Title: Candle in a Window
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. All rights go to the people who do. No money is being made from this.
Summary: When Dean Winchester and his brother Sam decide to investigate a string of violent hauntings in a hotel, he thinks it's just another job – until he discovers that this one just might change his life forever. (Dean/Jo)
Rating: M (eventually)
Spoilers: Up to "All Hell Breaks Loose pt. 2"
Author's Notes: This is my first attempt at Supernatural fic, so please be kind. Also, I know there are people out there who aren't fans of Dean/Jo. If this is you, then just don't read this. Harassing me about it will only irritate me.
Dean Winchester was thirty years old today. He'd never really expected to see this day, especially given the fact that not too long ago he'd been guaranteed to have no more than a year.
He'd made it past that year. And the one after that, too. Sometimes he wondered if death hadn't taken him yet because he'd been expecting it to. Like that proverbial watched pot… Maybe good ol' death just wanted to sneak up on him.
And when it did, well, Dean was damn sure going to go out fighting. Even now he wasn't taking the time to stop and celebrate. Rumors of a haunting in Colorado had him back on the road, ready to face whatever lay ahead. No reason to stop just because he was getting a little older.
Sam, however, seemed to have other ideas. Dean knew his little brother was up to something as soon as he got back into the Impala after a stop at a gas station. He saw that smirk on Sam's face, the one that told him he was about to do something that would amuse him, yet annoy Dean.
"What are you doing?" Dean asked as Sam turned in the seat, his back to his older brother as he fiddled with something.
Sam responded by turning around, a single Twinkie in his hand. A candle was stuck into the middle of it, and Sam pulled a lighter from his pocket and flicked it on, lighting the candle.
Dean rolled his eyes. "You've got to be kidding me, Sammy."
"It's your birthday, Dean. Come on. Make a wish."
"Can I wish for a little brother who isn't completely lame?"
"Just blow out the damn candle, Dean" Sam replied, though the corner of his mouth was twitching upwards.
Dean sighed dramatically, but blew out the candle before snatching the Twinkie from his brother's hand, tossing the candle back at him, and shoving the entire snack cake into his mouth.
Dean smiled, closed mouth, the remnants of the Twinkie still bulging. Sam shook his head, laughing lightly as Dean reached out to crank the engine and start the radio.
Another year gone, but there was no time for reflection.
The Winchester brothers had a case.
Dean glanced out of the corner of his eye at Sam as he went over the information they had collected for their latest hunt. His face was furrowed with concentration, a look Dean knew well. "What are you trying to piece together over there, Sammy?"
"There's just something about this one that doesn't add up. There's been three deaths in the past two months, but before that, no deaths for well over a century, so why would a spirit just start killing now? Plus, there's been reports of hauntings going on for ages, but never once has anyone ever reported being injured. Ghosts don't just change their MO, Dean. If it hasn't shown any signs of violence before, it's not going to suddenly leap up to serial murder."
"Maybe something's changed. Renovations?"
Sam shook his head. "No. The hotel that's had all the deaths, its whole thing is it's kept as much like the original home as possible. An authentic feel and all that."
"So maybe someone brought a cursed object in," Dean suggested, his thumbs tapping the rhythm of the song coming through the Impala's speakers. "Could've even been one of the guests that ended up getting killed."
"It's possible," Sam replied with a terse nod. "Though that doesn't explain why there's been reports of non-violent hauntings before now."
Dean shrugged. "Maybe we're dealing with more than one spirit. Or maybe the hauntings before weren't real. Could be a million things, Sammy. We'll figure it out when we get there, and we'll deal with it."
Sam sighed quietly, but he closed the notes and leaned back in his seat. Dean was right, but still he couldn't shake the feeling that they were heading towards more than they bargained for.
"I'm sorry, but we're currently closed. If you'd like, I can refer you to several other hotels in town."
Dean and Sam had barely made it through the door before the woman behind the front desk was turning them away. Dean quickly started running scenarios in his head, trying to decide the best way to go on with this investigation if staying in the hotel wasn't an option. He could always fall back on the old standard of flashing a badge and claiming to be something official. That seemed to do the trick more often than not.
"They're with me, Maddie. Let 'em on in."
Dean's head whipped up, his eyes bulging comically as he caught sight of the woman coming down the stairs. She looked a little older, a little more weathered, but the deep, chocolate eyes were the same ones that haunted the dreams he'd never admit to in his waking hours.
"Jo?" Sam blurted from beside him, pulling Dean back into the moment.
