Looks Like Loss

Summary: Sam and Dean get into trouble working a ghost infested antebellum mansion in the Deep South. Just one ghost too many...

Disclaimer: Boy, do I have less than nothing to do with this show, other than shamelessly using it to amuse myself until the pros take over.

Chapter One

"Sam, I hope you know what you're doing," Dean sighed, looking out the window as they passed house after house, searching for the right address.

"Look, Dean. You know what I do. A friend of a friend of a friend called someone who knew someone who gave them our number," Sam said, not bothering to hide his irritation. "They asked for our help and I said we'd take a look."

"Yeah, I got it," Dean said, still squinting at addresses while trying not to drive into parked cars, "But you know how these old houses in these little southern towns are. Every one of 'em says they have a ghost. It's good for the tourists."

"If they took the trouble to find us, at least we can take a look. It's not like we're in the phone book," Sam sighed. "If nothing else, they're willing to give us room and board and some cash to boot. We go in, spread a little salt, they feel better and we get a few bucks. It's a win-win situation."

"It's a waste of time," Dean shot back. "They probably opened a bed and breakfast in one of these old 'Gone with the Wind' type houses and they're looking for some publicity." He glanced at Sam. "I mean I know I'm photogenic, but what are they gonna do with you?"

Sam just shook his head. "I hope you're right. It'll be a lot less trouble if you are."

Dean drove past several more older houses in various states of repair and then stopped. "Whoa. Two guesses, but I'm betting that's the one."

The house was on a huge wooded lot, the large, pillared mansion tucked into the surrounding neighborhood of smaller homes. A small wooden sign by the road said, 'Ravenwood,' the name of the house they were looking for.

Dean parked the car on the street in front of the mansion and together they walked up the long brick walk to the wide, pillared front porch.

"How's your leg?" Sam asked.

"It's fine," Dean said nonchalantly, silently cursing that his brother had noticed the slight limp he was trying to shake off. "Just been cooped up in the car too long."

Sam frowned, but thankfully let it pass. Dean didn't want to talk about it. Too many trips to the zoo hadn't done his leg any good, but it was just sore now, that was all.

They walked up onto the porch that spanned the length of the mansion and Dean patted one of the huge pillars. "Ok, if I'm Rhett Butler that makes you…" he cocked his head to the side, as if studying his brother.

"Dean…" Sam said in warning.

"Let's see… Bookish, broody, hair's too long… not sure what to do with women…" Dean nodded. "Yeah, you've got Ashley written all over you."

Sam sighed. "Well, at least you picked a guy," he said and knocked on the large front door.

Dean snorted. "He has a chick name… whines a lot too. I'm not sure I'd be too proud."

"Says the man who's clearly seen 'Gone with the Wind' more than once," Sam raised an eyebrow.

Dean's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to reply, but the door opened, abruptly stopping their conversation.

"I'm sorry," the man in the doorway said, "but tours are over for today. You'll have to come back later."

"I'm Dean, this is my brother Sam. We got a call a few days ago…"

Sam and Dean shared a glance at the man's obvious relief as he threw the door wide open.

"Please come in," he gestured. "We've been waiting for you." He looked to be about fifty and was dressed casually in an affluent, though unshowy way. "I'm Geoff Pruett," he held out his hand for them to shake and ushered them inside. "Martha, the ghostbusters are here!" he shouted into the next room.

Dean shook his head in disgust, while Sam covered a laugh with a short cough.

A few seconds later, a tall thin woman wearing a linen skirt and a multi-colored pastel shirt came through the door to their right and also politely shook their hands. "As I'm sure you gathered from my husband's bellow, I'm Martha Pruett."

"Pleased to meet you, Ma'am," Dean said politely. He didn't know what it was, but she had Southern Belle written all over her and being rude was out of the question.

"Have you boys had dinner?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, Ma'am," Sam answered, obviously falling under the same spell.

"Then I'll just get you some iced tea," she smiled. "Geoffrey, why don't you take them into the other room and let them sit down."

"Sure thing," he smiled and motioned toward the room his wife had come from.

Dean led the way and looked around the large, high-ceilinged space, wondering where to sit. The furniture all looked far too dainty and Scarlett O'Hara-like.

"I feel the same way," Geoff laughed. "Give me a big comfy couch to sit on any day. Don't worry," he slapped Dean on the back, "this is just for the tourists. We live upstairs. Have a seat, though. You won't break anything."

Sam and Dean sat side by side on what he supposed qualified as a sofa. Granted, 99 percent of the places they stayed didn't even have a chair, so he supposed he shouldn't complain.

"So did y'all get to see any of the town?" Mr. Pruett asked. "There are some beautiful homes open for touring. There are some wonderful restaurants too."

