Title: Calls Me Home
Summary: A journey through seven seasons of Supernatural through the eyes of two Winchesters and a Singer.
Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Ruby Singer, Bobby Singer, John Winchester, and a whole ton of others.
Disclaimer: Everything you see here belongs to Eric Kripke and Co. The title belongs to the song "Calls Me Home" by Shannon LaBrie.
Author's Note: I would just like to say that the timeline is so screwed up at some points. It's almost mind boggling.
Sam sat at a table strewn with papers while Dean was over by the bar chatting up a pair of ladies. Ruby rolled her blue eyes as she approached the table taking a seat. She knew they weren't exclusive or anything though it still annoyed her to see. The blonde turned her attention to the younger Winchester curious as to what he was looking into. Before she could ask, he gestured to Dean who took his time walking over to the table.
"Alright, I think I got something." Sam told them both once Dean sat down.
"Oh yeah, me too. I'm thinking we should take a little bit of a shore leave, you know? What do you think? I'm so in the door with this one." He glanced back at the bar before looking at his brother again.
"What are we today, Dean?"
"Reality TV scouts. She's got a friend over there. Could possibly hook you up." Dean chuckled.
"No thanks. I can get my own dates." He rolled his eyes at his brother.
"Yeah, you can, but you don't."
"What's that supposed to mean?" His brows furrowed at that.
Ruby kicked Dean in the shin hard then smiled at his younger brother. "Ignore him. What do you got, Sam?"
"Oh, uh, Mark and Ann Telesca of New Paltz, New York were both found dead in their home a few days ago. Their throats were slit. There were no murder weapons, no prints, all windows and doors were locked from the inside." Sam informed them of the case he had found.
The blonde frowned at the details. "Last time we had a case like that, it was Meg setting a trap."
"I considered that, but I don't think that's the case here. Dad says different."
"What do you mean?" That got Dean's attention and he sat up straighter.
"Dad noted three murders occurring in the same area of upstate New York. First was here in 1912, Second one was over here in 1945, and the third was in 1970. All with the same M.O. as the Telescas. Their throats were slit. Doors locked from the inside. The time between the murders were so spaced out that no one bothered to check the pattern except for Dad. He kept an eye out for another one." Sam told them pointing out the locations on a map.
"Now we have one. Alright, it's worth checking out. We can't pick this up until first thing in the morning right?"
"Yeah." Sam looked at him annoyed.
"Good." He walked back toward the bar missing the look from Ruby.
"Listen, I'm sorry about Dean." Sam apologized to her.
Ruby shook her head smiling softly at him. "Don't be. I knew what I was getting into. So what's our plan of attack?"
"Well we could check into the history of the house tonight. Maybe see if there is any other connection between the Telescas and the other cases. Then tomorrow we can sweep the Telesca home with EMF." He suggested as he folded the map then gathered up all of the papers from the table.
The blonde glanced over at the bar where Dean was still flirting then quickly returned her gaze to Sam. "I think that sounds like a great approach, Sam. Let's go."
Sam and Ruby stood up walking out of the bar missing the lingering look that Dean gave Ruby. The next morning, the Impala was parked near the Telesca home. Dean was slouched in the passenger seat fast asleep while Ruby and Sam swept the house with the EMF. Returning to the car, Sam leaned in pressing the horn startling Dean awake knocking his sunglasses askew as he nearly jumped a foot in his seat. Sam laughed as he settled into the driver's seat while Ruby snickered from her spot in the backseat.
"Man, that was so not cool." Dean grumbled fixing his sunglasses.
"We just swept the Telescas' house with EMF. It's clean. Last night, while you were, well, out, we checked into the history of the house." Sam informed him.
"Good times." Dean smirked only to get smacked upside the head by Ruby.
She cleared her throat looking straight ahead. "Like Sam said, we checked the history of the house. Nothing strange about the Telescas."
"Ow! Damn it! Alright, well if it's not the people and it's not the house then maybe it's the contents. Cursed object or something." Dean grumbled more as he rubbed his head.
"The house is clean, Dean."
"Yeah I know. You said that already." He sighed.
Ruby snorted slightly at that. "No, he means that it's empty. No furniture or nothing."
"Alright, where's all of their stuff then?"
The three hunters checked into one of the local motels. The boys tracked down the Telescas' belongings to an estate sale being held by a local auction house. While they headed over to check it out, Ruby had already left being one step ahead of them. Sam and Dean entered the building where the estate sale was being held and it was clear that they were way out of their element. The attendees were all rich people who were dressed fancy while the brothers were still in their casual clothes. Dean couldn't help taking advantage and stuffing his face with all of the delicious finger foods that were being served.
