Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: NC-17

Synopsis: One job leads to another and Dean learns something about Sam's time at Stanford he could have done without.

Timeline: Mid-season 2.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to digital_bean, who put a lot of effort into finding a story I had lost the link for. Yay for help! This is my way of saying thank you.

Author's Note: I'm leaning heavily on creative license in the use of the town of Twin Lakes in Colorado to adjust it to fit into this story. This is by no means supposed to be a negative review on this town. I have never been to Twin Lakes or Colorado, so anything and everything is just imagination.

The light of the setting sun flickered through the trees along the roadside, spattering the black Chevy with patches of bright orange and yellow while it raced toward the next town in a long row of towns, another place where the supernatural aspect was once again wrecking havoc on a small community in the burbs of Nowhere US of A.

The town in question was called Twin Lakes and it was smack in the middle of Colorado. The weather was good, the climate pleasant and Dean Winchester couldn't be happier. They were on the road, doing what they were supposed to be doing and there was even a chance of some female company later, after this gig was done. He liked that about small towns. The girls were always so taken with brash outsiders and none of them ever seemed interested in anything lasting. Hell, he wouldn't be around long enough for them to even consider it.

"So," he said and slapped the steering wheel with one hand, snapping his younger brother Sam out of whatever was preoccupying him right now. "This gig. It shouldn't take long, should it?"

Sam blinked, narrowed his eyes at the road, then glanced back down at the open laptop on his lap and pursed his lips. That kid went through an array of emotions every time Dean asked him a question these days and it was starting to annoy Dean a little. "No, not really. Seems like a straight forward haunting. But, then again, with our luck, there's no such thing as a straight forward haunting," Sam finally said and glanced at him, a crooked little smirk on his lips.

Dean sighed. "You are so damned pessimistic, you know that? Hauntings are nothing, dude. We'll be in and out in an hour and then we can kick back and relax a little, eh? I could use a night of fun," he countered with a gleeful grin.

Sam stared straight ahead of himself for a second, and then returned his attention to the laptop with a frown. "Like you had in the last town we were in? Or the one before?" he asked without looking up.

There was nobody around who could spoil good fun faster than Sam. Dean made a face and gripped the steering wheel a little harder. "You're such a buzz kill, Sammy," he growled. "Besides, what's wrong with having a little fun?"

Sam made a face. "Nothing. As long as you don't expect me to go on a drinking binge with you," he countered and grinned.

"Like I ever would. You think I want you hanging around, making life miserable for me? You scare away the ladies with your prudish behavior," Dean countered and threw Sam a snarky look.

"Ladies," Sam snorted and rolled his eyes.

"You got issues with the women I date?" Dean shot back.

"I've seen a few of these ... ladies you hang out with, Dean. They're kinda hard to miss, you know. And none of them struck me as particularly lady-like," he said and pursed his lips at something on the screen.

"Bitch," Dean growled.

Sam glanced at him. "Jerk," he countered and fell silent again.

"You're getting too uptight, Sammy. You need to get laid," Dean stated after a moment. Any and all attempts he had made so far to get his brother to drop the prude-act and let loose for once had all failed miserably.

Sam settled for an arched eyebrow and no comment and Dean decided to leave him alone for now. They were still about half an hour away from Twin Lakes and since that breached topic wasn't going anywhere, Dean settled for silence instead.

When they were about ten minutes away, Dean glanced over at Sam again. "Where are we heading?" he asked. "You said you'd booked ahead?"

"Yup," Sam agreed, his features a little tight. "Mount Elbert Lodge. It's at the other side of town," he said and looked up to watch the sign announcing their arrival to Twin Lakes pass by, then glanced briefly at Dean, who was frowning at this point.

"Did it say population fifty-three?" he asked, feeling his stomach drop a little.

"One hundred and fifty-three," Sam corrected him and kept his gaze sternly on the laptop.

Now that was a worrying prospect. That low a population count meant this place was ... He trailed off in his mind and frowned at the sparse layout of this town. "Where to, Francis?" he asked.

"Just keep going," Sam said and briefly glanced up to eye the road ahead. "It's on the other side of town."

"Which would be just about here," Dean countered and glared out the windshield when they left that meager excuse for a town again.

