Teddy Bear's Picnic
Late October and the streets were lit with Halloween decorations, the sky was dimming and children wandered with bags ready to be filled with all kinds of sugary candy. Dean Winchester had a bag of his own as he leaned into the Impala, emptying all the junk from it that had been building up through the past weeks. As he worked, something glinted in the light and he looked down, spying what looked like a toy eye.
"Well don't you bring back memories?" He asked the eye as he picked it up.
"Sammy!" The thirteen year old called out to his brother, "Get a move on!"
"I'm coming…" The floppy haired kid replied but he didn't budge from his position. His wide eyes focused on the small teddy bear lying a foot or so away from the pavement. It was perfect. Maybe a little worn and dirty but it was perfect. He took a tentative step forward and lifted his arm, ready to reach out and grab it.
Before he even managed to finish taking his step, Dean pulled him back, causing him to stumble.
"Watch it Sammy." he advised, raising an eyebrow at his brother before glancing quickly at the bear sitting lost and lonely merely two steps away, "You weren't thinking of bringing that thing with you, were you?"
"Look at it!" The nine year old whined, "Someone's just left it there. It needs a good home. Pleeeaaase Dean."
"No way, it's disgusting. You want a teddy bear? I'll get you one another time."
"I want that one though." Sam pouted.
"Forget it Sammy, now quit moaning and get moving." With that, Dean readjusted his candy bag and turned around; beginning the trek back to the scruffy apartment they were staying in, quickly adding, "Besides, aren't you too old for teddies?"
The question went unanswered as the youngest caught up with his brother, falling into a 'step step quick step' trying to keep up whilst sticking a piece of chocolate into his mouth.
The apartment was on the second floor of a small building near the outskirts of town; it was a fair walk away from the candy filled neighbourhoods and looked old and creepy enough without any Halloween decorations. There was no sign of John as they entered the building, it would be nearly dark before their father rolled in from whatever job he was working but he always liked them back before then. That left the dinner up to Dean which would mean a quick cereal before munching on candy.
After ditching his candy bag in the main room, and leaving the kid to pull out homework whilst spoiling his appetite with sugar, Dean pushed himself towards the kitchen. Ransacking the cupboards, he managed to find a couple of bowls, some in date milk and a box of colourful cereal. He poured the concoction into the bowls, watching the darkening sky outside the window as he did so. He barely caught the quick reflection of something that seemed to skitter across the work surface behind him.
"Damn it." He breathed, closing his eyes he began to pray, cursing their lack of money and the building's owner for ignorance for the occupants.
He worked his hand along the workbench until he found a small but sharp knife. Gripping it tightly, he spun around to face his deadly foe only to find the room completely empty.
"Rats!" He growled angrily. He'd dealt with them in the past, along with cockroaches and even the occasional bat. They were fast and hard to catch, but once he knew they were there they made him paranoid and put him on edge until he caught and killed one.
"Dean? What's wrong?" Sammy asked from the doorway, watching as his brother prowled around the kitchen.
Dean looked up from his position and smiled, dropping the raised knife to his side as if he hadn't just been using it for a possible weapon, "Nothing's wrong Sam. Food's ready."
"Okay…" Sam brightened up, grabbing his bowl and a spoon. As he turned away, Dean barely caught the chorus of words echoing back to him on Sam's sing song voice. He cringed at the old nursery rhyme as his brother sang gently, "If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise."
When dinner was finished and the brothers had shared their candy between them, Dean helped Sam wash away the fake blood lingering on his face before allowing the youngster to run off to their bedroom. He grimaced as Sam began singing the same nursery rhyme as before but brushed it off due to too much candy. It wasn't until the heard another voice that he knew Sam was hiding something.
"Sam?" Dean called through the bedroom door as he heard a second unfamiliar voice singing the same song. The voice sounded broken and warbled as it sang, and became muffled as the sound of shuffling came from the bedroom and Sam opened the door.
"Wha?" He asked innocently, puppy eyes a sure sign that told Dean the kid was trying to play him.
"Never mind 'wha' – what are you hiding?" Dean strode past his brother and into the bedroom, narrowed eyes searching all around and ears strained for the strangers voice. But the room was normal and silent, except for Sam shuffling from one foot to the other.
Dean stared at Sam's guilty face, "Where is it?"
"The teddy. I know you snuck it home, I can read you like a book. Now where is it?"
Still refusing to answer and look his brother in the face, Sam found his eyes wandering over the space under his bed where he'd hastily hidden the small tatty bear. And Dean, not one to miss a thing, immediately fell to his knees next the bed, reaching an arm underneath to grab the offending object.
