Title: "Frozen Solid"
Author:
Patricia de Lioncourt
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Sam, Dean, mentions of others, necessary OCs
Rating:
PG-13
Word Count: 6,200
Warnings: Violence—no more than a usual episode—but talk of things much more violent than an episode. Nothing graphically described. Spoilers for Season Seven pre-"Time for a Wedding" episode.
State:
Alaska
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any related characters. Those belong to Kripke and the CW.
Author's Notes:
Okay, so, for those reading this who have found it who are not following the link(s) on the 50 States of SPN LJ, this is in response to their challenge, which was thus: sign up for a state and, using local customs, ghost stories, folklore, atmosphere, etc. write a story of the boys on a hunt in that state. There were two rounds on sign-up in an attempt to fill all 50 states. Alaska was the one I got on the second round (I signed up for, and got, Alabama for the first round. Story to follow.) As for this story, Alaska is my birthstate (I currently live in Alabama). I'm going on memory for descriptions as well as internet research. As for a couple of other things, I'm taking some fictional liberties that I don't believe are too farfetched. Mostly it's just messing with systems that actually exist, and for that, I beg your patience with my choices on how to manipulate those. Also, I've used some real names, but I've fictionalized those things as well. Otherwise, the timeline for this one is set within the current season, set just before "It's Season Seven, Time for a Wedding," episode. Also, I apologize for barely doing any edits. I promise, I'll get back around and do some good ones. "#" denotes a scene break.
Summary:
Game hunters in Alaska are being killed, which draws Sam and Dean's attention—much to Dean's chagrin. What starts as a standard hunt might have Sam and Dean freezing to death in the wilds of Alaska before they can complete it.


Frozen Solid

The Impala rolled to a stop just in front of Room 116 of Big Bear Joe's Motel. Dean grimaced as he threw open the driver's door, stomping out onto the pavement, shivering the moment the crisp, cold air touched his flesh.

"This is bull, Sammy. This is absolute bull," he snapped, reaching into the back and pulling out his duffle bag.

Sam, for his part, was already calmly standing at 116's door, sliding the key into the lock, his bag over his shoulder.

"Dean, a hunt is a hunt. It's not like we're in Hawaii," he said, twisting the knob and pushing the door open.

The décor of the room hit the younger brother like a brick. Painted and wallpapered in rich browns and hunter greens, there was barely a surface in the double bedded room that wasn't decorated with a picture of a pine tree or a deer or a bear or some other wilderness thing. And, standing out like an even bigger eyesore, was a border that ran around the top of the walls that clearly had some sort of Native American theme that did not match the rest of the room at all. It was not the worst room the boys had ever stayed in, and Dean stormed into it with barely a notice, claiming the bed closest to the door. Sam sat his bag down on the opposite bed as Dean sunk onto the edge of his.

"At least Hawaii isn't as cold as ass in the middle of frickin' March!" Dean grumbled.

"But we'd have to fly to get there," Sam pointed out, grinning and just barely trying to hide it.

Dean growled, rolling his eyes. "I just don't get why we couldn't have gone straight to Vegas. Our annual pilgrimage awaits, but you want to go to Alaska? Do you know how high the suicide rate is here? I think there's a reason for that, Sammy."

"Suicide rate? Really? That's what your argument is?" Sam said, pulling out his laptop and loading it up.

Thank God for the invention of satellite internet, which this motel proudly advertised it offered as a "free" service. He watched the screen as it flickered and loaded, while Dean only moaned again.

"I'm just sayin'. We've got other things to worry about rather than traversing Canada to get to one of the two friggin' states that don't have the decency to be attached to the other forty-eight. We should be hunting the Leviathans."

Dean's argument was getting weaker and weaker, and Sam shook his head.

"Hunt them with what, precisely? We don't know where they're at either. Besides, we've got a definite hunt here. My bet is ghost."

"We've got that cleaning solution that's like acid. That's something."

Sam frowned. "But not enough. Look, this looks like an open and shut hunt. We'll find the ghost, we'll gank the ghost, and we'll be right back on track to Vegas."

