Soldier Of God

Rules

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


They drove in silence, Dean ignoring the occasional snore from the backseat where his brother had fallen asleep. It wasn’t that difficult to do but he would’ve rather had the radio at full blast. Led Zeppelin was meant to be enjoyed loudly, like everything else he listened to and the familiar strains of Ramble On played. He glanced at his passenger again, she’d spent the last hour reading the file Bobby had put together on their next job. He knew there weren’t any gross pictures in there, dead bodies…that sort of thing so he figured the reason Rhomy was slumped in her seat with her head pressed to the glass was that car sick feeling most people got from reading in a moving car.

“Could you open your window, please?”

He did, letting in a blast of cold air without complaint.

“You need anything?” he asked glancing at her again. Her forehead was scrunched up, eyes squeezed shut and she fumbled with the file, closing it.

“Remind me not to read while in a moving car.” She said with a wavering smile, not opening her eyes.

“Car sick, huh.” Dean reached over and took the file from her lap. He set it between them and pulled up his collar against the cold.

“Always.” She murmured turning in her seat. “But I did it anyway.” She blinked, feeling the cold gust of air and frowned at him. “Dean, close your window. I can do without the fresh air.”

“I’m fine.” Dean lied controlling the slight shiver, it was getting colder.

“You're cold.” Rhomy contradicted but he didn’t move. “…stubborn…” she grumbled sliding over. She took the file out of the way, leaving it on the dash. “I’ll close it.” She muttered reaching across Dean.

“You're going to sit down.” He retorted slipping his arm around her. “And not distract the driver.” He looked at her sitting beside him. “Me.”

Rhomy made a face, eyes rolling, amused but she didn’t return to her side of the car and Dean left his arm around her shoulders feeling comfortable. It was easy to pretend he was just driving, taking a road trip with his girl… When Rhomy rested her head on his shoulder he couldn’t help turning towards her.

She felt him rest his cheek, draw in a breath and closed her eyes. The days at Bobby’s had helped; gave them time to know each other a little better. After that rather uncomfortable conversation in the car it was easier to talk, though Dean still kept most of himself firmly locked away. She knew his Father was a subject he didn’t like to bring up and his Mother was definitely off limits. He’d shared a few anecdotes, childhood- growing up on the road, meeting other Hunters and the few times his Father would leave them at Pastor Jim’s place. Rhomy had a vague picture of what their lives had been like through everything Dean had shared. So far one thing was very clear; Sam.

It seemed that everything had to do with him.

Another gust of air had them both shivering and Rhomy poked his ribs earning a surprised grunt.

“What did I say?” Dean scolded lightly.

“That’s just getting your attention.” She explained with an innocent look that was spoiled by the smirk.

“You could say ‘hey’.”

“This was easier.”

Dean chuckled, eyes on the road...

“Why’d you need my attention?” he asked.

“I’m cold.” Rhomy pouted, laughing because She’d been the one to ask for the open window. “Please, close it.”

Dean shifted so his knee held the steering wheel steady and quickly rolled his window up. He was happy not to suffer through the cold air anymore.

“What?” he asked at her laugh but she shook her head.

Rhomy was pleased. Dean could’ve taken his arm off her, he could’ve asked her to sit in her place but he wasn’t and she was happy he hadn’t.


Sam listened to the murmur of their voices, he caught parts of their conversation over the music which wasn’t as loud as his brother liked to play. He supposed it was due to Rhomy and frowned when he heard Dean laugh. Again.

She made him laugh, got Dean to smile and relax- Sam should’ve been happy…but he wasn’t. He was feeling like a third wheel though there was never more than hand holding which, Dean never did that sort of thing yet there he was… Sam knew it wasn’t just that, the little things his brother was doing that he didn’t normally do because Dean used that Winchester charm and come morning hit the road without a look back. Now Dean was taking the couch and giving Rhomy the second bed- hell, he even opened doors and let her go in first- Sam was just waiting for Dean to start opening the car door for her too! …… It was ridiculous and Dean had ignored every questioning look he’d sent his way. …

The truth was, Sam hated the reminder of what he no longer had, the longing and guilt of knowing he’d as much as killed Jess.

