A/N: Sorry about the wait. Again! How many times can I say that? lol. Thanks for reading and hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing except for my OC, Katherine.
Kat was in a pretty decent mood.
The idea of her father in hell had given her pause, being something she'd never considered before and something that seemed unbelievable, even though it was technically where he belonged for what he'd done. Her heart still refused. She found it leaning towards forgiving him, like her opinion mattered enough to keep him out of hell.
All she knew was that she felt lighter and more afraid at the same time. The betrayal and hurt faded, but the thought of her father in hell terrified her. But she pushed it back, refusing, not totally able to comprehend it. She still wondered if he even could be in hell, since he wasn't exactly human when the Winchesters killed him. She wondered if monsters went to heaven, or hell, or anywhere. There was so much she still didn't know.
Either way, despite her wondering and thoughts, the demon's words hadn't dragged her down like they could have. They somehow pushed her forward, a little. That wasn't to say she wasn't still upset, but it helped. She wanted to think her father had redeemed himself enough to not go to hell...she looked up to him because he was so wonderful. That couldn't all have been an act, right?
So, she was in a decent mood. Even though she, Sam, and Dean were headed to Ohio to check out a possible hunt. Hunting had been her distraction, but it wasn't exactly a mood lifter when it involved hospital basements.
Sam had fallen asleep an hour into the ride. He still hadn't been sleeping much, if at all. Kat even ran into him one night when she was hungry, finding him staring listlessly at the vending machine outside the hotel they were staying at. She was a little creeped out by the zombie-ness of him, but offered him a couple quarters for a drink or snack. He declined, his reaction a little delayed, and looked at her with sleepy eyes.
She had wanted nothing more than to lay in bed with him and talk until they both fell asleep, like had happened a few times when they were younger. But they were older, and still not as close as they once had been, and she wasn't sure it would help anyway. It was his nightmares that kept him up — or kept him from sleeping because he was too afraid to face them.
Both she and Dean let him sleep in the car, though. His brother gave him an eye roll when he noticed, which was followed by a brief look of worry; the same one he'd been giving to Kat since she found out about her dad. Those looks lessened as he saw her slowly coming back to herself, but they didn't waver with Sam because Sam didn't waver.
They pulled up to the the hospital eventually, and Dean actually waited a moment before looking at his brother. But they couldn't wait too long, and Sam was making faces and little noises that hinted at a nightmare. "Sam, wake up."
Kat closed the book she'd been reading — a lore book, rather than a cheesy romance — and sat forward to gently pat Sam on the shoulder. He jumped awake in an instant, leaning forward and taking in the surroundings of reality with a bit of confusion.
"—I take it I was having a nightmare?"
"Yeah. Another one." Dean stared at him, before slowly looking away.
"Hey, at least I got some sleep."
"You know, sooner or later, we're gonna have to talk about this."
Sam ignored him, glancing out the back window at the hospital. His eyes fleetingly met Kat's as his gaze moved. "Are we here?"
"Yep. Welcome to Toledo, Ohio."
"You could at least act impressed, Dean." Kat looked outside the car just like the two Winchesters, taking in the quaintness of the area. "It's not much different than any of the other places we've ended up."
Sam grabbed a newspaper off the floor of the car, where the reason for them being in Toledo had been circled with a marker. "So what do you think really happened to this guy?"
"That's what we're gonna find out." Dean took his father's journal out of his jacket, passing it back to Kat who tucked it safely on the seat. "Let's go."
They made their way into the hospital, an old and well-kept building, and walked until they found the morgue. There was a desk for the doctor, which was empty, but a technician sat at a second desk, greeting them with an almost surprised, "Hey."
"Can I help you?"
"Yeah, we're the, uh...med students."
"Oh, Doctor—" Dean gestured to the empty desk, clearly trying to remember the name that was on the doctor's desk. "—Figlavitch didn't tell you?" He got a slightly nervous look from Kat, who was pretty sure that name was not right. "We talked to him on the phone. He, uh, we're from Ohio State. He's supposed to show us the Shoemaker corpse. It's for our paper."
The technician smiled like he was merely humoring them. "Well, I'm sorry, he's at lunch."
"Oh." Dean looked at Sam and got a look in return that basically asked what he planned to do next. "Oh, well, he said, uh—" He returned his gaze to the technician. "Oh, well, you know what, it doesn't matter. You don't mind just showing us the body, do you?"
"Sorry, I can't." His tone was smug and sounded like he thought they were stupid. "Doc will be back in an hour. You can wait for him if you want."
"An hour?" Dean hissed lightly, grimacing. "Ooh. We gotta be heading back to Columbus by then." He spoke directly to Sam and Kat, who both gave fairly convincing affirmations. "Uh, look, man, this paper's like half our grade, so if you don't mind helping us out—"
"Uh, look, man," he immediately shot back mockingly, "no."
