Rolling over with a soft sigh, Lizzy settles once more into a comfortable place. It's freezing out these days and being in Illinois in winter is no picnic so when she rouses from her deep sleep very early in the morning she decides it's probably best to stay in bed where it's cozy and warm. Granted the mattress is lumpy and the sheets are a bit rougher than she would like, but the human furnace named Dean made it much more tolerable. She hated sleeping next to him during the summer but once autumn hits she's grateful again.
Turning to lay on her other side, she snuggles into his back like she did nearly every morning for almost two years now. There really wasn't much better than the rare days they had off and they could just wake up when they woke up, no hunts to get to and no places to jump into the car and race to. It was a wonderfully lazy feeling and after the angry/exhausting night she had the night before she could really use the relaxing rest.
Lizzy molds her body into him and breathes out contently with her position. Instead of finding that comfortable spot she instinctually settles into like second nature however, Lizzy is greeted with a face full of hair. Long hair. As she wrinkles her nose when the strands tickle her, some kind of far off confusion descends upon her calm, sleep addled mind but it's slow to develop. Hooking her arm around Dean's torso, slipping it under his t-shirt, she once more finds utter confusion. Instead of the usual hard muscled stomach she normally feels under her hand she finds soft skin over taught, smooth curves. That's when she starts to really wake up.
Her hand moves quicker now, practically searching for her husband whose body she knows better than her own, and when her palm lands on an ample round curve that certainly didn't belong on her man… or any other man for that matter… she becomes sufficiently worried. Her mind snaps into fully awake, hyper-focus mode as she springs up until sitting.
"Fuck!" Lizzy shouts when she sees the medium length, wavy, dirty blond head of hair lying facing away from her. Who the hell is she sleeping next to? Where's Dean? "Sam!" she shouts aloud for backup as she snatches her Glock off the nightstand and flies out of the bed. She swiftly aims at the mystery woman, trying to maintain her outer calm.
"What!?" Sam yells right back as he's up and out from under his blankets instantly with the sound of her voice. Looking over to the other bed closer to the door he sees there's a woman asleep in Dean and Lizzy's bed that Lizzy looks about ready to shoot. "The hell…"
"What the fuck is the deal!?" the woman calls over in a highly agitated voice without moving to look at the nervous hunters. "So early…" She pulls the covers closer into her and continues to lay there looking for more rest.
"Who the fuck are you!?" Lizzy booms out her demand, trigger finger already itching with the nonchalance the female has within the situation.
"Who the fuck are you yelling like this on a day off?" the woman responds with absolute ire as she rolls over to face Lizzy.
"Oh my fucking God," Lizzy's voice drops an octave when she takes a look at the woman's face as she blinks away the sleep in her eyes. The gun in her hand shakes when Lizzy starts to piece it all together.
"Whoa, L! You're gonna shoot me!" the woman alarms with complete surprise as she sits up and holds out her hands in surrender. It's then that she gets a good look at her own two hands, her own two very small and feminine hands, in front of her. "Whoa! Shit!" she shouts and shakes her appendages while freaking out when the appearance of them shocks her.
"Baby?" Lizzy asks while lowering her gun to her side and staring in utter panic at the somehow familiar face in front of her. It's the eyes that give her away. Lizzy would know those expressive green eyes anywhere.
"Fuck! What!?" the woman looks down at herself and swears again. "No! Huh!? No, no, no!"
"No fucking way," Sam nearly whispers when he figures out what he's witnessing.
"Dean?" Lizzy tries again, her voice shaky as she tries to identify the woman sharing her bed.
"Yeah?" the woman calls back with wide, horrified eyes when she looks up again. Lizzy, at a loss for words, doesn't answer at all. She can't.
Peering back down at her own form, the blond woman sucks in a choked breath in her hysteria at what she sees. She grasps hard onto her own breasts through the very large white undershirt she had on, checking to see if they were in fact there, before whipping her focus back up to the two hunters staring at her in awe.
"I have tits!" she shouts with horror. "I have fucking tits! Why do I have fucking tits!"
"Oh what the fuck…" Lizzy huffs while trying to actually recognize what is happening.
"You're Dean," Sam more states than asks as he continues to look at the woman while at a loss as to what to do next.
"Sammy, what the fuck is going on!?" the female's voice grits out, her hands still grasping hard onto her chest, as she begins kicking the sheets off of her legs. Instead of the usual muscular legs she's used to seeing, under the covers lies two long, lean, toned legs of a woman. "Oh God no. No fucking way!"
"This isn't real," Lizzy very quietly says to herself as she watches the woman jump out of bed. The second she does the boxer briefs she has on start to slip to the floor as they are way too big for her. Quickly pulling them up, the much freaked out woman panics further.