"Gentleman, can I help you?" An older man eyed them curiously.
"I'm Sam Connors and that's my brother Dean. We're art dealers with Connors Limited." Sam quickly covered for them.
"You two.. are art dealers?" He looked at them skeptically.
"Yes we are." Sam smiled at him.
"I'm Daniel Blake and this here is my auction house. Gentlemen, this is a private showing and I don't believe you're on the guest list." Mr. Blake pointed out.
"We're there, chuckles. You just need to take another look. Oh finally." Dean grabbed a glass of champagne from a passing waiter.
"Cheers." Sam followed Dean away glaring at his back.
They walked over to where the items from the household were on display. There was nothing too out of the ordinary there on display. The brothers couldn't help being drawn to a painting of a family that was on display. It was kind of creepy looking, if they were being honest. A young brunette woman approached them studying the painting as well.
Her eyebrow arched as they hadn't noticed her presence yet. "A fine example of American Primitive, wouldn't you say?"
"Well I'd say it's more Grant Wood than Grandma Moses, but you knew that. You just wanted to see if I did." Sam responded with a slight smile.
She laughed slightly nodding her head. "Guilty and clumsy, I apologize. I'm Sarah Blake."
"I'm Sam and this is my brother Dean."
He was eating more finger foods and simply waved at her.
She nodded back and smiled at Sam. "So can I help you gentlemen with something?"
"Well, could you tell us about the Telesca estate?" Sam raised his brows at her.
Sarah sighed biting her lip softly. "Ugh, the whole thing is pretty grisly, if you ask me. Selling their things this soon after the owners were murdered. But Dad's right about one thing. Sensationalism brings out the crowds. Even the rich ones."
"Wow. Well is it possible to see the provenances?" The taller Winchester asked as her father approached them.
"I'm afraid there won't be any chance of that. You gentlemen aren't on the guest list. I think it's time that you leave." Daniel Blake stared at them pointedly.
"Well we don't have to be told twice." Dean spoke in a posh tone walking away.
"It's alright. We'll go. We don't want to cause any trouble." Sam assured them then followed Dean.
Sarah scoffed. "Dad, that was rude."
She shared a lingering look with Sam before he was out of view. The Winchesters made their way through the auction house toward the entrance when Dean suddenly stopped. Sam was about to ask what was wrong when he saw it. Ruby was there dressed up fancy in a form fitting black dress giggling at something a posh man had said. Sam sighed pushing his brother forward snapping him out of his daze. They walked out of the auction house and back to the Impala.
"Grant Wood? Grandma Moses?"
"I took an art history course at Stanford. It's good for meeting girls." Sam smiled shrugging his shoulders.
"It's like I don't even know you... or Ruby for that matter." He grumbled unlocking the car.
"She's just doing the job just like we were." Sam assured him as Ruby ducked out of the building unnoticed.
The blonde made it over to the Impala and slipped into the back. "Sorry about that."
"Just don't do that again without telling us. You could have gotten killed if it were a dangerous situation. Where'd all this come from?" Dean gestured at her as he pulled the Impala out of the parking lot driving them away from the auction house.
Ruby shrugged smiling softly at them. "When I saw that the house was empty, I knew the stuff was either sold or put in storage. Plus when we were leaving the house I found a business card for the auction house. Put two and two together."
"That's actually kind of smart. It's guest list only. How'd you not get thrown out though?" Sam chuckled softly glancing back at her.
The blonde took off her heels sighing in relief. "When you look like you belong, it's rather easy to blend in. Grabbed a mini quiche and a glass of champagne. Then I checked out the items that were on display. Got to talking to a few people. The owner of the auction house looked like he wanted to question me, but he didn't really bother me. No luck on the provenances though."
"What the heck is a provenance anyway?" Dean glanced at them then returned his gaze to the road as he drove to the motel.
"It's a certificate of origin. Kind of like a biography. Basically tells us the history of the pieces from when they were made till I think now. Maybe. It'll at least help us figure out if any of the pieces can be linked to a freaky past." Sam tried his best to explain.
"Well we're not getting anything out of the owner, but Sarah." He chuckled smirking at his brother as he parked the car.
Ruby rolled her eyes. "I hardly think she'd fall for your charm, Dean."
"Not me! Sam. It wasn't my butt she was checking out." Dean laughed getting out of the car.
"So you want me to use her for information?" Sam raised his brows following him.