Dean sighed, leaning forward on his legs. He shook his head.

"Fine. What do we have?"

Sam set up the internet connection and opened the browser. It was a little nerve wrecking, dealing with a slower connection than what he was used to, but he had it loaded with the necessary news reports pulled up soon enough.

"Reports of various hunters—game hunters, not monster hunters—getting lost on hunting trips they've won. A few days later, after a search, they find the bodies. It's always a gunshot wound, either to the chest or head. The latest victim was a Bob Wilburn, age forty-six."

Dean shrugged.

"Okay. What makes this such an obvious ghost hunt? Just sounds like hunters ganking hunters. You said they won the hunt? That's probably why they're killin' one another. Doesn't seem like our sort of thing."

Sam nodded. "True… until you take into account that the families have all said that the victims went alone."

"So? I'm pretty sure that's how most I-didn't-do-its start."

Sam sighed. "Yeah, well, the police must've had that exact train of thought. All of the victims' friends were accounted for, and the bullets for the kill shot didn't match any of the guns owned by anyone associated. Or the gun that the victims were carrying at the time."

"Okay… so that's a little weird. Anything special about the bullets?"

Sam smiled. "Thought you'd never ask. Police say that the bullets had to be custom-made. They've looked into a few places in the area that are known for customization for their guns, but nothing's come up. And again, nothing was found at any of the suspects' houses."

Dean seemed to mull that over, staring way too intently down at the deep green, thin carpet. Finally, he nodded.

"Okay, fine. But it still just could be a normal murder. But since we're here, and since it's obviously weird, we'll look into whatever it is that's offin' hunters. The moment we have reason to believe it's anything other than our kind of job, we high-tail it to the Land of High Stakes, got it? But first, I'm starving."

Sam closed the laptop, tucking it under one arm. "Deal. We heading to the diner you pointed out on the way?"

Dean nodded, "Damn straight. If have I have to stay in this God-forsaken frozen wasteland that's way too far away from Real America, then I'm at least going to try the local cuisine."

"Caribou burgers?"

Dean pulled an extra jean jacket out of his bag and pulled it on with a decisive tug.

"When in Rome, Sammy… when in Rome."

#

"Okay, the burgers are pretty good," Dean grinned as he pulled in along the curb, in front of a house covered in faded blue siding.

Sam fixed the collar on his black jacket, tucking his fake FBI badge in the inside pocket. For what had to be the millionth time on his trip, he rolled his eyes at his brother. A good burger was all it took to change his mind on just about anything. Nice to know that no matter what range of craziness he was fighting—be it his own, internal Lucifer or whatever this case might throw at them—Sam could always count on certain things never changing. Sam shook his head, rubbing the scar on his hand almost as an afterthought as they neared the home's front door.

"So what's the wife's name?" Dean asked as they took the first few steps up the small porch.

"Kay Wilburn."

They stopped just short of the door, Dean's teeth almost audibly chattering. Sam scoffed.

"We've been in cold places before, man. Don't you think you're over-reacting?"

"Not in minus 4 places."

He knocked on the house's front door before Sam could reply. Both brothers just stared at the door, listening to the sound of footsteps approaching on the other side. The door opened with a squeak, stopping when the chain lock on the other side reached its maximum length. Blue eyes rimmed in red, her face a deathly pale which made her red-painted lips stand out all the more, Kay Wilburn peered through the opening. Her graying blonde hair was pulled back tight, so much so that it seemed to stretch her face. She sniffled.

"Can I help you?" she asked.

Dean and Sam responded by flashing their FBI badges. Kay Wilburn blinked.

"FBI? Wh-why—?"

"We've just got a few questions concerning the death of your husband, Bob. Can we come in?" Dean asked.

Kay's eyes flashed back and forth between the two brothers before she finally nodded. She closed the door, undid the chain, and allowed them inside. She led them into her living room—a rather open space with hardwood flooring and floral patterned furniture. She took a seat in the recliner that faced the high-backed sofa. Sam and Dean sat on the sofa.

