On call again. More gratuitous Sam Whumpage.
Set just after ELAC.
I must apologise to Sendintheclowns; I was half way through writing this story when I came across your post ELAC fic.
And so I thought to myself:
"I could abandon mine. That would be the decent thing to do".
Then I thought,
"Ah bollocks to it. I'll just dedicate it to her; she's bound to forgive me eventually!"
So here you are gal…this is for you!
The boys and Bobby land a job at a newly opened aquatic zoo, where the keepers are mysteriously drowning.
But the friction between the brothers forces Sam to make a decision that ultimately puts his life in danger.
Can Dean get to him in time?
"So what's the story?" Dean chewed on a piece of bacon, barely sparing his brother a glance as he flipped through a magazine.
"Bobby's already on his way out there, but thought he might need some help with this one." Sam opened his lap top and started typing. "A new marine centre opened up a few weeks ago, but some of the staff drowned under mysterious circumstances."
Dean did look up on hearing that. "Mysterious how?"
"Whenever the main display tanks need to be cleaned they empty the water out, whilst the dolphins, penguins, whales, etc. are kept in other pens out back." Sam turned the laptop round so Dean could read the article for himself, but when Dean just waved him on, he continued. "The keepers have been found dead in these empty display tanks, and post mortem examinations conclude that they drowned."
Dean raised his eyebrows "Huh. That definitely sounds like one for us."
"Yeah." Sam continued reading the email sent from Bobby earlier that day. "Rumours are that before all these deaths, someone took their own life in one of the tanks though the
company that owns the complex won't admit to anything. But a few weeks back the building was shut down for the day so that all the staff could attend a funeral at a local crematorium."
"So if that's our guy then a salt and burn aint on the agenda." Dean queried.
"Exactly. Which means this place warrants a visit." Sam shut down the laptop as Dean cleaned his plate. "Something else is keepin' 'im there. And seeing as we can't exactly burn down the building…"
Dean nodded. "A banishing ritual it is then. Just so long as we find the right tank before confrontin' his ghostly ass."
Back on the road…
Sam stared out the passenger window of yet another one of Bobby's crap heaps. The Impala was still out of action after the 'accident', and Dean was impatiently waiting on a spare part. Sam hadn't asked partly because he knew jack shit about cars and wouldn't have understood anyway, but mostly because Dean hadn't really spoken to him since he'd taken a crow bar to his baby. Apart from discussing the odd case, the boys just weren't talking. Not that Sam hadn't tried to re-establish communications with his brother; he needed to talk things through even if Dean didn't. And despite the hurtful words Dean had thrown at him during the 'clown hunt', as Sam now referred to it, he still trusted his older brother to watch out for him, to help him.
Sam had tried to apologise but that only made matters worse, leading to the new vent holes in the trunk of the Impala. It seemed that Dean was blinded by his own grief for their dad, and had no time for Sam. So the only thing he could do was try to be there for his big brother, in the same way Dean had been there for him when Jessica had burned alive on his bedroom ceiling.
But his brother had been particularly silent today of all days, and whenever he spoke to Sam it was to snap at him, his remarks cutting and obtuse. And Sam knew why. Tomorrow would have been their father's birthday.
Glancing across the seat at Dean, Sam knew it was stupid to even try, but he was determined; he wasn't giving up on Dean. Ever.
"Hey Dean," Sam hated that he sounded like Oliver Twist…Please sir, may I have some more…and knew it was a sure fire way to get Dean's hackles up. "I was thinking," Sam worriedly observed Dean's jaw clenching tight. Oh yeah. Hackles definitely on the rise! "Why don't we do somethin' tomorrow night, take a break? Maybe sit around a camp fire, have a few beers…"
Sam was more than a little pleasantly surprised at the response.
"Sure. Sounds great." Dean went straight back to silent, brooding mode.
Warming to his subject by now, Sam turned in his seat, body tilted towards his brother. "Yeah. We could get Bobby to cook his famous hotdogs and chilli," was that a twitch of a smile? Yes! One corner of Dean's mouth was curling up, and for once it wasn't in a snarl.
