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Part I | Part II | AO3

Sam sat with his family at the picnic table the next morning, eating breakfast. The sky was a deep blue with tiny wisps of white clouds way up high. Bees buzzed in their neighbor’s flower bushes. Sam was half-asleep, nodding over his Cornflakes and Folger’s coffee. He filled in Dad and Dean on the three ghost stories he’d gotten from Al, Christy, and Claudia at the bonfire party.

Dad perked right up at the mention of a secret room ‘under the eaves’. He said he’d search for that room today, and check the family graveyard on the property for any sign of a row of infants’ graves or a grave that might belong to Japheth’s wife or mistress. There wasn’t much chance of finding an unmarked grave over 150 years later, but it was worth a shot.

Sam would be back at the library again. Since all of the stories agreed that Wedderburn House had been haunted since the beginning, he could focus his research on the 1830’s, look for any mention of Japheth’s wife or mistress, and see if he could confirm the rumor about the house being a station on the Underground Railroad.

Dean had to work from 10 to six, but he said there were a couple of old guys who seemed to spend all afternoon on the bench outside the store, drinking ice coffee from the Dunkin Donuts down the street and chatting. He’d see if he could get them talking about Japheth.

By the time that was decided, Sam was picking up his bowl to slurp down the last of the milk from his cereal. His t-shirt was already sticking between his shoulder blades with sweat. Across the road, a little girl in a bright purple bathing suit was peddling her tricycle up and down in front of a tiny yellow cottage with a look of intense concentration on her face.

Dad stiffened. “Nosy neighbor alert,” he muttered under his breath. Sam twisted around and saw Andy walking up the road towards them.

“Morning John,” Andy bellowed heartily from fifty feet out. “It’ll be a scorcher today, I heard on the news. You and your boys gonna hit the beach, maybe, before it gets too hot?”

Dad shook his head. “I need to get some work done over at Dick’s, and my eldest here got himself a job at the video store.”

Andy sat down at their table, across from Dean, glanced at him, gave a double-take, and whistled. “You got some sun yesterday,” he commented.

Dean shrugged.

“And how about you, Sam?” Andy asked. “You going to the beach today?”

“Nah,” Sam said, staring into his empty coffee mug. “Think I’ll head to the library when it opens. They’ve got air conditioning.”

Andy smiled knowingly. “And pretty girls, too, from what I hear.”

Sam felt a blush heat his cheeks. This was getting ridiculous.

“Well,” Andy said, tapping the table for emphasis. “I don’t mean to interrupt your breakfast. Just wanted to drop by and invite you all to a potluck supper at our place tonight. Nothing fancy, just a little Burnside Avenue tradition.”

“We’d love to come,” Dad said quickly. “What should we bring?”

“Oh, anything you like,” Andy replied, standing up from the table. “Jimbo is grilling up his famous orange-glaze chicken wings, Maidie’s making stuffies, and Jen’s bringing enough Swedish meatballs to feed an army. You could bring a side, another main dish, a salad, dessert – whatever. Folks mostly bring their own beverages. Show up any time after sun-down. We’re just up the street. You can’t miss it.” Andy waved good-bye and then crossed the street.

“See you tonight!” Dad called to him.

Andy gave the little girl on her tricycle a side-hug and then meandered down the road, stopping to exchange a few words with a guy watering his lawn and a well-endowed woman jogging with a Rottweiler. Apparently everybody was invited. Dean puckered up to whistle at the jogger, but reconsidered when Sam gave him a dirty look.

Dad watched Andy go and then turned to see his sons staring at him like he’d sprouted horns.

“Trust me, short of actually discharging a firearm at this potluck, there is nothing we do could that would attract more attention than not showing up,” he informed them.

“Okay,” Dean said uncertainly. “But what are we gonna bring?”

Dad finished off his coffee and shook his head. “Good question. Come on inside, boys. Supply check.”

Inside the trailer, Sam sat on his bunk while Dean and Dad crowded into the tiny kitchen area. Dean got on his knees to look through the little fridge under the counter, while Dad checked the cupboards over-head.

“We’ve got a couple pounds of ground beef left from the hamburgers,” Dean reported out. “It’s still good, but we probably need to use it up tonight. There’s two green peppers and a big onion.”

“We’ve got …” Dad sorted through the cupboard with a clink of bottles. “Worcestershire sauce, A1 steak sauce, Tabasco sauce, maple syrup, peanut butter, powdered garlic and curry powder, a bag of flour, some Grey Poupon, salt and pepper and a huge bottle of ketchup. There’s also something called coffee syrup.”

Dean looked up at him. “We could whip up some taverns.”

“Sloppy Joes?” Sam asked uneasily, more familiar than he liked with the school lunch travesties.

Dad nodded. “Don’t worry, no one’s going to expect a masterpiece,” he reassured Sam. “Manwiches it is. I’ll pick up a couple dozen buns on the way back tonight.”

The day’s research was a bust. There was plenty of documentation on the Underground Railroad in Rhode Island, but the ‘conductors’ involved had mostly been Quakers in Central Falls, and there was no mention of Narragansett at all. There was no death notice for Japheth’s wife; Sam couldn’t even find her name.

As dusk faded into night, the Winchesters headed down the street in formation. Dad was on point with a pan full of spicy red-sauced ground beef. Dean, at the rear, had 3 bags of hamburger buns. Sam was in the center, carrying two cans of RC Cola, for him and Dean, and Dad’s can of Coors.

Andy was right – you couldn’t miss his potluck. The area was lit with the stinky torches that were supposed to drive away mosquitoes. Four houses had consolidated their lawn furniture. The usual picnic table was flanked by card tables and lounges, deck chairs and folding chairs. Some were occupied, mostly by a group of older women. A few teenage boys were sitting on the grass. There was a playpen; Sam peeked in and saw three babies crawling all over two little dogs. Around twenty-five people had shown up for the party. Christy wasn’t one of them.

“Glad you could make it,” Andy called out when he caught sight of them. “Put your dish down on the table over there.”

Dad led them between Andy’s place (it had a big sign on it, declaring it was, indeed, Andy’s Place) and the neighboring cottage. There was a thin strip of green grass lined by folding tables crowded with food. Dad wedged his pan in between a plate of dumplings and a bowl of macaroni salad. Dean placed the buns next to it, hanging precariously over the edge of the table. Sam handed Dean a soda and Dad his beer.