"Jesus Sam, this thing is horrible and it stinks!" Dean pulled a face as he lifted the teddy up and studied it. It's fur was full of tufts and the seams had began to wear away as stuffing poked out, one eye had come loose and was on the verge of falling off altogether and the pull string attached to the voice box around it's back was discoloured and sticky.
"Deeaaan…" The kid pleaded, trying his best to grab the teddy but Dean just held it out of reach.
"I said no before Sam. I'm putting it in the bin…" Dean said, eyeing the teddy once more and feeling shivers as he gazed into the cold empty eyes he added, "…outside."
Not wishing to keep the creepy little bear in the apartment much longer, Dean rushed to deposit the thing into the bins in the alleyway around the side of the building. When he closed the lid, the rumble of a familiar car pulling up covered up the broken song that Dean thought he heard echoing back to him but putting it down to an overactive imagination, he rushed around front to meet his Dad.
It wasn't a surprise that Sam didn't mention Dean taking away his new toy because he knew that their father would be more likely to tell him off for bringing home a strange object in the first place. So rather than bring their father into the mix, Sam just resorted to glaring at Dean and giving him the silent treatment.
The streetlights were on and it was dark outside by the time the brothers settled down into bed. And as they slept, a broken and distorted sing song voice entered Dean's dreams.
"I'm on the first step. I'm on the second step. I'm on the third step. I'm gonna get you."
Dean groaned as he rolled over, face falling into a frown as his dream of the girl in his biology class became mixed with the creepy bear.
"I'm on the fourth step. I'm on the fifth step. I'm on the sixth step. I'm gonna get you."
Rolling over again, Dean blinked his eyes, taking in the darkened room and huddled form of Sam sleeping softly on the opposite bed then yawned, letting his eyes close.
"I'm on the seventh step. I'm on the eighth step. I'm on the ninth step. I'm gonna kill you."
His eyes snapped open as he realised the voice wasn't coming from his dreams but was echoing through the apartment from somewhere outside.
"I'm on the tenth step. I'm on the eleventh step. I'm on the landing. You're gonna die."
Sitting up in bed, he drew a deep breath and looked around, listening intently and trying to convince himself that he was still dreaming. But the voice grew louder.
"I'm through the door. I'm moving forwards. I've got a knife. I'm gonna slice you."
He saw the living room light flicker on from gap under the door and knew he wasn't imagining things. Dean threw his covers off and jumped from the bed, quickly moving towards the bedroom door where a loaded shotgun stood just behind it.
"I'm by the bedrooms. And I can hear you. I'm gonna kill you. And then your family."
His entire body froze and his heartbeat quickened as he tried to stay in control. Why couldn't his Dad hear the intruder? The door handle began to turn and Dean shuffled backwards raising the gun ready. The voice had stopped but the door opened and light flooded the room, momentarily blinding Dean as he sent a shot off and someone sliced his lower midsection.
Landing hard on the floor as he fell backwards, he dropped a hand to the bleeding but shallow wound and stared up, looking for the attacker. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he looked all around and saw no one.
"Sam! Dean!" John Winchester bellowed as he wretched his bedroom door open and made his way to his sons' room. He immediately dropped to the floor next to Dean when he saw his eldest clutching his stomach, "What the hell happened?"
"There was something there!" Dean cried out, letting his Dad examine the cut. His eyes continued to search the room beyond the door and eventually fell on the familiar shape of the soft ugly teddy bear, "The bear! It was the bear!"
Deciding the wound wouldn't take much to fix, John turned his puzzled gaze onto the bear, "Dean… what are you on about?"
"Tengu?" Sam's small voice drifted to their ears and the woken nine year old jumped from his bed and ran towards the teddy bear, "What you doing there Tengu?"
"Sam! Leave that thing alone! Don't touch it…" Dean pleaded.
"I think you boys need to tell me what's going on." John demanded.
"Dean insulted my bear and threw him in the bin!" Sam offered up, as if that explained everything, "Tengu doesn't like him very much now."
"And where did the bear come from?"
"I… I found him on the way home."
Standing up, John moved swiftly, grabbing the small bear and the keys to the car. He glanced back at his boys only long enough to give them instructions, "Sam – never bring strange things home again. You got me? And Dean – first aid kit's in the bathroom, 'less you want an infection you better clean up your wound."
It wasn't until later that they'd found out Tengu wasn't the name of the bear but the type of the spirit possessing the bear. The particular spirit stole children away from their families and Dean shuddered to think what he'd have done if it had taken Sam. They were also known for being extremely proud and took easy offence if you insulted them, no wonder it had wanted to hurt Dean so badly.
"You're still ugly." He told the eye as he threw it in with the rest of the rubbish. He smiled as he remembered his dad had actually believed him about the bear, having burned the little sucker on consecrated ground.