But of course Sam had to go too far.
"And maybe he'll share some stories with us about Dad…" He was thrown forwards against the dashboard when Dean stomped on the brakes and swung the wheel hard over.
Sam rubbed the rapidly developing bruise on the side of his head and glared at his sibling, but Dean just stared ahead through the windshield. A dark silence descended on the car and Sam nearly bit his tongue in two trying to keep from saying anything else that might provoke the creature behind the wheel.
After a while Dean gave a tight nod, as if his point had been made, then gently stepped on the gas, and the car glided back onto the road.
Sam couldn't let it go.
"Are you sure we're even going in the right direction for this aquarium? Seems like we've been on this fucking road for God damn hours!" Dean ground out; it was the longest sentence he'd uttered during the entire journey.
Sam turned back in his seat to watch the scenery flow past his window. It seemed that no matter what, he was just grating on Dean's nerves and he was starting to think Dean no longer wanted him around. As soon as this hunt was over Sam was going to make sure his big brother got some alone time.
The rest of the journey passed in silence with both boys staring moodily out the windows.
After about two hours of the oppressive atmosphere, the aquarium came into view, with Bobby leaning against his truck, arms folded and ankles crossed.
Sam kept his sigh of relief as quiet as possible as he leapt out the car, and shook hands with the grizzled hunter.
"What took you boys so long? I bin waiting over an hour." Bobby grinned, but his smile soon faded when his picked up on the vibes.
"We had some trouble. It seems my little brother here still hasn't learned when to keep his trap shut." Whilst Dean stared Bobby straight in the eye, Sam avoided his gaze.
These two bin at each other's throats again?! I swear ta god if they don't stop this crap I'm gonna kick both their asses!
Dean jerked his chin the direction of the building. "Where do we start?"
"I'm gonna check all the exits, make sure the building's secure. Don't want anybody surprisin' us tonight." Bobby tipped his hat and headed off without another word.
When Sam turned back, Dean already had his head buried in the trunk.
"Here." Sam barely managed to catch the sawn-off thrown his way, or the rock salt cartridges that followed. Having retrieved his own weapon of choice, the Glock 17, Dean slammed the lid of the trunk and stomped off towards the building.
"Keep ya eyes peeled and ya ears open," Dean called over his shoulder. "I don't wanna have to rescue your sorry ass!"
Now it was Sam's turn to clench his jaw. It appeared that his brother couldn't even be civil towards him on a hunt anymore.
As they were breaking into the building via one of the basement windows, Sam had come to a decision. Maybe Dean would prefer to be on his own for this hunt; perhaps that 'alone time' is needed sooner rather than later.
Dean turned to face him, eyebrows raised enquiringly.
"Maybe one of us should go check the employee's records, see if there's any more info on our guy." Sam shifted from foot to foot a little nervously under that stare. It wasn't hostile, just the opposite: completely blank. And that worried Sam more than anything; it was a definite sign that he was losing his brother.
Dean smirked humourlessly "Whatever." Then headed off towards the offices, leaving Sam feeling more and more like a spare part than a brother.
"I'll just check the display tanks for EMF readings." Sam called out, but Dean had already disappeared. Huffing and trying to ignore the increasing despair that stalked him, Sam turned and followed the staircase up to the tanks. All three hunters had checked the blue prints of the building and had a pretty good idea of the lay out.
Sam decided to start checking the smaller tanks but soon drew some major blanks all round. But as he came to the main tank the EMF meter began to stir. All the other tanks had been
empty but this one had a small pool of water in the centre. Sam marvelled at the size of the thing as he stared through the glass walls.
Climbing up onto the walkway, Sam made for the entrance; a huge heavy duty affair which when shut separated the occupants of the tank from the outside world with four feet of solid steel. It had hinges the size of an elephant's foot with the bolts to match. Sam got the distinct impression that when this door was closed, locked and sealed, no one was getting in.
