Title: Sammy the Shrimp
Summary: You would think a guy that size would be hard to hide… A Round Robin based on a picture from Jared's movie New York Minute. Set early-season 1.
Author's Note (at least one of them):What do you get when you show a picture to a barrel of writers? Imaginations run amuck, fun to be have by all. I was honored to be part of one of the many RRs that sprung up. This came from a photo of Jared in 'New York Minute' where he was standing very tall above…well, everybody! Enjoy!
December 31, 2007; 7:15 PM
"I think it's this way…"
Dean glared at his younger brother in irritation. They'd been walking in circles for over an hour. Sam's innate sense of direction didn't seem to be working. It seemed to work better when they were in peril. Maybe I should blindfold him…
"Tell me again what we're looking for?" Dean groused as another pushy pedestrian stepped on his foot. Damn, these people are rude!
"Hell's Kitchen," Sam replied distractedly, examining the street map again.
Dean grunted. He didn't particularly think they should be looking for anything with the word "Hell" in it, but he wisely kept his mouth shut. After Sam's concession to celebrating Christmas, Dean didn't have the heart to remind Sam that their time together was too quickly running out. The kid was getting moody, withdrawn. It was all Dean could do to keep his brother's mind on something—-anything—-else lately, lest he collapse under the weight of Dean's fate. Had he known what this year would do to Sam, he—-
He would have made the deal anyway. Dean didn't kid himself.
So, he played along with Sam's little New Year's adventure in the Big Apple. Anything to keep Sam's flagging spirits above water. Plus, the heat of the FBI on their trail had ratcheted up after a close call in Detroit a few days after Christmas, and Sam had insisted they disappear for a while. That was where New York City came in. Where else could two people vanish in plain sight?
"And what is Hell's Kitchen again?" Dean asked for the third time.
Sam sighed, turning to Dean and holding up the brochure. "One of the biggest Salvation Army stores around. You said you needed new clothes after Gordon and the run-in with those pagan gods. We don't need to be on camera right now, so…thrift shop, right?"
Dean smirked. "I said we needed new clothes, smart guy."
Sam rolled his eyes and started searching for 46th Street again. Dean poked him in the ribs. "We'd find it faster in the car."
"There's no place to park the car. Everyone's here for New Year's Eve. Maybe it's this way…"
Dean groaned as Sam wheeled around and started back the way they came. It was too cold for this—
He cried out in surprise as he collided head-on with another pedestrian. He had barely caught his breath when she laid into him.
"Why don't you watch where you're going, you—"
She stopped as their eyes met. She was gorgeous. "Sorry," Dean murmured, all the blood rushing away from his brain. Well, from his upstairs brain, anyway…
"Um…," the woman began eloquently. "No, I'm sorry… The holidays you know? Crazy," she finished with a blush and a small laugh.
"Yeah, totally," Dean grinned. "Oh, I'm…Dean."
"Amy." She offered a hand, which Dean took and kissed gallantly. She inched closer to him as people brushed by on both sides. "New in town?"
Dean nodded. "Visiting. Wanted to celebrate New Year's in style." Maybe she did, too.
Amy sidled even closer, until they were only a foot apart. "So…you alone?"
"Hmm? Oh! No, uh," Dean crooked a thumb over his shoulder. "With my little brother."
Amy glanced over his shoulder, then frowned. "You sure?"
Dean joined her frown, glancing back to where Sam— Wasn't? Snapping out of his trance, Dean blinked. What the hell? Where was Sam?
He had been kidnapped by a giant shrimp.
"Free margarita with a full price entree at Bubba Gump's."
A talking giant shrimp. He'd been following Dean when it had crossed his path. Sam almost shouted at it in Latin until the stale smell of chowder filled his nostrils. Gross.
A neon pink paper was shoved into his hand before the pilled, felt-costumed shrimp that stood as tall as Sam wobbled bowlegged to the next hapless pedestrian with a flyer.
