To say that Dean was bored was the understatement of the year, but he had promised Sam to behave and right now being on a hunt, no matter how immobile he was, was more interesting than having to call Bobby and admit defeat. So he just sat there and watched television with an intense interest he didn't feel.

Sam had spent a lot of time jotting down notes and typing stuff on the laptop until about half an hour ago. Since then he had been pretty much quite, his eyes glued to the screen, and Dean generally felt that he had given Sam enough time to let him know what was going on over there.

"Hey, Sam?" he finally asked and focused on Sam. "What are you reading?"

Sam frowned, dotted something down and pursed his lips, then finally glanced at Dean. "News articles. In the past two months there have been six miraculous recoveries among severely ill kids in this place. Two of them are considered to be real miracles. These were kids with congenital diseases," he finally said, slumped back on the chair and met Dean's gaze dead on. "One kid had a congenital heart condition that disappeared over night. The other had a degenerative twist of the spine, something the doctor in charge of that kid's case swore could never be healed, and it's gone."

Dean stared at him. "So ... what's doing it? Are the kids being replaced by changelings that are healthy?" he asked.

"I don't really think this is about changelings. Nobody else has died in this town in a while. It just seems like there's something else going on here," Sam said and scratched the back of his head pensively.

"Like what? The will of God?" Dean asked. In part he had intended for it to be sarcastic, but he couldn't really get it out right. That case with that priest's ghost pretending to be an angle not too long ago still had him a little rattled.

Sam gave him a dark look. "I don't know, Dean. It just sounds ... weird," he said. "But since whatever it might be is targeting kids, I think we should start looking around the playgrounds in this town. If there are any."

"Good idea," Dean agreed, then glanced at his watch. "So ... maybe tomorrow, huh? Cause any good parent will have their kids home by now," he added and made a face. It was half past six p.m. "Maybe we should think about some dinner, huh? I'm starving."

"You're always starving," Sam countered and rose. "I'll go check at the reception desk. Maybe they have some sort of room service."

"There's a restaurant connected to this place. Just bring something back. I'm sure they don't mind," Dean called after him when he headed out the door.

***

The following morning

Sam had spent most of the night trying to figure out what was going on in this town and on account of it, he was dead to the world when Dean woke up. His leg felt a little better and he changed the bandage himself, making a face at the gash when he unveiled it. "Shit," he muttered, sent a brief glance over at his still sleeping brother and decided not to bother him. Instead he bandaged his leg up again after cleaning the wound as thoroughly as he could and injecting the local anaesthetic himself, then eyed the bandage and muttered a quiet curse. It would most likely be a bad idea to get this wet, which meant he would have to be creative. There was no way he would forego another shower.

He glanced around the room until his gaze settled on the weapons bag Sam had lugged in the night before. As far as he remembered, there was a roll of black plastic bags in there. "And a roll of duct tape," he muttered, slipped off the bed, grabbed the crutches and made his way over to the bag. He found both things and smirked, then eased down on a chair, unrolled one bag from the roll, grabbed the bag and the roll of duct tape and got up again. Armed with clean clothes as well, he made his was into the bathroom, closed the door behind him and eased down on the closed lid of the toilet. The bag was just long enough to reach up over his knee, where he taped it down, making sure no water could enter and finally got up again to get undressed. He hadn't had a decent shower in four days now and he was getting a little ripe on account of it.

With a bit of an effort, he managed to get into the shower and spent the next half hour just enjoying the water and finally started to feel clean again. When he'd finally had enough, he took his own sweet time drying off and finally unwrapped his leg again. "Not a drop on it," he muttered, satisfied with his own genius, and then he got dressed.

It had taken him nearly forty-five minutes to shower and get dressed and even then Sam was still out cold. Dean briefly wondered if he should try and wake him up, but decided to do some exploring of his own instead. What he wanted to avoid was the inevitable confrontation they were going to have when Dean told Sam what he had in mind, so he settled for not having the confrontation by being out the door before Sam woke up.

He grabbed his jacket and shrugged into it, made sure he had his wallet, then briefly eyed the car keys. No matter how much he wanted to, he wasn't going to be able to drive with this damned leg, so instead he decided to wing it and get some exercise by walking.

Another quick glance at his brother made him smirk. He knew Sam would be up in arms over him leaving after he'd been in such a lousy mood and in pain for the past three days, but Dean really couldn't stand being cooped up in a motel room for one more day. If he had to pay the price for his impatience later, so be it.

