"So I guess we got an hour to kill."

"What's going on with you, man?" Sam reached out and grabbed the edge of Dean's jacket, halting his brother's forward motion and turning him slightly to face him. "You've been acting off since we got to Edmonds."

Longer than that, if Sam really thought about it. Since Missouri. Since the cabin. Since Dean's soft confession of For you and Dad, the things I'm willing to do or kill, it's just...it scares me sometimes.

Dean simply shook his head, shrugging free of Sam's grip. "'M fine, Sam. Let's just get this done. You want the library or—"

"Hey, no, wait, Dean." Sam shook his head, planting his feet as he used to do as a child, refusing to move until Dean paid attention to him. "Don't do this. Talk to me."

Dean rolled his head, letting his eyes accompany the motion. "Jesus, Sam."

"I'm not moving until you talk to me."

Dean lifted an eyebrow. "What are you, five?"

Sam simply shrugged. He knew he could out-stubborn Dean if he really wanted to. Dean looked at him. Sam looked back. Dean looked down, away, over Sam's shoulder, at his hands.

Sam watched. Waited.

"Fine," Dean huffed. "Something just feel's... off about this whole thing."

"Off... how?"

"Since when has Dad not finished a hunt?" Dean shook his head, twisting the silver ring on his right hand with his thumb, resting his eyes on the water behind Sam. "The man drilled it into us... into me, anyway. You never leave them standing. You make sure they're toast. I don't know... just feels sketchy to me is all."

"So, we look into it," Sam shrugged. "Dad must've had a good reason for leaving, Dean."

Dean lifted a brow at that, resting heavy eyes on Sam's. "You're friggin' amazing, you know that?"

"What do you mean?" Sam frowned, confused by the bitter tone behind his brother's words.

Dean turned away, continuing away from the ferry slip and heading for the street front. "You couldn't wait to slam him for leaving, Sam. All those years we spent time alone, you'd take every opportunity to give him hell... and now..." Dean lifted a shoulder, looking down the street.

"Well... you're right," Sam tried, lamely. He was at a loss as to how to tell his brother that the only way he could make a lifetime of struggle with their father right was to live now as John had always wanted him to live. Too little, too late... but it was all he had. "Dad wouldn't have left a hunt unfinished. So... there's gotta be a reason."

"Whatever, dude," Dean seemed to mentally shake himself, then turned to face Sam. "Divide and conquer?"

Sam's stomach clenched at the thought of leaving Dean. Something nagged at him that he had to watch, he had to wait, that there was more going on inside of his brother then he realized. Even when Dean was angry, even when he was moody and silent and mouthy and manic, Sam hadn't felt safe unless Dean was around since finding John lying on that hospital floor.

"Sure, okay. You want the library?" Sam found himself saying. "I'll take the police station."

"Works for me," Dean nodded, taking the city map from Sam's outstretched hand and noting the location of the library. "Meet here in an hour."

Watching Dean walk away, Sam felt a chill, as if he were seeing his brother for the last time. He'd never been more scared in his life then when he witnessed the doctors slap the paddles on Dean's bare chest, watched his brother's body buck upwards in reaction to the electricity shooting through his system, then fall limply back to the bed, the screeching whine of the flat line bouncing from the monitor directly into Sam's heart.

Taking a breath, Sam licked his lips and headed to the police station, his loping cadence a constant beat of encouragement: he's still here, he's still here, he's still here.

Sam's carefully prepared story turned out to be unnecessary. Mentioning Officer Hennessy from Edmonds to the smiling black woman in uniform at the front desk of the police station brought out a cascade of information with little prompting.

"Oh, yes, the Sanders family, poor dears," she tutted as Sam darted his eyes down to read Officer S. Darcy on her name tag.

"It was ruled a suicide, right?" Sam asked, positioning the appropriate balance of concern and curiosity on his expression.

"Well, you know, it was, but Mrs. Sanders just couldn't believe her boy would do such a thing," Officer Darcy reached out a well-manicured hand and rested it on top of Sam's in a conspirators gesture. "Got the Captain to open the case back up after all these many months."