"I'm not sure I understand," she muttered. "Why is the FBI looking into my husband's death? I thought it was a hunting accident."

Sam and Dean exchanged a look.

"Well, it seemed a bit out of place to us, to be honest. We just need to ask a few routine questions, and we'll be gone," Sam said soothingly.

Kay eyed him. With a heavy sigh, a tear rolled down her cheek, and she shook her head.

"I knew it. I knew it was more than an accident. I knew I wasn't crazy. My husband was murdered," she said, her voice growing in ferocity and anguish.

Dean cleared his throat, scooting forward on his seat.

"Why would you think that? Is there anyone you can think of that may have held a grudge or something against your husband?"

She sniffled, trying her best to compose herself.

"No. No one that I can think of. But it doesn't add up, does it? Bob was shot, and the bullet doesn't match his gun? Doesn't match any guns connected to anyone we know? How is that possible?"

"That's what we're hoping to find out, Ma'am," Sam noted.

"Is there anything you can think of that could help us. Odd behavior before his death? Did the air seem colder around him? Did he eat anything unusual?" Dean asked.

Kay narrowed her eyes, obviously finding his questions odd, but she chose not to comment on them. Instead, she only shook her head again.

"No, Bob was just fine before his flight out to the Island."

"Wait," Sam said, holding up a hand. "Flight?"

"Yes. Fire Island is uninhabited, and it's only accessible by plane. I mean, it's got a cabin on there for the hunters that win the annual drawing, but that's it."

Dean was fighting hard not to show whatever it was he was feeling at the moment at the idea of flight, but Sam kept the conversation going.

"How does the drawing work?" he asked.

Kay shrugged. "I don't know. There's some pretty rare game on the island, so it's restricted to invite only. You know, to make sure whatever the animal is doesn't get hunted into extinction. To be honest, hunting is only my husband's interest. I-I'm not even sure what it was he was after."

Kay began to cry again, and Dean stood. He thanked her for her time, and Sam followed his brother out of the door. The two did not speak again until they were inside the Impala.

"Alaska and flying. This hunt is getting better and better," Dean grumbled.

Sam shook his head. "Okay, so I figure we should go check the flight records… make sure that Bob was alone."

Dean nodded. "Makes sense. I'll go wherever I need to go to find out more about that drawing he entered."

"Department of Fish and Game," Sam said.

"Whatever. I was just thinking, if this is our kind of thing, maybe something is calling these hunters to this island."

"Like a siren?"

"Exactly. I'll drop you off at the airport," Dean said, cranking the Impala.

#

Sam was knee-deep in flight records, and almost finished with them, when Dean decided to join him once again. The older Winchester pulled a chair up across from the drab metal table that the Flight Controller—Bernie—had settled Sam in at to look through the records.

"Well, nothing supernatural about the contest," Dean sighed. "Well, Bob rigged his invite, bribing Suzy into pulling his name. But that's it."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Suzy?"

"Yeah, the pretty secretary at the Fish and Game place."

"Okay. Well, there's nothing unusual about the flights either. Everything documented correctly, no unauthorized flights. Nothing."

Dean arched a brow. "Would an unauthorized flight really be on record? I mean, that sounds just a little bit stupid."

Sam shook his head and jabbed a thumb in Bernie's direction. Dean passed a glance over the flight controller as he leaned back in his chair, one foot propped up on the console in front of him, and a set of headphones pulled on over an oversized flight cap.

"See, I knew you were going to say that. I know that there's been no unauthorized flights because Bernie here is the boss, and he lives close by—just outside of Anchorage. He said that if a flight had taken off in the off-hours, he would've seen or heard it over his house."

A loud, "Whoa!" and a crash drew the brothers' attention, but it turned out to only be Bernie falling out of his chair. The controller launched back to his feet, straightening himself out. He puffed out his chest, like nothing had happened, and strolled over to Sam and Dean.

"Yeah, I told your agent friend the same thing I told the cops. No flights in or out without my knowledge. Especially to Fire Island."

Dean bit his bottom lip, rubbing a hand over his mouth before he held it up. Sam could already hear the withheld laughter.