Dean gave out an impatient chuckled and turned away as he mumbled through clenched teeth, "I'm gonna hit him in his face, I swear." He got a slap on the arm from Sam and was quickly shoved further away from the man to prevent a fight.
Kat didn't want a fight anymore than Sam did, so she stepped up to the desk and pressed her palms to it, leaning over and maybe squeezing her arms just slightly to make her chest a little more pronounced. Was she shameless? Well, no. She didn't feel squeaky clean when she had to try and flirt to get something, but it was something she had to pick up. Womanly wiles were something that would work on some men for millions of years; hence why she made a good buck by playing pool. Though she didn't flirt so much as wear a revealing dress and convince half-drunk guys that she didn't know how to play.
"Look, sir, I really can't fail this class." She gave him her most pleading look, a little horrified that she was nearly pouting. What was she?
The technician faltered for a moment, staring at her. "—sorry, lady, I can't help you. But if you need to do any papers on a living human body, I'd be happy to volunteer."
Sure, what Kat was doing could be considered gross, but that comment was grosser. She only managed the beginning of a scowl before Sam immediately yanked her back in both protection for her and for the man behind the desk. He pulled out his wallet and took out a few twenty dollar bills, tossing them on the desk.
Now his eyes lit up, quickly snatching the money as he stood. "Follow me."
Sam started to do just that, only to be pulled back by Dean. "Dude, I earned that money."
"You won it in a poker game!"
Dean shrugged like that was practically a career. "Yeah!" He watched his brother walk off, before looking at Kat. "You know, that usually works. Now I'm out, like, at least a hundred bucks."
"I'm not exactly on my A game, Dean." Close, but not quite. She started to follow Sam, with the older Winchester moving next to her. "Besides, he's a creep. I prefer it when they get all doe-eyed."
Dean seemed to pause at the mention of her not being on her A game, but recovered quickly as they followed Sam and the technician. She wished she could completely move on faster, if only just to calm him.
They stopped by a table with a body underneath a sheet as Sam mentioned, "Now, the newspaper said the daughter found him. She said his eyes were bleeding."
"More than that. They practically liquefied."
Kat felt for the girl, knowing how awful it must have been for her. But she couldn't focus much on any sort of empathy when the technician pulled the sheet off of Steven's face, revealing that his eyes seemed to be missing right from the sockets, replaced with blood. She let out a slightly horrified gasp, while Dean let out a noise of shock that was somewhere between a sigh and a whistle. They'd seen some intense shit, and this was moving right to the top of the list.
"Any sign of struggle?" Dean asked after a moment. "Maybe somebody did it to him?"
"Nope. Besides the daughter, he was all alone."
"What's the...official cause of death?" Sam's tone was laced with a bit of disgust, and a part of Kat wanted to tell him that it might have something to do with, you know, having his eyes melting out.
"Doc's not sure." The technician seemed oddly cheery. "He's thinking massive stroke, maybe an aneurysm? Something burst up in there, that's for sure."
"What do you mean?"
"Intense cerebral bleeding. This guy had more blood in his skull than anyone I've ever seen."
Kat was starting to understand why Dean wanted to hit him. Sure, it was only natural to get used to this sort of thing when you worked with it all the time, but he was almost acting like it was amusing.
"The eyes." Sam was still staring at the body with discomfort. "What would cause something like that?"
"Capillaries can burst. See a lot of bloodshot eyes with stroke victims."
"Yeah? You ever see exploding eyeballs?" Dean had been staring at the eyes until that point, lifting his gaze to the technician.
"That's a first for me. But hey, I'm not the doctor."
Kat noticed Sam's look stay on his face when he looked at the creepily nonchalant man. She met his gaze and felt like he was telling her that he, too, understood Dean's desires now.
"Think we can take a look at that police report? You know, for, uh, our paper."
"I'm not really...supposed to show you that." His tone was suggestive, and now he looked at Kat like he was ready to take her up on her previous offer.
Dean looked down, seeming like he was trying not to punch him, while Sam rolled his eyes and quickly took out his wallet. The money seemed to satisfy him again even though he was up for something different, and he went to get the police report. After they looked that over, there was thankfully nothing left to ask him for, and he scribbled down his number for Kat as they walked out.
She crumpled up the bit of paper and tossed it in the first trash can they passed in the hallway, earning an amused smile from Sam before he turned somber.
"Might not be one of ours. Might just be some freak medical thing." They walked down a set of stairs.
"Your eyeballs disappearing? So much blood that it pours out from where they once were? I think that's pretty unheard of, Sam."
"Kat's right. And how many times in Dad's long and varied career has it actually been a freak medical thing and not some sign of an awful supernatural death?"
"Alright." Sam sighed. "Let's go talk to the daughter."
It felt pretty fucked up, crashing a funeral. But, then again, how morally responsible was it to impersonate federal agents, or use fake IDs, or make up fake people to get credit cards, or trick people into losing a game of pool? A lot of the stuff they did was pretty questionable, but it was all for good.
