Author's Note:Crossover with Supernatural. Sequel to Who You Gonna Call? AU where the Seven are paranormal investigators.
This one is all for Val
Henry pounded another nail into the wood, determined to finish his work early. He didn't like it down here, although it paid more than his regular construction jobs. He was especially nervous knowing a guy had died in this area the week before.
"Hurry it up, Henry!"
Henry jumped and whipped around. "Don't do that!" He scowled at his coworker, Dave.
"Well, if you don't finish this ramp today, you'll be coming back tomorrow alone."
"I ain't coming back alone no matter what they pay me," Henry quickly answered. A flowery scent wafted near and he glanced around nervously. "You smell something?"
"Hey, man, I don't want to smell anything down here." Dave walked off to finish his inspection, letting Henry get back to work.
Two more nails. Raising his hand to strike another, Henry froze in place. Coming toward him was a large man wearing an old suit. But Henry could see through him. That can't be real, he thought.
There was the flash of metal a knife.
Henry's disbelief gave way to fear. He screamed and lifted his arm to defend himself when the knife came slashing down. But it didnt stop. Henry felt a tightening in his chest, making it impossible to breathe.
His world went black.
Dave found Henry's body ten minutes later.
Oskams Corner, Washington
Dean Winchester scanned the paper, looking for trouble. Most people ran away from it, but he and his brother tended to run straight toward it. "I think I found our next job," he announced. He flipped the paper around.
Sam rolled over on his bed so he could read it. He squinted. "You want to go to a sale at JC Penney?"
Dean rolled his eyes. "Below that, genius."
"'Worker Dead in Underground.' This is our kind of thing, why?"
"Henry Bethel's the second man to die in the tunnels in the last two weeks. No clues to how or reasons why."
"The area is obviously ripe for supernatural events or entities, but I still don't see"
"Trust me, Sam. It's one of ours." Dean quickly folded his clothes, shoving them in his bag. "Now get your ass in gear we can be there in an hour."
Los Angeles, California
Vin Tanner picked up the ringing phone. "OSIR. Yeah, he's right here." He covered the mouthpiece and called, "Chris, it's for you." When Chris picked up his extension, Vin replaced the receiver and turned to Ezra. "You heard from the others yet?"
"Yes," Ezra Standish answered easily.
"Mr. Dunne called early this morning to make a verbal report."
"And?" Vin asked again, trying to keep his frustration in check.
"And he did so."
"Ez, I swear I'll jump over this desk and punch you if you keep this up."
Ezra flashed a grin. "He and Mr. Wilmington have cleared the DeVries Estate and have gone down to join our compatriots in El Paso."
"So there wasn't a haunting?"
Ezra shook his head. "No, merely a bored teenager with an overactive imagination and a taste for the theatrical."
"But Josiah's and Nate's looks promising?"
"So they claim. They'll call us if they need assistance."
"It'll have to wait," Chris interrupted.
"What is it?" Vin asked.
"Steve Traynor, an old friend in Seattle, needs our help. He's the managing director of the Underground Tours."
"Underground Tours?" Vin asked. "What the hell is that?"
"The Seattle Underground," Ezra answered, "is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Seattle that had originally been ground level. After the streets were elevated, these spaces eventually fell into disuse, but have recently become a tourist attraction."
Chris Larabee snapped his fingers. "Get your stuff together. Our flight leaves in two hours."
Underground Tours, Pioneer Building
Dean swaggered to the front desk, summoning the name he'd read in the newspaper article. "We're here to see Mr. Traynor, please." Experience told him if you acted like you know what you were doing, most people went along with it.
Sam followed, not as comfortable at pulling off scams.
Almost immediately, a man came out of the back, smiling a greeting. Not many people seemed glad to see them, and Dean's answering smile was slower than usual.
"Steve Traynor," the man said. "You must be on Larabee's team."
Dean shook the offered hand. "We sure are." He didn't have to look behind him to know his brother was backing him up. "I'm Dean, this is Sam."
"I can't tell you how glad I am you could make it. These deaths have really shaken us."
"Oh, I understand completely," Dean said.
"Have the police come up with anything?" Sam asked.
Traynor shook his head. "Nothing. That's why I contacted your organization. I mean, I've known Chris for years, but I've never really believed in all this ghost stuff. Now, I just don't know what to think."
"How 'bout you take us down to where the men died and we'll start our investigation," Dean offered.