Sam was…uncomfortable, with Rhomy. She looked at him, as though she knew-

“Wake up, princess.” Dean called reaching over the seat and snagging Sam’s sleeve.

Sam started, lost in his thoughts he hadn’t heard Dean calling him.

“Huhwhat?”

“Food.” Dean said and Sam noticed how comfortably his brother sat, his arm draped over Rhomy’s shoulders, right beside his brother instead of in her seat.

Third wheel.’

But Sam didn’t say a word.

“I’m not looking forward to another diner.” Rhomy said. She’d made no secret of not liking fast food but that was all there was and Sam was just waiting for Dean to tell her that.

“Taco Bell?” Dean questioned making a face. He wasn’t particularly fond of it but was willing to stop because she liked the nachos. He didn’t think that was going to last long.

“No- aren't you two tired of junk food?” Rhomy asked slightly turning to glance at Sam. “Seriously, I Don’t get how you've managed to survive this long eating like this.”

“We were raised on fast food.” Dean answered with a chuckle. “Just shows how little those health nuts know.”

“Where are we?” Sam asked cutting into their conversation. He wasn’t in the mood to listen to another long cutesy-, yegh! Sam knew he wasn’t being fair. And he didn’t care. Because seeing them together, listening to them was a reminder of what he didn’t have anymore.

He didn’t have Jess…

Arnie’s Grill.” Dean replied pulling into a parking spot in front of the windows.

“You're having a salad.” Rhomy told Dean as she scooted over to the passenger seat and slipped out.

“Whoa- hey!” Dean exclaimed. “Come on, Sammy.” He waved a hand getting out. Dusk was falling, the sky already turning a dark purple. He should’ve stopped at a hotel first but then his stomach rumbled again. Rhomy didn’t wait for them and they saw her wave from inside the brightly lit diner as a waiter sat her in a booth. The noise inside wasn’t annoyingly loud, just a lively buzz of conversations from the patrons. Sam and Dean made their way towards the booth just as the waiter left, smiling at them as he passed. Sam noticed Rhomy slide further into the booth allowing room for his brother and Dean slid into the seat beside her. Sam sat, staring at them, thinking it was too comfortable, too easy the way they’d just seemed to…fit. That was it. They fit.

“Premature wrinkles are going to ruin that pretty mug of yours Sammy and then how are we going to get information from the cougars when you look just as craggy as they do?” Dean asked smirking as his little brothers face turned a darker shade and his eyes flicked towards Rhomy.

“Cougars?” she asked glancing from one to the other curiously.

“I’m going to wash my hands.” Sam said standing and to his dismay so did she. They walked past their waiter, Sam glancing briefly at the green salads he carried and noticed her smirk.

“We’re all having some veggies.” She said at his look. He didn’t comment, just headed into the men’s room.

Rhomy closed her mouth as the door swished shut in her face. She bit her lip thinking of how to approach Sam, what she could say to make him stop shutting down around her. Dean had noticed and was obviously annoyed though he wasn’t saying anything. That wasn’t going to last long and the pressure of keeping the seals from breaking didn’t help their relationship, especially when she knew Sam was heading down the wrong path.

Rhomy stepped out of the restroom, peeked around the corner and saw that Sam was already sitting at the booth. She sighed, closed her eyes and asked for patience and guidance because she sure wasn’t going to get anywhere on her own.

What am I supposed to do here?

Silence was the only answer and Rhomy headed back to the booth where the waiter was taking their orders.


The file was spread on the floor in front of both beds. Blue prints of the original structure and of the second structures built over the first where held flat by a beer bottle, soda can, Dean’s Colt and a spare clip. There were a couple of pictures, old ones dating back to the early 1920’s and some more recent one’s, 1980.

“So we know the first structure was built in the late 1780’s, described as a castle and later torn down because of ‘design flaws’ and structural damage which makes sense considering they built this place over an abandoned coal mine.” Rhomy frowned because that sounded a bit creepy all on its own. “The second was built to look like some summer camp for the mentally unstable-.”