"And that's the lodge," Sam added and nodded toward what looked very much like a lodge taken right out of one of those old, sappy movies. It was lying off to the right on a rise.

Dean stared up at it for a second, then glanced at Sam, but refrained from commenting about the lodge at least. This did not bode well. "Do you have any idea how far away the next decent town is, dude?" he suddenly asked and sent Sam a warning glare.

Sam almost smiled. There was that slight tugging at the corners of his lips and Dean had the distinct impression that he was being pranked without being aware of it. "One and a half hours that way," Sam said and nodded along the road going away from Twin Lakes. "Aspen."

"The ski resort?" Dean asked and suddenly had the images of long-legged beauties in tight-fighting ski-suits rolling through his mind and he actually shuddered with delight at the mere thought.

"We're on a job, Dean, okay?" Sam said, obviously having noticed the slight shudder.

"Did I say anything?" Dean countered and grumpily pulled the Impala up the road toward the lodge. "Buzz kill," he grumbled and parked the Impala. "At least tell me you got us a cabin? I'm getting that freaky frilly-vibe again."

Sam got out and stretched, then gave him a frown for good measure. "The what-vibe?" he asked.

"The frilly-vibe," Dean repeated and glanced around the area. It all looked like a damned picture-book. "I swear to God, Sam, if there's even a single pink lace-thingy in view, we're so out of here."

"I don't control what's free in the places we go to," Sam countered and slammed the door shut. "I'll go check us in," he added and strode over to the steps leading up to the porch of the lodge.

Dean watched him go and grimaced. "I'm serious, man," he growled and scowled after his brother, then dug out their duffels, locked the car and followed Sam inside.

The reception area of the lodge made him suspicious like hell. Although there wasn't anything decidedly frilly in sight, it still gave off the air of a romantic getaway and that was really the last thing this was for either of them.

Sam was at the reception counter, signing them in, before he turned around, spotted Dean and got that decidedly oh-he's-so-not-going-to-like-that look in his eyes. "What?" Dean asked.

"Nothing," Sam countered, grabbed his own duffle and led the way. "It's upstairs," he added and climbed the broad flight of stairs leading up to the first floor.

Sam stopped at the furthest door in a corridor where the floor was covered with ankle-deep, lavender-colored plush and the walls were covered with spongy gold and lavender wallpaper. Dean eyed the walls as if they were possessed, a half-sneer on his lips. This did definitely not bode well.

Taking his own sweet time, Sam unlocked the door and stepped into the room. Dean followed him with another glance at the wallpaper, then came to an abrupt stop when he took in the room. It was sensory overload to the extreme first and foremost, but what hit him the strongest was that everything without fault was pink.

He worked his jaw for a second, then let the duffle drop and it didn't even make a sound when it hit the soft carpet. "Pink?" he finally managed, unable to comprehend that his brother would stoop so low. "Pink?" he repeated and focused on Sam, who looked like he was about to explode with retained laughter.

Decidedly teary-eyed with glee, Sam shrugged halfheartedly. "Well ... it was the only room they had left," he managed before the dam broke and he started laughing his head off.

Dean made a sweeping gesture toward the decor that was an eyesore in his humble opinion more than anything else and tried to work his way from stunned surprise at the deviousness of his brother to anger. "Pink?" was all he could think of saying. "No, not just pink, frilly and pink. There's not a single frigging surface in this ... this ... horror that's not frilly and pink."

And Sam kept on laughing so hard, he had to sit down on the edge of the horror of a bed.

Dean focused on the bed, the one bed, and stared at it for a moment. "Please tell me that's two beds," he groaned.

Sam slowly got his laughing fit under control, sniffed halfheartedly and prodded the bed. Then he started laughing again.

"Okay, that does it," Dean snapped, grabbed his duffle and turned back toward the door.

"Dean, come on, man," Sam sputtered, but kept on chuckling. "It's the only place in town that wasn't fully booked. There's nowhere else to go."

Dean felt himself going red in the face with pure frustration while he glared at the door, which incidentally was pink on the inside and lavender on the outside, and fought down the urge to slug Sam for this. With enough force to rattle the door in its frame, he slammed it shut, dropped the duffle again and turned back to face his brother. "I am so gonna get you for this, Sam. Mark my words. You will not see it coming."

