That night, the Winchesters went to stake out the little girl's home. As they were staking out the place, Dean explained more of what he and John learned earlier. Sam wasn't too happy about how he got it.
"Dean, I cannot believe you told Papazian about the homicidal phantom clown." Sam shook his head in disbelief. "I can't believe Dad hasn't killed you yet."
"It was my idea," John stated. Sam eyed his dad, surprised. John met the stare, irked. "What?"
"Nothing. Just- didn't think you of all people would go around telling people about the hunt." Sam admitted. He sank back in his seat.
John flashed back to when Sam was a teenager. Those years spent scolded Sam for knowing anything about hunting, scolding him for disobeying John's orders or asking too many questions. He suddenly saw that thirteen-year-old kid yelling at him from the rearview, in the twenty-two-year-old leaning back in the chair.
How much did he mess up his sons?
Neither of his sons noticed the small domino effect in John's head. Dean just picked up the conversation where John left it. "We told him about some urban legend. We never said it was real." He cocked the shotgun.
Sam reached over, pulling it from Dean's hands to lower it. "Keep that down!" He looked towards the house in concern, like the sound of a cocking gun inside a car across the street would alert the parents.
The command brought John back to the moment. "Dean. Tell him the rest."
"Right." Dean turned his head back to his brother. "I mentioned the Bunker Brother's Circus in '81 and their, uh, evil clown apocalypse? Guess what."
Sam narrowed his eyes. "What."
"Before Mr. Cooper owned Cooper Carnivals, he worked for Bunker Brothers as their lot manager," Dean explained with a proud grin.
"So whatever the spirit is attached to, Mr. Cooper brings it with him," Sam figured.
"Something like that." Dean agreed.
John nodded, confirming.
"I can't believe we keep talking about clowns." Dean snickered to himself.
"Why's that?" John asked.
"N-nothing, sir. Just...a clown at a carnival. It's funny." Dean quickly covered up the smile. "Right, Sam?"
Sam glared at Dean before nervously glancing back at John. They were hiding something. John was too focused on observing the house to find out what. Until it inferred with a hunt, John didn't care.
The night wore on with nothing happening. John took the first watch, telling the boys to get their rest. Sam and Dean were dozing off and on during the wait. The lights had long since gone off. John was sitting in the quiet, lying in wait.
After a few hours of wait, a light went off in the house. The little girl walked through the living room towards the front door.
The Winchesters rushed out of the car. Quickly and quietly, they moved inside. John and Dean went after the clown while Sam held the girl back. John and Dean fired salt rock shots. The girl's shrieks became the perfect motivator to aim. John knew for a fact he got the thing in the heart.
Only instead of collapsing or fading away like a proper ghost, the clown continued moving towards the girl. John looked back to see Sam holding up his gun but not shooting.
That's it. Whatever was happening, it needed to stop now. They would kill the clown then John would demand his boys answer him.
For now, the clown was still advancing.
More lights went on. John kept his aim on the clown. Dean was tapping his arm, trying to get him into a retreat. The clown ran through the backdoor- shattering the glass. The girl's parents came in, yelling and screaming.
All three ran to the car to retreat.
By morning, they'd gotten a safe distance away to dispose of the car. Daylight came out from the trees. They'd been waiting a long time for the thing to strike and even longer to avoid any cops.
As Sam grabbed their supplies and Dean grabbed the plates, John pulled out his phone. He made a quick call to Bobby.
"You think they saw our plates?" Sam asked out loud.
"Yeah, well, I don't want to take that chance," Dean said as they approached their dad.
"Okay, Bobby, thanks," John said, then hung up the phone and turned to his boys. "I'm having Bobby look into whatever it was we just ran into. He should know soon."
With that on the back burner, the time came to get on a bigger issue. He turned to his son, giving Sam his undivided attention. Not in a good way, either. John couldn't see his own face, but Sam could. The only real difference between this face and the one last night was that John wasn't holding a gun.
"What the hell was that?" He demanded.
Sam shifted the bag on his shoulders. "What was what?" For the most part, he looked rather convincing.
John saw right through it, though. "You froze up. You had a shot, and you froze up. What the hell was that?"
"Dad, we don't need to talk about that." Dean tried to butt in.
"No. This ends now." John insisted. He focused back on Sam, glaring at him. "We are on a hunt. If we go down, we need to know you'll take the shot. Why did you not take it?"
Sam swallowed. While normally, John knew that Sam would be yelling right back at John. Sam never took John's scoldings lying down. He was more subdued on this case, more level headed than he'd been in ages. Worse yet, he froze. Sam never froze- John trained that out of his boys.
"I got scared," Sam replied.
"We're hunters, Sam. We can't afford to get scared!" John shouted.
"Alright, guys, calm down!"
"It doesn't matter," Sam argued. "I can still fight this thing, I swear."
"Can you? It didn't look like it." John snapped.
"Enough!" Dean put himself between the two of them. "He's scared of clowns, okay? That's it."
John gawked at his sons. Dean, for his defense of his brother. Sam, for that childish fear of clowns. All the little jumps over the last few days, Dean's jokes and remarks about clowns, Sam freezing up. John finally put it together.
