Ghosts, Spies and Campfire Lies 1/5Author: caffienekittyRecipient: dotfic
For the Prompt "Chuck/SPN crossover (S3 of SPN, S1 of Chuck) where Sam and Dean wind up saving Chuck and Ellie who are on a brother and sister road-trip"Rating:
Total - 20770 Words. Part 1 - 3350, Part 2 - 3800, Part 3 - 4490, Part 4 - 4560, Part 5 - 4570Warnings:
Crossover - Supernatural/Chuck
. Bad art, bent canon, some crack. Slight references to S2 Chuck episodes. Has suffered some mission creep from the original prompt.Characters:
SPN - Sam and Dean. CHUCK - Chuck, Ellie, Sarah, CaseyAuthor's Notes:
Takes place less than a week before Supernatural Episode 3.05 (Bedtime Stories) and a day or two after Chuck Episode 1.05 (Chuck vs. the Sizzling Shrimp). The 'art' happened in the process of writing, I don't know how. I've never written or read any fanfic for the series "Chuck" before so I hope I didn't screw it up too bad. Sorry about the length, the prompt wouldn't settle for short. Betaed by the awesome Agent Ch., Agent Ci., and Agent Sa., without whom there would be much less sense.Summary: Abandoned campgrounds are never a good idea. PART 1
Sun shone in slashes, filtering between oak and alder trees along the wooded back road, hitting the side windows of the Impala like a strobe light as the car zipped past. Dean slung the Impala around a curve at full speed just because he could, grinning as fallen leaves swirled up in the car's wake.
"We shouldn't be chasing after random crap that probably isn't even a case, Dean."
There was the Impala's resident ray of sunshine again, expressing the same sentiment he'd been expressing since they left Philadelphia.
"Oh, there's a case here, Sam. I know it."
"This isn't another nookie run like Cicero, Indiana last June?"
"No, and if you'll recall, that was a case too." Dean glanced at Sam before turning his attention back to the road. "You need to learn to trust my instincts, dude."
Sam pursed his lips and frowned. Dean thought he might be restraining the urge to argue, but he looked constipated. "Okay, fine, what are you thinking?"
"What's that Japanese thing that leads hikers astray? Bobby said something about it that once, remember?"
"Yeah. We've never had one of those."
Sam shook his head. "It's a mountain spirit. No mountains."
"Hunh. Will o' the wisp?"
"There's nothing that supports any relation to demonic activity, Bobby checked." Sam pulled a handful of printouts from the laptop bag and spread them over the map in his lap. "Plus, this has been happening a long time, over the past ten or more years, not just in the last few months."
Dean nodded. "So if it's a demon, it's been here a while."
"And doesn't leave any of the usual signs of demonic activity."
"You're sure Bobby said there were no demonic weather patterns? Seems kind of hot for October."
"It's California, Dean, not Minnesota. Twenty degrees is perfectly normal for October."
Dean grinned. "Now that's my kind of normal. Hey, we should spend this whole winter in California! Whadda ya think, Sammy? I'd never have to shovel the Impala out of a motel parking lot again as long as I live."
Sam fell silent. Glancing over, Dean saw his brother glowering out the window at the road racing past.
Dean frowned and cleared his throat. "Wendigo?"
Sam sighed. "It's still
not Minnesota, Dean."
"That last one was in Colorado." Dean glanced at Sam with a grin. "Remember that one? Couple years back?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "Yeah, okay, fine, but that one was an anomaly."
"Actually, Sam, I'm pretty sure it was a Wendigo," said Dean, with the too-serious tone of 'baiting Sammy'.
Sam sighed again and refused to bite. "If this was a Wendigo too it'd be two anomalies, unless Wendigos are migratory or affected by climate change."
"Who knows, maybe they are. Wendigo as a possible?"
"Sure, why not? Why not Cornish pixies?" Sam raised his hands and dropped them onto the papers in his lap with a sharp rustle. "I mean, do we have anything
to base a case-theory off of, beyond your instincts and 'hikers gone missing'?"
