This is it, dear readers! We’ve reached the end of the Supernatural Fan Fiction Summer Series!
If you haven't been keeping up with Team Free Will's summer adventure, it all began with "Every Thursday Night"! Starting at the beginning explains everything that's happening, but if you need to take a shortcut, the best on ramp would be "A Mission from Bobby". In this conclusion of our mystery, we find out what’s behind the glowing objects, and their connection to Frank and Grace!
But, for now, let’s join Sam, Dean and Cas in the Caribbean, for one last dose of intrigue and fun in the sun.
"Toes in the Sand:
Part 3 - Gods and Manatees"
Frank looked at Sam, open-mouthed. "Ba'al?" he echoed, astonished. "The god of weather, and seasons?" He started to smile. "Yeah, I wish. If I had any control over that kind of stuff, I would have been able to finish my golf game last week, instead of getting caught in that thunderstorm."
Sam was bemused. On the one hand, he'd always found Frank's quips funny. But, on the other hand, this situation wasn't funny at all. "No, I mean, the god of war. You and your sister, Anat. The goddess of war."
"My sister? Are you talking about Grace?" Frank said, and incredibly, he laughed. "Now, that makes more sense. You've seen her when she gets mad, right?"
Dean opened his mouth to retort that they had seen Grace, all right, and recently, too. But the amulet he was holding at arm's length by the chain was still glowing brightly. So brightly, in fact, that he could feel heat emanating from it. He was going to have to find a way to shut the thing off soon, or it was going to melt right through the metal chain.
"Watch him," Dean said to Cas, jerking his head in Frank's direction. Then he rushed out of the store, still holding the necklace away from him as if it was going to explode.
Sam and Cas and Frank were looking at each other in uncomfortable silence. Finally, Frank sighed. "What's this all about, you guys? Seriously. What's the matter?"
"Yes, what's this all about?" Barnabas piped up. "Why was that amulet of Ba'al glowing?"
"You know what that is?" Cas said, surprised.
"Sure I do," the proprietor responded. "I remember every sale I've ever made. Two men came in here, years ago. The one with the sandy beard and Southern accent bought that amulet of Ba'al, and the other fellow bought the statuette of Anat. Then he brought it back, saying he didn't want it any more. I told him I didn't give refunds, and he said he didn't care, he just wanted to be rid of it. So I put it back on the shelf, and there it sat, until that woman bought it this morning."
"What statue? What woman? What are you guys talking about?" Frank said, throwing his hands up in frustration.
"Why don't we ask her?" Dean said. He was holding Grace by the elbow, ushering her in through the front door of the shop.
"Oh, there you are!" Grace exclaimed, looking at her brother. "I went to the bar, but they said you left!"
"Ow! Geez!" Dean yelled. The minute he'd stepped outside, the amulet had stopped glowing. That was weird, but it was a relief, too. He'd watched it for a moment to make sure, but it was as if somebody had flipped the off switch on the thing. Phew.
He'd dropped it into his shirt pocket and was about to turn back and enter the store again when along had come Grace, traipsing down the street.
"Oh, hi, Dean," she'd said in a lilting tone. "What are you doing here?"
"Why don't you come in the store and find out?" he'd replied. And, unbelievably, she had accompanied him inside, without a word of protest.
But now that Dean was back inside the store, the amulet started to glow again! No way! He fished it out of his pocket.
Wait a minute.... Dean looked at Frank, then back at the amulet. He suddenly remembered another occasion when he'd reached into his pocket and been stung by the thing. That had been the night before they'd left for their trip. The night he and Sam had sat at that table in the bar....with Grace and Frank.
"Yeah, he's Ba'al," Dean announced, dangling the glowing amulet by the chain again. "This thing glows in his presence." He told Sam and Cas what he'd been thinking.
"Just like Grace, and the statue," Sam added, nodding vigorously. "It fits."
"Well, make it stop!" Dean exclaimed, looking at Frank.
