A/N: Well, here we are everyone--the last chapter. I sincerely hope you all enjoy. I'm thinking about possibly doing another NCIS/SPN crossover and would love to hear readers' thoughts as to the prospect.
A big giant thank you to all who have read and also to those who left reviews! You guys keep me going.
Tony laughed out loud before calling out cheekily, "Goodnight, John Boy. Goodnight, McGee, Goodnight, Sam, Goodnight, Dean, Goodnight, Bessie the shotgun…"
"Oh God, he thinks he's a comedian," muttered Dean, rolling his eyes.
At this Tim snorted and said, "Trust me; you don't know the half of it."
"Reminds me of someone else I know," added Sam.
The affronted rejoinder of "Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" came from both Tony and Dean simultaneously.
The good-natured bickering continued for a few minutes before settling into a spirited conversation about television and movies in general. Eventually the quartet grew less animated. Tim was the first to drop off to sleep, lulled by his proximity to the fire. Sam for his part, despite feeling the tug of fatigue, sighed, shifted restlessly, and adjusted his head on his "pillow" before locking his gaze on some selected spot on the ceiling. Dean nudged him with a sock-covered foot.
"Get some sleep, Sammy."
Without looking at his brother Sam muttered, "I will if you will."
"I will." The words were as sincere as Dean could make them.
Tony watched the exchange with interest. Dean's expression was inscrutable, but the agent detected concern etched into his features. After another minute or two, Sam's breathing evened out as he drifted off and Tony spoke, "You worry about him."
Dean glanced sideways at him. "Yeah. Nightmares. Kid's got the weight of the world on his shoulders."
"Something tells me he's not the only one."
A swift flash of desolation chased its way across Dean's face. "What makes you say that?"
"You both have the same…haunted…look about you."
"Heh. Haunted. It fits." Dean's face turned to stone.
After a few minutes of quiet, Tony cleared his throat. "Dean?"
"Is all the stuff Gibbs alluded to—when he told me about you guys—is all that stuff true?"
"Depends on what he alluded to."
"Well—you know—that—ghosts—are real. That kinda stuff."
"They are," answered Dean simply.
"Ghosts. Shades. Poltergeists. Eidolons. You name it. All real."
"So if those are real, what about…vampires?"
"Man, I can't believe it."
"Dude, there are evil things out there that you could never even imagine."
Curious, DiNozzo responded, "Such as?"
"Shtrigas. Daevas. Skinwalkers." A log popped and crackled loudly in the fireplace. Dean twitched, took a hitched breath, and swallowed audibly. "Demons."
Tony detected a note of loathing in Dean's voice when he uttered that last word. There also seemed to be a hint of terror that convinced DiNozzo there was much, much more to the story. He thought about pursuing it but something held him back. Tony instead went for a bit of humor. "Huh, and I thought some of the perps we take down were freakin' badass." He paused for a beat and cleared his throat. "Didn't mean to bring up some bad stuff. Sorry."
Dean shrugged and shifted restlessly. "Not used to talking about it. Most people don't wanna know or can't deal with it when they do."
"I'm not surprised. Hell, most people don't like to hear about I do, let alone what you do," Tony sighed, reclined, and pulled the blanket up around his shoulders, "I suppose we should get some sleep, huh?"
"Might as well," Dean made himself as comfortable as possible under his own blanket and closed his eyes. A few minutes later he heard Tony begin to snore softly as he dropped off. Dean laid there listening to the crackle-pop-sizzle of the fire, smelled the faint whiffs of acrid, bitter smoke, watched orange flicker across the backs of his eyelids, and knew he was never farther away from restful sleep.
(NCIS) (NCIS) (NCIS)
Sometime later DiNozzo came awake with a start. He stayed still for a moment listening, wondering what had awakened him. A glance to his right revealed Dean's spot to be empty. Rising up on his elbows, Tony's gaze roamed around the bar. The puzzle was solved a few seconds later when Dean pushed through the swinging door that lead to the kitchen carrying a giant sandwich in one hand and a glass of milk in the other.
Seeing Tony awake, Dan padded softly across the floor and settled on top of his blanket. He took a bite of sandwich and spoke around the mouthful. "Great sandwich, man. Old dude's got a giant ham out there." He gestured toward the kitchen with his sandwich-laden hand. "Homemade bread too."
They talked of a few inconsequential things, including cars, while Dean finished his midnight snack. When he was done, Dean set aside his empty glass, scrubbed his hands over his face, and stretched back out with a sigh. Finally, strands of sleep began to weave their way through his consciousness. His muscles relaxed and his mind began to drift.
DiNozzo followed suit, reclining and closing his eyes, but he couldn't quit thinking about that delicious-looking ham sandwich Dean had just polished off. After another minute or two, Tony couldn't resist temptation anymore, and he decided to help himself to one.
He stood, grunting softly when his knees popped, and made his way to the kitchen. Tony found the ham front and center in the refrigerator; the homemade herbed bread wrapped neatly on the counter. After finding a knife, he sliced off a sliver of ham and popped it into his mouth, groaning as he savored the smoky, sweet flavor of the roasted meat. Damn, that's good. He sliced enough to make a good-sized sandwich.
Tony had just started to assemble his feast when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. Thinking it was Dean coming back for a second helping, he started to make a sarcastic comment as he turned to look. The words died on his lips. Over near the stove stood a woman—a sweet-faced, matronly woman—in an apron. And he could see right through her. Tony stood frozen in place, a faint but cheerful humming now reaching his ears. The woman turned toward him and smiled but it wasn't until she floated—floated!—closer to him that Tony dropped the knife with a clang and fled back to the bar area.