"Twenty-three hikers gone missing with no trace over the past ten years, no gear, no bodies ever found. Same general area of woods."
"I've read Dad's journal cover to cover more times than I can count and there is nothing about this particular area. Bobby says there's nothing as far as he can tell either. There's no real pattern to it, Dean. This isn't a case."
"No individuals, always at least two. That's a pattern."
"Yeah, if you're desperate. Other than that the demographics are all over the map." Sam shuffled through the print-outs. "Husbands and wives, parents and children, three high school kids, a four-person corporate team-building retreat, no age similarities, nothing. Hikers go missing all the time, Dean."
"Not ones that aren't found at all. Almost all missing hikers turn up eventually, alive or dead. These ones, no gear left behind, gone without a trace."
Sam shrugged, "Maybe there's a sinkhole hidden somewhere, or a ravine or something. Maybe they're just missing and it's not our kind of gig. The region was active during the gold rush years, there could be uncharted, abandoned mines or natural cave systems."
Dean shook his head. "Nuh uh. Doesn't feel right."
"Nothing we've got indicates these disappearances are in any way caused by something supernatural."
Dean glanced over at his brother. "Why are you dragging your heels on this case Sam?"
Sam shifted in his seat. "I just think that since the Colt's fixed now, we should be hunting down more of the demons that got out of Hell, not going after random possible cases out in the bush."
The last demon they had encountered had been Casey. She'd told Dean that Sam was supposed to lead the demons, and that she'd been willing to follow Sam. Casey, who Sam had shot with the Colt his demon friend Ruby had helped rebuild.
Dean's jaw clenched. "You happen to know any demons we can shoot, Sam?"
Sam turned toward the window. "No."
"Fine then. We can go check out this place."
Sam huffed, shoving the print-outs back into the laptop bag, and looked back down at the map. "There's an old campground at the edge of the area. I looked it up online, it was closed down ten years ago."
"Right when the disappearances started to pick up. It say why they closed down?"
"Wasn't making money, I guess. Could be something to do with the missing hikers, but the former owners have disappeared too so we can't ask them."
Dean frowned. "Disappeared like the hikers disappeared?"
"Naw, the mundane kind of disappearing. They just left town and no one knows where they went."
"So, abandoned campground." Dean grinned. "Hey, think it might be Jason?"
"Shut up," Sam grumbled with a slight smirk.
Dean looked wistfully out the window, keeping a corner of his eye on Sam. "I always wanted to take that hockey-masked bastard down."
"Yeah, yeah." Full smirk now. Good.
"There's no chance there's going to be happy campers there anyway, right? A campsite being closed doesn't mean people won't still camp there on the sly."
"It's not maintained, and not part of the state parks system so I don't know. I doubt it though. It's October. Who goes camping in October?"
"Well, you were right about there being no crowds."
Ellie Bartowski rolled down the window of the little red and white car. Past the big 'campsite closed' signs, the first few sites showed signs of hosting some hard partying.
Chuck leaned out of the Nerd Herder and looked at the faded signs in dismay. "I'm sorry, Ellie, I didn't even think that it wouldn't still be open."
"It's been over fifteen years since we used to camp here with Dad and Mom, Chuck. We were kids. I guess things change."
"Let's take a look anyway. We're here, right? Maybe the amateur wrecking crew missed our old spot."
Ellie crossed her arms and looked at the nearest campsite. Beer cans and garbage residue littered the ground and fire pit; the picnic table was reduced to splinters and ash. "It's probably destroyed. I don't know if I want to see it like that."
"It was pretty hidden. Remember? It was on that off-shoot trail thing. Maybe it's okay?"
Chuck watched Ellie bite her lower lip as she stared out the window at the garbage-strewn site and destroyed picnic table. He should have looked it up online at least before they drove out, but getting the gear together and making the other arrangements to pull together a weekend apology trip for his secret life messing up his and Ellie's special 'family of two' Mother's Day had been too much of a scramble. Still, he should have checked online. He checked everything online.
