This is set immediately between 5x18 & 5x19, and it's fully Canon-compatible.
Fredericksburg Virginia had to be the biggest patch of nowhere one could ever hope to find in such close proximity to a major city. With Washington DC only 40 minutes north, in traffic, how Fredericksburg could possibly have remained such a backwater was something of its own mystery.
However, that was a mystery the Winchesters weren't particularly concerned about. Their job was figuring out why this sleepy little town was experiencing a rash of disappearances and bloody murders. And it was an unprecedented rash to be sure, as the town went from a murder every few years to a murder every few weeks over night
Sitting in a diner on Caroline street, one of the only five streets in 'downtown', Sam and Dean were going over the facts again, manila folders spread out across the table. The disappearances started in August, once every other month or so. The victims were all college students, attending the University of Mary Washington, and they'd all disappeared on a Friday night as they were walking out to their cars in the parking deck behind the main campus. There had been police alert boxes and emergency beacons every forty feet between the last student-use building and the garage, but not once had any of the alarms gone off. They'd been checked and rechecked; not one was faulty, a call for help simply wasn't made.
The murders had an entirely different M.O. and it was throwing the boys off. Typically there would be one thing, just one, that had some bad juju in it for a town this size. But it wasn't unheard of for there to be two separately manifesting vengeful spirits in a place, they were just usually places bigger than Fredericksburg.
The second spirit was haunting some building at the corner of Williams and Princess Anne, because that was where folks were last seen. Parts of their bodies turned up in the alleyways behind some of the shops that flanked the intersection. The murders didn't start until late February, but they were much more frequent than the campus disappearances. The problem for the Winchesters was choosing which to focus on first, the less frequent disappearances with possibly still-breathing victims to be saved, or the more frequent murder spree that could be ended even though there was no hope for the victims already slain.
"You're gonna want to start with Mercer Hall. I already know who's behind it and where the body is, and I'm pretty sure at least four of the missing people are still alive."
Sam and Dean jumped at the voice, her words cutting through their concentration easily. Looking up from their pile of papers in surprise, they found one of the college students standing at the edge of their table with a cup of coffee in her hand. She sat down next to Sam without so much as a glance to ask permission, and started sorting through the files on the table like she owned them.
"Um, who exactly are you?" Sam managed after a moment.
Dean was still staring at her with an expression between horror, outrage, suspicion and downright amusement. She was peering at him far too frequently to say she wasn't being creepy, but just sparsely enough not to be staring outright.
"I'm nosy." She shrugged and when on, "The name's Alice."
"You're not a Hunter though, right?" Sam's confusion melted into dismay as he finally connected the way Alice was looking at his brother with how Becky had been known to look at him. Alice was much more subtle about it, more focused on the job, but the underlying fan-girl-vibe was still apparent. "You read the books."
Dean cursed. "When we're done here, we're gonna go pummel that whiny little bitch."
"He'd know you were coming."
"Shut up," Dean returned, huffing in Alice's general direction because though he knew she was right, he wasn't about to admit he'd accepted it.
Sam refocused the discussion, "So what were you saying about Mercer Hall?"
"It's an old building behind Monroe," Alice informed them, plopping her own file down on the table as she materialized it from her messenger bag. "It's pretty much been closed up, but because of the renovations in Monroe it's being used as office space for staff. In the 1950's it was a hospital; pretty run of the mill except for a few experimental psychiatric physicians doing tests to see if they could cure alcoholism, or at least make hangovers go poof. Dr. Rick Snyder was the guy in charge of the program, and he was a rabid alcoholic. He did most of his procedures drunk and killed a lot of people because of it. He was the driving force to find a cure for hangovers and he used to snatch drunks off the street and take them down to his private office to administer tests that were almost always lethal, but they were usually drawn out affairs. I think he got off on it, half torture, half self-serving science. Anyway, most of the victims lasted a few months and he always like to keep at least four in different stages of the process all at once."
Sam looked at Dean with raised eyebrows. "Sounds legit."
"It is. I know how to research," Alice simpered. "And like I said, I'm nosy."
"I'll say you are," Dean grumbled. She was still not-quite-staring at him. "How'd you know we were gonna be here anyway?"
"Come on, hauntings like this? This obvious? I knew a Hunter team would show up eventually, and there's only three diners in this town," Alice explained. "I didn't know it would be you, but I knew it'd be somebody."
Dean stared at her over the edge of the folder with Dr. Snyder's smug mug plastered inside. She was staring back, more or less openly now, with a mix of admiration, snark, and that ever-eerie fan-girlism.
He shrugged aside the shivery feeling Alice gave him and asked, "By why students? Why not the people who work there?"