"I have no idea what you guys are talking about," Frank said, shaking his head.
"Don't even try," Sam said, his voice hoarse with outrage. "I thought you two were my friends. Why don't you just tell us why you lied to me? Why did you steal the statue, Grace?"
"What statue?" she countered in a perplexed voice.
"You know, I'm starting to get a little mad, here," Frank told his sister. "These guys grabbed me and frisked me, and...."
"They frisked you?" Grace said. She pulled away from Dean and strode across the room, toward her brother. "Why?"
"I don't know, but I'm beginning to wish I had something more lethal on me than that pen that you gave me for my birthday," Frank grumbled. He reached into his pocket. The Winchesters and Cas tensed, but to their relief, all Grace's brother had in his hand was a black and gold pen.
Suddenly, the amulet glowed even brighter. Dean's eyes narrowed against the glare. What the - ?
Grace was staring at her brother. "That's not the pen I gave you, Frank." She peered closer. "Look. It's got a name on it: 'Sonya'."
Her brother looked at the pen more closely. "Aww, geez. You're right. She must have mine, then. I'll bet you we mixed them up, when we all got together to plan that Hallowe'en thing."
Now it was Sam's turn to be confused. "What Hallowe'en thing?"
"We were going to surprise you with a parody of monster movies, on the last night of class," Grace said with a frown. "I guess the surprise is spoiled, now."
Dean looked at Cas, who gave him a half-shrug. This was starting to resemble one of those situational comedies on television, the angel was thinking - those shows that were full of misunderstandings, and miscommunications. Was there any danger here, or not?
"OK. Whoa. Back the truck up," Dean said irritably. "We're gonna figure out whatever - " he gestured to them all with his free hand " - this is. But first, I've got to turn this necklace off somehow, or at least find the dimmer switch!"
Sam had an idea. "Hey, Dean. Take out that bag, the one the silver fish souvenir is in."
What the heck; it was worth a shot. Dean dug into his pants pocket, and took it out. He shook it open and put the necklace with the still-glowing amulet inside. The glow faded immediately, and after a moment, it stopped altogether.
Phew. "Good one, Sammy," Dean said to his brother, letting out a relieved breath. Now, he could focus on....whatever it was that was going on, here.
Sam was looking at Frank now, because something else had occurred to him: "Did you have that pen in your pocket at the bar, the night before we left?"
Frank thought for a moment. "Yeah, probably."
"Then it might not be Frank, it might be the pen," Sam remarked. "Sonya's another one of my students."
Cas looked at his friend with sympathy. He could see what was going on, here. Sam wanted so badly for Frank and Grace to be innocent of wrongdoing that he was grasping at straws. But there was one very big problem with that:
"What about the fact that we saw Grace buy the statue, and when she touched it, it glowed?" Cas pointed out.
"Hold on a minute," Grace protested. "Why do you guys keep talking about me, and some statue? What do you mean? I don't know anything about any statue."
"Yes, you do," Barnabas chimed in. They all turned to look at him. They'd almost forgotten he was here. "I sold it to you, earlier today."
"You must have me mixed up with somebody else," Grace insisted. "I've never seen you before, and I've never been in this store."
"Then, why does this woman look exactly like you?" Barnabas retorted. He brought the security camera footage up on his laptop.
Grace moved closer to the counter, astonished. That was her all right, buying a statue and putting it in her bag. She saw the glow, and she saw the way her eyes had looked there, for a second.
"Well?" Cas demanded. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
Nothing, that was what. Grace had nothing to say, because she had no recollection of the incident. None, whatsoever. She told the men this.
"Yeah. Right," Dean said sarcastically. "Then you won't mind we take a look in your bag, there."
Grace's heart sank a little. She'd rather they didn't, but.... She sighed, then handed it over to him. If that was the only way to prove she didn't have it, then, fine. But that still wouldn't explain how that camera footage was possible.
Dean rifled through the tote bag. "No statue," he confirmed. "Just this." He pulled out the stuffed penguin, looking at her quizzically.
