Chapter 12

"You don't think he's gone do you?" Frannie questioned Dean as the man began to slowly wind an ace bandage around Karen's wrist.

Dean didn't even bother to glance up as he adjusted the tension on the wrap. "He's not gone."

Frannie wasn't sure she wanted to know what the handsome man's reasoning was, but the choice was taken from her when Dean gestured toward the weakly glowing lights.

"He may not be up to full strength, but he's still running the show. The lights are his work, and I keep catching flickers of the echoes. He's here, and I have a feeling he's just gathering strength for one last showdown before sun-up."

Unable to subdue her shudder, Frannie stepped closer to Dean. For all his words suggested they were still in danger, she couldn't help but be impressed of his cool handling of Karen's injury. It was obvious the man was more than capable, and he worked with a scary efficiency that suggested he'd done this many times before.

"There you go," Dean said at last as he began gathering up supplies to put back in the kit.

Fran watched as Karen carefully moved her wrist and replied, "It's actually not that bad."

Dean just nodded and moved away from the table. Turning to his brother he asked, "So what're you thinking, Sammy. Should we try the doors again?"

Sam glanced about the room and furrowed his brow. "I don't know, I'm thinking we should hang tight. Hole up here, the idea of crossing the vestibule…" Sam's voice trailed off as he scanned the restaurant once more.

Though Frannie wasn't certain just what Sam was feeling she couldn't help but agree with the hunter. The idea of crossing that wide-open space with little to no coverage and only the spirit's light to guide them left her feeling afraid. Not that feeling afraid was anything new, she'd been scared to death for hours and had become almost numb to the emotion.

"So we just wait and see," Melanie asked as she shifted slightly, her arms wrapped tight around her middle. Frannie watched as Sam unconsciously leaned toward her friend. Mel's tall frame relaxed slightly and she took a small step sideways toward the younger man.

Fran swallowed her snort and cast her glance toward Karen. Karen's nod toward the redhead and the taller hunter made it clear she'd noticed the silent dance as well. Frannie could only hope that Melanie was keeping things in perspective, barring death, Dean and Sam would be leaving in the morning and there was little any of them could do to stop them.

"So, we wait," Fran said as she watched Dean re-load both shotguns. She noticed he kept one for himself and handed the other off to Sam. As Frannie tested her grip on the tire iron she couldn't help but wish she had the sawed-off instead. In her mind the gun offered a safety that no other weapon could match, at least with the shotgun she could stand back ten or fifteen feet from her target. The iron on the other hand forced a person to move in close. Close was bad, of that Frannie didn't doubt.

Weapon at the ready, Dean nodded and joked, "Welcome to the exciting world of hunting. Sammy and I do a good bit of waiting."

Frannie eased a step closer as she watched Karen settle into a nearby booth.

888

Karen forced her eyes open once more as she sat wedged into a booth, her back against the wall and her legs stretched out along the seat. Melanie and Frannie occupied the seat across from her and both seemed busy taking in the sights. With a wry grin, Karen watched as Melanie sighed and rested her chin in the palm of her hand, her gaze fixed on Sam. It was obvious her friend had fallen for the hazel-eyed hunter. Karen could understand the attraction, though Dean came off as the more dangerous of the two, Sam had his own appeal. He seemed a mixture of both competence and kindness that was more than attractive.

A glance at Frannie proved that the green-eyed blonde was more than enjoying watching Dean patrol the Panhandle. Karen had to admit between the two it was Dean that had captured her own interest. He had an appeal that was greater than his looks, not that he wasn't drop-dead gorgeous it was simply that he had the whole package. Looks, charm, and danger all wrapped up in beautiful green eyes, full lips and high cheekbones was a combination no woman would refuse.

Karen rubbed gently at her wrist with a grimace. The pain had subsided somewhat after Dean had immobilized it, but it was still aching in time with her heartbeat. She vaguely wondered if it were time yet for another dose of aspirin, the elder hunter had mentioned that he had more to spare if the pain became too great.

