AN: It's so much fun to write the little interludes in between everything! That's why I can't just start a story...I have to lead into it with a cute little broment or two. It's an addiction.

This is set in season 13, some time between Breakdown and Bring 'Em Back Alive. I gotta be honest – I don't intend to deal with everything that is happening around the boys at this time period. It's pretty much a monster-of-the-week interlude.

As is often the case, the story is only seeing the light of day due to the encouragement and brain-storming of super beta Janice.

I own nothing of Supernatural, sadly. I am not paid for writing about its characters.

Also, I cannot respond to comments via email or receive PM's through Fanfiction, but I do respond to all comments at the end of the next chapter.

A quick note - this may not be updated as quickly as my stories usually are, though I will do my best.

"Christo!"

Sam sighed and barely refrained from rolling his eyes. "I'm not possessed, Dean."

Dean didn't look convinced. He stood as far away as he could possibly go without leaving the map room. "Then what would possess you to eat that?"

Unimpressed by the look of horror on Dean's face, Sam spread more of the soft, pungent white cheese onto a thick pita chip. "It's called Camembert, Dean, and it tastes good."

Dean watched Sam take a bite with a kind of horrified fascination. Sam made sure to change his expression to show how much he enjoyed it. (The cheese was good; Dean's reaction was better.) "Dean, you've eaten gas station hot dogs, pork barbecue from a place with a dirt floor, and kung pao chicken so old it fought back." Sam didn't mention that they'd also both learned to take damaged cans and boxes of food out of grocery store dumpsters. Some memories were best left in the past.

Dean shrugged. All of that was true. "Yeah, but none of them smelled like that. Like a moldy mushroom had a baby with ten-day-old sauerkraut."

"Honestly, it tastes amazing. You should try it," Sam cajoled. He knew that Dean enjoyed the fact that they now ate high quality (and often home-cooked) food even more than he did. "Remember hummus?" It had taken Dean over a year of watching Sam eat the stuff before he'd even try it. Now they bought it practically every week because Dean loved it. (And because he'd actually eat carrots and celery sticks if he had hummus to dip them in.)

"That's because I got it mixed up with haggis. You know that's made out of sheep balls, right?"

"That's not...okay." Sam let that drop, not wanting to get into a discussion about the real meaning of offal. "How about those dolmades? You said they looked like toads, remember? And then when that old lady convinced you to try one, you ate, like, fourteen of them."

"Oh, those were awesome." Dean looked upward in remembered rapture. "Mrs. P taught me how to make them, too. We should get the ingredients next time we're in Lincoln." The grocery store and Walmart in Lebanon were perfectly adequate but lacking in some of the items that the locals would consider a bit exotic.

Sam started ticking things off on his fingers. "Boudin. Pasties. Oysters. Caleb's hashbrown and mayo sandwiches." He paused. The last was absolutely disgusting to him, but Caleb, Dad, and Dean all had loved them.

"Bolgogi," Dean added, actually licking his lips. A beautiful deli owner in Sioux Falls by the name of Nari had added a number Korean dishes to Dean's palate years ago. He frowned again as Sam ate another cracker. "None of those smell like that."

Sam swallowed his last bite. "Your loss. You want to try some, do it now, because I'm about to put it away." He knew Dean had been fussing in the kitchen, which meant that he was making something for supper, and Sam didn't want to ruin his appetite when Dean was cooking.

Dean walked forward warily, as if approaching a wild animal and Sam knew he had him. He wasn't sure that Dean would like the Camembert – he'd really bought it primarily for himself – but at least the big chicken would try it. It was amusing sometimes, that Dean could face monsters and ghosts and life-threatening situations without hesitation, but would get worked up at the smallest things. Trying new food, having blood drawn, and centipedes were on the list of things that skeeved Dean out for no apparent reason. (The blood thing was particularly strange considering how often they sliced open their own arms and hands with whatever knife or piece of broken glass was handy for spells or sigils.)

Keeping his amusement off his face, Sam held out a cracker he'd covered liberally in cheese. Dean hesitated, eyes narrowed, then snatched it like he was afraid Sam was about to retract the offer. Dean dramatically sniffed the morsel and scrunched up his nose. Sam had to bite his lip hard to keep an amused smile off his face. Dean touched the corner of the cracker with his tongue like a little kid trying to taste something without actually...tasting it. Sam couldn't hold back a snicker, which he poorly disguised with a cough.