Grace was embarrassed. "I didn't want you guys to know. But, since you don't seem to trust me, I guess I'd better tell you. I thought it would be a cute idea to post a few pictures on social media, with Ralph as the star. I was thinking of calling it: 'A Penguin In The Tropics'. I put him on a beach chair, I had him at the buffet looking at the seafood....you know, stuff like that." She looked at Frank. "I figured you would probably think it was silly, so I didn't tell you. I was going to make a souvenir photo album of our trip, when we got home."
Cas was smiling now. A Penguin In The Tropics. That was the same thought he'd had when he had first seen the incongruous stuffed animal in that claw machine.
Dean looked at his angel friend sharply, and Cas stopped smiling. But Grace was looking at Sam now.
"Seeing Sonya's pen reminded me: I got an email from Heather. She told me she thinks Sonya dropped out of the class. She was supposed to meet Heather for a drink, but she never showed up," Grace told him. "Heather tried texting her, but she never responded."
There was silence for a moment, and then the door of the shop burst open.
"I heard that," Sonya said angrily. "And now, I guess we're all going to have to have a little chat."
"Sonya?" Sam said, astonished.
"Not exactly," the young woman said, entering the store. She waved her hand, and the door closed and locked itself behind her. She moved forward, looking at Dean. "I'll take my brother's amulet, now."
"You're Anat?" Dean said.
She smiled thinly. "And everyone says it's your brother who's the smart one." Anat looked at Sam. "Then again, maybe not. I was able to fool you, wasn't I?" She gestured to Dean. "Come on. Hand it over."
"Yeah, I don't think so," Dean replied, and Anat rolled her eyes. "Fine. The hard way, then." She extended her arm and Dean went flying across the counter, knocking Barnabas' laptop onto the floor. Barnabas was gone. Business might be slow, but Barnabas wasn't.
Sam moved toward the goddess of war now, but Anat looked at him balefully. "Really, Sam? What are you going to do to me? You know the lore. Nothing can kill me. I'm indestructible."
"Is that true, Sam?" Frank asked his friend warily. He was scanning the store's shelves for anything that could be used as a potential weapon.
"Not necessarily," Sam replied slowly. He was thinking furiously. Sam knew that certain deities gained more power when given sacrifices, or "offerings". How much power did Anat have? What might slow her down?
Stalling for time, Sam asked her, "Where's your statue, and what do you want with the amulet?"
Anat snapped her fingers, and the statue appeared in her hand. It was wrapped in plastic, presumably to keep it from glowing. She nodded her head towards Grace, who Frank was trying to push behind him and Cas.
"I possessed my classmate so I could obtain the statue," Anat said smugly. "She made the mistake of telling me where it was. Don't blame Grace; I tricked her into telling me all about it, by pretending to be her friend."
"Why did you have to possess her to do it?" Cas said angrily, and Anat looked at him. "Because I could," she retorted. "And because, if you found out about it, she would be the one you suspected. I was going to have her steal the amulet from you too, but this works out even better." She gestured to Dean, who was slowly getting to his feet. "Let's have it."
"What do you want it for?" Dean countered.
Anat's eyes darkened, until they were almost black. "That amulet belonged to my brother Ba'al, just as this statue belongs to me. Now that I have the statue, once I take his amulet back from you, I will be able to summon Ba'al from the Afterlife." She laughed scornfully. "None of you would understand. Ba'al and I have been on this Earth, time and time again, for aeons. Ever since humans learned how to make fire, and take up weapons against one another. He is the god of fertility and life, and I am the goddess of war, and destruction. You can't have one without the other. But Ba'al was taken before his time this time, by a mere human. A hunter, like yourselves. So I'm going to bring him back, and I'm going to use the blood of hunters to do it. Poetic justice, if you will."
"I'm sorry you lost your brother," Sam said softly, trying to reason with her. "Really. I know what that's like. But believe me, it's a bad idea to try to bring him back this way. Dean and I have had some experience with that kind of thing, and it never goes well. There's always a price to be paid."