That was how Kat justified it, anyway. If they didn't break a few rules, they couldn't save people.
And if they didn't show up to Steven's funeral, they would just have to do that impersonating-a-federal-agent thing. The former just happened to be sooner, therefore saving more people if this situation was as supernatural as it seemed.
Given that it was a funeral, every family member, friend, colleague, and acquaintance was dressed in formal, black clothing. Except for three unprepared hunters. They wore their typical jeans and boots, and though they all wore different jackets, they were very much not the correct attire.
"Feel like we're underdressed." Dean's sarcastic comment did not go without an eye roll from Sam and a glare from Kat, though the two ultimately followed him further into the quaint Shoemaker house.
"So, what do we know about the daughter?" Kat asked as they moved down a corridor to another room, looking around surreptitiously at the people.
"Her name's Donna."
There was a beat of silence, so Sam was quick to give Dean a frustrated look. "What else?"
"—her name's Donna." One frustrated look turned to two. "What? Like I'm gonna stalk a teenage girl so we can find her?" His words were whispered, but just loud enough that an older couple passing by gave him an alarmed look. He gave a half-nervous, half-charming grin and said, "Hey, how ya doin'?" As soon as they were gone, the smile fell. "Look what you made me do."
Sam rolled his eyes and looked around, before moving over to a man. They spoke for a brief moment, where he gestured to them and the man looked over with a nod, before he started to walk off and Sam gave them a look as he followed. Kat walked after them first, with Dean a moment behind as he practically sulked, "I could've done that."
"That's her, over there." The man said as they walked outside, pointing to a girl who was sitting with a few others.
"Thank you." Dean said before Sam had a chance to, walking over. "You must be Donna, right?"
One of the girls eyed him appreciatively, but Donna remained somber as expected. "Yeah."
That's where Dean's plan and skills ended, evidently, as he looked to Sam and Kat for help. "Hi, uh, we're really sorry." Sam wasn't at his best either, but it did earn a genuine 'thank you' from the girl. "I'm Sam, this is Dean and Kat. We worked with your dad."
Donna looked at the girl next to her with slight confusion and alarm, then back at Sam. "You did?"
"Yeah. This whole thing, I mean, a stroke."
Kat sighed at Dean's insensitivity as Donna looked down sadly and her friend next to her said, "I don't think she really wants to talk about this right now."
"It's okay." Donna nodded. "I'm okay."
Dean hesitated, making sure, then continued questioning like an FBI agent with the tone and demeanor of a concerned friend. "Were there ever any symptoms? Dizziness? Migraines?"'
There was a girl sitting on the opposite side of Donna, younger then the rest, who quickly turned to face her. "That's because it wasn't a stroke!"
"Lily, don't say that."
Sam furrowed his brow. "What?"
"I'm sorry, she's just upset."
"No. It happened because of me."
"Sweetie, it didn't."
If Kat's heart ached for Donna, it ached even more for this young girl who seemed so sure that she caused her father's death. "Did you see something, Lily?"
"Why would you say something like that?" Sam asked softly at the same time, crouching down to meet the girl at her level.
"—right before he died, I said it."
He shook his head. "You said what?"
"Bloody Mary, three times in the bathroom mirror." There was a brief pause, as Dean gave Kat a look that conveyed realization and she met that with a confused one of her own. "She took his eyes, that's what she does."
"That's not why Dad died. This isn't your fault."
"I think your sister's right, Lily. There's no way it could've been Bloody Mary." Dean's voice held the slight condescension one used when putting a child at ease, though the words sounded sarcastic to Sam and Kat. They knew too much. "Your dad didn't say it." A slight hesitation, then urgency to learn all they could, "Did he?" He, Sam, and Kat looked intently at Lily.
"No, I don't think so."
Dean gave her a reassuring look. "Well, that settles it, right? It wasn't your fault."
"Of course it wasn't." Kat smiled softly. "That's just a game. You can't hurt anyone with it, okay?"
Sam joined the child-reassuring group as he rose to his full height. "Yeah. Well, we won't bother you. Sorry for your loss."
"Thank you." Donna said it both for their condolences as Dean and Kat echoed the sentiment, as well as for them calming Lily down.
They walked away, back towards the house. "Alright, let's check the bathroom before we get out of here." Dean was referring to the bathroom mentioned in the police report, listed as the scene of the incident. They made sure no one was looking before they quietly went upstairs and walked through a hallway.
Kat saw a few pictures of Steven Shoemaker, eyes and all, with his daughters. It made her feel a twinge of pain for the girls and longing — and pain still — for her own father, but she pushed the feelings away. Now wasn't the time, and her mind seemed to decide there was no need to dwell in the first place.
They came to a door that was slightly ajar and Sam pushed it open all the way, revealing a nearly pristine bathroom aside from two dried blood stains on the floor. "The Bloody Mary legend...Dad ever find any evidence that it was a real thing?"