As she sat, a feeling of unease began to grow within her. Another scan of the restaurant showed nothing out of the ordinary. Well, if the ordinary consisted of a rundown restaurant and two handsome men on the prowl with shotguns. The tension that gripped her began to increase, making Karen sit up a bit straighter.

Out of habit, Karen glanced at her watch to check the time only to remember that it had been destroyed in her encounter with Smith. With a grimace, she turned toward Melanie intent on asking her friend the time. "Mel, what time is it? Earth to, Mel," Karen said as she snapped her fingers in front of the redhead. "Come on, Melanie, get your head out of the clouds for a minute,"

Out of patience, Karen flicked Mel on the arm eliciting a cry from the other woman. "Ow, what the hell, Karen? Why'd you flick me?"

"I asked if you knew what time it is?" Karen said with a sigh.

"It's five fifteen, the sun should rise around five forty-five, or at least that's what Sam said." Melanie couldn't help the sigh as she returned her gaze back to the tall hunter.

"Ouch," she cried out a moment later as she turned to face Karen once more. "You flicked me again," she accused as she rubbed at the sore spot on her arm.

Karen rolled her eyes and snapped, "Yeah, well if you'd stop mooning for just one minute."

"I'm not mooning," Melanie replied, "I'm simply enjoying the view."

Frannie's sigh was audible as she added, "And what a view it is."

It wasn't hard to see that Fran was enjoying the sight of Dean pacing the confines of the restaurant. "See that, why don't you flick Fran, she's gawking too."

"I'm not gawking, I'm keeping watch," Fran said with a sniff as she continued to follow Dean's movements.

Melanie laughed aloud and replied, "Yeah, well unless Smith's gonna suddenly appear in front of Dean's ass I find it hard to believe you're gonna find him."

"Like your one to talk, Smith could have carried us all off and as long as Sam keeps flicking his hair out of his eyes you would have never noticed," Fran replied with a huff.

"You know for someone that's all too ready to follow De—"

"Ouch," Frannie and Melanie yelped at the same time as they both rubbed sore spots.

Karen waited calmly as both woman complained loudly. At last, as their cries began to die down, she said, "Something's up. Do you feel it, Smith's up to something."

"He's running out of time," Fran offered with a shudder as she kept her gaze resolutely locked on Dean. "I noticed it awhile ago."

Melanie offered up her opinion, "Won't be much longer now. This place is like dry tinder, just waiting for a match to strike."

Her friend's confirmation helped Karen feel a bit better, at least the feeling of impending doom that was swiftly overtaking her wasn't just a figment of her imagination. The idea that the other two woman understood just how serious the situation was helped to calm her own fears. Determined to remain calm, Karen forced her attention to the one thing guaranteed to keep her mind occupied.

"He really is just beautiful," she offered as she watched Dean do an about face and continue with his pacing. He seemed completely unaware that he'd captured their attention.

"You can say that again," Frannie said with a slight sigh. "He's just so manly."

Karen watched as the brother's conferred in low voices with one another. She found herself grateful that their murmurs were too low to be heard. She suddenly felt as if she'd rather not know just exactly what was going on. "They're mantiful," she declared.

With a snort, Melanie asked, "Mantiful?"

"Yeah, you know, the perfect mixture of beautiful and manliness. Mantiful."

"Huh," Frannie replied as she studied the men once more. "Mantiful indeed."

888

"Quarter of, Dean," Sam muttered before his brother could ask the question. Dean's head nod was the only indication that he'd even heard his little brother, but Sam had little doubt he had. For the last forty minutes, the elder Winchester had grown tenser and tenser, he was obviously expecting a full-fledged attack at any moment, and with every passing moment, Sam became even more certain he was right. Smith was going to strike and strike hard any moment now. If his training wasn't enough to make him aware of this fact, then the tension in the room would definitely be a clue.

The three women sat at a table in between him and his brother, speaking softly. They seemed surprisingly unaware of the pressure that was filling the room. He had to give them credit, they were holding up way better then he'd have expected. His brother was determined to get the ladies out alive, and Sam had to admit there was little he wanted more. He'd become fond of the trio over the last couple of hours and he was determined to return them to their previously scheduled lives none the worse for wear.