"Wait, wait. This place is called Fire Island? I thought that that was A, in New York, and B, known for its great gay scene."

Bernie let out a heavy sigh that fluttered his lips. He rolled his eyes.

"Nothing against the gays or whatever, but that place has given our Fire Island a bad name to outsiders like yourselves. Here it's known as a great hunting place for some really rare game. Man, my dad always wanted to hunt over there before he died. It was a shame he never did win that drawing. Put in for it every year, too."

Sam and Dean exchanged a look as Bernie looked a little misty-eyed.

"Um, we're sorry for your loss," Sam muttered, and Dean kicked him under the table.

Sam mouthed a "what?" before Bernie turned his attention back to the brothers.

"Thanks." He sucked in a deep breath, clearing the sadness from his voice as he continued, "But yeah, he always wanted to hunt the rare Blue Bear over there."

Dean couldn't hold back the snort of laughter at that one, and it was Sam's turn to kick him.

"Blue Bear?" the younger brother said without a hint of amusement.

Bernie laughed. "Yeah, it's just what we locals call it. It's not actually blue. It's a black bear who's so black that when the light catches its fur just right, it looks blue. Everything like that aside, though, I'm guess I should be glad that my dad never got a chance to hunt. I mean, considering the history."

That peaked their interest.

"What history?"

Bernie shook his head. "It's stupid. Nothing that the FBI would be interested in. Most were ruled as hunting accidents."

"More deaths than just the recent ones?" Sam asked.

Bernie nodded. "Yeah, ever since the island reopened for the drawings back in '95. Seems like most the hunters have died over there, or declared missing. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why people keep going over there. Guess they're just real serious hunters. My dad would've been like that."

Dean and Sam launched to their feet, shaking Bernie's hand as they made their excuses to leave. Whether the controller had known or not, he had given them a lot to mull over. They made a beeline for the diner just on the inside of Anchorage that served Dean's caribou burger, and as Dean dug into the enormous meat sandwich with what could only be described as a ferocious glee, Sam set up his laptop and accessed the free internet.

"I can't believe we didn't think about this," Sam muttered as he ran a hand through his hair.

"What?" Dean managed to ask around his too-big bite.

Sam looked up, curling up a nose at the long trail of juices that rolled off his brother's chin. Dean shrugged and repeated his question.

"Dude, it's called a napkin," Sam said, tossing a handful of them at him.

Dean set his meal down, wiped his face clean, and repeated his question for the third time.

"The island, Dean. The one connecting factor to everything. We were so busy looking for the big bad monster, that we overlooked the itty bitty island."

"'Itty bitty'?" Dean scoffed.

Sam took a calming breath and continued.

"What I mean is that only one victim rigged the drawing, nothing supernatural is drawing the hunters to the island, and whatever it is that we're hunting looks like it's using a custom made gun. The only solid thing we have is the island. So I did a little research."

"And found…?"

Sam shook his head. "Back in '83, Fire Island was a nice tourist spot. Hunters hunted without having to do a drawing, and some people even owned summer property on the island. One particular person that owned property was a man named George Stanford. By day, a stand-up citizen known for his fantastic sourdough bread recipe at his bakery—which used to be just a few miles from here. He won several hunting competitions, was happily married, and used to be in the Army Reserve."

"Used to be?"

Sam chuckled mirthlessly.

"He was dishonorably discharged. He also had a prior criminal record that his dear neighbors knew nothing about—including burning down a local mechanic's garage. Apparently, Mr. Stanford had quite the temper."

"You said, 'by day.' What was his other half like at night?"

"Well, it seemed he also had a pilot's license, and that he liked girls—especially if they didn't like him."

Sam's eyes roved the article, re-reading the facts of the crimes. Something inside him churned, and a voice resurfaced in the back of his mind.

"Sounds like my kind of guy, eh, Sammy?"

Sam rubbed the scar on his hand with a bit of strength behind it, and stopped just long enough to flip his laptop around to Dean. If Dean noticed any of this, he pretended not to. He leaned into the screen just a tad, and Sam watched as his eyes moved left to right as he read the article.