"Somebody tell me what the fuck is happening right now!" Dean demands.
The Previous Day
"Please tell me we're done," Dean pleads to Sam as they sit in the library for the fourth hour straight.
"We're done," Sam says as he packs up his laptop. "You can relax and stop complaining now."
"Thank God," Dean exaggeratedly responds as he gets out of the stiff, wooden library chair and stretches. "I swear the longer I stay here the more I start morphing into a nerd. Next thing you know I'll be a Dewey Decimal System expert."
"You can't be an expert at the Dewey Decimal System," Sam smiles with the ridiculousness of Dean's comment as he shoves the several photocopies of pages from local history books into his leather bag. "It's just something you use."
"Clearly you've spent way too much time in libraries in your life if you know that. Well, you're already a full blown nerd, guess that's why."
"I really don't think I'm the nerd here."
"Star Wars, dude," Sam simply states, reminding Dean that there are several types of nerds out there.
"Screw you, Sam," Dean quickly returns. "Star Wars is awesome."
"And one of the nerdiest things on Earth."
"Why don't you go read another Harry Potter book, you nerd?"
Sam smiles at this one. That was Rina's nerdiness wearing off on him but oh well.
"And you go watch Lord of the Rings again."
"At least I never read them all," Dean rebuts, knowing Sam read them all for the first time while in fifth grade… and then uncountable times over again since.
"Yeah, I did read them… because I 'm not a moron and I have an imagination," Sam returns quickly before changing the subject as they head for the front door, his way of ensuring that he had the last insult. "Where are we supposed to pick up Lizzy?" They separated earlier in the day. Lizzy hoofed it around town, checking out what the locals had to say about the odd occurrences that have been going on there, and the men went to the library to Dean's utter dismay.
"Somewhere downtown," Dean mutters while texting her to get a place to swing by. Carlyle, Illinois' version of a downtown was more a small strip of Main Street beautifully preserved from a time many decades ago. There wasn't much there but a diner, some old shops, a beauty parlor, a drug store, and a couple bars. In Dean's mind, it was all he needed to make life grand. Greasy food and drinks. Done. When Lizzy texts back, he lets Sam know. "She said to meet us at that little diner."
"Sounds great," Dean emphatically corrects, a hand on his stomach as he pushes through the front door. "I'm freakin' starving."
"There's something new," Sam follows, rolling his eyes.
Walking into PJ's Diner, Dean and Sam find Lizzy sitting and talking with an unfamiliar elderly woman in a booth towards the back of the dining room. She waves them over when she spots them.
"Hey guys," Lizzy greets once they reach the table. "This is Ginny. Ginny, this is Dean and Sam."
"Well, well. Such strapping young gentlemen," Ginny sweetly says up to the two tall men as she holds her time wrinkled hand out to them.
"Nice to meet you, ma'am," Sam smiles, dimples in full effect as he shakes her hand.
"Ma'am, oh please," the sixty year old says in jest. "You make me feel old."
"You'll have to excuse my little brother," Dean cuts in, shaking her hand also. "He gets a little flustered around beautiful women." Just for the added flirtatious punch he winks at her.
"Uh-huh, so you're the schmoozer of the two," she eyes Dean before turning to Lizzy with a continuing bright smile. "I'm now hoping for your sake that you married the tall one."
"Nope," Lizzy smirks with fake disappointment on her face as Dean takes a seat next to her and drops an arm around her shoulders. "I picked wrong."
"Well, from where I'm sitting you win either way, my dear," Ginny says slyly after getting a good eyeful of the Winchesters.
"May I?" Sam questions, sitting down next to Ginny once she nods her head in agreement.
"Ginny was just telling me all about the Gregory family," Lizzy explains while eyeing both brothers. "She's lived here in Carlyle her whole life so she knows everything about this town and the people in it."
"Oh I certainly do," she smiles to the younger group. "Carlyle born and raised. It's a small little town and everyone knows everyone."
"So you knew the Gregory's?" Sam wonders.
"Oh, I'd say so. I worked for them for thirty-seven years." Ginny takes a sip of her coffee. "I was their nanny and then once the children were older and no longer needing my services I became the house runner. Mrs. Gregory said she couldn't function without me and I think she was very right about that." She chuckles at the memories.
"So the Gregory's were loaded I take it?" Dean questions, getting a feeling he's right.
"What an understatement," Ginny laughs a little. "Harold worked as the CFO of a large company based out of St. Louis. He personally hated the city but loved his job so he bought a large plot of land out here and built quite the mansion."
