Stuck in Two Worlds

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I don't own them; I just like to take them out and play with them once in a while.

A/N: I know I say this a lot when I post a new story, but I'm not sure about this one. It started and ended pretty much where I wanted it to. The middle is even more or less what I envisioned. But it seems kind of like an episode of Seinfeld where, in the end, nothing really happened. And yet, a lot did happen.

I'll let you be the judge, so review your hearts out. It's three chapters and all are finished. More or less, anyway. I'm still tweaking a conversation in the third chapter, but there's nothing unusual about that.

For everyone who has asked about a Dean/Kristine reunion, it's coming. I need some more information from the show, so I can keep my little AU world within canon.

Now without further ado…..


Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice

One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be Unknown


"I'm not sure I want to do this."

"What? Since when do you turn down jobs?"

"I don't, but –"

"It's probably nothing complicated. It's even fairly close by."

"Yeah, I know. It's not that."

Jim Murphy looked at his friend curiously. Ever since he'd met John Winchester nearly ten years before, the man had always been willing to take on whatever supernatural hunt he came across. His primary goal was finding whatever had killed his wife, but he wanted to learn as much as he could and get rid of as much evil as possible along the way. In addition to being eager, Jim had found him to be a quick learner and willing to be as brutal as he needed to be. The hesitation Jim now saw was something he'd not seen before

They were sitting in the living room of the house provided to Jim by the church where he officiated. It wasn't a lavish home, but it was more than enough for a man who lived alone with the occasional guests.

"What is it then?" the pastor asked gently.

"I think I need to be with the boys for a while."

"What's going on?"

John stood up and took a few long steps to the picture window. He faced outside, but the sun had set and Jim didn't think he could actually see anything in the darkness beyond the glass.

Jim knew that John struggled with parenting his two young sons while hunting at the same time. Before they were school age, John could go anywhere the hunt took him. Even after Dean was old enough for first grade, the family still moved around quite a bit, until John saw how difficult it was for his older son. Dean had fallen behind almost from the beginning and John knew that if he couldn't find and destroy his wife's killer soon that he would have to depend on Dean to help protect Sammy. He wouldn't be able to learn what he'd need to know with a subpar education.

It was difficult, but John began to choose homes central to supernatural activity so that he could keep the family in one place during the school year while still going out on hunts. There were a few people John could trust to stay with his boys, but despite Jim's protests, he preferred to leave them alone when he couldn't be with them. Jim never quite understood his friend's reasoning, but knew better than to interfere too deeply in family matters. John had a temper and the pastor didn't want to risk him taking the boys away completely and becoming a rogue hunter.

It wasn't as if there was any real organization to the hunter community, but there was still cohesiveness and unspoken rules. John was dangerous and it was made worse over fear for his younger son's destiny. Jim wanted to make sure the threat was only to the evil entities and not to the other hunters, so he chose not to alienate John.

"John?" Jim prompted quietly after several moments of silence.

He turned from the window, his expression sad. "Ever since Sammy found out the truth, he's been angry. It's getting worse and lately, he only listens to Dean. If I had to choose, I'd rather him be safe above everything else, but this….it's…."

John shook his head and turned back to the window.

Jim sighed to himself. John had no one to blame but himself for his younger son's lack of faith in him. The boy had adored his father, as any child would, but lost all belief in the man when he found out that John had been lying to him his entire life. Of course John had done it to protect Sam, but he had always been a very curious boy and smarter than he had any right to be. It had never occurred to John that he, at only nine years old, would defy orders and go out on his own to look for the answer to his questions.

Dean had lied to him, too, but where it had caused seemingly irreparable harm to Sam's relationship with his father, it was only a blip between the brothers. A major factor in the deterioration of his connection to Sam was John's refusal to deal with the situation. Dean, on the other hand, knew his brother well enough to realize he couldn't just bark an order and make things better. He had gone out of his way to mend fences.

