I hold to the theory that Amity Park is in the American Midwest. Illinois if I had to pinpoint it. Not that it usually matters.

Inordinately proud of my 178 word sentence. HAHA. XD

Winchester centric (with cameos for the DP cast).

Strange Sanctuary

August 1, 2013

The Winchesters made a point of stopping in Amity Park every time they drove through the Midwest.

Of course, as America's most haunted town, they were drawn to the place as soon as they caught wind of the stats—more ghosts per person, per square foot, per any criteria you could think of, than any other part of the country.

But that wasn't what kept them coming back. Sure, they could have had their work cut out for them if that was what they had wanted—pick up another hunt, gank another ghost every time they came through. It would have been the steadiest, most reliable hunting they could possibly imagine, but they never did end up taking an official job there.

The first time they stepped foot in Amity, they couldn't have been more surprised by what they found. They expected it to be like any other hunt, albeit on a much larger scale than normal, and began their interviews by asking if anything out of the ordinary had occurred lately. The question got them a mix of raised eyebrows and skeptical faces of people pointing them to the local newspaper headlines, outright laughter at the guys who were so obviously new to the area, and a thoughtful pause before one elderly woman answered, "Well, this week, Ember and Skulker broke up and got back together again during the same fight. That was a little odd, I suppose."

After that, they learned that they didn't need the fake badges or suits, didn't even need to think about pulling a con. The citizens of Amity Park all believed in ghosts, all wanted to talk about ghosts, to anyone who would listen, and didn't understand why two feds without white lab coats (seriously, Sammy, government agents in white lab coats?) wanted information that was so easily obtained through polite inquiry.

So, for once in their long careers, Sam and Dean Winchester could just walk down the streets and simply ask what was going on in this crazy town.

People would smile and tell them about the latest ghost attack, the extent of property damage done in the past week, the recent exploits of the Phantom— the town's resident ghost— and Red— the town's resident ghost hunter— and point them in the direction of the Fentons if they still needed more information.

Their first visit to FentonWorks (where is it? Honey, there's no way you could possibly miss that thing!) revealed perhaps the most eccentric family they'd ever come across—and that was really saying something in their world— a gigantic man in a construction orange Hazmat suit who loved fudge, his family, and hunting ghosts with enthusiasm enough for a man twice his already large size; a shapely ginger clad in teal, adept at everything (except cooking edible food) from Tae Kwon Do to dissection to skillfully rendering a set of blueprints about to be sent to the patent office; a red headed girl looking at a full-ride scholarship to any college she chose to grace with her passionate, rational, nosy, over-protective presence; and lastly, a teenage boy with black hair, blue eyes, and the most obvious 'tell' in the world, who loved Dumpty Humpty, hanging out with his two best friends, and really did mean well despite the bumps and scrapes he often came home with after detention on the rare occasions when he actually showed up before curfew.

They hadn't quite known what to make of the family, but finally decided just to take them as they were, and enjoy the oddball company as they heard the full story of the town's haunting.

The Winchesters came into the town that first time thinking they were walking into their largest job to date, only to find that the problem was under control. Amity Park had hunters, good ones, both of the human and ghostly variety, and boy hadn't that been the biggest surprise of all.

But after promising to watch the ghost boy in action for a week before blasting him full of rock salt (Their town, their hunts, their rules, Dean) they had to grudgingly admit, later ponder, and eventually accept wholeheartedly, the fact that Danny Phantom was just as much a ghost hunter as they were, even though he was, in fact, also one of them himself.

As soon as a ghost showed their ectoplasmic face in the town, they were taken care of with nothing but some property damage on the side. Frustrating as anything for the city leaders, of course, but so much better than any single-entity haunting that they had run into anywhere else in the country that they were willing to leave well enough alone when the situation was clearly in such good hands.

So they drove on, left for their next hunt, but found themselves coming back the next time they were in state, checking in on the latest on the ghostly situation and visiting the Fentons again.

And again and again and every time they were near enough for Dean to justify driving a few hours out of their way.

It was worth it, every time, for the odd sense of freedom they weren't able to feel anywhere else in the country.

In Amity Park, they could visit with ghost hunters who were completely well adjusted; lived their lives, went to school, hung out with their friends, and found some sense of normality in an otherwise utterly non-normal situation. Sam once laughed and called it "vicariously living a normal life," and Dean didn't care what it was, as long as it gave Sam a chance to relax once in a while and gave him some hope that there were hunters somewhere in the world who could grow up and have kids without knowing they were probably going to get killed on their very next job.