He slipped out the door and closed it quietly behind him, hoping that Sam didn't wake up at this very instance. Then he made his way to the reception as quickly as he could and found the same pretty blonde behind the counter as the night before. He hadn't paid her any attention then because he'd felt so crappy, but now with his leg almost dead from the local anaesthetic and the adrenaline rushing through his veins with the excitement of actually moving again without the constant throbbing pain, he grinned broadly at her. "Morning."

She looked up and smiled. "Good morning. You seem to be doing better than yesterday," she said.

"Yeah. You know. The Doc really helped me out last night. I feel great," he said, then smiled a little ruefully. "Well, apart from not being able to walk properly, but hey ..."

"Can I help you in any way?" she asked, eying him.

He thought of about a million comebacks to that question that could be considered lewd, but settled for a smile. "Well, I need to get out and stretch my legs a little. Any parks around the area?"

She countered his smile and for a moment he cursed his bad leg to hell. He would have loved to give it a go with her. "Well, there is one about two blocks down from here. It's not really an official park as such, but it's got a playground and all."

"Playground, huh? Are there many kids in this town? It didn't strike me as very big when we drove in," he countered.

"Oh, there's a fair share of kids around here," she said. "You like kids?"

"Yeah, kid's a great," he said. "So, what way is that park again?"

"When you step out the door, turn left, then right at the intersection and follow First Avenue North. You can't miss it," she said.

"Thanks ... uh ..." He hesitated, fishing for her name.

"Tracy," she said.

"Thanks Tracy," he said with a grin and made his way out the door. Walking with crutches wasn't his favorite pass-time, but for now it couldn't be helped.

***

The park turned out to be a little over two hundred feet away from the motel and Dean couldn't help a smirk at the tininess of this town. It made it easier for him to move around without his car, of course, and it did strike him that it would have been ridiculous to drive this distance. That the distance took him a little over ten minutes to walk wasn't lost on him, of course, but he was relieved it wasn't further away.

It was ten a.m. on a Saturday morning and the park, to his immediate surprise, was full of people. Mothers with their kids, teenagers playing ball, guys walking their dogs. The park wasn't big, but it was big enough to seem very lively and very normal. With a bit of an effort, Dean eased down on a bench overlooking the playground, which consisted mainly of some swings and a pretty big sandbox and he just settled in to watch the kids.

A gang of boys somewhere around five or six where playing with each other and, as kids were, they were pretty rowdy. Dean watched them and the carelessness they displayed in their game, and it reminded him of his own childhood. At their age, he had been fully aware of the harshness of life even though he had still to learn the cruel reality that had since become his existence. Dad had done a lot to shield him at first, to protect both of them from what was out there, but the old man had needed someone to lean on as much as Dean had needed dad to be there for him. And in the beginning he had been there, but Dean's childhood as such had ended the night his mother had died.

His silent reverie was interrupted when he phone started ringing. He pulled it from one pocket and eyed the display, then made a face and flipped it open. "Good morning, sunshine," he said.

"Where the hell are you?"

Dean pulled the phone away from his ear even though Sam hadn't been yelling. But he was pretty close. "I needed some fresh air. Have a cow, why don't you?" he countered with a grin.

"Dammit Dean. I thought something had happened," Sam snapped, sounding genuinely concerned. "You didn't drive anywhere, did you?"

"No, you worrywart. I'm about two hundred feet away from the motel right now, so chill, dude. And no, I didn't overdo it. I found a playground and figured I might as well check out if there's anything weird going on here. So far, it all seems as normal as apple pie."

For a moment Sam said nothing and Dean could just imagine his expression. "You're nuts, you know that? Completely off your rocker. You were feverish last night, could barely move without being in agony, and now you're out for a walk?"

"I'm a big boy. I know where my limit is. So calm down, Samantha. I'm doing great here. No pain, no gain. What'd you come up with last night? Anything exciting?" Dean knew it was essential to get Sam away from the topic of his leg or he'd be picked up in a second or two.

"No, nothing special. Apart from these miraculous recoveries. There's nothing weird going on in this town," Sam finally said with a light sigh. "Did you have breakfast?"

"What are you, my mother?" Dean countered. "No, I didn't. I just needed to get out for a bit. Stop worrying about me and keep digging. I'll stick around here for a bit and I'll be back when I can't bear to be apart from you anymore."

"Shut up," Sam countered grumpily. "You better not start bitching about your leg when you get back."

"Trust me, I won't," Dean shot back and knew he wouldn't. He'd rather bite his tongue off than admit that Sam might be right on this one. "Get back to that laptop, geek boy. I'll sit out here and enjoy the sun for a bit."