"The staff are never drunk when they're within grabbing distance," Alice explained. "Students on this campus are pretty much smashed any day of the week as a general rule from 9pm on, but they only go towards the parking lot on Friday nights when they're heading home. They're the only ones that fit the pattern."
"Okay, so where's Snyder's body?"
"Cremated." Alice's expression in that moment was one of the creepiest things Dean had ever seen, and he'd seen a lot of creepy things over the years. She was reacting to his sonuvabitch flash of emotion, which was ten times more vibrant than her imagination had ever painted it from reading and, knowing that it would be, she'd had to provoke him to make it at least once. "But his life was in his work, literally. He used to get so intense about his work that he'd get nosebleeds, and sometimes drops fell on the paperwork. His private files, blood and all, are in his private study in the Mercer basement."
"Wait a minute, how long have you known that?"
"About three months."
Dean glared at her, "Then why didn't you do anything about it? You've read the books, right? So why didn't you stage your own little 'salt and burn girls-night-out' and gank that bastard? He's taken two people and you could have stopped him!"
"No, Sam, he's sort of right," Alice admitted. "But I promise, it's not because I was waiting for you to show up! I swear, if I could have, I would have."
Sam, willing to concede benefit of the doubt, asked, "So why can't you?"
Embarrassed, Alice looked at her shoes. "I can't open the door."
"No. Well, it was, but I can pick locks, so that's not the problem. The hinges are rusty and the door's already heavy on its own . . . I just don't have enough mass to move it," she admitted, her voice going soft with shyness, or perhaps shame.
The brothers looked her over again, their eyes flicking over her figure simultaneously in quick appraisal. She was actually quite tiny. Not midget short or stick skinny, or anything so noticeable, just tiny; like she was built on a different scaling system. Dean looked briefly to Sam, thinking about the over-sized scale used to build him. Sasquatch wasn't disproportionate, he was just big. Alice was the same, just small.
Sam sighed. "Can you tell us where it is?"
Jumping at the chance to redeem herself, Alice said, "Of course! Tonight's Tuesday, so that end of campus should be deserted by six. We can be in and out by seven!"
"Whoa, wait. 'We'? What makes you think you're coming, Thumbelina?" Dean was always terse, this time he might have been more aware of that fact than at others, but it didn't stop him. "These things don't typically go out quietly when you're tryin' to kill 'em."
Alice nodded. "I'll let you guys handle everything, but you'll need me to show you where you're going. Mercer was built by an army of rabid baboons or something; it's worse than the art building in terms of organization and none of the hallways go in straight lines. If you want to get to Snyder's office before next week, you need a guide who knows exactly where it is."
A short staring contest ensued between Dean and Alice, because Dean had watched too many people get hurt and Alice knew she was right but Dean had pretty eyes. It wasn't half as uncomfortable as Sam thought it would be, seeing the 'Becky-fan-girl-monster' thing turned on Dean for a change was actually pretty amusing.
Dean huffed. "Fine. Now what can you tell us about the murders?"
"Not as much as I could about Snyder."
"Do you have anything?" Sam wondered.
Alice smirked. "Of course, I have something. It's just not as much as I hoped I'd have by now. We'll need to get inside to figure out exactly who it is."
"The Fredericksburg Museum's secret atomic bomb shelter; well, not so much secret as forgotten," Alice replied cheerfully. "It was built in the 60's by white supremists, and there's three or four guys that could be our ghost." Another file materialized from her messenger bag. It was such a smoothe motion that, if Sam didn't know better he would have sworn it was a spell. Actually, he wasn't sure he did know. "But's here's a list of our top suspects: Brad Patterson, Jackson Goode, and Frank Jacobs; all three top nuclear scientists working in DC and living down here in Fred with their little not-quite-Nazi families."
"The victim pool is mostly minorities, but that doesn't explain all of them," Sam mentioned. "And those were only the ones from the period right after the trio died. Now, most of the victims are white women."
"Ah, but they're modern white women. By accounts of the 60's scientists, they're black-sympathizers . . . and 'whores' to boot. Have you seen the average skirt length in this town? For a place this tiny, without a single decent club, the people take the word 'downtown' way to seriously," Alice reasoned.
Sam had to agree.
Dean shrugged. "It's not so bad."
"Misogynistic pig," Alice said with a grin of good humor.
Then her watch beeped and her humor slipped away. "Damn."
"What's wrong?" Sam asked quickly, his face wary with concern. Dean' s expression matched, darkening instantly as his mind raced to figure out what he needed to kill.
Alice paused in her sudden rush to get up as she noticed the Hunters following suit. "Oh, sorry. I guess I shouldn't swear about the small stuff, not when you guys . . . it's nothing really. I just forgot. It's already almost 4, and I'm late. I have this psych final in about twenty minutes and it's all the way back on campus and I wore heels today and- I'm gonna stop rambling now. Promise."