A better father might've been understanding of the fear.
John wanted to be that father- he wanted to show that kind of care so much. They were on a case. John couldn't get himself to see beyond that.
"It's not a big deal. I mean, I'm scared of flying." Dean kept himself between John and Sam, not leaving any opening for John.
John just shook his head in disbelief. "Why did you agree to take on this case, Sam?" he asked. "If clowns scare you so bad, then why did you decide to come with us instead of waiting with Ash at the Roadhouse?"
"Because I believed this to be something else. I'm old enough to know that clowns are real people and not monsters, and I figured I could handle this." Sam paused to catch his breath, but he wasn't done yet. "So I froze. If I had just another minute, I would have gotten my shit together and fought back."
"Why are you even out here anyway?" John asked. "Why, after that stunt about going to college, would you stick around this time?"
Sam paused, eventually he said, "Because I know now that Yellow Eyes isn't going to let me go. And if I want my life back, I need to put an end to this once and for all. I figured you would get that."
It wasn't often that John was left speechless. Even Dean was surprised.
John stepped back. The tension of Dean didn't shift, nor did the determination on Sam's. He took a long moment to think about the information he'd just received.
Thankfully he was saved from that by his phone ringing. He answered it, setting it to speaker. "Bobby? What is it?"
"From what I can gather, you and your boys are dealing with something called a 'Rakshasa,'" Bobby explained.
"What's that?" Dean asked.
"A race of Hindu creatures would be my best guess. They can appear in human form, feed on human flesh, and here's the kicker, they can not enter a home without first being invited in." Bobby explained.
"That's why they take on the appearance of clowns," John realized. "So the children can invite them in."
"Yeah." Sam agreed.
"Wait, so why don't they eat the kids then?" Dean asked, even though he looked like he didn't want to.
"Not enough meat on their bones, maybe," Sam responded with a shrug.
John turned back to the phone, "Anything else?" He asked Bobby.
"Well, Rakshasas seem to live in squalor, and they sleep on a bed of dead insects," Bobby explained.
"Nice," Dean muttered with a shutter.
"And they have to feed a few times every twenty to thirty years," Bobby continued.
"It has a slow metabolism," John noted.
"The carnival today, the Bunker Brothers in '81-" Dean did the math.
"Right. Probably more before that," Sam added.
"And we know who worked both shows," John asked.
"Cooper," Both his sons answered in unison.
"You know, that picture of his father, that looked just like him." Sam reckoned.
"You think maybe it was him?" Dean asked
"Well, who knows how old he is?" Sam replied.
"Good eye," John remarked. The boys looked at him, barely hiding how surprised they were by the remark.
"You know how weird it sounds to hear all three of you getting along?" Bobby asked, breaking up the moment.
They all looked at the phone in bewilderment for a moment before John asked, "So, how do you kill it?"
"Pure brass dagger," Bobby told him.
"Got it thanks," John hung up the phone and turned to his kids.
"I think I know where to get one of those," Dean said.
"Well, before we go stabbing things into Cooper," Sam pointed out. "We're going to want to make damn sure it's him."
John found himself smiling. Even though John's scoldings, Sam still insisted on being thorough after being dressed down by him.
The Winchesters made their way back to the carnival. Sam was the better lockpick of them, so he went towards Cooper's trailer. Dean was originally going to get the dagger alone, with John as Sam's backup. However, John watched Dean walk off with the blind man. A bad feeling came from his gut.
"Sam, you've got this, right?" John asked, looking out towards the direction he last saw Dean.
Sam didn't look away from the lock. "Yeah, Dad. I can do this myself."
John walked off with a curt nod. He went after Dean and the blind man. He arrived at the room to find Dean opening a trunk. At first, John dismissed it's contents, focusing more on the blind man. His smile set off alarms in John's head. This wasn't a dangerous, overly curled smile like Yellow Eyes was doing. Rather this came off as charming, of a monster ready to win without as much as a token protest.
Nobody said John Winchester or his boys would go down easy. John looked to Dean, wanting his son to join him in an attack. Instead, he saw Dean revealing a bright red clown wig.
They turned to the blind man.
"You?" Dean asked.
The man took off his glasses, a pair of vivid bright green eyes shining back at them. "Me." He smiled. This time matching what one expected from a monster. He flung off his glasses before fading into nothing.
John couldn't wait to make him bleed.
The Rakasha made quick work of throwing knives at them. None of them brass, disappointingly. John and Dean knocked down the door to run off. As they ran, they stumbled into Sam.
"So, Cooper thinks I'm a Peeping Tom, but it's not him," Sam explained.
"Yeah, so I gathered." Dean panted.
"It's the knife thrower," John answered. "He's here somewhere."
Sam went on alert, like them. "Well, did you get the-"
"The brass blades? No."
John shook his head. "Wouldn't make sense if he had the one thing that could hurt him."
"Just one of those days," Dean grumbled.
Sam's expression steeled. "I have an idea. This way."
He led them into the funhouse. As they go through separate doors, they slam shut behind them. They were split up.
