I already made a story about Sam's fear of clowns but after watching "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" I felt like I had to make another attempt. Tag to 7x14.
Dean is 17, Sam is 12.
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _
Dean was going to get lucky tonight. He was sure of it. Two weeks of constant hitting on Laura Hanson had finally paid off and Dean had got himself a hot date. Dean grinned as he pictured her long tanned legs, those soft red lips of hers and the fact that Laura's parents were out of town. There was only one down-side about it though. Dean turned his head away from the road in front of him for a second to look at his sulking little brother who was sitting in the passenger seat of the car. Their dad was as usually away on a hunt and Sam was Dean's responsibility – like he always was and always had been.
"Sam, stop it." Dean sighed which did nothing to ease the pout on Sam's face. "I said I was sorry, okay? We'll hang out tomorrow instead, I promise."
Sam didn't say anything. He just continued to look out of the side window with his arms crossed in front of his chest. Dean had promised that they would spend this day together just the two of them, eating pizza and watching movies since Dean had been pretty absent in Sam's life lately. Dean felt a pang of guilt for letting his brother down but he swore to himself that he would make it up to the kid.
"At least you get to have fun at Plucky's, huh?" Dean tried and nudged Sam's shoulder. "Maybe you'll run into some classmates or make some new friends while you're there."
"Plucky's sucks." Sam muttered. "There's nothing fun to do, the food tastes bad and the other kids are stupid."
"Don't you think you're exaggerating just a little bit?" Dean asked with raised eyebrows and glanced at his brother before looking back on the road in front of him. "It's only gonna be for a couple of hours, alright? Then I'll come back for you."
"A couple of hours?" Sam said with a groan. "That's twice as long as last time!"
"Well I do count on having double the fun." Dean smirked and wiggled his eyebrows just as he pulled up in front of Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie. "Call me if you need me but only if it's an emergency, Sam. I'll be very busy getting laid."
Dean grinned. Sam pursed his lips together and shot Dean a bitchy glare before reaching out for the door handle. Before he could step outside though, Dean grabbed his arm.
"And Sammy? Please try to stay out of trouble, alright?" Dean said before letting go.
"I hate you." Sam mumbled angrily before leaving the car, slamming the door shut behind him and stamping towards the entrance of Plucky's.
Dean huffed and then waited until he was sure his brother was safely inside the place before he pulled the car back on the road.
I hate you. The words kept swirling around inside the older Winchester brother's head as he drove towards Laura's house. Okay, so Sam did have every right to be angry with him but Laura's parents were only out of town one day and Dean was a hormonal teenager after all. Maybe Sam would understand when he became a teenager himself which Dean realized would only be a matter of time. Sam was turning 13 soon and Dean wasn't really looking forward to the attitude he knew would come with it.
Dean washed a hand down his face and sighed. He had been forced to grow up at the age of four and he wanted nothing else than to spare Sam for the same experience. Dean wanted his little brother to stay a kid as long as possible so – even though Sam seemed to dislike the place – Dean thought Plucky's would be just the right place for his brother to spend some time.
"Maybe just for an hour and a half." Dean mumbled to himself as he parked the car in front of Laura's house.
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _
"Welcome to Plucky's! The place where kids have fun, fun, fun!" A girl around Dean's age (with a nametag saying 'Belinda') enthusiastically exclaimed when Sam entered the place.
Sam just eyed her without a word. He was so mad at his brother for leaving him here on his own again while Dean was out having fun. It wasn't like he despised Dean for wanting to have some fun but Sam missed the days where it was enough for Dean just to hang out with his younger brother.
"I've got this Belinda." A voice said and Sam turned his head to see a guy dressed in a clown costume dancing towards him. "What is that I see? A kid without any glee? Fortunate you're lucky 'cause you just stepped into a Plucky!"
The clown danced around Sam while singing and Sam eyed the clown warily. He tried stepping away but the clown kept cutting off his path and making silly faces that were probably supposed to make him laugh. But Sam didn't laugh. He felt cornered and bit his lower lip as the people nearby started laughing at the scene.
"Look at the funny clown!" A kid grinned and pointed at Sam and the clown while pulling his mother's sleeve.
