Spoilers: Season 2
Characters/Pairing(s): Sam, Dean
Warning: mild language, some blood and wounds
Word Count: 2,492
Notes: This was written for sheryden for vacationthon.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural
Author’s Notes: Thanks to ozmissage for betaing! This takes place in Season 2.
Summary: Sam and Dean go on a cruise. It didn’t start out as a working vacation, honest!
“What’s not to like about this?” Dean asked, spreading his arms to encompass the entire ship, grinning like a madman. “Sun, sangria, senoritas…”
“Tiny cabins,” Sam muttered, as he edged his way into their cabin. He wondered how he was supposed to fit his body into the miniscule bunk.
“Hey, I don’t plan on spending much time in here. Come on, there’s a buffet going on in the dining room!” Dean threw his bag on the upper bunk and extracted his vacation clothes. Sam rolled his eyes; Dean was bound and determined to make the most of their windfall. One lucky lottery ticket had netted them two spots on a cruise ship, along with a small shopping spree at a store they usually wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.
Dean pulled on his shorts and a loud tropical shirt, and looked pointedly at Sam’s bags. Sam knew that look. He was either going to have to play along, or Dean would pull him kicking and screaming onto the deck. And unlike normal, Sam couldn’t go lose himself in some little Podunk town until he felt ready to deal with Dean’s denial.
So he gritted his teeth, pulled on a Hawaiian shirt, and joined in the adventure.
“Come on, Sammy. This is awesome,” Dean said as they emerged into the Caribbean sunshine, the salt air cooling them. His smile was determinedly plastered to his face.
“Ok, that sounded a little desperate, even for you,” Sam said. He’d gone along with this for Dean’s sake, but he wasn’t going to fake being a happy tourist even for his brother.
“Dude, there has been entirely too much shit going on, and we damn well deserve a break.”
“This is because of the thing, isn’t it,” Sam asked softly, gesturing vaguely at his head.
“Damn straight it is,” Dean said, smile dropping for a second.
“Dean I can’t just ignore-.” Sam cut himself off as someone shoved past him. Then past Dean. Then a half-dozen more people shoved past. Then they finally heard the screaming. Both of them outdistanced the other vacationers in nothing flat, seeking the source with unerring accuracy.
The swimming pool on the upper deck was tinged red with blood, and a college-aged guy sat on the ground, sopping wet and dressed in swim trunks, holding a bleeding wound on his arm. An anxious crewmember tried to tend to him over his shouts.
“It was a shark!” The guy’s volume was rising with every word. “Right there, in the deep end!” A few members of the crowd stifled chuckles, and the hapless crewmember looked down, probably trying to hide a smirk.
“Sir, there are no sharks aboard this ship,” he said, his voice professionally even and calm.
Sam looked over the reddish water; it was still clear enough to see all the way to the bottom. And there was no shark. Not even a little shark. He flicked his gaze back to the exposed wound on the guy’s elbow. There had been long weeks in his childhood where the Discovery Channel had been his only teacher, and that had given him knowledge of a few random things. Animal bites were one of them. And if the half-circle of puncture wounds hadn’t come from a shark, Sam wasn’t sure where they had come from. It wasn’t an abrasion from the guy knocking his arm against the pool, or even a bite from another passenger (not a human one, at any rate). So what exactly was going on?
More crewmembers began to arrive to scatter the guests, and Sam had to move back, almost bumping into Dean. A quick look at him, and Sam knew something was up.
“Just got the chills,” Dean said quietly.
“Could be.” Dean suddenly grinned. “We got a pool shark.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “I’ll go get the EMF.”
“You brought that on vacation?”
Sam gave him a look that clearly said, Well… yeah.
“Nerd. Ok, you cover the pool, I’ll see if I can get to shark-bite boy.”
“I didn’t bring the IDs,” Sam said.
“Hey, I got this,” Dean said, a cocky expression on his face that made Sam sigh. “Meet back in an hour!”
“Well, the pool is crawling with EMF,” Sam reported, contorting himself to sit on his bunk. “A few of the people who were around there when the attack happened were freaking out a little because they thought they actually saw something in the water before that guy was bitten. You?”
“Nothing much,” Dean said. But it was that tone of voice that meant, I’m so awesome and I’m about to dazzle you. “That guy, Brad, who by the way is a total douche, said he really did see a shark in the pool. Identified it by type and everything. Said it was a great white. Seems some of the guys around here are sports fishermen, and not always of the legal variety.”