Anat let go of the statue, and it floated to an empty spot on the shelves in the middle aisle. "Of course there's a price to be paid," she agreed calmly. A big, sharp-looking knife appeared in her hand. "And you will be the ones who pay it. I'll need a few sacrifices for the summoning spell, anyway. And don't look at me like that. You humans bring these kinds of things on yourselves, by being so violent."
"Says the lady with the knife in her hand," Frank said dryly, and Anat put her free hand in the air. "I always thought you were kind of funny, Frank," she said, almost cheerfully. "Guess I was wrong." She turned her hand slowly, and Frank started to make choking sounds.
"Stop it!" Grace shouted, and Anat rolled her eyes. "Oh, all right," the war goddess said. "I can't concentrate with all that noise, anyway." She waved her hand again, and Frank stopped choking. But now, all four of the humans were bound with ropes. Sam and Dean were tied back-to-back, and Frank and Grace were hogtied on the floor in front of the counter.
"I wasn't taking any chances with you, Castiel," Anat said to the angel as she strode past him. There were golden handcuffs around Cas' wrists with sigils carved into them, and they were attached to chains that were hooked onto the metal shelving unit.
Cas glared at her as she walked over to where Sam and Dean were standing, but there was nothing he could do. There was nothing any of them could do.
Anat reached into Dean's pocket and pulled out the plastic bag with the amulet necklace in it. Then, she walked over to Frank. He had stashed her pen back in his shirt pocket. "I'll take that back, too," the goddess said, snatching the pen from him. It glowed brightly for a moment, until she dropped it in the bag.
"Occupational hazard," Anat said with a sarcastic smile. "Any gift given to a god can glow brightly when touched by them. My brother gifted me with my statue, and I gifted him with his amulet. The objects were stolen from us, years ago. We spent centuries trying to track them down. Believe it or not, even creatures like me have sentiment. I know you think of me as a monster, but I don't care. Eternity can be a very long time without a companion."
Anat carried the bag down the middle aisle, giving Cas a glance on her way by. He ignored her.
Sam was racking his brains again, going over every scrap of lore he'd ever read. There had to be something.... But he couldn't think of any weapon that would even slow Anat down, much less kill her. She was the goddess of war. Lack of sacrifices would never be a problem for her, unless they were going to achieve world peace in the next ten minutes. Yeah. Right. He wished.
Anat came back out to the centre of the space near the front of the store. She put the plastic bag down on the floor, along with a ceramic bowl she'd found on one of the shelves.
"Now, how does that spell go, again?" Anat mused aloud. She picked up the bowl. "Oh, yes. Blood of a human, blood of a hunter." She walked over to where Frank and Grace were. They'd been struggling with their bonds, but getting nowhere.
Anat brandished the knife, smiling down at Grace. "Oh, look. One-stop shopping." The goddess bent down, putting the knife to Grace's throat. "Don't take this personally."
"No, don't!" Frank pleaded. "Take mine, instead."
"I've killed way more monsters than those guys have," Dean said loudly.
"My blood is sanctified," Cas piped up. "It's much more valuable."
Anat smirked. She straightened up from her crouch, looking from Cas to Dean, and then back again. "How noble. And you're not wrong, either of you. I love it when sacrifices are so....sacrificial." She walked slowly over to Sam. "I didn't hear you say anything, 'Professor'. Still trying to think of a way to kill me?"
"No," Sam said through gritted teeth. "There's no way to kill the goddess of war; not unless total peace can be achieved."
"That's right," Anat said happily, running the knife lightly up and down Sam's arm. "And that will never, ever happen. You could wait an eternity. So, in the meantime...."
"Wait!" Dean barked, but Anat was enjoying the looks of fear on their faces. She pressed down harder with the knife.