"Not that I know of." Dean shook his head, turning the light on and stepping into the bathroom, while Sam reached down to touch the blood.
"I mean, everywhere else all over the country, kids will play Bloody Mary, and as far as we know, nobody dies from it."
"That's because it's a game." Kat walked in, stepping over the blood carefully and forcing herself to stare at the mirror as if it were a challenge. "It's just a ga— oh, who am I kidding?" She decided it would be best if she just avoided the mirror. "I know what goes on. I wouldn't be surprised if Candy Land is real and Lord Licorice is trapping people in candy as we speak."
"Okay, one, I hope so, because Princess Frostine is a babe. And two, maybe everywhere else it's a story, but here it's actually happening."
"The place where the legend began." Sam had been giving Kat a look that struggled between amusement and you-only-think-you're-funny, before he looked at Dean with understanding. "But according to the legend, the person who says B—" He immediately fell short when he realized the mirror, which Dean had opened since it was a medicine cabinet, was right in his face. He quickly shut it. "The person who says...you-know-what gets it. But here—"
"Shoemaker gets it instead, yeah."
Kat bit her lip. "Maybe she doesn't hurt kids. Can ghosts have morals?"
"Maybe? I've never heard of anything like that before. Still, the guy did die right in front of the mirror, and the daughter's right. The way the legend goes, you-know-who scratches your eyes out."
"It's worth checking into."
There were suddenly footsteps in the hallway, and they looked at the door in a panic, quickly moving out of the bathroom. The girl that had been sitting with Donna was there, moving to rest a hand on the wall. "What are you doing up here?"
"We..." Dean started, looking for help, only to be met with two other people who couldn't think of a good answer either. "We had to go to the bathroom." Well, if they didn't look shady and creepy before...
"Who are you?" She nearly laughed. Accusing. Sure of herself. Absolutely genius and correct for realizing they were lying.
"Like we said downstairs, we worked with Donna's dad."
"He was a day trader or something. He worked by himself."
"No, I know, I meant..."
"And all those weird questions downstairs? What was that?" There was silence as they looked at her sheepishly. She crossed her arms. "So you tell me what's going on, or I start screaming. Are you guys some kind of pervs who crash funerals and have threesomes?"
"No!" Kat was quick to answer before Dean could sass back or Sam could intervene. "No, that's definitely not it." She sighed. "Look...we're here because we think something might've happened to Donna's dad."
"Yeah, a stroke." She had that judgmental teenager tone down pat.
Sam looked at the blood on the floor. "That's not the sign of a typical stroke. We think it might be something else."
"Honestly? We don't know yet. But we don't want it to happen to anyone else. That's the truth."
"So, if you're gonna scream...go right ahead."
She looked at them, then down in consideration, and back up. "Who are you, cops?"
They shared a look and Dean smirked. "Something like that."
"I'll tell you what. Here." Sam took a piece of paper and a pen out of his pocket, writing down his phone number. "You think of anything, you or your friends notice anything strange, out of the ordinary...just give us a call." He handed her the paper, as the three of them moved past her, sort of still a little afraid that she may scream.
Kat paused for just a moment, though, turning back. "Even if you think you're crazy," she spoke seriously, meeting the girl's eyes as she faced her, "call us. We're not gonna think you're crazy at all. Trust me." With a nod, she followed Sam and Dean downstairs.
They'd gone to the library straight afterwards to dig up information on any woman named Mary who'd died in front of a mirror, like the legend says...only to find that all the computers were out of order. Which meant they were going to have to search for who knew how many news articles and records using books, which was going to take a hell of a long time.
And it did. They were still poring over pages well into the night and Sam, tired as ever from lack of sleep, ended up passing out, while Dean and Kat carried on. At one point, when the sun was only a few minutes from starting to rise, Kat had gone out to grab them some snacks from the motel's vending machine. Those were gone a few minutes after the sun started to rise.
She was sitting across from Dean at the room's dining table, book resting there and one elbow resting next to it, her chin in her hand. Dean wasn't much different, though he was relaxed back in his chair and let his head tilt into his hand.
She yawned, blinking slowly as she tried to keep focused on the words in front of her.
"Hey. Catch a couple hours."
"If I lose focus, I'm gonna pass out halfway to my room."
"So use my bed."
"You use you're bed. Sam's already asleep and I can read faster."
"You've been staring at the top right corner of that page for the last five minutes."
"—I have?" Kat blinked, then shook her head. "Okay, let's see what we have so far." She reached for the notebook Dean had been writing possible leads in, but he snatched it before she could. "What?"
"Just...I don't want you to mess it up."
She narrowed her eyes at his obvious lie. "Dean, let me see it."
"Dean!" Her yell was more of a whisper so as not to disturb Sam, but it seemed to do the trick as he reluctantly handed over the notebook. "Thank yo— why are half these notes just random doodles? Some of which are graphic." She gave him a look.