"Sometimes you got to take one for the team, Sammy. Call her." Dean smirked at him.
Ruby shook her head following them into the room. "Don't think of it that way. Think of it as a practice date. Even if you still don't date for a while longer, it'll help you feel a little more comfortable with the idea. Plus hey, if you need to flirt during a case in the future, you'll be okay to do it. Maybe. I don't know."
"Uh thanks for the words of encouragement, Ruby." Sam smiled chuckling softly and moved to go call Sarah.
"You, uh, you look beautiful, Ruby. I mean, you always look beautiful, but wow." Dean stammered gazing at her.
She blushed walking over to her bag. "Thank you, Dean. So what exactly are we supposed to do while Sam is on this date thing with Sarah?"
"We could go get something to eat ourselves. You know, dinner." He shrugged his shoulders sounding a little nervous.
Ruby thought it over then nodded her head in agreement heading into the bathroom to change. "I could go for a burger."
While Sam was in a more upscale restaurant in town having dinner with Sarah, Dean was sitting in a diner across from Ruby. The latter two each had a burger and fries in front of them. Despite her annoyance by him earlier, things weren't too awkward between the two blondes. They made small talk until he decided to turn the conversation a bit more serious.
"So why did you choose to be a hunter? You could have been anything you wanted to be." Dean looked at her curiously after taking a sip of his soda.
Ruby sighed swallowing the last bite of her burger. "I knew what was out there. What was I supposed to do?"
"I don't know. You could have still tried to live a somewhat normal life."
She snorted slightly at him. "With my dad still a hunter? Yeah right. Look, Dean, my mom died when I was really young and then I didn't see my dad for like a year after that because he was off grieving while learning all he could about the supernatural. I never knew what really happened to my mom until recently, but.. what I did know was that something evil in that house killed my mom. When I was old enough, I decided that I never wanted another kid to go through what I went through."
"Bobby never really talked about your mom and I guess we never really asked him why he got into hunting in the first place. I'm sorry." He frowned reaching out and squeezing her hand.
Ruby nodded squeezing his hand in return. "Yeah he doesn't really like talking about it. He did the best that he could with me. In the year that he was gone, he made friends with other hunters. The thing that killed mom was dead so it wasn't really the same situation as yours. We had no reason to keep moving so we stayed in Sioux Falls. He wanted me to have a normal childhood and he tried to give the same to you boys as well. I didn't even learn to shoot a gun until I was sixteen. That was when one of Dad's hunter friends brought a hunt right into our yard. I learned about the supernatural that night."
"I'm sorry. There are so many days where I wish Sammy still had that innocence and never knew." Dean admitted with a sigh.
She smiled slightly at him. "Yeah me too. Even if he did, all that would have flown out the window with all this psychic crap and Jessica's death."
"Damn it, yeah, that's true. So tell me again how you know so much about his days in Stanford?" He finished his food eyeing the blonde curiously.
Ruby rolled her blue eyes playfully at him. "Because unlike you boneheads, I didn't stop talking to him. He had my number and I had his number. I called to make sure he got settled in alright and it kind of turned into weekly calls. He'd tell me about his college life while I told him about our recent hunts and let him know that you guys were alright."
"What did he say?" Dean sat up a bit straighter taking a sip of his drink.
She smiled softly at the thought. "That he missed you guys and that he was glad that you were alright. I remember one week he was telling me about his friends and he kept bringing up Jessica. It didn't take much to get him to admit that he liked her. I encouraged him to ask her out. If I hadn't, maybe she'd still be alive."
"Hey, you can't blame yourself for that. It was no one's fault but the bastard that killed her." He assured her squeezing her hand again.
Ruby glanced down at their hands rubbing his skin lightly. "I met her a few times. When you thought I was visiting dad, well I did, but then I visited Sam. You guys actually shared the same birthday, you and Jess. I joked with Sam that it was fate's way of telling him that she was the one."
After they each had a slice of apple pie then paid the bill, Dean and Ruby returned to the motel. It wasn't long after that Sam returned from his date with Sarah. Dean had busied himself sharpening his knife with a whetstone while Ruby was curled up in bed reading up on the Telescas again. Luckily for the hunters, Sarah had handed the provenances right over to Sam. He looked through the papers while Dean eyed him curiously.
"So she just handed them right over to you?"
"Yeah. We went back to her place and she gave me a copy of the papers." Sam shrugged his shoulders.
"And?" Dean smirked playfully while Ruby scoffed.
"And nothing. I left."
"What? No kiss? You didn't have to con her or do any special favors?" He wiggled his eyebrows.
