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Third Eye Blind

April 26th, 2012 (11:51 am)
energetic

current mood: energetic
current song: Written In Reverse-- Spoon

THEN:

She was naked. She was always naked. Standing with her shoulders back, her hair tumbling all over that white skin like curls of fire, a triumphant, gloating, almost evil expression on her face as she smiled at him. Her blue eyes flicked glowing red from corner to corner.

He tried to yell warning to Sam, somewhere behind him, but it was as if his throat was stuffed full of rags. She looked into his eyes, and started to laugh. "You don't have ten years," she taunted. "You don't have ten months. You don't even have ten minutes."

Her chest opened up and seething orange light spilled out.

Dean gasped and jerked straight up.

Sam snorted and rolled over in the other bed, half-rising. "You ok?" he mumbled.

June was already on her knees behind Sam, her pupils flashing green in the light from the bathroom.

"Yeah, just a nightmare," Dean told him. "No big deal. Go back to sleep."

Sam looked at him a moment longer until Dean lay back down. Sam did too, and June went back to fur, her head resting on Sam's hip, eyes closed.

Dean waited until he felt Sam drift back into sleep. Figured June was out too. He slid out of bed and went to the bathroom. His head was about to split. As he was shaking aspirin into his palm, June whispered from the doorway.

"You sure you're ok?"

He startled so hard, he almost spilled the pills down the drain. "I'm fine," he hissed. "Hung over. Go the hell to bed!"

She flinched back from his vehemence and he closed the door in her face. Dean swallowed the aspirin, chased it with a gulp from the faucet, then leaned on the sink, staring into his own dim reflection. It was just a stupid dream.... had to be. Just a creative nightmare fueled by too much beer and greasy food and his own well-honed paranoia.



NOW:


"Huh."

"Huh what huh?" Dean looked over his shoulder at Sam, working at the table on his computer, while he cleaned firearms and June sharpened blades.

Sam leaned back in his chair. "The gender didn't track, so I wasn't certain I was seeing a real pattern to these cases, but... I didn't expect this."

"Enlighten us further, oh cryptic one?" Dean went and leaned over Sam's shoulder to look at the screen. He blurted a laugh. "Lovefraud.com? Care to explain why you've followed that one enough to catch a pattern?"

"We all have our guilty pleasures," Sam told him, without looking up from the computer. "You have a standing date with Dr. Dreamy, care to explain that?"

"You have a bad habit of answering a question with a question, anybody ever told you that?" Dean said instead. "Ok, so what's this surprising pattern?"

"It's a long chain of possible swindles, exactly the same. A man or woman of considerable wealth and social standing, swept off their feet by a soul-mate after a chance meeting. They marry within weeks, months at the most. Before the wedding cake goes stale, the loaded spouse commits suicide. Their heartbroken soul-mate mourns publicly while privately liquidating all available assets, then disappears. As in, ceases to exist."

"Cash evaporates too, I bet."

Sam nods.

"Ok, does sound fishy, but you said the genders don't track. Think it's a switch-hitter con artist, or some kind of ring?" Dean asked.

June came around to Sam's other side and laid an arm across his shoulders. Sam leaned against her side. The two couldn't be within arm's length without contact. Dean edged away from Sam without giving it much thought when he felt the first tingle of full-on connection. It was all becoming almost unconscious habit for them now.

Sam shook his head. "For one thing, it's been going on for at least thirty years, so I didn't consider it could be the same person. Another thing, the Princes and Princesses Charming haven't been shy about being photographed. But when this newest case popped up, something nagged at me about the photos. Watch this."

An old photo came up on the screen of a mid-thirties man, morphed into a mature, striking woman with silver hair, then into a gorgeous twenty-something woman, then into a man who looked like a senior captain of industry. On and on, one face melting into another, with only one unchanging constant. The eyes.

"Shape-shifter," Dean growled. "I hate those silly-putty bastards. They're all six kinds of crazy. Why can't at least one of 'em be a regular joe for a change?"

"Because if they are, they stay off our radar," Sam said.

"True," Dean nodded. "Ok, so if this is a shape-shifter con-artist murderer, then how are we gonna find it before it cashes in its next mark?

"Society pages, maybe?" June guessed. "Depending on when the last mark offed themselves?"

"Which was a little over a year ago.... so.... " Sam started clicking and after a few minutes of watching random cities' society pages scroll past almost too fast to scan, Dean drifted back to his gun-cleaning and June followed.

"Thank you, Facebook." Sam looked over with a triumphant grin, over an hour later. "Nailed the bastard."

He turned the laptop around, to show them a video of a swanky engagement party already in progress. "Watch... right... here." Sam paused the video. The happy groom-to-be glanced towards the camera and lifted his champagne glass. His eyes flared flat gold for that one split-second.

"Proof enough for me," Dean agreed. "But... " He leaned closer and frowned at the title. "Miriam Taberson... why does that sound vaguely familiar?"

"Maybe because Miri's dear ol' Dad started the Biggerson's-BiggerMart empire?"

Dean whistled. "They're in like, the billionaire zone now, right?"

"Forbes Four Hundred, three hundred-seventy four with a bullet."

"This thing must be another freakin' Abagnale to get that close to her," Dean said.

"Yeah, 'cause even though she's thirty-two and on her own, I doubt Daddy would've let any ol' mutt off the street wander in close enough to sniff up his only baby's skirt," June muttered.

"Such a charming way with words," Dean commented.

"But accurate," Sam shrugged. "Which begs the question of how we're going to get close enough to take him out before he svengali's Miriam into making herself his personal piggy bank."

"Silver ammo, a high-powered rifle and a good scope?" June suggested brightly.

"Damn you're a blood-thirsty little beast!" Dean ruffled her hair. "It's your best quality."

"Too risky for us. I'd rather we try persuasion before we go all lone-gunman on a rooftop somewhere," Sam said. "If we can convince Miriam to kick her fiance to the curb, then nobody with clout will be watching him. We can make our move then."

"When's the wedding?" Dean asked.

"Next Saturday, at seven," Sam said.

"Doesn't leave us much time," Dean grumbled. "Where's the ceremony?"

"St. Mark's, in Bensonville, Arkansas."

"That really doesn't leave us much time. Stuff and scoot, Marmaduke."

-oOo-

"It seems our best bets to get to Ms. Taberson would be as reporters or event-planner staff," Sam mused as he rooted through Miriam Taberson's digital life, public and not.

"With a blow-out that big, it's guaranteed there's gonna be some kind of frou-frou crisis at least twice a day, so we could probably bluff our way in as staff," Dean mused. "She'd be more likely to clear her schedule for a wedding snafu than for a pair of reporters."

"Mmmhmm," Sam mused, already absorbed in the gathering of pertinent information and IDs to fake.

"Y'all are gonna need new suits," June commented.

"Why? Got a perfectly good one, even had it cleaned," Dean asked.

"Yeah-- a suit fit for a reporter or a Fed or something. You're gonna need something more... um... festive, if you're gonna pass yourselves off as high-end wedding planner assistants."

"She has a point," Sam mumbled.

"No. No way. We'll make what we have work." Dean grinned and flexed his shoulders. "Besides, it's all in the presentation, baby."


*******Click to go to Chapter 2.