"Guess it helped that there were more deaths on the ferry," Sam muttered, then winced. "I didn't mean—"

"Oh, I know what you meant, sugar, and you're right." Officer Darcy squeezed his hand. "Six deaths in four months. All drownings. Mrs. Sanders used that to fuel her fire and soon the Captain just couldn't take her haranguing him anymore and opened the case back up."

"But... do they have anything to indicate that it was anything other than suicide?"

Officer Darcy frowned, then pulled her hand away from Sam's, sitting back with a sad little sigh. "Only a mother's faith. She just didn't believe it. Said he had too much to live for." She stole a look around the empty front office and hunched her shoulders, drawing Sam closer as she dropped her voice. "You ask me, that girl he was sweet on disappearing like she did's what sent him over the edge." She chuckled mirthlessly. "Literally."

"What girl?" Sam asked, his whisper matching hers.

Officer Darcy tutted again. "That Charlie Ramsey. Beautiful girl. She disappeared and the Sanders boy died all in the same week."

Sam blinked, trying to mask his surprise. Ramsey had said nothing about his daughter being missing. He checked his watch, realizing that they had less than fifteen minutes to return to the ferry. He asked Officer Darcy if it would be okay if he came back sometime and was treated with a dimpled smile and an, "Anytime, cutie."

Leaving the police station, Sam shrugged deeper into his long-sleeved denim shirt, wishing for his jacket. The damp chill in the air seemed to lie like a blanket around his shoulders and settle into his skin like a caress. He sped up his stride, keeping his eyes on the library ahead of him for Dean's distinctive figure, his one-of-a kind walk that spoke more about him than his brother could ever fathom.

When Sam finally saw Dean standing just to the side of a parking meter outside of the old library, he stopped cold at the edge of a crosswalk. Dean was talking to a police officer, tilting his head so that he could see something in the officer's hand. Sam cursed fluidly under his breath; they'd chosen their respective research locale's to keep Dean away from the cops. St. Louis was sure to come back and bite them in the ass sooner or later.

Checking quickly for traffic, Sam jogged across the street and moved smoothly past the cop and Dean, climbing the steps of the library entrance, listening to their exchange.

"You sure you haven't seen him?"

"No, sir," Dean said, his voice even and friendly. "But I'm not really from around here."

"You didn't look familiar," the officer agreed. "Visiting from Edmonds?"

"Got family there."

Sam winced. Sometimes Dean could take a lie one step too far.

"Oh, yeah? Who?"

"Ramsey."

"Miles Ramsey? The ferry boat Captain?"

"That'd be the one," Dean said. Sam kept his back to the duo, kneeling on the top step to tie his shoe. "Uncle Miles."

"Huh," the officer tipped his head back. "Never knew Miles had any family 'cept Charlie."

Dean was quiet. Sam held his breath.

"Shame what happened to her," the officer commented. "Nearly broke old Miles."

"Yeah," Dean's voice was carefully sad.

"Well, enjoy your visit, then," the officer commented. "You see this guy around—"

"I'll be sure to tell a fine officer of the law," Dean said. Sam winced again. "Uh, out of curiosity," Dean called the officer back. "What did he do?"

"Not sure as he did anything," the officer shrugged. "But he's wanted in question about a murder."

"Murder?"

Sam's head shot up at the tone of distress he heard in his brother's voice.

"Yeah, nasty business," the officer shook his head. "Young kid drowned a few months back under suspicious circumstances." He took a breath. "Well, you see him, you let someone know."

"Sure thing."

Sam watched Dean tip a two-fingered salute to the retreating officer. After a moment, Sam saw the officer stop an elderly man walking a dark Yorkie and show him the same picture. When he was sure the officer wouldn't turn around, Sam straightened and jogged down to Dean who spared him a quick glance then took off in fast, purposeful stride toward the pier.

"What was that about?" Sam said in a hushed voice.

"I told you this hunt was hinky," Dean muttered, shooting a look over his shoulder at the street, then taking off in a jog to the slip near the ferry.

"Dean!" Sam followed after him, trying to keep up, amazed that his brother's shorter legs were so much faster than his. "Wait up, man! What was all that about?"

"We gotta figure out what the hell's going on here, Sam," Dean said, skidding to a stop at the ramp that led into the pedestrian entrance.

The narrow chute funneled the short line of people from land to the ferry and Dean stepped smoothly into line, pitching his voice low so that Sam had to lean closer to hear him.

