Clowns and Helium

Disclaimer: blah blah blah, I don't own Supernatural. If you do use any part of my story, please just inform me and give me credit.

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Chapter 3: The Wolf's Den

"Brilliant idea, Sammy." Dean threw a dirty scowl over his shoulder at Sam, storming away from the fourth house. "Let's go visit the families." Dean waved his head side to side, using his sing-sing voice of taunt. "Let's go talk to the parents whose kids aren't even a month dead and expect them to not slam the door in our faces." He yanked the door to the Impala open, glaring while rolling his eyes which was not particularly easy but got his level of aggravation across.

Sam followed behind, shoulders slightly hunched. "What did you expect, Dean?" Sam slid into the passenger seat and pulled out his notebook. "You can't expect them to not get a little weirded out when you start asking questions about 'the last thing your child said before dying' or 'weird sounds from the bedroom'. And it really didn't help that you were drooling over that last mom."

"Dude, did you even look at the woman? She was hot, like so-majorly-hot-she-shouldn't-be-a-mom kind of hot. Definitely some MILF action there."

Sam rolled his eyes. "You really do have to start thinking with your upstairs brain, Dean, or else it'll die from lack of use. And I'm guessing you forgot about Andrea Barr? She was a mom and you didn't seem to have a problem throwing your one-liners at her." He paused, tempted to continue. Deciding to stop while he was ahead, he snapped his notebook shut. "Next time, just try to show a little bit of some emotion other than horny followed by more horny, okay? Let's hit the Thomm's next. Their son, Mark, was the first victim, so that makes it about 5 weeks ago. They live on Mason Ave."

Dean sighed, his frustration seeping through. "There's probably not going to be a lot of evidence left by now Sam."

Sam nodded, unconsciously picking at his jeans. "I know. But we gotta try."

The weight of the world pressing down on his brother's shoulders didn't go unnoticed by Dean. He waited a few minutes before trying to permeating the angst fog that Sam had wrapped himself into for the past day.

"Okay dude. Spill."

Sam pulled his eyes away from the passing scenery to look at Dean with a confused look. "Uh… spill what?"

"Spill what weight you are carrying that is so heavy you look a bit like Igor?"

Sam sighed and ruffled his hair. He knew he wasn't getting out of this one because Dean had that "I'm not taking any 'I'm fine' today buster" voice. "This case is just bothering me. I mean, these victims have nothing in common. All different ages, different nationalities, nothing connecting their families. Usually these things are easier to figure out. And… It's just…"

Dean nodded. "They're kids. It's never easy when it's kids."

Sam swallowed the small lump in his throat, nodding.

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Twenty minutes later, the Impala rumbled to stop in front of a large house, white with blue shutters and a perfectly green front lawn. Dean rolled his eyes as he looked to the left and right, finding clones of that house all the way down the street. Except for the dozen or so balloons, which were threatening to pull the mailbox out of the concrete slab by the sidewalk.

"Huh." Dean smirked. "Sammy, I think you got your wires crossed. A month after their kid dies and they're throwing a party?"

Sam sighed, pointing to the balloons. "They say 'Happy Birthday Steven'. That's Mark's little brother." He gave a quick head shake in sympathy. "That can't be easy. Trying to celebrate your birthday only a month after your brother dies."

"Yeah, and that means more pissed off parents who don't want to talk about their dead kids. And that means we'll probably get kicked out onto our asses again."

"Dude, could you try to show some sympathy? You know, maybe just for kicks?" He stared, completely appalled at Dean's attitude. Sam's face darkened and he lowered his voice. "And you should know better than to think people don't hurt after someone they love dies."

Dean froze. His eyes shifted to the ground. "I was just kidding. Geez."

Sam raised his eyebrow, rolling his thoughts in his head. Deciding a harsh glare was punishment enough, he walked to the front door. Dean stepped up beside him, his ID –oh sure, now he brings it- in hand.

"Ready?" Sam glanced over.

"Sure thing." Dean flashed a grin. "Let's get it on."

Sam gave a light knock on the door. He shuffled his feet a bit, preparing himself to comfort yet another distraught mother and father.