Ruby rolled her eyes. "Get your head out of the gutter, Winchester."
"You know when this whole thing is over, we could stick around for a little bit." Dean laughed.
"Uh, why would we do that?"
"So you could take her out again. It's obvious that you're into her. Even I can see that, Sammy." He smiled at his younger brother.
"Hey, I think I got something." Sam ignored him pointing at the paper he was looking at showing them. "Portrait of Isaiah Merchant's family. Painted 1910."
Ruby grabbed John's journal flipping it open to the name of the victims. "Hey look. It was first purchased in 1912 by Peter Simms. He was murdered in 1912. Same thing in 1945 and 1970."
"Yeah then it was stored until it was donated to a charity auction last month where the Telescas bought it. So you guys think it's haunted or cursed?" Sam looked at them.
"Either way, it's toast."
Dean and Sam helped Ruby over the high metal gate. She landed on her feet then moved out of the way as Dean sprinted leaping and scaling the fence with ease. Sam followed them with gloves on stopping to disarm the security system. When he did, he gave Dean the go ahead and the older Winchester picked the lock. The three of them crept inside shining their flashlights around. Dean spotted the painting upstairs and they sprinted up the spiral staircase. Holding his flashlight in his mouth, he whipped out his switchblade flicking it open and cut the painting out of its frame with ease. The three of them were back at the car in no time. The whole experience only taking a few mere minutes.
On a dirt road far from any prying eyes, the painting lay flat on the ground. Ruby holding the flashlight as the boys salted and burned the painting. It gave her the creeps the first moment that she had saw it. Still, something in her gut told her that this all felt way too easy. When they were done, they headed back to the hotel for the night. It was the next day when they were packing to leave that Dean claimed in a panic that he couldn't find his wallet. Ruby was skeptical, but went along with it trying to help him find the missing wallet. He was certain that he must have dropped it in the warehouse the night before. So the three of them returned to the auction house. When they got there, they looked around, but there was no sign of the wallet.
"How do you lose your wallet, Dean?" Sam clearly sounded frustrated at his brother.
Spotting the three of them, Sarah walked over smiling brightly at them. "Hey guys!"
"Sarah, hey." Sam smiled awkwardly at her.
She looked at him curiously. "What brings you guys back here?"
"Oh, uh, we.. we're leaving town and just wanted to, you know, say goodbye." He stammered nervously which made Ruby smile.
"What are you talking about? Don't listen to him. We'll probably be sticking around for at least a day or two if not more." Dean smiled as his brother eyed him in confusion then pulled out his wallet. "Oh Sam, here's that twenty I owe you. I always forget, you know."
Sam and Ruby both looked at him in disbelief as they realized it was all a ploy to get him to see Sarah again. He snatched the cash from Dean glaring at him a bit.
"Well I'll leave you two crazy kids alone. I've got to go do something.. somewhere." He grinned and walked off quickly.
Sarah smiled at Sam. "I had a good time last night."
"Yeah, I did too." He smiled back at her.
She tucked a stray strand of her dark hair behind her ear as Ruby walked away from them. "Maybe we should do it again sometime."
"You know, I'd love to, but.." He trailed off as the Merchant painting was carried past them fully intact.
Ruby saw it too and they both called out simultaneously. "OH MY GOD!"
Sarah jumped and looked over at the painting as it went by. "What?"
The blonde laughed softly trying to cover for them. "Sorry. It just startled us. We can appreciate art, but even you have to admit that painting is kind of creepy."
She nodded smiling slightly. "Yeah. It creeps me out too. Especially since we sold it to the Telescas at a charity auction the night they were murdered."
"And now you're going to sell it again?" Sam asked raising his brows.
Sarah shook her head. "God no. I think that would be in bad taste. Why? You want it?"
"Oh uh no. Of course not. Uh, we should probably go. Got things to do. I'll, uh, call you. See you later." He smiled at her a bit nervously.
Sam walked away with Ruby leaving a confused Sarah Blake behind. They met up with Dean outside and got into the Impala where they told him about seeing the painting still intact.
The blonde shook her head. "I knew just burning the damn thing was too easy."
"Alright, so we just have to find another way to get rid of it. Any ideas?" Dean asked as he drove them away from the auction house.
"Well pretty much in almost all the lore regarding haunted paintings, it's the painting's subject that is haunting them."
Ruby nodded from her usual spot in the backseat. "Alright, so we just need to learn everything we can about the family and their creepy ass painting."
"Yeah. Oh. I think I found someone who can help. Local second hand book shop. Proprietor is an avid collector of local history. Especially of local crime history." Sam said after doing some internet searching on his phone.