Gods....eternity.... Sam's mouth dropped open. Hold on, a minute. He'd just had an idea. It was a crazy one; a long shot. But it was the only shot they had.
"Kali, 'aage aao'," Sam said loudly. "Come forth."
Everybody was staring at him, and Anat was smirking again. "Kali?" she scoffed. "The goddess, Kali? Nice try. She and I are sister goddesses. We're practically one and the same. But, go ahead. Call her. I doubt she'll show up, but you just go right ahead. I'll wait....about ten seconds."
"Come forth, Kali," Sam said again. "You owe us a favour, remember?"
It suddenly occurred to Dean what Sam was doing, and Dean nodded. He had no idea if it was going to work, but it was brilliant. "We saved you from being killed by Lucifer, Kali," Dean added. "You said you owed us one. Well, we're collecting."
Nothing. "I'll give you points for originality, but....time's up," Anat said, brandishing the knife again.
CRACK! There was a flash of bright blue lightning, and Kali appeared. She waved one of her fingers, and the knife Anat was holding vanished.
"They're right," Kali acknowledged, nodding in Sam and Dean's direction. The ropes that had been binding them fell to the floor. "I did owe them a favour. Debt repaid. I will take Anat with me."
"Where?" Cas said sharply. Kali frowned, but an instant later, his manacles disappeared, too.
"That is none of your concern, Castiel," Kali said coolly. "You should know better than to ask that. Oh, and the next time you see Gabriel, tell him.... Oh, never mind."
Cas and the Winchesters exchanged glances. Frank and Grace's bindings fell to the floor, and Frank helped his sister to stand.
"Gabriel is dead, Kali," Cas said in a subdued tone.
Kali looked at him. "Is he?" she said, a small smile playing on her lips. Then, she and Anat vanished.
Cas stood there, stunned by what Kali had said about Gabriel. Did she know something they didn't, or had she merely been teasing them? In any event, everyone was safe and sound, and that was the important thing, for the moment.
Dean gave his angel friend a half-shrug as Grace and Frank moved over to where the men were standing. Dean recognized that look on Cas' face. When it came to Gabriel, who knew? The archangel had died almost as many times as they had, and yet, here they were.
But that was something they could talk about later. As Cas was asking Grace and Frank if they had any injuries, Sam was leading the shop owner by the arm to the front of the store. Presumably, he'd been hiding in the back this whole time.
"What aren't you telling us?" Sam demanded.
Barnabas let out a slow, shaky breath. "I'm sorry. It's my fault."
"What do you mean?" Dean asked him.
"I summoned Anat," the shopkeeper said in a subdued tone. "I had no idea what I was doing. When that guy brought the statue back and I put it on the shelf for re-sale, I started having bad dreams. She was shouting at me, yelling to be let out. Night after night, I would toss and turn. Then, she started pounding on the walls. After waking up with a migraine one too many times, I couldn't take it any more. I went to see one of my vendors who practices the occult, and he gave me a basic exorcism spell. But, it backfired. I said the incantation over the figurine, and Anat suddenly appeared, here in the store! She said she would spare my life in gratitude for my having brought her back. Then she asked me about the amulet, but I told her I had no idea what had become of it. And then, she vanished."
"That's what happens when you mess around with that kind of stuff," Dean said sternly, and Barnabas looked sheepish.
"You're right," the store owner said. "I should have known better. I'll never do anything like that again, I promise."
"Was that the only eerie thing that ever happened here in the shop?" Cas piped up. He was thinking about Zach's story. "Have you ever had any of the dolls or stuffed toys speak, for instance?"
Barnabas looked at him incredulously. "No," he said, as if that had been the strangest thing he'd ever heard.
Grace cleared her throat. "Oh, so you just told us that you summoned the goddess of war to come out of a statue, but a talking toy is too weird for you?" she said dryly.
Dean smirked. He was glad that Frank and Grace weren't the bad guys, after all. He was thinking about what Sam had said about the siblings. Maybe the brother and sister were just socially awkward. Dean could understand that. It was hard for hunters to make friends. He and Sam were lucky that they had so many friends and extended family members. It wouldn't hurt for them to include Frank and Grace in their circle of friends.