"He kidnapped girls, raped them, flew them out to his cabin, and then hunted them."

Dean shook his head. "I hate people."

"He shot them with a custom gun, Dean," Sam noted.

Dean nodded. "But he's still alive."

"His victims aren't."

Dean's eyes scanned the screen.

"They were all reburied, most of them locally. This is good news."

A waitress drifted by their table, refilling their drinks and leaving them a check. Dean and Sam thanked her with a smile before they turned back to their gruesome conversation.

"All we have to do salt and burn them. Simple as that," Dean said, shutting the computer.

Sam pursed his lips, sighing. "Which is what has me concerned."

Dean laughed. "Yeah, I know. When is it ever that easy?"

#

Nighttime in a cemetery was never a fun thing, but Sam and Dean were both so used to it that the multiple graves—twelve, a record—they had to unearth seemed like nothing to them. It was easy enough to locate the girls' graves, douse them in a healthy coating of gasoline and salt, and toss in a match. They stood over the several blazes that roared around them, not saying a single word. As soon as it was all said and done—bodies reburied—Dean clapped his brother on the shoulder.

"Let's go pack. Vegas awaits."

#

They had the TV on just for the noise. They couldn't really explain it, but neither really felt like talking. They packed their duffle bags in silence, each dancing in and out of the bathroom to make sure they had everything off the sink. Both had a horrible feeling in the pit of their stomach that felt like they had had a breakfast of concrete, the result of their too-easy hunt, and it seemed like inevitability when Sam caught the words "Fire Island" on the news anchor's lips.

"Dean," he said, grabbing the remote and turning up the volume.

Dean turned, eyes locked on the screen while the anchor continued to speak.

"…Richard Kelson has been declared missing, presumed dead. Kelson was the recent winner of the Fire Island Hunt drawing held several times annually. He is the fifth hunter to disappear on Fire Island, with the other four having already been found."

"Shit," Dean said, shaking his head. "Did we miss one?"

"No. We got everyone that was reburied."

Dean grabbed up his jacket, heading toward the motel's door. "I'll go pay for the room again."

#

They were FBI agents again, and they were in prison again. Well, not actually arrested in prison. They had used their special, "government" clearance, to access time to talk with a particular resident of the correctional facility in Seward—two and a half miles out from Anchorage. Now, seated across a cold metal table in a drab stone room from them was George Stanford, who looked all too amused to be there.

"I didn't do it," he chuckled.

The Winchesters were not laughing.

"Excuse me?" Dean snapped.

"The deaths out on ol' Fire Island. I was here the whole time," Stanford grinned.

Sam breathed in deeply, locking a cold set of eyes on the confessed killer.

"We know that, Stanford. What we want to know is this: where are the rest of them?"

Stanford leaned back, a bushy black eyebrow raised as he played with the silver charm bracelet he wore on his right wrist. Dean stared at the delicate ornaments on it, and he couldn't help but sneer at the ballet slipper and cameo locket as he brought his eyes back up to the face of Stanford. His black hair was thick, curling, and stood out all around his head, and he sported a bushy beard that was exactly the same consistency as his hair. Not exactly the delicate bracelet type of guy.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Stanford said, rubbing a thumb across the ballet slipper.

"We know that the bodies you handed over to our predecessors weren't all of your victims, George. We know that there are more. Tells us where you've got them hidden."

He laughed as Sam glanced over at Dean.

"Or what?" Stanford said, shaking his head. "I'm already doing life for murder, no possibility of parole. What's in this for me?"

Dean started to stand, and Sam could see that any motion of violence his brother was about to do wasn't going to be faked in the least. And they needed Stanford to talk—which was going to be hard to do with a broken jaw.

"What do you want?" Sam asked, resting a hand on Dean's arm.

Dean gave Sam a clear look of, "What the hell, man?" But Sam pulled his brother back down to his chair as Stanford let a clear look of intrigue pass over his features.

"What do you mean?" he asked, slowly, as if looking for a trap.