Traynor smiled, apparently relieved not to have to delve into the supernatural anymore. "Of course. Let me grab a map and some flashlights."
Minutes later, Sam and Dean followed Traynor into the maze underneath Seattle. Traynor pulled to a stop next to an opening with a chain blocking the entry. A sign hung on it announcing Danger: Keep Out. Unlocking the chain, Traynor led them into the room. Work lights were strung up around the area, but gave off a limited amount of light.
"Sorry, our electricians haven't finished yet," Traynor explained. "This area was rediscovered last month, and we've been working to make it safe, hoping to add it to the tour by summer."
"But then the deaths " Sam trailed off. "Could you tell us exactly what happened?"
"As I told Chris, there was no sign of struggle, no apparent cause of death, the men just died." Traynor threw up his hands. "The police are baffled. We can't take the chance of a tourist getting killed. It would ruin us." He stopped and motioned around. "Here's where Bethel was found. Leeds was discovered fifty yards further down."
"Thank you, Mr. Traynor," Dean said. "We'll take it from here."
Traynor nodded. "All right. Just let me know if you come up with anything." He wrung his hands. "I'll leave the map with you; I know my way around."
"Thanks. We'll let you know what we find." Sam gently turned Traynor around and walked a few steps with him.
Once he was out of sight, Dean remarked, "So, who do you think are Larabee's people?"
Sam shrugged. "Probably some ghost hunter outfit. Traynor seemed nervous just thinking about the possibility." He dropped the duffel with their equipment on the floor.
Dean leaned over and opened it, grabbing the EMF meter. He flipped it on and started to walk around, swinging it back and forth.
"Anything?" Sam asked after a few moments.
"Nope, nothing. You?"
Sam shrugged again. "I don't know." He looked around. "I'm feeling a little closed in."
"What, like claustrophobic?"
"Maybe, I don't know."
"Real helpful there, Sammy," Dean drawled.
"Listen, this is new to me, too, okay, and I just don't know what I'm sensing, if anything."
"Yeah, okay, chill." Dean held up his hands, placating. "We'll just have to do this the old-fashioned way." He returned his attention to the detector, continuing to move around the space.
* * * * *
Ezra followed his boss and his teammate into the Underground Tours office. There was a man with graying brown hair standing in front of the main desk, his back to the door.
The man turned, smiling as his eyes lit on their group. "Hey, I wasn't sure I'd be seeing you."
Ezra saw his own confusion on Chris' face. "I told you we'd be coming," Larabee said.
"Oh, I know, it's just, the first part of your team is already down there."
"Is that so?" Chris motioned Vin and Ezra to keep silent. "Could I get a map and directions? We'll go and catch up with our teammates."
"Of course." Traynor motioned to the receptionist. Handing over the map, he pointed out the location of the disturbances. "Thanks again, Chris. I'm at my wit's end."
"It's our pleasure, Steve." He shook hands and led the way out of the office to the elevator.
"Who do you think is here?" Vin asked, once inside.
"I have no idea, but we need to find out," Chris answered. "We might learn this is a human mystery, not a paranormal one." Although their job entailed encountering and researching the paranormal, they always looked for an earthbound explanation first.
Following the directions, they arrived at the indicated area without problem, and crossed the unchained entrance. Once inside, they heard voices and slowed down to observe. Ezra saw two young men, one about Chris' height, the other slightly taller.
The OSIR men walked forward. "What are you guys doing down here? It's restricted," Chris called out, blinding them with his flashlight.
The two men raised their hands, trying to block the light. "It's okay," the one with shorter, spikier hair responded. "We're on Larabee's team."
"Is that right?"
Chris lowered his flashlight. "All right then, carry on."
"Oh, just a minute. I guess I should introduce myself . My name's Chris Larabee."
The man's head tilted with a little lilt of "Huh?"
Ezra placed himself on one side of Chris while Vin mirrored him on the other, effectively blocking the intruders.
"How 'bout you tell us who you really are."
Obviously deciding offense was the best defense, the shorter, stockier one countered aggressively, "Well, who the hell are you?"
"We're the ones who have permission to be here. And I'm the one calling the police to have you arrested for trespassing." Chris flipped his cell phone open, prepared to dial.
"Bad news, pal, no reception down here."
Chris scowled at the phone as if had betrayed him. "That's all right, we'll just take you to them instead."