"John, if you think you need to spend more time with the boys, then by all means, you should. This is just something I heard about; it's not a huge job. But….well, it's been two years since Sam found out about hunting and what happened to his mother. What, exactly, is it you expect to do now?"

"I don't know," John admitted as he came back to the couch. He laughed bitterly. "I can handle all kinds of evil crap, but I don't know what to do about one eleven year old boy."

"Well," Jim sat back in his favorite leather chair and crossed his legs. "You could try being his father."

"You know I love him, right? I mean, in spite of….he's my son and I love him."

"Of course I know that. And Sam knows it, too. He might have lost sight of it, but he knows. Are you expecting to rebuild the relationship or just get him back in line? Those are vastly different things and they will have different outcomes."

John took a thoughtful sip of beer.

Jim persisted. "If you just want him back in line, you may as well just let Dean handle him."


Sam Winchester sat in a chair on the back porch of Jim's house, a book propped up on his legs as they rested on the bench in front of him. He was taking advantage of the unusually warm Minnesota afternoon, but Dean knew he'd do practically anything to avoid being near their father. He watched his brother through the sliding glass door for a moment before going outside. He intentionally pushed Sam's legs off of the bench before sitting down.

"Hey!" Sam protested.

Dean grinned.

Sam shot him a dirty look as he resettled in the chair. "What'd ya do that for?"

"No reason," Dean shrugged.

"Jerk," Sam muttered. He turned back to his book, but Dean knew he wasn't reading. A moment later Sam slipped a bookmark between the pages and set it aside. "Where's Dad?"

"Still in the living room with Jim."

"He going on a job?"

Dean shrugged. "I don't know."

"Maybe he'll leave us here," Sam said hopefully.

"Maybe. If he goes anywhere."

"What else would they be talking about?"

Dean heard the bitterness in his brother's voice. Dean didn't like their situation any better than Sam, but he understood it. What their dad did was important and it helped people. One day he'd find the thing that took their mom away and he'd destroy it. Then, maybe things would be better.

"When are you gonna cut him a break?"

Sam glared at his brother for a moment, then looked away.

"Come on, Sammy. It is what is it, okay? We can't change it. You think it's all fun and games for Dad? It's not. And you don't make it any easier on him."

"He lied to me, Dean."

"For your own good. I lied to you, too, remember?"

Sam shook his head. "That's different. You at least apologized. And you talked to me about it. Dad never did."

"He's the adult."


"Don't whatever me, Sammy," Dean said with no anger in his voice. "Just…cut Dad some slack, okay?"

"He orders us around like we're in the military. And the training…."

"What's wrong with the training? It's important."

"We never get to go on these hunts. Why train?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "We're training to be ready to go. And to protect ourselves when he's gone."

"Which is all the time."

"Damnit, Sammy!" Dean stood up. "He probably just doesn't want to be around you!"

He saw the pain in his brother's eyes and immediately wished he could take back his words. It wasn't like he'd meant them and he knew their dad would be pissed if he'd heard what Dean had said.

"Sammy –"

"Leave me alone!" Sam jumped up and stormed into the house.

Dean ran after Sam, but stopped at the foot of the stairs when he heard his father call his name.

"What's going on?" John asked as Dean walked toward the living room.

Dean glanced at the stairs when a door slammed on the second floor. "I said something mean that I shouldn't have said. I was just going after him to apologize."

"You don't think you should give him a few minutes to calm down?"

"Maybe you're right." He walked completely into the room and sat next to his father. "You guys talking about a job?"

John glanced at Jim. "Yeah, but I don't think I'm going to bite on this one."

"Really?" Dean was surprised. "Why?"

"I think I'll start dinner," Jim said and quickly left the room.

"What's going on, Dad?" Dean asked.

"Don't look so worried," John smiled at him. "I was just thinking maybe we'd stick around here for a while; see if I can do anything to change your brother's attitude."

Dean snorted. "Good luck with that."

"Oh? You think it's hopeless?" John asked.