Dean glared at Sam, then defiantly popped the entire thing into his mouth. Sam watched his brother's expression closely and caught the slight widening of his eyes that betrayed him. "You like it," he announced, a tad smugly.

For a second, it seemed like Dean would argue. Then, with a shrug, he leaned forward and got another cracker and dragged it through the cheese without bothering with the knife. "Yeah, fine. I like your stinky feet cheese. But if you keep getting it, we'll have to buy stock in mouthwash."

Sam pushed the rest of the food over in front of Dean when the latter sat down at the table. "So...when I was in town, your admirer, Marta, was gossiping with Edna at the coffee shop. It seems that there's a mysterious package at the post office that can't be delivered. And she's only telling people about it because it's her bound duty to make every reasonable attempt to discover to whom it belongs." Sam said the last sentence it a credible imitation of the older woman in question.

"So?" asked Dean, his mouth full of cheese and crackers.

"So, the package was only addressed to Albert Magnus, Lebanon, Kansas. You know, the Men of Letters' favorite alias?"

Dean scowled. "Or meaning the not-so-dearly-departed Cuthbert."

Sam subtly moved his chair back a little. Dean was right about one thing. His breath was truly rank. "Guess we have to break into the post office and get it before she sends it back as undeliverable," he said. "See what there is to see."

"Could be anything," Dean agreed. "Let's do this in a way that nobody even knows anything is missing."

Sam nodded. It made sense. The best way to get away with any crime is to hide the fact that a crime even took place. But that didn't mean he couldn't rib his brother a little. "Sure. I mean, we don't want your girlfriend to suffer from any stress," he said solemnly. "She takes her oath as postmaster very seriously."

"You're just jealous," Dean answered, unperturbed. "All the hot chicks go for me."

Breaking into the Lebanon post office was embarrassingly simple. They didn't like to do anything even slightly outside the lines in the town because people actually knew them there, but there wasn't a soul around. The lock yielded without trouble and there were no alarms of any kind. They wore dark clothes and even gloves to make sure they wouldn't leave fingerprints, but they probably didn't need even those precautions.

The package turned out to be a box smaller than a shoe box, addressed as advertised. Sam picked it up and was surprised that it was so light it felt empty. He turned it over and slit the tape across the bottom, where someone was less likely to notice. Inside was only an envelope that said MOL and had an aquarian star on it – the symbol of the Men of Letters. Sam raised an eyebrow at Dean. This was definitely something they should look at.

They were far too experienced to linger at a crime scene, however. They quickly taped over the seam on the bottom of the box and returned it to its place so Marta would be none the wiser and left, confident that they'd left no trace of their incursion.

As curious as they were, they didn't open the envelope until they were back at the bunker and standing in the dungeon. They'd learned early and painfully in their explorations of their home that even opening a sheet of paper could have major consequences. (In Sam's defense, the scroll was very cool, and there was no outward sign that opening it would release a glaistig. Luckily, the bruises were all pretty minor and healed fairly quickly, and Dean eventually forgave him.)

That's probably why it didn't feel the slightest bit like overkill when Sam slit the envelope with an iron knife, standing inside the devil's trap with circles of holy water and sage around him, incense burning nearby, and Dean at the ready with at least half a dozen weapons.

Of course, it turned out to be nothing but a letter. When they were confident that nothing would happen, Dean stood next to Sam and they both read the mysterious missive silently. It read:

Dear sirs and or madams,

With apologies for the unusual method by which I am contacting you, I must request your assistance. I had no other information about how to get a message to you, so I can only hope this reaches you.

I am the granddaughter of one Mr. Beaumont Marberry, whose varied library was occasionally utilized by members of your organization in their efforts of study and pest control. Unfortunately, he took details about names and contact information with him to the grave some years ago. He did, however, tell me of the organization and its mission.

Sadly, I find myself facing the very sort of pests that you specialize in. The situation has become untenable, and I did not know where else to turn for assistance. I don't have any real resources for this particular conundrum.

If you are willing and able to help, please contact me through one of the means listed below. I am grateful for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Dorothea Marberry

There was a phone number and a Washington state address.

Sam and Dean exchanged a curious look when they'd finished reading. But as intriguing as the letter was, there was nothing to indicate that they couldn't get a little sleep before looking into it. (It was hardly the strangest thing that had happened to them, after all.) They cleaned up and headed to bed.