Sam's musings were interrupted when he noticed a flicker of motion outside the corner of his eye. Swiveling on silent feet, he watched as the echoes suddenly appeared. "Dean," Sam warned.

"I see 'em," Dean replied his eyes darting toward where the couple suddenly appeared in the booth, with Connie hovering near them a small notepad in her hand.

Sam found himself wondering just how long it would take Connie to notice the state of her restaurant. Though the echoes were back, the room hadn't changed one bit. The lighting was still weak and flickered intermittedly and the Panhandle was a wreck, only the echoes looked strong. It was pretty obvious that Smith was saving energy for something, and Sam had little doubt that whatever it was wouldn't be good.

"Hey, Mel, you feel up to ghost whispering one last time?" Dean called out as he kept his gaze trained on his surroundings.

"Dean, I don't think—" Sam began only to break off as Smith suddenly appeared behind his brother, his knife glinting in the light of the fluorescents.

Luckily, the older Winchester sensed the being before it could get him in a choke-hold. With a cry of rage, Dean sidestepped and twisted, bringing his shotgun up and around at the same time. The blast of the gun echoed through the room, causing the echoes to scream and duck in fear.

Dean's shot missed the mark, but was enough to make the killer re-think his position. Smith blinked out for the moment, leaving Sam and the others to watch and wait.

"Shit the bastard's playin' with us," Dean breathed as he placed his back toward Sam's and motioned the ladies up and out of the booth they'd been sitting in.

The ladies fairly flew at Dean, nearly knocking the weary hunter over as they jockeyed for position. Sam had little doubt that they understood just how much damage Smith could inflict despite his weakened state. The fact that they were practically climbing his big brother in unison proved that. "Sam," Dean shouted in desperation as he tried to shake free.

Sam edged closer to the woman and shouted, "He can't shoot if you're hanging on his arm."

At his words, the trio seemed to gain some perspective. As one, the ladies jumped back from Dean and seemed to regain their composure somewhat. Satisfied that his brother wasn't going to be overrun, Sam turned his attention back to the nightmare at hand. Connie and the couple in the booth had been shocked into silence by either the appearance/disappearance of Smith, or possibly the sight of Dean and his shotgun. Most likely it was a combination of both that had the three of them huddled together at the side of the room.

Sam had only a moment to really even process they were there before Smith suddenly appeared just behind Connie with his ever present knife at the ready. The killer shot the brother's a look of glee before he promptly stepped forward and put the knife to the older woman's throat. Without thought, Sam took a step forward intent on saving the echo. Fortunately, for him, his brother reached out to stop him before he could do more than take a step.

Unfortunately, no one was close enough to Melanie to stop the redhead from doing the same thing. Sam stood helplessly as she rushed the spirit with nothing more than a scream of rage and a tire iron held tight in her hand. The cold calculating look on Smith's face made it clear that he'd expected someone to rush to the echo's side. His high-pitched giggle made it clear he would be more than happy with Melanie's headlong rush.

Unable to bear the thought of the pretty woman at the mercy of Smith, Sam yanked his shoulder out of his brother's grasp and darted after her. Afraid that he was going to be too late, sure that if he was, Melanie would die, Sam dove forward and just barely managed to latch onto her arm.

Smith shoved Connie away hard enough to make the waitress stumble and then made a grab for Melanie. Despite Sam's efforts the older man's hand closed around Melanie's wrist. There they stood locked in a silent battle of tug a war. Smith's knife was poised only inches from Melanie, and Sam's shotgun was aimed at the killer. Neither one was willing to back down so there they remained.

"Sam," Melanie called out her voice trembling nearly as hard as the hand that Sam gripped tightly.

Through clenched teeth, Sam reassured her, "I won't let go."

At his words, Melanie wrenched her gaze from the killer and turned her head to face Sam. "I trust you," she whispered as she resolutely ignored the spirit that clutched her wrist.

Sam felt her words of trust settle on him like the weight of the world. They couldn't save everyone that was hunting lesson number one, and yet he refused to consider for even a moment that he wouldn't be worthy of Melanie's faith. There were enough he hadn't managed to save, he wouldn't allow her to be added to the list.

