One Week Later
"Gotta say, this was awesome." Dean grinned as he leaned back in his chair.
Sam laid his napkin beside his plate and smiled at Robin. "Awesome hardly covers it. You didn't have to go to all this trouble for us, but wow—"
She laughed. "Come on. You guys rescued me and even better, came back and helped me clean up the huge mess. I owe you both more than a home-cooked dinner."
"Speaking of the mess, how's things been with…?" Dean gave a low whistle and circled his finger at the general atmosphere.
"Amos? Oh, he's been very quiet. Not a moan or a thump since the all-clear."
"He told you his name?" Sam's eyebrows rose.
Robin flushed, and gave a soft giggle. "No. But 'Amos' popped into my head in the middle of the night, and it seemed to fit."
"Do you think he's gone?" Dean asked.
"No. I can't explain why, but…" Robin sighed. "I think he's still around, but keeping quiet."
"Probably recharging. He burned through one heck of a lot of energy that night," Sam said. "Don't get your hopes up that he's mellowed out."
"Offer stands," Dean assured her. "Any time you want us to send him into the Great White Light, just say the word."
"Yeah, about that," Robin said, toying with her fork. "I've been doing a lot of thinking about how Amos has manifested himself, trying to put my fear aside and work it all through objectively. I know this may sound arrogant, but I don't think any of his nastier tricks were meant to frighten me."
Dean and Sam exchanged a glance. "The first time he showed himself was after you were attacked, right?" Sam asked.
"Actually," Robin said, "Thinking back on it carefully, it may have been during the break-in." She straightened and looked steadily from one of them to the other. "Guys, I don't think that intruder fell backwards out of the window because he was a stupid klutz. I'm almost certain now that he was pushed."
"What makes you think that?" Sam asked.
"Trust me, those few minutes are burned into my brain. I can run that tape over and over," she chuffed. "Look, I'm sure you've both gone off balance and fallen backwards at least once in your lives, right?"
Sam and Dean exchanged another glance, a wry one this time.
"That would be a safe assumption," Dean drawled.
"Well, here's the deal. When you fall, almost always your reflexes cause you to try to catch yourself somehow. You sway, flail your arms, you know."
The brothers nodded.
"That guy? He folded over and flew backwards out that window like he'd been yanked from behind with a rope—or slammed really hard in the gut."
"Ok, so your homie Amos suckerpunched that sleazebag. One huge brownie point for the spook. But Sam told me he's been terrorizing you for the past year." Dean frowned.
"That was what you said, wasn't it?" Sam added, "That you hadn't been afraid until this year?"
"Oh, I was plenty scared," she agreed, eyes widening. "But see, looking back on it—I realized that none of what happened was aimed at me. I was just… a terrified bystander. My boyfriend at the time, Gregor, he was the focus of it all."
"Was Gregor abusive?" Sam asked, very gently. Dean looked down at his empty plate, trying to give the other two some conversational privacy without actually leaving the room.
Robin bit her lower lip and shrugged. "Gregor was… difficult. Volatile. After we'd been together a while, it escalated till I felt as if I was living in the eye of a hurricane. He never threatened me, but he still managed to keep me off balance and nervous all the time."
"Emotional abuse," Sam gritted.
"I suppose so," Robin almost whispered.
"And that's when Casper started getting nasty?" Dean interjected.
"No, not right at first. Not till the day after Hoosier died."
"Hoosier?" Sam blinked.
"My cat. Long story on the name." A weak smile flickered and faded. "Not important now. Anyway, Hoosier was very old and feeble. When he died, I thought it was his time to go, you know, but now—" She shuddered. "Amos started getting mean right after that. Mean towards Gregor, not me. I'm thinking Gregor might have done something to Hoosier. Gregor hated Hoosier, even though all the poor baby did by then was lie in the sun and sleep."
"Wow. That's low," Dean murmured.
Robin nodded and wiped her hand over her eyes and breathed out a shaky sigh. "It was as if Gregor was jealous of any attention I paid to anything but him. Anyway, after that, things got worse and worse, with Amos and with Gregor. Finally, I packed up and left. When I moved in here, everything was quiet. I thought my haunting was over. Obviously, it wasn't."
She sighed again. "I never had any real reason to be afraid. I was only misinterpreting motive."
"Understandable considering the guy's not exactly an articulate communicator," Sam commented.
"Yeah, dude—try scrawling what you need to say in lipstick on the mirrors or something next time," Dean said over his shoulder. "Way less property damage and the message gets through quicker."
There was a soft thwack from the living room, and a playful bark from George. The three hurried through the doorway. George was rolling on something as gleefully as if it were a dead squirrel.
"What have you got, boy?" Sam retrieved the object. A paperback book. 'Supernatural' was the title.
Dean would have preferred a dead squirrel. "Oh man, not those again."
"I take it you're not a fan?" Robin asked, playful challenge in her voice. She took the book from Sam and put it back on the shelf.
"Not exactly," Sam answered for him. Another book slowly slipped out of place. Sam caught it before it fell to the floor. The cover pictured a woman aflame, with a peaceful, almost beatific expression on her face, the word 'Home' above. Sam didn't lift his eyes from it, his voice low as he spoke. "Uh, remember how I promised I'd tell you my story on our second date? I think this counts as a date."
"Sam—" Dean warned.
"Dean, she deserves to know." Sam put the book back into its slot. He looked over at Robin with an ambiguous smile. "I hope you don't have any plans for the rest of the evening, because it's a very long story." He trailed his fingers along the spines of the novel like a caress.
"Hey, long stories are the best ones." Robin's expression of mystified sympathy brightened. "And they're best washed down with loads of sugar. You guys have room for homemade peach pie?"
Sam glanced at Dean and they both chuckled.
"Always," Dean agreed. As Robin turned away to lead the way back into the kitchen, Dean mouthed 'marry her!'
He got a level-ten bitch face in reply. And then a grin.