A/N: Sorry for the long wait between updates. I had major writers block. I knew how I wanted it to end, but didn't know how to connect the two points. I hope you enjoy it, and as always, please r&r!
Chris pulled her hair up in a clip and dropped her robe. She tested the water temperature of the shower and climbed in. It had been a rough couple of days and she knew a good scalding shower would help wash away some of it and maybe she wouldn't feel so numb when she got out. She pushed the play button on her iPod and turned the volume up on the speaker set. She stepped into the steaming cascade of water and listened to the swelling music. As the lyrics started, Chris joined in, enjoying the song and the feel of the hot water on her body.
"Is this home? Is this where I should learn to be happy? Never dreamed that a home could be dark and cold. I was told ev'ry day in my childhood, even when we grow old, home should be where the heart is. Never where words so true! My heart's far, far away. Home is too." Chris took a breath and lost her concentration on the song and the air around her turned cold. She could feel the heat of the shower as the water pounded against her body, but she was chilled and the hair on her arms was standing on end. "Oh, this can't be good." She turned around to see the ghost of Frank Asher standing in front of her.
Frank reached toward Chris. "Alison, why?"
Chris wasn't going to scream. It would do no good. No one was here to help her. She was alone. Oh, God, she was alone! She took a deep breath to calm her nerves. "I'm not Alison, Frank. I'm not your wife." Frank's spirit stepped closer as she tried to escape. One second Chris was backing up and the next her feet were going out from under her. She screamed as she lost her balance. The last thing she felt was her head hitting the faucet as everything went black.
Dean opened the door. "I'm just saying, Sam. Haven't you ever wondered why so many people fear midgets?" Sam shook his head and followed his brother into Chris's condo. "Chris, we're back!" There was no answer.
"Her car was outside," Sam pointed his thumb out of the door.
"Chris, sweetheart, we're home!" Sam raised an eyebrow at Dean calling Chris sweetheart. It wasn't said in his normal tone. This was almost endearing. "Chris?" Still there was no answer. The brothers exchanged a look. "Check the patio, and I'll head up stairs." Sam nodded and headed to the patio off the kitchen while Dean darted up the stairs. He was half way up the stairs when he heard the shower running. A wicked smile crossed his face and he headed into the master suite. "She's in the shower, Sam!" He called and hoped his brother heard him.
Dean entered the master bath to find there was no steam coming from the shower, but the water was still running. The closer he got to shower he noticed that he didn't see Chris's silhouette against the glass. He opened the frosted glass door to find Chris's unconscious body lying on the floor of the shower. He stepped into the water and felt for a pulse. Her pulse was strong. "Chris?" He touched her cheek. No response. Dean scooped Chris into his arms and started to carry her out of the bathroom. He laid her down on the bed and covered her naked body with her robe. "Sam! Get up here now!"
Sam entered the room to find Dean sitting on the edge of the bed dabbing at a cut on Chris' forehead. "What happened?"
"Don't know. I found her out cold in the shower. She's been this way for a while because the shower was cold." Dean looked a little closer at the cut. "It doesn't look too bad. I think she just hit the faucet the right way." Sam noticed the worry in Dean's voice. He watched as Dean smoothed the hair from Chris's face. "Chris? Baby, wake up. Come on. You can do it." No response. "Chris, wake up."
"Dean, we need to get her to the hospital." Sam touched Dean's shoulder. "Dean?"
Dean just kept checking Chris for any sign of her waking up. After a few minutes he dropped his head. "Yeah. You're right. Call the ambulance." Dean turned his attention back to Chris. "Chris, come on. Wake up, sweetheart." There was still no response. Dean felt his throat start to close. He was starting to understand what that song she sang in her play was all about. He'd loved her since they were kids and he'd never told her. Sure, she knew he was attracted to her, but she didn't know that he would die for her. Tears threatened to fill his eyes as Sam came back into the room. Dean looked up at him and wiped his red nose. "I get it now, man. I know why you said I could relate to that play." Sam nodded and helped Dean get Chris into her robe so she wasn't naked when the paramedics arrived.
"You'll get a chance to tell her when she wakes up." Dean looked at his brother, not hiding the tears in his eyes, and nodded.