The tank of a guy manning the grill nodded them towards a stack of paper plates, gave them each three chicken wings, and then set them loose on the rest of the food with a command to, “Load up! There’s plenty more where that came from!”

Sam decided to try a little bit of everything. Swedish meatballs and stuffed clams, pizza chips and pasta salad, corn on the cob and lasagna. He tried to balance a dumpling on his plate, but it rolled off onto the ground. He eyed it mournfully.

“You can come back for seconds, you know,” said the whip-thin elderly woman next to him, in a voice that spoke of decades of ignoring the Surgeon General’s warnings. “In fact, everyone would be insulted if you didn’t.”

Sam grinned at her sheepishly. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Now you are a polite young man. You must be Dick’s nephew – Simon, is it?”

“Sam,” he corrected her.

“That’s right. I’m Maidie,” she introduced herself. “Those stuffies are mine,” she said, indicating the stuffed clams on Sam’s plate. “And what did your family bring tonight? I want to make sure I try it before it’s all gone.”

He pointed to the Sloppy Joes.

“Oh, dynamites!” Maidie said, delighted. “I haven’t had one of those in years!”

At his confused look, she winked. “That’s what we call them, up north.”

“In Canada?” Sam asked.

She laughed, a big, deep belly-laugh too big for her, and then erupted in a hacking cough. Sam looked around, placed his plate carefully on top of a cooler, and filled a paper cup from a water carrier. Maidie patted his arm gratefully as she sipped. “No, no, I mean up north in Woonsocket.”

“Where?” Sam asked, picturing the appropriate pages in their battered road atlas.

“Near Cumberland?” she offered.

He shook his head.

“About an hour’s drive north up 146, right on the border with Massachusetts.”

“Oh.” There was something almost dizzying about it, about a place so small that an hour drive could be considered, ‘up north’, and require its very own name for Sloppy Joes.

“There’s a good handful of us from up there. The younger folks with families mostly drive down for the weekend in the summer. That’s why we start supper so late,” she apologized. “So everyone has time to drive down after work.”

Eight o’clock didn’t seem all that late to eat, to him, but Sam nodded understandingly. “Only in the summer? They don’t drive down in the winter?” The trailer would get kind of cold, but Sam could imagine being out here by the sea in the winter, and it sounded nice. Quiet. Not so crowded.

Maidie cocked her head. “Didn’t your uncle tell you? It’s all summer housing, here. We’re only allowed on the property May to September,” she said.

“Right. I forgot,” Sam said uncomfortably, wondering where Maidie and Andy and all these other people lived the other half of the year.

“You and your family weren’t expecting to stay here year-round, were you?” she asked, looking a bit alarmed, as if wondering the same thing about him.

“No, of course not,” Sam replied confidently, because that possibility had honestly never crossed his mind.

“Uh-huh,” she peered at Sam. “Why don’t you go sit over there and get to know some of the other boys,” Maidie urged him.

Sam nodded. He headed towards the group of four teenage boys sitting on the grass, talking about some pitcher named Flash Gordon.

“Hi, I’m Sam,” he said brightly as he reached them. He recognized Jack from the bonfire last night.

“Hey,” said Jack. There was an awkward silence.

Sam looked around and noticed that Dean was across the yard, listening in on Dad’s conversation with such intensity he didn’t even notice the well-endowed Rottweiler lady show up with a spinach salad. Sam managed a half-wave good-bye to the guys sitting on the grass with his hands full of food and soda and wandered over to Dean. He sat down on the front step of Andy’s place, and eaves-dropped while inhaling the food off his plate.

“A secret room?” said a balding guy in his early fifties wearing a Pawtucket Red Sox jersey. “Well, I’ve never heard of one in Wedderburn House, but it wouldn’t surprise me. A lot of those sea captains were as crazy as they were rich, and they built their mansions to match.”

The group of men, all with a beer in hand, talked about the House and what they knew about its history. None of them knew any more than the kids Sam had talked to last night; every one of them had to explain, in great detail, exactly what he didn’t know.

The pizza chips were kind of dry, but the rest of the food was delicious, especially the Swedish meatballs. More neighbors drifted in as the night went on until there must have been fifty people hanging around and chatting. Like magic, the empty dishes on the tables were replaced by new, full ones. It reminded Sam of that story, ‘Stone Soup’, where a man showed up in a village that was starving and conned them all into donating a little something to spice up his stone soup, and by the end there was more soup than anyone could eat.

“Hey, Sam,” Andy said as he walked past carrying a bunch of empty beer bottles. “When I invited Christy’s family to the potluck, she asked me tell you she can’t make it. She and her brother are both grounded after last night.”

Sam nodded. He was glad Christy was okay, and wasn’t avoiding him or anything, but it’s not like they were a couple. He went back to get some more of those amazing meatballs and ended up with a plate of new food to try. Goulash and summer squash and fried shrimp. Spicy sausage and shepherd’s pie and calamari swimming in garlic sauce.

Sam had a personal rule about never eating seafood anywhere more than 100 miles from the ocean. He’d made up the rule after a horrible bout of food poisoning he’d gotten from eating salmon at an Applebee’s in Wyoming. But here, where you could actually smell the sea on the breeze at night, the seafood was awesome.

Sam wondered if anyone would mind if he smuggled some left-overs back to the trailer for them to eat tomorrow. He was proud to see that their pan full of Sloppy Joe meat had been eaten up and scraped clean.

Dean had a plate full of desserts – cookies and brownies and some unholy mixture of fruit with red Jello and Cool Whip. There was also a strawberry rhubarb pie that Dean moaned obscenely over, swearing it was the best he’d ever tasted. One of the younger guys sitting at the table with Dad must have overheard him.

The man grinned at them. “My wife Alice made that one. It’s a treat, eh? She’s the one with the long black braid and the baby on her hip over there, if you want to tell her yourself. She might even put one aside for you special,” he suggested.

Like a shot, Dean appeared at Alice’s side. Sam could see his arms wave as he extolled the virtues of Alice’s pie; the women around him burst out laughing at something he said. Well, he certainly had the young wives eating out of the palm of his hand. Sam hoped Dean would leave it at that, and not put his foot in it by starting to flirt.

An old car drove slowly up the road. As it got closer Sam recognized it as a Camaro. The car pulled in, headlights pointing directly at the party, stopping all conversation. Even at idle, its engine was a dull roar. The engine coughed its way to silence. Sam stood up protectively, blinking away the spots in his vision as someone stepped out of the car.