Dean looked at him, surprised his dad had taken his comment seriously. "I don't know. It's just….he's been pretty pissed off lately."

"At me," John said pointedly. "I know that."

"You know how he is," Dean said looking at his father sideways. "He wants to know things."

"I tell you what it's safe for you to hear."

Dean nodded. "Yes, sir, I know."

Dean never openly questioned his father's actions and always did what was expected of him. He did what he could to keep Sam in line, but the older his brother got, the harder that was. Sam had been deeply disappointed two years before when he found out what their dad really did when he left them alone. On top of that, it was the first time their father had missed a holiday. Dean had done what he could to make it a Christmas for Sam, but it was something the younger boy had not gotten over. Their father seemed to take Sam's disappointment use that as permission to keep letting him down.

"I should go talk to Sammy," Dean said.

"All right."

Dean paused just before he left the room. "Dad? Are we really going to stay here for a while?"

John nodded. "Yeah."

Dean smiled and headed upstairs.


"Leave me alone, Dean," Sam grumbled as his brother pushed open the door. He rolled over onto his stomach, his head turned toward the wall.

"Look, uh, I'm sorry about what I said. You know I didn't mean it."

Sam didn't answer. He knew Dean didn't mean it, but he couldn't help but wonder if it might not be true just the same. He heard the squeak of Dean's bed as his brother sat down. Dean was quiet for several moments.

"Come on, Sammy," he said, his voice sounding sad. "I shouldn't have said that."

"What if it's true?" Sam asked, afraid of the answer.


"What if it's my fault Dad stays away so much?"

"Sam, that's crazy. You know what he's out there doing. He's getting rid of all kinds of evil sons of bitches. He's helping people, Sammy."

"We're people, too," Sam said, struggling against the quiver of his bottom lip.

"Aw, Sammy."

Sam scooted closer to the wall when he felt Dean sit down on his bed. He had started to cry and that was making him angry all over again. He wasn't mad at Dean or their dad, though. He was mad at himself.

"Hey, you got me, right?"

"I know," Sam whispered.

"Dad…he cares, Sammy, he does. You know that."


Sam did know that. Their dad was gone a lot and he barked orders when he was home, but every now and then, Sam would catch something in his eyes. It was something he used to see more often when he was younger and it always made him feel warm and safe. He saw it in Dean's eyes a lot.

"Sammy," Dean put a hand on his brother's back. "There's no way Dad leaves because of you, but if that's what your afraid of….dude, why are you such a bitch to him sometimes?"

Sam sighed and turned over, wiping his face and hoping Dean wouldn't see the tears.

"I just want to know things and I hate his secrets."

"He tells us what he thinks it's safe for us to know."

"That's what he says."

"Yeah? And?"

Sam looked at his brother. They'd had this conversation a million times before and Dean never understood. He had faith in their father; a belief that the man could do no wrong. Dean did everything he could to make things easier for him and to make him happy. The more their dad treated them like soldiers, the more Dean seemed to enjoy it. Sam didn't want to be that way. He wanted to know why he was doing something; he wanted it to make sense. Their dad just wanted them to follow him blindly and that was quickly becoming more than Sam could handle.

"It's not good enough."

"You think Dad is so different than other parents?"

"I don't know." Sam almost looked away as Dean seemed to study his face.

"Well, whether he is or isn't," Dean finally said. "He's all we've got. Other parents don't have to worry so much about things that go bump in the night. Ghosts and shit may be real, but most people never have to deal with them. Dad knows what's out there, man. He knows what might follow him home. He just wants us to know how to defend ourselves in case it does. He does the best he can, Sammy."

Before Sam could react, Dean stood up. He walked to the doorway and paused. "Just think about it, okay?"

Sam nodded and when Dean turned away, he called out for him. Dean turned back around.

"Thanks," Sam said simply.

Dean smiled at him and walked away.