“Insane.” Dean corrected biting into his second burrito. “Bat-shit-crazy. They were all cuckoo.” He swirled a finger by his ear, eyes glued to the blue prints so he didn’t see her small frown.

“The second was built in 1902 by a Dr. Colin Travers, a pioneer in mental health issues and practices, according to the newspaper clippings from that time.” Sam added ignoring his brother. “There’s thirty-three different buildings for patients. A Nurse’s home, store, the power house, a domestic building with a laundry… and a bakery and kitchen.”

“Regular summer camp, huh.” Dean muttered glancing up at them.

“It is a lot smaller than the first hospital, much more.” Rhomy assured pulling out the oldest blue prints so they could compare it to the more recent. She spread them side by side and started to point out where the main access road leading to the original hospital still existed in the blue prints of the re-build but was considerably shortened. A highway cut through that road and a third of the land that had belonged to the asylum in 1786 was also portioned off.

“There’s four cemeteries’ as well.” Sam pointed to the four corners on either end of the re-built asylum grounds. “The oldest cemetery dates to the first asylum. Most of those graves don’t have a name or date because patients usually came in as Jane or John Doe’s.”

“Let’s hope we’re not looking for one of those.” Dean grumbled hating the idea of hunting a ghost they had no name or grave to.

“They’d have the patient number.” Rhomy said looking at them. “The graves in the older cemeteries. The patient’s number would be marked on the headstone. All we’d have to do is find it and that’s your ghost, right?”

“Yeah.” Dean smiled. “You're learning.” He complimented turning to Sam and wondering why his little brother hadn’t made that connection. But then Sam was busy pouting and it was getting tiresome. “Who’s Casper?”

Sam sifted through the papers looking for the later news clippings until he came up with a small stack. He handed a few to Dean and passed a couple to Rhomy.

“That’s all there is.” Sam sighed. It was everything he’d gotten from his internet search of the local newspapers. “A few missing teens, two couples, an old guy… not much else. Everything we have is right here, blue prints of both hospitals, names of patients and staff, what their duties were… It looks like a normal run down, krappy piece of real estate.” He threw his hands up in the air, shrugging. He rested his back against the table leg; clearly uncomfortable sitting with his legs crossed but there wasn’t that much room to start with.

“The property was sold at auction in 1980, kinda cheap too.” Rhomy noted reading through the clipping. Sam couldn’t help noticing how comfortable she was, sitting with her back against the bed, her legs crossed… “Then it became the banks property when the buyer went bankrupt. It was supposed to be torn down and the space converted into offices and a small shopping center.” She looked up handing the clipping to Dean, her eyes flicked to Sam but he quickly looked away.

“Those people could have fallen into an old mine shaft.” Sam muttered, he sifted through the file thoughtfully. “That’s what the police said, though they never recovered the bodies…”

“And it doesn’t explain why people claim to see a little girl walking through the cemetery or that story about the crazy old guy trying to kill anyone stupid enough to wander onto the property.” Dean frowned. He had the police reports of the teenagers found running out of the property by the security detail assigned there.

“The little girl could have been a patient.” Rhomy said. “After Dr. Travers’ death the hospital stayed open. There were more cottages built to accommodate tuberculosis patients… some where children.” She uncovered the picture, an old black and white photograph of a ward, beds filled and even though it was yellowed with age and the image was grainy Rhomy could make out the hollowed eyes of the children laying in the hospital beds. She couldn’t help thinking they were too young for their suffering but she knew there was plan, a reason for it and she had to keep faith, be firm in her belief that it was all going to end well.

“First thing, tomorrow,” Dean said finishing his burrito and starting to gather the loose sheets. He was ready to call it a night though he wasn’t looking forward to sleeping on the floor. “We take a look at this camp ground.”

“Private property.” Rhomy protested mildly. “The bank won’t like us trespassing.”

“They’ll never see us.” Dean promised with a grin she knew spelled trouble.


The morning was crisp, sharp even as the sun shone down on the trio hiking through the trees. They walked single file, both men carrying small rucksacks, keeping Rhomy safely between them. Each breath formed a thin puffy cloud that dissipated with their next step. The crunch of leaves raised the occasional puff of dust from the dirt beneath and then they came to an old stone wall.

