No Refunds

Chapter 18

They arrived at the address fairly quickly, the town wasn't big. The house that they pulled up at was quaint, but clearly was past its prime. The remains of a dead garden were in front of the house, bedraggled flowers wilting in the sun, untrimmed hedges and an unmown lawn. In the driveway was a flashy sports car, sleek and red, clearly expensive. Dean looked at it, mourning the Impala again.

The house wasn't too big, it was, in fact, a bungalow, but its back garden stretched far and wide, clearly holding a lot of the value of the property. Dean peered through the window and saw the interior furnishings.

He whistled. "Man, that is a big TV." He admired. "Imagine watching a game on that." He looked round, and apparently remembered who he was with. He stood tall, straightened his face, and reached into his pocket, looking for correct ID.

Castiel cocked his head. "Is size relative to enjoyment?" He asked.

Dean frowned, unsure as to whether Cas understood quite what he was asking. But then, when it came to saying humorous things, he rarely understood what he was saying.

"No. I guess not." He replied. Handing Cas some ID, and motioning for him to put it in his suit pocket, he knocked on the door.

There was a long wait. Dean knocked again, and wondered briefly whether they should simply break in, but the door was opened, and an old man was standing behind it.

"Hello, sir." Dean warmly greeted. "We're here to look at your heating; we've had complaints that it's not been working correctly."

The old man peered at them, clearly confused. His thick, white eyebrows hung over the frame of his glasses. "What about the people who looked at it yesterday? I'm sure they said nothing was wrong."

"This is just a follow up inspection." Dean said reassuringly. "Mind if we take a look?"

"Uhm..." The man sighed. "Sorry, but do you have any papers, any identification...?" He asked, almost apologetically, and Dean smiled again.

"Of course!" He took it out of his pocket, and nudged Cas to do the same. "It's always good to check."

"Yes, it is." The old man took both cards, and squinted at them through his glasses. "You hear all sorts; people pretending to be salesmen..." He handed them back, apparently satisfied. "Not you, though; of course."

"We're very reputable." Dean soothed as he walked in.

"We are not here to rob you of your possessions." Castiel chimed in, clearly trying to be helpful, but not succeeding. Dean shot him a look, and the man looked confused.

"Right." Dean agreed. "Sorry, what's your name?"

"Bill." The old man smiled. "Bill West."

"Pleasure to meet you, Bill West." Dean patted him on the shoulder. "Nice house, you got here. Shame about the cold spots."

"Yes, yes; they are worrying." Bill sighed.

"Where are they?" Dean asked, and the man ushered them into the living room, in front of a large bookshelf.

"Right here." The man said, pointing at a spot on the floor, directly in front of the bookshelf. It was half filled with books, others scattered around on the floor, pushed to the wall.

Dean stood in it, holding a hand to steady the shelf in case it tried any funny business. "Huh." Dean pondered. "Anything happen here? Anything odd?"

"W-what do you mean?" Bill stuttered.

"Just curious." Dean stepped back out of the spot.

"Well... it is strange." The old man sighed. "That's the very spot that my wife had a heart attack and died."

"Really?" Dean asked. "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

"Her spirit must be drawn to that location." Cas suggested, and Bill looked confused again.

"Stop it." Dean warned, before turning back to the old man. "I'm very sorry about your wife."

"Thank you." The man said. "It happened last year... still doesn't feel like she's quite gone."

"It can sometimes feel that way." Dean sympathised. He looked absently at the thermostat on the wall, tapping it intellectually, but doing nothing.

Bill looked at the two of them, a frown on his face. "You two aren't in uniform like the others."

"Ah," Dean gave him his most charming smile. "Casual Friday."

"Your colleague doesn't seem to be very casual." He looked at Cas's suit.

"He usually wears a tux." Dean joked. Cas looked vaguely uncomfortable and looked down at his suit, before Dean cleared his throat, gesturing at a photo on the shelf of Bill and a younger woman. "Is that your daughter?"

"Wife, actually." Bill smiled. "I remarried."

Dean looked taken aback. "Wow, man; lucky you!"

Bill smiled. "I am very lucky."

"How'd you manage to snag-"

"Dean." Cas interrupted. Dean turned round, and Cas glowered at him. "The job."

Dean raised his eyebrows. "Of course." He turned to smile at Bill, and went back to faux studying the thermostat. "So how long ago did your first wife die?"

"Uhm, a year." Bill told him.

"And did you bury her?" Dean asked, perhaps a little too abruptly, and the old man looked a little surprised.

"No." He told them. "I cremated her."

"Oh." Dean's face fell slightly, realising his job was about to get more difficult. "But not all of her, I bet."

"What's that meant to mean?" Bill asked defensively.

"Most people keep some kind of keepsake – a lock of hair, or something. Did you do that?"

"Well, yes?" He looked confused. "I- I did? How did you know?"

"Oh, just thinking out loud." Dean laughed. "Where is it?"

Bill frowned, clearly getting more suspicious by the minute. "I'm sorry, but what does this have to do with my heating?"

Dean shrugged. "Nothing, just making conversation." He said, looking back to thermometer. "Well, I can't see anything wrong with it here... I guess we'll send someone else to take a look at it." He stepped back and smiled.

Cas, who had been watching the proceedings as a bystander found himself looking more closely now. For the first time since he had been back, he saw Dean smile, saw the corners of his mouth lift and move the flesh of his cheeks up to crinkle at the eyes. He saw this, but he knew it wasn't right, it wasn't real. It wasn't the true smile, the smile he'd seen on occasion, the smiles that he had been the cause of. This was a smile for show, a smile as part of the facade, and it was not real.

"Well." The old man huffed. "Well then, I'd better ask you to leave. I have to go to visit my wife in the hospital."

Dean smile turned apologetic; Castiel noted it: a tilt of the head, a pursing of the lips. "We won't keep you from that any longer, then." He turned to Cas. "Come on."

The hunter walked out of the front door, leaving the confused old man behind. Cas hesitated, and turned to him.

"My condolences." He offered, before turning on his heel and following Dean out of the door, which got quickly shut behind him.


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