The paramedics arrived a few minutes later and took Chris to Memorial Hospital. Dean and Sam followed. They planned on waiting at the hospital until it was late enough for them to go find Frank Asher's grave and dig it up.
The doctor came into the waiting room. "Are you are with Christy Anderson?" Dean looked up.
"Yeah. We're friends of hers. How is she?"
The doctor took in a deep breath. "She has a concussion and the cut required a couple of stitches, but she'll be okay. We're going to keep her overnight for observation." Dean nodded. "If you hadn't have found her when you did, she probably would have died. She is lucky to have you for a friend."
Dean shoved his hands in his pockets and took in a deep breath. The answer to his next question could change his whole day. "Is she awake?"
"Just woke up. You can see her if you like, but don't stay too long. She needs to rest."
"Thank you, Doctor." Sam said as he put his hand on Dean's shoulder. The boys headed toward her room. "I'll let you go in first." Dean nodded, swallowed and entered the room.
"Hey, sweetheart." Chris opened her eyes when she heard Dean's voice.
She smiled slightly. "Hey." He pulled a chair up and took her hand.
"How are you feeling?" Dean ran his thumb over her hand.
"I have a headache to beat the band, but I'm okay." She looked at Dean and saw the worried look on his face. "What's up, Dean?"
"You had me pretty scared, babe. I couldn't get you to wake up." He lowered his head. "I was worried I was going to lose you." The truth was a little close to the surface, so he quickly covered it up. "Besides, this wasn't how I wanted to see you naked for the first time." A wicked smile crossed his face.
Chris raised an eyebrow. "You want to see me naked?"
"Ever since we were sixteen." He laughed and kissed her forehead.
"So, what did you find out about Frank?"
"Was it Frank that caused this?" Chris nodded. "He appeared in the shower?" The answer was obvious, but Dean had to ask. Chris nodded again. Dean took a deep breath. "Frank Asher is our guy. We know where he's buried, so we're going to dig him up and burn his remains tonight. That should end it." Chris nodded.
A knock on the door showed that Sam was tired of waiting. "Come on in, Sammy." Sam entered and smiled at his friend. Chris smiled back. She hated that this was happening, but she was glad that her friends were here to help, especially Dean.
Sam and Dean climbed out of the Impala and grabbed their shovels, salt and the gas can. "Let's get this done before he hurts Chris again." Sam nodded and they started looking for Frank Asher's grave.
"Dean." Sam pointed to a head stone. Dean came over and dropped the duffle bag of supplies.
"Let's dig this bastard up." The both put their shovels in the ground when a flood light turned on behind them. Both turned to see a cop car. "Damn it," Dean mumbled under his breath.
"Tampa PD. Put your hands up." They dropped the shovels and raised their hands.
"FBI," Dean offered. He and Sam lowered one arm to grab the fake badges from their jacket pockets. The officer took their badges.
"You're not from the Tampa office, are you?"
"Nope. South Dakota." Sam said. "We have orders to dig up this grave for a case we're working."
"Can't the Tampa office do that?" The officer asked.
"Not when our supervisor told us to do it," Dean's tone was cocky. They'd run into enough Feds to know the attitude they had.
"Call our supervisor to check for yourself. His card is in our badge." The officer nodded and took a few steps away.
Bobby was sitting in his favorite easy chair trying to watch a show on HGTV when the FBI phone rang. He groaned and got up to get the phone. "Willis."
"I have two of your guys here saying you want them to dig up a grave in Tampa."
"That's right. They're two of my best."
"Tampa's office should be doing this," the officer was starting to challenge Bobby's authority.
"Are you questioning me, boy?" There was no answer. "Tampa has screwed up too much. My boys are the best. Let them do their jobs. In fact, since this is a time sensitive case, you're going to give them the cemetery's backhoe to get the grave dug so much faster than they would have otherwise. Is that clear?"
"Yes, sir." The officer hung up the phone. He walked back over to Sam and Dean. "You check out. I'll be back with a backhoe. Give me five minutes." Sam and Dean relaxed.
"A backhoe? Bobby must have done some work on that one." Sam nodded. The officer brought the backhoe over and left them to their work. They had the hole dug and the coffin open in a fraction of the time it would normally take. "You know it's never easy, so keep an eye out for Frank." Sam nodded and pulled out a shot gun. Dean poured salt on the remains and then the gasoline. He climbed out of the whole and pulled his liter out. "Ready, Sammy?"