“I don’t suppose this is going to stop you.” Rhomy wondered eyeing the patches of moss among the old stones. There were vines climbing up and between, peeking through holes where the mortar had crumbled away. She didn’t think it would be safe to climb over, it didn’t look it.

“It’s just a little wall.” Dean said dismissively. He tossed his bag over the side with Sam doing the same, though he cast a concerned look at his brother. “Come on, Sammy.”

Sam sighed and moved to stand beside Rhomy who was looking through the cracks in the wall.

“It’s a cemetery.” She said poking at the hole to make it bigger. She could make out some headstones, not many but she figured there were more somewhere among the overgrown grass.

“We’re in the right place.” Sam said from somewhere above her head.

Rhomy stepped back looking up at Sam when she felt warm hands circle her waist.

“I do know how to climb a fence.” She told Dean looking up at him with amusement shining in her hazel eyes.

“Good.” Dean replied tilting his head towards the wall. “But this is a stone wall.”

Rhomy gave a little snort of laughter but didn’t protest as he lifted her. She reached up, taking Sam’s outstretched hand. Using her feet she helped push herself onto the wall where she sat straddling it and faced Sam. She looked over the cemetery noting the scattered trees among the grass and found the headstones, practically buried beneath the wild grass and weeds.

Dean stepped back but before he could grab at his brothers hand he watched Rhomy pull her leg over the wall.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” He protested glaring as she leaned over the side. Sam turned towards her sharply, automatically reaching out to grab her arm but missed. He saw her land on the grass, half crouching to minimize the impact.

“I’m fine.” She called and her voice echoed to Dean from the wall. Sam gave a nod of agreement, annoyance in his eyes as he reached down to help his brother.

Rhomy dusted her jeans, taking a few steps into the cemetery, scanning the tall grass as she waited for the brothers to join her. She could hear them land, their muffled feet crunching on the few leaves and Dean’s muttering as they retrieved their rucksacks.

She didn’t see any fancy headstones but realized they probably wouldn’t have erected any considering the hospital was paying for the burials. A simple stone set in the ground with the patients name was about as fancy as it was going to get.

“Don’t ever do that again.” Dean ordered coming up beside her.

“Climbing the wall was your idea, guero.” Rhomy pointed out trying to hide the little smile hovering at the corners of her mouth.

“I’m not kidding, Rhomy.” Dean warned. “We don’t know what’s out here and-.”

“Because the wall was really high.” She mocked brushing his concern away. He’d been doing that a lot, becoming more and more like a nagging old granny when they hadn’t seen a demon in weeks. She didn’t like the resemblance to her cousins and her brother’s overbearing protectiveness.

“You could’ve broken your leg.” Dean glared knowing that was a far stretch. The wall wasn’t more than six feet, at the very least.

“Come on, Dean.” Rhomy sighed. “It’s not like I was dropping into a pit of vipers. You wouldn’t have had me up there if that was the case.” She nudged his arm and started walking as Sam passed by them. “You look adorable when you're upset.” She added earning a scowl.

“Adorable is a two year old.” Dean retorted stopping. “Do I look two-?” He regretted having asked as soon as the words left his mouth. He shook his head and started walking, ignoring the grin on her red lips but he couldn’t shut out the soft giggle at his side.

A few yards ahead Sam stopped and waited. He stood under a wispy tree, its branches practically leafless. It had steadily grown colder the past week, and driving north hadn’t done much to keep the temperature in a comfortably if not bearable zone. Even now, Sam could see his breath stream in front of him, glad he’d doubled his layers. He looked around; his brow furrowed noticing the lack of sound. He realized he hadn’t heard any birds or animals for that matter, though the birds could’ve flown south for the winter.

“It’s quiet.” Rhomy noted in a soft voice, as though she didn’t want to disturb the silence.

Dean moved off to the left where he pulled a few weeds out of his way and stepped back to inspect the sign.

“1908.” He read frowning at the broken post and half hung sing. There were a few rocks lying in the grass beside it and the pile behind attested to there having been another stone wall lining the entrance to the cemetery.

