But Fear Itself

Chapter One - Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Disclaimer: Neither the characters of Supernatural nor their world belong to me. They are the complete property of Kripke, et. al.

Spoilers: This story takes place sometime after "Something Wicked" from Season One.

Sam listened at the basement door for any unusual sound. His older brother, Dean, had already headed up the stairs to the floor above. Sam was concerned. They weren't ready for this gig at all. They needed to have spent more time researching what they were going against. Unfortunately, three local teenagers didn't get the memo. Sam snorted. Both Winchesters hated this day with a vengeance. The I.Q. of a lot of people dropped every time Friday the 13th rolled around; Sam and Dean always seemed to have a job to do, someone to save.

ooooOOOOoooo

Caleb had called them a week ago to alert them about this region. He didn't have the complete story on what was happening, but lately bodies had been discovered floating in the bayou, and the manner of their deaths led him to call Sam and Dean. The brothers had been on their way to his home anyways, so this small detour shouldn't take them too long. So he said. The two men had been looking forward to a break from their hunts. They still sported bruises and wounds from their recent battle with a poltergeist.

Arriving in Plaquemine, LA, they checked into a cheap motel before heading to the library. They didn't need to go to the police station or the morgue since Caleb had oh-so-kindly e-mailed them the forensic photos. How he was able to hack into their systems Sam really wanted to know. The bodies had been marked with cuts, bruises, or burns. They had either bled out or bled to death internally from beatings. The differences between the manner of deaths made Dean wonder if it was their kind of problem. Caleb couldn't explain to him his reasoning, but he assured him, it was a supernatural problem. Too many of his alarm bells had gone off when he'd read about it. There was something familiar with the pattern; he just couldn't pin down the memory. He must have read about or heard about a similar pattern of deaths at one time. Sam and Dean were the closest hunters that he could contact near the area. The frequency of deaths was increasing. Something had to be done and done fast. Caleb would keep doing research on his end just in case the Winchesters couldn't find out enough on theirs.

After a day spent pouring through microfiche and musty tomes, Sam and Dean had not found a possible legend or creature to explain the deaths which had started only six weeks prior. There was an out-of-the way house deep in the bayou that was developing an evil reputation. Animals stayed away while teenagers were drawn to it. Several of the bodies found were those of young people while the rest were identified as vagrants probably just passing through.

Dean called it a day when his eyes started burning from the strain of reading too many newspapers. They hadn't taken time out for lunch and he was hungry and cranky. He wanted a beer and some nice scenery. Dragging Sam out the door, they headed for a nearby pub.

"Sammy, would you lay off the research? You're giving me a headache watching you squint at that screen. I say we go find a game of pool, a cold brew, some girls. . ."

Sam settled for glaring at Dean. He speared another piece of chicken with his fork. "You know," he said after swallowing, "I don't think this thing is a spirit. It's got to be corporeal."

Dean threw up his hands. "There you go again, College Boy. Can't you just say we can kill it?" He started to rag on his brother a bit more when he actually heard the conversation going on behind him. He shushed Sam and pointed over his shoulder.

"Hey Ginny, where's your boyfriend, Jeff? Did he ditch you or what?" twittered one female voice.

"No. Barry dared him and Ted to go with him to the old LeBeau place."

Dean cocked his head at Sam. That was the house Caleb had mentioned.

Ginny continued, "Since today is Friday the 13th, he thought it would be perfect to see what's really there," she sighed. "I've heard too much about that place. It's creepy. I want to call his dad but Jeff would kill me. He's supposed to be working on his research project that's due Monday and if he screws this up, he'll fail the nine weeks, be off the team."

Dean's plans went out the window. Sam shut down the laptop and stuffed it and the scattered papers into the beaten leather satchel. Dean went to pay the bill and both reached the car at the same time. The Impala turned towards the LeBeau place and rocks spun out from beneath the tires.

It was still daylight when they arrived. The place was pretty isolated and it took some searching to find the actual driveway. Dean parked the Impala near what looked like an old carriage house. From the trunk, each man took a shotgun with rock salt shells and a pistol.

Dean slammed the trunk closed. "All right. In and out. We find the kids, we grab them, we leave. We come back tomorrow after we figure out what we are dealing with."

"You're kidding me, right? I thought you were all a go-in-with-guns-blazing kind of guy," Sam teased.

"Not this time Sammy. Something's got Caleb spooked and that makes me spooked. He may be an ass sometimes but he knows his stuff. Besides, you still have those cracked ribs which will slow you down."

"Me? You know, you can stop the protective crap right now. I'm hurt no worse than you are."

Dean bit his tongue. He did hurt and knew his own reactions would be a bit sluggish. If he was honest with himself, he'd admit he really didn't want to face whatever it was for the first time at night with both of them tired and sore. Too many people had died horribly. It was their faces that haunted his memory right then. All of them were frozen in a rictus of agony. They hadn't died easily or quickly. He shook his head to banish the remembered sight. "This is an old mansion but these deaths are new. You don't think it's a haunting. I think something has moved in. Just . . .let's get those kids. But be careful."