Sam finally managed to calm himself down enough to stop chuckling and wiped a stray tear away from his face. "Oh man, you should have seen your expression," he said and sighed happily.

"Yeah? Well, look out, geek boy, 'cause I'm kicking your ass for this one," Dean warned and sent a shuddering glance around the room. "You're serious? This is the only pace?"

Sam sniffed again and nodded. "Sorry. That was all we could get at such short notice. I guess it has a lot to do with it being that close to Aspen," he replied.

Dean rolled his eyes and sighed. "Well, at least you're getting a good laugh out of this one," he growled, then made a face and focused on the door which quite obviously led off to the bathroom. "If that's pink too, I'm sleeping in the car," he warned and pushed the door open. To his immediate relief, the bathroom was a boring white. White tiles, white inventory, white yet frilly curtains and a white shower curtain.

"I'm sure they can rustle up an extra cot," Sam said from behind him.

Dean gave him a glare for his trouble and turned back to face the room. "Well, it's a haunting. How tough can it be? We'll be here what? One night max?"

Sam nodded. "Probably. From what Bobby said, it doesn't sound like it's going to be a big deal," he agreed.

"Ah well," Dean relented. "I guess I can ... handle this eyesore for one night. But once this gig is over, I'm going to have some fun," he added.

Sam sighed and nodded. "Yeah, after this you actually deserve it," he agreed and grinned.

"Right," Dean muttered and made a face, then grabbed his duffle once more and threw it on the bed next to Sam. "So ... where do we start?"

"Believe it or not, 5th Street," Sam said. "There's a ... factory out there that's having issues with stuff disappearing and things falling off the walls and crap like that. I talked to the manager this morning and he basically said that they didn't mind, but lately it had gotten pretty annoying and he was a bit worried that it might turn dangerous. So ..."

"So," Dean agreed. "Let's get out there, take a look around and see what's what. With a bit of luck, the spook will show its ugly mug while we're there and we can get rid of it right away."

Sam eyed him for a moment, then smirked. "Yeah, like that has ever happened to us," he said and got up. His phone pinged, announcing the arrival of a text-message, and Sam hauled it out of his pocket and read the incoming text.

Dean grabbed a few things from his duffle, checked his gun before stuffing it into the waistband of his jeans behind his back and turned back to face his brother. Before he could open his mouth and say something, he noted Sam's expression. It was there for a split second, the tightening of his features, the dilation of his pupils, but then he became aware of Dean looking at him and he looked up, all innocent again.

"What?" Dean asked.

Sam glanced at the phone, pushed a button and stuffed it back into his pocket. "Nothing," he said. "Must have been a wrong number or something," he added and smirked. But it didn't reach his eyes and Dean frowned briefly.

Then he sighed. "Okay, fine. As long as it wasn't Bobby with a new stupid location," he said.

"Bobby doesn't send text-messages," Sam countered, sounding a tad annoyed now. "I don't think he knows how."

Dean chuckled. "Yeah, good old Bobby. He doesn't even have a frigging TV. Probably because he doesn't know how to turn it on," he said.

Sam settled for a light shake of the head and roll of the eyes before they took off to go check out that factory.


The factory, which produced cardboard boxes of all things, wasn't very big and the manager had all the information they needed to figure out what was going on. It turned out that the former owner of the place had died of a stroke on the premises after finding out that his much younger wife, who incidentally was living in Aspen and was the official owner of the factory, had been fooling around with younger men. Apparently, the old man wasn't done with this place and was trying to stir up some trouble.

"So, Bobby says you guys know what you're doing," the manager said and eyed them both a bit suspiciously, then arched an eyebrow at Sam. "Mrs. Wilmington would probably like to meet you," he added.

Sam's response to this baffled Dean a little, because his brother ducked his head and looked immediately very uncomfortable. Sam got embarrassed, sure, but this was over the top. "Uh ... what happened to Mr. Wilmington? Where's he buried?" Dean asked, redirecting the manager's attention away from Sam.

"Local cemetery. There's a crypt there," the manager said. "The Wilmingtons have lived in this area for generations and I know for a fact that Mr. Wilmington was always very sad about the fact that his wife didn't give him any heirs."