Sam bent down to the floor where Anat had placed the bag containing her statue, the pen, and the amulet. Somewhat strangely, the pen and the figurine were gone, but the amulet necklace was still there. The younger Winchester picked it up and tossed it to Dean, who looked at it for a moment, then slipped it back around his neck.
"OK, let's go," Dean said to the others. He looked at Barnabas. "Well, it's been....interesting. Remember what I said: no more hoodoo."
"I promise," Barnabas said again, holding up his hand.
"Cross your heart, and hope not to die?" Frank quipped.
"You're funny," the shopkeeper remarked, and Grace rolled her eyes. "Please, don't encourage him," Frank's sister said.
The men all smiled, even Frank. A moment later, the five of them exited the store.
It had been too late at night to have Zach fly them back, so the brothers and Cas accompanied Frank and Grace back to the hotel where the brother and sister had been staying. Sam and Dean were able to get a room for themselves to spend the night. Sam called Zach, who advised he could pick them up the next morning.
The five of them went to the hotel bar for a drink, and some snacks for the four humans.
"I wonder what would have happened if she'd been able to summon her brother," Frank mused. He lifted his beer bottle in salute to Sam and Dean. "You guys really saved our bacon. Thanks a lot."
"I'm sorry we suspected the both of you," Cas said with a frown.
"That's OK; under the circumstances, I would have suspected us, too," Grace said, picking up a carrot stick from the vegetable platter Sam had ordered.
"You know what I wonder?" Sam said with a thoughtful expression. "Who was the hunter who killed Ba'al, and how did he - " Sam inclined his head to Grace in acknowledgement " - or she - do it?"
No one had an answer for that. They chatted companionably for a while, and then, Frank yawned widely.
"It's been a long, ridiculous day," Grace's brother said, shrugging apologetically. "I think I'm gonna call it." He looked at Grace. "Are you coming with, or staying?"
She put her empty glass down on the table. "I'm coming."
Sam and Dean exchanged glances, and Dean gave his brother a slight nod. "Do you want to come back to the Bahamas with us?" Sam asked the brother and sister. "We feel kind of bad that you left on our account."
"Really? Do you mean it?" Grace said. Her face broke into a grin. She looked at her brother. "How about it? I saw some fun activities in the brochure, there."
"Like what?" Frank said warily.
"All kinds of things," Grace replied pertly. "Pool Bingo, horseback riding, ballroom dancing, cooking classes...."
Cas perked up. "All of those sound wonderful!" he enthused.
Dean looked at his angel friend, trying not to roll his eyes. Aww, geez. What had they gotten themselves into? Still, he guessed they sort of owed the brother and sister. "I could ride a horse," he said casually, nodding. "How about it, Sammy? You always wanted to be a Texas Ranger, didn't you?"
Sam grinned. "Sounds like fun," he agreed.
Frank and Grace said goodnight to the men, and an hour or so later, the brothers and Cas also left the bar, calling it a night.
Zach had arranged for one of his pilot friends to accompany him to the airfield in Jamaica, once Sam had told the young man that they had two more passengers. Delilah wasn't big enough to carry five customers, but Zach's buddy would bring his own island plane to take the others, he'd advised Sam.
"I'll take these guys," Zach said to his friend, gesturing to Sam and Dean. "And you can take these two." He pointed to Cas and Frank.
"What about me?" Grace asked the young pilot.
Zach eyed her. "What do you go?" he inquired.
"What do I....what?" she said, perplexed.
"We have a weight limit, per plane," the other pilot advised her. Then he opened his mouth to speak again, and Grace frowned. "I'd be very, very careful about what you say next, if I were you," she cautioned him.
"OK, you can come with me," he said quickly, and her companions smiled.