Dean hadn't even stopped to see if Sam was following him as he left the basement. He was pretty pissed at Sam right now and frankly relished a few minutes of space. Dean acknowledged that it wasn't entirely his little brother's fault, but the constant clinging, and needing to 'talk' about their dad was driving him insane. Plus Sam had been having nightmares again, but Dean was struggling to sympathise this time round. In a way, Dean supposed it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that Sam deserved a few nightmares, considering the way he'd left things with their father.
Ok, so that was a bit harsh. But it was keeping Dean awake at night as it was, and the last thing he needed to cart around on top of everything else was a little brother with a heavy guilt complex.
Especially given the burden John had placed on Dean's shoulders already, just moments before he died.
Shrugging off the cold chill that suddenly worked its way up his spine, Dean broke into the offices and started rooting through the filing cabinets.
"Yahtzee!" Dean grinned as he found what he was looking for. After having read through the file he was more convinced than ever that this was their guy.
He flipped open his phone and tried to call Sam, but it went straight to voice mail. Frowning, Dean tried again with the same result.
"Damnit!" He tried calling Bobby, who picked up after the first ring.
"You boys ok?"
"Yeah, Sam's checking the tanks for EMF activity, but I found somethin' in the records. A guy called Keith Davies was fired from here a few weeks ago, after he was caught with his hands in the cash register. He committed suicide the next day by drowning himself in one of the tanks."
"Any idea which one?"
"Doesn't say, but they must've kept it pretty quiet 'cos some of this shit wasn't even mentioned in the news reports."
"Damn fools are more worried about the aquarium's reputation than human safety!"
"Aint that always the case?"
Bobby huffed with laughter. "Yeah. Listen, I'm gonna head on over to the main tank, meet ya there in a few?"
"Sure. If you get there before me? Make sure you kick my brother's dumb ass for switchin' his damn phone off would ya?"
"Dean? Sam knows better than that. Give 'im some credit. If he aint answerin' his phone then maybe it's busted."
"Then he needs to look after it a little better. I aint buyin' him a new one!"
Bobby didn't know what to say to that. Dean was determined to give his brother a hard time one way or another, and there was little Bobby could do about it. It wasn't his place.
"I'll see ya there."
"Sure." Dean flipped his phone shut, grabbed the file and exited the office.
The EMF meter was ablaze with light when Sam reached out to grasp the handle, and the door unlatched and swung open by itself. Glancing down at the now silent EMF, he waited a few seconds to see what would happen. He was now at an impasse. The sensible thing to do was to call Dean, explain where he was and what had happened, but when he pulled out his cell phone it was dead. Not a single spark of life.
Which was rather worrying seeing as Sam had fully charged it up before they'd headed out a few hours ago.
He contemplated going in search of his brother, but quickly nixed that idea. Sam wasn't sure he could face Dean anyway right now, but having to explain that he picked up on some serious EMF readings at the main tank, the entrance to the tank opened by itself, and Sam…didn't go in to investigate but instead went to tell his older brother…he didn't think he'd ever live it down.
Shaking his head and taking a deep breath, Sam stepped forward into the waiting tank. And immediately he was fully inside, two things happened.
The lights flared, lighting up the entire tank, from under the small pool of water right up to the top near the ceiling.
But the most disconcerting thing was the sound of the massive steel door slamming shut, the bolts sliding into place, and the hiss and click as the lock sealed itself. It was airtight.
Sam's eyes widened as he ran to the door and started hammering on it uselessly. His heart was pounding so hard he could almost hear it, as he yanked on the inside safety handle. Which didn't work.
Some freakin' health and safety device, Sam thought to himself angrily as he tried once more, yanking on the release handle until he nearly dislocated his shoulder. Quickly giving up, Sam glanced around him desperately searching for something, anything that could get that damn door open. But the tank was completely bare.
A noise behind him caught his attention, and he slowly turned and stared at the pool of water on the floor.
It was bubbling away merrily to itself.
It was also growing rapidly, and in no time Sam was ankle deep in cold water.
Trying his best not to panic but failing miserably, Sam splashed his way over to the main display window and started pounding on the glass.
Dean tried his brother's cell once more but only got to voice mail again.