Bending low but not getting too close, DiNozzo hissed, "Dean! Dean, wake up!"
Hunter's instinct had Dean's eyes snapping open, muscle memory forcing a hand toward where his knife would normally be located. "What? What is it?"
"There's someone in the kitchen!"
"What? Dude, it's probably just the old man," the older Winchester muttered grumpily.
Tony scrubbed a hand over his face. "No, I mean there's something in the kitchen. Your kind of thing."
"What do you mean?"
"It was a woman. An old woman. But shit, man, I could see right through her!" Tony's voice rose enough on the last couple of words that Sam stirred.
"What's going on?" Sam's voice was tense and alert.
"The fed says there's our kind of something going on in the kitchen," responded Dean. "Guess we should check it out. What was this thing doing?" queried Dean as he rose to his feet and watched Sam do the same.
"I dunno. It looked like she was cooking something. And she was…umm…humming."
"Humming? You mean like a live wire hum?" asked Sam.
"No—she was humming a song." DiNozzo approached McGee, who was still sleeping, nudged him with his foot. "Probie, c'mon, get up!"
"McGee, c'mon, you don't wanna miss this!"
Responding to the demand in DiNozzo's voice, Tim tossed aside his blanket and wobbled to his feet.
Dean looked at the two men and shook his head. "Uh uh. You guys are staying here."
"Like hell we are!" exclaimed the senior field agent. "Besides, I've already seen it."
"I've no idea what's going on, but I agree with Tony," muttered McGee, "I think."
Dean growled but capitulated. "Fine. Just stay behind me and Sam."
The four men made their way into the kitchen. Just as Tony had said, a matronly woman stood at the stove stirring something in a large pot. She was indeed humming a soft tune. Both she and the pot were transparent.
Tim gaped. "She's…she's…oh shit…she's…"
"…probably a ghost," finished Dean helpfully.
"I dunno, she seems pretty calm, Dean," Sam added, "Maybe a death echo?"
Dean was just about to respond when the spirit swung around and moved toward them. McGee tried to step out of her way but in his haste bumped a stray metal bowl on the counter sending it flying. It hit the floor with a loud clank and spun like a top for a few seconds before settling with a final clang. The quartet focused again on the spirit who now hovered in front of Tim with a reproachful expression on her face.
"Ummm…sorry?" he whispered sheepishly.
The ghost merely smiled softly and brushed by, leaving McGee shivering in her wake.
Granger suddenly burst through the door with Bennie firmly in hand. "WHAT IN TARNATION IS GOING ON DOWN HERE?"
Before anyone could respond, Granger caught sight of the apparition, which was back stirring the pot. His jaw, along with his arms, went slack. "Tildy?"
"You know—knew—her?" asked Dean.
"My wife, Matilda. I don't understand. Tildy passed a few years ago. What…"
Sam cleared his throat. "It looks like your wife decided to…stick around."
"You mean…you mean she's a ghost?"
Both Sam and Dean nodded.
"Why I always joked about her bein' here with me. Would hear her humming or things clinking down here in the middle of the night. Even thought I smelled her perfume a time or two. But I always thought it was just an old man's imagination." The whole time Granger spoke, he watched the ghost of his beloved Matilda as she tended her food.
"Do you want us to take care of her for you?" asked Dean.
"Take care of her?"
The older Winchester shifted from foot to foot. "Uh, yeah, you know we can…uh…help her go into the light…or whatever."
"No, oh no. My dear Tildy, she always said she'd wait for me right here. I'd like to let her be until it's my time to join her." Granger approached the stove and spoke directly to the apparition. "You always were my best girl, Tildy." The ghost turned, smiled, and gently touched the old man's cheek. Then in a blink she was gone. All was quiet and still for a moment or two.
Granger turned to the quartet of strangers who'd so recently entered his life, snuffled and winked, eyes glistening. "Well now, didn't you all give me a gift tonight? I think this calls for a celebration." The old man headed for the bar and pulled out his best bottle of scotch. He waited for them to sit and poured drinks all around. "To Tildy," he toasted. The quartet toasted back.
(NCIS) (NCIS) (NCIS)
The next morning dawned sunny but cold. While Sam, with McGee's help, chipped away at the last of the ice glazing the Impala, Dean stowed their duffels in the trunk. When he finished, he turned to find DiNozzo watching him. "So Gibbs is coming to get you?"
"Yep, phones are finally working and the boss is on his way. Knowing how he drives, it won't take him long to get here." Tony reached in his pocket and pulled out one of his business cards. He extended it to Dean. "So, listen, if you ever need anything…just call. I mean it. My cell number is on the back."
Dean accepted the card with a nod and half grin. "Hey, you're not bad…for a Fed." He handed Tony his own much simpler card. "Same goes for you…Tony. McGee too. The first number's mine. The second is Sam's. Call us and we'll come." The hunter slid into the front seat of the Impala and keyed the ignition.
Tony smiled appreciatively at the car's throaty rumble. He and McGee both waved as the classic car carrying its unique occupants accelerated out of the parking lot, made a left, and shot down the road. Its powerful purr fading with distance.
"Man, that is one sweet car," Tony uttered for a final time.
"Still have classic car envy, huh DiNozzo?" Tim teased.
"Hey, it beats your computer nerd envy, McTechie."