Sam waited until he heard his brother on the stairs before he sat up. No matter what else happened, Sam knew that Dean would always be in his corner. He expected as much from Sam as their dad did, but Dean would at least talk to him.

He sometimes wondered what went on when Dean was alone with their dad. Sam knew Dean had a better relationship with the man than he did, but he also knew it wasn't all hugs and kisses. Dean was older and bigger, although Sam was already catching up to him, and he trained alone with their dad. Sometimes he got hurt and Sam couldn't help but wonder….

He slipped off of his bed, refusing to let his thoughts continue in that direction. Dad would never hurt either one of them on purpose. No matter how mad Sam got at him, he refused to believe anything different. Most of the time, anyway.

Sam washed his face in the bathroom, then went downstairs. His dad and brother were in the kitchen with Jim and Sam paused before joining them. He didn't hear what it was, but something Jim said made his dad and brother laugh. He liked that sound and wished he could hear it more often. He remembered what Dean had said about cutting their dad some slack and decided that at least for tonight, he'd do just that.

He hesitated just inside the kitchen. It looked so normal. Jim was getting burgers ready to grill, Dean was pulling stuff out of the refrigerator and their dad stood in a corner with a smile on his face. He caught Sam's eye and his smile broadened. Sam nodded and walked over to him. Without a word, Dad slipped an arm around his shoulders and squeezed gently. Sam moved even closer and momentarily rested his head against his father.

A moment later everyone went outside to the porch. Under Jim's watchful eye, Dean put the burgers onto the grill. Sam was surprised when Dad produced a baseball and a couple of gloves.

"What do ya say, Sammy?"

Sam eagerly reached for one of the gloves and followed his dad into the yard. Maybe things could be okay, after all.


John usually moved the boys as soon as the school year was over. They'd visit with Jim for a few days, then the rest of the summer would be spent going from place to place and job to job. Sam and Dean were never allowed on the hunts, but John encouraged them to do research. It was an important part of the job and his sons needed to be able to do it.

He planned to bring them in. Dean was ready, but Sam was still too young. Besides, John needed Dean to take care of Sam and he couldn't do that if he was off on a job. Maybe he could take Dean on a simple haunting and leave Sam with Jim. It would be good for Dean, but wouldn't do anything for John's relationship with Sam.

"You're up late," Jim noted when he joined John in the living room.

"I could say the same thing," John said. "I thought you went to bed hours ago."

Jim nodded. "The boys were talking. I guess it woke me up."

"Why are they awake?" John asked.

"I don't know. I didn't go into their room," Jim glanced at the end table. There were four empty beer bottles on it. "You've only had four?"

John didn't answer, but took another swallow from the bottle in his hand.

"John –"

"You're not going to preach at me, are you?"

Jim glared at his friend for a moment, then sighed. "No. But I am going to point out that today was a good day. I saw you with Sammy. More importantly, I saw Sammy with you. It was a good day."

"It was," John agreed. "But there have been a lot of bad days. And not just with Sammy. The more I learn, the more I see…."

"You don't have to do this, John."

John smiled sadly. "He's my son. I can't leave this to anyone else."

"So you keep saying. But today," Jim leaned forward. "Was a good day."

John looked at the bottle in his hand. After a few moments, he stood up and gathered the empty ones from the table. He paused on his way to the kitchen. "You're right. Today was a good day."

Upstairs, Jim went into his own bedroom while John paused outside the boys' room. The door was closed and there didn't seem to be a light on, but he could hear their voices. He thought about knocking, but decided not to interfere.


And so things went for the next several days. John worked with the boys and their training, but managed to maintain his patience and remember that Sammy was only eleven. It didn't matter what John said or did, Dean always pushed himself to his limit and beyond.

One evening, after a full afternoon of physical training, the boys were on the couch watching a movie while John went through the newspapers of several neighboring towns. He wasn't planning to go off on a job, but still wanted to keep up with what was going on. Jim had been gone all day, presumably on church business.