"Yep." He cocked the gun and waited. Dean looked around one more time and dropped the liter in the coffin. The remains went up in flames and nothing happened, no spirit trying to stop them, no screaming, nothing. Sam looked around the cemetery and it looked as still as it did when they pulled up. "I don't get it."
"Me neither." Dean grabbed the duffle bag. "Maybe we got off easy and it was a simple salt and burn. Let's count the win and get back to Chris." Sam nodded and grabbed his shovel.
"Are we going to take the backhoe back?"
"Nope. We're FBI, not groundskeepers." They dumped their supplies in the trunk and got in the car.
Chris was asleep in her hospital room when it suddenly got cold. She pulled the blanket up tighter to her chin. It got colder and she woke up. "No! Not again!" She grabbed her controller and hit the call button. "Help!" She yelled just as Frank appeared.
He moved to her bed with flickering speed. He reached for her, and Chris fumbled for her food table. There were salt packets in there from her dinner. It wasn't much, but maybe it was enough. She found a packet and opened it up. She threw it at him, but it had no effect.
"Alison?" Frank reached for her.
Chris tried to get away, but she stopped. She had to face him. She had to reach him. For some reason he thought she was his wife. "Frank, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do it. I was trying to hit him." Frank stopped reaching for her and stood still. He looked sad, lost and sad. "It was ten years ago, Frank. Let me go. I had to let you go that awful night. I'm sorry. I'll always love you, but you can't keep hanging on." Frank flickered a few more times and then he suddenly went up in flames. He screamed Alison's name one more time and then he was gone.
Chris let her head fall back against the pillow and closed her eyes. She wasn't sure what had happened, but she somehow knew it was over.
"Ms. Anderson, is everything okay? You hit your call button, and I heard you yell for help," her nurse, Becky, asked.
"I'm fine now. Sorry. It was a bad dream. I must have hit the button in my sleep." Becky nodded and left the room. Chris closed her eyes and tried to get back to sleep, but she knew she wouldn't be able to until she talked to Dean.
Dean entered the hospital room quietly and found Chris sitting up. "What are you doing up?" Worry etched his face.
"Waiting for you." She smiled at him and held out her hand. Dean crossed the room and took her hand. He leaned down and kissed her forehead. "I had an eventful night and needed to see you." Dean smiled, but she could see the worry in his eyes. "Everything's fine. How was your night?"
Dean stretched. The hour was catching up to him. "Well, we found Frank's grave, and he will no longer be coming to visit you." Dean rubbed his face. "The odd thing was that he never tried to stop us. Most spirits don't like you messing with their remains, and they try to stop us from burning them. Not Frank. He just let us do it."
"That's because he was here." Chris's remark made Dean look up at her with his eyes wide.
"What happened? Are you alright?" Dean inched closer to the edge of his seat.
"I'm fine. He scared me because I was asleep, but then I thought about how he thinks I'm Alison for some reason, so I talked to him like I was his wife. I apologized for what happened and told him he needed to let me go and that I had let him go a long time ago. He flickered a few times and then he went up in a flash of flames." Chris shrugged. "My heart was pounding the whole time, but I wasn't scared. I knew you were trying to find him, so I knew I was safe." Dean was staring at her with a new look in his eyes.
"You are so smart, and that makes you so hot, in a librarian kind of way." Dean got a wicked smile on his face and kissed her. Chris laughed as they pulled apart.
"Dean, you look exhausted. Go back to my place and get some rest, just come back to pick me up tomorrow morning, okay?"
He started shaking her head. "Nope. Not going to happen. I'm here until they release you. I dropped Sam off at your place, and I'm staying." He leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. It didn't take long before he was gently snoring. Chris leaned into her pillow and fell asleep as well.
Dean helped Chris up to her room once they were back to her condo. "Are you doing okay?" Chris smiled.
"I'm fine, Dean. I have a bump on my head. I'll be fine. You've had worse. Stop worrying." She sat down on the edge of her bed and looked up him nervously. "Did you mean what you said?" Dean gave her a puzzled look. "That you want to see me naked?" She blushed a little as she looked away.