“Who were you passing yourself off as? Undercover FBI? And he talked about that to you?”
“Nope. I passed myself off as one of Brad’s Kappa Sigma bros.” Sam snorted, while Dean just looked pained. “Yeah, not doing that again. Ok, so illegal catches, douchebags, and ghost sharks. Where does that put us?”
“I have no idea,” Sam muttered, thinking furiously. He didn’t even have his laptop to consult, and his fingers were itching for the internet.
“Is this a disgruntled shark spirit?”
“There has been some lore of pets returning after death, but I’ve never heard of wild animals doing the same,” Sam said.
“Well, maybe someone around here has a thing for sharks? Or a grudge against the douche?”
“Ok, let’s start asking around.”
“Hell of a vacation, Sammy,” Dean said with resignation.
“Don’t even joke about that.”
Three hours later, footsore and really no closer to figuring out what the hell had happened, Sam and Dean finally retreated to the dining room.
“What the hell, assigned tables?” Dean groused, after the waiter had shown them to a numbered table for four. “We’re not in fricking elementary school.”
“Come on, we can make nice with our seatmates for an hour,” Sam hissed.
The “seatmates” turned out to be a couple of fit, tanned, retired sixty-somethings, both of them in flowered print so bright it hurt the eyes.
“So good to see some new faces around here! I’m Don, and this my wife Beth,” the man said, shaking hands with a surprisingly strong grip, his wife following in a cloud of tropical perfume.
“Sam, and this is my brother Dean.” Dean barely looked up from his plate, having already raided the breadbasket out of sheer desperation for food. Sam knew he was going to get an earful about how they’d gotten stuck with white-haired snowbirds instead of some of the co-eds at other tables.
“Amazing place, the Bahamas. Beth and I have been going on this cruise for years. What about you two?”
“It’s, um, a working vacation,” Sam temporized.
“Oh? What do you do?” Beth asked, fluttering her eyelashes across the table. That seemed to snap Dean out of his funk, partially because he sensed an information source, and partially out of a sense of self-preservation.
“Review vacation hotspots,” Dean said instantly. “Give people the real inside view on activities, staff… safety. Hey, did you hear about that thing with the pool this morning?”
Don laughed. “Must be that kid’s first time at sea. Or he just saw Jaws one too many times.”
“Yeah, probably,” Sam said, and resigned himself to an evening of cheerful conversation.
“Dean, wake up!”
Dean sat up and cracked his head on the ceiling above his bed. Maybe taking the top bunk hadn’t been such a great idea. He rubbed his head while he listened to what Sam must have been yelling about. Someone was running outside in the corridor. And there was screaming. Both he and Sam were out the door in seconds, not even bothering with shirts. A man in the white uniform of the medical staff was already tending to a co-ed with a nasty bite on her arm.
“It was in the sink!” she shrieked. “There was a shark in my sink!”
Dean stifled a laugh (yeah, ok, a girl was hurt, but still, shark in the sink) and jerked his head at Sam. Sam went back to their room for the EMF and Dean ran interference when he came back, keeping his body between the co-ed and her cabin. Sam swept it quickly, and Dean heard a muffled electronic whine behind him. Paydirt.
“It took my shark-tooth bracelet!” she sobbed. “I just bought it yesterday!” The medic was wrapping her arm and trying to get her to walk with him as Sam and Dean slipped away.
“You heard?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, more ghosts.”
“Or the same one,” Sam said.
Dean raised an eyebrow.
“Dean, there isn’t any shark-tooth jewelry in the gift shop on board.”
“What were you shopping for?”
“Sunblock. Anyway, where did she buy it from?”
“And was Brad the douche wearing one too?” Dean asked, following right along with Sam’s logic.
“Go talk to your frat bro, I’ll see if I can talk to the girl,” Sam said, and went to find a shirt. He paused for a second, thought better of it, and just switched to swim trunks.
“Ok,” Sam said quietly, slipping into his seat at dinner. “Carmen brought a bracelet with a shark tooth on it from the first mate.”
“So did douche-bro Brad,” Dean reported. “Got it for a souvenir and he was wearing it in the pool. So, we’re looking for a shark that wants his teeth back?”
“You have a better idea?” Sam asked.
“So how do we gank it? Grab the rest of the teeth before the first mate sells them all?”