Another mystery was solved on the Winchesters' flight back to the Bahamas. "Oh, hey, guess what?" Zach said to the brothers. "I was watching TV last night, and I saw that guy I was telling you about."
"Guy?" Dean echoed, puzzled.
"Yeah. That guy," Zach said again, and Sam and Dean exchanged glances. Because they didn't have the extra passenger this time, the brothers were sitting in the back two seats. Dean was still a little queasy, but he trusted Zach well enough now, and he felt better sitting next to Sam.
"Oh. Well, that clears that up," Sam said with a grin.
"The guy," Zach said insistently. "With the talking teddy bear. 'Ted'. Remember?"
Of course. "You saw him on TV?" Sam responded.
"Yeah. He was on that talent show. You know, the one where they have all those variety acts, competing for a million dollars? Turns out, he really is a ventriloquist!" Zach exclaimed. "Dude's got talent!"
Sam and Dean looked at each other again. Well, that explained that, then. They spent so much time dealing with supernatural stuff it was easy to forget that sometimes there was a logical explanation for things.
Once the five of them were back at the resort in the Bahamas, Grace was leafing through the brochure of activities as her brother and the Winchesters filled up their plates at the buffet. Dean had been relieved to see that the power was back on. Bacon was bacon, but he had to admit that it was better when it was warm.
"So, we're in agreement? We're going horseback riding?" Grace said to the others. She looked at Dean's heaping plate. "Oh, that looks good. Do you mind?"
She reached across the table and took a couple of bacon strips from the pile, putting them on her own plate. Sam and Cas looked at each other, stricken. Nobody took food off Dean's plate. No one.
"I've never ridden a horse, before," Grace chattered on, seemingly oblivious to Dean's glare. "I just thought it might be something different to do."
"You've never ridden a horse before?" Sam said quickly, trying to distract his brother. "We have. Remember, Dean?" He lowered his voice. "When Cas sent us back to the Old West. That's a great story."
"Sounds like it," Frank said, taking a drink from his coffee cup. "You'll have to tell us about it, sometime." He looked at Cas. "Have you ever ridden a horse?"
Cas smiled. "Of course I have. And a camel, and a donkey, and an elephant...."
"One mammal at a time, there, big guy," Dean said to his friend, grinning. Then Dean dug in to his breakfast, and Sam let out a relieved breath. Crisis averted. He'd better have a little chat with Grace in the future, though. They were all getting along great, and Sam wanted things to stay that way.
After breakfast, when the five of them got to the paddock where the horses were kept, Grace looked up at the animals apprehensively. "I didn't know they'd be so....big," she said nervously.
"Here; let me help you," the activities coordinator said to her. He bent over beside one of the horses and cupped his hands together. Grace stared at him uncomprehendingly.
"He wants you to step on his hands," Cas said to her. He was patting his own horse, preparing to step up and into the saddle. "Then, he will boost you up so that you can sit on the horse."
Oh. Okie-dokie, Grace thought. She stepped on the man's hands, and he lifted her up. She was trying to get her leg up and over the saddle, like she'd seen Sam and Dean do, but.... "I'm stuck," she said in a muffled voice.
"Look at that! She's got T-Rex legs!" Dean exclaimed gleefully. "Hey, Sammy, you should get a picture, and post it online!" Then he muttered something about stealing food off his plate, and Sam suppressed a laugh.
Frank and Cas hopped down from their horses and went over to help her. Eventually, after some pushing and pulling, they were able to maneuver Grace so that she was sitting upright on her horse.
"Thank you," she said in a subdued tone. How humiliating. And then it got even worse when Cas and her brother returned to their horses and hoisted themselves up into the saddles as if it were nothing.
Sam and Dean were both trying not to laugh out loud. "You okay, there, Annie Oakley?" Sam teased her.
"OK; we're going to go for a ride around the perimeter of the resort, and then we'll cut back along the beach," the coordinator said, mounting his own horse. "Follow me."
The men started off, but Grace's horse just stood there. "Ummm....how do you start this thing?" she called out to them.