"Well," Sam said, leaning forward with a shrug, "prison can't provide all the comforts of home. I mean, otherwise it wouldn't be punishment. But, if you tell us where the other bodies are, we could get you a few extra things allowed in here. What do you say?"

Stanford leaned back even farther in his chair, and for a moment both brothers thought that he might tumble out. Of course, that would be impossible, due to the shackles that held him to the table. His black, beady eyes were locked on the ceiling as he contemplated what could possibly bring him some measure of joy.

The thought made Sam sick, and he rubbed at his scar again. Finally, George turned his attention back to the supposed agents.

"You know what I would really like?" he asked, leaning in like he was about to reveal some lifelong crush.

Dean and Sam didn't move.

"What?" Dean asked.

"Pictures. Of the wonderful forest. There's nothing like the Alaskan wilderness, and I miss it so much."

He laughed, and Sam clenched his fist while Dean was left taking the calming breath.

"Deal," Dean said. "You give us the locations of the bodies, and we'll get you pictures of the woods."

Stanford smiled, twirling his bracelet round and round his wrist. Sam pulled a map of the island from within his black jacket and laid it open on the table, marking the three places Stanford pointed to. When they had finished, they stood, calling for the guard. Stanford grinned.

"Pleasure doing business, boys," he said, tipping an imaginary hat. "I do hope you'll keep up your end of the bargain."

Dean smirked, scoffing. "Don't you worry about it."

The guard opened the door. Moments before exiting the room, Dean turned.

"By the way, your bracelet's a little girly. Might give the boys in here the wrong impression."

As Sam and Dean made their way out to the Impala, the sound of Stanford's laughter echoed off the walls.

Once inside the Impala, Dean shuddered.

"I hate people," he said.

"You know what this means now, don't you?" Sam said as Dean started up his baby.

"What?"

"We've gotta go charter a flight with Bernie."

Dean leaned his head way back, groaning.

"Perfect," he growled, throwing the car into drive. "Friggin' perfect."

#

"What wackjob's idea was this?" Dean said, slamming his bag down onto the large, plaid couch that was the focal point in the cabin's cavernous living room.

The frozen heads of several dead animals stared down upon the Winchesters as Sam grimaced.

"I know. I thought the same thing."

There was only one place left to stay on Fire Island, and it had been renovated to accommodate the shared hobby of most of the island's visitors. George Stanford's cabin, which had been seized by the government.

"This is sick," Dean grumbled, and Sam found an odd sort of comfort in his brother's moral outrage. "This bastard murdered young women, and now his damn cabin's a frickin' tourist hotspot for men who shoot cute-and-furries."

"'Cute-and-furries'?" Sam asked.

Dean waved him off, pulling out his sawed off and loading up the salt rounds.

"All right," he said after Sam had finished preparing his gun and their digging supplies. "Let's go gank a ghost before some other poor hunter gets it."

Sam huffed. "Yeah, let's go."

The sun had set hours ago, and the temperature was rapidly dropping. The brothers' breath was coming out in white clouds, and it left Dean more than a little exasperated.

"How the hell are we gonna see this ghost coming if it's already freezing?" Dean groaned as they made their way further into the woods.

Sam fought his chattering teeth as he shook his head. "It'll be fine. All we've got to do is burn the ghosts before they get us."

"Oh, yeah, easy as pie," Dean muttered.

Sam shined his flashlight down at the map he carried. Dean muttered something that Sam didn't hear, but was pretty sure was some sort of profanity at the temperature. The boys kept moving deeper into the dense mass of snow-covered evergreens.

Despite using their statuses as agents, the local Fish and Game people had still told the Winchesters that they only had one night out on Fire Island before they had to leave so that the next winner could enjoy his hunt. Apparently, they took their hunting seriously in Alaska. So, Dean and Sam agreed and told them that they would be done by the morning.

Which, if everything went well, they would be. But, then again, they were the Winchesters. Things were rarely so cut-and-dried with them.

"Okay, this is it. Grave one," Sam said, taking a shovel and pushing it as hard as he could into the frozen earth.