“We might still be able to read the headstone, if we need to. They shouldn’t be that worn out.” Rhomy said glancing from one to the other. Dean was staring at the cemetery, he couldn’t help but think the place looked…lonely. He frowned.

“There are tracks over here.” Sam called. He crouched in the grass, not half as overgrown as the rest and all three clearly saw it had been bent. The grass was crushed leaving a perfect imprint of tire treads.

“Patrol.” Rhomy stated turning to Dean without saying ‘I told you’.

“We keep an eye out.” He replied with a careless shrug. “Duck for cover if we hear ‘em.”

They moved off, towards the first ‘cottage’. Dean scoffed at the title because the two story building they were approaching, with its broken windows, holes in the roof and decrepit porch looked nothing like a cottage. It was huge for one- not mansion big but bigger than a cottage had a right to be. He supposed the cottages had to be built that way in order to accommodate the patients they’d had.

At the bottom steps Dean raised his arm, stalling Rhomy as she started up. She rolled her eyes at him, sighing.

“Really?” She pushed his arm out of her way and headed up the creaking boards.

“Hey-.”

“You see a ghost?” Rhomy questioned with barely a glance in his direction. She didn’t see the scowl on his face but heard them both approach as she picked her way over the warped boards carefully. It wasn’t difficult to pinpoint where the brothers were…

“I’m considering locking you in the trunk.” Dean threatened. “While we look around.”

“Good luck with that.” She laughed and it echoed back to them from inside the building. “Come on, Ghostbuster.”

Sam and Dean squinted in the gloomy interior, adjusting their eyes. Rhomy had located the second floor staircase. There was enough light to make out the basic shape of the room and then she was staring at them pointedly.

“Not to say this place is safe but it won’t fall around our ears.” Rhomy stated, hazel eyes locked on Dean’s feet. “So long as we dont go stomping around like a herd of elephants.”

Dean glanced at her sneakers askance but had to agree he didn’t want to end up buried beneath moldy rotting boards and whatever else they’d used to build the place way back in the day. He did glance at Sam’s feet, making a face when he noticed the sneakers. Was he the only one with a brain?

“It’s clean.” Sam said putting the EMF in his pocket again. They headed into the next room, just as large as the first one. The paint had chipped off in large sections with plaster leaving a crunchy mess on the floor. The back wall sported a huge hole and the floor was sagging due to the water damage it had sustained over the years. Weeds had started to climb up and Dean noticed the patches of moss and fungus already forming on the walls. Broken glass crunched under Sam’s soles as he looked out the windows. The sun was up but little light seemed to reach inside the cottage. Bits of broken furniture were scattered around the room but nothing of value had been left behind. Dean turned back the way they’d come, taking Rhomy’s hand in his. The action wasn’t missed by Sam, just like he noticed how Dean was so at ease with her, as if they’d known each other years instead of weeks. All three of them…in small confined spaces most of the time- she hadn’t complained, yet. And Sam hadn’t seen or caught them doing anything other than holding hands or…cuddling…. Hell, he didn’t think Dean was trying! And that was not normal.

Sam glowered at their backs, shifting his shoulders but that didn’t relieve the tension bunching his muscles. His fingers twitched, wanting to reach into his pocket for the flask, but he wasn’t alone.

“I don’t think you should go upstairs.”

“Why not?” Dean asked removing his foot from the stair. “We’re prepared for ghosts.” He said raising the shotgun loaded with rock salt.

“I meant the stairs, macho man.” Rhomy scoffed moving in front of him.

“They’re in one piece.” Dean retorted glancing at Sam with a look that said he didn’t get what she was talking about.

“Doesn’t mean its safe to go up them.” Rhomy murmured focusing on the stairs she was climbing. The boards creaked with her slight weight but she balanced on the edges instead of the center where it would be weakest.

“What do you think you're doing?” Dean demanded grabbing the back of her jacket. He assumed the ‘not safe’ was meant for all three of them.