John glanced up as the back door opened and immediately saw Jim's expression. It was obvious that something was wrong.

"Jim?" he asked, concerned.

The pastor looked around, almost seeming lost for a few moments before he joined John at the table.

"One of the church families….their house is a few miles outside of town. They….they're dead. All of them. Parents, grandparents and four children."

"Oh my god. What happened?"

Jim shook his head, his hands flat against the table. "Police think it was some kind of gang."

"Here?" John asked, surprised small town cops would jump to that conclusion.

Jim shrugged. "Remote house, roving criminals. It's been known to happen."

"What do you think?" John asked after a moment.

"The grandmother was a psychic. She used to use a Ouija board to contact spirits, but had a bad experience maybe 20 years ago and gave it up. A few weeks ago they started having some trouble at the house –"

"This isn't what you wanted me to look into, is it?"

Jim waved his hand. "No, no. I talked to Gladys a week ago, I guess. She confided in me that spirits were trying to contact her again. She wanted to ignore them….."

John waited for a moment. "What was her bad experience?"

"I honestly don't know. It was before she moved here and she never told me about it. She knew about hunters and my connection, but she never felt she needed to confide in me more than she did."

"Who were the spirits trying to contact her now?"

"I don't know," Jim shook his head sadly. "My God, John. I saw them. It was awful."

"You were there?"

Jim nodded. "Yes. I'd gone to the house to talk to Gladys and…."

"I'll look into it, Jim."

"I can't ask you to do that. Not –"

"You're not asking."

Jim looked at his friend with gratitude. John reached across the table and patted his wrist. "I'll find out what happened."


After getting as much information from Jim as he could, John got ready to pose as an FBI agent and headed off to the Masons' home. The local police had been working the scene all day and John was happy and a little surprised to see he had the place to himself when he arrived.

Jim's horrific description of what he'd seen had not completely prepared John for what he saw when he got into the house. There was blood everywhere; puddled on the floor, soaked into the carpet, splattered and even smeared on the walls. It also looked as if no piece of furniture had been left untouched.

John walked around, doing his best to avoid what the police had left and taking in all the detail he could. He pulled an EMF monitor from a pocket, but got no readings. That didn't mean there hadn't been any spirit activity earlier, however.

Two hours later, John still couldn't say definitively that the deaths had been caused by paranormal activity, but he'd found the Ouija board hidden in the back of what he assumed was Gladys' closet. He'd also found signs of protective symbols around the house, but apparently they weren't hadn't been powerful enough. He had no real evidence, but he just didn't believe that the destruction he was seeing had been caused by humans.

Jim had told him that he'd found Gladys in the kitchen, so John went back there again after he'd looked through the rest of the large house. He was just about to leave when he found something that made his blood run cold.


"Are you sure?" Jim asked, shock clear in his voice.

"It was sulfur, Jim. That much I am sure of."

Jim rubbed his chin. "But that means…."

"A demon."

"You think a demon was trying to contact Gladys?"

"I don't know that much about demons. We should call Bobby."

"John, this is just….this is so unbelievable."

"Yeah, and it can't be good," John said as he moved across the kitchen toward the telephone. "Where are the boys?"

"Over at the children's home. There are a couple of new boys there about Sam's age and I couldn't….I hope you don't mind."

"Of course not." He never minded Sam and Dean spending time at the children's home that was run by Jim's church and they seemed to enjoy it. Besides, he suspected that Jim just wanted them out of the house so they could deal with the problem at hand.

"The kids are watching a movie tonight and one of the staff will bring the boys home later."

"It's fine, Jim. Really," John said as he reached for the telephone.

Bobby Singer was a friend and contact who was also an expert on demons. The demonic possession and death of his wife years before drove him to learn as much as he could about demons and his knowledge of all things supernatural had been of invaluable help over the years.

He made his home in Deadwood, South Dakota where he also ran an auto salvage yard. John left a message when his call went to Bobby's answering machine.