888

"I really wouldn't do that if I were you," Smith grunted as he motioned with his knife, the silver blade shone bright even in the dim light.

Dean sat back on his heels and let loose a low curse. He had been working on circling around the killer and Sam, but Smith had noticed him before he could get far. His brother, brave though he might be was also an idiot. He'd placed himself between Dean and the killer, making it impossible for the elder Winchester to help.

Not, Dean amended, as if his kid brother had much of a choice. Not when the ghost whisperer manages to go and get herself ghost napped. "Let her go, Smith. You know your time is nearly up and you're not getting' an encore. We know where you're buried and we plan on ending you today."

"End me?" Smith's eyes widened slightly as he glanced from Sam to Dean and back again. "So, you think you can stop me? Better men than you have tried and failed."

"You mean like Big Carl?" Frannie asked as she suddenly stepped beside Dean. "He tried to stop you right?"

Unsure of what Fran's reasoning was, Dean let her ramble nonetheless. They had little more than ten minutes to kill and if the blonde could hold Smith's attention then all the better.

"Carl, Carl was weak. He thought he was superman, invincible. Well, I showed him, didn't I," Smith gloated. "And do you know what the best part is?" the killer said as he drew Melanie toward him. The redhead cried out in pain as Smith tightened his grip. "The best part is I get to do it over and over again every year."

Dean tensed and glanced toward Frannie and noticed she seemed to be paying no attention to the killer or her captured friend. Instead, her gaze was focused on Connie who'd taken refuge at the booth with the other two echoes. Carl's wife no longer looked scared though, and she was no longer cowering. If Dean had to put a name to her emotion, he'd have to pick pissed.

"Pretty smart," he murmured to Fran as he watched the waitress' expression grow more and more grim. The woman stood slightly behind Smith and directly out of his line of sight. "So, every year you get your rocks off by killing Carl and whoever else you can manage to find."

Smith laughed, his expression twisted as he gloated, "It's like leading pigs to slaughter."

Dean slid a step closer judging the distance between himself and Sam in a single glance. He could only hope his brother's hold on Melanie was strong. With a nod to Frannie, Dean readied himself.

"They trusted you," Frannie spat as she edged backward a bit. "They thought you were a friend and you killed them all."

As Fran's last words echoed through the room, Dean made his move. He launched himself toward Sam, intent on hitting his brother hard and high. Sam must have seen the move coming as he bent his knees slightly before the shorter hunter connected with him. At the same moment, Connie released a cry of rage as she jumped at the killer, her hands curved into claws, she wrapped herself around his back and began tearing at his face.

The killer thrown off by the fierce attack released Melanie just as Sam was knocked over. The redhead was drawn tight into Sam's embrace as the handsome hunter worked to shield her body from brunt of the fall. For a moment chaos reigned as Smith screamed in pain and terror while Connie continued to tear at him.

Caught in a tangle of limbs, Dean could barely see what was going on. It was only as a blinding white light engulfed both Connie and the killer that he realized the echo had at last destroyed the man that had taken her life years ago. As the light at last faded the interior lights of the Panhandle winked out as well leaving the room alight with the soft glow of early morning sunshine. The elder Winchester stared in amazement as he noted that the couple was gone as well. Whatever hold Smith had over them seemingly gone.

With a groan, Dean worked his leg free from under Sam and gained his feet. A glance toward Karen and Frannie showed the woman standing and staring transfixed at the place they'd last seen the two spirits with twin expressions of amazement. Sam and Melanie were still lying entwined on the floor and seemed in no rush to untangle and the last two echoes were crouched inside the booth cowering in fear.

Satisfied with a job well done, Dean bent over and picked up his shotgun. With a grin, he cradled the gun in his arm and turned toward the exit. "Sammy, roll off your girl and get moving. Daylights wasting and I'm starving," Dean called out as he exited the restaurant.