Don and Beth walked up to take their seats, and Dean quickly shut up. But not before they caught the tail end of his question.
“You heard about the teeth?” Don asked.
“Uh, kinda not really,” Sam said.
“Oh, it’s a bit of a scandal,” Beth said, sounding delighted she’d found someone who hadn’t heard the gossip. “Terrible thing, really, the old captain of this ship lost his brother to a shark attack when they were kids. The captain tried to save him, but all he could do was scar the shark. And for years that great white was the captain’s white whale. Eventually he tracked him down and killed the shark that had eaten his brother. He kept the jaws and teeth on the bridge for years!”
“And that’s… scandalous?” Sam asked uncertainly.
“Oh no, what happened was the captain died, and the first mate, his son Rob… Well, they never really had a good relationship. His father was always off hunting that monster and was never really home, so after he died earlier this year, Rob inherited everything, and he just started selling the teeth. You know, to stick it to his father. Scandal, really.”
“Wow, that’s really interesting, will you excuse us?” Dean said, all but dragging Sam out of his seat. He barely waited until they were out of earshot to begin talking. “So Junior is selling his dead uncle’s remains?”
“If the uncle was eaten by a shark, the teeth might be all that’s left of him. And his spirit is all mixed up with the shark now.”
“So he’s reclaiming what’s rightfully his, even if he has to bite it off someone?”
“Looks that way,” Sam said.
“And he needs water to do it. So, swimming pool, sink…”
“Punch bowl,” Sam said suddenly, stiffening.
“Dean, the first mate’s over there.” Sam pointed over to the buffet.
“Crap, he’s holding the rest of the teeth!”
The buffet table was lavish, and the punch bowl was enormous. So was the half-unseen fin circling inside it as the first mate, shark-tooth bracelets in hand, drifted closer to it.
“Rob!” Sam called, getting the first mate to look his way. Just then the shark struck, lunging from the punch, frightening even with its pink color. Dean vaulted a table, scattering the diners, and dragged Rob down, even as the shark clamped onto his wrist. Screaming, Rob was ripped free, his arm bleeding freely, and the bracelets dropped from his hand.
“We have to burn these, now!” Dean said, snatching a napkin to wrap Rob’s wrist. “Come on, you know what’s going on!”
Rob stared at them, and then back at the nearly-lethal punch bowl, and nodded vaguely. Dean grabbed the bracelets to keep anyone else from touching the lethal things and twisted them together to keep from losing any. Sam got to his side and pointed to the back of the dining room.
The Winchesters shoved through the crowd, dodging lunging sharks from every water pitcher as they passed. They dove into the galley, ducking under two guys bringing out a huge decorative fruit platter, and drew up short. The only source of fire was a free burner on one of the farthest stoves. Between them and the burner were a half-dozen enormous pots of soup.
“Go. Keep away!” Sam yelled. Dean got it in one, and ran past the first pot. As the shark lunged out of it to snap at him, he tossed Sam the bracelets. The shark turned from him and went for Sam. Dean scrambled further down the line of stoves and put his hands up. Sam tossed him the bracelets, narrowly missing the shark, and Dean ducked as the shark erupted from the pot next to him. Back and forth they tossed the teeth, dodging the shark as it tried to maul them, Sam and Dean worked closer to the burner. Dean snagged a box of sea salt after he tossed the bracelets to Sam, and his heart almost stopped when Sam nearly slipped on the slick galley floor, putting himself into the shark’s reach.
“Free throw!” Dean shouted. Sam recovered his footing, ducked away from the shark’s jaws, and shot the shark-tooth bracelets like he was sinking a basket, right onto the burner. Dean topped them off with salt, and was thrown against the wall as the closest pot of soup erupted in a burning shark-ghost, dousing him with broth and cooked vegetables.
Dean just sagged against the wall for a minute, catching his breath, as Sam put his hands on his knees, soup and blood dripping from him from where the shark had nipped him. The pots subsided into silence, and the astonished galley staff stared at them in silence.
“Vacations suck,” Dean declared.
Sam stood up and laughed, finally reaching down to haul Dean to his feet.
“You realize we actually have to explain things now. We can’t exactly leave town,” Sam pointed out.
Dean sighed. “I got the FBI badges in my bag; I’ll go get ‘em.”
“Jerk,” Sam said, shoving his hair out of his eyes.
“Bitch,” Dean responded automatically, and went to go set their vacation back to rights.