"I dug up every scrap of local history that I could find. You guys crime buffs?" The proprietor of the second hand bookshop asked as he laid a huge book of newspaper clippings down onto the table in front of them.
Ruby smiled sweetly at him. "Uh, something like that. We're doing a group project for one of our college courses, but it's been kind of hard finding any information on the Merchants."
He nodded as he held up a newspaper page. The lead article was about the infamous sinking of the Titanic. He pointed to a side article though. It read 'Father slaughters family, Kills himself.' which didn't surprise the three hunters too much.
"The whole family was killed?" Sam asked as his green eyes widened a bit.
"This Isaiah, it seems like he slit his kids' throats then his wife and finally offs himself. He was a barber by trade and used a straight razor." He explained.
The blonde glanced at the article curiously. "They ever figure out why he did it?"
"Well the people who knew him described him as having a stern and harsh temperament. He was very controlling of his family. Ruled with an iron fist. Wife, two sons, and uh, an adopted daughter. Local gossip was that the wife was going to take the kids and leave. In that day and age, yeah, Isaiah decided the best course of action was to kill them all."
"Right. Did it ever say what happened to the bodies?" Dean asked.
"They were all cremated. I think there's a picture of the family somewhere too. Uh, oh right here." The proprietor showed them a photo of the painting.
After they got a copy of the picture and Ruby bought a few books, the three of them returned to the motel. It was Sam that noticed the difference in the painting first. Ruby studied the photo for a few moments then nodded her head in agreement. In the photo, Isaiah was looking out. In the painting at the auction house, Isaiah was looking down. The painting had changed. It wasn't something any of them had dealt with before, but it was at least a lead.
"Alright, if his position changed, maybe other things changed. We need to see that painting again." Dean threw himself onto the bed face up folding his arms across his chest. "Which means you get some more time to crush on your girlfriend."
"Dude, enough already. Ever since we got here, you've been trying to pimp me out to Sarah. Just back off, alright?"
"Well, you like her don't you?" Dean shrugged his shoulders.
Sam threw his arms in the air rolling his eyes while Ruby spoke up. "Guys..."
"She likes you. You like her. You're both consenting adults."
"What the point, Dean? We'll just leave. We always leave." The frustration was clear in Sam's rising voice.
"I'm not talking about marriage, Sam." He sat up. "I just think this Sarah girl could be good for you. I don't mean any disrespect, but.. I'm sure this is about Jessica, right? I don't know what it's like to lose somebody like that, but I'd like to think that she'd want you to be happy. God forbid have fun once in a while, wouldn't she?"
"Yeah, I know she would." Sam spoke softly as his eyes glistened with tears.
Ruby walked over hugging the taller Winchester's side. "We just want you to be happy, Sam."
"Thanks." He hugged her back and took a moment for himself before clearing his throat calling Sarah.
She sat down beside Dean elbowing him lightly as he teased Sam. He closed his eyes while Sam talked only to open them again sitting up straight when Sam nearly yelled. The painting had been sold against Sarah's wishes. She gave Sam the address and they ended the call. The three of them piled into the Impala driving over to the address. When they arrived, a car was already parked in front and Sarah got out of it.
"I told you that you shouldn't have come." Sam said as the three hunters ran toward the house.
Sarah frowned watching as Dean knocked on the door then tried to break it down. "You said Evelyn might be in some sort of danger. What kind of danger?"
Ruby turned to look at her and sighed. "The kind you really don't want to be around."
"She's right. You really should wait in your car. It's for your own good." Sam warned her as Dean picked the lock.
The brunette watched them run inside only to follow them. "The hell I will. Evelyn's a friend."
They called out the woman's name looking around the house for her. Entering the lounge, they saw her sitting half turned away from them in a chair. The painting was nearby and it had changed again. This time Isaiah was looking down at his adopted daughter. Sarah stepped forward reaching out to touch the woman's shoulder. Sam tried to stop her, but it was too late. Evelyn's head tipped back exposing her slashed throat. A shrill scream fell from Sarah's lips and Sam wrapped his arms around her leading the young woman out of the house. Dean and Ruby shared a look before following them outside.
It was about an hour later when the three hunters were back at the motel. Dean was sitting with the laptop doing research while Sam was pacing the room. Ruby was about to yell at the younger Winchester to stop when a knock at the door interrupted her. The three of them shared a look and then Sam walked over to the door opening it only to reveal that it was Sarah. She walked into the room looking like a woman on a mission.