The man straightened menacingly. "I'd like to see you try."
Listening to the argument with one ear, Ezra's focus was drawn to Vin, who was staring at the taller quieter intruder. Without warning, Vin walked toward him, holding out a hand. Ezra hurried after, just in case. Chris and the stranger continued arguing, not even noticing when they stepped aside.
"I'm Vin Tanner."
A moment of confusion crossed the young man's face before he shook Vin's hand. "Sam Winchester, that's my brother, Dean."
"That there is Ezra."
Standish nodded a greeting, amused Vin had known he'd followed without looking.
"And I'm sure you heard that other fella is Chris, our boss," Vin continued.
"Nice to meet you." Sam appeared wary, unnerved by the warm welcome.
Ezra wasn't quite certain himself, but he trusted Vin.
"So," Vin rocked back on his heels, "you looking for the same thing we are?"
Vin smiled. "Okay." Turning to the bickering Dean and Chris, he put two fingers in his mouth and let out a piercing whistle. The two men stopped and swung around, expressions of anger and confusion on their faces.
"What the hell?" Chris asked.
"We're gonna work together," Vin announced.
"We are going to work together," Vin enunciated.
Chris switched his glare to Ezra, who shrugged. "I am merely an observer to the situation."
Walking over, Chris grabbed Vin's arm and pulled him aside. Ezra saw the two brothers form their own huddle, and followed his teammates.
"What's wrong with you?" Chris hissed. "Since when do we invite Joe Schmoe into an official investigation?"
"Sam has power, Chris. I think he can help."
"Who is Sam and since when do we need outside help?"
"Sam is the taller of the brothers Winchester," Ezra provided. "Dean is the slightly shorter, more belligerent one."
"This whole place is flooded with psychic energy," Vin stated. "It'll be a lot to sort through."
"Perhaps this will take some of the heat off Mr. Tanner," Ezra said. "Make him less of a target," he added under his breath.
Chris heard the mutter and stalled his argument. With a scathing glare at the two strangers, he finally shrugged. "I'll go along with you for now. But at the first sign of trouble, I'm shutting them down."
Vin smiled, relieved. "Thanks, Chris."
"Don't thank me yet." He stalked toward the others.
"I wanna thank you, too, Ez."
"I merely hope your faith is not misplaced," Standish replied, half-afraid this could lead to disaster, but willing to support his friend all the way.
"No, I have a good feeling about this."
"We shall see."
Chris marched up to the Winchesters. "Apparently Vin feels you would be assets to our investigation," he said half-heartedly. "Now, who exactly are you?"
"We heard about the workers and thought something bad might be going on here," Sam said.
"So you came to fight evil spirits?" Chris asked.
Sam nodded. "It's kind of what we do."
"Is that so?" Chris' voice was laced with sarcasm.
"Listen, pal," Dean started, "just because we don't have baseball caps with acronyms on them doesn't mean we don't know our business."
"You think this is some sort of club with a tree house and a secret handshake?" Chris was on the verge of yelling again. "This is serious business."
Dean's eyes narrowed, taking a step toward Chris. "Trust me, I know how serious it can be."
Ezra moved between them. "Gentlemen, can we please dispense with the vocal assignations and proceed with our investigation?"
Stepping back, Chris took a deep breath. "All right, but we're in charge. Our reputation's on the line, so you will follow our lead."
Dean grudgingly accepted the proposition. Sam smiled, ducking his head.
Chris got down to business. "Have you found anything?"
"I'm getting a few spikes of EMF," Dean said, "but nothing that would amount to a haunting."
"What about you?" Vin asked Sam.
Sam exchanged a quick look with his brother. "What do you mean?"
"You know exactly what I mean," Vin countered. "Have you felt anything?"
"No, not really."
"If there's something down here, we'd better find out more about this area," Chris directed. "Ezra, you take Dean, go try to find some of the history of this place, see if there were any murders, suicides, anything of that type."
"Dude, it was skid row," Dean said. "Of course there were."
"Then get the details," Chris shot back. "Is this how you normally do things? Do you ever solve anything?"
Sam jumped in front of his brother, stopping his momentum. "It's cool, it's all right. You go with Ezra, I'll be fine here."
"Yes, Dean." Sam was adamant.
"There's no way I am leaving you alone down here." Dean's dark expression clearly showed he didn't trust the others.