“I’ve got hermits from Wright’s Dairy!” the man announced, and everyone under the age of sixty swarmed towards him.

“Hold it!” a woman yelled out like a drill sergeant. Sam recognized the voice as Maidie’s. “Back, you heathens. Give my son some room. I’ll make sure everyone gets theirs. Abbey? Abbey! Where is that girl …” Maidie scanned the crowd and locked eyes with Sam. “Sam, get over heah!”

Sam glanced over at Dad, who nodded. He hurried towards Maidie’s, slipping through the crowd.

“Jeet?” she asked when he arrived at her side. She sighed at the look on his face. “Did-you-eat, Sam?” she carefully enunciated, as if he were slow.

Sam nodded, and found himself assigned to deliver ‘hermits’, a kind of big, flat molasses cookie with raisins, to the elders at the party.

“I’ll make sure you get a few extra to take home for your trouble,” Maidie promised, and Sam wasn’t even sure he liked molasses cookies, but he figured saying so might get him lynched by the crowd of fanatics who were currently devouring boxes full of the things. So he got his cheeks pinched, and his hair ruffled by the old women gathered around the picnic table, along with an invitation to Mass at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

“We’re not Catholic,” he informed the table of blue-haired ladies.

“Just ‘cause your fatha’s lapsed, doesn’t mean you can’t come to Mass,” the woman with the most improbable perm informed him nasally. “My Manny’d be happy to give you a ride. We’re in number 44. Come by at eight-thirty Sunday morning if you want.”

Sam declined as gracefully as possible. A dog started howling mournfully from behind the cottage. Dad and Dean both stood up and started casually walking the perimeter. Dogs were sensitive to monsters and supernatural creatures. Sam hurried over to Andy. “Hey, is it okay if I go check on your dog?” he asked. “I love dogs.”

“Would ya?” Andy asked. “Tigger thinks we’re torturing him, inviting all these people over and keeping him leashed up out back. He gets too excited; he’d knock over some little old lady, break her hip. If you go play with him for a minute he’ll quiet right down.”

Sam trotted past the tables of food and found Tigger sitting at the end of his chain, which had him connected to a tiny shed. The big yellow lab switched from howling to frantic whining when it saw him, and then rolled over on his back and wriggled in joy when Sam bent down to pet him. “Hey there, Tigger,” Sam crooned. Tigger’s tail whapped him in the leg as it wagged like crazy.

Sam realized he was having a good time. He thought about Maidie’s question; about living here, year-round. Sam could be happy here, living in a cottage, or even a trailer. He could get a dog, and a girlfriend, and talk about Flash Gordon, and learn to like molasses cookies. He’d get a driver’s permit – not the flawless fake driver’s license Dean had handed him when he turned fifteen in May; a real one. Dean could work at the video store, and Dad … Sam’s imagination failed.

Dad was never going to settle down. Not until he found the thing that killed Mom. Probably not even then. So there was no point trying to fit in.

Dean appeared between the two cottages and tilted his head. Sam shot him an ‘all clear’ hand signal to tell him Tigger wasn’t informing them of some impending attack. Dean’s fingers curled by his side in a confirmation, and he walked away to let Dad know.

“Bye, Tigger,” Sam said, standing up and brushing the fur off his hands. Depending on how this hunt went, there was a good chance he’d never see the dog again.

Sam was waiting at the front door of the library the next morning when the librarian opened it at exactly ten A.M.

“Good morning, Sam,” she said tolerantly. “What can I do for you today? More nineteenth century Providence Journals?”

Sam shook his head. He’d decided to try the direct approach. “No, ma’am. I’m hoping you could help me find some information on Japheth Wedderburn.”

“Hmm,” she said, mouth moving like she’d just bit into a lemon, while walking him towards the local history shelf. “The Wedderburn House?” She pulled out a little hardcover with the title, ‘Ghosts and Legends of Rhode Island.’

As if he hadn’t found that one in the card catalog on his first day, and read in it, ‘Narragansett’s Old Wedderburn House on Front Street is known to be haunted by a ghost responsible for a series of tragic deaths over the years.’ The house wasn’t actually on Front Street. Sam wasn’t sure where that rumor had started, but he automatically disregarded any story or report that repeated the misinformation.

“No,” Sam said. “I’m looking for the real story; primary sources. Not,” he said, trying to work up the right level of disgust, “ghost stories. I want to know what really happened to Japheth and his family.”

She returned the book to its shelf and then turned to inspect him. “Oh,” she said softly, eyebrows drawing down. “Emily was your auntie, wasn’t she? Is that why …”

Sam nodded, staring at the ground, trying to look like a kid who’s lost his aunt and cousin to a senseless tragedy.

“Well, you won’t find any more information here,” the librarian said briskly. “But you’re in luck. Elizabeth McIntyre was the matriarch of Rhode Island high-society at the time. She was a vicious gossip and a prolific letter writer. If you want to know about the skeletons in Japheth Wedderburn’s closet –“

Sam found himself nodding eagerly, because, yes, that was exactly what he needed to find out about.

“There’s a collection of her letters at the Narragansett Historical Society, down on Boynton Street. I’ll call and let Malcolm know you’re coming. Better hurry, they close at three, and it’s a large collection.”

Sam turned to leave, and then stopped at the last minute. “Oh, and if you see Christy, could you tell her I said hi?”

The librarian nodded indulgently and shooed him out the door.

Once Sam was outside, he pulled his ‘Welcome to Narragansett!’ visitor’s map out of his backpack. Boynton Street was towards the center of town. He jogged west for fifteen minutes until he found it, a quiet street lined with big empty houses.

He turned north and walked up the street until he spotted a middle-aged woman sporting a big sun hat and heavy work gloves attacking a rose bush with garden shears.

“Excuse me,” Sam called out cautiously from the sidewalk. She turned, wiping her face on her sleeve. “I’m looking for the Historical Society. Is it up this way?” he asked, pointing.

She shook her head no. “You’re heading the wrong direction,” she told him. “It’s about ten blocks thataway. The brick house on your left. You can’t miss it.”

The Historical Society was a tall brick house with a steepled roof and a tiny bronze plaque advertising its purpose. Sam had walked past it three times before he noticed the plaque. When he rang the bell, the door opened immediately, as if someone had been waiting on the other side.