"Are you alright?" He shut the door looking over at her in concern.
Sarah frowned at the three of them. "Not exactly. Just lied to the cops telling them that I was at Evelyn's alone and found her like that."
"Thank you." Sam looked relieved while Dean just smirked slightly.
She huffed glaring slightly at Sam. "Don't thank me. What the hell is going on? I want the truth or I will call the cops right back. Who is killing these people?"
Ruby cleared her throat looking over at the other woman. "It's not who. It's what."
"Sarah, you saw that painting move."
Her eyes widened a bit and she shook her head. "No.. no.. I was seeing things. The stress of the moment and all that. It's impossible."
"Yeah, well, welcome to our world." Dean shrugged his shoulders.
Ruby gave her a sympathetic look. "It was hard for me to believe it at first too and now here I am. As far as this situation goes, I'll be straight with you. We think the painting is haunted."
Sarah looked at all three of them quickly realizing that they weren't joking. "Oh my god."
"Evelyn, the Telesca's, they both had the painting and died the same way. Wherever this thing goes, people die. We're just trying to stop it. That's the truth." Sam admitted to her.
She took a deep breath nodding her head at what he was saying. "Then I guess you better show me. I'm coming with you."
"What? No. You should just go home. This stuff can get way too dangerous and...and I don't want you to get hurt." Sam sighed pleading with her.
Sarah softened a bit as she looked at him. "Look, at the end of the day, my dad and I sold that painting that might have killed people. I'm not saying that I'm not scared because I am scared as hell, but I'm not going to run home to hide either. Innocent people may have been killed by a painting that I sold. I know finishing this won't bring them back. The least I can do is see to it that no one else gets hurt." She walked toward the door only stopping to look back at them. "So are we going or not?"
Ruby watched her walk out the door and smiled. "We're right behind you."
"Sam?" Dean pointed toward the door where Sarah had just walked out. "Marry that girl."
The four of them returned to Evelyn's house where they examined the painting again. They compared the original picture of the painting to the way it was now. The razor was closed in one, but open in the other. It was Sam that pointed out the painting that was in the background of the painting. To the naked eye, it appeared to be a crypt or a mausoleum. Dean grabbed an ashtray using it as a magnifying glass to get a better look at it. The name Merchant was able to be seen. The four of them left and began checking local graveyards. The first two turned up nothing. As they walked around the third graveyard, they spotted the mausoleum they were searching for. Dean broke the lock and led the way in pushing aside cobwebs. They discovered four urns in front of little glass fronted boxes. Each with a name plate. In one of them was an old doll.
Sarah and Ruby both grimaced simultaneously. "That is the creepiest thing I have ever seen."
"It was sort a tradition back then. When a child died, sometimes they'd preserve the kid's favorite toy in a glass case then put it next to the headstone or crypt." Sam explained to them.
Ruby looked at him. "That's.. kind of sweet. Doesn't make it any less creepy though."
"Uh guys, notice anything strange here?" Dean glanced around.
The blonde gestured around them. "Well we are standing in a mausoleum."
"Very funny. No, I mean look at the urns. There's only four. Mom and the three kids. Daddy dearest isn't here." Dean pointed out.
"Then where is he?" Sam glanced around not seeing any urns on the floor or anything.
The four of them left the mausoleum and walked back to the car. The girls were a few feet ahead of the Winchesters. As the brothers discussed their next move, Ruby and Sarah talked among themselves.
The brunette tucked her hair behind her ear and sighed. "So how do you deal with all of this?"
Ruby smiled slightly at her. "I've known all about it since I was about sixteen. You kind of get used to it once you start dealing with it for a living. I still get caught off guard and scared by things though. We're not completely fearless. Sam and Dean have my back though so I know they would never let anything happen to me. If it makes you feel better, we don't usually get cases involving haunted objects."
Sarah smiled softly at that. "Well that does make me feel a little better. So what's with you and them?"
She raised an eyebrow and then laughed slightly. "Nothing. We've known each other since we were kids. Their dad used to drop them off at my house and my dad would watch the three of us. We bonded over the loss of our mothers. Sam is like a little brother to me. It's always been like that. Dean, well, that is complicated."
The dark haired beauty nodded her head in understanding. "I lost my mother too. More recently than you guys did, but it hurts just the same."
Ruby gave her a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry to hear that. Sam was just a baby and I was a toddler when we lost our moms so neither of us really remember them. Dean was four so he still has memories of their mom. I can't say they really talk about her much. It's a sore subject for them which I'm sure you can understand."