Sam stood there, pink paper in his fist, feeling displaced as he searched for that head he knew so well. He wanted to call out his brother's name, but the idea made him feel all but six, so he clamped his mouth shut.
Oh wait! His cell!
Sam stuffed the flyer in his pocket and patted around his pockets. After a moment, he groaned.
His cell was gone, as was his wallet, and wasn't that just a fine, stereotypical Welcome to Fair Gotham? As if the crowds and growing festive hysteria of the approaching midnight event weren't bad enough.
Stupid shrimp anyway. He didn't even like shrimp.
The urge to call out for Dean was growing stronger…not just the normal worry of where-is-my-brother, but the knowledge that neither one of them really had a clue where they were, let alone where they were headed, hadn't formed any kind of backup plan in case they got separated. He could just try to find the Salvation Army store on his own and hope Dean did the same, but there might be an awful lot of ground to cover between then and now. And he didn't like the thought of Dean being out of contact for that long. It just…wasn't natural.
Dean might laugh his ass off at the thought of Sam panicking over a few unexpected minutes apart, but Sam knew all too well Dean felt the same anxiety when he was the one missing.
He pushed past several eddies of revelers flowing in the opposite direction of where he was going. Being unusually—not abnormally, whatever Dean said—taller than the average person was sometimes annoying, but often useful, and scanning crowds was one of those highly useful situations. But this time, it wasn't giving him any advantage. Dean was nowhere to be seen, had literally vanished from the whole visible range of Sam's view. Head swiveling side to side, growing slightly more frantic as the moments passed, Sam finally gave in.
Amy was beautiful, enticing, and exactly how Dean wanted to ring in the new year. But Sam, meanwhile, had vanished.
"Just, uh…" Dean winced, patting the air in front of them. "Don't move, okay?" And then he turned and headed back against the flow, swimming upstream like those salmon in the nature shows. Before they got eaten by bears along the way.
Okay, so it was New York City, and while Sam was an expert at finding trouble wherever they went, bears were one of the few things Dean wasn't worried about just then. Pickpockets, maybe. Street gangs. An extra from the Sopranos…
Dean yanked out his phone and dialed, cursing when it went to voicemail. "Where does freakin' Yao Ming go while I'm not looking for ten seconds?" The place was crowded, but it wasn't like the people were especially tall. Sam should've stuck out like a mop-headed sequoia.
Just the week before, they'd been in the South, exorcising a haunted fairground. In the middle of some winter/Christmas/solstice/name-your-religious-event festival. People everywhere, like this, and the two of them trying to blend in while they tried to figure out where and when exactly Old MacDonald had been trampled by his bull. Even in a black knit cap and hunched against the unseasonably cold weather, Sam had been everywhere he'd looked: sticking up over the barbershop quartet, looming behind the popcorn machine, about a foot taller than the beauty pageant contestants. And…yeah, he'd kinda stopped paying attention to Sam at that point, but still, the kid was about as easy to lose as…
…a seven-foot shrimp.
Dean was pretty sure he was gawking.
The shrimp shoved a flyer at him, then gave him a friendly smile. "Lose something?"
"My sanity," Dean muttered, and yanked away, search growing a little frantic now. This place was nuts, and Sam was lost in the sea of it.
He started shoving people in earnest, not caring how many dirty looks he got in return.
Dean turned a complete 360, scanning the crowd for his trouble-magnet of a brother. "Sam!"
Dean spun to see an bald, overweight, forty-something man in a poorly tailored business suit staring at him, cigarette hanging from his mouth. He grimaced. "Who the hell are you? What do you want?"
"My name's Sam, you're the one who called me."
Blinking for a moment, Dean had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. "Sorry…meant someone else."