"That cop just showed me Dad's picture."

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"How the hell did he have a picture of Dad?" Sam asked, breathless from trying to keep up with Dean.

"You got me—it was recent, too." Dean snaked his way through the small throng of passengers that were finding a seat before the ferry departed. Knowing Sam was staying close, he made his way to the stairwell that led to Ramsey's cabin. "It wasn't one I'd seen before."

"Dean, before we go up there," Sam grabbed his arm, turning him roughly around. "You gotta know a few things."

"Like what?" Dean snapped.

His anger was unsteady and barely concealed; as if his skin had suddenly thinned out and exposed the outline of the fortress he kept inside. He felt the scrapes across his knuckles from his recent fight with Gordon stretch and pull as he tightened his hands into fists.

"Like the fact that Ramsey's daughter went missing the same week Brad Sander's died."

"Missing?"

"I didn't get much more, except that Brad apparently had a thing for her."

Dean frowned. "Ramsey said Dad was here to help Charlie, right?"

Sam nodded.

"With a... spirit?"

Sam nodded again.

Dean stared back at him.

"You're right," Sam conceded. "Hinky."

"Let's go see if we can get Ramsey to lay a little Boat on the River on us."

"Huh?" Sam pulled his brows together.

Dean waved a dismissive hand at him, turning to continue up the stairs. "Forget it, Mr. Greek Mythology."

He opened the door to the sound of Ramsey's rattle into the ship-to-shore squawk box, tossing a casual wave back at the man's nod of greeting. Sam closed the door behind him and they stood side by side, waiting for Ramsey to finish his checklist and turn to face them. When the ferry pulled away from the pier, Dean felt the lurch and reached out to brace himself against the windowsill.

"So, Miles," Dean said when the motion had steadied and he didn't feel like he was going to keel over. "How about you tell us a little more about this Sanders' guy."

Ramsey tossed Dean a hooded glance, his pale blue eyes hidden beneath shaggy bangs. "Like what?"

"Like the fact that he was in love with your daughter," Sam supplied.

Ramsey lifted an eyebrow and looked over at them. "You boys've been busy. Took your Dad a week to figure that out."

"Yeah, well, when you're not around to defend yourself, there's no telling what people will say about you," Dean shot back. "Did she kill him?"

Ramsey blinked in surprised. "Sanders?"

Sam spread his hands. "Who else? Your daughter's boyfriend dies on your boat the same week she disappears, and now you have six drownings on your hands."

"Okay, so maybe you're not as smart as I thought," Ramsey shook his head, turning around to face the wheel.

Sam opened his mouth again, but Dean put a hand out to stop him. He felt Ramsey crumbling. The insult to his daughter had pulled out the last cornerstone from his façade of silence. They had only to wait.

"She left first," Ramsey said softly. "Before he died. We fought about him. We're harbor rats. He was a rich kid. She said I wouldn't understand, that it had nothing to do with Sanders, but you could see it on her face. She was ready to leave—to go to him."

The brothers remained silent as Ramsey paused to handle a call from the squawk box. With a glance out of the side window, the ferry boat captain continued.

"She just up and left one night. I was returning from the morning Kingston run, and Sanders' car takes a nose-dive off the upper deck. We had divers in the water—there's a whole crew here trained for emergencies—but the car sank damn fast. There's a sandbar right about mid-way across the Sound; guess it hit that because if it had sunk all the way to the bottom..."

Dean felt Sam shift next to him, wondering if his brother heard the same odd sense of satisfaction in Ramsey's tone that he did.

"They found his body—still behind the wheel of the car—later that same day. After the autopsy confirmed that he hadn't had any drugs in his system, they..." Ramsey glanced at Dean, and he suddenly knew what the man was about to say. "They cremated him."

Damn... Dean cursed silently. No body, no spirit.

"Tell us about Charlie," Sam said. "How did she know to find Dad?"

"She didn't," Ramsey shook his head. "He found her. Told me that he'd been following some case and that there were signs or something that had showed up around Seattle."

Dean glanced over a Sam, seeing the grim set of his brother's jaw. Had the yellow-eyed demon been here?

"You knew what he did?" Sam asked.