"This is going to be such a bitch," Dean said, pulling it back out.

He drove it into the ground again, using his foot to give it a little more strength. They barely got a clump of dirt back up. Shaking his head and muttering something that sounded a lot like, "Freakin' Alaska," Dean repeated the action.

Sam, meanwhile, held a gun at the ready. After all, Dean did have a point about the temperature. With it already being so cold, he really couldn't imagine it getting much colder before the ghost showed up.

But then, like fate so often liked to do, he was proven wrong.

"Shit," Dean breathed, stopping for just a moment. "Did it get colder to you?"

Sam tightened his grip on the gun as Dean shoved the shovel back into the ground.

"We might want to hurry this up," Sam said.

"Easy for you to say," his big brother growled.

Something didn't feel right. Not a bird sounded, not a tree rustled, nothing seemed to be doing anything. Sam knew this eerie feeling all too well, and he kept his eyes peeled while Dean dug as fast as possible.

Suddenly, shimmering into being just in front of the boys, was the thin, transparent image of a young woman. She couldn't have been older than nineteen or twenty, a bloody bullet hole torn open right in the center of her chest. Sam leveled his sawed off and fired.

"Dig faster, Dean!" Sam said as another image flickered into being in front of him.

"Shit," Dean said, putting his all and more into the digging.

This ghost was different. She was younger than the first, maybe sixteen, with darker hair and a bullet hole in her head instead of heart. Sam fired again, dissipating the specter.

"Damn it," Sam groaned as not one, but three ghosts materialize in front of him. All different than the last two. "Dean, a little help."

Dean swore under his breath, and Sam heard him grab his gun. Sam moved his aim left, taking out the ghost girl there, while Dean took out the center and the right one. Three more—again, different—took their place.

"This is more than three freakin' missed graves," Dean shouted over the sound of their guns.

The boys fired and fired, each time with ghosts appearing before them and inching closer. Sam put a foot back, trying to distance himself, when he almost toppled over. He dared a glance over his shoulder, and his eyes widened. Dean had made much more progress in the frozen earth than he had thought. And there wasn't a body.

"I think Stanford lied to us," Sam said, turning just in time to shoot a ghost woman in the face.

"Nah, you think?"

"Then how the hell are these ghosts still here!"

Before Dean could respond, things took a turn for the worst. Instead of materializing in twos or threes as they had been, the whole group of ghosts appeared at once, surrounding Sam and Dean. A quick count gave Sam no less than twelve girls, all advancing fast.

"Screw this!" Dean shouted, shooting a hold in the crowd. "Run!"

Sam didn't need telling twice. The two of them turned in the direction of the cabin and ran as fast as they could, shooting at the ghosts that dared step in their path. Breathing hard, they were brought to a stop once again by a line of the dead. Both brothers lifted their guns. One of the ghost women waved her hand, and both weapons flew off into the night.

"Not friggin' good!" Dean shouted.

The ghosts were advancing. Dean swore again, and reached into his jacket. Sam hoped his brother was thinking what he was thinking as he copied the move. Both boys withdrew a canister of salt and flung its contents at the line of ghosts. They dissipated with a screech, and Sam and Dean lost no time in completing their run back to the cabin.

Thankfully there were rather few windows and only one door in the building, and the two brother's had them salted in no time. They met back in the large living room, hands on their needs, and breathing heavy.

"Twelve ghosts? Twelve?" Dean finally managed to gasp.

"Didn't we burn that many bodies back on the mainland?"

Dean didn't answer right away, holding up his hands and taking a mental count. Finally, he nodded.

"Yeah… yeah, we did. How the hell are they still here?"

"I don't know."

"We must've missed something."

"But what, Dean? What did we miss?"

#

They were back in Seward, but not in the FBI garb. It had taken them a little bit that night to come up with the solution to their problem. But that was when Dean had remembered. So after a little scouting, they found the side of the outdoor basketball with the least amount of security. They waited for at least an hour, but finally, Stanford was allowed his time outside. It was then that Sam and Dean made their move. They got as close to the fence as possible, and it didn't take long for the criminal to see them and make his way over.