“Dean, you're the ghost experts.” She said brushing at his hand but he didn’t let go. “But I know buildings.” She’d been in plenty of them growing up, listening to her Father and older cousins talk about safety and weight limits and stress points… the fourth step made a loud cracking sound. Her first thought was to grab onto the rail and hold on but she knew the wood would be just as rotted as the stairs. Praying the third step held a little longer, Rhomy pushed off and back with help from Dean yanking on her jacket.

Sam hurried to them, calling his brother’s name in concern as the stairs gave way. There was a loud crash of boards and rocks, the floor groaned and dust got in their eyes.

“See,” Rhomy coughed. “Not safe.”

She was securely held against Dean who’d quickly backed off the staircase until his back hit a moldy old wall.

“That could’ve been you.” Sam glared at his brother who’d started up the stairs without thinking. He barely cast a glance in Rhomy’s direction, concerned more about Dean because living without his brother had been hard enough the first time around.

“And I’m not strong enough to have pulled you.” Rhomy added. She patted his arm, still wrapped around her ribs. Dean reluctantly let go, frowning at them and noting how easily Sam had allied with her against him. What bothered him was that Sam’s concern didn’t extend to Rhomy. He already knew there was something going on with Sam, that Rhomy had an idea of what that was and Dean wasn’t going to say anything about what he’d seen…

“Dude,” was all Dean managed to say but Sam didn’t reply.

“Yup,” Rhomy muttered standing on her toes to look into the gaping hole. “Thought so.”

“What?” Sam asked moving close to the hole Rhomy was staring into.

“I’m pretty sure that’s a cellar.” She answered looking at them.

Sam pulled out his flashlight and pointed it but they could barely make out a brick wall.

“Jeez, you’d think it was the middle of the night.” Rhomy muttered looking around again at the dark shadows stretching from one wall to the other. She shivered again, feeling a little antsy and rubbed her arm to get rid of the sudden cold. They’d spent the early morning getting ready for this and after a ‘hearty’ breakfast with bacon for Dean, the drive hadn’t been that long.

“The sun’s still out, Rhomy.” Dean assured with a quick glance at her.

“Should we look?” Sam asked thinking his brother was lucky not to have walked up the stairs.

“Why not throw in a light?” Rhomy proposed, deciding she was just being a little ‘sensitive’ considering this was her first actual Hunt. She wasn’t counting Selva Beach because she’d spent most of her time at the Home while the brothers did all the real hunting.

“Flash lights don’t grow on trees, sweetheart.” Dean replied.

“Wow.” Rhomy breathed a little surprised by the comment. “Real macho, huh.” She reached around his back and yanked on the pack. She was a little annoyed they were treating her like an idiot just because she wasn’t a Hunter.

“I wasn’t-.” Dean protested confused as to how he’d ended up with his foot in his mouth.

“There are alternatives.” Rhomy ignored him, shoving at the rucksack and holding up three yellow sticks. She shook them briskly then snapped them in half before tossing them into the hole.

“Glow sticks?” Dean questioned with a slight frown as the cellar was cast in an eerie glow.

“I put them in your pack this morning.” Rhomy replied scanning the dimly lit room. They found nothing sinister, nothing they could see aside from cobweb covered pieces of furniture, an ancient boiler and moldy boxes.

“Guess we move on.” Sam said starting for the door.

“I’m not a Hunter.” Rhomy said at his back drawing them to a stop in the center of the decaying room. “Ghosts…aren't part of my ‘job’. But I am not stupid.”

“We never said…” Sam protested turning towards her, his brow creased in frown lines.

“And I’m not some useless, mousy thing you have to constantly worry about.” She glared at Dean. “Its called common sense. And I have plenty. Don’t be patronizing.” She told Dean. “And don’t hold what I’ve said to you against me because you didn’t want to hear it.” She turned to Sam who clamped his mouth shut. He flicked a nervous glance at Dean wondering if she’d said anything to his brother. Dean just stared, kept quiet though he was picturing himself throwing Rhomy over his shoulder and carrying her back to the Impala and tossing her in the trunk where he’d be sure she was safe…

“Now,” Rhomy let out a breath. “What’s next?”