John tried breaking the door back down. It wouldn't budge. He could hear someone else banging on their door.
"Dean! Dad! Find the maze, okay?" Sam called out.
John turned and ran down the passage, trying to find the maze.
He quickly turns around a corner to find Dean on the opposite end of the room. A familiar voice cried out in pain. John whirled around to see Sam. His youngest was pulling at a brass piano, steam pushing out from the top.
John and Dean run towards Sam.
"You two alright?" John asked his boys.
"Yeah," Dean replies, a little breathless from the running.
"I'm fine. Where is it?" Sam asked them. John looked around, trying to find it while Dean said. "I don't know, I mean, shouldn't we see its clothes walking around?"
"I doubt it works like that," John scoffed at his oldest. Suddenly, a knife flew past Dean and straight into John's sling, pinning him to the wall behind. A second knife came flying to pin down John's good wrist. "Boys!" He called out.
Sam wrenched a pipe free. He searched for the invisible Rakshasa.
John shook his good right, trying to get loose. Whatever force behind the Rakshasa dug the knife deep enough into the wall, his boys dodged more and more knives being thrown at them.
He couldn't lose them again. Not after all he did to make sure they survived Yellow Eyes, all they'd lost and fought for, this wouldn't be the end! No way would John sit idly by to watch his boys die today!
"Where is he?" Sam asked.
"I don't know!" Dean cried out.
John looked up. He spotted it. A lever. With his good hand, he reached for it. He pulled it down as a knife flew at Dean.
Steam shot from the remaining brass pipes. The cloud of steam gave their attacker shape. Currently, that shape made a beeline for John.
Sam rushed at it. He stabbed the Rakshasa in the back. Still invisible, blood spurted out. The Rakshasa let out an unholy shriek in its death throes. John pulled himself from the knives as Dean turned off the steam. A pile of bloody clothes collapsed around the bloody pipe.
The steam around them slowly faded. Sam and Dean panted, trying to get their bearings back. They were panting so hard they nearly missed a mumbled 'sharks.'
Sam and Dean turned around. John fixed himself up.
"I'm afraid of sharks," John explained.
Dean smirked. "No wonder we couldn't get you to watch Jaws with us."
John scoffed. "Oh yeah, Dean, then why are you afraid of airplanes?"
"Hey, planes crash!" Dean excused.
"Yeah, and apparently clowns kill," Sam argued, gesturing to the dead Rakasha. Dean smiled at his brother.
John watched them. Something warm settled in his chest.
That warmth was still there when they returned to the Roadhouse. For some odd reason, he couldn't stop the smile from spreading across his face.
When they made it to the Roadhouse, Ellen served them beers. If she glared for a hot second at John, nobody mentioned it. Sam and Dean took note but were smart enough not to mention it.
"You three did a hell of a job." She told them.
Sam thanked her, and she walked off.
John took a big gulp of his beer. "I'm real proud of you two." He took another gulp.
It took Sam and Dean a minute to process what he said.
Sam started to smile, but Dean looked worried. "Do I need to splash you with holy water?"
John gave a small laugh. "Mind you, that fight was rather sloppy, but I'm not one to judge right now, considering." He raised his slung arm as best as he could. "But it's clear that I've taught the two of you well. And both of you have grown on your own this past year. I'm just glad I have you guys watching my back."
Dean was shocked but accepted the compliment. "Thanks, Dad."
Just then, Jo came and sat next to Dean. John looked at Sam, nodding to a nearby table. This left Dean and Jo alone.
When the two sat down, the back door opened, and Ash walked towards them, carrying John's folder and the weirdest looking laptop even Sam has ever seen.
"Where have you guys been?" Ash asked as he joined them at the table. "Been waiting for you."
"We were working a job, Ash. Clowns!" Sam told him.
Ash's eyes bugged out. "Clowns? What the-"
John got impatient. "What do you have for us?"
"Oh, yeah." Ash placed the weird laptop on the table and opened it up, showing the exposed wiring.
"So I can't find the demon. YET!" he quickly added when it looked like John was about to scream at him. "But I've rigged this thing up so that when any of these signs or omens appear, it'll go off like a fire alarm."
John nodded in approval while Sam just looked at Ash in disbelief. "Where did you learn to do this?" He asked.
"M.I.T. But I got bounced for...fighting," Ash answered, trailing off sheepishly.
Now it was John's turn to be surprised. "You went to M.I.T.?" Ash just nodded.
"Alright, well, give me a call if anything happens," John told Ash, giving him his number.
"Si si compadre," Ash said, taking the number and heading off.
John and Sam then finished their beers and headed towards the door. "Dean, come on!" he called out.
Ellen then called out at them. "You know if you guys need to stay the night? I've got some beds out back."
Dean shook his head. "Thanks but no. Dad and I have something to finish."
The Winchesters then left the Roadhouse and went back to Bobby's so John and Dean can finish fixing the Impala.
As always, please leave a review. I love to know what you think. Follow this story, so you'll know when the next chapter comes out. Favorite once it's done. I'll see you all in the next chapter. Stay awesome!