"Don't be sappy – at Plucky's you should be happy!" The clown sing-sang and that's when Sam had had enough.
"Just leave me alone!" He exclaimed and pushed the clown away from him before running past him into the crowd of people.
Sam found a vacant chair by a table and plopped down on it while catching his breath. What a great manner to spend the day, Sam thought with a huff and rubbed at his eyes. He tried to deny it but truth was that the clown had scared him a bit. If Dean had been here he would have told the clown to back off because Dean always knew when something made Sam feel uncomfortable. But Dean wasn't here. His big brother would rather spend the day with a girl than hang out with his pain-in-the-ass little brother.
Sam pouted miserably and let his eyes scan the place. Everywhere he looked, he saw kids playing happily while their parents were watching them and Sam wished he could also have that kind of normalcy in his life. Was that what it would have been like if his mom was still alive? Would his dad have taken Sam and Dean with him to a place like this instead of being off on a hunt?
Sam stayed in his seat for a long time while watching the kids play and without any interests in joining the fun. He noticed how some of the adults once in a while looked at him with sympathy and some of them had even asked him if he got lost from his mommy and daddy.
"You - my man – are in Plucky land!" A voice suddenly sang next to Sam which made him startle and he gasped when he saw the clown from earlier stand next to his chair. "Come on, give this nice old clown a big smile."
The clown placed his hand on Sam's shoulder and the boy's eyes widened.
"Stop following me!" Sam exclaimed and ducked his head under the clown's arm before running off once again.
He almost stumbled into the ball pit but luckily managed to regain his balance before continuing his escape. Sam didn't know if the clown was following him or not but he decided he wouldn't take any chances. The clown was creepy and Sam didn't like him at all. He reached a dead end and was about to turn back but then he spotted the clown in the distance. There was a door next to him saying 'Staff Only' but Sam opened up the door nonetheless. The other side of the door revealed a long corridor with doors on each side and Sam continued inside.
As Sam walked down the corridor he thought he heard footsteps approaching so he picked the first door he came by and went inside of it. The room he entered was dark and, before he'd taken more than a few steps, Sam stumbled over something and got tangled up in some invisible strings hanging down from the ceiling. He fell down on his back while struggling with the strings and Sam's breath caught in his throat when voices sounded in the room.
"Plucky loves you! Plucky loves you! Plucky loves you!" sounded over and over all around him followed by laughter, and the voices got mixed up like when a dozen of clockworks go off almost at the same time. "Plucky loves Plucky hahaha you loves Plucky you hahaha loves loves you Plucky hahaha Plucky loves hahaha you loves you Plucky loves you hahaha!"
In the dim light Sam was able to make out the shapes of clown faces staring at him from every direction he looked and the sight made his chest fill with fear. He started to struggle more violently with the strings but the more he struggled the closer the clown faces seemed to come and the voices continued to sound around him.
"Stop it! Let me go!" Sam shouted which ended in a sob. "Let me go! Please! Dean! Dean! Help me! Dean!"
Sam continued to shout for his brother as the minutes ticked by.
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _
Dean was in seventh heaven. All his efforts with Laura had worked out and the two of them were now lazily kissing in her bed.
"Don't you wish we could stay like this forever?" Laura asked when they'd pulled away from the kiss.
"Mmm-hmm.." Dean let out but then his eyes suddenly widened. "Shit! What time is it?"
"Why?" Laura asked while Dean quickly glanced at the clock and jumped out of bed to get dressed in a hurry.
"Crap, crap, crap!" Dean muttered. "Has it been two and a half hours already?"
"What's wrong?" The girl asked.
"I was supposed to pick up my little brother half an hour ago." Dean said as he tied his boots. "Man, how could I do this to him..?"
"Relax." Laura snorted. "Didn't you say he was 14 or something? He can wait."
"He's 12." Dean said with a glare. "And no he can't. He shouldn't have had to in the first place either."
"Geez, how helpless can a 12 year-old really be?" Laura said with an eye roll.
"Don't talk about my brother like that." Dean warned with a pointed finger before grabbing his jacket and heading out to his car.
"Dean!" Laura whined but Dean didn't slow down or look back at her even once.