Sam sighed. Dean had taken a few bad blows last week. He'd been thrown into a brick wall before having the porch roof come down on him. The stoic idiot refused to admit any pain to himself or to Sam. He'd learned from the master of inscrutability. Their father. He just hoped they'd find the kids and get a chance to rest up before fighting the whatever-it-was. Yeah right, the way their luck had been going, it would open the door for them.

In the foyer, scuffled footprints marred the dirt and mold on the floor. The tracks went everywhere so Dean couldn't figure out where they should start looking. Both men prowled around the ground floor but found no other sign showing where the others were inside the house. Meeting up again in the foyer, they split off. Dean headed up the stairs to the second floor while Sam chose the basement.

Sam heard nothing from below and started down the dark stairwell. Spinning his flashlight around, he turned it on. His shoulders brushed against the green and black fuzz coating the wall. The swamp was sucking the house back into the ooze on which it had been built. Sam figured the stairs would be more solid closer to the wall. He hoped. He also hoped Dean would be cautious going upstairs. He did not want to have to scrape his brother off of the floor. When Sam's feet touched dirt, he relaxed just a bit. Now he had one less direction for danger to come from. He hoped the stairs would survive one more trek. Shining the flashlight around the basement, Sam illuminated a variety of work benches and shelves, some bare and some covered with boxes, bottles, and jars of uncertain things. No teenagers. He was turning away when he noticed a darker spot in the wall. Aiming the flashlight, he took a few steps towards it. It looked like a crawlspace. Sam skirted the edge of the room and peeked in. Three sets of shoe soles were facing him and he heard muttering and laughing. Sam leaned the rifle against the wall and grabbed the closest pair of feet and pulled. The boy came out with a shriek closely followed by his two buddies.

"What the hell you do that for!" shouted the burly teen. "You scared the crap out of me."

"Look, you and your friends need to get out of here now."

"Make us!" piped up the smallest of the trio.

He didn't believe this. Here he was, trying to save their lives, and they were being brats about it. Sam glowered, extended to his full height, and picked up the rifle. "You really don't know what you're dealing with here and being dead will ruin your day."

"Are you the one who's doing all the killing?" the quietest of the three asked. He backed away as Sam turned his glare on him.

"What, do I look like a murderer? Scratch that." Sam realized that he had two guns and his face still bore a large bruise on one cheekbone. Dumb question. "Get!" Retreating to one side so they could move past him, he followed right on their heels alert for any other movement with his rifle at the ready. Once they reached ground level, he watched the trio race out the door and down the road. At least they had been in time. Speaking of which, time to leave. "Dean! I found them. They're gone. Let's go!" Sam bellowed up the stairs.

Dean started up the stairs wishing it was earlier in the day. The rooms were dark and the fetid smell of the mold and decay was making him choke and gag. One by one he checked the rooms. He couldn't spot any tracks in the dirt that told him someone had passed by recently but he wouldn't give up yet. No word from Sam so he'd better finish his sweep. The last room at the end of the hallway was huge. He could see a canopy bed, its hangings rotting and moldering. He jerked back and raised his rifle but realized the movement he'd seen out of the corner of his eye was his reflection in a mirror. The shadows grew as the sun fell towards the horizon. Dean heard Sam's shout and turned back towards the stairwell. A creak was all he heard. His head rocked back from the blow it received. A startled cry left his lips as Dean's body struck the floor with a loud thump. He collapsed into darkness. He never saw the creature standing over him, weapon raised.

Sam heard his brother's strangled cry followed by a muffled thud. Sam wasn't concerned at all about the stairs collapsing; he practically flew up them to find Dean. His flashlight beam pierced the gloom and showed him where Dean lay. He was unconscious and his head had a gash in the hairline that was bleeding freely. Sam spun to look for the attacker. There was no visible movement anywhere. Grabbing Dean by the back of his jacket, Sam dragged him into the hallway's corner and squatted down beside him, rifle at the ready.

"Dean! Come on, dude. Wake up!" Sam shook his brother to no avail. Dean showed no signs of regaining consciousness. Sam decided to get him out of there. He was lifting his brother into a fireman's carry when he was overwhelmed. Nothing touched him but his head exploded with light, sound, and fear. He slumped to the ground next to his brother.

Their attacker contemplated the Winchesters. His kind told stories about humans like this but it'd never been able to feed off of one. It felt a rush of greed. No, it'd get them into hiding before beginning. Here was feast after so long a famine. Since the taller was uppermost, it picked him up and headed off to its lair. The other would stay unconscious long enough for it to return and retrieve the rest of its meal.

A/N: Please let me know what you thought about it so far.