"We came all the way out here, Ellie. We can take a quick peek, see if it's trashed and then, I dunno, find another place, or camp at a hotel. Although I'm thinking a hotel would object to us toasting marshmallows in the room. Whatever you want."
Ellie looked at her brother levelly. "Okay. One peek. But I'm not looking unless you tell me it's not trashed."
Chuck rolled the Nerd Herder deeper into the old campground. The front-most sites were the worst damaged, but none were occupied, and the sites further in showed less abuse. Between campsites the tree-shadowed trails were well on their way to growing over, showing less and less use the further in they went. Some sites didn't seem touched at all.
He started to hope that maybe vandals had missed their family's preferred spot and that the camping weekend might be salvageable after all. Sounds of the minimal traffic on the road hushed as the little car rolled deeper in.
It took a few passes to find the big site their parents had always picked. Not once in all the times they'd gone camping had it ever been occupied, even during the busiest times back in the heyday of the campground. It was secluded, easy to miss, set off from the other sites on the short spur trail. With the underbrush growing in, it was almost invisible now.
Ellie covered her eyes as Chuck eased the Nerd Herder in through the encroaching bush. The car's tires crunched on the gravel path.
"Wow," said Chuck.
"Wow, what?" Ellie winced and kept her eyes covered. "How bad is it?"
"It doesn't look trashed at all! It's just like the last time we were here! Nearly."
Ellie peered from between her fingers. "Wow."
Chuck pulled the car in and parked where Dad always had. The space had once been big enough for two full-sized RV's to park between the trees, but the encroaching foliage had constricted the space down to a cozier size. A rusty metal fire-pit sat in the center of the site, logs serving as fireside benches along two sides and a picnic table along a third. The adjoined clearing where Chuck and Ellie's tent had sat, separate from their parents', was still clear.
He remembered playing flashlight tag. He and Ellie shining their flashlights on the tent ceiling, trying to catch each other's light, giggling, being told to keep it down when it got too late. Listening to quiet conversations between Mom and Dad through the thin tent walls, their voices no more than a reassuring two-toned murmur.
Before Mom left and Dad went weird and long before Chuck had a head full of government intelligence secrets he couldn't even tell his own sister about. Happier times.
"Yeah." Ellie smiled softly, looking around the campsite. "It's worth staying a night."
"Great!" Chuck popped the back hatch and got out of the car.
Ellie got out and stretched. "You're sure
the Buy More doesn't mind you borrowing a Nerd Herder and taking it out of town?"
"You keep asking that. It's fine, Big Mike's cool with it. As long as I work the next... several weekends." Actually, it was a compromise. This Nerd Herder was one of the ones secretly stuffed full of government spy and tracking gear, and by wheedling permission to take it for the weekend from Big Mike (who had no idea about the modifications done to the store's vehicle), Sarah and Casey could keep track of him without watching his every move.
For once since this whole Intersect thing started, his spy life was not going to mess up his family life.
"'You can track me if I take the Nerd Herder.'" John Casey muttered in a mocking nasal voice, watching the campground entrance with binoculars from a spot down the road. "'You don't need to follow me and Ellie when we leave town. Just one weekend, I want privacy
and family time
and a pony
. Wah, wah, wah.' The man's an idiot. No sense of self-preservation."
Sarah's voice was hushed in Casey's earpiece. "He hasn't lived his life like he was in constant danger, Casey, cut him some slack."
"That's the trouble with society. Slack. Everyone wanders around like they're perfectly safe. If people assumed they were in constant danger, there would be much fewer crimes committed."
"More people committed though, as they go insane from-"
"We got incoming," said Casey, straightening up in the driver's seat and watching the car turn off the road. "Big black sixties land yacht, entering the campground. Coming up the west side trail towards you."
"Maybe it's just other people looking to camp?"
"Yeah, right." Casey started up the Crown Victoria. "Keep an eye on them, Walker."
