A/N: Well, here I go again. Hope this one catches you. For those of you familiar with me you'll notice that I tend to write my stories happening in California. It's the only place I've ever been (except for Nevada a few times) so I write the area I know. However, the town in this story is made up.
This first chapter is probably a little boring and a little too chatty with dialogue. But I have issues with getting things started, so I hope you come back for more. I promise angst, action, and drama. I'll try to update weekly, but I promise nothing. :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing from Supernatural. I'm borrowing the characters just for fun. Everything here is made up.
Warnings: Spoilers for all seasons. Bad language will be found here. Unbeta'd. All mistakes are mine.
Wow; did you get through all that?!? Please let me know what you think; I love all reviews.
Dean swung his leg backwards, closing the door behind him with the heel of his boot. He glanced at Sam who was sitting at the table, just saying good bye to someone on the phone. He sat down the bag of burgers and fries he was carrying and gestured to the phone.
"Who were you talking to?" he asked his brother.
Sam raised up and began rummaging through the bag Dean had sat down, scrunching up his nose at the grease stains already leaking through the paper. "I can hear my arteries already clogging," he muttered. To Dean he said, "Bobby."
"Oh yeah," Dean mumbled around a mouthful of burger. "He got something for us?"
"Yeah, he said there was something going on with an old friend of his. He said he'd really appreciate it if we would look into it."
"He say why he can't do it?" Dean asked.
"No." Sam paused. "But this old friend is a she, and Bobby seemed weird when he talked about her. You know, that kind of awkward weird."
Dean smiled. "That old dog. Think this chic is an old flame?" Dean asked, wagging his eyebrows.
Sam laughed. "Who knows. But I'm thinking probably. He kind made up a big complicated reason why he couldn't go. He definitely sounded flustered."
Dean laughed. "Oh this is going to be good. Dig up some dirt on old Bobby."
Sam laughed too, but still said, "Don't be mean Dean. Bobby's been good to us."
"Yeah I know. That doesn't mean I can't give him a little ribbing now does it?"
"Just leave me out of it." Sam said, turning to his laptop.
"So?" Dean asked, reaching over and stealing some of Sam's french fries.
Sam, without even looking up, slapped his brother's hand. He bit his lip to cover up the smirk that threatened when Dean let out a surprised yelp.
"So, what?" Sam asked.
Dean, making a big show of rubbing the back of his hand, said "You going to tell me about this job or what?"
"Uh? Oh yeah. Bobby said it's up in Northern California. Some place called Weston Ranch. It's a small town up in the mountains, not like no civilization small, just outside of a bigger city. I guess it's famous for it's wine. They have lots of cellars and give wine tours. Hot air balloon rides."
"Uh, Sam?" Dean interrupted. "You can skip the tourist info dude. Just give me the case."
Dean smiled to break the harshness of his words. His little brother always was a stickler for every little detail.
"Right, sorry." Sam turned back to his notes. "So Bobby's friend, ah Ruth Addison is her name, she owns this place that for the last sixty years was a like bed and breakfast place. She bought it a couple of year's back and turned it into a small inn. She also has a small piece of land that she leases out to a wine grower and does wine tasting and that kind of thing. And twice a month she does a four day murder mystery weekend."
"A murder mystery weekend?" Dean asked, his eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, that's where..."
"I know what it is Sam." Dean interrupted. Sam tilted his head and raised his eyebrows in a question. "Dude, contrary to what you might think, I do know about normal things. Although, I don't know why people get such a big kick out of doing that."
Sam sat back and looked at his brother for a minute. He felt kind of bad questioning Dean. He knew Dean wasn't stupid, he had just figured since Dean spent most of his life on the road he may not have heard of this. "I mean come on, he didn't know what Myspace was," Sam thought to himself.
"Yeah, man. I didn't mean anything. Why do you think it's so stupid?" Sam asked. He actually thought it was kind of neat. He and Jessica had actually attended one when they first began dating. Sam had got a kick out of watching people play amateur sleuth.
"Oh come on Sam. A bunch of yuppies by day taking four days out of their life to pretend their some kind of investigator? It's pathetic. I mean, who gets a kick out of someone pretending to be killed and then trying to solve their murder? If you ask me, people watch way too much CSI.."