In fact, he had been done with her from the moment she'd tried to sound like she was more important to him than Sam was. No one would ever be more important to him than his little brother and especially not some bimbo that Dean hadn't known for more than a few weeks.
It didn't take long for Dean to close the distance between the girl's place and Plucky's and he rushed inside after parking the car out front.
"Welcome to Plucky's!" The girl behind the counter greeted him. "The place where kids have fun, fun, fun!"
"Right." Dean said and walked past the female worker while trying to spot his brother.
He frowned when he didn't immediately catch sight of Sam's smaller frame. Dean had expected Sam to be more than ready to leave by now, had expected to find his baby brother sitting by one of the tables in the room with a bitch-face and a mad glare. But that wasn't the case.
Maybe Sam are using the restroom, Dean tried to reassure himself, or maybe Sam has actually taken my advice and is having fun with some friends somewhere inside this place for once.
But as Dean searched every aspect of the funhouse with rising panic, one thing became clear to him; Sam was absolutely nowhere to be found.
"Excuse me?" Dean said to the female worker as he went back to the counter. "Belinda, is it? Hi I'm Dean. I'm looking for my brother Sam, have you seen him? He's about this high, brown shaggy hair and green eyes?"
"I'm sorry. We have a lot of kids here." Belinda said.
"Well, I think I've got a picture somewhere." Dean said and rummaged his wallet before showing the girl a picture of his little brother.
"You know what; I do believe I've seen him earlier today." Belinda said with a nod of her head. "He seemed to be a bit upset and Carl was trying to cheer him up but nothing seemed to help. In fact, it looked like it just upset him even more."
"Carl? Who's Carl?" Dean asked with a frown.
"Oh sorry. Carl is one of my co-workers." Belinda explained and pointed at a guy wearing a clown costume. "He's the clown."
"Right. Thanks for your help." Dean said and trotted off to talk to the clown.
The guy dressed as a clown was making funny faces to some giggling kids when Dean reached him and poked the guy on his shoulder. The clown turned around and faced Dean.
"Can I help you?" The clown asked.
"Yeah, I'm looking for my little brother Sam. Belinda over there told me you'd tried to cheer him up earlier today." Dean said and quickly showed Sam's picture to the man in front of him.
"Oh right, I remember him." The clown nodded. "I did try to cheer him up but I'm afraid I might have scared him a little instead."
Dean narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists a bit. If that clown had frightened his brother, Dean would tear that red nose right off the clown's face and stuff it down his throat. But now wasn't the time – Sam was missing and this man in front of him could possibly have a clue to where Sam could be.
"When did you last see him?" Dean asked. "And where?"
"Hmm.. About an hour and a half ago, I think." The clown said. "He was sitting by one of the tables right over there but he ran off."
"In what direction?" Dean asked and scanned the room with his eyes again.
"Towards the ball pit, I believe." The clown said. "Look, I'll help you find him."
Dean and the clown (Carl) started searching for Sam but didn't find the kid in the ball pit. Dean carded a hand through his hair and bit his lower lip while frustration and panic welled up in his heart. If something had happened to Sammy….
"Where does that door lead to?" Dean asked when his eyes fell upon a door not far from the ball pit.
"It leads out back where we store all kinds of things." Carl said. "But it's staff only. I'm sure your brother couldn't possibly…"
"Let's check it out to be sure." Dean said, cutting off the guy.
"Alright." Carl sighed. "But I don't think he'll be there."
Dean followed Carl through the doorway and entered a long hallway with a number of doors on each side of the walls.
"We should search all rooms." Dean said.
"Look, I really don't think.." Carl started when Dean raised a hand to show him to be quiet. "What?"
"Do you hear that?" Dean asked and listened.
Some noises sounded from behind one of the first doors which sounded like someone speaking or laughing. Dean wasn't sure of what it was, but he opened up the door and fumbled for the switch for a few moments before flicking on the lights. He found himself in a room containing a lot of clown dolls with those kinda strings attached that make the dolls talk when you pull them. Dean's heart skipped a beat when he looked down and saw Sam on the floor, all tangled up in the strings of the many clown dolls around him.
"Sammy!" Dean exclaimed and hurried to his little brother's side where he immediately began to pull the strings and dolls away from Sam. "Jesus!"
