Title: The Dare
Author: Maimat the Rat
Spoilers: None, pre-series
Characters: Dean, Sam. Gen.
Notes: Weechester fic
Summary: Basements and Brothers and Rats... OH MY!
Thanks to my awesome beta, jackfan2!
When Dean was thirteen and Sam was nine, the house they lived in that fall had a basement. It smelled of mildew, and it was dark, and John told them both to stay the hell away from it.
Dean was bored. It was Saturday, it was raining outside, Dad was away for the day, and there was no cable hook up.
"Hey Sammy, I dare you to go down stairs."
Sammy leaned against the edge of the kitchen table picking the marshmallows out of his bowl of lucky charms and piling them beside his bowl. "Can I have your Gameboy if I do it?"
"Go into the basement."
"Hell no. But maybe I'll let you have a turn."
Sammy sucked on the marshmallows one at a time while he thought. "How long of a turn?"
"Depends on how long you stay in the basement. If you just run down and run back up, that's not going to count for anything." Dean reached over and grabbed what he could of Sam's marshmallow pile and popped them in his mouth before Sam could rescue them.
"No fair Dean, those were mine. You already ate your cereal."
"Sorry, I didn't think you wanted them."
"Jerk. So, however long I'm down there, that's how long I can play with your game?" Sam looked towards the basement door, closed as usual. The door was narrow, with white chipping paint and a hook latch on the top to keep it closed.
"I'll time you."
Sam got up and stood barefoot in front of the door, still contemplating the deal. "You aren't going to lock me down there are you?"
"No." Dean answered in his best offended tone.
"Not like the time we were playing hide and seek and you forgot to find me"
"I didn't forget, remember, I couldn't find you. I can't help if your midget self could find all the best hiding places."
"You were watching MTV."
"Only after I couldn't find you. And anyway, what does that have to do with anything? We aren't playing hide and seek, I'm going to time how long you can stay in the basement."
"You'll leave the door open?"
"I promise. Anyway, there's no lights down there, how would you see to come back up? It's not like I want you to have a long turn on my Gameboy."
"You have your watch?"
"And it works?"
"See, it works. Are you going to do it or not?"
"And you'll go take a turn after?"
"As if you have anything I want. You want a turn on my Gameboy, then go. If you're scared, I understand. You don't have to do it."
"I didn't say I was scared." Sam reached up and opened the latch. The door swung out on its own, and Sam looked at Dean. "You're timing?"
Dean held the watch ready. "I'll start when you reach the bottom."
"Can I have a flashlight?"
Sam sighed and went down. Dean started the timer and sat at the top of the stairs. Even with the door open it was too dark to see Sam at the bottom. "You okay down there?"
"It smells like old farts." Sam called back.
"Nah, that's just you." Dean watched the timer and waited. The phone rang. Dean put the watch down and went to answer it around the corner. As soon as he moved away from the stairs, he heard a thunk.
Dean froze, eyes wide he turned and stared.
The door to the basement had closed. On its own. The whole reason for the latch to begin with was because the damn door never shut properly. It always swung open. All the time. It never closed on its own. That just never happened. Never.
The phone was still ringing, but Dean didn't answer it. To hell with the phone. He promised Sam he wouldn't shut the door, and he meant it. Dean lifted the latch and pulled. The bottom part moved slightly, but it was stuck on something at the top. Dean pulled again, harder. Still nothing.
"Hey Sam? I can't get the door open."
There was no answer from the other side of the door. Dean grabbed the knob with both hands and pulled again. There was a scraping sound, and he thought he was going to get it so he braced one foot on the doorframe and pulled again. A harsh crack echoed through the kitchen, and Dean fell on his back. There was something clenched in his fist and he looked down; it was the knob, it had come off in his hand.