"Not at first, but..." Ramsey adjusted his wheel, frowning as it appeared the wheel tugged back. "Charlie worked at the Edmonds library. She was helping him gather some information. One night—just before she left—they were... attacked or something in the library. John said it was a spirit. Had me help him... do whatever he did to stop it from getting Charlie."

Dean frowned. "You salt anything? Burn anything? Dig up a body?"

Ramsey shot a look over his shoulder. "Salt yeah, but burn? Body?"

Sam shook his head. "You didn't get rid of anything."

"What do you me—" Ramsey's words were cut off as his wheel jerked viciously to the right. "Son of a bitch... not again."

"What's going on?" Dean stepped forward.

Below them, a scream rippled up through the air from the car deck, barely muted by the glass-encased cabin. Before he was even aware of moving, Dean had yanked open the cabin door and was half-way down the stairs as Sam called his name, close on his heels. The scream tore through him, again and again, ripping into his heart with terror and denial, lending sound to the anguish still trapped inside since he'd heard the words time of death...

Dean pushed past a small cluster of people, standing along the edge of the rail and looking down at a woman just outside of a small Volvo positioned between a pick-up and a Volkswagen, shrieking and pointing at the interior.

"Help him! Someone...someone help him!"

"Sammy!" Dean bellowed as he grabbed the edge of the rail.

"Right behind you." Sam's reply was immediate.

Dean swung over the edge of the deck, dropping into a crouch, his legs absorbing the impact of the five-foot fall. He straightened, hearing Sam drop behind him, and rushed over to the woman.

"What—" he started, but one glance at the Volvo answered his question.

The interior of the car was filled with water, a young man trapped inside, pounding weakly on the window.

"What the hell?" Dean's eyes jerked in frantic disbelief over the water-filled car.

"Dean!" Sam shouted, and Dean whirled to see his brother holding a metal pole that looked like it might've held up an awning at one time. Dean grabbed it from Sam and swung the pole at the back, drivers-side window.

It bounced away from the glass as if he'd been swinging a feather.

"Fuck!" Dean growled, swinging again. Sam had another pole and began to bash at the rear window. The woman behind them began to sob. Dean shot a look to the man drowning in his car and saw that he was no longer pounding on the glass. "No, man, c'mon..."

Holding the pole like a spear, Dean slammed the metal against the glass once more, finally cracking the surface. Encouraged, he reared back and slammed again, this time succeeding in breaking the glass completely, allowing a torrent of water to spill from the car and cascade over him. He stumbled back from the force, gained his balance and reached through the broken window, pulling the lock on the interior of the driver's side door.

The young man fell limply into Dean's arms, only the white's of his eyes visible, his lips blue, his skin cold.

"Oh... oh, nonononono," the woman sobbed behind him. "Jack, no!" Her voice broke as she pushed Dean away, gathering up the man against her, wrapping slender arms around his body and rocking him, her voice cracking with loss. "No..."

Dean sprawled next to her, his hands braced behind him, clothes soaked, teeth chattering from a cold that went deeper than the surface. Two of the Mystic's crew pushed their way through the crowd, laying the man flat and began CPR, but something inside Dean knew it was going to be useless. He'd felt death in his arms when the man spilled out from the car.

He heard Sam step up behind him, felt his brother's presence closer than his own skin. Looking up, Dean saw Ramsey standing at the top of the cabin steps, staring down at the spectacle in horror. Meeting Dean's eyes for a brief moment, Ramsey looked away, then turned and slowly headed back into his cabin.

"Dean," Sam crouched next to him. "C'mon."

Dean nodded, fully intending on standing. He even consciously thought to push away from the wet ground, but his body once again refused to obey. He had a sudden sense of vertigo, as if he were standing next to himself, looking down at himself, watching himself not move.

"Dean, you're bleeding," Sam said, and Dean felt his brother's long, warm fingers, gently lift his hand from the cement deck.

"I am?"

"Yeah, c'mon," Sam tugged on his arm. "The crew will know what to do."

"Right. Crew, right," Dean repeated, trying to connect whatever synapses' were misfiring in his head. He allowed Sam to pull him to his feet and lead him away, leaving wet footprints in his wake. He looked back over his shoulder as the boat crew blocked off the scene.