"Jerk," Sam said with passion.

"Bitch," Dean countered with a grin and hung up.

***

Dean spent the next hour just sitting there, watching the kids, and during that time he saw nothing out of the ordinary. People came and went, some of the moms hung out and talked while the kids played, and the rowdy gang of kids remained more or less consistent. They went from playing tag to tossing a football around.

If there were changelings in town then they weren't in this area Dean finally decided and shifted a little. This, however, caused a dull throb in his leg and he focused down on it for a moment with a slight frown. "Shit," he whispered. He'd forgotten the pills and the local anaesthetic was obviously beginning to wear off now. That was not good news.

Having seen what he wanted to see, though, he figured he might as well get up and get back to the motel anyway, and it wasn't like it was that far away. With an effort, he got up and realized he'd probably waited too long, but the last thing he would do would be to call Sam for help. There was no way he would admit defeat, even if it took him another hour to get back to the motel.

Grinding his teeth, he grabbed a firmer hold of the crutches and turned to leave when a sound reached his ears. He looked up and saw the football whistling through the air straight toward him. And not only that. One of the kids was trying to catch it, running backwards, his eyes on the ball, and Dean knew where this was going to end. He didn't have the mobility to get out of the way before the kid collided with him and hammered right into his left leg, football and all.

Dean lost his balance and dropped back down on the bench, the impact sending a scream of agony through his leg, and he could literally feel the color draining out of his face. "Son of a ..." he pressed out and grabbed his left leg just above the knee. It generally felt like he'd just been gored again.

The kid turned around and stared at him with wide eyes. "Sorry, mister," he said and hugged the football to his chest.

In part Dean wanted to tell him it wasn't his fault, but he couldn't speak right then. The pain thudding through his leg was just too damned much to take. Blood was oozing through the bandage and soaking his jeans, which gave him ample proof that this hadn't just been a bruising. The impact had ripped the gash wide open again.

The kid glanced down at his leg and despite the pain, Dean noticed the oddly calm way the kid studied his leg. Then the boy turned away and Dean was sure he would take off in a panic. But he didn't. Instead he tossed the football back to his friends, then turned back to Dean. Before Dean could do anything to stop it, the kid put a hand on Dean's calf, his palm hovering just over the spreading blood stain on his jeans. Then he smiled vaguely and briefly met Dean's eyes before he took off at a run.

It took Dean a few seconds to realize something very important. The pain was gone. He glanced down at his bloodied pant leg, then glanced after the kid. He had assumed the boy would return to his friends, but he didn't. He pelted across the playground over to where some of the mothers were sitting and almost jumped up on the lap of one of them. He said something to her and she looked over toward Dean. Even at this distance, Dean could see the change in her expression and it surprised him. Instead of doing what most moms probably would have in this case B namely get up and come over to apologize for her son's rowdy behavior B this woman rose in a flurry, her son in her arms, and left the playground in the opposite direction of where Dean was still sitting. Moments later, the rumble of a powerful engine followed by the squeal of tires on asphalt told him she had driven off.

For a long, breathless moment, Dean remained seated while trying to determine what had just happened. Then he moved his left leg a little and when that produced no pain, he got up. Foregoing the crutches he no longer needed, he tested his legs ability to carry his weight without pain and glanced down himself once more. Then he focused on the group of remaining mothers, who seemed unaffected by this incident, and all he could think of doing was stare at them at first. "What the hell?" he finally muttered and absentmindedly rubbed his left knee.

***

It took him precious moments to gather himself enough to get moving. With the kid and his mom gone, there wasn't much he could do to track them down, but something told him it might be important. Something about the mother's response to seeing him triggered that sense.

Slowly, he made his way around the sandbox over to the other mothers still sitting around, chatting, and as usual his presence earned him their attention instantly.

"Hi," he said and grinned, making sure he kept his bloodied pant leg turned away from them. "Uh ... the woman who just left ... do any of you know her?"

The three women glanced at each other. "Why do you ask?" one of them, a short brunette, asked and eyed him in a way that might have made other men uncomfortable.

Dean smirked. "Well, I think I may know her, but she left before I could come over here and check. So ..."

The brunette arched an eyebrow. "Well, her name is Angelina Banks," she said.

"Angie," Dean agreed. "I thought so. You wouldn't happen to know where she lives, would you?"

The brunette glanced at her friends. "Well ... where do you know Angie from?" she asked.

"Highschool. I had no idea she had a kid," Dean countered and managed an expression that might indicate a little of everything. And the ladies obviously got the hint, because the brunette arched an eyebrow again while the two others gave each other saying looks.