"I won't be alone. Besides, we've separated before."
Dean snorted. "And you always manage to get into trouble."
Ezra saw Chris shoot a quick look at Vin.
Vin's eyes went wide. "What?"
"Apparently, I'm going to have to keep my eye on both of you," Chris said.
Sam raised a brow at Vin.
"I was framed," Vin defended.
Dean didn't soften his stance. He eyed Chris. "Anything happens to my brother, I'm holding you responsible."
Chris accepted it for the obligation it was. "He's on my team, under my protection."
Dean nodded. He unzipped the bag and took out the shotgun, thrusting it into Sam's hands. "See you soon, Sam." He made it sound like an order.
"Good luck," Sam called as Dean left with Ezra.
"I'm driving," Dean announced as they rode the elevator up.
Ezra didn't bother telling him Chris still had the keys to the rental car, so there was no alternative save a taxi. But he'd give Dean the feeling of control he seemed to need. They talked to Traynor's secretary, getting directions to the nearest library, and went outside.
Dean led the way, stopping next to a huge black monstrosity with four wheels. He proudly tapped the roof with a wide smile.
"And what, may I ask, is this?" Ezra asked. There was no way he was riding in this civility only went so far.
"It's a classic."
"A classic what?"
Dean's smile fell. "Just get in the car."
* * * * *
Sam and Vin walked next to each other while Chris trailed behind. The younger Winchester was glad Chris was staying back, "standing guard." The blond man made him more nervous than most of the ghoulies they had encountered. Also surprising was that neither Vin nor Chris carried any equipment, except for their flashlights.
"I like to take a look through possible hauntings without interference," Vin said when asked. "It lets me get a sense of the place before everyone crowds in with their own perceptions." He eyed his companion with blatant curiosity. "What's the deal with the gun?"
"It's for protection."
"Against ghosts?" Vin looked skeptical.
Sam was used to that. "We use rock salt shells."
Chris interrupted, "And that works?"
"Most of the time."
Sam glanced at Vin. "So, who are you guys?"
"Cool." Sam had certainly heard of the Office of Scientific Investigation and Research. "Is this your whole team?"
Vin shook his head. "Nah. There's seven of us. Nathan is our parapsychologist, JD does research. We have a counselor, Josiah, and Buck's our contractor. Then, of course, there's Ezra, who handles all of our equipment."
"And you?" Sam ventured.
"Well, I can usually sense the presence of ghosts and such," Vin answered easily. "Comes in handy in our line of work."
"What about Chris?"
"Chris " Vin paused as if straining to think. "Chris supervises."
"Bite me," Larabee called.
Vin barked a short laugh. "What about you guys? What got you into this?"
"It's kind of a family business," Sam hedged.
Vin must've sensed his reluctance to talk, and quickly changed the subject. He flipped the flashlight around, lighting up the walls. "I'm definitely getting something, but it's hard to sort through."
"Sort through?" Sam asked.
"Well," Vin said, "there's a lot of spirits down here, and it's difficult to know which, if any, are important."
"Can I help?" Sam hesitantly offered.
"Actually, you already are."
Sam was confused. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm kind of borrowing some of your psychic energy, using it to guide my own."
"Hope you don't mind," Vin said, as if he'd never thought to question it before.
Sam was flustered. "No, it's, uh, just that I don't really have a handle on any of this stuff."
"Don't worry, I've been dealing with it for about fifteen years and it still throws me for a loop sometimes," Vin said.
"So you weren't born with your ability?"
"Hell, no," Vin answered. "I drowned when I was a kid. After they revived me, I could sorta sense things. Trust me when I say it got weirder before it got better."
"But you're all right with it now."
"It helps having my team with me, to support me."
Sam looked away. "I'll bet." He wished he really knew what his brother felt about it about him.
Seeming to guess Sam's thoughts, Vin said, "I'm sure your brother is just worried about you."
"Yeah, that's part of it," Sam agreed.
"And the other part?"
Vin stopped and turned to face him. "Dean's not afraid of you."
"Not exactly, no."
"Then exactly what?"
Sam shrugged. "Afraid of what I might become, afraid of what could happen to me. He can be overprotective."
"I noticed." Vin laughed. "I thought he was gonna make Chris perform a blood ritual before he would leave you with us."
"Don't give him any ideas."