The door opened and Dean found himself staring into thin air. He blinked in confusion. Did that door just open itself? An elbow to the side caught his attention and found Sam gesturing to the lower half of the doorway. A young boy stood with one hand on the doorknob, the other holding a half eaten popsicle. He stared up silently at the brothers.

Sam gave a warm smile. "Hi there. Is your mom here?" The boy shook his head. Sam's forehead crinkled. "Is your dad?" Another shake. With a concerned glance to his brother, Sam gave a third try. "Are there any grown-ups watching you guys?"

Right on cue, a thin hand came out from behind the door, grabbing the boy's arm. The hand continued up, revealing it's owner to be a young blonde woman holding a sleeping baby in her free arm. She gave a quick smile to the boys and kneeled down, staring at the boy.

"Hey buddy, the rule in this house is only the grownups can open the door if someone knocks, okay?" The boy nodded, quickly running into the room of screaming children without so much as a glance back. The woman stood, turning to the brothers with a smile that clearly didn't reach her eyes. "Can I help you?"

Dean smirked. Oh, in so many ways. That was definitely tempting to say aloud, but it looked like Mrs. Thomm's stress level was already hitting 11 right now.

"Yes Ma'me. You are Mrs. Jillian Thomm, correct? I'm FBI Agent Tyler." Dean motioned to Sam. "This is Agent Durton. We've been put on assignment to look into the recent child deaths in the area and we would like to talk to you as part of the investigation. May we come in?"

"Ummm…" Mrs. Thomm glanced behind her as the sound of several children screaming in delight and laughter filled the hallway. "This really isn't a good time. It's my son's birthday and we're trying to make it as happy as possible. I just don't have time right now, I'm sorry."

As she moved to close the door, Dean gave a 'told you so' look at Sam. Without warning, Sam's hand shot out, catching the door.

"Ma'me. This is pretty important and we are on a time limit. But if you need someone to watch the children while we talk, Agent Tyler here is more than capable. He's great with kids."

Dean's jaw dropped so far so fast, Sam was sure he had unhinged it like a snake before swallowing its food. Dean's eyes widened enough to see the whites, but the only protest was a gargling in the back of his wide open throat. Sam choked down a laugh, making sure to smile sweetly at his brother. Dean glanced at Jillian, his look of shock melting into bewilderment at the look of relief on the woman's face. "You would really be okay doing that, Agent Tyler?"

Sam bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing aloud. Glancing sidewise with murder in his eye, Dean gave a nervous grin. "Uhh, yeah. I'll be okay."

Nodding, Jillian opened the door completely, allowing the boys to enter. As soon as her back was turned, Dean turned to his brother, poking him sharply in the chest and whispered, "You better get some information out of that woman, or so help me god, I will smother you in your sleep for making me do this."

Sam just nodded, unsure if he would burst out laughing if he opened his mouth. Jillian was already moving down the hall and disappeared into room filled with joyous shrieks. The boys held off their bantering, following her into what Dean considered the sixth level of hell. Life without sex being number seven, of course.

Entering the living room, they found every piece of furniture pushed to the side, so the room was now the general playroom for the two dozen or so children, each of which was either running, screaming, or doing both at the same time. Standing against a wall were two male teenagers, both obviously hired to baby-sit and just as obviously in way over their heads. Jillian handed off the baby to one of them, spoke to the other while pointed toward Dean. The relief of having someone else responsible for the children was clear in their eyes.

Sam glanced sidewise at his brother, trying to gage if he should be fearing for his life later. Dean just stared forward at the sea of miniature people, blinking. "Sam. I cannot tell you how much you are going to owe me later."

Sam grinned, deciding to take a risk. "Have fun", he whispered, patting Dean on the back before turning to follow Jillian.

Dean stared forward. Slowly, the children realized there was an actual adult –Yeah, I wouldn't think of The Baby-sitters Club over there as adults either- in the room and slowed down, finally coming to a stop. Two dozen pairs of eyes stared at Dean, who thrust his hands into his pockets, shifting uncomfortably in his boots.

"So. ­­­­Anybody here ever use a .45 before?"

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