The sky had turned a dark orange-red when they heard the first patrol roll through the abandoned asylum. They ducked into the nearest cottage, taking cover behind the decaying walls as the guard drove past, shining a light into the old buildings. They could hear the radio playing with the occasional burst of static and jumbled words of the dispatch office. It passed them and headed towards the main gates.

“Idiot.” Dean muttered frowning at the fading brake lights.

“That wasn’t nice.” Rhomy noted with a little smile.

“Did you want to get caught?” Sam asked his brother.

“Of course not.” Dean snapped frowning at them. “But how hard is it to do your job? I mean all they do is drive around some abandoned property-. How does rent a cop know some idiot didn’t wander in, get hurt, and needs help?”

Sam drew in a heavy breath, looking up to the darkening sky.

“What?” Dean scowled. “The guy couldn’t have heard someone calling for help over that…krap passing as music.”

“I don’t get it.” Rhomy turned to Sam with a questioning look.

“It’s late.” He replied starting down the weed covered path. “And he’s hungry.”

“Oh.” Rhomy’s expression cleared. “Bacon withdrawal.” She quipped with a teasing smile. Dean didn’t find it funny and they ignored his protests saying it was a legitimate concern. Sam almost believed him, remembering their brief stint as ‘gophers’ on the haunted movie set in LA.

“The guy’s job isn’t hard.” Dean repeated.

“Girl.” Rhomy corrected following behind Sam. “I peeked. She was blond too.”

Sam snickered.


They’d spent the afternoon looking inside the cottages, working their way through the blue prints methodically. So far they hadn’t found anything though Sam could’ve sworn he’d caught glimpses of…something, twice but he hadn’t been able to get a reading on the EMF. There was still a lot of ground to cover but dusk was starting to fall and they’d agreed it was better to continue in the daylight.

“How do you know,” Dean asked. “About buildings and stuff.”

“My Dad.” She replied with a shrug. “I used to go with him, when he’d take the boys on site. Mostly he was just checking to make sure the buildings had what the blueprints said they were supposed to have.”

“So what does he do? You never said.” Dean ignored the little frown on Sam’s face but he figured this way his brother got to know a little about Rhomy without that whole ‘secrecy’ thing.

“He was an Architect.” She answered with a note of hesitancy as her eyes flicked to Sam a few paces in front of them. “Before…he was good but then he kinda had to take a pay cut. He ended up working for the city. Safety inspector. He retired early though and now he just spends his time drawing up plans or helping my cousins.”

“An architect.” Sam echoed looking at her. “He just…quit? To work for the city?” It didn’t make sense.

“He was called to something more important.” Rhomy stated raising her chin just a little. Dean could tell she was getting defensive and it clicked, why her Dad had taken a lower job. Those big shot clients wouldn’t have liked being possessed or dead for being in the wrong place and time. Dean didn’t see how working for the city would've helped but then, what choice had her parents had if they were sworn to protect the key?

Dean turned towards the sudden sounds of laughter.

“What the hell…” he grumbled thinking that parents should have more sense than to let their kids run around after sunset.

“It isn’t safe here.” Rhomy said looking at them in concern but they already knew that. They headed towards the laughter, the voices becoming clearer and Dean’s scowl got worse.

“Children…?” Rhomy was surprised. She quickened her pace to keep up with the guys but they had longer strides.

“Where the hell are their parents?” Dean growled, suddenly a child screamed. They couldn’t be sure if it was pain, fear or just playing but they ran anyway.

“Here.” Sam called running between two cottages with Dean close on his heels. Rhomy fell a few paces behind, stumbling when she noticed the little boy in the window of the cottage.

“Wait!” she called seeing him turn away, catching the playful smile on his pale face. She heard him laugh and without thought headed up the steps and into the cottage. “Come back, it’s not safe in here.”

It was much darker inside and she had no light which made her think about Sam and Dean and how upset they’d be with her for wandering off but she had a good excuse. Concern for the little boy made her keep going instead of trying to find Dean like her instincts were telling her to do.

