Phantom Hunt

A hunt, conjured up by a fatigued and wounded mind, leads one brother to the brink and the other to do whatever it takes to bring him back.

Hello everyone. Seems to me that whenever I am having a bout of 'ickiness' in the real world, the ideas for on-going stories dry up and new story ideas pop out of my brain at an alarming rate. This would be one of those. Not entirely sure if there will be any interest in my babbling so feel free to let me know if I should try and pump out some more chapters or just let it stand as is.

I don't own Supernatural and that's probably a good thing because if I did, there would be nothing but pain and suffering for the boys, every single time.

They walk into the building and he reaches into his suit pocket as he watches the approach of his contact, Robert. He glances to the man who walks beside him and there is a flutter in his chest at the realization that there was a time when the two of them would do this dance in tandem, that they would flash their badges and their smiles at the same time, eerily in tune with each other.

But now, as he shakes the hand of the man that stands before them, he can't help the sadness he feels by the almost total lack of response on the part of his brother.

An entire conversation takes place between him and Robert during that handshake, without either of them having to utter a word.

He swallows. This is it. He did it. He managed to get him here. His brother is here, now, and that thought causes a sudden surge of nausea and doubt to float through his gut. He glances to his 'partner' and sighs. Damn it, he wishes his brother would at least call him on it. Wishes that he would question where they are or be able to spot all the holes that litter this paper thin diversion. If he was thinking straight he would have seen it the moment they stepped foot in this place.

Like, for example, since when do federal agents meet witnesses at run down office buildings in the middle of the night?

But, that is part of the reason he has arranged for them to be here to work on this so called case. Because more and more his brother seems to be losing touch with reality and living an entirely different one from within the confines of his own head. His brother is definitely not firing on all cylinders. Not even close.

"Nice to see you again Agent. And this is...?"

The man tries to get his brother's attention but there is no acknowledgement there other than a brief, annoyed glance. Nothing. He looks agitated and put out by having to take time to meet with this guy. It's evident all he wants to do is get back out there, back into the fray of their latest hunt. Of his latest.

Robert tracks his gaze back to him and tries to muster up a reassuring smile. Well, that didn't work too well, he feels anything but reassured about what he is doing here, about what he is about to do.

He turns to face his brother. Kind of hard not to notice the way his fists clench or the way his breaths come out rapid and unsettled. He's like a powder keg just itching for someone to throw it a match. It's like he is there but not; his physical presence is in the same room with them but the part that contains who he is has left the building to float around somewhere in a world that only he can see.

He reaches out to grab a fidgeting shoulder and looks its owner in the eye. He whispers, keeping the guise of their mission intact.

"You need to chill dude. How 'bout you take a look around while I talk to Robert here and figure out our next move?"

A curt nod and a mumble about how they need to hurry and his brother is off to check the perimeter of the building, gun at the ready.

They speak in low and hushed tones, each one following the erratic movements of the man that scopes out everything yet seems totally oblivious to the eyes that watch his every move.

Their conversation ends and he reaches out to shake the man's hand once more.

"Thanks again Robert, for everything. I just... I hope they can help."

"I'll let them know you're on your way. They will do everything they can, your brother is not the first hunter they've seen. Good luck."

He nods and their 'contact' shuffles off into the shadows.

He approaches his brother, who seems to be staring intently at one section of the wall. "Okay, let's go."

There is a flinch and a waver as the caffeine shakes seem to seize him and the ever present aura of fatigue oozes outward from every pore.

"Wait, do you see that? Could that have something to do with it?"

His eyes scan the spot his brother points out and he allows a small sigh to escape him.

"I don't see anything man."

He watches him crouch closer to the surface of the wall and shake his head.

"Huh, I guess I... whatever, let's get going, gotta stop this before it happens again."

They move their way through the main corridor and find themselves stepping into the elevator. A tentative finger presses the 'B' and the brothers begin their descent.