"Well, she has a place over on Cottonwood Street. But I don't know the exact address. She hasn't been in town very long. Just about two months or so," she said and glanced at her companions for confirmation, which they gave willingly.

"That's great. I'll find her," Dean said. "Thanks very much. Oh ... and her son? What's he called?"

The brunette smiled. "Sean," she said.

Dean thanked them again, turned away and strode back over to the bench where he had left the crutches. He eyed them for a moment, then decided not to bother. Instead he hauled his phone out of one pocket and dialed Sam's number.

"Dean? You okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Sam, you need to look up a name for me. A woman called Angelina Banks. She's got a son, Sean, who's about five. I'm heading over to Cottonwood Street to check something out. Call me when you find something." That said, he hung up again, not in the mood to explain to Sam how he could walk around all over town without help right now. He wasn't sure how he was going to explain it to Sam since he wasn't entirely sure what exactly had happened himself, but he did enjoy his newfound freedom of movement and took off down the street toward the next intersection at a brisk stride.

He barely reached the corner before an old, battered Plymouth Fury roared past him in a southbound direction on what turned out to be Cottonwood Street with the woman behind the wheel and the kid in the back. Dean stopped and watched them go, taking a mental note of the license plate, and then let out a sigh. No doubt Angelina Banks had left town because of him B or rather what her son had done to him. What he just didn't get was why she ran. "Dammit," he muttered, turned around and hurried back toward the motel. It was time to fill Sam in and find out what the kid had dug up.

***

Sam looked up from the laptop when the door opened and he was halfway off his chair before he realized some important details about his brother. Dean was walking normally and there was no sign of the crutches. And it stumped Sam. Not many things in this world could, but that did.

Dean gave him a quirky smile that spoke volumes. "Hey," he said and closed the door behind him, then spread out his arms in a look-at-me gesture.

"You're ... walking?" Sam asked, well aware that it was a stupid comment. But he could no more avoid saying it than he could convince himself that he wasn't seeing things right now. "Where are the crutches?"

"I kinda left them at the park. What'd you find out about Ms. Banks?" Dean countered.

"Left them at the park? Dean ... you had a ten inch gash in your leg this morning, one that necessitated the use of crutches and the injection of local anaesthetics. And you left the crutches at the park?" Sam dropped his gaze to Dean's left leg. "And you're bleeding?" he asked and looked up again to meet Dean's eyes. "Are you on something?"

Dean just stood there and stared at him for a moment, then rolled his eyes. "Sam, shut up for a moment, okay? I'd tell you all about it if I could get a word in edgewise with all your astute observations, Captain Obvious."

"But ..." Sam tried, but found that he had nothing to say. What could he possibly say to this? Instead he glanced at his watch, then at the laptop's screen, checking date and time. When both added up, he looked back over at Dean and frowned. This wasn't a case of missing time and despite this odd twist, Dean didn't appear to be influenced by anything.

"First things first," Dean said, shrugged out of his jacket, kicked his shoes off, then shimmied out of his jeans. The bandage on his left leg was pretty much soaked through with blood and yet Dean was moving and acting as if nothing was wrong. He grabbed the first aid kit, dug out the scissors, propped his foot up on the edge of the bed and cut through the bandage before peeling it off his leg. Apart from the blood, there was no sign on his calf that there had ever been a gash of any sort.

Sam sank back down on his chair and made a halfhearted wave toward Dean's leg. "Care to explain that?" he finally asked.

Dean bundled up the bandage and disappeared into the bathroom only to return a moment later with all the blood washed off. And still there was no sign of the gash. He rummaged through his duffle, found a clean pair of jeans and pulled them on. Then he focused on Sam. "I think I know how those miracles happened," he said and for all intents and purposes, he looked just as baffled about it as Sam felt.

"Yeah?" Sam asked and eyed him closely. Was there something different about his brother? He couldn't tell. Dean looked a bit shell-shocked, but that would of course be expected when a wound like that disappeared over the span of a few hours. "How the hell did that happen? And what does it have to do with the kids being magically healed in this town?"

"Same thing, Sammy," Dean said and sank down on the footend of his bed. "I was watching the kids, looking for ... well, abnormal behavior, but there was none. All the kids were doing just great. Until one of them decided to nearly tackle me while trying to grab a football his buddies threw at him. And let me tell you, that hurt like a bitch," he said. "But normal behavior from a kid that age would be to hightail it out of there and run back to their mom or something. But this kid didn't. He ..." Dean smirked a little helplessly.