He was starting to get worried now. He'd been down here for about ten minutes calling out for Sam and getting no answer. He'd already checked three of the side tanks but still there was no sign of his lanky giant of a brother.
"Sam? You down here?" Dean carried on shouting, hoping for a response.
"Dean?" Bobby rounded a concrete pillar. "I take it you aint found 'im yet."
Dean gave a sharp shake of his head. "Just one tank left to try."
"Let's go." With Bobby leading the way, the two men headed towards the main display tank.
Dean felt a cold dread growing in the pit of his stomach, which suddenly exploded into full blown horror when they found the main tank.
Sam was clearly trapped inside and thumping on the glass, but what galvanised Dean and Bobby into action was the fact that he was waist deep in water.
And the water level was rising with frightening speed.
"Shit! Sammy!" Dean screamed out as he and Bobby tried their best to shift the massive bolts on the door and release the airlock. But it wouldn't budge.
In fact, it felt as though several pounds of Semtex would struggle to open it.
Dean grabbed a nearby fire axe from the wall and started attacking the glass itself, but it just bounced off harmlessly, not so much as leaving a scratch.
Though they couldn't hear him, Sam was obviously terrified and shouting for help as he was lifted off his feet by the steadily rising levels. Treading water, Sam appeared to glance up at the ceiling, and then started pointing frantically, his mouth working soundlessly through the thick glass.
Just before the water completely covered the basement level of the tank, Dean caught sight of what Sam was trying to tell him.
There was some metal grating on the high ceiling. If that could be removed then once the water level was high enough Sam could get out. It was a hellish risky plan; Dean didn't like it one bit but it was all they had.
"Bobby come on! Up to the next level!"
Bobby followed Dean up into what must have been the seating area for the audience, and they both glanced at the tank to find Sam still treading water, scared eyes searching for his brother.
Bobby got to work trying to find the service stairs used by the maintenance crew; it would lead to the dry rooms where most of the cleaning equipment was kept, and hopefully to the grate in the ceiling. He left Dean to comfort his brother.
Once Sam spotted Dean, some of the panic left his face and he reached out a hand, pressing the palm against the glass.
Dean understood and did the same with his own hand, covering Sam's. He could almost feel Sam's fear. His little brother knew the risks and needed reassurance; for the first time in weeks Dean was more than prepared to supply it.
Sam was tiring in his efforts to keep his head above water. His hand still pressed against the glass, it was as though he could feel his brother's warmth. Dean appeared calm, but Sam stared deep into his eyes and saw his own panic reflected back at him.
Weeks of not having slept or eaten properly were catching up with him and he suddenly slipped under, choking on a large mouthful of water.
Dean was hammering on the glass, eyes round with fear until Sam was able to kick his way back up. The ceiling looked deceptively far over head in spite of how fast the water was rising up the tank.
Sam wasn't sure how long he could keep this up but he hoped and prayed it was enough for him to reach the metal grate.
"Dean! Over here!" Dean glanced over to find Bobby picking the lock of a wooden door with the words 'Private. Access to public prohibited' emblazoned across it.
Dean turned back to the glass one last time and raised a finger, pointing at the ceiling.
Sam just about managed to nod, but Dean could see the effort it was costing him to remain afloat.
Don't give up on me Sammy! Dean mouthed to him, hoping he understood.
Sam gave him a thumbs up and a weary smile.
Dean hated having to leave him but had no choice; Bobby needed help getting that grate open.
Scrambling to the top of the stairwell, Bobby and Dean raced over to the grating. They peered through it and immediately spotted Sam.
"Hey! Need a hand there little bro?" Dean grinned through the mesh as Sam glanced up and smiled back tiredly.
"That would be great. I'm starting to wrinkle here!" He called back.
"We'll soon getcha outta there Sammy." Dean fervently hoped so, and frowned when Bobby struggled a little with the screws holding the grate in place. "What's taking so long?" He whispered sharply, not wanting Sam to worry anymore than necessary.
"Damn things are wedged tight. It's like someone's cross-threaded 'em."
"Shit." Dean muttered then began work on the opposite screw from Bobby.