"Where the hell did that water come from, Sam?" He asked, teeth chattering.

"Good question," Sam muttered, pushing Dean down into one of the plastic chairs inside of the passenger cabin and picking up Dean's right hand. "You sliced yourself up good, man."

Dean looked down at his hand. "D-didn't even feel it," he said softly. "M-must've cut it when I was unl-locking the door."

There were two deep cuts along his palm and down into the fleshy part of his hand, stopping just short of his wrist. Blood mixed with water, filling his hand and saturating his wet jeans.

"I gotta find you a bandage or something." Sam said, looking around. "Don't go anywhere." He turned and headed to the crew deck.

Dean followed him with his eyes, a shiver shaking him inside of his wet jacket. He clenched his chattering teeth tight, glancing back outside to the gathering crowd and teary onlookers. Death was shocking when witnessed, no matter if it was the first time or the hundredth time. To see a life end was to face the truth of mortality: how quickly and unfairly it could all end.

As he watched the crowd, a girl with short brown hair, a shock of white-blonde lacing the bangs, turned to stare at him with pale blue eyes. He blinked, staring back. There was something vaguely familiar about her. Sam's quick stride announced his return and Dean looked away from the girl and up at his brother.

"She look familiar to you?" Dean asked.

Sam frowned, glancing around quickly as he knelt in front of Dean. "She who?"

"That girl out—" Dean stopped. She was gone. He shifted in the chair, looking through the crowd outside of the passenger cabin, looking behind him. "Never mind... I guess she... forget it."

"What is it, Dean?" Sam asked, soaking a small white rag in antiseptic that he'd pulled from the stolen first aid kit.

"Nothing, I guess," Dean shook his head. "I just, uh... think I might have just seen Charlie Ramsey is all."

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Sam snapped his head around at that, taking in Dean's closed face, shadowed eyes. Something in the weight of Dean's voice told Sam that his brother was still a bit unsteady. Sam was surprised that he wasn't more shaken up by what had just happened. A car randomly filling with water, drowning a passenger? That doesn't just happen.

Except around them.

Sam gathered Dean's damaged hand carefully in his own, cleaning the blood away and hissing a heartfelt sorry when Dean flinched and instinctively tried to pull away. He could feel the cold shiver as his brother's muscles worked to combat the chill of the water combined with the cool Washington air. After the wound was cleaned, Sam tried to close the gashes as best he could with the butterfly bandages he found in the first aid kit, then started to wrap Dean's palm in gauze to keep the still-opened parts of the wound protected.

"Probably should have a couple of stitches," Sam muttered.

"Later," Dean pushed out between the shallow breaths that controlled the pain.

Sam turned his brother's hand over in his, wrapping the gauze, taking stock of the power within his grip. Dean's hands were strength and grace, capable of measuring out both punishment and gentleness. He'd watched his brother beat a man senseless in defense of the innocent with those hands, fix the car engine so that their home remained intact with those hands, wipe away the tears of a child with those hands, staunch the flow of his family's blood with those hands, reach, hold, grab, save...with those hands.

"You done holding my hand, there, Samantha?"

Sam jerked at the soft sound of Dean's voice, the words a familiar jab at his invasion of Dean's personal space, the tone a gentle reminder that Dean was still aware, still in control, still strong, still here.

"Sorry," Sam cleared his throat. "That whole car filling with water thing was just... weird."

"Yeah, well," Dean pressed his opposite hand to his wet leg and pushed himself to his feet. He shook himself purposefully, shoving away the cold, shaking loose the water from his clothing. "We need to get to Captain Drownsalot before the ferry docks and he can disappear on us."

"You think he knows what's going on here?" Sam asked, knees cracking as he stood.

"He sure knows something," Dean muttered.

He turned and headed out of the passenger cabin, glance to the crowd on the deck. Sam followed closely. The onlookers had begun murmuring to themselves, the boat crew taking care of the broken glass and wet deck, the woman still sobbing as she held the victim's body close.

Sam looked away from the scene just in time to see Dean shudder, then head up the stairs to Ramsey's cabin. Dean wrenched the door open, not stopping his purposeful stride until he'd backed Ramsey up against the counsel, the boat Captain's hands raised in self defense.

"What. The. Hell?" Dean spat out.

