I always did like this movie. Too bad the fandom pretty much doesn't exist!
Dean takes in a lungful of smoke as he looks out over the water, watching the dark, choppy waves hit against the side of the ship. He should be down in the galley with the others, trying to stomach Girard's greasy, slimy excuse for a meal; hazing that, if it doesn't stop soon, they'll all end up starving. It's bad enough trying to make it back on deck without spewing, forget getting any sleep when there's someone rushing to the head every fifteen seconds.
"Dean?" a timid voice says. "Are. . . Are you sick?"
Exhaling smoke, he turns, his face screwed into a mean scowl.
It's that weird kid again, the one with the sad eyes.
"It's you. No, I'm not sick," he says with lazily, with an arrogant smirk.
"Oh. Well, everyone, um. . ." he gestures to the left helplessly. "Everyone's down, d-down there, in the galley, eating."
He flicks the butt of his cigarette overboard, and the weird kid flinches and steps away, wrapping his arms around himself. "I know where everyone is."
"Yeah, 'oh.'" He takes a menacing step forward. "So why don't you," another step, "go back down," and another, until they're standing chest to chest, "with them?" He's so close he can see the kids eyes pop wide open, his lip quivering.
"I. I-I I'm not hungry."
"Well then that makes two of us."
Bored with the exchange, Dean begins to amble along the deck, sighing in frustration at the sound of someone following him.
"Look," he says briskly, "I'm busy. Go away."
"You don't look busy," Gil says quietly, which is not only a strange choice of words but also a strange tone of voice to use for someone who constantly looks like their puppy just got drown.
"Well, I am, so beat it. Get lost."
"This was stupid," Gil mutters under his breath, turning to leave.
Something inside him clicks, and before he realises what's happening, he's right on top of Gil, staring him down.
"Did you just call me stupid?" he asks, his chest puffed out intimidating. It's not as though he needs to even try; the kid looks as though he'll wet himself any second. "No, say it again. Call me stupid. I mean, you were just calling me lazy a little while ago, right?"
"No!" Gil blurts out, hands raised in defense. "No, I didn't, honest. I-I-I just said-"
"Say I don't look busy." He reaches out and shoves the kid away, who instead of retaliating, only cowers. "Say it! I'm not busy, right? So I should have all the time in the world to hear ya say it."
"Dean, stop," he pleads, hunkering down with his arms held up for protection. "I didn't mean. . . I just wanted to talk. I thought. . . I thought maybe you were lonely or something. You don't really get on well with the guys."
"'Don't really get on well with the guys,'" he mocks, seemingly forgetful of the level of his voice, "that's 'cause they're all schmucks! Bozos, a bunch of creeps!"
"Ok, I'm sorry, I'm sorr-"
"Mr. Preston. What's going on here?" a voice demands.
The Skipper appears from behind a shadow and wastes no time getting to them. He wears a deep crease across his forehead, frowning at the both of them.
"Well?" he moves between the two, quickly checking to see if Gil is all right before sending him away. Gil shoots up like a weed out of the grass and retreats, back to where the rest of the crew is gathering. "Dean? What seems to be the problem?"
Swallowing thickly, and trying to keep force the lump in his throat away, Dean says, "There is no problem." He grins eerily.
Skipper looks over his shoulder. "Gil?"
Gil shakes his head frantically and ducks behind a group of other boys, stuttering.
"See?" Dean says vapidly. "We were just playing around. You know. Goofing off."
The Skipper seems to like this answer even less. "Goofing off, huh?" He stretches his arm out, and begins walking further away from the multiplying crowd, motioning for Dean to follow. When they are far enough away, he forces Dean against the bulkhead, staring at him sternly.
"Tell me what happened back there," he demands.
A shiver creeps up the back of Dean's spine.
A shiver creeps up Dean's spine. The Skipper is taller than him, stronger, and while he has age on the old man, he's still somewhat intimidated. He leans close and says defiantly, "I told you, nothing happened."
"I can't have you bullying everybody on this ship, Dean, it doesn't work that way."
Skipper isn't yelling, but he might as well be. But Dean has been yelled at millions of times, he doesn't get why this is any different, why it feels different. He doesn't like feeling weak. He wants to be in control. He can't think of a reply, so he simply says nothing.
"We're a crew, we work together, and we don't intimidate and beat each other up. And if you don't get that through your head, then I'm not going to be left with any choice, you'll have to leave."
Dean's head snaps back up. They lock eyes and he bares his teeth. "Then send me back!" he challenges.
"Do you want to go back?" The Skipper asks carefully, his expression softening.
"What do you care?" His eyes burn, and tears threaten to spill over, but he won't blink.
"Do you, want to go back?" he barks. "Do you really want to go to juvenile hall, with all the other little criminals? Pay your debts, by the time you get out nobody even remembers you, but won't hire you anyway because you have a history? Is that what you want? Or do you want to stick it out here on this ship, learn a few things and maybe make a few friends? Or are you too tough for all that?"
His chest burns with the urgency to breathe, but he won't, it's a sign of weakness. So is crying, he realises as he a tear roll down one cheek and then the other. His hands are balled so tightly into fists that his fingers are cramping up, and his tense shoulders ache painfully.
A measure of silence passes between the two of them. Eventually the Skipper sighs, lowering his head.
"I didn't think so," he says softly. "Get your act together. There's no such thing as a bad kid. You just need to get your head on right and you'll be fine."
The other guys are moving in like vultures to road kill, wanting to know the details. Dean wets his lips and quickly wipes the tears away with his forearm, then gets himself out a cigarette to calm his nerves. As he shakes the match out, he turns to leave. The Skipper plucks the cigarette from his lips and tosses it out into the sea.
"As I told you before, no smoking," he says sternly but gently. "That goes for everyone. Now, back to what you were doing."
The crowd disperses, returning to the galley to finish their meal. Dean remains on deck, arms folded tightly across his chest, his eyes stinging.
"That includes you, Mr. Preston," Skipper says.
There is a long stand off between the two, Dean glaring at the Skipper in silence, while the Skipper stands there with that stupid listless smile.
"I can't believe this, of all the lousy-"
"A 'yes sir' will do fine, Mr. Preston."
Dean sniffs quietly, still glowering.
"Yes, sir," he forces out, barely audible, and shuffles away to join the others.
He hears a pleasant, "Thank you, Mr. Preston," as he goes below deck.