888

Karen stood by the door and took a breath, her injured hand was pressed against her stomach and her left rested on the door handle. Though Dean and Sam seemed confident that they could leave, she still had her doubts. After all they had been through in the past couple of hours she couldn't seem to shake off her dream-like state.

"Just push already, did I not mention starving here," Dean groaned as Karen continued to hesitate.

The flash of irritation she felt toward him, helped her to push away her fears. "Here goes everything," she muttered as she pushed against the glass.

"Oh, thank friggin' god," Frannie breathed as she crowded Karen from behind, urging the brunette out the door.

Just like that Karen, Frannie and Melanie tumbled from the building and into the early morning sunshine. With one hand covering her eyes from the sudden brightness, Karen took in the parking lot, amazed to see that it looked nothing like it had before. Gone was the perfect black macadam and bright yellow parking lines. Instead, the surface of the lot was broken and cracked. Large sections were completely gone and there were weeds poking through and the pumps no longer stood in neat lines, instead they were leaning haphazardly.

As she stood in the parking lot, swaying slightly from the past hours stress, she couldn't help but turn back to face the building that had housed her nightmare. She watched as Sam and Dean made their way out, the early morning light outlining the two handsome hunters. Despite the lack of sleep and the blood and grime that coated their clothing, Karen couldn't help but sigh a little. Though she could have done without the Ghostbusting-101 lesson she had to admit that it hadn't been hard spending time in such…

"Mantiful," Frannie said with a sigh. "They're just mantiful."

Karen glanced toward her friend and exchanged equal grins of appreciation. With a wink, Karen then nudged her friend and nodded toward Melanie. The redhead had moved to stand square in front of Sam and was chatting animatedly with the lanky hunter. Sam's head was dipped down as he leaned toward Mel.

"So, ladies, just where were you headed before you got way-laid by the Panhandle?"

Karen and Frannie turned as one to face Dean, his roguish grin encouraging twin smiles of their own. "We were headed to upstate New York for the weekend to enjoy a bit of female bonding."

Dean's smile grew even brighter as he asked, "You mean a sleepover? Like nighties and pillow fights?"

Her grin every bit as bright as Dean's, Frannie leaned in and gave the hunter the once over. "Yup, exactly like that. Hell, we might even get a bit tipsy."

With a groan, Dean's knees buckled for a moment as he clasped his hands together in supplication and called out, "Please, Sam."

"Car, Dean. The ladies are married, and you know perfectly well there's not gonna be any pillow fights," Sam called out as he and Melanie joined the rest of them.

Dean took a deep breath and nodded at last. "Yeah, I guess. Besides, we're gonna have to dig up old Smith just to be sure."

"You don't think he's gone for good?" Melanie asked her arm wrapped tight around Sam's arm.

"For good. Most likely, but we weren't raised to guess, we'll make certain," Dean assured them in a purely professional tone.

A shiver of unease ran down Karen's back as she heard the determination in his words. Despite the picture he showed to the world, Dean was nothing if not serious about his job. "Well, its time we were moving on. I'm certain there's a whole herd of people looking for us by now."

Careful not to jostle her bad arm, Karen held out her left to Dean and smiled. "It was an adventure."

Dean's grin seemed genuine as his large hand engulfed hers. "I have to say it was. You guys did okay in there."

Hand tingling from the contact, Karen smothered a sigh and nodded as she stepped back to allow Frannie to say goodbye. Determined not to get all emotional, Karen turned her back on the scene and moved toward her van. Despite all that happened she had a family that was probably worried sick about her. She was half-way to the van, when a catcall from Melanie caught her attention. For one heart stopping minute she thought that Smith was back, at least until she heard Sam's chortle.

She glanced over her shoulder only to find Frannie, both hands gripping Dean's face as she planted a long, slow, kiss on him. Somewhat surprised by the blonde's enthusiasm, Karen waited for the moment to end. When by her calculation two minutes had gone by and they were still going strong, she nodded to Melanie and made a move on her usually clear-headed friend.

Not bothering to try and call Fran off the handsome man, she just indicated that Melanie should grab one arm, while she herself grabbed the other. With a grin both women pulled and Frannie separated from Dean a somewhat dazzled expression on her face. With a wave to the men, the trio moved arm in arm toward the bright red mini-van and the reality of their lives.