* * * * *
Dean hit the brakes again, struggling to keep a curse from passing his lips. This was a huge reason why he hated big cities; no way to let his car stretch its legs. Far too many people and streetlights. Unfortunately, the heavy traffic left too much time for his thoughts to wander straight back to his brother.
He hated leaving Sam with strangers. He knew his brother was a grown man basically but Dean still felt it was his duty to protect Sam, no matter what, and he couldn't do that when they weren't together. But he'd known there was no choice. Larabee's group had permission to be there and he and Sam didn't. They could've kicked the Winchesters out or even had them arrested for trespassing. Actually, he'd been ready to ditch the job, leaving it to the professionals, but he thought maybe Sam could learn something from that Tanner guy. And if he had to put up with the pompous ass next to him in order for it to happen, he would.
But Sam owed him.
Dean and Ezra had quickly run out of small talk by the third red light. He'd found out Ezra and the rest worked for the OSIR, not that Dean was impressed. He'd grown up around supernatural entities; as far as he was concerned, some Johnny-come-lately organization couldn't compete with a lifetime of experience. Their conversation had been painfully short.
"So, what is it you do for your team?" Dean asked.
"Whatever is asked. My main responsibility is taking care of the equipment, its maintenance and use."
"Huh, sounds cool. I like gadgets."
"I noticed your handmade EMF meter," Ezra said. "Very clever."
Dean preened. "You do what you can with what you got."
"You know, a few well-played market strategies would give you some financial security."
Dean looked askance at Standish. "Man, you're even more of a college boy than Sam."
"I will choose to take that as a compliment."
"Whatever floats your boat."
Dean turned onto Fourth Street and found the traffic had thinned. He swung into a parking spot, and they entered the library.
"The district was destroyed in 1889," Ezra said, "so I suggest we focus our efforts on an earlier time."
"Sounds good. I'll take the computers if you want to start with the books." Dean hated slogging through vast piles of books, and felt no guilt in pushing off the grunt work.
"Excellent," Ezra agreed.
An hour later, Dean's eyes were starting to blur. He had never liked this part of the job, especially when Sam was so well suited for it. His younger brother flourished in the dark and dusty libraries and archives. This was the one thing Dean was more than happy to let him do alone. Rubbing his eyes, he scanned through yet another page leading him nowhere.
"I found it," Standish announced at Dean's shoulder, scaring the crap out of him.
Dean looked up in disbelief. "How do you know?"
"Yeah, right." Dean believed his brother when he had one, but this guy wasn't getting the benefit of his doubt. "Show me."
Standish appeared amused by Dean's reservations, but happily led the way to the table where he had stationed himself. He motioned to the copies of the Seattle Intelligencer, circa Spring 1888. "They detail a series of unsolved murders, in the same vein as Jack the Ripper. Four dead prostitutes in a two-month period, no clues to the killer's identity," Ezra said. "The last murder was on May twenty-third, with no indication who had done it or why they suddenly stopped. The few leads never panned out." Ezra smiled and continued, "As I'm sure you know, destruction and renovation can awaken spirits."
"Maybe the killer died there," Dean said.
"The new work in the tunnels reawakened him or her "
"And they felt there was some unfinished business "
"So perhaps the workers were just the beginning," Ezra finished.
"Well, my gut just joined yours," Dean said. "Let's go."
* * * * *
Vin led the small group farther back into the tunnel. Neither of the psychics were getting much of anything and Vin was beginning to think they should go back and get some of Ezra's equipment. He looked to where Sam stood near a brick wall and opened his mouth to suggest it, when Sam whipped his head around, searching.
"What is it?" Vin asked. He sensed more than heard Chris edging closer.
"I, uh, felt something brush against my face." Sam unconsciously touched his left cheek. He canted his head and sniffed the air. "Do you smell that?"
Inhaling, Vin caught the barest hint of perfume. Before he could comment, he saw movement behind Sam. A specter appeared, knife held aloft, ready to drive it into Sam.
Acting on instinct, Vin tackled the taller man, knowing they would collide hard with the bricks, but seeing no alternative.
Vin was stunned when he and Sam slid right through the wall into the adjoining room, and continued their descent through the floor. The delay left Vin unprepared for the forceful impact of the ground, made hard by the distance fallen.
Sam took the brunt of the fall, his head connecting with the solid earth. Trying to regain his breath, Vin took in the gloom of their surroundings before his head fogged and he sank into darkness.