Dean put a finger on her chin and turned her back to look at him. "Dead serious." He leaned in and kissed her slightly. They pulled apart and he swallowed. He'd sworn to himself that if she survived this he was going to tell her how he felt. "Chris," he cleared his throat, "I need to tell you something." She watched him stand up and pace across the room. "When I asked you out in high school, and you turned me down I was upset, but decided that I wasn't going to let that stop me from being near you." He exhaled. "Wow, this is hard." He cleared his throat. 'Telling Lisa how I felt wasn't this hard,' he thought. "I was determined to make you like me. I kept being your friend hoping that you would want to date me. I was selfish, but in the end, I fell for you." He laughed, but it wasn't filled with humor. "I still love you." He swallowed hard again. "Always have. Always will." He exhaled and looked at her.
Tears filled Chris's eyes. No it wasn't romantic, but she knew his confession was genuine. "Oh, Dean." Her voice was strained. "I didn't turn you down because I didn't like you. I turned you down because I was seeing Sean, and I knew you were only going to be around for a short time. I wasn't going to throw away what Sean and I had for a fling with a guy that wasn't going to be around in a few weeks to a month." She looked down. "After the confession you just gave, I need to confess something too." She smiled timidly. This wasn't her normal behavior, but it made her even prettier. "I knew I was never really your type, but I was so happy that you liked me and wanted to be friends. I was never considered popular or pretty, but a handsome boy liked me, and I wasn't going to let you go. I was determined to make our friendship work. After you left, I was upset, which was dumb since we were never more than friends, but I loved you, and it hurt to see you leave. The funny thing was that I always had a fantasy that you would come back and take me away with you. Even on my wedding day, I hoped you would show up and stop the wedding. I loved Sean, but I always wanted to be with you." While she was looking at her hands Dean had come to stand in front of her. He lifted her face and kissed her. It was a kiss that erased the missed times and pain they had both suffered. He lowered her back on the bed, and the next coherent thought she had was when she woke up a few hours later to find the bed empty and a note that said "Went to get food." She laid her head back down and closed her eyes.
"What am I doing," she asked herself. She played back the last few hours and smiled. She loved Dean, had actually admitted that she loved him. And he loved her too. She smiled warmly as the memories came back to her, but in the same moment the smile faded. She knew it would not work. Chris got up and dressed. Dean came back a few minutes later with Chinese for everyone.
Dean smiled at her, but made no move to kiss her. Chris wondered what that was all about. Had he gotten what he wanted and now he was done? Anger began to crawl in and take hold. She didn't let it show, but the more time passed without him saying anything the more she seethed and was quickly reaching her boiling point. As Sam started to clear the table, Chris snapped.
"Dean Winchester!" He turned to look at her. "How dare you?" Dean looked from Chris to Sam in a puzzled way. "So, you pour your heart out and sleep with me and now you're done? Is that it? I was a sixteen-years-in-the-making one night stand?" Sam's jaw dropped, and he looked from Chris to Dean.
Dean's anger instantly flared. "What? No!" He signed and crossed his arms. "I was trying to keep this between us for now. I wasn't ready to say anything to Sam."
"Dude, I already knew!" Sam said as he put the plates in the sink. "I'm gonna go for a walk while you work this out." Chris nodded, and Sam left the condo.
"What? Are you are ashamed of me?" Chris was hearing the words coming out of her mouth and was wondering where they were coming from. It wasn't like her to get emotional and irrational. What was going on with her? Maybe it was all the stress of the last few days.
"Never, sweetheart." Dean crossed the kitchen and pulled her into a hug. "I just wanted this to be between us for a while because it was special." Chris was even more confused. She started crying. She hated not being in control of herself. "Hey, you okay?" She nodded and shook her head at the same time. "You need to rest. Go take a shower and a nap. We'll talk when you get up." He wiped a tear from her face. She nodded, and Dean kissed her lightly.
Sam came back in to see Dean sitting at his laptop. "Everything okay?" Dean looked up.
"Yeah. I found us another job, a day's drive from here in Tennessee." He turned the laptop to show Sam. "I figure we can leave in the morning and get back at it after we've recharged today."
Sam frowned. "I mean about you and Chris." Dean ignored the comment. Sam was quickly getting annoyed. "Dean! You can't make her a one night stand. You care too much for her."