-:-Even more. A proper invasion. They don't often come so far into my territory any more. Good hunting.
The Winchesters were halfway around the campground loop and Sam still hadn't given up trying to convince Dean of his opinion.
"It just doesn't seem like an excessive number of missing people for the amount of time and the area, Dean. Twenty-three in ten years is about average for an area like this."
Dean rolled the Impala along the overgrown trail, peering off to the sides into empty and nearly un-vandalized campsites. "Something isn't right about it. Something worth checking out."
In the back seat something chirped.
The Winchesters exchanged a glance. Sam reached around to grab the EMF meter. The first bulb flickered faintly then went dark.
"That's nothing," Sam said.
Dean raised an eyebrow.
"Come on, Dean! We get a bigger blip from driving under a power line. Maybe we drove over a buried power cable or something."
"Could be." Dean was mildly smug. "Or it could be something more and you know it. We're here, Sam, so we're checking it out."
Sam glared down at the EMF meter. Half a year to go. We've got the Colt again, he's got half a year left and he wants to chase missing hikers. We don't have time for this.
"Hey." Dean swatted Sam's arm and slowed the Impala from a crawl to a stop.
Sam looked up. "What?"
Dean nodded towards the little red and white car buried in the bush off a barely-seen side trail. A man and woman were setting up a tent.
"Not for long."
Dean pulled the Impala into the overgrown off-shoot trail.
Sarah crouched in the brush between campsites and watched the new arrivals with binoculars. "The car's stopped near them, two guys are getting out."
"What are you waiting for, Walker? Take 'em out."
"It's possible they aren't here looking for Chuck. No one even knows he's an intelligence asset. They might just be some lost civilians."
"Trank 'em then. We'll interrogate 'em and cut 'em loose if they're just idiots."
"We can't go around tranking every person who gets near Chuck, Casey. People would notice."
"It'd make life so much easier."
"It'd compromise the security of the operation," she said firmly.
In Sarah's earpiece, Casey grunted.
"One of them is reaching in his jacket for something." Sarah dropped the binoculars and started running.
"I'm-" Casey's voice disintegrated into static. Sarah ripped off the earpiece and kept running.
Dean dug around in his jacket for a badge, walking with Sam towards the occupied campsite. "So, what's the story?"
"Park rangers? The place is closed down, so whoever's there has to know they're not supposed to be there."
"Sounds good to me."
"Excuse me!" bellowed Sam, waving an arm over his head.
The campers jumped at the unexpected shout. The woman, dark hair drawn up into a pony-tail, looked from the strangers coming up the trail to the curly-haired man. The man seemed scared at first, but as Sam and Dean got closer, his head tipped slightly to the side, and a half-grin formed on his face.
Sam smiled in a 'we're the authorities around here' sort of way as they got within speaking distance of the campers. "Excuse me? Hi, we're-"
"Hey..." the guy shook a finger at Sam, fully grinning now. "Hey, I know you!"
Dean froze with his hand on the leather folder that claimed he was a park ranger or a house inspector, depending which way he opened it.
"You..." Sam shook his head. "I'm sorry, what?"
"It's Sam, right? You went to Stanford!"
"Yeah, yeah!" the guy flapped a hand in the air, thinking. "Practical composition! You did a presentation on, on, what was it... the psychological basis of modern myth or something like that."
Dean raised his eyebrows and looked at Sam.
Sam glanced between Dean and the curly-haired guy. "...I uhhhh, I think you have me confused with someone else."
"No, no, you did the presentation, I remember, you had quotes from the D&D monster manual and Legend of Zelda and still got an A. That? That was impressive!"
Dean smirked. "Really?"
"Yeah, well... games are a modern form of mythological expression."
Dean snickered. "Legend of Zelda. Dude."
The guy beamed. "You should have seen it, it was great! Sam! Wow! Sam Win-something, right?"
"...Winchester" Sam sighed.