"Guh," Melanie sighed as she waited for Frannie to settle into the back seat. "I'm so jealous. I should have done the same damn thing to Sam."

"What's stopping you?" Frannie said with a smug smile. "The way I see it, this night never happened and that includes my little…um…moment."

"You mean your little suck-face fest," Karen said with a grin.

"Yup. I figure what happens at the truck stop, stays at the truck stop."

At Frannie's words, Melanie turned to stare at Sam for a moment. "You know what, you're right. What the hell," the redhead mumbled as she broke into a jog, her destination clearly the shaggy-haired hunter that was even now dropping his duffle bag into the trunk of the sleek black car.

Karen hadn't even realize she'd sighed until Frannie nudged her in the side. "Go on, you know you want to," Frannie said as she gave a surprisingly girlish giggle and added "and trust me you want to."

A glance at the older hunter had Karen laughing out loud. As his brother was having the stuffing kissed out of him, Dean leaned against the fender of the car, his arms folded, and one eyebrow lifted in challenge. Unable to resist the bait Karen began to move toward him with a grin to match his own.

888

"You ready little brother?" Dean called as he watched the red van pull away and rattle its way over the broken parking lot.

"All set," Sam replied as he ducked his head to climb into the passenger side of the big black car. He could only hope that the dim interior helped to hide the flush that he had little doubt still graced his features. The Indian whoop Dean had let loose earlier when Melanie had finally released him had been embarrassing enough, Sam didn't need anymore ribbing. Then again, the fact that his brother had proceeded to allow both Frannie and Karen their turns to say 'goodbye' had to be worth some ribbing.

One glance at the broad grin splitting his older brother's handsome features as he slid into the front seat dashed all of Sam's hopes of revenge. It was obvious his brother wasn't at all shamed by sharing his favors earlier. "How about we find ourselves the nearest own, get a bite to eat and find Smith's grave?"

"Can you make it somewhere guaranteed not to have pie," Sam joked as he rolled down the window, allowing the wind to sweep past him. His time spent locked in the cooler had him appreciating the warm spring day all the more.

Dean picked up the pair of sunglasses that rested on the dash, slipped them on and shot Sam a grin. "I think I can manage that."

Sam leaned his head back, as the last of the tension drained from his lanky body. "Good, wake me when we get somewhere."

"You got it, bro," Dean answered as he merged onto the highway. "You know those were three hot ladies, and that Melanie," Dean let out a low whistle as he reached for the tape deck box that sat between him and Sam, "she was completely into that whole 'geek' vibe you got going."

Sam snorted and opened one eye to find his brother leering at him. "You know she wanted a séance spell. I mean as if last night wasn't enough excitement."

Immediately Dean's grin turned to a frown as he questioned his brother, "Are you serious? It'll be a friggin' miracle if those three make it in one piece to New York."

"Aw, she was sweet, just a little over enthusiastic."

"Sam," Dean growled, "tell me you did not give that girl a spell."

Sam's chuckle was low and full-throated. "Well I did give her a spell, but it wasn't to summon spirits."

Dean's laugh filled the car as he thumped his brother on the chest. "That's my boy, what'd you give her."

"Remember the spell Bobby used the summer we spent with him?" Sam knew he wouldn't need to elaborate. There was no way Dean would ever forget the incantation that had left them both nursing a rash that covered over three-quarters of their bodies. The older man had been fed up with their bickering and had decided to teach them both a lesson.

"Ha!" Dean exclaimed his chortle filling the car. With a grin, he settled on a cassette and plugged it into the tape deck.

As the familiar strains of AC/DC began to drift out of the speakers, Sam caught a glimpse of bright red heading down the highway in front of him. Dean also seemed to have caught sight as he upped his speed and cranked the radio a bit more.

As they approached the car, Sam saw the driver's side window go down and a piece of something white was tossed out the opening. Certain it was the sheet he'd given Melanie, Sam blessed Karen for her good sense. She'd just saved her friends, and herself, from a week of itching.