"It's not my fault. It just...happened, alright?"
She sighed, tossing the notebook down and leaning back in her chair. "I think we could both use a couple hours of sleep. We're not getting anything done."
Before Dean could respond, Sam suddenly woke up with a gasp. They both looked over, watching him as he paused and took in his surroundings. "—why'd you let me fall asleep?"
"'Cause I'm an awesome brother."
"Because you needed it."
Dean sighed, straightening up in is chair. "So what'd you dream about?" There was an edge to his tone, since he already pretty much knew.
"Lollipops and candy canes." Sam didn't even need to sound sarcastic.
"Please tell me Lord Licorice wasn't there." Kat was all too relieved to close the book she'd been reading. She was okay with research, sure, but they had been going at it for so long and she was obviously exhausted.
Sam gave the slightest of smirks, making no move to get up as he looked at them. "Find anything?"
"Oh, besides a new level of frustration?" Dean shrugged. "No. We've looked at pretty much everything." He closed his own book as Sam sat up a bit. "A few local women, a Laura and a Catherine committed suicide in front of a mirror, and a giant mirror fell on a guy named Dave, but uh, no Mary."
"Dean did find his talent for drawing the female physique, and I discovered just how well a corner of this book was made." Kat watched as Sam flopped back down, getting up and moving to sit down next to him. She mostly did it so she could feel the bed; how comfy a mediocre motel bed could feel when one hadn't slept for twenty-four hours, give or take. She tried her best not to lay down.
"Maybe we just haven't found it yet." He looked up at her and the two met with tired gazes.
"I've also been searching for strange deaths in the area, you know...eyeball bleeding, that sort of thing. There's nothing. Whatever's happening here, maybe it just ain't Mary."
There wasn't even time to consider that before Sam's phone started to ring. He glanced at it for a short moment, grabbing it from where it had been left on the bed next to him and flipping it open. "Hello?" A curious look turned to a concerned one and he sat up. "Who— hey, hey, just calm down. What? Okay. We'll meet you there." He shut the phone, quickly getting off the bed.
"Who was it?" Dean had tossed the book he'd been reading onto the table, standing.
"The girl from the funeral. The one who followed us."
Kat started to perk up at the thought of information, getting up to grab her jacket. "What did she say?"
"All I could really understand was that her name's Charlie, somebody named Jill is dead, and she wants to meet at the park to talk to us."
"You think it's the same deal as Shoemaker?"
Sam looked at Dean, shrugging as he opened the door. "There's only one way to find out."
When they got to the park, Charlie was there waiting for them, pacing back and forth. It was obvious she'd been crying recently, and she only started sobbing loudly the moment she saw them come up to her. It broke Kat's heart to watch the poor girl cry and she couldn't bear to let her just stand there weeping. She'd comforted people that knew her even less than Charlie, so she didn't hesitate before wrapping her arms around her.
"It's okay. Can you tell us what happened?"
Charlie nodded and collapsed on a nearby bench, followed by Kat who kept an arm around her. Dean moved to sit on the back of the bench on the opposite side of her, while Sam remained standing with a sympathetic look and his hands in his pockets.
"It was my friend Jill. I—I was on the phone with her and she said Bloody Mary...I thought nothing happened, but the next morning I found out that her parents...she was late for school, she hadn't come down...so they went to wake her up—" She paused to take in a shaky breath as she continued to cry. "—and they found her on the bathroom floor. And her—her eyes. They were gone."
"I'm sorry," Sam said softly.
"And she said it. I heard her say it. But it couldn't be because of that." She looked at Kat, then at Sam and Dean. "I'm insane, right?"
"No, you're not insane."
"Not at all." Kat was quick to match Dean's reassurance, gently squeezing Charlie's shoulder.
"—oh, God, that makes it feel so much worse."
"Look." Sam paused, trying to find the right way to bring what they knew up. "We think something's happening here. Something that can't be explained."
"And we're gonna stop it, but we could use your help."
"My help?" Charlie looked at Dean in confusion. "What can I do? I'm just..."
Kat pulled away now that the girl had calmed down. "Is there any way you can let us see where Jill was? Maybe we can find something."
"I...I guess..." She looked at each of them warily. "This is just so it won't happen again, right?"
She was met with a nod from Dean, a 'yeah' from Sam, and a 'right' from Kat.
It wasn't long before they were crouched on part of the roof of Jill's house, waiting outside her bedroom window for Charlie to let them in. Sure, they could lie — unsuccessfully, of course — about working with Steven Shoemaker, but what could three grown adults say they had in common with a teenage girl? Certainly her parents knew her teachers, and even if they didn't, teachers showing up to look at their student's room would be...weird.
"Y'know, I've snuck into girls' bedrooms for better reasons."
Sam glared. "Dean!"