Sam laughed. "Yeah, okay I'll give you that. But I still don't think it's as stupid as you do. Anyways, it's a moot point."
"Why's that?" Dean asked.
"Because by the time we get there she's going to be having one of these parties in full swing. We'll be joining along."
"Oh no way!"
Sam smiled. "Yes way. You get to be a part of that yuppie crowd Dean. Suck it up."
Dean mumbled something that Sam didn't quite catch. But he ignored it and continued on. "Anyway, back to the case. Last year Ruth started some remodeling and building at the place," at Dean's eye roll Sam said, "yeah I know. Classic start. Anyway, there's been the usual strange stuff. Things moving on their own, strange noises, stuff going missing. Classic stuff."
"Yeah, so what's happened recently that she had to call Bobby?" Dean asked, as he sat on the bed and began going through their weapons. Something he always did when they were talking about a case. His Dad always taught him to make sure that the weapons were ready for the job.
"Oh nothing much except a couple of mysterious deaths of her staff." Sam said, knowing that now he had really peaked Dean's interest.
Dean nodded. "And what makes you think it's our type of mysterious deaths?" Dean wasn't actually questioning Sam or Bobby. He knew Bobby wouldn't have called if it wasn't their thing, and Sam would never have agreed to it if he didn't already know the facts. Dean was just the type of person who liked to have everything laid out for him. He liked to know exactly what he was getting into, and he liked to be able to formulate a plan ahead of time. Even if he didn't usually stick to those plans, he didn't like surprises.
Sam scrunched up his nose. Even though he had now immersed himself into this life, and was actually starting to feel a little more like his brother about it and was glad he was helping people, the ones that he couldn't have saved still bothered him. Especially when they died horrible deaths.
"Well, one of the maids was found four months back. She was cleaning the bathroom in one of the newly built rooms. She was in the bathtub and her entire bottle of bleach had been poured down her throat."
Dean gave a disgusted look. "Ouch. That couldn't have been pretty."
"Yeah. Police say it was a suicide. No signs of a struggle, no robbery. They put in their report that she just got herself into the tub and decided to drink a gallon of bleach. Even though no one who knew her said that she was even slightly depressed."
Dean shook his head. "Yeah, that sounds about right. Man, I know that most people don't believe in what's out there. But man, can't they even try to come up with something better?"
Sam nodded his agreement. "Another one happened less than a month later. One of the handy men that worked there was fixing a loose spindle on the staircase. Apparently, he decided to climb over the top of the rail, jam his head between the spindles and let his body fall. Breaking his neck in the process. Another suicide by the way, according to the cops."
"But let me guess. There's more?" Dean asked.
Sam nodded. "Three more in total. Another maid who supposedly threw herself through a window and fell three stories down. And the other two were guests. One took a trip down the stairs, he died. And the other had choked to death while having a snack in her room."
"And she's still open?" Dean asked in shock.
Sam shrugged. "Yeah, well. Except for the two no other guests have had anything happen. And on Bobby's advice she's keeping people out of the remodeled part. It's her business Dean. She can't really afford to just shut down for who knows how long. That's why she called Bobby."
Dean mulled over the information for a minute. "All right. What do you say we head out then."
"...we haven't seen this kind of snow storm in almost twenty years. Road conditions are dangerous right now, drive with extreme caution..."
Dean leaned forward and turned off the radio. "Now they tell us." He muttered, as leaned forward slightly trying to peer through the almost sheer white wall of snow in front of them.
"This is bad." Sam said, sitting rigidly in his seat. Sam had every confidence in his brother's driving abilities, but they weren't used to driving in conditions so bad.
Dean glanced to his brother and then back to the road. "Relax Sam. I can handle it. It's not that bad." he said, trying to ease his brother's anxiety.
"Maybe we should pull off until it passes?" Sam asked. "I mean, they did say this was unexpected. It shouldn't last too long."
"Nah. We've only got about twenty minutes to go. We're already a half a day late. It's fine Sam." Dean reached over and patted his brother's shoulder. "I promise, we aren't going to crash."