Sarah sighed softly as they reached the Impala. "I get what you mean. I'm sorry for your losses. I couldn't imagine growing up without my mother around. I'm grateful I had her around for as long as I did. Oh god, that probably sounded selfish, didn't it?"
The blonde smiled at her and shook her head. "Not at all. It's good to be grateful. Hold onto that feeling."
It was then that the boys approached the car as well and the four of them got in. Dean drove them into town stopping at one of the local county buildings. While Sam stayed outside talking with Sarah, Ruby went inside with Dean. It took a little lying, but they were able to get access to the county death certificates. They searched through the ones from around the time that Isaiah Merchant would have died. It was Dean who found exactly what they were looking for. The pair returned outside only to see Sam and Sarah in deep conversation appearing somewhat upset. Before Ruby could stop him, Dean interrupted them and they assured him that he wasn't interrupting anything.
"So what did you get?"
"Paydirt. The rest of the living relatives of the Merchants were so ashamed of what Isaiah had done that they didn't want him interred with the rest of the family. So they left him with the county who gave him a pauper's funeral. He wasn't cremated like the rest of the family. He was buried in a pine box." Dean filled them on on his findings.
"So there are bones to burn." Sam looked at them.
Ruby nodded her head at him. "There are bones to burn."
"Tell me you guys know where."
Night had fallen by the time the four of them had returned to the graveyard. Sarah and Ruby held flashlights giving the boys light while they dug out the grave. The brunette appeared a bit disturbed by how at ease the three of them seemed to be with what they were doing. Sam crawled up out of the grave and gazed up at her.
"Still think I'm a catch?" He cracked a playful smile at her.
Sarah laughed and then the sound of a shovel hitting something solid caught their attention. Sam turned back toward the grave as Dean lifted the lid of the now unearthed coffin revealing the skeleton of Isaiah Merchant. He grabbed the salt passing it to Dean as the elder Winchester climbed out of the grave. Sam then grabbed the bottle of kerosene. Dean poured the salt over the bones and then Sam soaked the bones with the flammable liquid.
"You've been a real pain in the ass, Isaiah. Good riddance." Dean struck a match tossing it into the grave and they all watched as the bones burned.
Once that was done, the four of them returned to the Impala and headed back over to Evelyn's house. They were going to bury the painting just to be on the safe side. Ruby was skeptical as they had seen what had happened when they had burned the painting. They arrived at the house and Sam told Dean to keep the car running. Sarah followed him out insisting that she would go inside with them. She headed toward the door while Dean encouraged his brother to make his move. He even went as far as turning on the radio. A love song filled the air much to Sam's annoyance. Ruby smacked Dean's arm and shut the radio off while Sam followed Sarah inside of the house.
"What? I was just trying to help." Dean chuckled softly rubbing at his arm.
Ruby shook her head folding her arms across her chest. "Yeah well..."
She didn't get to finish her sentence as she was cut off by the sound of the front door slamming shut. Concerned, Ruby and Dean ran up to the front door banging on it. Sam ran up to the door yanking on it, but it refused to budge. They tried talking to each other through the door then Sam pulled out his phone calling Dean.
"Tell me you slammed the front door." Dean answered clearly concerned.
"Uh nope, wasn't me. I think it was the little girl."
"Girl? What girl?" He looked confused for a moment and Ruby grabbed the phone putting it on speaker.
"The one in the painting. She's out of it along with the razor. I think it might have been her all along." Sam explained glancing around keeping an eye on Sarah.
Ruby's brows furrowed. "The dad was looking down at her. He was trying to warn us the whole time."
"Hey, let's recap later, alright? Just get us the hell out of here."
"Yeah well picking the lock won't work. Damn door won't budge." Dean frowned.
"So knock it down." Sam huffed at him.
"Alright genius, let me just grab my battering ram." He scoffed.
"Dean, the damn thing is coming."
The blonde frowned at that. "Sam, just sit tight okay? We'll get you out of there. Just hold it off the best you can. Find some salt or iron."
Dean walked around the front of the house with Ruby looking around for another way inside. Sam grabbed Sarah's hand searching the house for salt or iron.
"What kind of house doesn't have salt? Low-sodium freaks. Hey, did you find any iron?" Sam looked over at Sarah.
She shook her head. "No, not yet. What's it for?"
"It repels evil spirits, but it has to be pure iron." He explained as the lounge doors slammed shut.
The ghost appeared in the form of the little girl. She dragged her doll along the floor by one foot while the razor was held by her other hand. Sam backed up staying in front of Sarah. He backed into the fireplace area and grabbed a poker. The ghost roared at them and Sam instinctively swung at her making the ghost vanish.