In no time at all, they'd drawn up to the side of the van, Karen pushing the red car for all it was worth. As Frannie and Melanie crowded Karen, each waving and laughing, Sam couldn't help but grin himself. With one last wave, Dean hit the accelerator pushing the big engine to go even faster.

The Impala responded like the well-oiled machine she was, and as her throaty growl filled the car, Sam felt himself thrust back into the seat. They leapt ahead of the mini-van and quickly left the other vehicle behind. At last, Dean eased off the gas slowing the car to a respectable seventy miles an hour.

"What was that all about," Sam asked as he wriggled in his seat until he was comfortable.

"A man's got his pride, Sam. I couldn't have that mini-van thinking it could keep up with my girl."

Sam snorted and closed his eyes, a shaft of sunlight warming him despite the open window. "Naw, I guess we couldn't have that," Sam agreed sleepily as he drifted off at last.

888

"The girls are never going to believe this one," Karen said as she merged back onto the highway and began to gain speed.

"I brought proof," Melanie said with a grin as she waved a piece of paper back and forth.

"Do we even want to know what that is?" Frannie asked as she sat forward, leaning in between the front seats.

"Tell me it's Sam's phone number," Karen said, with a grin. "'Cause that would be worth more than any so called 'proof' of ghosts."

"Nope, it's even better," Well Melanie quickly amended, "well, maybe not better, but as good at least. It's a séance ritual, I'm talking the real deal here. We can give it a go tonight at Barb's place."

At Melanie's words, Karen gazed into the rear-view mirror and found Frannie's panicked gaze. Always quick to learn an important lesson, Karen shook her head. Frannie's quick nod was enough of a confirmation for the dark-haired beauty. "Can I see it?" she questioned Melanie as she held her hand out for the paper.

"Of course, I double checked with Sam, it's supposed to be really powerful," Melanie said as she handed the paper over.

"Cool," Karen replied as she scanned the early morning traffic for any sign of a police cruiser. Not seeing one, she took the pro-offered paper and made as if to glance at it. Instead of actually reading it, she hit the down button for the driver's side window. In a flash, she tossed the notebook paper out the window, saying a silent goodbye to Sam's firm script and their last proof that the Winchesters were anything more than an urban legend.

"Shit," Mel exclaimed as she caught sight of her hard won paper flying out the window. "Damn, Karen, why'd you do that? That was our proof."

"Let it go, Melanie, we don't need proof, we lived it," Frannie said from the backseat as she settled in for the long trip ahead.

"I'm sorry, Mel, but I've had enough excitement to last me a lifetime. We're better off just pretending that none of this ever happened," Karen said as she upped her speed.

"Yup, like I said earlier, what happened at the truck stop, stays at the truck stop," Frannie said just before she stifled a huge yawn.

"I guess," Mel grumbled as she gazed out her window, a slight pout marring her pretty features.

Just then, Karen heard a low growling sound. A glance in her rear-view offered proof that wasn't her imagination. There, slung low, black paint shining in the morning light was the Impala. Slick as could be, it roared up on the left of the mini-van easily keeping pace with the bright red vehicle.

The windows were rolled down despite the speed the car was traveling and the familiar beat of A/C D/C's 'Hell's Bell's' made its way into Karen's car. A glance showed, Dean, sunglasses in place, driving, his lazy grin making her heart skip a beat as he wiggled two fingers in a wave. Sam's face shone with good humor and he tossed a lazy wave toward the car full of women.

Unable to resist, Karen hit the gas increasing her speed as both Frannie and Mel leaned over to wave out the still open window. At last, with a grin from Dean and a throaty growl from the classic car, the Impala took off, making it seem as if the van was standing still rather than doing the far side of eighty.

As the Chevy disappeared from sight, Karen at last slowed, a trace of sadness overtaking her at the idea that she would never see the brothers again.

Frannie seemed to have the same idea as she settled back into her seat with one last heartfelt sigh. "God, they were hot."

Karen couldn't help but agree as she headed on down the highway her eyes peeled for the big black car.

The End