucy said helpfully. "But he always wants to help others. That's probably why he got into this mess in the first place. Something about a holdup in a convenient store," she said.

"Ah, one of those," the doctor said.

Sam wanted to panic, but he couldn't. Something didn't really work right now. All he could do was lie there and let Lucy St. Clair lie for him.

"Yes, the robber stabbed him twice. Once in the leg, once in the shoulder. He's lost some blood, of course," Lucy continued.

"Yeah, I can tell," the doctor said and moved to examine the shoulder wound. "But they both seem pretty superficial. You've been lucky, young man," he added.

Disconcerted, Sam glanced at his shoulder, the only of the two wounds he could see right now, and was appalled by the change in it. It had been a gaping, ragged hole before. Now it was a neat slice that the blood kept quelling out of.

The doctor cleaned it off, put two stitches in the wound to keep it together, then bandaged it up before repeating the procedure with the wound on his thigh. "There," he said. "That should do it. You should keep still for a day or two, but I don't think it will cause you any major problems. If there's any side effects like infection or the likes, just come back and we'll take a look at it," he added, nodded once to Lucy and left the cubicle again.

The pain had almost disappeared without him ever having received an injections and Sam found himself holding his breath for a moment. Lucy slipped a hand behind his left shoulder and helped him sit up. It still hurt, but it wasn't half as bad as it had been before. In part, he figured he should be damned grateful. The shoulder wound alone had made him fear that the bones had been shattered, but now it just generally felt like he'd been cut and not even that deeply.

He glanced at Lucy and reevaluated his urge to be grateful. There was something very off about her, something he couldn't yet pinpoint.

"Can you walk?" Lucy asked.

He met her eyes and shuddered inwardly. Her eyes were as flat as her tone. He saw no real life in her eyes. Again, he tried to speak, but his voice still wouldn't work, so he settled for nodding once and slipped off the examination bed. The wound on his thigh hurt when the muscle tightened, but he would be able to limp out of the hospital at his own volition.