“Where are you?” she called into the dark, carefully testing the floor before she fully committed to her next step. Another laugh froze her and she listened trying to figure out where the boy was hiding. “Come out, come out, where ever you are…” she sang softly and heard more laughter. “You're playing … aren't you?” she asked making her way to the next room. “But we can’t play in here.” She said a little louder turning left and right and not seeing him. “This place, I know it looks real cool, kinda spooky- perfect for a little boy but… I’d rather play outside. Huh? Can we play outside?” she asked turning again only to gaps in surprise at seeing him standing so close. That’s when she took in the pale white skin and dark smudges around his eyes. His shirt was dirty, a button up and his dark short pants totally gave him away.

“Uh oh.” Rhomy breathed.


“Stop running!” Dean ordered catching glimpses of the kids but as soon as they rounded the next building the kids were gone.

“Ghosts!” Sam exclaimed. “They’re ghosts, Dean.” He pulled out the EMF and got a clear reading.

“What-? Rhomy!” Dean yelled as they stopped and he couldn’t see or hear her. “Damn it- Rhomilly!”

“We shouldn’t have brought her.” Sam said stating the obvious but he looked anyway because they couldn’t just forget about her either.

“Split up.” Dean ordered. “You find her; you take her back to the Impala.” At Sam’s nod they broke off and headed in opposite directions, each one calling her name.

Dean watched as Sam headed back towards the cottages they had searched. He was worried for his little brother and now Rhomy as well. He drew in a harsh breath, annoyed and a little angry because now he was supposed to take care of two. Most times Dean felt and behaved as though he were Sam’s Father. He worried about the freak- it was as normal as breathing for him. He’d practically raised the brat. All those nights, when John was on a hunt and they were alone in some skeezy motel… Dean made sure Sam was fed, safe-kept him busy and the truth from him as long as he could and for what?

Protect your brother.

Because John ordered him to, because when John said jump Dean didn’t bother asking how high. He just did. All Dean ever wanted was his Father’s approval…

Dean accepted that Sam was more important, had always been and knew their Father favored him. Sam was the baby. It didn’t make it hurt any less, didn’t keep Dean from feeling inadequate in some way because his Father couldn’t show the same concern for him and of course Dean resented Sam a little, what brother wouldn’t in his place?

Everything in their lives, all the things that had happened- they could all be traced to Sam. He was a pain in the ass while they were growing up and was more of one now but…the last thing Dean wanted, no matter how fucked up their lives got, was to hurt his little brother. He was all that was left of his family. Whatever happened, Dean wouldn’t stop loving him, worrying about him, trying to protect him…

“Up.”

Dean jerked and the rock he kicked went skidding into the weeds. The giggling stopped and he hoped it wasn’t because of him and the stupid rock.

“Up there.”

It was a little girl; her laughter was muffled, as though she’d covered her mouth to stifle the light, playful sound. Dean raised the shotgun and scanned the area but couldn’t find anything or anyone. The giggles came again and he moved towards it. Somehow, he ended up back where they had started, the cemetery.

“They won’t look here.”

Dean trod carefully over the grass, knowing he’d definitely heard a little girl and she was laughing again. He moved in carefully, hoping it was a real kid and not a ghost but he was pretty sure they weren’t alive.

“Hide.”

Dean stared at the little girl sitting on the lowest branch of a dead elm. She wore a white frock, lacy and definitely old. Her dark curls were tied back from her face with a ribbon. He didn’t miss the dark circles around her eyes or the jutting cheek bones and then they were staring at him. The big male in dirty white crazy people pajamas- all that was missing was the straightjacket. Dean stood mute, hesitant but they were ghosts.

“Aw hell…” Dean aimed at the male but he flickered out. “Son of a…” he saw the flicker again, over to his left and fired quickly. A sudden gust of wind rose, wailing as the ghost disappeared.

“You leave him alone!”

Dean turned back to the tree but the little girl flickered and then he felt a sharp pain on his shin.

“Ow!” he exclaimed hunching down and then she kicked him again. “What-!” he shifted his hold on the shotgun and swung the barrel. She blew away and another gust of wind tossed leaves and dirt up. He caught a flicker and looking at the elm Dean saw the same big man… and he looked pissed.

Dean felt something hard smack him in the chest even as he aimed the shotgun. He flew back, out of breath and thudded into the ground right on top of a flat head stone.


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