Sam was shaking all over. His face was pale as a sheet and wet with sweat and tears, and his eyes were opened wide in fear. As Dean untangled his brother, the movement on the strings caused a constant mantra of "Plucky loves you! Hahaha!" to sound around him and the sounds made the younger brother whimper.
"Shut up!" Dean said with annoyance and punched one of the clown dolls before continuing his task of releasing the youngest Winchester and as soon as the last string was removed from Sam, Dean had one piece of sobbing – almost on the edge of hyperventilating - little brother buried into his shirt.
"D-Dean!" Sam sobbed and threw his arms around his big brother's neck before holding on for dear life.
"Shh Sammy." Dean shushed and rubbed a comforting hand up and down Sam's back while the other one soothingly brushed through Sam's shaggy hair. "What happened buddy?"
"T-the c-clowns!" Sam cried. "They got m-me!"
"No they didn't. You're okay." Dean tried to assure his baby brother. "They're just dolls Sammy, they can't hurt you."
"Hey man, is he alright?" Carl asked from the doorway.
Dean felt Sam's body stiffen by the sound of Carl's voice and he tightened his arms painfully around Dean's neck. Before the oldest brother could say anything, a scream ripped from Sam's throat as Carl had taken a step closer to the two brothers. Sam started sobbing hysterically while clawing at Dean's chest.
"Sam, it's alright, calm down." Dean said and shushed his brother while holding him tight. "It's okay, he won't hurt you. I'm here and I'm not gonna let anything happen to you. Carl, do you mind waiting outside?"
The clown left the room and Dean managed to pry Sam long enough away from him to get a good look at Sam's teary face. Dean had never seen Sam this upset before and the sight and sound of it made his heart break into pieces. This was definitely not the face of someone who would soon become a moody teenager – this was the face of a frightened little kid who wanted his big brother to make everything better.
"Come on." Dean said and placed his hands underneath Sam's armpits before lifting him up while getting to his feet at the same time. "I've got you Sammy."
Sam kept his arms around Dean's neck and wrapped his legs around his big brother too like a spider monkey. He nuzzled his face into the crook of Dean's neck and his sobbing ceased to miserable sniffles. Sam kept his eyes clenched shut as Dean carried him back through the corridor, through the funhouse and all the way through the exit doors while Dean kept shushing him and whispered soothing words in his ear.
"Please never make me go back to that place, Dean." Sam begged between sniffles as Dean carried him towards the car. "Please Dean, please."
"Okay, I promise." Dean said in a soft voice.
Sam refused to let go of Dean when they'd reached the Impala and the older brother ended up driving back to their motel room with his little brother in his lap. Sam's eyelids were dropping as Dean carried the younger brother inside the motel room and he finally succeeded in putting Sam down on one of the beds. He pulled off Sam's shoes and jacket before Sam curled up on his side and fisted his hands in his pillow.
"Dean?" Sam asked in a small voice.
"Yeah Sammy?" Dean said and sat down on the edge of the bed while eyeing his baby brother with concern.
"I.. I don't hate you. "Sam said and looked at Dean with tear-filled puppy dog eyes.
"I know you don't kiddo." Dean said and gave Sam's shoulder a mild squeeze. "And I'm sorry I didn't spend the day with you instead of that chick. I promise I'll make it up to you. Now, try to get some rest okay?"
Sam nodded and it didn't take long for him to drift off, but Dean knew that it would be a restless sleep as his brother would be haunted by nightmares for sure. Dean settled down on his own bed a while later and managed to fall asleep. But he woke up sometime during the night to find Sam standing next to his bed with tears on his cheeks, quivering lips and his pillow hugged to his chest.
"Nightmare?" Dean asked and Sam nodded.
Dean lifted up his covers in an inviting gesture and Sam immediately settled into his big brother's side before Dean tugged the covers closer around both of them. He put an arm protectively around Sam as the younger brother curled up into his side. Dean wasn't sure how long Sam would be plagued by the trauma of what had happened at Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie but Dean swore he would do his best to keep Sam's nightmares at bay – or at least be there to sooth his little brother when he woke up. Dean had promised himself to always protect Sammy and he was going to stick to that promise for as long as he lived.
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _