Title: Moss Beach Distillery – Redux
Pairing: Grason & Stango
Rating: PG-13 for language mainly.

*Author's notes: I'm adjusting the timeline a bit here. In my story, Jay & Grant found the chandelier devices BEFORE Grant's fall in the basement.

This is gonna be a Jay/Grant first-time slash with Steve/Tango mentioned in passing…*

Legal stuff: I am doing this for fun. Yes, the people are real and the case was real. Ok, some of the dialogue is real too. The events in this story are not – well, past a certain point, anyways. I make no money off this and, being unemployed; have no money for a settlement in court. You can have my bamboo plant if you really want to press the issue.


Jason Hawes was irritated. TAPS was called in by the owners of the Moss Beach Distillery to find out about the haunting by the 'Blue Lady.' His partner, Grant Wilson didn't look any happier, having climbed through the ceiling of the restaurant to discover the mysterious moving chandeliers were on timers with devices to move them as though a ghost was playing around.

"I'm like, disgusted right now," Jason said after Grant rejoined him in front of the bar.

"What claims did they make that we haven't…that aren't fake, you know?" Grant asked in an irritated tone.

"How do you know?" Jason asked with a shrug.

"Things levitating…"

"How do you know?"

"I mean that we haven't discovered as fake?"

"But how do you know any of it's real anymore?"

Grant scrubbed his hands over his face as he answered, "We don't. We don't."

"You don't," Jason concurred. "Seriously, we've come across 2 different concoctions that are designed to deceive you…to scare you."

Grant sighed as he looked at his partner and best friend. "Might as well finish up the basement. We kinda skipped the rest after you fixed the face in the mirror."

Jason ran a beefy hand over his shaved head. "Is there really any point?"

"I've seen the history of this place. The Blue Lady's been around for years…much longer than the restaurant. Granted, she's probably totally disgusted by what these guys have done to the place and is off somewhere sulking."

"God knows I would be," Jason grinned as he patted Grant on the shoulder, his hand lingering a little longer than it probably should. "Yeah, might as well get it over with and call it a night. Where are Steve and Tango?"

"Good question," Grant said with a shrug. "I hope they weren't stupid enough to try to climb that bluff in the dark."

"Yeah, they probably were."

Both men laughed as they headed to the basement level.


As the two men, trailed by a cameraman, made their way through the hallways of the basement, Jason noticed something on the ceiling.

"Why is this tile up?"

"We gotta look for friggin' projectors and crap."

"Exactly, that's what I'm thinking," Jason shined his flashlight on the misplaced ceiling tile. "There's a canister of some system up there. Ready?"

Jason put his hands down and boosted his smaller partner up to see what was hidden in the small space.

"It's another speaker, dude."

The larger man rolled his eyes as Grant stepped down…and down he went.

Jason heard the cameraman mutter "shit!" as Grant went down hard in the narrow hallway, cracking his head on the edge of a picture frame as he went. The picture, bolted to the wall, didn't move and simply cut a gash across Grant's forehead. Jason winced at the sickening thud the now-limp body of his best friend made as it hit the ground.

"Are you alright?" Jason asked in horror.

There was no response from the man on the floor. He knelt down and gently rolled Grant onto his back. In the dim rays of his flashlight, he saw blood on his temple, flowing freely into his hair.

"Fuck!" Jason knelt down beside his friend and then looked up at the cameraman. "Mark, you got a handkerchief or something?"

A package of Kleenex was tossed at him. He caught it, emptied it and pressed all the tissues at once against the gash on Grant's forehead. He held the pressure with his left hand while he grabbed the radio from his right jacket pocket.

"Kris, this is Jay." As he spoke, he silently cursed his shaking hands.

"Go, Jay," Kris' voice came through the tiny speaker.

"Call 911. We need an ambulance now! Grant's hurt bad. Then get Steve and Tango back here to get the damned lights on!"

"What happened?"

"Just call 911 and I'll explain later!"

He dropped the radio on the floor and returned his attention to Grant, who was still laying motionless. He was only vaguely aware of Steve's slightly panicked tone on the radio as he tried to find out what was going on.

Jason was dismayed to find blood had completely soaked through the tissues. He looked up at Mark.

"Put that camera down and go find some more clean towels or something!"

He cringed as he heard the canned laughter once again coming from the bathroom. It was with a heavy sigh and a grateful look that he took the clean paper towels from his cameraman and replaced the sodden tissues on Grant's forehead.


Jason winced as the lights suddenly came on and he was temporarily blinded by the sudden change. He felt Grant stir under his hand. As his vision cleared, he looked down to see tired, pain-filled eyes staring up at him.

"Hey G.," Jason said gently. "How you feeling?"

Grant considered for a moment before saying, "I been better. My head hurts like hell. Think my leg's broken too."

"Your leg? When'd you hurt your leg?"

"Uh…" he paused and Jason could see him trying to remember what happened. "I landed wrong, I think. My ankle…just crashed and I guess I hit the wall?"

"No guessing," Jason chuckled softly. "You hit it alright. You were out cold for a few minutes there. Ambulance is on the way."

"I don't need an ambulance," Grant tried to sit up. "Just lemme catch my breath and I can help you clear our stuff."

Jason moved to block him, but it proved unnecessary. Grant sat up, turned an attractive shade of green and lay back down. Jason snickered quietly as he gently brushed Grant's hair away from his face. "Guess you've decided to wait for the medics, huh G? Grant? Hey dude, still with me?"

There was no response and Jason saw that Grant was out cold again. Before he had a chance to panic, he found himself being pulled away. He started to struggle against the hands holding him when he recognized Steve's tattooed arm. He looked up to see the paramedics standing over them. He reluctantly released Grant's care to them and stood up, trying not to show how much he was shaking.

"What the hell happened?" Dave Tango asked as he came running up behind Steve.

Mark, ever the practical cameraman, said, "Let's just do the interview part and you can tell everyone in the country."

Jason glared at him and then sighed. It would kill some time while the medics assessed Grant – time that he would've spent quietly panicking otherwise. He nodded and waited for Mark to get situated with the camera.

"As Grant and I were investigating down in the basement; we noticed one of the ceiling tiles was out of place. Since we found the speaker in the bathroom and the mess with the chandeliers over the bar, we figured there might be something else up there. So Grant wanted to get a closer look; and when he was done and decided to come down, he came down hard, the floor was slanted a little bit or something, so I think his ankle just rolled and he went down. He hit his head on a picture frame on the wall on his way down. He just dropped like a ton of bricks. Scared the hell outta me, man. As you can see behind me, the paramedics are working on him now and he should be fine."

"Hopefully," Jason added softly as Mark nodded and put the camera down. Jason slumped against the wall. "Did that sound as bad as I think it did?"

Steve smiled ruefully as he said, "If you mean did you sound scared as hell? Yeah. You did."

"Great," Jason took a shaky breath. "Look, I'm gonna ride in with Grant. You guys get this shit cleaned up and meet us at the hospital. I'll call when I know where we end up."

"You got it Jay," Steve answered.

"He's gonna be okay," Tango said confidently. "You know that, right?"

Jason looked at the younger man with an encouraging smile. "Yeah, I know. Thanks, Tango."


Jason had never liked hospitals. Paranormal activity notwithstanding, they were just depressing. Even when his children were born, he was uncomfortable and, while he spent a great deal of time with his now ex-wife and babies, he was always glad to leave.

Emergency waiting rooms were worse, he decided. The comfortable-looking couches were anything but and the televisions scattered around the room were set to Discovery Health and, in a stroke of ironically bad timing, the show 'Life in the ER'. He groaned as a heavyset man in a giant t-shirt and sweatpants staggered towards the back of the ER – the smell of alcohol reached the TAPS team from 20 feet away.

Putting his elbows on his knees, he rested his head in his hands for a few moments before turning to the selection of magazines on the little table next to him. After deciding that he didn't need to read about Clay Aiken almost winning American Idol nor take a quiz on breastfeeding, he returned to his previous head-in-hands pose.

"Eeww…" he heard Kris mutter. He looked up to see a man with a black eye and large swath of skin hanging from his chin like a bloody curtain over his jaw exit the restroom.

"God, I hate hospitals," he grumbled. "How much longer do we have to wait?"

"He'll be fine," Steve said quietly, so as not to wake Tango, who had fallen asleep against his shoulder. "He's got a hard head. You know he's gonna be okay."

"Do I?"

"Yes. By the way, did you get hold of Reanna?"

Jason nodded. It hadn't been the most comfortable of telephone conversations. "Yeah. She's not coming out if that's what you're asking. You know they're separated, right?"

"When did that happen?"

"It doesn't matter. She's staying home with the kids and I'm his power of attorney on the road, so we'll deal."

"I just wish Syfy didn't think this shit makes great TV," he grumbled as he motioned to the TV crew filming the wait with the same intensity as they do with the evidence review.

"Just doin' our job, man," Mark answered from behind his camera. "You know blood means ratings in this universe. Sad but true. Just remember, blood loss is nothing to panic over – unless it's yours."

"Funny," Jason grumbled. "Bet you're a riot at funerals, dude."

"That one ain't mine," Mark said. "My girlfriend Audrey is a nurse. She came up with that one."

"Yeah, thank her for that."

Jason went back to sitting in silence, watching his crew gradually nod off in the small, hard couches. Kris was curled in on herself and, being a smallish sort of person, managed to fit completely, if not comfortably within the loveseat. Steve had pulled his hat over his eyes, settled down with an arm around Tango and slept restlessly. Jason smiled as he recalled the team's adamant assertion that they belonged in that waiting room until such time as Grant's condition was known.

"For Grant Wilson?" the voice woke Jason from a light doze.

The entire entourage jumped up. Jason moved forward. "I'm Jason Hawes, Grant's my friend. The Doctor's got news?"

"Are you family?" the young nurse looked tired and not so happy to be there.

"His family's in Rhode Island. I've got his power of attorney in cases like this."

"Um…ok…" she seemed to hesitate. "If you'll follow me."

"You guys wait here," he said to the others as he noticed the nurse warily eyeing the camera crew.


"Mr. Hawes? I'm Dr. Thomas, I was the one treating Mr. Wilson when he was brought in."

"How is he?"

"You're not family?"

"I have his power of attorney when we're on the road. I can fax it to you when I get back to the hotel."

"Oh…okay. You will have to call his family then."

Jason felt his stomach drop to his knees. "Uh, he IS going to be okay, right? Just a mild concussion or something, right?"

"Mr. Hawes, there's no easy way to say this. Mr. Wilson suffered a severe subdural hematoma. We were unable to save him."

Jason gaped. He realized he was holding his breath and gasped audibly. "I…I…um…no, it can't be. He was awake after he hit his head. He was talking…he can't be dead."

"I'm sorry. The bleed was just too massive. Even if we had been able to save him, the brain damage would've been severe."

"I want to see him."

"Mr. Hawes, I don't think…"

"I want to see him," Jason repeated firmly as he moved in on the doctor, using his size to his full advantage, towering over the smaller man in scrubs.

Dr. Thomas recoiled at the raw emotion in the larger man's eyes. "Um…if you'll go back out to the waiting room for a few moments while we clean him up for you. We'll send someone for you as soon as he's ready."


"How is he?" Steve stood at the doors that separated the waiting room from the ER.

Jason just looked at him in a daze. Without saying a word, he went over to a chair and collapsed into it. It was too much to take in. He sat, frozen, watching the doors of the ER. Waiting for the moment he would see his friend stretched out under a sheet. Cold and…dead. Oh God, he couldn't do this.

"Jay?" Kris knelt down beside him. "He's gonna be fine, you know that."

"He's dead."

"What?" Tango gasped as he and Steve came up behind Kris. Even Mark slid his camera down in shock. There was a thump as the sound man dropped his microphone.

"Subdural hematoma…brain bleed. He's gone."

"Oh my God, Jason," Kris moved to sit next to Jason and put her arms around him in a comforting hug. He leaned into her, put his head on her shoulder and tried not to cry.

He looked over at Steve, who was holding Tango in much the same way Kris was holding him. He looked too stunned to speak.

"Mr. Hawes," the nurse was back. "You can go back now if you still want to."

"Jay?" Steve raised an inquiring eyebrow.

"I…I need to see him for myself," Jason stood unsteadily. "I just have to do it."

"We're here when you need us."

He gave Steve a weak smile. "Thanks."


The small room was silent. There was equipment surrounding the small bed, but they were dark and quiet with nothing left to monitor. Jason looked at the sheet covered body for a long moment before reaching to reveal the face underneath. He steeled himself, took a deep breath and pulled the sheet back.

It was Grant. Fuck. It was real.

"Hey pal," Jason spoke softly. "If it's any consolation, I'm gonna rip that asshole a new one for sending us on that wild goose chase."

Grant offered no opinion on the matter.

"Now what am I supposed to do?" Jason asked fiercely. "You're my best friend! Dammit! When did you become my world too?"

He clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut in an effort not to cry. Despite his best efforts, the tears escaped. He wiped his hand roughly over his face, feeling the wet; knowing that his partner, best friend was laying there, dead and there was nothing he could do about it. He reached out slowly and ran a hand over the pale face, seeing where they had cleaned the blood from around the wound and in his hair. The cool skin under his fingers had a waxy texture that he was sure wouldn't be there if Grant was alive. He knew then and there that life as he knew it was over. The rest of his days would be survival, not living.

He leaned down and placed a soft kiss on the cold lips. As he stood up and pulled the sheet back over his friend's head, he whispered, "Bye, G."

Without looking back, Jason left the room.


"For Grant Wilson?" the voice woke Jason from a light doze.

The entire entourage jumped up. Jason moved forward. "I'm Jason Hawes, Grant's my friend. The Doctor's got news?"

"Are you family?" the young nurse looked tired and not so happy to be there.

"His family's in Rhode Island. I've got his power of attorney in cases like this."

"Um…ok…" she seemed to hesitate. "If you'll follow me."

"You guys wait here," he said to the others as he noticed the nurse warily eyeing the camera crew.


"Mr. Hawes? I'm Dr. Thompson, I was the one treating Mr. Wilson when he was brought in."

"How is he?"

"You're not family?"

"I have his power of attorney when we're on the road. I can fax it to you when I get back to the hotel." Jason had a sudden, horrible sense of déjà vu. "He's dead, isn't he?"

Dr. Thompson looked at him with an odd expression, "Um…no, but his condition is fairly serious."

"He's alive?" Jason sagged against the wall and closed his eyes.

"Mr. Hawes? Are you okay?" Dr. Thompson asked, fully prepared to catch the larger man if he passed out.

Jason mentally shook himself. "Yeah, fine. Is he gonna be okay?"

"Well, he's got a badly sprained ankle and a fairly serious concussion. The CAT scan showed some swelling of the brain. We're going to medically induce a coma to give the swelling a chance to come down on its own."

"And if it doesn't?" Jason asked, not entirely sure he wanted to know.

"Then we'll go in surgically to relieve the pressure," the doctor answered. "In most cases, that isn't necessary, but you should be prepared for the possibility."

Jason nodded, still leaning against the wall – afraid that his legs wouldn't hold him up.

"He is conscious at the moment, and almost lucid if you'd like to see him for a few moments."

"Can I bring our friends back to say hi?"

"Leave the camera in the lobby and I'll bend the 2-visitor rule for now."

Jason smiled as he shook the doctor's hand. "Deal. Thanks."


"How is he?" Steve stood at the doors that separated the waiting room from the ER.

"Well, he's got a pretty bad concussion," Jason answered with a rueful smile. "They're gonna put him in a coma to keep the swelling in his brain to a minimum."

"A coma?" Tango questioned with wide eyes. "Um…do they have to?"

Jason shrugged, "I guess his brain swelled up due to the concussion and by putting him in a coma, it helps the swelling to go down faster or something. Doc says he's conscious for now. You guys wanna come back and say hello?"

"Just try and stop us!" Steve exclaimed.

Jason put up a hand to Mark. "No cameras allowed. You guys can wrap up and go back to the hotel if you like, I don't think you wanna leave that stuff sitting in the waiting room."

"Yeah," Mark answered as he took the camera off his shoulder. "Tell Grant we said 'hi' and we hope he's better soon. We'll do some wrap up stuff in the morning."

Jason looked at his watch. "Later today, you mean. We'll see you guys later."

They watched the camera crew pack up for a minute before trooping back en masse to the small cubicle in the emergency department that housed one semi-conscious Grant Wilson.

"Hey G," Jason said with a grin. "You feelin' any better?"

"I dunno," Grant said with a puzzled look. "Why are there three of you?"

Jason chuckled. "I'm the one in the middle. You're gonna be fine, dude."

Grant looked at his friends. "It's a good thing it takes two to tango, because that's how many I see."

Tango grinned, "Sorry, Grant. The world can only take one of me."

Steve chuckled, "Yeah, that's all I can stand at any given time."

It should be noted at this point that Dave Tango smacked Steve upside the head with his hat.

Kris walked up to the bed and kissed Grant gently on the forehead. "Nice to see you're feeling better."

"Am I feeling better?" Grant thought for a moment. "Well, I am as long as I can get a good spot at the dry cleaners."

The four friends exchanged puzzled glances before returning their attention to the drowsing man in the bed. Jason chuckled as he thought of the blackmail material being created at the moment and ALMOST regretted not having the camera handy to record the ramblings of an almost delirious Grant Wilson.

Steve, as though reading his mind, subtly pulled a digital recorder out of his pocket and flashed it at Jason, who nodded at his tech supervisor and chuckled softly.

"Check please!" Grant looked around. "Ask the waiter if he'll bring the check. I wanna go home."

Jason was starting to get worried. Grant was getting more and more delusional. He stepped forward. "I'm afraid you're gonna have to stay for a bit longer dude. You're gonna be fine though."

"I am?"

