Things go better the second time Sam and Dean meet with Ainsley.
Beacon Hills Bowling Alley
September 27, 2015
Beer and snacks, delicious greasy food, and balls everywhere! Big, heavy balls. Balls you could do someone serious injury with. That's Dean Winchester's kind of place. Bowling, on the whole, is a kind of game he enjoys more than he gets the chance to play: it's always in a place with his dietary needs met, from alcohol to grease, it involves carefully-controlled knocking things down that doesn't really hurt anybody, and sometimes you can win money. What's not to like?
Plus there's pool tables in most bowling alleys. That helps too. Though tonight's meeting isn't for hustling, it's to make amends and have a little fun. After the other night and talking (though this time, uniquely, not while sitting on the Impala), the two Winchesters have decided to meet with Ainsley at the bowling alley and take a load off, for once.
Sam Winchester is passing on the greasy burgers tonight, though he's on his second beer, which he's slowly nursing at the bar, while eyeing the pool tables. "There's something about this town," he mutters softly. "I can't put my finger on it, but something isn't right about it."
"It's called being a supernaturally active hellhole," Ainsley bluntly states when she approaches the two Winchesters. She takes a seat nearby, the diminutive woman with the athletic figure giving Sam a very prolonged suspicious stare. She doesn't greet them, she doesn't say a whole lot after that initial comment... she just sort of... scowls at him.
"Ainsley! Hey!" Dean gets to his feet. It's amusing, because he's wearing bowling shoes and everything. He pours up a frosty glass of beer and motions to the pizza that he has readied for her. "Thanks for coming. Look, uh, mea culpa, I didn't let Sam know everything I should, and he just got up from a two-month-long nap recently, so I thought I'd bring him back to say his thing. He's actually kinda cute when he wants to be." Dean reaches down and smacks one of his brother's shoulders.
Sam Winchester casts a baleful glance at Dean, but it's a brief one. When he turns to Ainsley, his expression is far more neutral, if a bit guarded. "I want to apologize for the way I reacted when we met," he says, sounding genuinely sincere. "I was surprised, and I acted very badly. I think if you got to know me, you'd realize that's not me at all. So I apologize, and if you're still willing to share what you have, I'm ready to listen with an open mind."
Ainsley looks at Sam with that maintained scowl, and even crosses her arms. Just when the awkward silence would get slightly too long, she leans toward Sam and tells him with an unconvincingly calm tone, "I will not hesitate to break bones if you pull a gun on me again without good reason." She is obviously not in the greatest of moods today. But it soon softens, "I understand why you reacted like that." She puffs a sigh and tries to fix her hair, though it's a little unruly even when she's braided it back like usual. "So... Ask questions, and I'll answer as best as I can."
She gives Dean a glance, and her eyes go down to the pizza as if she hadn't even realized it was there until that moment. Despite this, she hungrily chows down, though she seems to ignore the beer after a moment of consideration of the glass. She didn't threaten to break Dean's bones, so he's probably better off right now than Sam.
Dean pats Sam on the back and then reaches up to ruffle his hair, because it's an affectionate gesture that he knows will fluster Sam. Like all of his affectionate gestures that he likes to do, since Sam has shaggy hair and Dean has his "sleep on it and forget it forever" cut. "I wanted him to do one of those cute internet videos. Like with the kitties? But anyway, one thing led to another and we didn't get a chance."
Sam Winchester ducks his head a bit at the hair-ruffling, then tries to cover his embarrassment by taking John's journal from inside his jacket. "Okay, so," he says, opening the notebook on the bar top and flipping through the pages. "You mentioned a witch. A witch powerful enough to make an entire town vanish? What can you tell us about it?"
"Right. A witch. Probably a really old Gallic one," Ainsley explains to Sam, her voice mellowed out, "Don't know a name, but it's one that's survived a very long time. We might not know they're coming until the witch is right on the doorstep, though." She shrugs at Sam, frowning lightly. Then she shoves more pizza in her mouth, and enjoys the taste of grease and cheese, washed down with cold beer. Something cathartic about such a simple pleasure. "The only clue I have is a werewolf named Cyril that says his pack got destroyed and his town vanished. He says the magic made him..." She wobbles her hand, "Not exist? Made his identity and history disappear from the world, but he's still around, so it's obviously not a full vanishing trick. I'm not sure how to check his story..."
Dean takes a big mouthful just when he'd really like to say something, which kind of figures. He gives Sam a significant sort of look, somewhat reduced in potency by the fact that his mouth is stuffed squirrel-ful as usual and he's chewing to get it down. He doesn't want to rush it though, because pizza! And this is a special kind of heavenly pizza. Everything's just right. It's just enough of a greasy pleasure.
"Why don't we start with the name of the town that vanished?" Sam says, taking out a pen and turning to a blank page. "Cyril's last name would help as well. We can check a few databases, see what we come up with, though if the witch made his records vanish, I'm not sure we'll come up with anything. Still, that alone is a lead. The names of the rest of his...Did you say 'pack'? That's actually rather unusual. Unlike true wolves, most werewolves are relatively solitary." He pauses, looking up from the journal. "At least, the ones we've encountered have been." Glancing at Dean, the takes a quick swig of beer, then turns his attention back to Ainsley.
