I want to thank everyone who has thrown their love, feedback and support to this story. I have enjoyed sharing it with you all so much. I am turly sorry that it is at an end.
Chris Larabee was waiting for them as they entered the graveyard.
"He always seems to know when I'm in town," Mathew confided to the Winchesters.
"Matt." Chris said suspiciously. "I told you to get rid of them not bring them back."
"Sorry Chris, but things have changed"
"What have you done?" He growled and stepped forward.
"That's far enough." Dean snapped as he brought up his shotgun. "Matt has something he needs to tell all of you and we're here to make sure you listen."
Chris paused in his advance and was immediately joined by the other five. They arrayed themselves beside Chris. This was not the happy poker playing group from earlier in the evening. "We're here. Speak your piece," the man in black commanded.
Mathew sucked in a breath before he began to recite all that he had learned from the Winchesters. He concluded with the best news. "It means that as soon as I can file the papers, Four Corners and all the surrounding area should officially belong to the Tanners."
The six were dumbstruck by the revelation. Chris continued to eye the Winchester's with mistrust. "You really sure about this?" he asked Mathew.
"Yes. I have no doubt that those documents will hold up in court," Mathew confirmed.
A rare smile broke out across Chris' face. "Well then, 'pears like we have some celebrating to do." He looked to the brothers. "And it seems I owe you both an apology."
"Just doing our job," Sam said.
"That is wonderful news. Now Dean," Ezra called as he walked over to the older Winchester, "I believe we should retire to the saloon so that we can continue our game."
Dean laughed. "I had you beat. You sure you want to go again?"
"I told you that I was not at my best. I assure you that the outcome will be different this time," Ezra said as he threw a knowing smile toward his ghostly companions.
"You saying you let me win?" Dean snorted his disagreement. "Hell no! I outplayed you and you know it."
"I gotta agree with Dean," Nathan teased. "Can't win 'em all, Ezra."
"I find you lack of faith disturbing, Mr. Jackson." Ezra replied and turned to address his opponent. "Shall we, Dean?"
"Dean." Sam hissed. "We don't have time for this."
"Chill Sammy, I need to teach Ezra here a lesson."
"This I gotta see," said Josiah. "Plus didn't you promise us some rather revealing stories about your brother?"
"Sure did. Sam was eighteen and there was this girl…"
Sam nudged his brother, and glared at him. Silently reminding him that there weren't here to play poker or swap embarrassing stories, especially ones about him.
"Seems Sam, don't want you to tell that one," Buck laughed. "So's how about getting to it? Must be a doosey."
"Quiet down everyone," Chris shouted for their attention. "I don't think they came here to celebrate. Sam, why don't you tell us what's really going on?"
"Chris is right. Now that the disposition of the town is settled…"
"The what?" JD interrupted.
Sam smiled and started again. "Now that the future of the town is safe, it's time for you all to move on. You're purpose is fulfilled and you can rest easy knowing that Four Corners is in good hands," Sam explained as he gestured to Mathew
"Move on. Whatcha' mean move on?" Nathan asked.
"The Winchesters are here to send us into the great beyond, my friend," Ezra explained.
"Now wait a minute." Buck protested. "Chris, you okay with this?"
"Give us a minute, will you boys?" Chris said to the mortals as he led the six away for a private discussion.
Dean watched the ghosts in their huddle. "I don't know Sam, are we sure about this?"
Sam started at the idea that Dean wanted to walk away from a hunt. "Dude, are you serious? What about all that talk that they might turn violent?"
"Yeah but – " he shrugged not wanting to admit how much he had been looking forward to another round of poker with Ezra.
"Are you changing your mind?" Mathew interjected. "Because I'm happy to forget this whole thing."
Dean kicked at a pebble by his shoe. "No, Sam's right," he admitted reluctantly. "Never know what could happen in the future."
"I'm sorry Mathew but it's really for the best." Sam added.
"Matt," Chris called and waved him over. "Join us for a moment."
The Winchesters watched as each ghost made their goodbyes to Tanner. "Guess they decided to see it our way," Sam observed.
They waited in silence until finally the seven returned to stand in front to the brothers. "We're ready." Chris spoke for the group.
"Just wanted to say that you guys – well you're the coolest friggin' ghosts I've ever met." Dean said.
"But you are not sorry that you have to do this." Chris countered.
"No," Sam admitted. "This is what we do and sometimes it's not always a happy choice but it's the right one. You should be at peace."
The ghosts nodded their understanding. There really was nothing left to be said. Sam carefully placed the six objects in a small pile on the ground. Dean covered them with salt and lighter fluid, struck a match and dropped it onto the mementos. They went up with a whoosh and the ghosts disappeared at almost the same time.
Sam, Dean and Mathew watched as the fire burned itself out. The Winchesters could hear Mathew snuffling back tears and watched as he swiped at his eyes.
"I'm sorry. I know they were your friends." Sam said.
Mathew shook his head. "More. They were family."
"They're at peace. It's where they belong."
"If you don't mind, I'd like to be alone." Mathew said. "I really don't want to talk about it with you guys. Don't get me wrong, I'm really grateful for what you uncovered about the town but…" he trailed off as he gestured toward the memorial for the seven.
"Sure. We understand." Sam said. The Winchesters gathered up their things and headed down the hill.
Dean paused as he reached the Impala. "I really liked those guys," he said sadly. "Never thought I'd say that about ghosts."
"Yeah, me too," Sam agreed as he folded himself into the passenger seat.
Dean glanced back toward the graveyard. "Rest in peace guys," he whispered as he got into the car and drove away from Four Corners.
Mathew turned to watch the classic car leave the gravel path and head out onto the road toward Cornerstone. When the taillights were lost in the darkness, he reached into his jacket and pulled out the old leather pouch that contained the hair clippings from each of the six that Vin had collected on the day of their deaths. He squeezed it tightly before returning it to his pocket.
Maybe Vin was waiting for them on the other side? It didn't seem fair that his ancestor had spent all this time alone without his brothers. Sighing he realized it was too late now, he'd made his decision. Mathew just hoped it was the right one.
"Okay guys, the coast is clear," he called into the darkness and held his breath waiting for a response.
"Think they bought it?" Chris asked.
Relief flooded through him at the sound of Larabee's voice. "Yeah, they did." Mathew said, finally admitting to himself that he was very glad that the six were still around.
"I am impressed, Mr. Tanner, real tears for us. Truly, I am touched." Ezra said as he came to stand beside the lawyer.
"Real nice performance, kid," Buck agreed.
One by one the others appeared to add their praise for the ruse.
"I did let him win. Ya'll know that right?" Ezra insisted.
"Whatever you say, Ezra, we believe you." Chris chuckled as the others joined in to the gambler's chagrin.
"We never did get to hear any stories about Sam," Josiah lamented.
"Maybe next time," JD added.
"No, there will be no next time." Mathew chided.
"So what happens now?" Chris asked.
"You guys stay out of sight, especially if the Winchesters show up to check on their handiwork," Mathew explained and then smiled. "As for me, I've got work to do."