The man shrugged, throwing Dean an annoyed glare as he continued on his way. Dean went back to scanning the crowd and the surrounding area. Sam wasn't by the streetlight. Not by the hot dog stand. Though, Dean was getting hungry. Sam wasn't by the subway entrance. He wasn't near the really hot blond with the— Hello. My aren't you cold?
Shaking his head, Dean dragged his eyes off the very tight Yankees shirt and continued his search. Spying an empty bench by the roadside, he made for it, dodging passersby. He leaped up onto the metal seat and cupped his hands over his mouth.
Let's disappear in New York for a while… Figured Sam would take that literally.
Sam had slumped against a lamppost, a bit winded. He'd been shouting "Dean!" Then someone thought he screamed "New Year!"—although how one was related to the other, he didn't know—and a crowd, all wearing those stupid star-spangled USA foam top hats, began blowing their free NYC horns, the free twirling hooters—with lights, Dean had cackled, pointing to one guy distributing them—and their free "I Love NY" New Year whistles. The chaos spread over to the National Army Reserve recruitment center, and now everyone was swinging their free noisemakers despite the fact it was hours before midnight. Sam's anxious "Dean!" got lost as people competed to see what toy made the bigger noise.
Sam leaned back onto the lamppost and rubbed his forehead wearily. He was getting a headache.
"Aw, are you lost, young man?'
You've got to be kidding me, Sam thought but he turned, smiling faintly, hoping it wasn't an overzealous NYPD officer. To his surprise, it wasn't.
A dark-skinned man in a suit cocked his head. "Are you lost?" he repeated.
Okay, a good Samaritan, maybe?
"Yeah, my wallet—"
"Aren't we all lost, brother?" suddenly the man howled. Sam jumped. The stranger hopped up on the crate Sam hadn't noticed was there. "Aren't we all lost in this wretched place?"
"Amen!" someone called out.
"S-sorry. I thought you were…" Sam raised his hands. Eek. They'd seen him before, bellowing at the top of his lungs, a typical New York street evangelist. Dean had warned Sam to avoid them because, sure enough, another crowd gathered around the speaker and Sam.
"We have paid for our sins rotting on this earth and it's time! Oh, yes! It's time!" The gentleman waved madly toward Sam. "This man says he's lost!"
"No, I meant—"
"Lost!" someone chanted.
"And he wants to be found!"
Oh man, did he!
"Found!" The crowd actually drowned out the free noisemakers. The partygoers took great offense and began blowing their horns harder. Sam smiled wanly as the congregation grew louder to drown the toys out and talked about getting the evil out of him. Somehow, he doubted they were talking about holy water. He scanned frantically between the windblown faces and puffs of icy condensation. Where was Dean? This was seriously not funny any more.
Sam edged away from the crowd. The police had barricaded the Square for New Year's. He had no ID, no wallet, no cell. Oh, but he had his .45 filled with rock salt! Greeeat.
Someone pushed past him, and Sam stumbled back off the curb. He got up, only to be shoved the other direction. Sam flailed, about to protest. He stared. That was an old lady!
He needed to get further away from the noisemakers, the preachers, and the—huh?—guitar playing cowboy in a giant diaper?
And he'd thought Cold Oak was scary.
Sam bit his lower lip. This was ridiculous. Come on, where was that great Dean radar his brother seemed to have in finding him? Sam wouldn't mind a little needling right now so long as it meant Dean was there. It was stupid, but he really wanted his big brother. Now.
Backing away, Sam found himself being prodded along the crowds of excited partygoers heading towards the Sony Megatron to watch the ball drop. Sam grunted, muttered pardons and struggled to get out of the melee.
Right into Broadway.
Someone from behind shouted. "Holy shi—"
Sam spun around just in time to see headlights, heard brakes screeching right at him.
Oh, this is just perfect.
"I'm going to kill him," Dean grumbled. "SAM?" He glared as two festively dressed men holding hands out in front him. One of them winked at him; Dean just stared. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me…"
Muttering a few other choice phrases, he continued his frantic search for his brother.