Okay, he's definitely not with the program otherwise his brother would have caught wind of this odd little detour way before now. And, by the looks of things, he still doesn't have a clue. That could work in his favour, or make this whole thing that much worse.

He tries to tame his own growing agitation and nervousness as the bell dings and they exit the elevator to make their way down the dimly lit hallway. His eyes seek out their destination and he stops at the one that has a very unofficial sign hanging from a stupid nail. He silently begs his brother to make some kind of smartass comment about the shoddy workmanship but of course is met by nothing but the sound of his brother's constant gusts of air.

He takes a deep breath and turns the knob. Showtime. He enters the room, his brother at his heels.

It looks like any other office. Well, any other office that just happens to be holed up in the basement of some random building in the middle of nowhere. Amazing the kind of places the hunter network has managed to keep hidden below the radar of the normal world.

"Can I help you?"

He clears his throat and approaches the forty-something woman sitting behind the desk. She smiles sweetly at him and he realizes he almost forgot that she, along with everyone else with the exception of his brother, are well aware of what this is really all about and why they are actually here.

"Um, yes. Hi, we're here to see Dr. Smith. Agents Riggs", he shows his badge and hates that he has to nudge his brother for him to show his own ID, "and Martin."

She glances at their badges, then at him, and finally at the man who seems more interested in the wallpaper than giving her the time of day. He sees a look of sadness filter across her features and thinks she's going to cave and give herself or him away, but a glance to his right tells him a swarm of locusts could appear out of thin air and his brother wouldn't even bat an eyelash.

"Yes, of course. Have a seat Agents, I'll let him know you've arrived."

"Thank you."

He leads his brother away from the desk towards the chairs against the wall.

"C'mon, let's sit down before you fall on your face. When's the last time you ate something?"

"Bite me."

"That's what I thought."

She knocks on the door across from them and whisks herself inside.

His brother is suddenly all business then, now that they're alone.

"Okay, so what's the deal? This some kind of quack doctor or something? Wait, forget it, doesn't matter."

His brother is up on his feet again, pacing, always with the pacing. He's wringing his hands and then stops suddenly to stare at the door like he's just suffered a short circuit. But, just like magic, his switch turns itself on again and he revs back up into high gear. He paces. He fidgets. He huffs out breath after breath. And he points to the door.

"So, he have some intel on whatever it is we're hunting? Which, um... I haven't quite figured out yet. I know, maybe he knows about the missing women? No, wait."

He stops to lean on the desk and run a hand over his ragged face.

"Or was it... men? Ah hell, whatever, that's not important. Bottom line, people are disappearing and we need to figure this shit out before more vanish. But man, it's the damndest thing, always one step ahead of us. We've never hit so many brick walls before. It's like all of a sudden it just doesn't exist, like it goes poof and disappears into thin air. No trace of the fugly anywhere. It's... it's just weird dude."

Weird. Yeah, he'd have to agree on that one. Right. The missing persons. The imaginary missing persons. Damn, now he is staring at the door, willing it to open because if this continues much longer he is going to snap and blurt out that he has gone through this exact same thing with him two other times. A hunt where there is none. Following him from town to town searching for phantoms that don't exist.

Eyes look to him. Sunken, hollow, skittering on the edge of madness eyes. Any trepidation he had about this little charade is removed immediately as he stares at the strung out shell of a man masquerading around in his brother's skin. He fights to urge to grab him by the shoulders and shake him until his brain clicks back into place.

Sure, he'll be pissed off. Sure, he'll fight and kick and yell and probably disown him, but if they can break through whatever the hell has manifested itself into his mind then he'll take all that and a hell of a lot more.

Footsteps, followed by a nudge and a questioning eyebrow bring him back from his musings. Right, still waiting for an answer.

"I'm not sure. He might, it's the only lead I've managed to find. Just, you need to follow my lead on this."

The door opens and both their faces turn to the sound.

"The doctor will see you now."

So? What do you think? Good? Bad? Ugly? I'd love to hear your thoughts. I may also change the title at some point, not really happy with it. Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by!