In the morning, after a few cups of coffee and scrambled eggs with either onions and cheese (Dean) or green pepper (Sam), the Winchesters picked up the mystery of Dorothea's letter. Sam began to search the archives for mention of a Marberry, and Dean began to look for whatever the internet had to say about Dorothea herself. It wasn't long before they came together to relate what they'd found.

"Looks like Beaumont Marberry is real and was considered a friend to the Men of Letters because of his willingness to share his library of arcania. He sold some books to them, even, but held onto most of them himself, though that didn't stop them from asking at least three times to buy more," Sam reported. "It even says they would have considered him worthy to join the order if he hadn't been 'crippled.'" He allowed his annoyance at the short-sightedness of such prejudice color his tone. "Apparently, he was in a wheelchair."

Dean nodded in acknowledgment. "Dorothea Callista Marberry, age 32, is a professional rich person," he said. "She's pretty quiet, but shows up sometimes at some black tie charity event or something. Never married, used to be big in the club scene, showing up with a different boy toy every night. Check her out." He turned the laptop so Sam could see a newspaper picture dated a year earlier. The woman in the center was dressed in an understated way that managed to scream wealth without being gaudy. She was attractive and svelte and was one of those women who would still be pretty at sixty and seventy. Dean waggled his eyebrows. "She's also one of the richest people in the northwest U. S., the last living family member and sole heir to the Marberry fortune. You know, I could handle being a trophy husband. It could be my retirement plan."

Sam couldn't help but smile. It still warmed his heart to hear Dean talk about retiring someday, even jokingly. "I didn't know you were in the market for a sugar mama. You don't think you'd get bored if you couldn't shoot something once in a while?"

"Hey, rich people have hunts, don't they?" Dean scoffed. "If you play your cards right, I'll invite you for a quail hunt or something once in a while. Or if not quail, maybe grouse. What is a grouse anyway? And is it grouse and grouses? Grouse and greese? Grice? Screw it – I'll hunt pheasants." He put on a snooty tone imitating the rich socialite nephew of Bunny LaCroix whom they had encountered years earlier on a shapeshifter case.

Sam was laughing by the time Dean finished, which was probably the point. "It's just another game bird. And I'm pretty sure the singular and plural are both grouse. But aren't you, uh, counting your grouse before they hatch? Maybe Dorothea won't be interested. Maybe she won't even want to meet us even if we agree to take the case."

Dean tossed his head theatrically, really playing up every reaction. It struck Sam, not for the first time, that Dean was being especially entertaining since Sam had spilled the beans about the fatalism that had taken root inside him. "How could she resist all this, really?" Dean demanded, cocking one hip in a credible imitation of Carson Cressley. He looked very proud of himself when Sam rolled his eyes, fighting another smile.

"Let's call her," Dean continued, tossing his phone onto the table in front of Sam. "You talk, but no horning in on my action."

Sam didn't even dignify that with a response, dialing the number from the letter and setting the phone back on the table on speaker. The cultured, distant voice that answered and requested that they leave a message for Ms. Marberry changed its tune quickly when Sam stated they were calling on behalf of the Men of Letters.

Dorothea "but for the love of God, please don't call me that; Cal for my middle name is fine" sounded cultured, too, but younger than 32 and considerably less formal than her letter. She admitted that she'd copied the style of her grandfather's correspondence, not knowing how formal the organization was. She was at the end of her rope, she said, as a nasty poltergeist had apparently taken up residence in the kitchen of her home. Several of her employees had been frightened, then one was badly injured by flying crockery. Dorothea – er, Cal – herself had nearly been struck by several items that flew through the air with no visible source. Fleeing the room, she'd noticed that it was so cold that she could see her breath.

"I can't have the people who work for me in danger," she concluded, winning brownie points in Sam's mind for thinking about others first. "And, dammit, the house might be a big, ugly monstrosity, but it's my home. Since the ghostbusters aren't exactly in the phone book, I couldn't think of anybody I could ask for help. But when I was a child, I used to lie on the register vent and listen to whatever was happening in my grandfather's study when I couldn't sleep. I heard him talk about the Men of Letters and Albert Magnus a few times. When I got older, I asked him about them, but all he would tell me was that they protected the world from the things ordinary people don't believe exist.

"After Grandpa passed away, I read through all of his papers, but I only found one thing that even remotely referred to the Men. There was a letter from a priest – Father Maximilian Thompson. He asked for use of a book, only referred to as 'the tome I used once before' and said to send it to 'the gentlemen in Lebanon' if he was willing to lend it. It was all obviously in code. I admit, mailing a letter was a wing and a prayer, but it was the only thing I could think of." Cal sighed. "I am so relieved it worked! Please tell me you're willing to send someone!"