Dean arched an eyebrow and opened his mouth to respond, but Sam grabbed his arm and smiled at the manager, who eyed him like he was something nasty. "We need to see this ghost in action, actually. Any chance we can have access to this place tonight? Just to be on the safe side?"

The manager considered his request for a moment, then shrugged. "Sure. I figure you boys aren't gonna run off with a bunch of boxes," he said, his expression remaining painfully bland even though it mostly sounded like a joke. "I'll give you an extra set of keys. Just leave'em on my desk when you leave. The back door's got a snap-lock," he said and disappeared into his office to find said keys.

"What the hell is his problem?" Dean asked quietly and glanced at his brother.

"He was very close with Mr. Wilmington. They grew up together," Sam countered just as quietly. "If he thinks the widow would like me, he might consider me bad news," he added and smirked lightly.

"You?" Dean asked and snorted. "You're such an innocent young man. Who could ever think you'd abscond with the boss's hot young wife?" he added and, for good measure, slapped Sam's butt.

"Stop that," Sam snapped and moved out of his reach, a healthy blush now on his cheeks.

Dean chuckled and returned his attention to the manager when he stepped back out of the office and handed Dean the keys. "This one's for the back door," he said, holding up the biggest key on the ring. When Dean reached for it, he snatched it out of his reach and gave him a warning look. "No poking around in things that are none of your business, though. This is strictly to see the ghost in action."

Dean nodded, making a serious face although he mostly felt like poking fun at this guy. "Got it," he agreed. "No poking around. We'll just keep an eye out for the ghost and then find a way to get rid of it. Easy as pie."

The manager narrowed his eyes a little, then sighed and handed the key over. It was obvious that he wasn't comfortable about this whole thing.

With nothing further to add, they left the factory again and once the door had closed behind them, Dean snorted out a laugh. "Jesus, can you believe that guy?" he sputtered.

Sam made a face and shook his head lightly, then snatched the keys away from Dean. "You'll just loose them," he said and glanced around the area. "Seems calm enough right now, doesn't it?"

"Yeah, it does," Dean agreed and eyed Sam briefly. For the past few days Sam had seemed pretty light-hearted and easy-going, poking fun at Dean whenever he could get a word in edge-wise, but something had changed. He seemed moodier somehow, a little preoccupied. Dreading the infamous chick-flick moments that Sam was so fond of, Dean decided to divert attention away from the moodiness rather than address it. "You think they have pie at that eyesore of a lodge? I could really go for some pie right now," he said and unlocked the Impala.

Sam gave him a sideways glance, pursed his lips and got in the car. "You and your pie-addiction," he groused. "I'm surprised you're not well over two hundred pounds already."

"I don't over-indulge, dude. That's the secret," Dean countered with a grin and slammed the door, then slid the key into the ignition. "I seem to remember someone overindulging in chocolate-chip cookies."

"I was five," Sam countered, sounding a tad miffed now.

"Yeah, and you were pudgy too," Dean agreed and backed the car out of the lot, then got them back on the road. Not that it was a long drive back to the lodge.

What hit Dean first and foremost was the lack of a comeback. Sam just sat there and stared out of the window and said nothing.

"Hey, what's up, beanstalk?" Dean asked when he pulled the Impala into the parking lot in front of the lodge mere moments later.

"Nothing. I'm just hungry," Sam claimed and got out of the car. At that very moment, his phone pinged again. He pulled it out of his pocket, eyed it for a second, then stabbed a button and pushed it back into his pocket.

"Wrong number again?" Dean asked and slipped the keys into his pocket after locking up again.

Sam grumbled something and started toward the lodge.

For a moment Dean watched him go and wondered what the hell had happened. It couldn't be those text messages, could it? He'd never known his brother to get upset about text messages. "Hey, wait up," he called and jogged after Sam. "What's got you so down in the dumps? An hour ago you were still able to have fun."

Sam stopped with one foot on the first step up to the porch of the lodge and glanced at Dean, his hands buried in the pockets of his jeans. "It's nothing, Dean. Honest. I'm just hungry," he said and Dean knew it was a lie.