* * * * *
"What the hell?" Chris stared at the spot where Vin and Sam had disappeared. Before his mind could fully comprehend what he had just seen, a shout and running feet garnered his attention. He turned and saw Ezra and Dean racing toward him.
Dean reached him first. "What the hell just happened?"
"I'm not sure," Chris admitted uneasily. He walked forward and laid his hand on the brick wall, feeling the solid surface beneath it.
"Where's Sam?" Dean demanded, pushing in front of Chris.
"Where's Vin?" Ezra countered.
Shrugging helplessly, Chris backed away from Dean and struggled to get himself under control. He needed to remain focused if he was going to help Vin. "Sam thought he felt something, then smelled something, then "
"Vin tackled Sam and they both went through that wall," Ezra finished.
"Yeah." Chris was glad he wasn't the only one to see that; he would have questioned his sanity. They'd encountered a lot of strange things in their line of work, but this job was quickly surpassing them all.
"All right, so we must figure out a way into the next room." Ezra consulted his map. "Perhaps there is a way around through another tunnel."
Dean ran his hands over the wall. "I've got a couple of sledgehammers in my trunk."
"Just how big is your trunk?" Chris asked.
Ezra stepped in front of the two men, holding up his arms. "I think we should be a little more cautious in this situation."
Chris could tell Ezra was trying to keep them from panicking, but Chris had already passed that point and it seemed Dean was right alongside him.
Ezra still appealed to them. "The Historical Society will not be happy if we start breaking through walls."
Chris glanced at Dean. "Tough shit," they chorused, and marched past Ezra to retrieve the hammers.
Ezra sighed and waited for them to return.
* * * * *
Vin slowly regained consciousness, opening his eyes to more darkness. Ignoring the thumping beats in his head, he felt around him, coming up with his flashlight. He grabbed it and turned it on, lighting the immediate area, including Sam.
As the light hit the younger man, he jerked awake, his hand flying to his head. "What happened?" he croaked.
"We fell through a wall and a floor."
"That's what I thought." Sam sat up with a groan. "This ever happen to you before?"
Vin shook his head. "Nope. You?"
"Well, isn't this a treat, then?" Vin scoffed. "How do you feel?"
"Like when I was ten and my brother decided to reenact the dam jump from The Fugitive. How 'bout you? You hurt?"
"Not really. You kind of broke my fall thanks."
"Don't mention it." Sam tried to stand and failed. "Help me up."
Vin stood and gave Sam a hand, leaning him against the wall. He retrieved Sam's flashlight and shotgun. Making sure the other man was steady on his feet, he handed them over.
"Thanks. What is this place?"
Vin swept the area with his flashlight. The glow hit a thick wooden ladder and he followed it up to the ceiling. "Some kind of cellar, I guess." He climbed the steps, trying in vain to pop up the trapdoor.
"All right." Sam relaxed against the wall, closing his eyes. "Why'd you tackle me?"
"Oh. There was a ghost behind you with a knife," Vin said, coming back down the ladder. "I figured better bruised than stabbed."
Sam's eyes flew open. "Can a ghost knife hurt?"
"Did you want to find out?" Vin countered.
"Never mind." Sam shuffled to his left, his flashlight following his movement. "I think we've found the source of the disturbance."
Vin walked over. Sam's flashlight highlighted a pile of bones.
"Now, I guess the only question left is how we got here."
"I brought you."
Both men's heads snapped around at the woman's voice. Standing before them, softly glowing in a tattered dress from a bygone era, was a young woman in her early twenties. No matter how many times he encountered paranormal entities, Vin always felt an excited and nervous quiver in the bottom of his stomach.
"I brought you here," she repeated. She moved forward, taking Vin's right hand and stroking the symbol for "rebirth" he'd been marked with on a previous job.
"What is she doing?" Sam asked in a whisper.
"I have no idea," Vin responded just as quietly. He gently pulled his hand away. "Who are you?"
She stepped back, giving a quick curtsy. "Madeline Belle."
"And who are you exactly?"
"His last victim." Madeline pointed to the far end of the room where another set of bones lay beyond the steps. The ghost continued, "I fought back and wounded him as he killed me. He was too weak to make it up the steps and he died here. We were trapped until the workers came." Her eyes downcast she added, "I tried to warn them, but no one could see me. He killed them, too."
"The perfume I smelled that was you."