Martha came back in the room carrying several tall glasses of iced tea on a tray. "We'd be happy to give you directions," she said, as they accepted the drinks.

"No disrespect, Ma'am," Dean cleared his throat, "but we've been on the road for three straight days to get here. It's almost dark and we don't know anything. So why don't you just tell us why we're here."

An unreadable look passed between the couple, but they didn't say anything.

"How long have you lived in the house?" Sam asked, trying to get them started.

"All my life," Geoff said. "My family has owned the house since the early 1900's."

"Have there always been problems?" Dean asked.

"Oh, no. Our… problems only started in the last couple of months."

"You know the history of the house?" Sam asked. "I ask because it often helps to know of any… traumatic events that have taken place in a home… any deaths… They can leave marks," Sam explained.

Geoff snorted and Martha shushed him though she too was smiling. "If you're looking for traumatic events," he said, "you've come to the right place. Even for an antebellum mansion, this place is a bit special."

"How so?" Sam frowned.

"The house was built in three sections," he said, his tone taking on that of a lecturer. "The oldest section was built in the late 1700's. It was a frontier house, but brick. The man was a… bandit, I guess you'd say. He and his gang rode around robbing travelers and the other settlements. One night, he came home from a raid with a posse on his tail. His wife didn't appreciate it. She slit his throat, then had a servant bury him in the woods somewhere so that when the posse came she could say she didn't know where he was."

"His own wife slit his throat?" Sam asked and Mr. Pruett nodded.

"Nice," Dean grimaced. "He married a real peach…"

"I'm thinking he left the cap off the toothpaste one too many times," Geoff said, a very slight grin appearing. "In any case, we don't know what happened to the wife. The land reverted to the government a few years later and the local Sheriff took it over. He added on to the house, but his wife died in childbirth and he left it."

"She died in the house?" Sam asked.

"Upstairs," Martha pointed.

"The next owner added the largest part of the house in the years before the Civil War. He's the one who added the galleries, that's what we call porches on these old houses, the pillars, etc to match the style at the time. He was shot at the front gate by soldiers when he refused to let them in." He rubbed his forehead trying to remember. "Who was next, honey?"

"There's more?" Dean asked uneasily. How many people could die badly in one house?

"Oh, yes," Mrs. Pruett nodded. "After the war, the family who bought the house had a son who fell over the railing on the upper gallery and died. Most of that family left, but one of the child's spinster sisters stayed." Martha pursed her lips. "They eventually found the body when she didn't come to church two weeks in a row."

"Ok," Dean let out a breath slowly. "So lots of dead people running around."

"Everyone would have had a decent burial though except for the robber guy," Sam said, as if to himself.

"Of course, we haven't actually had any problems in the house. It's all been on the grounds," Martha said.

Dean opened his mouth to ask for specifics, but their host cut him off.

"Y'all do know there was a battle here?" Geoff asked.

"Is that important?" Dean frowned.

Mr. Pruett shrugged. "Only if you care that there are 500 soldiers in the back yard in unmarked graves."

"You gotta be kidding me," Dean said, sitting back on the sofa.

The man raised an eyebrow. "It's a big back yard."

"So what happened that made you call us?" Sam asked.

"It started with the smell," Mrs. Pruett wrinkled her nose.

"What kind of smell?" Sam asked.

"Like something rotten… or something dead," Geoff answered. "We would smell it every morning when we came downstairs. To be honest, I was thinking maybe an animal had gotten into the walls or the cellar and died. We looked everywhere though and couldn't find anything. The smell would go away after a bit, but then be back every morning."

"That's not really a reason you call someone like us," Dean observed.

"No," Martha shook her head. "Then we started seeing campfires in the woods behind the house. After that we started hearing shots."

"Shots?" Dean and Sam echoed each other.

"Gunfire," Mr. Pruett said.

"You've been out to look?" Dean asked.

"Sure. I've looked. The police have looked." The phone rang, abruptly cutting off conversation. "Excuse me," Geoff said and reached for a phone hidden behind a large vase. "Ravenwood."

He paused and they all saw his face tighten warily. "Hello, John. What can I do for you?" He listened for several more seconds and then shook his head though the caller couldn't see him. "Of course. We'll be here," he said and hung up.

"What is it?" his wife asked and Dean could hear the fear in her voice.

The man turned to look at them, his face grim. "That was the Sheriff. They've found another body in the back yard. It looks like Jim Childress."

Martha sank back into her chair, tears falling silently.

Dean just looked at Geoff. "Another body? On the phone you said you were having a little ghost problem. How many people have they found dead?"

Mr. Pruett's eyes were bleak. "This makes four."

Ye olde teaser… Tomorrow, the real games begin…