"Dude, don't take your hands of the wheel." Sam said. He really didn't know why he was so nervous. It wasn't like they hadn't driven in a few bad storms over the years. But for some reason, ever since they were sidelined by that semi, he had a new anxiety over car crashes. Not that he wanted to say that out loud to Dean. Even though he figured his brother had already caught on.
Dean chuckled. "I promise Sam. It's under control. Just keep your eye our for our turnoff."
They drove in silence listening to the squeak of the wiper blades on the windshield, that were just barely managing to keep the snow cleared off. Sam kept an eye out for their turnoff, resolutely keeping his eyes from looking down to the right. The town they were heading to was only in the foothills, but so far they'd already been riding the edge of some pretty impressive drop offs. He shook his head. "Man, I gotta get over this." he told himself.
Finally, twenty minutes later he saw the sign. "Turnoff up ahead." he told Dean.
Dean eased up on the gas and made his way over. "Man, I can't believe with this storm that she has any guests this weekend. Why would anyone come out in this?"
Sam agreed, but said, "Well, according to the reports this storm wasn't supposed to be so bad. And it is supposed to clear up by tomorrow. Not to mention that people book this party and buy tickets well in advance. And, except for this whole blizzard thing right now, some people do like the snow Dean."
Dean gave a full over exaggerated body shiver. "Yeah, well, like I said before. People are crazy. It's too damn cold to enjoy anything right now."
"Oh I don't know. Once the storm passes, it might be kinda of fun. I mean come on Dean, when's the last time we had a good old fashioned snowball fight?"
Dean looked at his brother with eyebrows raised. "A good old fashioned snowball fight? What, are you like five?"
Sam laughed. Dean may put on a good front of being macho and too mature for things. But come down to it, he was just a big kid at heart. And ever since they were kids, Dean had loved snowball fights. So much so that their Dad would have to order him inside when his fingers started turning blue. Sam knew Dean would love to, he just couldn't admit it out loud. But that was okay. Sam would find a way.
Sam swallowed hard, thinking to himself. If this really was Dean's last year, then he would be damn sure that his brother had a little fun. And what better way than to relive some of their most fun childhood memories. Yeah, Sam would find a way to get Dean to have a little fun.
Sam started when fingers suddenly snapped in front of his face. "Huh?"
"Earth to Sam. Dude, we've been sitting here for a full minute and you haven't even blinked. You all right?"
Sam blinked and looked around. The car was stopped down, but still idling keeping the heater blowing. Looking out his window he saw the Inn looming over them. During the summer it was probably beautiful and bright. But under the veil of clouds and snow it looked dark and foreboding.
He turned back to Dean. "Sorry. Lost in thought I guess."
Dean just frowned, opened his mouth as if to say something, but let it go. "Yeah. Well, let's get inside then."
Dean shut off the car and opened the door. The rush of cold air causing him to shiver and pull up his collar. "Damn, this sucks." He muttered and he opened the trunk and began unloading their bags.
"You think you might help me out sometime today?" Dean asked his brother, who was currently staring up at the Inn with a strange look on his face.
"Keep your pants on, I'm coming." Sam said.
"Dude, even Pam Anderson couldn't get me to get my pants off in this weather." Dean said laughing. Sam said nothing back, the joke not having any effect. Dean shook his head. Everything had been fine up until about ten minutes ago. But now Sam was in some kind of funk again. The kid was turning into Sybil with his constantly switching mood swings.
Dean sighed. "All right, what's wrong?"
Sam shouldered his bag and picked up a another. "What? Nothing. Why?"
Dean rolled his eyes. "'Cause you've got that pinched look going and I know that means something's on your mind."
Sam shrugged. "I don't know." He turned and looked back at the Inn. It really was a beautiful place. The architecture was classic, the landscaping minus the snow was simple yet classy, all in all the place was just like one of those you'd see in tourist magazines. Yet, Sam could only see how dark and scary it looked at the moment.
He turned back to Dean. "Just, this place is creeping me out already."
Dean nodded, and bit his lip in thought. He looked around also. "I'm sure it looks better on a nicer day. But, uh...is it creeping you out in the whole hey I'm getting a 'feeling', " Dean used his fingers to make quotes in the air. "Or is it just the regular creeps?"