The sound of shouting caught his attention
"And he wants to be found!"
Nah, Dean shook his head. It couldn't be…
Having absolutely nothing else left to lose, Dean hurried toward the commotion, shoving and pushing his way through the crowd. Had an old woman just elbowed him?
Next to him a guy suddenly shouted, "Holy shi—"
Dean followed the guys gaze and his blood ran cold.
"SAMMY!" Even as he moved, Dean knew he'd never get there in time. He didn't have to, though…
The shrimp did.
Sam could honestly say he'd never—absolutely never—given a single thought to what it might feel like to be tackled by seven-plus linear feet of squishy pink foam. If he had, he might have said, "weird," which, given their line of work, covered just about every unexpected situation, from the EVP on the Impala's radio, to the discovery of a thumb inside a can of cola.
Turned out, it was pretty weird, but thankfully, also kind of soft and cushiony. Which, after realizing he'd just hit good old New York City concrete and had the black bumper of a good old New York City cab about three inches from his nose, Sam was kind of grateful for.
He oophed as whoever was inside the shrimp suit that seemed to be following him around dug an elbow into his ribs as they pushed themselves up. A fairly above-average-sized human hand wrapped around his biceps and hauled him vertical, clapping him on the shoulder with an amused, "You'd better watch out for yourself there, little buddy. You'll get yourself hurt if you're not careful."
Little buddy? What the hell?
"Don't forget to eat at Bubba's now, y'hear?" Another flier was unceremoniously shoved in Sam's hand, and the shrimp gave a tiny little salute as it dove back into the crowd.
Sam barely heard the continued cursing of the cab driver he was still blocking as he turned and caught sight of a very familiar leather jacket out of the corner of his eye.
Dean was grabbing him a second later, wide hazel eyes raking him from head to toe, checking for any sign of damage.
"You okay?" He fingered a tear in the elbow of Sam's coat that he hadn't even noticed, pressed a spot on his temple that made him hiss, cupped the back of his head to tilt his face down so he could check Sam's eyes. "Sammy?"
Sam was already nodding, but that didn't seem to satisfy his brother much. "I'm fine, Dean, I'm okay." He patted his brother's arm.
Barely mollified, Dean narrowed his eyes. "Dude, where've you been? How does a sasquatch like you disappear on a city street? I swear, Sam, it's like when you were three and I practically had to tie you to the fence to keep you from disappearing the second I looked away."
He'd recognized this bluster practically since he was three, too. Sam dimpled at his brother. "You were worried about me."
"Not 'til I saw you take a header in the road, I wasn't!"
"I'm all right, man. The shrimp…" He looked around for his pink-foam savior, only to come up empty. "Huh. How did he—?"
Dean suddenly smirked. "He's a shrimp, right?" He swatted Sam's head, gently. "What's your excuse, Monstro?"
Sam rolled his eyes and fell into step beside Dean. "Somebody lifted my wallet and my phone."
Dean winced. "Dude, I thought I taught you better than that."
"Right. And the reason you didn't realize I wasn't behind you anymore was, let me guess, brunette?"
"Redhead." Dean had the grace to look a little sheepish. He paused. "Hey, maybe she's still…" He glanced around.
Sam snickered. "You lose her, too?"
Dean glowered at him. "She's a lot shorter than you."
"Yeah, yeah." Sam nudged his brother's shoulder with his own. He frowned as he watched Dean take out his phone and dial. "Did you get Red's number?" he asked curiously.
"Nope. This is yours."
Sam opened his mouth to ridicule the idea of their hearing anything over the press and bustle of the crowd; that phone had to be ten blocks from them right now.
His jaw dropped completely when "Ride the Lightning"—Dean had been playing with his phone the other day—started playing barely audibly nearby.
Right where there was a flash of pink in the crowd.
Dean stared at him. Sam stared back.
And this time when Dean took off, Sam was right behind him.