“You must be Sam Bousquet,” droned the towering, cadaverous man with thinning brown hair who let him inside, eyes fixed somewhere over Sam’s shoulder. “We don’t normally allow students to access our collections, but Carol said you have an unusual respect for original documents. Elizabeth McIntrye's papers were kept by her daughter after her death in 1857. They remained in the family until they were donated to the Narragansett Historical Society in nineteen …”

Sam tuned out the curator’s explanation and series of warnings. The man insisted that he wash his hands, made him hand over his backpack, letting him keep only his notebook and a pencil, and had him sign a form agreeing to a bunch of rules and regulations. Then he sat Sam down in a dead silent reading room and brought him the letters, stored in a special box. The collection was organized into folders by year, and the librarian, Carol, hadn’t been kidding. Elizabeth wrote a lot of letters. The ink was a bit faded, but she had large, neat hand-writing. Sam dug in.

Four hours later Sam had a throbbing headache, the need to take a shower to get rid of the slimy feel of Elizabeth and the mean things she had to say about every single person she’d ever met, pages of notes of innuendo about Japheth Wedderburn and his ‘child-bride’, and the name of the woman who was definitely Japheth’s housekeeper, and possibly his mistress: Huldy Craddock. Japheth never married Miss Craddock, but judging by Elizabeth’s letters, the housekeeper resented his bride, the shy little Dona Mercedes Wedderburn from Barbados.

Sam stood up, and the curator immediately hustled over to him to inspect and collect the letters he’d read. The guy left the room with the box of letters hugged to his chest. Sam waited a minute, then grabbed his backpack from behind the table and legged it out of there.

It was almost three, so Sam went to see Dean at the video store. He munched on some free popcorn and filled Dean in on the housekeeper, in between customers. Dean decided they should try some daylight recon of the two graveyards he’d found that were in common use back then, to see if they could find Craddock’s grave. Once Dean got off at four they headed to the nearest of the two graveyards.

“So, are you going to call that girl, Christy?” Dean asked, kicking a can down the sidewalk.

“I didn’t get her number,” Sam confessed.

Dean squinted at Sam and kicked the can in his direction. Sam received the pass neatly and kicked it into the road. His soccer coach back in Mississippi would’ve been impressed.

“Didn’t get it because she didn’t want to give it to you, or because she passed out before she got the chance?” Dean asked.

Sam considered. “I think she’s still interested.”

“You should call her, then. Bet Andy would give you her number,” Dean said.

“I don’t really know her,” Sam protested.

“That’s what the phone call’s for, genius,” Dean countered. “That, and the date.”

“I don’t have any money to take her out,” Sam muttered, staring at his feet.

Dean stopped walking. Sam turned around to look at him. Dean pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. Sam made a face, expecting another condom. Instead, Dean handed him a twenty dollar bill.

“Ice cream at Brickley’s over by Scarborough. I hear it’s awesome. Saw some couples there the other night.”

“Yeah, okay. Thanks, Dean,” Sam said, taking the twenty. He folded it carefully and slid it into the inside pocket of his jeans.

They arrived at the black metal fence marking the edge of the cemetery.

“Less’n ten seconds to get over that one after dark,” Dean said.

Sam nodded his agreement, and fended off the concerned care-taker at the gate by holding up his back-pack with a cheerful, “Grave-rubbings!”

It only took twenty minutes of peering at nineteenth- century gravestones in the over-grown northern section of the graveyard to find, ‘Huldy, daughter of Reuben and Fanny Craddock. d. 6/14/1839, a. 28y 6m’. An old maid at twenty-eight years of age, Sam figured, looking at the inscription. Only children and unmarried women were listed with their parents’ names like that, back then. She’d out-lasted Japheth, though, so they’d proven that Claudia’s bloody ghost story was wrong.

“Least if we need to burn this one’s bones, we know right where to find her,” Dean said. “Come on, we better hurry, Dad’ll be pissed if we’re late for dinner.”

When they got back to the trailer, Dad wasn’t home yet. Sam went to ask Andy for Christy’s phone number. He emerged from Andy’s cottage thirty minutes later with the number, a head full of advice, and a grocery bag full of left-overs from the potluck.

Dad still wasn’t back. It was past seven, and he was supposed to meet them here at six. Dean didn’t say anything about it, so neither did Sam. They heated up the left-overs, leaving Dad a plate in the tiny fridge. Sam and Dean ate, washed up, and watched ‘Die Hard’, pretending that everything was fine.

They finally heard the Impala’s rumble a little after nine. Sam ran outside. Dean hovered in the doorway of the trailer.

Dad had a white cast on his left arm. He gestured Sam into the trailer, closed the door behind him, and settled onto the bed with a groan that was barely audible over the explosions from the TV. Sam sat on his bunk. Dean turned off the movie and stood there, staring down at Dad.

Dad glanced at Dean’s face, and sat upright. “I should have called from the ER. I didn’t realize how long it would take,” he explained.

“What happened?” Dean asked.

Dad gave a side-ways nod. “Well, it seems like the ghost is stepping up the violence of her attacks and changing her profile. I was climbing up to the widow’s walk, and she pushed me down the stairs.”

“You saw the ghost?” Sam asked eagerly.

“Very small, female, wearing a black veil,” Dad answered.

“Right, that’s got to be Japheth’s wife! I’ve got her name, Dona Mercedes Wedderburn, and a description, but no death notice or grave site. She disappeared sometime in 1835 or 1836,” Sam said.

Dean moved over to Sam’s bunk and sat down beside him, shoving him over. “How’s the arm?” he asked pointedly.

Sam felt a sudden flush of shame that he’d started grilling Dad about the ghost without even making sure he was okay first.

Dad raised his arm. “Oh, it’s a simple fracture across the ulnar. Shouldn’t take more than six weeks to heal up.”

Dean got Dad’s dinner out of the fridge and heated it up for him. He made sure that Dad took his pain meds and then helped him into bed when they kicked in.

“I’m going out,” Dean told Sam quietly once Dad dropped off. “If Dad wakes up, give him another pain pill.”

“I’m coming with you,” Sam said.

Dean shook his head. “Not tonight, Sammy. No fake ID in the world is getting you into a bar.”

“You’re not going to a bar,” Sam said scornfully. “You’re going to Wedderburn House.”

Dean went still, his usual response to getting caught in a lie.