"The place is seriously gorgeous even now," Lizzy adds her two cents after having driven by the house last night. It's abandoned now, the ivy and vegetation overgrown and the state of the house showing the first signs of neglect, but its former beauty is still more than obvious.
"Oh, living there for years was a privilege," assures Ginny. "Mr. Gregory really outdid himself."
"Ginny," Lizzy tries to grab the older woman's attention and get her onto the right track. "Tell them what you told me about what happened in the house."
"Yes," Ginny starts, her emotions taking a sudden turn towards sullen. "Well, it was all terribly sad I must say. Mr. Gregory had succumbed to a horrific bought with cancer. He really fought and fought hard, God bless him, but the sickness was too much for him. He passed on in nineteen ninety-nine. Mrs. Gregory never really recovered from that.
"My last year working for the Gregory's was two-thousand and five. Mrs. Gregory spent those six years in a severe depression that just continued to get worse and worse as time passed. I tried to get her help but nothing worked. She and Harold were soul mates if I ever saw a pair. His death, well… it broke her heart in the most literal sense."
Under the table Lizzy clamps her hand down onto Dean's leg. She knows this story and knows it well. She lived it for four months of her life when Dean was in hell and she knows what something like that can do to a person.
Peering at her with quick concern, Dean thinks he gets the message loud and clear. They had thought it was Harold Gregory causing problems around the property of the Gregory mansion all this time. When they burned his bones all three were shocked that yet another person breaking into the abandoned mansion got hurt mysteriously there a week later, making them come right back. Fucking kids, Dean thinks. How could they not learn after so many kept getting hurt by an invisible force there?
"So Mrs. Gregory never stopped mourning her loss?" Sam eggs on Ginny.
"Oh no, never. One day she locked herself in her room and I couldn't for the life of me get her to come out. We spoke through the door for over an hour as I tried to get her to calm down. She just wouldn't listen to me. She said she had one of Mr. Gregory's old antique guns and was going to use it.
"Her son showed up just then. He'd been visiting from his home in Chicago for the weekend. I think Christopher looked so much like Harold that it just triggered something in her. He really is the spitting image of his father. Her depression got so much worse suddenly and caused her to really give up. She couldn't look at him without hurting."
"So she killed herself in the house?" Dean deduces, even though they already knew this. Sam and he had found out at the library earlier that day that Mrs. Gregory shot and killed herself a few years back.
"Not before hurting her son accidentally."
"How did she do that?" Sam asks with utter concern written deep in his face.
"Christopher kicked down the door when his mother refused to come out. He thought he was helping but when the door flew open it spooked Mrs. Gregory something awful. She unthinkingly pulled the trigger and shot poor Christopher in the shoulder."
"Holy crap," Dean quietly comments when the heft of the story comes out.
"You said it, sweetie," Ginny sadly responds. "Christopher was more than fine but his mother couldn't stand the thought that she hurt her son like that. It was the last straw. She immediately turned the gun on herself and pulled the trigger."
"I'm so sorry you had to experience that," Lizzy tells Ginny as she reaches across the table and drops a supportive hand atop the still grieving woman's. "And I thank you for rehashing it all for us. I know it has to be painful to do that."
"It is," she admits, the tears threatening to spill over. "But if what I have to tell you will stop other people in this town from getting hurt, then it'll all be worth reliving. You just better end it."
"We promise to do what we can," Lizzy assures. "We deal with these kinds of things often enough. With what you've told us, it's a big help."
The woman just smiles at Lizzy, happy to have the help.
"Ginny, I hate to ask this question but where is Mrs. Gregory buried?" Sam questions, hoping to not overstep his bounds.
"She's behind the house, in the backyard. Christopher decided to keep her there as she always used to say she was happiest when at home. She loved that house and I know he made the right decision. She would have wanted that."
"Um, do you think," Sam starts as he scrambles to get out the aerial view of the property he printed out at the library. "You could point it out to me?"
"Oh…" Ginny carefully looks over the page. "Under this tree, right here." She points at the page. "There's a small stone marking the place. Such a shame. After everything, the Gregory kids all left the house to rot. None of them could stand to be in the house any longer but couldn't bear to sell their late mother's favorite place so there it stays, crumbling little by little."
"Ginny, you've been more helpful than you know," Sam tells her in his patented concerned-boyfriend voice. "I promise we'll take care of this problem and no one else will get hurt."
"Good," Ginny smiles warmly to the kind hunter. "It can't be that a haunted and malicious house will always be Mrs. Gregory's lasting legacy. She was a wonderful, charitable, and brilliant woman who deserved better. She just loved her husband too damn much. That love was a blessing and a curse I guess."
Dean and Lizzy exchange looks, their minds on the very same page when they hear what Ginny has to say. The story was way too familiar for comfort.