Dean closed the laptop. "Exactly. I can't do this, Sammy. What if she gets hurt? I can't have that on my head. I'm going to talk to her tonight. I know Chris. She'll be fine. This isn't good-bye. It's just not a good time."
Sam let out a humorless chuckle. "It's never a good time with us." Sam nodded. "I'll start packing so we can leave at dawn tomorrow." Chris and Sam passed in the hall. She pulled her robe closer to her and smiled sadly. Sam wondered how much she already knew, or if she had heard what they had been talking about. Chris entered the living room to see Dean packing up the laptop.
"Dean, can we talk?" He saw her and smiled. He nodded and walked over to her. "Let's sit down." He did. He could tell something was bothering her. "First off, I want to apologize for my outburst earlier. I shouldn't have lost my temper." Dean smiled faintly. "I know why I did it, and I know you were not doing what I accused you of." She took Dean's hands. "Dean, I love you. I always have and always will, but I can't do this. I can't do us. Not seriously anyway. I'm not a hunter, and you are not ready to settle down. It wouldn't be fair to either of us."
Dean let out a laugh that was filled with shock and irony. "You are an amazing woman, Christy Anderson." He pulled her close and kissed her. His reaction surprised her. "You're ending this, and I was going to do the same, but not for the same reasons. I know you are not a hunter, and I wouldn't ask you to be. I'm doing this because everyone that Sam and I care about get hurt or worse. I couldn't live with that if it happened to you. I do love you, but because I love you, I can't be with you. Does that make sense?" Chris nodded. "We're leaving in the morning for another job."
Chris couldn't help it, tears filled her eyes and slowly fell. "At least we have tonight." Dean nodded and smiled. "You are always welcome wherever I am." She smiled wryly. "I don't mind being a one night stand when you pass through or our paths cross." Dean laughed. This was one reason he loved her. She was honest and knew what baggage came with him. He nodded and hugged her one more time.
"So, we're okay?" She nodded and he smiled.
"You have my new number. Call if you need anything." Chris nodded. She turned and quickly hugged Sam bye. He climbed into the Impala and waited for Dean to say his good-byes.
"Thank you, Dean, for everything." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. "You came when I called. You saved me. You stood by your promise from so long ago. I will always be grateful." Dean nodded and gave her one final quick kiss.
"I'll call." Chris nodded as he climbed into the Impala. She waved good-bye and walked back to her condo.
Dean watched her go and a memory came back to him.
Dean looked up as a girl approached him in the office. 'Dean Winchester?'
'That's me, sweetheart.' He stood and gave his typical smart-ass smile.
'I'm Christy Anderson. You can call me Chris. I'm your tour guide for the school today.' Dean cocked an eyebrow. 'It's a program that the school has in place. I show you around the school today and then you start classes tomorrow.'
Dean shrugged. 'Doesn't really matter. I won't be here for more than a few weeks, but okay.' Chris tilted her head at his odd comment. 'Let's get started.'
Chris led him out of the office. 'Winchester, huh?' Dean nodded. 'Any relation to the gun manufacturing family?'
'Nope, but I have a few.' The comment was flippant.
'Hmmm. I'd love to see the Winchester mansion in California one day. They say the place is haunted by all the ghosts of the people killed by the Winchester rifles and they told Mrs. Winchester how to build the house. If she didn't do as they told her, they would kill her.'
Dean laughed at this. 'Not true.' Chris looked at him funny. 'My dad, brother and I checked it out over the summer. Not a ghost on the place. We found that Old Lady Winchester was crazy as four Hells. She was hearing voices that she claimed were Indians. Turns out she was schitzo.' Dean shrugged. 'A wasted trip, but a cool house. Just don't go if all you are looking for are ghosts.' Chris looked at him funny and then dismissed their conversation.
'This is where your English class will be held.' Dean nodded and watched as she acted like what he had just said was as normal as saying the grass was green. He instantly wanted to get closer to her. He shook off the thought and continued the tour.
"Dean, you going to start the car soon?" Dean snapped out of his thoughts and the memory faded.
"Yeah." He cranked the car and listened to the motor rumble. "We've got work to do." He pulled out of the parking lot and pointed the car north.