“And if you think you can tuck me into bed and go hunt the ghost that likes to kill kids alone, you’re crazy,” Sam informed him in a hushed, furious voice. Four days without a call in Denver; Dad showing up more than three hours late tonight – Sam couldn’t take a night of sitting up in bed waiting, not knowing if Dean was ever coming back.

“I’m not a kid,” Dean said. “But you are. No way am I letting you anywhere near that house.”

Sam shrugged. “So I’ll stay in the car.”

Dean’s lip twisted unhappily.

“It’s either that or I wake Dad up,” Sam threatened.

“Fine,” Dean agreed grudgingly.

It was cooler outside tonight. Sam would have gone back into the trailer for a shirt to throw on over his t-shirt, but he was pretty sure Dean would drive off without him if he did.

Wedderburn House was north, on the outskirts of town, but Dean drove fifteen minutes west to a truck stop on I-95. He filled up two gas cans and told Sam to grab some match books when the guy at the counter wasn’t looking. Sam filled his pockets with a dozen matchbooks and was waiting in the car when Dean got back.

“We’re gonna burn the place down?” Sam asked incredulously when they got back on the road, car pointing east towards Narragansett.

“Don’t need to worry about the haunted house killing people if there’s no house,” Dean answered. “You get those matches?”

Sam handed them over. Dean slid a Zeppelin tape in and turned it up too loud for conversation. There wasn’t much traffic on the two-lane highway and Sam zoned out a little, tired from a long day and lulled by being back on the road again. Dean turned onto a residential street and then they were driving between two tall, over-grown hedges and up a giant driveway that made a circle in front of Wedderburn House.

Dean got out of the car and pulled the cans of gasoline out of the trunk.

Sam rolled down his window. “Be careful,” he told his brother.

Dean rolled his eyes. “I’ll be out in ten. I left the keys in the ignition, but keep the engine off – we don’t want any neighbors showing up to investigate the strange car while I’m in there.” With a wink, he headed towards the front door.

Sam pressed the light button on his watch. It was 12:47. At 12:57, if Dean hadn’t come out, he was going in.

Dean walked up the front steps. He set the two gas cans down on the porch and stood in front of the door. It was a big fancy one, with a carved wooden pineapple at the top. Sam thought maybe Japheth had carved it there for his wife, a little taste of Barbados in her new home. Sam wondered if Dean had gotten the house key from Dad’s key ring, or if he was picking the lock. Dean opened the door, picked up the gas cans, and stepped inside.

Sam hunkered down in his seat so he could check out the house. Wedderburn House didn’t look run-down, not like some haunted houses Sam had seen. It was a four-story white clapboard house with dark green shutters. Dad had mentioned a gallery on the third floor. Sam leaned out the car window and squinted to make out the set of picture windows up there. He couldn’t get a decent angle to check out the widow’s walk up on the roof, not from inside the car. Sam decided not to piss Dean off by getting out. Not unless he had to.

Sam checked his watch. 12:49. He thought through what they knew about this ghost, looking for anything that might help if Dean got into trouble. It was the ghost of Dona Mercedes, Japheth’s wife. She’d disappeared in the winter of 1885 or spring of 1886. Past that, all Sam had were rumors and possibilities. Mercedes had most likely been murdered, although suicide was a possibility; women who died of natural causes didn’t become vengeful spirits. Since she’d killed people both in the house and on the grounds, she was probably buried somewhere around here, but Dad hadn’t been able to find the grave. The body might have been hidden somewhere inside the house. Remains that weren’t treated with respect often led to hauntings.

And none of that, none of it was helpful. None of it mattered, not with Dean in the house with her. Sam looked at his watch. It was 12:53.

Dona Mercedes Wedderburn. Sam painted a picture of her in his mind, the tiny, shy girl that Japheth Wedderburn had taken from her home in Barbados and left here in this giant, empty house with a housekeeper who hated her guts while he was off captaining his ship for months at a time.

Sam checked his watch. 12:55. Two more minutes, and he was going to drag Dean out of there.

Mercedes barely spoke any English, Sam remembered from Elizabeth McIntyre’s letters. Sam imagined her standing all alone up on that widow’s walk, waiting for her husband to come home. She must have been so lonely. Maybe Mercedes wasn’t taking out the competition after all. Maybe she was looking for company.

Dean came running out the front door. Sam popped out of the car and threw himself at Dean for a quick hug. Dean smelled like gasoline and smoke.

“Did it go okay?” Sam asked, when what he really meant was, ‘Are you okay?’

“Yeah, no problem,” Dean said with a grin and a little bounce. “Plenty of drapes and flammable stuff in there. Should go up like a box of matches.” He turned and glanced at the house, yellow-orange flame already flickering in the windows of the first and second floors. Dean looked up and froze. “Oh, fuck.”

Sam craned his neck. There was a tiny figure up in the gallery, peering down at them from the picture window.

“I checked!” Dean said frantically. “I swear, I checked, there was nobody in there.” He took a step towards the house.

Sam lunged and grabbed his brother’s shirt. “Dean, it’s not a person, it’s the ghost.”

Dean looked up at the window and then down at him. “Are you sure? Sammy, I can’t … you’ve got to be sure.”

“I am,” Sam lied with absolute certainty. Sam was ninety, ninety-five percent sure it was the ghost. Mercedes was sneaky, and lonely, and she wanted company in the after-life. This was exactly the kind of stunt she’d pull. Plus, Sam was not letting his brother run back into that burning building. Even if it was a real person, it was too late to get her out. All Dean could do was get himself killed trying to save her.

“Okay.” Dean let out a ragged breath. “Okay, let’s get out of here before the fire trucks show up.”

Late the next morning Dad rolled out of bed, brushed his teeth, took a piss, and then took off in the car. He came back thirty minutes later carrying a bag of donuts, with a newspaper stuffed under his arm and a look on his face that Sam didn’t recognize. Sam and Dean were already sitting outside at the picnic table with Folgers and orange juice, eating the stale ends of a loaf of bread slathered with peanut butter.

Dad dropped the bag of donuts on the table and then pointedly spread the local section of the Providence Journal out on the table for them to read.

“Seems the Wedderburn House burned down last night,” Dad said. “The Fire Marshall suspects arson. I don’t suppose you know anything about that? ” he asked Dean.

Dean chewed slowly, then licked the last traces of peanut butter off his lips and washed it down with a sip of coffee. “Why, should I?” he asked, not meeting Dad’s eyes.