"Yeah, you are," Jason said positively, trying to convince himself as well.

"Excuse me, we're going to move Mr. Wilson to a room now," a large man in scrubs poked his head into the room. "You can follow us up if you like."

"Actually, I think we're gonna take off," Steve said. He tossed Jason a set of keys. "That's for the SUV. It's parked in the east visitors' lot. I know you're gonna stay for a while yet. We'll just load up the van and head back to the hotel."

After saying their goodbyes, the rest of the TAPS team left and Grant was moved with little trouble to his room.

Dr. Thompson entered the room with a syringe. "Ok, Mr. Wilson, we're going to give you something to make you sleep for a while."

Jason moved around the bed and took Grant's hand. "I'll see you when you wake up, okay G?"

Grant looked at Jason with a smile, "Sure. Love you man."

Jason found it suddenly difficult to speak around the lump in his throat. "Uh…I love you too." He said softly as he watched his best friend slowly slip into a coma.

As Jason slowly left the room, he paused at the doorway. "We're gonna have a lot to talk about when you wake up."


A full day and a half later, Jason walked into the room just as Mark finished setting up his tripod and camera. He saw Steve and Tango sitting at the folding table surrounded by computer equipment, tape recorders and camcorders. Both men looked annoyed.

"Let me guess," Jason said with a grimace. "Bupkis, right?"

Steve nodded as Mark and crew got into position. "Let's get this bit over with, huh?"

Jason took a deep breath and tried to look enthusiastic. "So, Moss Beach Distillery. What do we got?"

Steve nodded, "This is Moss Beach."

"We know we got a whole lot of nothing, right?"

Tango nodded, "We know we got a funhouse on our hands."

"Well we know they got a fake mirror with a face in it," Jason said. "A speaker in the ceiling, and the chandeliers…Grant climbed up into the attic above the bar and saw timers and pneumatic systems to move it."

Tango shook his head disgustedly.

"You know what, it was a beautiful location and yeah, the potential was still there that even though there was this fake stuff, there possibly could've been something real. So it sucks, but you still have to go over all the evidence." Jason gritted his teeth as he forced out the polite description of the now hated place. "But then you gotta wonder if anything you catch you can trust."

"Yeah, exactly," Tango answered.

"So you're in a Catch-22 there," answered before asking the question he knew the answer to, "so, anything?"

Steve shook his head as he said, "No, unfortunately; you know, we hit everything hard, we really did and we didn't come up with anything."

"Alright. Well good job guys. I'd tell ya to make copies, but…there are none."

Jason made his exit, waited for Mark to call all clear and then re-entered.

"Steve, I want you to come with me to the reveal. I honestly think I'm gonna need help controlling myself around that bastard."

"You got it, Jay. By the way, how's Grant doin'?"

Jason shrugged, "So far so good. They're gonna do another CAT scan in the morning to see if it's safe to bring him out of the coma."

"Cool," Steve said. "Let's get outta here, huh?"

As they got out to the car, Mark stopped them. "Hey Jay, let's get your take on this before you get over there."

Jason rolled his eyes and put on his polite face again. When Mark cued him, he said, "I'm anxious to get over there and let them know what we found and that nothing got past us; and I want to know why. Why do you have this stuff set up, number one. Number two, why didn't you tell us and what are you trying to gain? Grant is in the hospital because they didn't tell us about everything and I want an answer."

As the two men performed the obligatory 'entering the building shot' for the camera, Jason muttered, "Tonight, playing the role of Grant Wilson: Steve Gonsalves."

Steve chuckled and they went to meet their client.


Jason did his best to look friendly to Spencer Gray, Executive Chef at the Moss Beach Distillery, but it was difficult. He suspected he looked annoyed at best, downright threatening at worst. The instigator of the wild goose chase seemed oblivious to Jason's hostility. Steve took the lead as they sat down.

"How you doin' Spencer, it's good to see you again."

"It's good to see you again too."

Jason ignored the outstretched hand. Steve shot him a look as they all sat down.

"So anything new happen since we were here?" Jason asked with a raised eyebrow. While he wasn't surprised by the answer, it didn't help his mood by any stretch of the imagination.

"Um…not that I know of. I'm really expecting news from you guys."

"Well, you know what we did. We came in, we listened to the claims of activity: everything from uh…people hearing laughter, chandeliers moving back and forth, uh…a blue lady walking…in and out of rooms." Jason hated the smug look on Spencer's face, knowing it meant the chef thought he had pulled one over on the TAPS team. "And we took it from there. We set up our equipment, everything from a digital video recording system to wireless audio to thermal imaging cameras."