Jo cut Sam a quick look, as if trying to signal him to just play along. "This is Dean and Sam. I called them in earlier. They're experts in the field, and with all that's going on here, I knew I would need help," Jo said to the woman she'd called Maddie as she approached the desk. She leaned against the desk and smiled brightly. "Don't worry, your fee won't go up."
Dean's brow crinkled, more questions than he could pin down swirling around in his head, though the ones that seemed to be at the top were what was Jo doing here and what was she talking about.
And whatever it was, Maddie seemed to be going along with it. She smiled brightly at the brothers and motioned them in. "Well, come on in then. The sooner we can get this done with, the better."
Dean and Sam approached the front desk, though their apprehension was apparent in their steps. Jo winked at Dean, a twinkle in her eye, and he could've sworn that she was getting a kick of his confusion. He'd get her for this later, once things actually started to make sense.
"Did you get what I asked you for?" Jo asked, her attention back on Maddie.
"Yeah, I did. It's all the history I could dig up on this place, including every report we kept of any sort of paranormal activity." Maddie reached behind the desk and plopped down a large stack of papers, many of them appearing to be on the edge of disintegrating. "It's all yours."
Now Dean was really confused, and from the look on his younger brother's face, so was Sam.
"And if that's all you need, I'm out of here," Maddie said, stepping out from behind the desk. "The sun's almost down, and I'm not sticking around any longer. You all must be either really brave or completely insane to do this, but I'm not about to give up on this, so…"
Jo smiled. "We'll be fine. I'll talk to you in the morning, Maddie."
Maddie looked unsure. "I hope so. If things get too hairy, I won't blame you for bailing."
"We won't," Jo assured her. "Have a good night."
Maddie nodded, then headed for the door quickly, tossing a "Good luck!" over her shoulder as she did.
The moment the door closed, Dean turned on Jo. "What the hell is going on?"
Jo arched her eyebrow, her arms crossed in front of her. "What's going on is you're muscling in on my hunt. But since I know the two of you are too damn stubborn to walk away, I'll let you help."
"What?" Dean asked. "You'll 'let us help?' Please…"
"Hey, I'm the one hired to do this job," Jo replied, that twinkle still in her eyes. Dean was starting to find it…well, he was going to call it "annoying."
"Hired?" Sam asked, breaking in before Dean could start yelling like he wanted to. "You were hired?"
"Yes, I was hired," Jo replied with a roll of her eyes. "Not all of us are slow enough not to realize some people will actually pay to have to you deal with a ghost problem."
Dean frowned, nothing seeming to want to compute. "Wait, let me try to get this straight. That woman, Maddie, she knows her hotel is haunted and is willing to pay you money in order for you to fix it?"
"Well, what do you know, you aren't just a pretty face," Jo teased, setting Dean more on edge. "That's the basic idea. She called me a couple of days ago, said she heard I could help her with her problem. She told me what was going on, it sounded genuine to me, so I came down to check it out."
"She called you?" Sam asked, looking just as confused as his brother, albeit not as pissed off about it.
"Yeah. I've built up a reputation for myself over the past couple years. A lot of my jobs are still the old fashioned, out of the goodness of my heart type, but I get calls for a pay job here and there." She smirked. "Enough to keep me from having to run credit card scams."
"Well aren't you smart," Dean muttered, his hands fisted at his sides. Jo tried somewhat unsuccessfully to stifle a chuckle.
Jo opened her arms. "Hey, here's the deal. I've got the full inside scoop on the job, plus free reign – no questions asked – of the hotel. I'm willing to let you guys in, and if you don't get in my way too much, I'll split my paycheck with you, all right?"
Dean and Sam shared a look, and Dean could tell Sam wanted to take it. Figures… He sighed. "Fine. But that should be if you don't get in the way too much."
Jo rolled her eyes. "I knew you were going to say that."
Dean gave her a dirty look, but then Sam was stepping between them again, keeping his brother from snarking back. "So what's going on here? You said it's a genuine haunting?"
"Oh, it's a haunting all right, but not quite like anything I've ever seen before."
Sam glanced over at Dean, a clear I-told-you-so look on his face. "Do you know what's going on then?"
"Not yet. I'm still working on it. That's why I had Maddie get me the history of the hotel."
"Well, let's get to going through it then so we can figure it out and make this place ghost free," Dean said, his hand going for the papers Maddie had left.
"Oh, she didn't hire me to make this place ghost free," Jo said quickly, making Dean stop short. He turned towards her, confused yet again.
"She hired me to help Louisa."
No sooner were the words out of Sam's mouth than did a young girl appear in front of them, the room still visible through her shadowy body.
So how am I doing so far? If you like it, please leave a review and let me know your thoughts.