“Damn it, Dean …” Dad sat down heavily. He sighed, then opened the bag of donuts and pushed it towards Dean. Dean bit his lip, looked inside, and pulled out a Boston crème. He passed the bag to Sam, who found his favorite, a maple bar, at the bottom.

“The fire brigade found a body,” Dad said.

Sam tensed up. Had there really been someone trapped upstairs in that fire?

“There was a coffin hidden in the wall behind the fireplace,” Dad continued.

Sam felt the relief of it burst through him, but he held onto a poker face. Dad couldn’t know that there’d been any chance of them hurting someone with that fire. More importantly, neither could Dean.

Dad picked up the paper and read to them, “The coffin was of a nineteenth century design. It contained the desiccated corpse of a woman wearing a tortoise shell comb and a black lace veil.” He tapped the paper. “Well, the good news is that while I was waiting around for them to see me at the E.R., I found out that the county medical examiner works in the morgue in the basement of the hospital. Either of you boys want to come with me to break into the morgue tonight for a salt and burn?”

Dean nodded enthusiastically.

“Sure,” Sam said drily. “The family that B and E’s together, stays together.” That was what passed for quality time in the Winchester family. Since all of his research had been completely pointless, and Dean’s pyromania had saved the day, he should at least try to help out somehow on this hunt.

A grey Crown Victoria cruised up the street and pulled to a stop next to the Impala. A state trooper in his late twenties wearing actual honest to god aviator sunglasses stepped out.

“Mr. Bousquet?” he said to Dad, one hand resting on the butt of his gun.

“Yes, officer,” Dad said with both hands resting on the table, white cast on display.

“I need to ask you some questions about the goings-on at the Wedderburn House last night,” the cop said.

“Do you mean my accident, or the fire?” Dad asked.

“You know about the fire?” the cop said, as if Dad had confessed.

“I was just reading the story in the paper to my boys,” Dad told him. “They think it was arson?”

“That’s what I’m here to talk to you about,” the trooper said pointedly.

“Hmm,” Dad said, brow wrinkling. “I can understand why you might think it was for the insurance money, but I can’t imagine Dick being involved in anything like that.” Sam was impressed by the deflection. “I mean, he lost his wife and little girl this spring, and their things were all still in the house. Now he won’t have anything…” Dad looked down at his cast with a deep sigh.

Sam personally thought the sigh pushed it over the top, but it seemed to work.

The trooper took off his sunglasses, tucked them into his shirt pocket, and sat down at the table with them. “I’d heard,” he said quietly. “We haven’t been able to get in touch with your brother.”

“As far as I know, he’s still in Boston,” Dad said, “I can give you his number, if that would help.”

The trooper nodded and jotted down Dick Bousquet’s phone number when Dad rattled it off. He stood up and nodded to them. “I might be back later. I assume you’re not planning on leaving town any time soon?”

“Of course not,” Dad agreed pleasantly. They watched as the trooper drove off, keeping to the posted speed limit. “We’ll stay away from the trailer until we hit the morgue, then cross state lines tonight,” Dad told them tightly.

Dad drove them to Aunt Carrie’s for lunch. Not their fake aunt, or anyone’s aunt in particular – that was just the name of the restaurant.

“Andy says we haven’t lived until we’ve tasted these clam cakes,” Dad said.

The place was near the beach, full of families and groups of people in beach clothes and flip flops, barely obeying the ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service’ sign posted on the door. Inside, Sam started laughing when he saw they’d be sitting at … a picnic table. They ordered a dozen clam cakes and a bowl of chowder each, since that was the specialty.

The frazzled waitress was a girl who didn’t look old enough to be working in a restaurant– Sam thought he recognized her from the bonfire party. “Red, white, or clear?” she snapped.

“What’s that?” Dad said.

“Your chowder. Do you want it red, white, or clear?”

“What’s the difference?” Sam asked.

She sighed. “It’s the broth. Do you want it milked-based, New England-style? Tomato-based, which is Manhattan-style? Or clear, Rhode Island-style?”

They ordered one bowl of each, so they could try them all. Dad liked the red one best. Sam and Dean ended up sharing the clear and white.

The clam cakes weren’t the flat, breaded circles Sam had been expecting. They were huge balls of fried dough, bigger than Sam’s fist, with peaks and lumps and valleys that made each shape unique.

With little glances around the dining room, Dean decided that the local method of eating them involved dunking part of the clam cake into the chowder, and then quickly eating the wet bit before it could disappear into the depths of your chowder bowl. Sam copied him, and pretty soon they were going through handfuls of paper towels from the roll on the table, making a contest of who could eat them in the messiest, most disgusting way.

Dad had been tense all morning, but watching them goof around, he grinned and flagged their waitress over.

“Could I get some of those lobster bibs for my boys?” he asked.

She snickered at Sam, and tied the plastic bibs around his and Dean’s neck. Dad paid with a credit card, something he’d avoided when they thought they might be in town for a while. The three of them wandered the beach for a couple hours, killing time.

Dean pointed them towards Brickley’s, and Sam treated the three of them to ice cream with the twenty Dean had given him. He had a double scoop of Coffee Oreo on a hand-made waffle cone, which was almost good enough to deserve the orgasm noises Dean made over his Cake Batter and Apple Pie flavored double scoop. Sam shrugged at the girls giggling at them from the next table and figured it was maybe a good thing they were taking off tonight.

They trooped into South County Hospital a little after six - after business hours, but during peak visiting hours so they blended with the crowd. Dad led them down some stairs and along a hallway to the morgue in the basement. It smelled funny in there, like bleach and antiseptics, stronger than it had in the rest of the hospital. Dad turned on the lights. The fluorescents flickered on, revealing blank white walls, a concrete floor, two stainless steel tables, and a wall of cold-storage drawers.

Dean and Dad started pulling open the drawers the bodies were stored in, checking them, and then slamming them closed again. Sam caught glimpses of blank faces and cold flesh. He swallowed and ducked outside the door for a quick look around.

There was a neon exit sign at the end of the hallway, but the door said it was for ‘Emergency Exit Only - Alarm Will Sound.’ Sam slipped back into the morgue to let Dad know.

Dad was standing over an open drawer. “Okay, I guess we’ll just take care of it right here,” he said when Sam told him about the door. “I need the salt and gasoline.”