Steve chimed in with, "We investigated even out on the bluff; Dave Tango and I went out there trying to find the blue lady – see if we could coerce her to come out. And I really hate heights, man."

"Sure." Spencer said calmly.

"As we were goin' on through the night, you know, one of the first things we wanted to check out was the laughter in the bathroom." Jason said; giving Spencer a brief moment to admit there was a gimmick in the restroom.

The dark-haired chef wasn't biting, "Right."

"As soon as we went into the woman's room, we heard laughter; and we knew exactly that it was coming from one spot."


"And so we lifted up the ceiling tiles and found, you know, a little speaker up there."


Spencer was proving to have a very limited vocabulary, Jason noted with annoyance.

"Along with a lot of power strips and cabling and wiring."

"Yeah." A new word.

"And as Grant was looking up there, I realized that the mirror in there had a face behind it."

Spencer chuckled nervously, "Right."

"I actually repaired that, because it wasn't working."

"It wasn't functioning. The owner's gonna love that, thanks." He finally spoke two whole sentences.

Jason glared at him.

Jason felt Steve put a warning hand on his leg under the table.

"No, well we realized that this was intentional; A goofy thing for the guests and we thought that was kinda funny, and uh…but we didn't appreciate not knowing about that at the time because we wasted valuable time trying to find real stuff. You know?" Steve said calmly.

Jason looked at Spencer and asked the question he had been dying to ask from the first moment they heard the canned laughter in the bathroom, "Now, why didn't you inform us of that?"

Spencer shifted nervously in his seat. "Actually, I just…it slipped my mind 'cause I don't often go in the ladies room."

Jason nodded, his eyes shooting daggers at the darker man. "Oh, okay," he said skeptically.

"I mean," Spencer gave a slightly hysterical laugh, "that's the honest answer. I don't really think too much about the gimmicky aspects of…it's just that and I think the la…the lamps that move."

"The chandeliers over the bar?" Jason felt ready to snap. He also felt Steve's hand tighten on his leg.

"Yeah, because the owner a long time ago realized he could heighten the experience a little bit without detracting from, you know, the genuine experience that may exist, or not." Spencer said as if TAPS should've known all of this to begin with.

Steve said, "Yeah, okay. Well, we understand that that's kind of fun and gimmicky, we didn't know about this stuff, and we're slowly discovering this; and I was like, man…how much of this stuff is real?"

"Right," he was back to one-word answers.

"They may have projectors down at the bluff; you know; do we have to look for that kind of stuff. Cause once we were down there and we discovered that stuff, our next thought was 'what else?' Despite that, we thought okay, we know these things are here. That's kind of disheartening. We felt a little bit let down." Steve continued while Jason bristled. "But we thought, alright, these claims have to be built on something, and continued to investigate, you know, faithfully."

Jason felt he needed to say something, "And none of the members had any personal experiences. The guys analyzed all the footage, did a lot of video and thermal work and when it came down to it, there's…there's nothing caught, EVP-wise. There was no voices or anything caught on the recorders or the wireless audio. We really didn't catch anything on the thermal."


"And we didn't catch anything on video. So…"

Steve chimed in, "So here we go. We've got a place that has some gimmicky stuff that we didn't know about and we've got no evidence. So with that happening and the fact that we don't have any evidence, you know, I…I really can't say that it's haunted 'cause I've got no reason to. In fact, it's leaning more the other way because there's speakers in walls and stuff like that."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Well, I think when it comes down to it, I think any place that has intentionally made devices to fake evidence, even if you caught evidence, how could you trust it," Jason said, secretly hoping to destroy the restaurant's credibility while he was at it.

"Agreed," Spencer said uncomfortably.

"So you're in a Catch-22 either way."

Spencer attempted to look contrite, but succeeded only in looking smug, "I'm sorry you guys were caught surprised by those elements there. Uh, they've been installed for a long time."

Jason gritted his teeth and performed like a trained seal, "Well, it's a beautiful place; amazing history."

"And people should come and maybe they'll catch a glimpse of the blue lady." Steve said through a fake smile.

"I think so, I think so."

"Thanks for having us out, man," Jason shook Spencer's hand a little harder than normal and was pleased to see a spark of pain in the chef's eyes.

"My pleasure. Thanks for checking it out."

Jason stepped away from the table, "Let's get out of here."

As the three men walked out of camera range, Jason turned on the chef, "You didn't tell us about this shit. You knew perfectly well where the laughter in the bathroom came from and the chandeliers over the bar were on timers. You didn't tell us and one of my crew is in the hospital because he went hunting for the speakers you chose not to tell us about."

