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On the Wagon

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"Drive-thru would have been quicker," Sam grumbled – mostly to himself – as he and Dean walked into a burger joint, going for breakfast when they should be having dinner in a place that felt identical to their last week's worth of meals. The food was probably just as greasy too.

"You spilled sauce on my baby," Dean replied flatly. "You're on probation." He stepped up to the counter to order.

Sam sighed and looked around for a seat. Their usual choice of booth – one in a corner with the best view and close to the exits – was taken, and only because it was already taken did Sam notice just who was sitting there. He nudged Dean's arm. "Hey, take a look. It's Kate."

"What, wolf-girl Kate?" Dean asked in a half-whisper, turning to look. "The one with the home-vid documentary of killing her roommates?"

"Think so."

Dean finally spotted her and nodded. Her hair was longer and dyed black, but it was definitely her. She was listlessly swirling spaghetti round her plate with a fork. The cashier politely reminded Dean to take his credit card, and he tucked it back into his wallet and nodded in Kate's direction. "Let's go say hi."

They weren't more than ten steps away when Kate noticed them. Her eyes widened as they approached and she backed up into the wall of the booth. "I haven't hurt anyone," she swore as quietly as she could, hands held up and open. Her voice was tight and high and panicked. "I haven't, I'm sure, I've been really careful. I've kept track of everything – I even put a GPS on myself so I-"

"Kate, relax," said Sam, sitting down. "We believe you."

"We do?"

Sam shot him a bitchface. "We're not making any assumptions," he amended, and pointedly waited for Dean to take the other seat. They were across from her, not exactly threatening but blocking her from most people's view. Kate seemed to notice; she curled in on herself.

"Course if you had you wouldn't tell us, would you?" Dean went on pleasantly.

"I can prove it," she told them. She pulled out a laptop, tapped in a few commands and turned it towards them. It showed a customised Googlemap with a very long, twisting line running from building to building – and apparently from city to city, broken by jumps into reserves and forests – with timestamps all over it.

"You... tracked yourself?"

"With GPS. I had a phone chip stuck in my arm-" she pulled up a sleeve to show an ugly squareish lump in her bicep; amateur surgery, but it looked like it had healed well "-and I haven't even been near any murders. No hearts, nothing. Just animals."

Impressed, Sam nodded. "Okay," he said. "We believe you."

Kate deflated with relief. "Really?" she pleaded. "So you're not here to..." her voice dropped to a whisper "...kill me?"

Sam gave her his most reassuring smile. "No. Really. We didn't even know you were here. We've been tracking something completely different."

Tentatively curious, she straightened up a fraction. Her brow was furrowed. "What kind of something?"

Dean and Sam glanced at each other, and Dean shrugged – no reason why not. "A rugaru," he said. "They're monsters who eat human flesh. Nasty bastards. This one hopped cities on us after we lost him in Dallas. We're trying to track him down."

Kate glanced between them. "So you guys are, what? The FBI's monster division?"

Dean shook his head. "Nah, not Feds. Unless we're asking questions. We're hunters. Anything supernatural that's killing people, we gank it."

"Mostly ghosts," added Sam. He dug through his bag and pulled out a folder, and from it a photo. "Kate, have you seen this guy around?"

"This is him?" she asked, taking it. "The roo– rugaru?"

Sam nodded.

"Huh. He looks normal."

"So do you," said Dean. Kate flinched and shrank a little.

"Yeah, well..." She dropped her gaze to the picture, probably to hide from them, but then she squinted. "Does he like... smell, really bad?"

The boys exchanged a look. "Not to humans," said Dean. "Did you smell something weird lately?"

She nodded. "Like a lot of old, dried-up blood – like a lot – but I couldn't see anything. Just a guy, you know? Couldn't see his face either, but I'm pretty sure he was staying in a room in my hostel, maybe a few doors down from me? It's pretty rank."

"Is he still there?" asked Sam. Kate shrugged.

"I don't know, maybe. He could've been visiting someone. But you know, even if he isn't there... I think I could track him."

 

A few hours later, Kate's nose had led them to a warehouse where the rugaru was snacking on a guard. They'd caught him, burned him, and trekked back outside to find her waiting anxiously by the Impala.

"Gotta say, I'm impressed," Dean told her, dropping his bottle of accelerant into the trunk. "That guard's heart was right there in front of you and you didn't go for it."

Kate shrugged, small and pale with her arms wrapped around her. "I could see his face. His eyes were open. It's like he was looking at me."

"Keep looking in their eyes, Kate," said Sam, suddenly very solemn. "Don't ever forget they're more than what's in them."

"I don't think I can."

He smiled at her. "Good." He hesitated. "You should know, we cloned your GPS tracker..."

"And we'll be keeping an eye on it," said Dean.

Kate looked relieved. "If you guys ever had to come after me, I'd deserve it. I'd want you to kill me."

Sam suddenly looked a bit sick, almost haunted, and Dean, who knew why, clapped his shoulder and put on an over-cheery smile. "Great. I say we had back to town and get ourselves some grub. You can have shotgun, Wolfette. You earned it."

Sam shook off his melancholy enough to sigh. "Dean, it's late, can't we–?"

"No drive-thru."