Sam unzipped his backpack. He pulled out the salt canister and handed it to Dad. Dad shook the salt out over the corpse in the drawer, one-handed, then traded Sam for the can of gasoline while Dean lit a book of matches.

The fluorescent lights flickered overhead and a ghost wearing a black dress appeared in front of Sam. She was tiny; smaller than Sam and about his age. She pushed back her veil, and Sam was struck by the sad look in her eyes.

Sam wondered what happened to her. Had she really still-birthed six babies and buried them in the family plot? Did her husband murder her? Was it the housekeeper? Or was she a suicide, left all alone in that big house over a cold Rhode Island winter? She flickered closer to Sam, smiling shyly, and reached towards his face.

Dean gasped. “Sam, the salt!” he yelled.

Sam flung the open salt container at the ghost. She disappeared with a silent wail. The gasoline lit with a whump behind Sam. He turned and saw flames dancing merrily above the cold-storage drawer.

Dad turned to him and took a breath to speak.

An ear-splitting wail of a fire alarm went off, and water gushed from the automatic sprinklers over-head.

“Fuck,” Dad yelled, slamming the drawer closed.

“Don’t let it close all the way,” Dean shouted over the alarm. “If there’s an air-tight seal, it’ll put out the fire and the bitch’ll be after Sam again.”

Dad nodded. He pulled the drawer open a careful inch. Sam moved to grab the salt and gasoline cans, but Dad shook his head, put his good hand on Sam’s shoulder, and dragged him out of the morgue. They evacuated the hospital in a flood of confused, worried patients, staff, and visitors. Fire trucks were already pulling up outside and a woman with a bull horn was directing ambulatory patients to evacuation zones.

Dad herded them towards the car. They all got in and drove away, slowly and smoothly.

“So,” Dad said as they reached the highway. “Smoke detectors and an automatic sprinkler system. Didn’t see that one coming.”

Dean cracked up, then Dad, and Sam found himself laughing along.

“Can you picture,” Dean said, gasping for breath, “the look, on those firemen’s faces?” He howled with laughter and set Sam off again. Eventually they all ran out of laughs. Sam sat in the back seat nursing a headache.

“I pulled a salt-and-burn in a morgue once before,” Dad explained. “But it was in a big city, and the Medical Examiner’s Office was in a stand-alone building. It never occurred to me …” He shook his head. “If either of you boys see me start to pull a bone-head maneuver like that again, you have my permission to kick my ass.”

They pulled off the highway onto the beach road. Sam opened the window so he could smell the sea. It was a short drive. The sun was setting, casting long shadows as they pulled onto the grass in front of their, no, in front of Dick Bousquet’s trailer.

Sam went in and ran a sweep through the bathroom – that was always his job. He packed up their toiletries and stowed it in the back of the car along with the garbage bag of dirty clothes. They usually did the laundry before leaving town, but between the suspected arson at the Wedderburn House and that botched salt-and-burn at the hospital, washing Dean’s gasoline and smoke-scented clothes at the local Laundromat would be pushing their luck.

Sam grabbed his duffel and his feather pillow, lugged them out to the car, piled them on top of their other stuff, and rearranged it into a comfortable nest for himself. It had only taken them ten minutes to pull up stakes. They were all good at it by now; this time, Sam hadn’t even bothered unpacking.

Dad dropped the key off with Andy, who escorted them down to the exit and waved good-bye. Sam watched him out the back window of the car as they drove off.

Sam checked his pockets to make sure he had Dad’s pain pills and found the slip of paper with Christy’s number in one of them. He pulled it out. By the time they stopped for the night so he could call, they’d probably be three states over. Sam stuck the paper out the window and let go. It fluttered away into the twilight. He wasn’t sure why he’d even bothered getting it from Andy. Sam should really know better by now.

Dad drove west on US-1 towards the Connecticut border, 25 miles away. Traffic slowed to a crawl as they passed some road construction. A neon sign warned of men at work, although Sam didn’t see anything except a bunch of orange cones. Sam couldn’t smell the sea anymore, just the fumes from the cars, so he rolled up the car window.

‘Connecticut Welcomes You’ declared a sign by the side of the road. Everyone in the car relaxed as they crossed state lines.

Sam felt sorry for Mercedes Wedderburn, but he wasn’t anything like her. He wasn’t alone; he had Dean and Dad. And as much as he hated never staying anywhere long enough to put down roots, at least it meant he’d never had a home to miss.

Sam leaned forwards. “Dad? You think, if we don’t have any big hunts to get to right away, we could maybe go see Uncle Bobby?”

Dad’s eyes met his in the rear-view mirror. Sam held his breath; he knew that South Dakota was a whole two thousand miles away. That was a lot of wasted time and wasted gas, when they could just stop at the nearest motel until Dad picked out their next hunt.

“Good idea, Sam,” Dad said gruffly. “The Impala could use a little work on her transmission, and you boys need to practice your Latin.”

“What’s wrong with her transmission?” Dean asked, confused.

Dad cleared his throat. “Preventative maintenance,” he clarified. “And you definitely need to practice your Latin, Dean.”

“Yes sir,” Dean mumbled. “Hey,” he said more brightly. “Bobby said next time we came by he’d show me how to rebuild an engine. You think he’s got one ready to work on?”

“Salvage yard that size, I’m sure he’s got some junker we can train you on,” Dad agreed. He pulled onto I-95 and settled into the slipstream behind an eighteen-wheeler. Sam noticed that Dad shifted in his seat, and then shifted again, as if he couldn’t get comfortable.

“Your arm hurting?” Sam guessed. When he broke his arm last winter it throbbed like crazy for the first week. Sam pulled Dad’s pills out of his pocket and reached forward to offer them.

“No,” Dad denied immediately. “Well …” he glanced over at Dean. “It’s a little sore, actually. Dean, you feel up to driving? I might take a pill and sack out for a while.”

“No problem,” Dean said eagerly.

Dad pulled over to the side of the road. He and Dean swapped seats. Dad dry swallowed a pill and leaned back in the passenger seat as Dean carefully pulled out into traffic. ‘One of These Nights’ was playing on the stereo, so quiet Sam could barely hear it. He drifted off to sleep to the sound of Dad’s rasping half-snores.