"Sneaked." Kat was looking through the window, waiting for a glimpse of Charlie, so she didn't see Dean's incredulous look.
"It's sneaked." She turned her gaze to him. "Snuck isn't actually a real word."
At least Sam was smirking now instead of glaring. "She's right. Americans made up the word 'snuck'."
"—shut up." After Dean's incredibly witty comeback, the window opened. Kat climbed in first, then Sam, and Dean came in last as he muttered something about all words being made up; which, Kat had to admit, was valid.
Sam had been carrying a duffel bag and he set it on the bed, glancing at Charlie. "What did you tell Jill's mom?"
"I just said I needed some time alone with Jill's pictures and things. I hate lying to her." She rubbed her forehead in angst, while Dean shut the window and drew the curtains behind her.
"Trust us, it's for the greater good." He patted her on the back. "Hit the lights."
Charlie did as was asked before walking back over to them. "What are you guys looking for?"
"We'll let you know as soon as we find it."
"Hey, night vision." Sam held up a camera he'd taken out of the bag and Dean reached over to turn on night vision for him. "Perfect."
Upon noticing the camera was pointed at him, Dean posed. "Do I look like Paris Hilton?" He received a hit on the arm from the back of Kat's hand. "Ow!"
Charlie smiled, but no one was sure if it was at Dean's joke or Kat's response.
Sam decided to leave all of it alone and walked over to open Jill's closet, starting to film the mirror. "So, I don't get it. I mean...the first victim didn't summon Mary, and the second victim did. How's she choosing them?"
"Beats me." Dean had taken out an EMF meter and was walking around the room with it. "I want to know why Jill said it in the first place." He paused to look at Charlie.
She shrugged. "It was just a joke."
"Yeah, well, somebody's gonna say it again. It's just a matter of time."
Kat moved to the closet before Sam could close the door, standing in front of the mirror as he went into the bathroom. She stared into the mirror even though everything told her not to, but saw nothing. All that stared back was her own reflection, and occasionally a flash of Dean as he walked around. "Maybe it's a wrong place, wrong time kind of thing. Like, Lily left any mirror's vicinity before Mary could do anything, so she took the next person who walked into her range. Which would be Steven."
She shut the closet door just as Sam peeked out of the bathroom in a bit of a rush. "Hey, there's a blacklight in the trunk, right?"
"Yeah." Dean nodded, tossing the EMF meter to Kat before moving back out the window, to the Impala.
"Can you give me a hand, Kat?"
With a shrug, Kat handed the meter to Charlie. "If it starts to make any sort of noise, let us know." She followed Sam into the bathroom, helping him to figure out how the mirror was attached and then easing it off the wall until he had a good hold on it, taking the camera from him.
"Thanks." He walked back into the bedroom, laying the mirror face down on the bed. Dean had gotten back and tossed him the blacklight. He quickly tore the paper backing off while the other three watched, going over it with the blacklight to reveal a handprint and the name 'Gary Bryman'.
"Gary...Bryman?" Charlie leaned over, reading the name with her brow furrowed.
"You know who that is?"
Sam looked up at Dean and Kat. "We can probably find records—"
"No, no. You can find records. Some of us—" Dean nodded to Kat. "—were up all night going through records while you got your beauty sleep."
"Fine." A twitch of the jaw was Sam's only sign of irritation. He returned the mirror to its rightful place in the bathroom before he, Dean, and Kat gathered their stuff and climbed back out the window. They waited by the Impala, parked a couple houses down, for Charlie to meet back up with them.
She wanted to stay with them, so they piled into the car and dropped Sam off at the library to find out about Gary Bryman. The other three went to a park just across the street and found a bench to sit on, trying to fill the time with boring small talk. Thankfully, after a few minutes, Charlie asked about all they knew, which was a lot more interesting to talk about. It was nice when they didn't have to hide it.
"—and so Dean pretty much had to do surgery on me to get the glass out." As Kat finished the story, she noticed Dean smiling slightly. Perhaps because it was a story that she'd reacted dryly to just a week or so ago when he recounted it, but now she was telling it to Charlie with nearly a little bit of humor in her tone. He had had so little normalcy in his life, it must have been nice to have something returning to normal, even if it might not have been the rest of the world's version of normal.
Charlie turned to look at Dean. "Have you ever gotten hurt like that?"
"So." Sam walked over, sitting down on the very edge of the bench next to Kat. "Gary Bryman was an eight-year-old boy." He looked at a slip of paper he was holding. "Two years ago, he was killed in a hit and run. The car was described as a black Toyota Camry. But nobody got the plates or saw the driver."
"Oh my God." Realization crossed over Charlie's face.
"Jill drove that car."
Three 'eureka' looks were exchanged at the connection, then Dean looked at Charlie. "We need to get back to your friend Donna's house."