She looked at Sam kindly. "You're one who can see. I thought you would have a better chance."
"And when I tackled Sam, you protected us," Vin said.
"I brought you here to hide," Madeline answered. "And to help."
Sam instantly understood. "We need to salt and burn his bones."
"Well, I don't know about you," Vin said, "but I didn't exactly bring supplies with me when we fell through the rabbit hole."
Sam's gaze darted around, before rolling his eyes and raising his shotgun. "I did the rock salt shells. I can dump 'em out. But I need a fuel source." He started unloading the gun.
Roaming their prison, Vin commented absently on the age of the bones. "I bet they'll burn pretty easily." He spotted an old glass hurricane lamp with oil still inside and held it up with a grin. "Will this do?"
"Perfect." Sam shoved the shells into his pocket and took the lamp from Vin, heading toward the killer's body.
Before he could reach it, he was thrown back, slamming into Vin.
The two landed in a heap with a startled grunt. Both men looked up to see a suited man standing over them, a knife clutched in his hand.
"Oh, shit," Vin breathed.
* * * * *
His shoulder was aching and his arms were near to falling off, but Chris refused to stop. They were pounding away at the spot on the wall where Vin and Sam had disappeared.
"Sure built them tough in those days," Chris remarked, short of breath.
Dean rarely spoke, intent on getting his brother back. He'd also refused to relinquish his sledgehammer, even while Chris and Ezra traded off.
After far too long, they broke through, though the gap was barely wide enough to be called a hole.
Dean shouted, "Sam! Sam, we're coming!"
There was no answer.
The men redoubled their efforts. A few hard-driving minutes later, they had widened the hole to the diameter of a basketball. Dropping their hammers, they rushed the opening. Ezra shone a flashlight inside, but it was empty.
"Where the hell did they go?" Dean asked, newly upset.
Ezra took the sledgehammer from Chris' grip, handing him the light. "We have no choice but to keep going." He resumed striking the wall. Dean sighed, picked up his hammer, and followed suit.
* * * * *
There was no sign of Madeline.
Vin leaned over and whispered, "Can you get over there?"
Sam clutched the lamp to his chest as if he were hanging on for dear life. He nodded feebly. "Even if I have to crawl."
"I'm going to distract him, you finish off the body."
"How're you going to get his attention?"
Vin shrugged. "I'll wing it." He got up and walked toward the grinning ghost, staying out of arm's or knife's reach. "So, Bob can I call you Bob?" Vin didn't wait for an answer, not as though he'd get one, and plowed on. "I think it's high time somebody talked to you, man to man. Or man to ghost, in this case."
As soon as Vin started talking, Sam pushed himself up, wincing at the pain in his side. He needed to get the job done; there was no time for weakness. Clutching the lamp in his right hand, he used his left to support himself as he staggered to the bones. He moved slowly, trying not to draw the ghost's attention. Sam kept an eye on Vin as he gestured wildly, maintaining the killer's focus, allowing Sam to get the job done.
"I'm telling you, Bob, I think you really need to move on. You've killed enough people probably already met your quota."
Reaching his destination, Sam fell to his knees and dug in his pocket for the salt-filled shells. He broke open the shells and shook the salt over the bones.
Sam tried to unscrew the lamp's top, but it was stuck tight.
Sam jumped at the voice next to him. He glanced over and saw Madeline anxiously watching Vin talk to 'Bob.' "I'm trying," he whispered. Seeing Bob's face fill with rage, he knew his time was running out. He used his flashlight to break the glass of the lamp. Oil spilled out, and he dumped the remaining liquid on top of the salt.
"Sam!" Vin shouted a warning.
Looking up, Sam saw Bob headed his way. Heedless of the danger, Vin ran after, intending to block him, but was tossed aside. He hit the wall hard and tumbled down, motionless.
With a sneer, the killer moved on.
Sam fumbled to get the lighter out of his other pocket, knowing he wouldn't make it. Just as his hand closed on the Zippo, Madeline stepped between him and the approaching menace.
"Not again!" she cried.
"Out of my way, whore," the killer growled. He raised his knife and pointed it at her.
"No." Madeline's voice was rimmed with steel. "This ends here."
Digging the lighter out, Sam used the time Madeline was buying him to light the oil-soaked bones. The flames shot up, forcing him to retreat. He fell near Vin, pulling him away from the blaze.