They were so friendly with the Fentons that the extra bedroom upstairs was kept ready for them to pop in at any time, always stocked with a fully provisioned first aid kit and Gatorade and protein bars so they didn't have stumble down to the kitchen in the dark in case they needed rebandaging or energy boosts after a long trip.

The Winchesters even had lunch with the mysterious Red Huntress upon occasion, an extremely rare show of trust since she had to actually unmask in order to eat. But of course, they knew more than most the value of secrecy, and were not worried about the girl's— because really, she was nothing more than a teenager— safety, so whenever someone tried to wheedle the all-elusive identity out of them, Sam just smiled and Dean threw a wink before consoling the curious citizen with the contents of whatever their lunch menu had been.

The Guys In White were the only group they weren't friendly with, in point of fact. But then again, when had the Winchesters ever hung out on friendly terms with real government agents? So they didn't feel there was any great loss there.

Everyone else, though, was thrilled to see them whenever they rolled into town in their iconic black vehicle.

They were heroes, hunters, legends.

Able to talk here, in this one place in the world, about their exploits, regale their eager audiences with tales of reapers, hexes, vampires, shape shifters, water spirits, and wendigo without leaving out any of the details that would make anyone else in the country think they were drunk out of their minds or needed to be locked inside a white room. They were cheered, slapped on the back, and offered food and friendly conversation wherever they turned.

It was their one chance to be admired for who they were, accepted and embraced and recognized and thanked by an entire community.

At the Fenton's suggestion, and with the city council's hearty approval, the brothers talked with the populace at large about ghost safety and Sam headed up lectures about general protocol during times of supernatural invasion. Dean broke out into the most genuine laugh Sam could remember in a long while when a group of teenagers from Casper High approached them wondering if they could run the school through drills in case there was ever a zombie apocalypse.

One year when they were in Amity around Halloween, the pair had been split up to help Lancer and Teslaff design and build the themed rooms of the high school's annual haunted house. Each brother was determined to outdo the other in terms of esoteric supernatural beings in their portion of the old mansion and the amount of fake blood and cheap frights they could fit into a single space. Everyone in town agreed that it had been, hands down, the craziest and most fun year the tradition had ever experienced. And Dean had grinned like an idiot for days after having beaten his little brother in anything even remotely school-related.

The Winchesters jumped in to lend a hand in any hunts or fights that happened to take place while they were around, although frankly, most of them were finishing up by the time they arrived on scene. It was nice for a change that they didn't have to worry about the body count doubling with every minute they weren't there. There were no casualties here and they weren't the hunters that people were relying on to keep them safe. They merely showed up as back up support when it was needed. Offered tips on strategies and opened a door to the world of military tactics and training to the protectors of the town who were more than grateful to get all the help they could.

And in their free time, they were able to relax and unwind from the stress of their lives; they kicked back at their hosts', Sam always adding to his research by pouring through the Fenton's latest theories and research and having the lengthy intellectual discussions with Jazz that he hadn't been able to get anywhere since Stanford.

Dean examined half-finished blueprints, occasionally offering up a suggestion to Jack who, despite his enthusiasm running ahead of him in terrifying leaps and bounds, was really quite good with inventions, even if the finer details needed going over by a second set of eyes before they became workable in practice. That had been Maddie's job until, after a handful of fairly frequent trips to Amity Park, Jack pointed to a stack of papers and box of malfunctioning gadgets in the basement lab that had been set aside for the older Winchester to examine and tinker with to his heart's content whenever he dropped by.

Their trips to the small city were also chances to refresh their souls. Sam had the ability to not feel like the only half-human freak in the world when the taint of his demon blood was mirrored by the ghostly technology and powers of the town's resident protectors. And Dean wasn't seen as a second-rate high-school dropout unable to provide for his brother or protect the people he cared about, no, here he was a brilliant warrior and tactician with more knowledge in his brain than he could hope to share with the only willing audience he'd ever had.

Besides all of this, Amity Park had the best burgers in several states, name notwithstanding, and though it had taken some persuasion to try it at first, Dean had long since become an extremely valued customer of the Nasty Burger, buying enough in their short stays to more than make up for the fact that they didn't actually live in the town.

And so, as strange as it seemed, given that ghosts practically had free reign of the place and anyone would think the town would be a hunter's worst nightmare, perhaps it wasn't so odd after all that they found a kind of sanctuary in the most haunted city in the entire country.

:'3 I just love the idea that Amity Park could become this kind of a place for the Winchesters. They need a break from their lives, even if they can't ever get away from supernatural entities in every single corner of the country.

(and yes, don't worry, I plan to post the story of Dean's first exposure to the Nasty Burger. iz gonna be great)