Sam wasn't sure if Dean would recognize the priest's name, but he certainly did. He had been taking notes (a habit he'd never kicked) and jotted down Thompson = demon cure guy. Dean nodded. He also glanced at Sam and communicated nonverbally that he thought they should go check it out, so Sam nodded back.

"Sweetheart, we'll do you one better," Dean said, speaking for the first time. "We'll come ourselves. Because we're more than just Men of Letters. We're Hunters. We eat poltergeists for breakfast."

Cal laughed and Sam face-palmed. "Can you keep everyone out of the house for a few days while we travel?" he asked practically.

"Not a problem." Cal sounded very relieved at their agreement. "I have everyone who works in the house on paid leave or working from a different location, and I'm staying in the first guest house. When do you think you'll arrive? Will you wish to stay on-site? The second guest house is quite comfortable. And what should we do to get ready for your arrival?"

Dean held up three fingers, which Sam read as meaning it would take them three days to get there. "We'll arrive some time on Friday morning," Sam said, since it was Tuesday. "You don't have to do anything except keep people out of the danger zone. We don't need a place to stay, thanks." He ignored Dean's frantic waving at that. He could just imagine Dean saying free, Sam. And you just know it will have comfy beds and smell good, too. Sam was more worried about something that had pinged his paranoia radar. "By the way, how did you know which Lebanon to send the letter to? There have to be a bunch of them around the country."

"There are 47," Cal said. "And I didn't know which one, so I had my secretary send an identical letter to each and every one. I thought she just might quit over that, but she didn't leave after a ghost threw a toaster oven at her head, so I guess this was acceptable too."

That quelled the last worry Sam had. Not only did getting out of the bunker sound like a good thing, it would be nice to help the granddaughter of someone who'd helped out the Men of Letters. He idly wondered if Beaumont ever knew what had happened to Thompson and the rest. "One more question," Sam said. "Do you still have the books that your grandpa used to lend out?"

"Sadly, no. There's a hidden room off his study – how cliché is that? – where he kept everything like that. But when he was gone and I searched it, it was completely empty."

The thought made Sam uneasy. Cal hadn't been born when Abaddon had slaughtered the Men of Letters, so Beaumont had outlived them, and the organization hadn't been the ones to take the books. If Beaumont hadn't gotten rid of his collection, what had happened to the potentially dangerous treasury? Could it have been siezed by the British Men of Letters? Oddly, that was one of the more comforting options he considered. He was mostly quiet, thinking about what they'd learned while Dean and Cal discussed specifics and exchanged numbers, Cal giving them her personal cell phone so they wouldn't have to talk to her secretary again. (Dean smirked triumphantly as if he and Cal were already dating or something, but Sam simply ignored him.) Sam was a little impressed when Dean convinced Cal to send them a private history of the estate compiled by several generations of Marberrys, including Beaumont. Searching that should be a good way to find out about any strange deaths. It would also be a good way to pass the time on a three-day drive.

Dean looked at Sam for a moment after hanging up as if gauging his mood but didn't say anything about Sam going quiet at the end of the call. He could probably tell that Sam was thinking about the case instead of 'getting all broody,' as he sometimes put it.

"Ready for a road trip to rescue a beautiful and lonely heiress from a mean old ghostie?" he asked, rubbing his hands together. "I bet she'll be really grateful. Can you be ready in 20?"

"Yeah, sure. Let's stop at Lolita's Tacos on our way out of town. It's my turn to pick, remember?" Sam had to bite down on his tongue hard to keep from grinning in response to the look of dismay on Dean's face.

"You know I love that place, but are you really going to eat tacos at the beginning of a 20-plus hour road trip?" Dean asked, perilously close to whining. He didn't bother to argue against it being Sam's turn to pick because he'd had at least four in a row himself. "Do you have to ruin everything?"

"Yeah, I do." Sam's jaw ached from fighting back a smile. "As you like to remind me, I'm still the little brother. Ruining stuff is kind of my job."

Dean gave him a glare that would have scared off a Rottweiler, but Sam was unfazed. (He might even have been really freaking amused.) When it did nothing, he stomped off toward his room. Over his shoulder, he tossed, "I hate you."

Sam snickered.

AN: Do I need to tell you what all those foods are? No? Good!