"Jay, man," Steve came up and put a hand on Jason's shoulder. "Take it easy, dude."

"I'm sorry!" Spencer found himself backed against the bar. "The owner thought it would be good for publicity. He thought you guys wouldn't find any of his stuff."

Jason gaped, "I refuse to believe anyone could be THAT stupid. Either way, it was your negligence that led to my friend's injury. You're lucky I don't think your pathetic little ass is worth the jail time I'd get for beating it to a pulp. I'm sure the attorneys at the Syfy channel will take the owner's lust for publicity into account when they contact you."

"Oh come on," Spencer tried to assert himself. "It's not my fault your buddy fell. He should've been more careful."

Jason put his hands on the bar, one on either side of the frightened chef – cutting off his escape route – and leaned in menacingly, "It's your fault he was up there in the first place. You guys actually thought we'd be stupid enough to fall for your bullshit story without trying to debunk it? Do you guys know what we DO for a living?"

"Jay," Steve grabbed Jason's shoulder. "Come on, man. He's a whiney little asshole who's probably gonna get fired after this. Let him go and let's get outta here man."

Jason stood his ground. Spencer, wide-eyed with fear, leaned back over the bar even further.

"Jason," Steve said calmly. "Let's go man. Now."

Jason pushed back from the bar and stalked back to the SUV. He noticed Mark had been filming the entire exchange and was following them out with the camera running.

"Mark, the last five minutes of footage will not even make it to the editing room, understood?" he growled at the cameraman.

He looked at Steve who nodded agreement.

"You got it, man," he said as he rewound and erased the footage. "Would've made great TV, but better their reputation destroyed than ours."

"Exactly," Steve said. "Let TAPS be shown to be the professionals and these guys the arrogant assholes who try to con their customers."

"Yeah, you're right," Jason said. "Absolutely right. But I still would've enjoyed hitting him – at least once."

Steve chuckled, "Yeah, me too. Let's get the hell out of here.


The next day saw Jason walking through the sterile, white halls of the hospital. Just as Jason got to Grant's room and was reaching for the door handle, he saw Doctor Thompson headed towards him.

"I'm glad you're here," the grey-haired physician. "I was just coming to bring Mr. Wilson back to the land of the living."

Jason, remembering his dream, shuddered inwardly at the thought of Grant being out of the land of the living.

"So the swelling's gone down?" he asked hopefully.

The doctor's grin was all Jason needed, but the doctor answered him anyway, "Yes it has. This morning's CAT scan came back normal and we've cut off the meds that were keeping him under; so now we're gonna wake him up."

Jason opened the door to the room with a flourish and said to Thompson, "After you."

The two men entered the room and Jason was relieved to see Grant's color looked a lot better and there were fewer wires hooked up than there had been. He moved to the non-IV'd side of Grant and took his hand while the doctor slowly injected something into the IV line. After a few moments, Jason felt the hand in his twitch.

"Grant?" he leaned in as he spoke. "You back with me, G?"

"Oh…my head! You get the number of that truck?" Grant's voice was slightly raspy, but to Jason, it was music to his ears.

"Welcome back, Mr. Wilson," Dr. Thompson said with a smile. "Your friends have been pretty worried about you."

"What happened? Why am in the hospital," he paused for a moment before looking beneath the sheet and adding, "with a catheter? Not cool, man. Not cool."

As the doctor moved in to examine Grant, he asked, "what's the last thing you remember? While you're thinking about it, follow my finger with your eyes only."

Jason watched Grant's eyes follow the doctor's finger move up and down and side to side as he waited for the answer.

"Uh…we were at the distillery. There was a speaker in the bathroom."

Jason's heart sank a little bit, "That's the last thing you remember?"

Jason saw the doctor looking at him curiously.

"That was a good hour before the accident."

The doctor nodded knowingly, "That's not surprising. There's usually a bit of short-term memory loss centered around the time of the incident in cases like this. It's nothing to worry about."

"Would someone please tell me what happened?" Grant piped up and then coughed briefly. "And can I get some water or something?"

"We'll get you some ice chips," the man in the lab coat answered. "So far, you're looking good. I'll leave you two alone to talk and send someone in with the ice, alright?"

"Thanks a lot, Doctor," Jason said as he shook the older man's hand. "I mean it. Thanks."

"My pleasure. Mr. Wilson, it's nice to have you back in the land of the living. I'll be back to check on you in a while."

As soon as the Doctor left, Jason gave Grant's hand a brief squeeze before letting go to pull the chair from the corner of the room up to the side of the bed.