"Oh shit, oh fuck. Sam?" Dean squeezed his fingers into the space where the knob had been and tried pulling, but he couldn't get a decent grip. And why the hell wasn't Sam answering him? He expected his little brother to be at the top of the stairs beating on the door and swearing at him by now. Why wasn't Sam answering him?
Pulling on the door didn't work, so Dean did the next best thing; he kicked it. There were panels on the inside frame of the door, and Dean aimed for those. He didn't even think to put his shoes on first, because at this point he wasn't thinking much, other than open door, find Sam.
After the second kick the bottom panel busted inwards. Dean pulled the rest of the broken board out his side and looked in. It was pitch black and his little brother was down there and why didn't Dad warn me that the fucking basement ate little brothers?
Dean ran to the kitchen and dug in the drawer beside the fridge for a flashlight. He turned it on and remembered; oh crap I used the batteries in the walkie-talkie the other day. He couldn't spend all day running around the house looking for the walkie-talkies and replacing the batteries while Sammy was stuck in the basement in the dark all alone. Back at the door Dean called down again.
"Hey Sammy! Come on, I got the door open, sort of. I didn't shut it on you, I swear. Just come up stairs okay? You can play the Gameboy as long as you want. Okay? Sammy? Come on little bro, you can't stay mad at me forever." Oh please be mad at me and not something worse.
It was a tight fit to crawl though the hole he made in the door panel, and once he had, Dean realised it was darker on this side of the door than he thought it would be. The hole barely let in any light at all. "Sam?"
The stairs felt dusty and rough on his bare feet as Dean crept down. How the hell was he supposed to find Sam in the dark like this? It was stupid. The little bitch was probably just hiding out, pissed at Dean for allowing the door to shut.
The smell of mildew was ten times worse once he was actually down there. It wasn't what Dean would describe as old farts, more like dead things. Rotten dead things. He stepped in something cold and wet and froze. Just water. Fuck.
Dean took another step and felt something brush against his face. This was so many kinds of wrong he couldn't even begin to count. What was he thinking daring Sam to go downstairs? He knew, knew, there was something wrong with the basement and he sent his little brother down there? What kind of ass sends his kid brother into a basement with no light or anything? It was stupid, and now he couldn't find Sam, and Dad was going to kill him.
"Quit playing around, you got me down here, you win. Just come out. Game over."
What if Sam tripped and fell? What if he was hurt and unconscious? Dean explored the room, searching the corners, around the shelves. There was a recess under the stairs, Dean crouched down and reached in, his hand touched something soft and warm and furry. And it moved.
With a startled yelp Dean stumbled backwards and into a row of boxes, knocking them over. Rats. Holy shit, there were rats in this house. He could hear the squeaking now, and the light scratching of claws on cement. How many where there? Was there a nest in the boxes he tipped over, because it certainly didn't sound like there was only one anymore.
And Sam was down here, possibly hurt and unconscious, and there were rats.
From the top of the stairs... what the hell?
"I'm up here. Dean, what are you doing down there?"
Dean ran back up the stairs and squeezed through the hole in the door in record time. "Where were you?"
Sam took a step back. "You okay?"
Dean rubbed his face, not really surprised to find it kind of damp, and wiped his hand off on his shirt. "I'm fine. Where were you? How did you get up here?"
"I found a window. It's blacked out, and opens up out under the back porch." Sam stared at the basement door. "I was going to come around and scare you."
"The door slammed shut and I thought you were hurt down there or something. Holy shit Sammy."
"I guess when I opened the window the change in air sucked the door in." He was looking at the knob on the floor, the broken panel on the door. "So... really? You thought I was stuck down there and you kicked the door in? That's so cool."
Dean blinked. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." Sam stared at the wrecked door for a minute. "You'd really do that for me?"
Dean grinned. "I did didn't I?"
"Yeah, you did. What do you think Dad's going to do when he see's the door?"
Dean shrugged. "Think we can fix it?"
Sam smiled. "I bet we can fix it so good he won't even know it was broken."