"Looks like I have time to do some studying until Bobby calls back."

"Me, too."


Dean knew there was something going on at Jim's house. He'd seen how pale the man was and when his dad left, Dean was sure he was going to check something out. Even Sam had noticed Jim's discomfort and when he suggested they go to the children's home for the evening, Sam hadn't demanded information.

There were 12 kids living in the house, fewer than other times when Sam and Dean had visited, and even though it was usually a co-ed facility, there were only boys at present. Sam had connected with one in particular and they were hold up in a corner of the rec room playing chess while the others watched a movie. Dean sat where he could see the television and also keep an eye on his brother.

He was proud of the way Sam had reacted to whatever was happening, but realized that was probably more because of how he felt about Jim than anything else. Dean didn't try to fool himself that if their dad had suggested they spend the evening at the children's home that Sam would have rebelled.

Dean saw Sam look toward him with a questioning expression and he nodded slightly, then turned back to the television.


John had just hung up the phone when he heard a car pull up outside. He looked through the window and saw his sons get out of a dark hatchback. They were laughing and turned to wave at the driver before walking toward the house. John met them at the front door, needing something to concentrate on something other than what he'd seen at the Masons' house earlier and the information he'd been collecting all evening.

"Hey, boys," he forced a smile.

"Hi, Dad," Dean said, looking at him. Dean always seemed to know what John felt; sometimes that made him feel guilty because the father should take care of the son.

"How was the movie?"

"It was good," Dean answered. John couldn't miss the look of warning that he gave his brother. "Sammy found himself a chess partner who could almost beat him."

John looked at his younger son with affection and put his arm around Sam's shoulders. "You had some competition, huh?"

"Yes, sir," Sam smiled. "But I still won."

"Good for you."

"What's going on here?" Dean asked as he walked further into the living room.

"Just a little research," John answered as he poured a line of salt in front of the door.

"Can I help?" Sam asked.

Dean looked at the titles of the books John had piled on the floor next to the couch. "Demons?"

Sam looked at his father. "For real?"

John squeezed his shoulders, then sat down on the couch. "Why don't you just leave this to me for now? I just talked to Bobby; he's gonna head out here."

"Uncle Bobby's coming?" Sam asked. "Cool."

"Where's Pastor Jim?" Dean asked, taking the spot next to his father.

"Upstairs. He's got an early day tomorrow, but I don't think he's going to get any sleep."

"Is there really a demon here?" Sam asked, sitting down on the coffee table.

"Looks that way," John said. "So I want you two to be extra careful. Jim and I salted the windows and doors, so be mindful of it."

"Yes, sir," Dean said. John saw him glance at the beer bottles on the end table, but was relieved when he didn't mention them. "You gonna go to bed soon?"

"In a bit. Why don't you both head up? It's kind of late."

"I'll help you clean up," Dean said, looking at Sam pointedly. "Go on up, Sam. I'll be there in a minute."

John watched as an entire conversation passed silently between his sons. After a moment, Sam gave in and stood up. "Goodnight, Dad."

"Goodnight, Sammy. Check your window, okay?"

"I will."

Sam gave his brother a sharp look before leaving the room.

John waited until he heard Sam's on the stairs. "Dean –"

"I'll just clean up," Dean said quickly as he started to gather the beer bottles.

"Dean," John began again. "It's fine."

"But –"

"It's fine, Dean. I'm fine."


"Sit down, son."

Dean sat back down next to his father and looked at him. John knew he was fifteen, but often still saw him as a little boy. He knew Dean was more responsible than any other boy his age and he was more skilled than some soldiers, but John saw him through they eyes of a father.

John hesitated a moment, then told Dean about the Masons. Even though he knew Dean could handle the details, he told the story in the least graphic way possible.

"And Bobby's coming to help?"

John nodded. "Yeah, he is."

"Demons," Dean shook his head. "That's big."

