I wrote this because Sam needs his own angel. Time frame is mid-season 4 when the boys start hunting again. This story will follow the series as closely as possible. Feedback from the #SPNFamily is invaluable.
Dean finished his bottle of beer and set it on the picnic table next to him. He leaned forward to rest his elbows on his legs and clasp his hands in front of him. The vista spread out before them was serenely gorgeous: the south shore of Lake Erie in all its sunset glory.
"I don't know, Sammy," he said, as if he was thinking out loud. "Lake monsters? Is that really our thing?"
"You don't think lake monsters really exist do you?" Sam asked. He was standing closer to the shore, feet braced, hands in the pockets of his jacket, "and if they did, they'd be biological. So no, that's not our thing. But there's something weird about this one."
"That lake is huge, Sam," Dean pointed out, "It's practically a freaking ocean."
"Fourth largest of the Great Lakes," Sam mused.
"Wow, fourth out of five," Dean said, pretending to be impressed.
"Twelfth largest in the world," Sam said, trying to make it more impressive.
"Hmm, "Dean said, clearly still on the fence. "Weird that it's called 'erie' and we're here checking it out."
"It's from the Iroquois tribe called 'Erie'; or maybe their word 'erige' meaning cat."
"Thank you, Mr. Wikipedia."
"Shut up," Sam said, but he was trying not to laugh.
"I don't know, Sam, "Dean repeated, "Even if there is something deadly out there, how are we supposed to find it?"
Sam was quiet for a moment, contemplating the vast body of water, listening to the soft lap of the ripples against the shore. The sun was setting, tinting the sky with streaks of red and pink
"Well," he said, finally, "I guess we start the way we always do, by questioning the locals. Five overturned boats in as many weeks with only one survivor, so we question her first. Then we do some research to see if we can find stories that match."
"So if it's not a regular," Dean paused, trying to think of what he wanted to say without sounding stupid. Then he waved his hand around helplessly, "plain old trapped-plesiosaur lake monster, what do you think it is?"
Sam shrugged and bent to pick up a stone. With an effortless movement of his arm and flick of his wrist, he sent the stone skipping across the surface of the lake. Dean counted. Ten. Not bad. But Sam had always been like that – graceful and capable, picking up skills easily; perfectly able to do something after only having seen it once or twice, with above average results, every time. He decided not to say anything because Sam would shrug it off as inconsequential. Sam probably knew what the stone skipping record was and if he wasn't in the same league as that he'd say it wasn't good at all.
Sam had always been like that too.
"Hydra maybe," he said, finally, turning around to hop up on the table next to his brother. "With all seven heads."
"What would a hydra be doing in Lake Erie?"
"Destroying boats and drowning people," Sam answered, drily.
Dean snorted. "We could be hunting real monsters you know. They're out there – vampires, werewolves, ghosts, wendigos. You know, our regular stuff."
"I know," Sam agreed.
They didn't say anything else for a while. Sam dug into the cooler on the table behind Dean and got them each another bottle of beer.
"Maybe it's a mermaid," Dean said with a grin. "I'd like to see one of those."
"It's not a mermaid," Sam said, drinking and then holding the bottle between his hands.
"That would be cool though," Dean insisted, "We'd finally find out if they're hot or not. It would make all this sitting around day-dreaming worth it. We should be hunting."
"We are hunting," Sam said, attempting to placate.
"At the moment, we're staring at water," Dean said, starting to sound grumpy.
Sam finished his beer in a few long swallows and then hopped off the table. Dean wasn't exactly thrilled to be spending late fall in Michigan. He didn't like the cold; and at the moment the night was promising to be cold.
"Come on," he said, picking up the cooler by one handle. "Let's go get some hot food and try to figure out where to get Michigan patches for our Fish and Wildlife uniforms."
"Dinner sounds good. We passed a steak house on the way here, did you see it?"
"Yeah, I saw it," Sam answered, rolling his eyes. He'd known the minute he saw the sign that was where Dean would want to eat dinner.
"You can get a salad," Dean pointed out.
"Dean," Sam rolled his eyes and sighed. "I can eat a steak."
"Yeah, whatever," Dean said.
They tossed the cooler onto the floor in the back of the Impala and climbed into their customary spots – Dean behind the wheel, Sam carefully folding himself into the 'shotgun' spot.
"We passed that motel with those cabins too," Sam observed as Dean started the engine.
"So it looked clean," Sam said, because his motel needs were really pretty simple," and the cabins are on the Lake."
"Think they have one available?"
"It's not exactly the height of tourist season. We'll probably have our pick."
"Okay," Dean said, "steaks and clean cabin. Sounds like a plan."