"Hello, boys. Today casual dress at work?" he laughed.

Dean and Sam exchanged a look. Why did everything think they were being oh-so clever with that one? Dean shook his head.

"No, George. We're on our way out, but we thought we'd stop by and have one last chat."

Stanford smiled. "And what's this one going to be about?"

"About how you lied to us, George," Sam said.

Stanford smiled. "Well, you didn't exactly keep up your end of the bargain, either."

Dean grinned. "Oh. You mean about bringing you these?"

From within his denim jacket he withdrew a small stack of photos, and he flashed the top one at George. All mirth was gone from the serial killer's face.

"Give them to me," he said.

"Now, why would we do that?" Dean asked.

"We asked you where the bodies were, and you told us lies. There aren't any more bodies, are there? At least, not out on Fire Island," Sam explained.

Stanford shrugged. "You two seemed just so damned sure of it, I thought it'd make you happy to hear. After all, I'm a people pleaser."

"Yeah, a real charmer," Dean said, taking a single step closer to the fence.

Sam let his gaze drift upward toward the barbed wire that curled several feet above their heads, and when he brought his eyes back down to Stanford, he noted just how thick the fencing was between the prisoner and the outside world. They only had one shot at this.

"So, you see, I was still trying to give you two what you wanted. So, if you'll please, I'll be taking my pictures now."

Dean huffed. He began to put the pictures back into his jacket.

"Not likely."

"Give them to me!" Stanford hissed, reaching through the fence.

Sam seized the moment, grabbing the man by the arm and removing the charm bracelet. Then, both he and Dean stepped far out of reach.

"See you around, Georgie," Dean said, making a big show of putting the photos away.

"No! No, no, no!" Stanford screeched as Dean and Sam got inside the Impala and drove away.

#

"Gross," Dean said as he threw a little salt in with the small pile of differently colored hair in the ashtray.

He dropped a match on top of the hair and shook his head.

"I can't believe he kept pieces of their hair in his locket. Have I told you how much I hate people?" Dean said as he shook his head.

Sam shoved his laptop back inside of its case as he chuckled. "Yeah, that would be the third time this trip, I think. But it's common serial killer psychological. A lot of them keep trophies of their kills. And we've seen it before."

Dean raised a brow. "Yeah, thanks for the psych lesson."

He stood, stretched, and grabbed his duffle. He reached into a side pocket and withdrew his silver flask. Eyes wide, Sam sighed, which stopped his brother in mid-drink.

"What?"

"We almost made it the whole trip, Dean, without you having to touch a drop of that stuff. Can't you just go a little while longer?"

The flask lowered just a bit… just before Dean shrugged and turned it up. Sam groaned.

"Come on, Sammy. We're going to the land of money and liquor. I like to think of it as just blending with the locals."

"You know that's not what that's about. You just won't talk to anyone. Not me. Not Bobby. Hell, I think I'd feel better if you'd call up someone random and have a heart-to-heart. Just to let it all out."

Dean screwed the cap back on the flask, shoved it back into his duffle, and swung it up over his shoulder.

"Quit your bitchin'. Vegas awaits! Oh, and I'm grabbing a caribou burger before we blow town. That okay with you?"

Sam sighed, giving the room a once over before nodding and following Dean out. The two crawled into the Impala and fired her up. Dean grinned at him, told him to "lighten up," and blared some AC/DC as they neared the diner—their last stop before making a beeline for the state line. Sam grinned, lightly brushing a thumb over his scar. Maybe Dean was right. After all, he hadn't seen Satan half as much as he had been, and they were on their way to one of their favorite traditions—Vegas.

What could happen to them there?


End Notes: Okay, so this took me forever to write. Like, you don't even know. And yes, I know I took some liberties. Like the black (blue) bear being on Fire Island. The serial killer part of the story—yes, there was a real serial killer that was similar but I did take several liberties with the details. But I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. Also, I apologize for Dean's dislike of Alaska. It just doesn't seem like his type of place. Please know that this doesn't reflect the views of the author. Please review!