And they did, in an amount of time that seemed horrifying in retrospect due to Dean's driving, but none of them really thought about it in the moment. Donna had let them in with a little reassurance from Charlie, and they were quick to get to the bathroom and take down the mirror to check it. The back had a handprint much like the other one, but the name beneath it was 'Linda Shoemaker'.
Upon returning downstairs to Charlie and Donna, the latter girl seemed to get defensive at their questioning about who Linda was and anything that might have happened between her and Steven. "Why are you asking me all this?"
"Look, we're sorry, but it's important."
She stared at Sam for a short moment. "Yeah. Linda's my mom, okay? And she overdosed on sleeping pills. It was an accident and that's it." Even Charlie's eyes were wide with realization as she made the connection between Jill's situation and this. "I think you should leave."
"Now, Donna, just listen—"
"Just get out of my house!" Clearly on the brink of a breakdown, as she had every right to be, Donna ran past them and out of the room.
"Donna, wait!" Kat moved to follow, but stopped short with a sigh. Bothering the poor girl would only aggravate her further, not comfort her or get anything else out of her.
"Oh my God." Charlie looked at them, crossing her arms. "Do you really think her dad could have killed her mom?"
Kat briefly thought that it wasn't so far-fetched, that people who should have been good could turn out to be the opposite, but it went as soon as it came. It lingered just enough to bother her only slightly. It was almost relieving, not focusing on it.
Dean shrugged and Sam said simply, "Maybe."
"It's the only connection we have right now." Kat turned back to them. "Jill and Gary...now Steven and Linda?"
"—I think I should stick around."
"Alright." Dean nodded. "Just whatever you do, don't..." It was obvious that he didn't need to finish the sentence."
"Believe me. I won't say it."
"Don't let Donna say it either. If she starts, tape her mouth shut." Well, at least Kat got Charlie to smile before she, Sam, and Dean took their leave.
More research. Kat had always been pretty good at it, having been what John started her out on when she first joined them, but she was really starting to resent it now. She wasn't sure she'd ever done so much fruitless work before.
She was pinning up pictures and articles on a bulletin board in the boys' motel room with Sam, while Dean sat with a laptop, printing things out.
"Wait, wait, wait, you're doing a nationwide search?"
"Yep. The NCIC, the FBI database...at this point, any Mary in the country who died in front of a mirror is good enough for me."
Sam moved to sit at the table with him. "But if she's haunting the town, she should have died in the town."
"Maybe Mary doesn't play by the normal ghost rules." Kat left the bulletin board, leaning against the table.
"Maybe. I'm telling you, there's nothing local, I've checked. So unless you've got a better idea..."
Sam rubbed his neck. "The way Mary's choosing her victims, it seems like there's a pattern.
"I know." Dean looked up from the laptop screen. "I was thinking the same thing."
"With Mister Shoemaker and Jill's hit and run—"
"Both had secrets where people died."
"What if Shoemaker didn't kill his wife, though?" Kat ran a hand through her hair.
"He probably did, Kat. I mean, there's a lot of folklore about mirrors. That they reveal all your lies, all your secrets, that they're a true reflection of your soul, which is why it's bad luck to break 'em."
"Right, right. So maybe if you've got a secret, I mean like a really nasty one where someone died, then Mary sees it...and punishes you for it."
"Whether you're the one that summoned her or not."
Kat noticed that the door to the bathroom was open and she could just see the edge of the mirror through the doorway. She wasn't entirely sure if she even had a secret that Mary could use — her father would have, and she was frustrated with herself for thinking so — but seeing that reflective surface was starting to make her uneasy.
"Take a look at this."
She was all too happy to turn her attention back to Dean, who started printing out a couple pictures. Having her back to the mirror didn't really make her feel any less uneasy, but looking at the pictures offered a distraction. Sam had taken the pictures, so she moved behind him to look over his shoulder, cringing slightly at the scene of a girl in a puddle of blood. Another picture showed a handprint and the letters 'tre' on a mirror, similar to what they'd found on Jill's and the Shoemakers' mirrors.
"Looks like the same handprint."
"That's definitely the same handprint."
"Her name was Mary Worthington. An unsolved murder in Fort Wayne, Indiana."
"Okay, so how the hell did she get here?" Kat met Dean's eyes, brow furrowed. "I mean, I know I said she might not play by the rules, but Fort Wayne is a couple hours away. That's pretty far for a ghost."
"Well, the article mentions the detective who was on the case. I say we get what we can out of him."
Fort Wayne was another place they got to in a terrifying amount of time thanks to Dean, but they still didn't pay it any mind. It was best to get places quickly anyway, to avoid anymore unnecessary deaths, if possible. Thankfully for them, the detective who'd dealt with Mary Worthington's murder seemed all too happy to talk about the case.
"I was on the job for thirty-five years—detective for most of that. Now everybody packs it in with a few loose ends, but the Mary Worthington murder...that one still gets me."