Sam saw Ramsey's eyes shift away from his brother's angry face to beseech Sam's calmer façade for help.

Sam lifted a shoulder. "I'd answer him, man, unless you want him to turn loose on you."

"O-okay!" Ramsey stuttered. "Okay..."

Dean relaxed his shoulders an increment, but didn't back away.

"I don't know what's going on, I swear... but... I think it has something to do with the... thing that was after Charlie." Ramsey's voice shook. "It's the only thing I can think of... the only reason why cars are filling up with water... or people are getting tossed overboard from the upper decks..."

"You said they pulled up Sanders' body," Sam recounted. "Did they ever retrieve the car?"

Ramsey shook his head, his eyes darting from Sam to Dean, who finally took a step away. Sam watched him wrap his arms around himself in a gesture for warmth.

"Why not?" Dean asked, his words clipped, hurried, his jaw clenching against obvious chills.

"You got any idea how much it would cost to get a crane out here and haul that car up when there's no reason to? They got what they needed from it, leave the rest alone."

Dean shot a look over to Sam, who sighed. "Could be something in the car that's triggering this spirit."

"How does that make sense?" Ramsey frowned. "Charlie was having trouble before Brad ever drove off the edge of the ferry."

Sam watched Dean bite on his lip as he thought, working through the tangle in his mind. He was always fascinated by the maze that was Dean's mind, facts sticking to the walls of his memory like fly paper, never lost, but only able to be found again if Dean made the right connections.

Over the past several weeks, Sam had watched Dean flounder, searching for his compass, his lost guide, his leader. He'd mistakenly thought his brother had wanted to see that in Gordon Walker, but realized belatedly that Dean had just needed a kindred spirit, someone that might understand, someone not his little brother, his burden, his responsibility...

"You got a picture of Charlie?" Dean asked suddenly.

Sam looked over at Ramsey.

"Yeah, sure," Ramsey pulled out his wallet, handing Dean a photo.

Sam watched as Dean looked at the image then pressed his lips together and nodded once, handing the photo to Sam. It was a pretty girl in her early twenties, dark brown hair with a streak of blonde across the front, an impish grin, and blue eyes shifted off to the side, looking at something beyond the camera.

"Ramsey, Charlie is here. On this boat."

"What?" Ramsey exclaimed, his face draining of color.

"I saw her in the crowd around the Volvo." Dean asserted. "We need to search the people as they exit at Edmonds."

Shaken, Ramsey reached out for the wheel, pulling himself around and raising a trembling hand for the mike on the squawk box.

"Cops'll be meeting us there anyway," Ramsey forced out.

Sam sighed and looked over at his brother as Dean reached up to scratch his head. Sam saw the white gauze on his hand had already started to turn red. The ferry horn blared and the brothers turned as one to watch the boat dock in its assigned slip. As the motion settled, they exchanged a glance, then sprinted down the stairs to cover the pedestrian entrance on the ferry side as the cops covered it on the land side.

Disembarking even the small amount of passengers was a lengthy process as each was inspected, questioned, and sorted. Dean signaled Sam to the crew quarters; they managed to stay out of sight until the cops were done with the crime scene and had packaged and removed the evidence. Sam knew the police would be looking for them—he'd heard the scattered passenger accounts of the two young men who'd jumped down to try to break open the car and save the man before he drowned.

Inside of his car. On the second level of the ferry.

"You see her?" Ramsey asked when the cops released him and he found them making themselves at home in the crew galley.

"Nope," Dean said around a mouthful of ham and Swiss. "She must've found another way off."

Ramsey sighed, dropping Charlie' photo on the counter between the boys, and rubbing his face. "There is no other way off. Not without swimming, anyway."

Sam looked down at the photo. "She looks like you."

"Yeah," Ramsey nodded, dropping his hands and returning his red-rimmed eyes to the photo. "She's her mother, though. Stubborn as hell, and never could stay in one place too long."

Dean looked down at the photo, too. "It was her eyes," he said, setting down his sandwich. "That's what I recognized. You guys have the same eyes."

"Yeah," Sam nodded, looking again at the picture.

And as he watched, the eyes of the girl in the photo shifted, her head turning to follow, and they rested squarely on the shocked face of Miles Ramsey.

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