He looked down through the grating; the water level was fast approaching and Sam didn't have long to go. A couple of feet at best, if Dean was any judge.
But the grate just wouldn't budge, and Bobby was fast coming to realise that it wasn't just a simple case of cross-threaded screws.
"Hurry Dean!" Sam was right up to the grate, and the water level had reached his chin.
"Keep your mouth close to the grate Sam!" Dean yelled, but Sam's ears were already filled with water, his head bent awkwardly backwards as he desperately tried to suck in the last available air. Sam was clinging onto the grate, his long fingers poking through the mesh.
"De…" Sam choked as a wash of water passed over his face, flooding his throat.
"Sammy!" Dean gripped at Sam's fingers, as if keeping hold of him would keep him alive. But as the water level rose and covered Sam's mouth and nose one final time, Dean felt terror slam through him and his eyes welled with tears. Sam's grip on the mesh, and his brother's fingers, was gradually giving way. "No! You hold on you hear me? Sam!"
"Damnit!" Bobby pulled a metal flask from his jacket pocket, and in one smooth motion tipped the contents onto each screw in the grate. There was a fizzing and bubbling for a few seconds as the holy water worked on the invisible force holding the grate down, then Bobby was wrenching open the grate, lifting it up on its hinges whilst Dean reached down and grasped onto Sam's wrist before he could slip away.
Bobby let the grate drop backwards and helped Dean pull his brother up out of the water.
Sam started gasping and coughing as he shot up and regurgitated tank water.
"Ugh! Man that is rank!" He complained as Dean rubbed his back.
"What's it taste like?" Sam could hear the grin in his brother's voice even if he was in no condition to look up and see it right now.
A few more bouts of projectile vomiting and Sam was able to answer. "Mostly salt, but there's the distinct taste of fish!" He grimaced, then leaned over and spat more water back into the tank.
"Well that will teach ya to go into a dangerous situation without back up!" Dean clipped his brother lightly round the back of the head. "What the hell were ya thinkin' Sam!"
Uh oh, thought Sam. We've had the relief, now here comes the anger.
But he didn't get a chance to answer. Before Dean could yell at him some more, the metal grate suddenly flew up with an excessive amount of force and crashed into the back of Sam's head. He was unconscious instantly, and fell back into the water before Dean could grab him, and metal grate once again covered the gap.
"Sammy!" Dean managed to scream out before raising the grate and jumping in after his brother. He was horrified at the amount of blood; he knew that head wounds had a tendency to bleed profusely, but this was out of hand. There was so much of it that it took Dean way too long to find Sam. But eventually there he was, floating suspended in the reddening water, unnervingly still.
Dean kicked hard and within a few heart beats, Sam's heart beats, he was wrapping an arm round Sam's waist and dragging him upwards. Pretty soon he could make out the anxious face of Bobby Singer, and as he broke the surface he pushed Sam out ahead of him.
Bobby laid Sam out on the floor and started checking his pulse and breathing, as Dean hauled himself out of the water.
"Bobby, get started on the banishing ritual. This bastard's set his sights on Sam and he won't give up 'til he's dead." Dean was already tilting his brother's head back.
Bobby nodded quickly. "You better get started on CPR. He aint breathin' and I can't find a heart beat!"
Dean covered Sam's mouth with his own and breathed long and deep for him; once more and he started massaging Sam's heart. He barely paid any heed to Bobby's voice as the ritual progressed, but Dean could feel the angry spirit as it whirled around the room, trying to find an escape. The metal grate rattled but Bobby stomped down on it with his foot, which seemed to make the spirit of Keith Davies even angrier.
"Sammy come on!" Dean ground out between breaths, " Fight!"
The ritual was soon completed, and the room went silent and still, except for Dean trying to save his brother's life.
"I said FIGHT GODAMN YOU!" Dean kept on, refusing to give up. "I'm not losing you, no way!"
So things look bad for our Sam, very bad. Can Dean pull out all the stops and save him?
Or will Keith Davies have succeeded in claiming one final victim?
Only you can decide that...so start reviewing!