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 19th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
This was great! I think you really captured Sam and Dean at this time in their lives. They felt like real teens, real brothers. Keep up the good work!
Dec. 20th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, kat! I worked really hard here on the family dynamics, so I'm pleased that worked for you.
Dec. 20th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
This is great! I love the changes you made, especially Sam's questionable judgement vis a vis the ghost/person in the house. Pure Sam.

Dec. 20th, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out that, since it was a casefic, the case needed to be properly resolved. I do like that glimpse of the ruthless practicality Sam eventually develops as a hunter. I appreciate the comment!
Dec. 20th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
What a great pre-series story - Team Winchester working well together, managing to have good times along with the responsibilities of hunting, and yet... there's that hint of things that will build into insupportable differences. I loved it!
Dec. 20th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
*nods* Sam is really trying to fit in here, to be a hunter, to live the life that Dad's set up for them. Ad it almost works. Almost. Thank you for the comment, vikingprincess!
Dec. 20th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
Nice! I loved the brotherly interactions here, very well done. Sam being hit on was cute, too. I kept picturing wee!Sam blushing. Hee.
Dec. 20th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
Thanks! I wanted to show Sam and Dean being brothers. And Sam's definitely being stalked and captured like prey. It makes me wonder if Jessica did the same thing. Thanks monicawoe!
Dec. 20th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
This was an elegant read! I know that is a strange word to use, but it was so satisfying constructed and the characterizations were so lovingly done, it just made me sigh with pleasure when I finished it.

I think what impressed me the most was how Sam was not the usual angry, angsty teenager in a lot of teenchester stories, and yet he was still very clearly 'Sam,' and the case was a fully fleshed out case and yet it wasn't a horrible trauma.

It's nice to think that sometimes they got the job done without being beaten up!

Well done!
Dec. 20th, 2011 08:33 am (UTC)
What a delightful comment! I spent a lot of time on the characterization and relationships here, rather than my usual focus on pure plot. I wanted to show a Sam who is trying his very best to be his father's son, rather than in the all-out rebellion we see later. I'm so glad that it worked for you. Thank you!
Dec. 20th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
What a great Sam and Dean story. m ;)
Dec. 20th, 2011 08:46 am (UTC)
Thanks, mdlaw!
Dec. 20th, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
What a good story! And beautifully written. I feel as though I've been to rhode island now, and tried those interesting seafood dishes. Thank you!
Dec. 20th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
*beams* Since this was written for the 50 states challenge, that's a perfect compliment! (One other person signed up for RI, and now I'm really curious to read what she's written.) I commented to my beta that either Sam was obsessed with food here, or I was. I suppose he's a growing boy - he has an excuse!
Dec. 20th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Wonderful story. I miss reading about John being an actual dad (if an imperfect one). I love how well-paced and complete this story feels, and how true to the characters. Dean, quietly in the background worrying about and taking care of his family, made my heart clench.

You've really captured Sam, here, both the boy and the man he's becoming. Such a vivid portrayal! I love that he's 90-95% sure that there's not a real person in the house, and that he's not ashamed of it, if it means it keeps Dean safely outside the burning house. A chilling but true moment. It's such an interesting side effect of the way they were raised, and one that I imagine John must have been aware of, on some level—he's a very astute guy. But by the time he realized it, it would have been too late to change it, and I'm not sure he would have, anyway.

So beautifully nuanced, this story. Obviously, it's made me think about the characters, all aside from being a vivid casefic. The accents were great, by the way. And the food! You made me homesick for New England. :)

ETA: I meant to say, I also love that John was right about the ghost being a woman, that Sam figured it out but it was Dean's pyromania that got the job done (when his dad got hurt! perfect) and that John screwed up at the morgue. It was really cool to see them all learning as they go, and not being perfect, but getting the job done.

Edited at 2011-12-20 04:18 pm (UTC)
Dec. 20th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes what you said! *mooches off comment* :D
(no subject) - keerawa - Dec. 20th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keerawa - Dec. 20th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - killabeez - Dec. 21st, 2011 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keerawa - Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
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Dec. 20th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you, reading1066. I think that the three of them really do care about each other and try to look after each other. There's no other safety net for them. No friends or extended family to rely on, no girlfriend to complain to when your brother drives you nuts. All they have is each other.
Dec. 20th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
That was a wondeful story about the winchesters preseries. I really liked the fantasy that Sam had about settling down and then realizing that it was just not going to happen.

Thank you for sharing.
Dec. 20th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks cappy! I was almost finished with the first draft of this story when I remembered what we learn about Sam running away to Flagstaff, in 'Dark Side of the Moon.' It fit in quite neatly with this fantasy, of the tiny cottage and the dog. But by that time Sam had given up on Dean and his Dad coming with him.
Dec. 21st, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this so much! I loved the family dynamic as well as teen!Sam on his own negotiating his weird little world. The local color was fun as well.
Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
Thank you, embroiderama! Sam's world, balanced between the 'real' one and the one hunters inhabit, is peculiar indeed.
Dec. 21st, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
Like the family dynamics here- sloppy Joes and checking on the dog, Dean guilt-tripping John into apologizing, and John making them wear bibs- and Dean clean the guns for getting his little Winchester dirty;)
(I must admit, it never occured to me that the weechesters' List of Things Your Parents Don't Even Want to Know Until You're 40 might be-not all that different, lol!)
Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
getting his little Winchester dirty
*snickers* Oh yeah - poor Dean. I'm really interested that you read John's "I should have called," as an apology, because in an earlier draft I actually wrote him saying the words 'I'm sorry', and then took them out as a bit OOC.

Thanks for the comment!
Dec. 21st, 2011 03:10 am (UTC)
This was a fantastic read! I really enjoy fics that are colorful and well-researched like this. Going back to pre-series is like a breath of fresh air after the epic struggles and angst of recent seasons. Your characterizations felt engaging and real. Thumbs up all around!
Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
Thank you, harrigan! That's part of what I enjoy about the pre-series genre - seeing our boys before everything went pear-shaped for them.
Dec. 21st, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
What an awesome case fic and great sense of the area. The details about the food and the history research process really added to the story. I liked having the story through Sam's point of view. Poor kid - but a nice look at the three of them as a family.

Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
Thank you, galwithglasses! I grew up a mile from Wright's Dairy. Their hermits really are an institution in northern RI. (Much like meltaways from Bonatt's in Cape Cod.) Sam's trying so very, very hard here; it's a little painful to watch.
Dec. 26th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
very well done case fic
Dec. 26th, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Thank you, shoofus!
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