Kat nudged Dean as he adjusted some item in the room, getting his attention so he would face the detective.
"What exactly happened?" He stepped closer to the man.
"—you three said you were reporters."
"We know Mary was nineteen," Sam took over with a sigh. "Lived by herself. We know she won a few local beauty contests, dreamt of getting out of Indiana, being an actress." He read from some paper on which they had written down anything they could. "And we know the night of March twenty-ninth, someone broke into her apartment and murdered her, cut her eyes out."
"That's right," the detective said softly, nodding.
"See, sir, when we ask you what happened, we wanted to know what you think happened."
He looked at Dean for a moment, before leading them into his office and taking some files out of a filing cabinet. "Technically, I'm not supposed to have a copy of this."
Kat smirked. She couldn't help but like the man, even though she didn't know him. He opened up a folder, showing them one of the same pictures Dean had printed out before.
"Now, see that there? T-R-E?" At Dean's affirming response, he continued, "I think Mary was trying to spell out the name of her killer."
"You know who it was?"
"Not for sure." He sifted through papers. "But there was a local man, a surgeon." He took out a picture of a well-dressed man wearing sunglasses and holding a cigar. "Trever Sampson. And I think he cut her up good."
"Now why would he do something like that?"
"Her diary mentioned a man that she was seeing. She called him by his initial, 'T'. Well, her last entry, she was gonna tell 'T's wife about the affair."
"Willing to do it, but not own up to it." Kat sounded a bit monotone. How could someone kill another over the possible reveal of a choice they were making?
"Yeah, but how do you know it was Sampson who killed her?"
Kat wanted to tell Dean that, for some reason, she felt pretty positive that it was him, but she knew she would feel like a terrible person if it wasn't, so she let the detective answer on his own, "It's hard to say, but the way her eyes were cut out...it was almost professional."
"But you could never prove it."
"No. No prints, no witnesses. He was meticulous."
"Is he still alive?" Dean was so good at just sounding curious when the weight of the world possibly rested on the answer.
"Nope." The detective sat down, letting out a sigh. "If you ask me, Mary spent her last living moments trying to expose this guy's secret. But she never could."
Kat's gaze met Dean's, something seeming to click inside them. Mary couldn't expose her own killer's secret, so...
"Where's she buried?" Sam asked.
"She wasn't. She was cremated." The answer wasn't so great, since that meant they couldn't just take care of her bones and be done with it. Dean rolled his eyes, earning a more gentle nudge from Kat than before, one that was more of support.
"What about that mirror?" He pointed to the picture. "It's not in some evidence lock-up somewhere, is it?"
"Um, no." The detective shook his head, sitting back in his chair. "It was returned to Mary's family a long time ago."
Another disappointed look from Dean, a supportive brush of the hand against his from Kat, and a question from Sam, "You have the names of her family by any chance?"
He was kind enough to give them the names, mentioning that he had some hope they might be able to solve it. That was what made him so likable. He really seemed to care about what happened to Mary, and probably cared just as much about his other cases.
They were back on the road to Toledo within an hour or so, Sam calling all of Mary's family he could reach, inquiring about the mirror. "Oh, really? Ah, that's too bad, Mr. Worthington. I would have paid a lot for that mirror. Okay, well, maybe next time. Alright, thanks." Sam hung up the phone with a sigh, pushing the antenna down with his teeth.
"So, that was Mary's brother. The mirror was in the family for years, until he sold it, one week ago." He almost laughed. "To a store called Estate Antiques. A store in Toledo."
"That's what this is, then?" Kat leaned forward in the backseat. "She's attached to the mirror?"
"Her spirit's definitely tied up with it somehow."
Dean glanced at Sam, before returning his attention to the road. "Isn't there an old superstition that says mirrors can capture spirits?"
"Yeah, there is. Yeah, when someone would die in a house, people would cover up the mirrors so the ghost wouldn't get trapped."
"So Mary dies in front of a mirror, and it draws in her spirit."
Sam furrowed his brow. "Yeah, but how could she move through, like, a hundred different mirrors?"
"Maybe all mirrors are the same? They're connected like...I don't know. A telephone line."
"Either way, if the mirror is the source, I say we find it and smash it."
"And I say that's a terrible idea when there's a spirit inside it." Kat smirked at the half-hearted glare Dean gave her in the rearview mirror. "You know I'm right."
Sam's phone rang and he lifted it back up, flipping it open. "Hello?" He paused, sitting up straighter in his seat. "Charlie?" The name and his sudden change of demeanor had both Dean and Kat looking over with concern. "Slow down— yeah. Yeah, okay, we'll be there as soon as we can." He hung up.
"What is it?"
"Mary's after Charlie."
Kat let out more curse words than she should have, and Dean pressed down on the gas pedal.
A/N: There you have it! Part two will probably be pretty short. Hope you all enjoyed. Any mistakes are because I always end up writing late at night. Please favorite, follow, and review!