Sam shrugged. At the moment he really wasn't sure. "I guess it's nothing. I'm just tired. And cold. Let's get inside."
"Don't have to ask me twice." Dean said, picking up the last of their gear.
They raced up the front steps and just as they reached the large double door entrance, it opened.
"Oh my goodness boys! Hurry inside." A woman's voice called out.
The brother's stepped inside and shook off the snowflakes.
"You must be Sam and Dean." The woman said.
"And you are?" Dean asked. The woman before them looked to be about in her late sixties, her silver hair pulled up. She was dressed in casual slacks and a sweater. Dean wasn't the type to be mean about anyone or to criticize, but he really hoped this wasn't the woman Bobby had a thing for.
"Oh, forgive me. My name is Tessa. I work with Ruth. I'm a coordinator here." She extended her hand to Dean then Sam.
"Nice to meet you." Sam said. "How did you know who we were?"
"Ruth informed me you would be arriving today. And you're the last of the guests to show up. I just assumed."
"Sorry about that. The road conditions weren't too great." Dean said.
Tessa nodded. "Of course. Nasty storm. Haven't seen one like this since I was much younger."
Sam watched Tessa, noticing that the woman was fidgeting and seemed nervous. "Ah, Tessa? Is Mrs. Addison around?"
"Ms. Addison." Tessa corrected. "And yes, she's waiting for you in the den. We've had...well...an incident. One of the maids is with her. She asked me to bring you there. This way."
Sam and Dean shared a quick 'who knows?'look before falling in behind Tessa. They followed her down a long hallway. The elderly woman moving quickly, not even giving them time to look around. They came to a set of wooden double doors which Tessa wasted no time in opening.
They entered into a very large room. The far wall they faced was lined with windows looking out over a courtyard. Two of the other walls were lined floor to ceiling with large wooden shelves that were stuffed with books. The other wall was a bar. And in the middle were various chairs and lounges, all in neutral colors, all very expensive looking and high class. The room was decorated with various pictures of what Dean and Sam could only assume was the town. Some pictures were black and white, showing the town back in the olden days. Most were more recent. There were pictures and paintings of vineyards, and many different wine types of themes, paying homage to the way of life in the area.
In the middle of all of it sat two women. One crying and the other comforting. The older woman looked up as they entered, still patting the back of the crying woman.
She smiled sweetly and patted the other woman once more, whispering something in her ear, then stood. "Hello. I'm Ruth Addison. You must be Dean and Sam."
Each hunter greeted her. She had a firm handshake. Ruth was around Bobby's age. She had chestnut brown hair, piercing blue eyes, a still very in shape body, and a brilliant smile. She had the look of the older Hollywood actresses. A classic beauty. Dean and Sam both could see why Bobby was smitten by her.
Sam asked, "Everything okay?"
Ruth sighed. She gestured to the woman sitting on the couch. "This is Olivia. She is one of our housekeepers. It seems she had a run in with something upstairs."
Both Dean and Sam were surprised by how calm Ruth seemed. "What happened?" Dean asked.
Ruth stepped a little closer to them. "Well, after speaking with Bobby, I've kept everyone away from the newest part of the Inn. However, Olivia thought she heard someone calling for help so she headed into the lounge that was built. She says that the room was ice cold and that things were moving around. She said that she heard a voice telling her to get out. It has shaken her up badly I'm afraid."
Just then Olivia spoke up. "I'm sorry Ms. Addison. But I don't think I can stay here. I'm sorry."
Ruth sat back next to her. "Don't worry about it Olivia. I completely understand. Why don't you have Mr. Perez drive you home. I'll let you know when things get settled around here."
Olivia nodded her head. "Thank you. I'm so sorry."
Sam and Dean watched as Tessa escorted Olivia out. They turned back to Ruth as she let out a frustrated sigh.
"I am so glad you boys are here. I can't honestly say I understand exactly what's going on, but Bobby assured me you two are the best and you can make it stop. I'm just sorry I had to drag you out in this weather."
"Not a problem. We're glad to be here to help." Sam said, his concern showing in his voice.
Ruth clapped her hands together and stood. "Well then. I'm sure you boys would like to get settled and then do whatever it is you do. You have the run of the place. Help yourself to the kitchen at any time and use whatever you need. Nothing is off limits to you two. The staff here all know why you are here and are eager to help in any way. I only have one thing to ask of you."