"Yeah, but we'll handle it," John said. "It's okay,"

He felt an unusual need to comfort his son or maybe the need was to get comfort from him. John couldn't get the site of what he'd seen earlier out of his head. He'd been witness to a lot of horrific things since he'd started hunting over a decade before and a lot of it still really got to him.

He'd tried talking to Jim earlier. What John had seen was bad enough, but it had only been the aftermath. Jim had seen the bodies. People he'd known. John knew he'd have to talk about it eventually.

"You and your brother all right?' John asked.

"Sure," Dean shrugged.

"You're not fighting?"

"No, he's just pissy because I wanted to talk to you alone."

"Takin' care of your old man again?"

"You don't need me to take care of you," Dean said quietly.

John put an arm around his shoulders. "We all take care of each other. Why don't you go on up to bed?"

"You sure?"

John nodded, not quite trusting himself to speak at the moment.

Dean stood up. "Goodnight, Dad."

John smiled at him.


"You and Dad have a nice little chat?"

Dean heard the anger and hurt in his brother's voice, but he wasn't in the mood to deal with it. He slipped out of his jeans and climbed under the covers of his bed. "Shut up, Sammy. Don't forget you're only eleven."

He turned off the lamp and rolled over, his back to Sam.

"Is Dad okay?" Sam asked quietly a few minutes later.

"Yeah, I think so."

"He's never gone up against a demon, has he?"

"I don't know. But Bobby has and he's on the way."

"Dean?" Sam asked after another silence.


"I'm sorry. I just…."

Dean sighed to himself. He never could stay mad at Sam for very long. "It's okay, Sammy. Let's just go to sleep, okay?"


Sam and Dean spent some time with Bobby after he arrived the following afternoon, then John handed over the Impala keys to Dean with a warning. "Be careful; stay out of trouble."

"Yes, sir. We'll just go to a movie and then grab something to eat."

"You have enough money?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'll have the pager on me. Page me after the movie." He ignored Dean's curious look.

"I will."

John felt anxious, but he couldn't put his finger on the exact reason. He'd trusted the boys to take care of themselves for years, although never when there was a potential demon running around town. On the other hand, they were only going to a theater and a restaurant. He pushed the negative thoughts away and briefly hugged the boys on their way out of the door. It wasn't a completely unfamiliar act, though admittedly the physical contact had grown less frequent over time.

Once the boys were gone, John turned to Bobby. Both men were tenacious and they often clashed, but no matter what was going on they always any bad feelings aside when there was work to be done. Bobby was first pulled into hunting after the death of his wife several years before. He'd known nothing of the supernatural, let alone demons, but after being forced to kill the woman he loved, Bobby found himself immersed.

He'd met a hunter who was on the trail of the demon that had possessed his wife. At first, Bobby had thought the man was insane, but gradually came to realize that his stories were real and his wife had been the victim not of a mental illness, but demon possession.

John had come across a lot of hunters over the years, but none knew as much about demons as Bobby.

"So, where's Jim?" Bobby asked.

"At the church. He's making plans for the Masons' funeral. I guess some other family is coming into town….I've barely seen him since yesterday."

"He's probably not handling this too good. He was friends with those people, right?"

"Yeah, I guess so. They were members of his church and I'm sure he felt a responsibility toward them."

"So, one of them was a psychic?"

John nodded, sitting down on the couch. He went through the information that Jim had shared, though he'd already told Bobby everything he knew.

"I talked to the detective in charge of the case," John said. "I used my handy-dandy FBI credentials and said I'd come across the information on the murders while looking into an ongoing federal case. We talked for quite a while. They're going through the motions, but seem pretty willing to let it go at an unknown gang. There have been a few other similar attacks in other nearby towns. I think they'd be happy to turn this one over to the feds."

"Other attacks?" Bobby asked.

John nodded. "I looked into them. I don't think they're related, but I want you to take a look."

"How about we go check on Jim, then head out to the property? I'll look at the other stuff later."

"Let's go," John agreed.