The curly-haired guy stuck out his hand. "Chuck Bartowski!"
"Right! Bartowski, right. Uh, this is my brother, Dean."
"Dean. Hi." Chuck smiled broadly and shook Dean's hand.
"So, out camping with the girlfriend?" Dean inclined his head towards the dark-haired woman hovering in the campsite with a bemused expression and an armload of corn on the cob.
"What? Oh, no, this is Ellie, my sister."
"Sister, hunh?" Dean smirked in a potentially leering way and offered a hand to be shaken.
Ellie put the corn down on the picnic table next to a roll of tin foil, smiled tightly and shook Dean's hand like it was a dead rat. "His very taken and unavailable sister. Also Dr. Bartowski, thank you."
Dean managed to look hurt and scandalized. "I didn't, I would never-"
Sam pinned his brother with a level gaze.
"So!" enthused Chuck. "This is a wild coincidence! You guys showing up here!"
"We're barely here ourselves." Ellie muttered through a tense smile.
"Well," Sam said, turning to gesture at Dean, who took the cue and reached back into his jacket for his fake ID, "Dean here is a Fores-"
Everyone looked toward the voice to see a stunning blonde woman with a bright smile walking up the trail to the Bartowskis' campsite, waving.
Dean considered the new arrival. Hot, blonde...
The hand the woman hadn't waved with was casually tucked behind her back. ...and apparently armed and ready to draw. Hunh.
Dean eased his empty hand out of his jacket and watched her right hand re-appear from behind her back, also empty.
Ellie looked stunned. "Sarah?"
"Hi! Sarah! What are you doing here?" Chuck and Sarah exchanged a strangely awkward hug.Also taken. I think. Crap.
"Well," Sarah said brightly, "you said you were going camping and it sounded like fun, so me and Casey thought it would be fun too!"
Chuck smiled an exceptionally broad smile. "And what an amazing coincidence that we ended up at the same campground!"
"The same abandoned campground." Ellie looked at Chuck and crossed her arms.
Chuck's face fell and he seemed slightly panicked. "Yeah. Um. Soooo, Casey's here too?"
"Parking the car."
"Casey, hunh?" said Dean. "Is she hot?"
A shiny black '85 Crown Victoria pulled into the campsite past the Impala with a roar. The driver's door opened and a broad, grim-looking man the same height as Sam got out, glancing between Sarah and Chuck.
Ellie gave a strained smile. "Hello, John. Welcome to the party."
"This is John Casey," introduced Chuck. "He goes by his last name."
Dean laughed awkwardly. "Ah. See, the last Casey I met was-" a hot demonic bartender that Sam shot dead, host and all, without blinking.
"Sarah, Casey, this is Sam Winchester and his brother Dean. I know Sam from Stanford. He's okay."
Sam grinned nervously. "You're both in law enforcement, are you?"
Chuck laughed. "Oh, oh, ho, no, no they're not police or anything like that at all! No! Ha ha! Isn't that ridiculous Ellie? Sarah and Casey, cops."
Ellie continued smiling stiffly. "Yes. Ridiculous."
"Casey works with me at the Buy More. He's a green-shirt, a sales associate."
Casey's face tightened in something that might have been a smile or a wedgie.
"And I work at the Weinerlicious next door," Sarah volunteered with a quick grin.
Dean smirked. "That's the hot dog place with the little red skirts and the-" he raised his hands to chest height before Sam slapped them down.
"-king-size hot dogs, Sam." Dean looked affronted. "I was gonna say king-size hot dogs."
"Whatever, we need to go get stuff from the car. 'Scuse us." Sam grabbed Dean's elbow and tugged him towards the Impala.
Sarah hooked her arm through Chuck's and smiled at Ellie. "'Scuse us a sec' please, Ellie. Chuck, we need to talk."
Casey nodded at Ellie and trailed after Chuck and Sarah.
Ellie looked from one departing group to the other in befuddlement. "Well," she said to no one, "I guess I'll just go husk some more corn."