Ainsley quirks a brow at Sam's mention of solitary werewolves. "Cyril Gagnon. That's..." She spells it out, despite butchering the French pronunciation when she said it. "He can't remember the name of the town, no one can. He just remembers there was one. As far as I can tell, all the maps that show where the town would've been terminate into blank wilderness in those areas. Featureless. There's several roads leading into that spot, though. Town was removed, but the infrastructure around it wasn't."
"The kind of wolf you just described sounds... unhealthy," she tells him, "Not even human beings do well with solitude."
Dean nods and finally manages to chew and swallow his hefty bite of pizza. "Yeah!" He answers. "Anyway, I think we're surely gonna find something. I mean, this day and age, no man's an island and no town exists that doesn't have visitors. Things get...drawn out, like..." He turns to Sam, frowning a little bit as he gestures illustratively, trying to coax the word that he can't think of out of the book-learned college boy with far broader vocabulary. It's "diaspora", which he probably heard on TV. "Di...diaperos?"
Sam Winchester scribbles more notes in the journal, then turns a cocked eyebrow toward Dean. "Diaspora? Like the theory of what happened at Roanoke colony?" He glances around quickly, then lowers his voice further still. "You think this could be related to the Croatoan mystery? The Lost Colony?" He lifts his chin toward Ainsley again. "Do you have a map showing where the town should be? We should check out the area, look for any clues."
"Dia..." Ainsley is about to correct Dean, but Sam's much louder when he pipes in, and she actually smiles when he seems to be in a very smart and active state of mind. It's refreshing, compared to her first impression. "Here..." She unzips the fanny pack, pulling it around her waist so she can pull out a folded, printed map. She sets it down in front of Sam. "It'll be easy to spot where it looks weird." She looks between Sam and Dean, and Sam's words make her point out, "The Lost Colony's got nothing to do with the French."
"Right! That." Dean nods, then pauses. Okay, he didn't really intend to imply it to that level, but he'll take it. He's seen TV shows about that too, plus there's writing in the journal about it. He knows, at least, about the theories, and that's the important part. "Well uh, actually there's some theories..." He starts, but then goes quiet, clearing his throat and shaking his head. "We'll just...we can just run up there, look around..."
Sam Winchester pulls the map closer, leaning over to look it over. "Here," he says, leaning back and pointing to an area where a few roads seem to just end. He nods to Dean then, frowning. "We should definitely check it out. Maybe see if there's any local lore surrounding this area." He turns to one side, pulling his laptop from the bag he left on the stool beside himself, and once the computer is fired up, he searches various online maps, frowning to find the same results. "There's definitely something going on there." He grabs his pen again, looking at Ainsley. "Can you tell us anything else about this witch? She may not be French herself. If she's as old as you say, she could have been responsible for the Lost Colony in the Sixteenth century, then migrated up to Quebec. Or it could just be a similar sort of spell known to two such powerful witches."
Ainsley chews on her pizza while she mulls on any other important information. "She has a grudge against werewolves," she tells Sam, her voice still hushed so that people don't overhear the insane subject, "Something Cyril's ancestors did pissed her off, and she's been on the war path ever since. Revenge. Maybe Roanoke had werewolves in it?" An emphatic shrug at that. She anxiously stuffs more pizza in her maw, because talking about this is stressing her out. She can eat pizza at an alarming rate, what with having jaws that could do serious damage even without wolfy teeth.
Dean's kind of the same way. It's a really good thing that he doesn't have wolf teeth either. Between Ainsley and Dean, they could probably polish off a pizzeria between them, in short order. "See what I mean?" And of course, he's speaking with his mouth full. Not hamster-full, but full enough while he's chewing. "Sammy's all Mr. Brains when he ain't crazy town."
Sam Winchester gives Dean one of Those Frowns, then with a quick shake of his head, he turns back to his notes. "All right, we'll check out the town. Or rather, the site where the town should be. We might need to talk to this Cyril...." He checks notes, nodding. "Cyril Gagnon. If he's part of the pack this witch has a vendetta against, he may know something he hasn't told you yet. He may not even know that he knows." He frowns suddenly, brows drawing together when he realizes how that sounds. "You know what I mean."
Ainsley's in the middle of finishing off some scraps of crust as Sam explains that he needs to talk to Cyril. When he recovers from the awkward wording, she replies, "Finding evidence in the gaps of what he knows," and then nods in clear understanding of what Sam said. "His pack is dead. She didn't make them disappear, she just killed them," she points out, "And he's recovering from a curse right now. 'Twitchy' would be putting it lightly, so I don't know how he'd feel about talking to a couple of strange hunters after everything he's been through. But... I can probably keep him reined in, if things start looking like they'll get violent."
Dean gives a thumbs up, then starts in on his next slice of pizza. He picks up the pitcher of beer and refills his glass, but he doesn't get entirely to the top. "Aw man." Standing with the empty pitcher, he holds it aloft. "And I go forth -- into the wild crazy bowling alley -- to grab more water of life!" He trots off towards the snack bar, with that.