He gunned the engine and left the picnic area with the tires squealing and kicking up dust
The sky was dusky gray. All the streaks of red and pink had faded and the first stars were coming out.
They had picked a table by one of the large front windows. There was a red and white checkered curtain covering the lower half, but the lake was still visible through the upper half. The view was soothing and peaceful. It was hard to believe there might be something ominous out there, capsizing boats and potentially eating people. The other occupants of the diner were all locals in jeans and flannel plaid. So Sam and Dean fit in easily.
The steak house was pleasantly quaint. The menu proclaimed home-cooking and offered all of Dean's favorites, right down to apple pie with ice cream. It also offered free-wifi, an odd juxtaposition with the old-fashioned décor and home-cooked food. Their cabin was just across the street, right on the lake shore. It had queen beds with clean sheets, patchwork quilts, and decently sized pillow. The walls were knotty pine paneling and there was a little bathroom with a single shower, white towels and a basket of soap and shampoo. There was a table with a coffeemaker, packets of coffee, creamer and sugar.
Pretty classy place for them.
Sam was alternately scrolling through the internet on his laptop, taking mindless bites of his rib-eye and baked potato and gazing out at the lake.
Dean hadn't looked up from his T-bone smothered in mushroom gravy since it had arrived in front of him; unless the cute blond waitress – whose name was Mandy – stopped by the table to ask if they needed anything.
"So," Dean said, around a half-swallowed mouthful of baked potato, "You find anything to explain what's out there?"
"Well," Sam said, "Like all fresh water lakes it has its own monster legends. The locals call her 'South Bay Bessie'. The first sighting was in 1793. She was described as snake-like, about 15 feet long and grayish in color. Then in July 1892, the crew of a merchant vessel reported seeing a large area of water about half a mile ahead of them churned up and foaming. As they approached they saw," Sam paused and his voice changed as he read from the computer screen, "a huge sea serpent that appeared to be wrestling in the waters, as if fighting with an unseen foe." He read for another moment and then finished, "They observed as the creature relaxed itself and stretched out full length—estimated at 50 feet long and 4 feet around—with its head sticking up above the water an additional 4 feet . The creature was described being brownish in color with eyes viciously sparkling and having large fins."
Dean chewed thoughtfully, swallowed and asked, "Last sighting?"
"Not until five weeks ago when boats and people started disappearing."
"Nothing in the previous reports about attacks?"
"No. This is new."
"How deep is the lake?
"Almost 1,300 feet at its deepest."
Dean grunted. "Almost deep enough to hide you."
Sam couldn't help but smirk a little, though his smile was also filled with a grudging admiration and affection.
"Hey," he said, cheerfully, "remember when I was nine and you had me in that headlock I couldn't break and you said I should remember to pick on people my own size and I said someday I'd be bigger than you?"
Dean finally stopped eating and took the time to glare at his brother. "Yeah? What about it?"
Sam didn't answer. He just grinned a little wider.
"Shut up and eat your steak, Sammy," Dean suggested, going back to his own dinner.
Sam went back to eating but the smile continued to play on his face.
"Okay, this might be something," he said, turning the laptop so Dean could see the screen. "The native population in this area had a legend about a giant underwater cat they called Mishipeshu – water panther. They lived in opposition to the Great Thunderbird, who had the power of the air."
Dean studied the artwork on the computer screen. It looked like a dragon with spikes and scales, but with the head of a cat.
"So there's a big house cat out in the lake swatting at boats? I'm not sure about that," Dean said, shaking his head.
"Well if there's one thing we've learned it's that all legend has some basis in fact."
Dean kept his eyes on his plate. This was the first time he had seen Sam smile in weeks; and the fact that seals were being broken and Lucifer was going to be freed from his cage was still hanging over their heads. All the hunting they had done had been at Dean's insistence and things had been rocky between them. This was the first hunt Sam had initiated. So if his ridiculously over-sized brother wanted to spend some time sailing around on a huge lake and freezing his butt off looking for a giant swimming cat, then who was Dean to stop him?
"So besides uniforms and IDs, what else do we need? Cat nip? Kitty litter?"
Sam fixed with a heavy, baleful look. Dean stared back and then said, "Meow Mix?"
Sam snorted and shut down the laptop. Mandy stopped by the table and Dean ordered them both apple pie with vanilla ice cream while she topped off their coffee. Sam didn't miss the looks Dean exchanged with their lovely waitress. It was pretty clear she was just as into him as he was with her.
"I can hit Kinkos for a while," Sam said, "work on those IDs, dig through our stuff to find the uniforms."
Dean thought about it for a moment and then said, "Yeah. I mean if you want."
"I want," Sam assured him.
"Okay,"Dean said. He paused and said, "Thanks, bro."
Sam gave him a sideways look and said, "No problem."