Sarah looked at Sam. "Iron?"
"Yeah." He nodded at her.
"Sammy, you okay?" Dean called out into the phone having heard the commotion.
"Yeah for now."
"Alright, so how are we going to waste her? I mean, she was cremated, but somehow she is still around." He sighed running his fingers through his hair.
Realization hit Sarah and she spoke up. "Sam wait, we used to handle antique dolls at the auction house."
"Well that's fascinating, Sarah, but is it important right now?" Sam inadvertently sassed only to get cut off by Ruby.
The blonde gripped the phone scoffing at him. "Sam, don't be an ass. She wouldn't be mentioning it if it weren't important. Go on, Sarah."
Sarah smiled though she knew Ruby couldn't see it. "Thanks. Anyway, back then they used to make the dolls in the child's image. Right down to the hair which was usually made of the kid's real hair."
"Real hair. It's not bones, but it still counts as human remains, right?" Dean looked at Ruby.
Ruby nodded her head in agreement. "Thanks Sarah. Alright, you guys hang tight. We're going to get to the mausoleum as fast as we can."
The pair ran back to the Impala getting in and speeding away from the house. They raced toward the graveyard which made Ruby wince when Dean slammed the car right through the cemetery's locked gates. The Impala screeched to a halt near the mausoleum. The pair jumped out of the car running inside with Dean leading the way. They stop in front of the glass containers. Dean pounds at the glass blocking the doll then hits it with the butt of his gun. It refused to break. He turned to run back toward the car and Ruby couldn't help biting back a laugh when she saw that he was missing the obvious. Dean paused and glanced down at the gun in his hand. Realization hit him and he groaned.
"Come on, Dean!" He grimaced at himself and turned back toward the glass shooting it.
The glass shattered and he used his gun to knock the pieces aside. Reaching in carefully, he grabbed the doll pulling it out. He took out his lighter flicking it, but it refused to light. He swore under his breath fighting with the lighter. Ruby stepped forward taking the lighter from him. She flicked it and this time it lit. Ruby reached out touching the flame to the doll's hair. It began to smoke then caught on fire. Dean tossed it to the ground watching the hair burn. He then pulled out his phone calling Sam.
"Sammy, you okay?"
"Yeah, yeah we're good." He leaned back against the wall beside Sarah looking exhausted.
Ruby walked beside Dean holding up papers as they approached Sam and Sarah who were watching the painting be crated up in the auction house. "So this was archived in the county records. The Merchants's adopted daughter Melanie was up for adoption because her real family were murdered in their beds."
"She killed them?" Sam looked at the pair in surprise.
"Yeah. Who would ever suspect a sweet little girl? Then she kills Isaiah and his family. The old man takes the blame. His spirit's been trying to warn people ever since." Dean explained with a shrug.
"Where does this one go?" One of the workers gestured to the crated painting.
Sarah waved it off looking over at the worker. "Take it out back and burn it. I'm serious, guys. Thanks."
They all looked at each other and shrugged as the painting was carried off.
The brunette bit her lip in thought. "So why'd she do it?"
"Killing others? Killing herself? Some people are just born tortured. So when they die, their spirits are just as dark." Sam explained.
"Maybe. Don't really care. I'm just glad it's over. Now we move on." Dean shrugged his shoulders again.
Sarah nodded her head in understanding. "Ah, so I guess this means you're leaving."
Ruby smiled handing her a piece of paper then hugged the brunette. "Yes. It was great to meet you despite the circumstances. If anything else freaky happens or you just want to talk, here's my number in case you can't get in touch with Sam."
She returned the hug and smiled at the blonde. "Thanks, Ruby. It was great meeting you too."
"We'll go wait in the car. See you, Sarah." Dean took Ruby's hand walking away and grumbled. "I'm the one that burned the doll and destroyed the spirit. Don't thank me or anything."
Ruby giggled pressing a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you, Dean, and technically I burned the doll."
"It.. was a group effort." He stammered then chuckled softly as they walked out to the Impala.
They were leaning against the car talking to each other when Sam walked out of the building. The door shut behind him and Ruby's heart ached for the younger man. She looked at Dean then they heard a knock at the door. They both turned to look just in time to see Sarah open the door and Sam stepping inside kissing her. Ruby squealed quietly smiling at the sight.
"That's my boy." Dean smiled nodding slightly before moving to get into the car.
Ruby smiled a bit more and followed him. "You know something, I think Sam is going to be just fine."