No, this story is not dead nor am I, although I'm going to finish this story if it kills me. I've been in the middle of moving the past two months but I'm settled now and writing. I hope you all haven't lost interest in this because it will be finished soon. The boys are more in their element now so enjoy and review!
"I hate this you know."
"So you've told me told me since breakfast."
"Well then maybe you should listen to me. I am psychic you know."
"Then you should know what will happen to you if you don't shut up." Dean pushed open Natalie's now unlocked back door. "Voila."
"Good to know you're still an upstanding criminal," Sam remarked looking around to make sure no one from next door saw them before following his brother inside.
"Would you cut the commentary and just get to work? Natalie won't be off work until two, but I want to get out of here before Missouri notices something's up."
"Like she can't just rip it out of your head if she wants to. I still don't understand why you don't want her to know."
"This is my problem, Sam," Dean snapped. "Just let me do this my way."
He rolled his eyes. "Fine. So you said he's afraid to sleep in his room at night? Why not just give him a gun?" he asked referring to his father's method.
Dean narrowed his eyes at him and grabbed Sam's crutches as they ascended the steps. "You're efforts at levity are not helping. Hurry up."
Sam paused in his efforts at hopping up the steps one at a time long enough to flip him off. Dean smirked and pushed open the door to Ben's nursery with gun in hand. He scanned the room quickly while waiting for Sam to catch up and then went and stood in front of the closet while Sam checked the salt lines on the window sill.
"Lines are still intact," Sam said coming over. "Was anything amiss last night?"
Dean shook his head. "No. But…the closet bothers me."
"I don't know," he whispered. "It just does."
Sam snapped his fingers in his brother's face to draw him out of the trance he seemed to have fallen into. "Hey, snap out of it."
Dean shivered and blinked. "Sorry."
"Dude, where'd you go?"
Dean couldn't explain the sudden pang of grief he'd just felt or the warmth that had just washed it away, but it was familiar and it roused some of his most deeply buried memories. "Do you smell jasmine?"
Sam startled at the sudden question. 'No."
Dean frowned and his eyes grew troubled.
"You always said Natalie smelled like jasmine," Sam offered as explanation. "She's probably got potpourri shit or a plug in around here somewhere."
"Yeah," Dean said not convinced. "Check the closet. I drew lines in there last night."
Sam opened the door and pushed away clothing and the stuffed animals. He frowned at what he saw. "Dean, turn on the light."
When the light chased every shadow from the small space, Sam set his mouth into a grim line and leaned back for Dean to see.
Deep, black scratch marks decorated the back wall as if long fingernails had been raked across it.
"What the hell are we dealing with?" Dean growled throwing open the fridge door to retrieve two beers. "What creature preys on children that we don't already know about? We've already been down the list of possibilities. Shtriga, boogeyman, changelings, rawheads….they have different calling cards. Even Bobby is stumped. He called back awhile ago and said he couldn't find anything."
He plopped back down in his seat and slid a can across the table to his brother. They had gotten back to the house and immediately dived into research. Sam had holed himself up in the breakfast nook and had been surfing the net for two hours while Dean had made various calls to some of their old contacts. Sam's pensive gaze never left the computer screen as he reached out and cracked the tab on the beer. He leaned back and took a long pull and then furrowed his eyebrows at what he was reading.
"I think I found another possibility."
Dean raised his eyebrows. "And?"
Sam blew out a sigh and looked at his brother. "A piper."
"I can't believe you were able to look me straight in the eye when you said that."
"Says the man who killed his first boogeyman at nineteen. Dean, there is tons of legend on it."
"How many legends have we actually hunted in our life, Dean?" Sam asked. "I can't believe you're scoffing at the possibility."
"A Pied Piper?"
"They aren't the fifes with bells on their toes like the one from the storybook."
Dean closed his eyes. "Hokay. Tell me."
"There's no info on the origin of them, but they do prey on children," Sam explained scrolling down the Web page. "They aren't age specific." He glanced up at his brother. "Answers the question of why children disappear from their bedrooms without a trace and are never seen again."
"What affects them?"
"Well, like most supernatural creatures they can't cross salt lines, but…"
"They don't have to."
Dean nodded. "They lure the children."
"Which makes them dangerous sons of bitches." Sam read on. "Whoa. They aren't completely random in their choosing."
"What do you mean?"
"Patterns have been put together over the past years. The kids that have disappeared have had unstable backgrounds. Runaways, foster children, orphans, some just from broken homes."
"But Ben's only two!"
"And two is a vulnerable age. There has been tension between his parents since he was born and they're divorcing."
"And now there's the question of his paternity," Dean said quietly. "How do we kill it?"
Sam looked at the screen again and scrolled down the page. "Says a knife made out of consecrated brass."
"Awesome. So we actually have to get up close and personal with the thing."
"We have to get Ben out of that room. Out of the house."
"That might not be an option."
"What are you saying?"
Sam only looked at him.
"No," Dean said standing up abruptly. "No fucking way."
"Dean, it might be the only way. I don't like it either. But we've done this before."
"We've never dangled a two year old in front of a monster! We've never forced anybody to be bait, they've always been able to decide for themselves. Ben can't."
"Then what do you propose? Moving him won't solve the problem; the piper is attached to him, not the room!"
Dean walked to the kitchen window where he could see Missouri pushing Ben on the swing in the backyard. "Sam, I can't," he whispered.
Sam pursed his lips and watched his brother's profile. Finally, he nodded. "Fine. We'll find another way."
I hope the legend of the Pied Piper sounded authentic, because I just completely pulled it out of my butt. The only information I could find on the net was just the story everyone's grown up with, so I just decided to embellish a little. So if someone knows of an actual piper-like urban legend…sorry. I like mine better. haha