"You really don't remember what happened?"

He watched the expression on Grant's face move from confused to thoughtful to frustrated, "No, I really don't. What the hell happened?"

Jason sighed and began the narrative, starting from the chandelier trick, through the trip to the emergency room all the way through the reveal. Somewhere around the time of Grant falling down in the hallway, a nurse came in with a cup of ice chips and a plastic spoon.

After accepting a few spoonfuls of ice, Grant asked, "You didn't hit him, did you?"

Jason chuckled, "No. I really wanted to…you have no idea. Steve managed to save me from myself."

"Well, I'm sure Syfy would've enjoyed putting up your bail,"

Jason chuckled.

"Where're the other guys?"

Jason shrugged, "Steve, Tango and one of Syfy's attorneys are making the rounds of the local media. You made headlines dude. Kris said something about hospital food and cupcake hunting. Either way, they'll be in later. Mark and crew will also be visiting to get the obligatory Grant-in-hospital-gown shot."

"Do me a favor and bring me a pair of shorts, would ya?"

"What's the matter? Afraid the world won't like that cute little ass of yours?" Jason asked with a smirk.

"You think my ass is cute?" Grant asked, and Jason thought he detected a hopeful note in the joking tone.

Unfortunately, Jason wasn't sure enough to answer the way he wanted, "Oh come on, doesn't everyone? That's why they made the backless hospital gown…for asses like you."

"Ah," Grant looked disappointedly relieved. "So, I'm an ass with a cute ass then?"

"Something like that," Jason said with a chuckle, relieved to be joking with his friend as always. The thought that he might not have gotten the chance again sobered him quickly. "You know you scared the hell outta me back at Moss Beach, right?"

Grant absently scratched at the bandage on his forehead as he said, "If I could remember it, I'd probably have scared myself. Sorry, man."

"Man, I nodded off in the ER and dreamt that you died," Jason said. "It was so real, I nearly passed out when they told me you were alive."

Grant made a move to sit up, "You serious man?"

Jason helped him adjust the bed to a more comfortable position, making a big show of readjusting the blankets – unwilling to look his best friend in the eye. He was afraid that Grant would laugh at him, or feel guilty about making him worry or both. He didn't want to talk about Grant dying. He didn't want to say how he kissed his best friend (if only in a dream) – that he only had the courage to kiss his best friend after death. As he was thinking of all the things he didn't want to do about the conversation, he felt a hand in his.


"Jay, is there something else? Talk to me, man. You're a lot more upset about almost embarrassing yourself than you should be. What's going on?"

Reluctantly, Jason told Grant the rest of the story. The end of the dream, including the kiss; the 'I love yous' exchanged before Grant was put into his coma and when he had finished his narrative, he waited for the shoe to drop.

He didn't have to wait long. The hand in his tightened almost painfully before releasing him. He risked a look at the man in the hospital bed. Grant was staring at him with an inscrutable expression.

"Grant? What are you thinking here? Come on, dude; put me out of my misery here," Jason tried to sound lighthearted, but failed miserably.

"I don't remember saying it, but I know I meant it." Grant said quietly. "You know, you're one of the main reasons Reanna and I didn't last. She said I spent more time with you than her. She's right. I think if it weren't for the kids, I'd spend 24/7 with you."

"By the way," Jason said, trying to change the subject, but not sure he wanted to, "the kids are apparently planning a helluva welcome home party for their bravely injured dad."

"That's nice," Grant answered absently. "But you're trying to distract me. Did you mean it when you said you loved me? And how are we defining love here?"

Jason took a deep breath before answering. "Yeah, I did mean it. And I think we're defining it like this…"

He leaned down and kissed Grant gently – an experimental closed mouth kiss on warm lips that felt so much better than the brief peck on cold, dead lips of his nightmare. When he pulled back, Grant was grinning.

"There, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Grant asked. "In fact, I think it could have been better. Wanna try?"

Jason grinned and leaned down for a real kiss. Mouths opened and tongues dueled. Jason moved his hand over Grant's face and into his hair while he felt Grant's hand on the back of his neck. He was really starting to get into it before Grant gasped and pulled back.

"Grant? You okay? What's the matter, G?"

Grant had a pained expression on his face as he said one word, "catheter."

Jason involuntarily crossed his legs in sympathy. "Ouch."

"Yeah, ouch is right," Grant sat back and breathed deeply as he slowly relaxed.

"I think we should discuss this more when you get out of here."

"I'm all for that, man. Now, go call Kris. Didn't you tell me she said something about cupcakes?"

Jason laughed as he reached for the phone.