Relaxing immediately, Sam mentioned, "We can give you a ride."
"We can what?" Dean demanded.
Looking pointedly at his brother, Sam reminded, "For the intel you dug up, it's the least we can do."
Grumbling, Dean grabbed his coat and shuffled the folders off the table into a neat-ish pile he could push into Sam's hands. "Come on, Thumbelina," he barked, heading out the door. "But if those heels of yours hurt my baby's leather . . ."
Sam shrugged at Alice, who was caught between charging after Dean and standing there like a love-struck statue as she beamed delightedly at his back. Looking down at her from where he stood, Sam realized that Alice really was tiny. Even in heels as high as any hookers' that Dean had ever brought back, Alice still wasn't much more than a chin-span above eye level with Sam's elbow.
The pair chased Dean to the car when they realized that he might very well drive off without them. Alice spent the entire ride to Trinkle Hall marveling at the amazing interior, the roar of the engine, the pure majesty that was the Impala.
Alice slipped out of the car at the building's back door. From shotgun, Sam waved to her. "See you back here right after class?"
"Hell no, I need better shoes if I'm going on a salt and burn. No matter how careful you two try to be, chances are I'm gonna have to run," Alice responded. Sam wanted to protest, but he could see sense in her words. "My dorm is just up that hill and across the little park thing, so I'll run there before we do this. It's just psych, so I'll be out by 6. Meet me back here at 6:15-ish? We'll get to Mercer by 6:30 at the latest."
"Sounds good," Sam affirmed. "Good luck on your test, kid."
Alice smiled at him. "Thanks, Sam, really, but for the record, I like just about any nickname you can give me better than 'kid'."
Laughing, Sam wondered briefly if Dean would have gotten the same response. Probably, from the way she'd said it. He waved her off and then turned to his brother. "Ready to go poking around for this forgotten bomb shelter?"
"You know me . . ."
Alice watched as the car drove off, reveling in her unexpected ten minutes before test-time as she waited for her friends to text back.
"That was really them, wasn't it? Sam and Dean . . . for real."
Alice turned around to meet Brittany's excited eyes, nodding furiously and barely managing to suppress a burst of fangirl screaming that would have drawn way too much attention. "Tell me you got pictures."
"Of course, I got pictures. Who do you take me for?"
"They're here about the Mercer hunt? And the bomb-shelter thing?"
Alice nodded, heading inside with Brittany. "Yep, they're gonna take care of Snyder tonight. And please tell me you've gotten those records from the cemeteries! Even if we don't know who we've got to burn yet, at least we can know where the options are buried."
"I got two of them," Brittany said, passing over a folder. "Still waiting on the third. You know, even though we did figure out the ghost part of the books were real, I never expected the rest of it to be . . . especially them."
Alice nodded. "Yeah, I know what you mean. With the fact that Sam and Dean are real, like really real, it kinda kills my respect for Carver Edlund."
There was a pause. Then the two girls looked sideways at each other and burst out laughing. "Only we would be confronted by the dream-boats of our literal fantasy world . . . and comment on the diminished literary value of the stories they're from."
"Well, we are the cool kids," Alice agreed.
"You know when Hannah's getting in?"
"Yeah, our Sam should be picking her up from the train station now," Alice said. "Julie, Winnie, and Miae are still downtown, shopping their adorable little hearts out."
Brittany nodded. "Good luck on psych?"
"Yeah, good luck on Linguistics."
Much less than an hour later, Alice was sitting in the main campus dining hall, her dress and heels ditched for Keds and jeans. Across the table from her was the friend that had introduced her to the Supernatural series to begin with.
"You lied to Sam and Dean?"
Alice shrugged at Hannah's incredulousness. "And they believed you?"
"I'm the hallmark innocent little white girl. Lilith's vessel was scarier than I am."
To her left, the Lady Sam laughed. "I don't know a thing about this book series y'all are talking about, but isn't Lilith that creepy little girl you posted on Tumblr a while back? Dude, she is way scarier than you."
Alice laughed. "See what I mean?"
Hannah sighed. "You're sending me these pictures, you know that, right?"
"They should already be in your email," Alice returned.
"I love you."
"I know. Now, how about you go grab the others and fill them in on the change in our long-weekend plans," Alice suggested. "I've got to go meet Sam and Dean."
"I hate you."
By the way,
This was written for a "SPN in your life" FF challenge on Tumblr, so this is a story with real folklore about the Fredericksburg Virginia area!
I'm using mainly for storage but comments are a writer's crack ^_~