"He what, Dean?" Sam asked, not sure he knew what came next.

"He laid a hand on my leg and ... healed it," Dean said and made a face. "How's that for a kick in the pants?"

Sam blinked. "He ... what?" he asked.

"He healed my leg, Sam. This kid, no more than five years old, puts a hand on my frigging leg while I'm about to bust a seam with the pain, and he heals it," he repeated. "If I hadn't been there, I wouldn't have believed it."

"Uh ..." Sam could for the life of him think of nothing to say to that. It just sounded outrageous. And the thought that his brother was on some kind of drug that was messing with his perception was still predominant right now.

"Very eloquent, Professor," Dean said. "What did you find out about Angelina and her miracle kid?"

Research was something Sam could relate to and it snapped him out of this temporary mental paralysis he was suffering from. "Uh ... I checked up on her and ... well ... it would seem it's her real name. Angelina Banks, married to Jordan Banks who died about two years ago. And her son's name is Sean. She's pretty much been on the move ever since her husband died."

Dean frowned. "Any idea why?" he asked.

"Doesn't say. Couldn't find much on the husband's death either," Sam countered and glanced at the laptop. "Only that he's dead and that she left town on the same day."

"So, essentially she could be the culprit, huh?" Dean asked.

"I don't know, Dean. Why would she kill her husband and then take off with the kid?" Sam countered.

"He could have been an abusive drunk, maybe?" Dean suggested.

Sam made a face. It was an option, of course, but still. "There's no warrant out for her arrest. If she was involved in the death of her husband, you'd think the police or even the feds might be looking for her. But there's really no specific mention of her anywhere."

Dean leaned forward and propped his elbows on his knees while he stared ahead of himself with a frown furrowing his brow. "There's something not right here, Sam. The kid raced over there and obviously told her what had happened and she looked at me like I was the devil himself and ran like hell. I asked some of the other mothers if they knew her and where she lived. They told me. So I headed toward Cottonwood Street and just when I got there, I saw her racing out of town in this beat up old Fury. It almost looked like she was scared of me or something."

"So? I mean ... maybe she just doesn't want the publicity from her kid healing others. Could be the only reason," Sam said, but had the distinct feeling that this wasn't the reason.

Dean gave him a dark look. "Sam, she looked majorly spooked. I think someone's after her. Or something." He started turning his ring slowly on his ring finger. "What if that kid's like you? I mean, he obviously has abilities."

"Dean, ... my abilities didn't turn up until I was twenty-one. The kid's five. This has to be something else," Sam said.

With a grimace, Dean sat up straight. "Okay, so he's not a special kid. What is he then? We need to dig into their past somehow. Can't you find something more on her? Something out of the ordinary? Like how did her hubby die? What happened there?"

For a long moment Sam just eyed Dean, then he sighed lightly. "Okay, I get that you're up in arms over this since the kid healed you, Dean, but ... if Mrs. Banks is scared of others ... maybe we should just leave them alone, huh?"

"And maybe not, Sam. First and foremost, yeah, I feel I owe the kid one. He's saved me a truckload of trouble and I'd like to say thanks. But there's more here than just a kid that can heal, Sam. She wouldn't have run like that if there wasn't." Dean grimaced and wiped a hand over his lips, then rose and started pacing around the room. "I just have this gut feeling that we need to find them."

"Why?" Sam asked and watched Dean closely while he paced. He had never actually seen Dean take that much of an interest in others except for dad and himself and it bothered him a little.

Dean stopped dead and stared at him for a second. "What do you mean, why? Even if this kid isn't your kind of special, he's still special. And if some freak like Gordon or his buddies get wind of him ..." Dean stopped and snapped his fingers, suddenly looking very enlightened. "That must be it. She probably had a run-in with the wrong kind of hunter. She's afraid because she thinks we'll hurt her kid."

"Okay, so what makes you actually think she's going to stop and find out that we're not the wrong kind?" Sam asked and leaned back on his chair. "I mean, if she thinks you're a hunter and that's why she ran ... there's not much chance she'll stop to ask questions. For all we know, she could be dangerous if she gets cornered. I say we leave them alone."

"And I say we don't," Dean countered. "Let's blow this joint. I wanna find that woman."

Without further ado, Dean started packing his things while Sam just watched him. Then he sighed and followed his brother's example. If there was one thing he had learned a long time ago, then it was that changing Dean's mind was impossible if he'd chomped down on something like this. Dean was like a pitbull when his mind was set. You couldn't pry him loose with a crowbar.

***