Evan always wanted to see his name in lights and his dream came true... sort of. Being inside Barty Bear, Dreamland's star attraction wasn't quite what he had in mind, but he loved it. When he meets a little girl who's lost her daddy, Evan's life changes in ways he could never have imagined.
Dean was frantic. He was in line for cotton candy and Casey was right there, directly in his line of vision. He’d taken his eyes off her for one minute to hand over the money and when he’d turned around, she was gone.
Running shaking hands through his dark blonde hair his gaze darted everywhere. His heart was beating in his mouth because there was no sign of her long dark ponytail or her bright red Barty-Bear dress. Okay, Dean, breathe. You’re no use to her lying in a puddle of your own drool. She's a smart kid. She'll ask a grown-up. He froze mid-step and every true life movie he’d ever seen flickered across the surface of his mind. The thought of the kind of grown-up she could end up asking chilled him to the bone and a wave of nausea almost knocked him off his feet. Oh, dear God—my baby!
Attempting to pull himself together, Dean dropped the stick of cotton candy, which frankly was responsible for the entire incident, into the nearest trash can and unfolded the park map. “Where the fuck are the meeting points?” They’d been to the park a dozen times or more and he’d drummed into her, if they were ever separated, to go right to the nearest meeting point. According to the map the nearest one should be next to the restrooms across the concourse. He was already running before he’d finished reading the map, his gaze flitting in all directions and calling his daughter’s name as he ran.
Half an hour later with two burly security guards helping him search, Dean had zipped past frantic, bypassed crazy and landed right on terrified. What the hell was he going to tell Patti? He couldn’t breathe, there was no air. What the fuck was that? There was open air all around and he couldn’t get any of it into his lungs. His vision began to cloud as his anxiety built—then he saw her. “Casey!” He yelled; blessed air filling his mouth, and he began to run, chasing down the monster who was stealing his little girl. Even from four hundred yards away the guy was well over six feet and as broad as he was tall. What kind of freak was this guy? No slouch at 6ft 1”, Dean was what you would call more of a lover than a fighter, but this was his baby and he was taking this asshole down. One of the security guards shouted Dean’s name and he frantically flapped his hands towards the freak and Casey, shouting, “She’s there! Stop him!”
Dean reached them first, panic driving him on. “Get away from my kid!” He screamed, hitting the man mountain square in the back with a Tarzan-like yell. Catching a glimpse of confused green eyes, Dean grunted in satisfaction as the freak went down like a felled tree. Luckily enough, Dean had the element of surprise on his side. The guy was too stunned for a moment to retaliate—but only for a moment.
The guy managed to somehow get an elbow up and popped Dean a good one across the cheekbone and pain exploded in his face, his eye filling with water immediately. But he wasn’t letting go of this guy for anything. He straddled the guys back and kneeled on his bicep before scrabbling for other hand and yanking it halfway up the man’s back. “You freak! You filthy pervert! Is this how you get your kicks? Stealing little kids? I’m gonna see you go away for a long time for this, man. If you’ve touched my baby I’ll kill you, do you hear me?”
“What… fuck?” The freak mumbled, trying to turn his head, but Dean had him firmly face-planted on the ground. “Not steal… work…”
“We’ll take it from here, sir.” Both security guards finally reached them, obviously more out of shape than he was. But then, Dean thought, they probably weren’t used to chasing down degenerates at Dreamland.
“Daddy!” Casey screamed, tears escaping from her thick lashes.
“It’s okay, baby,” Dean soothed, clambering to his feet as the security guards grabbed the freak, and scooping her up into his arms. “Daddy’s here. You’re safe now, baby.” The relief at having her tiny arms wrapped around his neck was so overwhelming it brought him to his knees as he cradled her to his chest.
“Daddy, they’re hurting Evan!”
“Don’t worry, they’re going to arrest him. He can’t hurt you,” Dean reassured, rubbing tiny circles on her back. Her ear-splitting scream was not exactly the response he expected and he winced at the vibrating of his eardrums. “Casey, calm down, honey. Daddy’s here. Everything’s alright now.”
“I work here,” the freak ground out, struggling against the grip of the security guards.
“Likely story,” Dean spat, his gaze taking in the T-shirt emblazoned with the park emblem, rage burning the back of his throat with its acidity. “You bastard! How many kids have you lured away with that sickeningly sweet smile? How do you sleep at night?”
“I work here you asshole! Casey, honey, it’s okay, I’m fine.”
“Don’t you talk to her you sick son of a bitch!” Dean yelled, turning Casey’s head so she couldn’t see the display. “Where are the cops?”
“Cops?” The freak’s eyes widened in disbelief and Dean felt a surge of satisfaction in his gut. He probably thought he’d been clever; but Dean had him dead to rights and the deviant was going down.
“For God’s sake. I work here you moron! Check with management. I found Casey on the path behind the stage. She was crying because she was lost and she’d hurt herself. I was taking her to Katie at Meeting Point 5.”
“I don’t recognize you son,” said one of the security guards, “and I’ve worked here for five years.”
Dean watched in stunned amazement as the giant asshole protested his innocence, and was still insisting he worked at Dreamland when the cops led him away. He couldn’t believe how long the man was prepared to carry on the charade. It beggared belief how low the degenerate was prepared to sink.