Dean sighed. Here it comes, he figured. The part where they always asked them to stay out of the way and not make a scene. Just do their job quietly. Not that Dean wanted to shout it from the roof tops, what they were doing, but sometimes the ghosts or whatever just didn't make it that easy.
"What is it you'd like?" He asked warily.
"Two things actually. One, I don't care what you have to do to get rid of whatever is here. Just please don't tell the other guests. If they find out on their own, fine. And if that interferes in your work, then so be it. But if it's possible, I'd like to not scare them away. The people here this weekend are some influential people and have paid a lot for this weekend's party. I'd kinda like to keep them for a few days."
Sam and Dean nodded. "Understood." Sam said. "The other thing?"
Ruth smiled. "Well, I figured since you boys were here to work, you might as well have a little fun too. I insist you join the party. We will all be meeting tonight at seven in the ballroom. The first night is just a get together so everyone can meet and see who's in the game. You must come."
Dean opened his mouth to turn down the invitation, but Sam rode over him. "Of course. We wouldn't miss it."
Dean shot Sam a quick glare, quickly covering it up with a sweet smile. "Yeah, of course we'll be there. But," he got out quickly, "we have to see how things go before we promise anything else."
"Oh, I understand." Ruth said. "I'm just simply the type of person who doesn't believe in all work and no play. And from what Bobby said, you two could use a little relaxation."
Dean shot Sam a look. Sam simply shrugged. Who knew what Bobby had said. Of course their friend would not betray their trust, but they also knew that he worried about them and he wouldn't be above forcing a little R & R on them.
"Okay you two. I'll show you your rooms. They are on the second floor."
"Uh...actually..." Dean stammered, embarrassed about what he wanted to say.
Sam wanted to laugh, but instead thought he'd save his brother from this one. "Actually Ruth, we are fine with sharing a room. If you have one with two beds that is. We're used to it and it kinda makes the job easier."
Ruth's brow furrowed. "Okay, if you're sure. There's plenty of space but I can give you a different room."
"And actually, we would like to stay in the newest part." Dean said, ignoring Sam's surprised look.
"What!" Ruth exclaimed. "But why? That's the worst part of the Inn. I mean, things have happened everywhere, but that's where the deaths have been."
"That's exactly why." Dean said. "Trust us, we know what we're doing."
"Trust us, we know what we're doing," Sam mimicked Dean as he unpacked his duffel.
"Dude, what's your problem?" Dean asked, getting a little irritated by his little brother.
"Are you serious? Dean, we didn't have to stay in this part of the Inn. Why do you always insist on putting us right in the middle of things?"
"Get over it you wuss. This is perfect. Look at it this way. We're right in the middle of it. It has no choice but to come to us. We solve it and we're outta here. We might not even have to stay the whole weekend."
"That's what this is about? You're worried about having to join in on the fun aren't you?" Sam asked, not able to keep the smirk off of his lips.
"Whatever Sam, I'm going tonight right. Not like I seem to have a choice."
"Come on Dean. I mean the woman has practically given us the keys to the palace here. She's letting us stay for free, eat for free; which you'll put to good use I'm sure. And she said whatever we need is ours. For once we have someone willing to help out with anything we need. No questions asked. And she's Bobby's friend. Indulge her."
Dean laughed. "Speaking of Bobby. Man, I can see why he has the hot's for her. I mean, even at her age she's damn good looking. I bet when she was younger she was smokin' hot. Wonder if her and Bobby ever hooked up."
Sam scrunched his nose. "Dude, I don't want to know. That would be way too much information for me. Not a visual I want to see."
Dean just laughed some more. "Yeah, not a picture I want burned into my brain, that's for sure."
Just then Dean's phone rang. "Hey Sam, guess who?" Dean opened his phone. "Hey Bobby!"
Sam looked at Dean and said quietly, "Be nice."
"Yeah, we met her. I gotta tell you Bobby she's..."
Sam shook his head as he listened to his brother tease Bobby. One thing for sure, he was keeping his nose out of it. He didn't want to be on the losing end when Bobby decided it was time for payback.