Screams of rage and frustration filled the cellar as the killer's spirit was enveloped in a scorching inferno.
Wind whipped around, pelting Sam with the room's debris. He held his arms over his head, using his body to protect the unconscious Vin.
The fire burst upwards before dispersing.
Vin moaned and raised his head. He eyed the scene through narrowed eyes, taking it all in. "You get him?"
"Yeah," Sam said, "he's gone."
"Good. He was starting to piss me off." This time, Sam helped Vin sit up, back braced by the wall.
Madeline glided toward them. "Thank you." She waved as she slowly faded away, a grateful smile on her lips.
They watched as the bones of the killer burned, mesmerized by the lapping flames.
Sam broke the silence. "So now what?" he asked.
"Now we hope the others find us before we die of smoke inhalation or internal bleeding," Vin said.
* * * * *
Dean barely heard the others climb through the wall behind him, too focused on finding his brother. But the room remained as empty as when they had looked through the small opening. He irritably paced the room, frustration amping his adrenaline. "Well, where the hell are they?"
Ezra flashed his light around the room, but there was no sign of either men.
"Wait, do you smell that?" Dean asked.
Chris started. "That's what Sam said right before they vanished."
"No, I smell it, too," Ezra said. "Smoke."
Slower than before, Ezra swept the room with light. In the center, they saw wisps of smoke coming up through the floor. The three rushed to the spot and swept away the dirt, uncovering a trapdoor.
Dean brought out his bowie knife, sliding it into the edges to clear them. Using it as a lever, he managed to pry it up enough so Chris and Ezra could grab it and lift.
Directing the flashlight inside, it illuminated Vin and Sam at the bottom. They raised their heads, blocking the light with lifted hands.
"If you guys are done messing around, we could use some help," Sam called up.
Dean's fear was squashed by his brother's voice. "We had to break through a brick wall," he shot back. "Not all of us have the ability to walk through them."
Dean scrambled down, feet barely touching the rungs. He took in Sam's dirty face and battered body. "You look like shit."
"You should see the other guy," Sam said hoarsely, waving at the smoldering bones.
"Yeah, okay." Dean laughed, continuing to check his brother for injuries.
Chris appeared at Vin's side. "You just couldn't help yourself, could you?"
"Admit it," Vin answered, "you'd be bored without me around."
"Bored, but sane," Chris said. "Where are you hurt?"
Vin batted Chris' hand away. "I'm fine. He just rung my bell is all."
"I'll let the doctor decide that."
Ezra stared at the smoldering fire, now all but out. "What happened?"
"I believe the problem has been eliminated," Vin said.
"If it hasn't," Sam added, "you're on your own."
Dean eyed the destruction like a proud parent, before turning back to Sam. "You ready to get out of here?"
"More than." Sam said. "Hey, don't forget, it was your idea to come here."
"So now it's my fault?"
"It's always your fault, Dean." Sam's smile turned into a groan as he was helped to his feet.
Dean sobered instantly. "You going to need a hospital?" he asked.
Sam shook his head slightly, working to keep his balance. "No. We can take care of it in the car."
Maneuvering up the steps took some doing, but everyone made it without incident. The group stumbled back through the rooms and tunnels, Dean watching Sam closely, Chris mirroring the action with Vin. Ezra lumbered behind them, his hands full of their gear.
When the Winchesters insisted on leaving immediately, the OSIR team walked them to their car. Dean leaned his brother against the passenger side door before walking back to help Ezra load their stuff.
Slamming the trunk, Dean shook Ezra's hand. "Thanks a lot."
"It was my pleasure." Ezra smiled. "Perhaps we will meet again some time," he ventured.
"You never know." Dean nodded to Chris. "I got my brother back, so no hard feelings."
"Same here," Chris answered easily, shooting a glance at Vin, standing near Sam.
"Thanks for your help" Vin said. "We seem to work well together."
"Yeah, we did," Sam agreed.
"If you ever want a job "
Sam shook his head and smiled. "Thanks, but I already have a partner."
"Damn straight," Dean said, his gruffness belied by the twinkle in his eye. "Get in the car, Sam."
"You in a hurry?" Sam fell into the seat and slammed the door.
Dean revved the engine. "I just want to get out of here before these guys have to tell Traynor we trashed a wall." He pulled out with a squeal of the tires.
"Hey," Chris yelled after them, "we're sending you the bill!"