"Put the key in the ignition," Dean wisecracked.
"Nudge its ribs gently, with the heels of your feet," Cas told her over his shoulder, and she glared at his retreating back. "Maybe I could, if I was six feet tall, like you guys," she retorted. "My feet barely reach the stirrups!"
The activities coordinator halted his horse, turning it around. "Ease up on the reins. He knows our usual path. He should follow us." he advised.
Grace did as he suggested, and finally, her horse started to move.
The others were waiting for her, and Frank, Dean and Sam were all smirking. Grace sighed.
"Not exactly ready for the rodeo, are you?" Dean asked her.
Grace gave him a baleful look, but she had to admit, she could kind of see the humour. "Maybe next time, I'll bring a stepladder," she quipped.
"Next time, we'lll just get you a pony, instead," Frank chipped in.
Grace sighed again. Oh, well. At least she was providing them with some cheap entertainment.
Their ride concluded without further incident, and Frank helped his sister down from her horse at the end of it. Then, all five of them walked back to the resort hotel.
"How about if we hang around the pool, for a while?" Frank suggested. "I don't feel like I have enough of a tan, yet. I'll spring for the drinks."
"Uhhh....it's an all-inclusive resort, Frank," Sam pointed out.
"I know," Grace's brother said with a toothy grin. "Let's all get changed into our bathing suits, and we'll meet back at the pool," he added.
Cas began to smile. He was happy to have another opportunity to wear his bathing costume. But he was glancing nervously at Grace now. Would she be wearing that very small bathing suit, again?
But when they reconvened at the pool, Grace was wearing shorts and a tee shirt. She smiled when she saw what Cas was wearing. "Cool," she remarked, nodding approvingly. "The last time I went to the hair stylist, I was looking through one of those fashion magazines, and they said that vintage bathing costumes are coming back."
Cas smiled widely, looking at Dean. "They're coming back, Dean," the angel said, with an odd mixture of delight and smugness.
"Bingo! Pool Bingo!" one of the activities coordinators sang out. He stopped beside their group. "Do any of you want to play?"
"I will," Grace replied.
The young man gave her a card, and a handful of plastic chips to mark the numbers.
Frank got up and went to the bar, bringing back a round of drinks. He and Sam started talking about Garth, and how he might be faring with the remainder of the students in the class.
The Bingo game started, and Dean edged his chair closer to where Grace was sitting. He waited until she needed just one more number on her card, and then he said, "I'm sorry we thought you were Anat."
"Huh? What?" Grace said. She was concentrating on listening out for the next number. She had no idea what the prize was for winning, and she didn't even care. She had never won anything.
"I said I was sorry," Dean repeated.
"Yeah, yeah. OK. I heard you," she said to him. "What was that number he just called out? B13, or B15?"
"I'm pretty sure it was B15," Dean said innocently.
"Bingo!" Grace yelled excitedly.
The activities coordinator had been strolling around the pool, and he called out, "We have a possible Bingo! Hold your cards, everybody!" Then he hurried over to where Grace was sitting, and loudly announced the numbers she had marked on her card.
"That is an incorrect Bingo," the caller said cheerfully. "You know what happens next."
"No, what happens next?" Grace asked, puzzled.
"Pool! Pool! Pool! Pool!" everybody started to chant, and Grace looked around at them, open-mouthed. Oh, geez.
"Sorry, but those are the rules of Pool Bingo," the young activities coordinator told her, shrugging. "If you call out an incorrect Bingo, you go in the pool. We give you one chance to go in voluntarily."
Dean was laughing now, and Grace glared at him. "That's what happens when you take food off my plate," he told her.
Grace let out a breath. Oh, well. It was a hot day, and she could run upstairs and change, after. "Just so you know, this isn't over," she said, pointing a finger at Dean. Then she slipped out of her sandals, and walked to the shallow end of the pool. She got in, splashing around a bit as all of the people by the poolside clapped and cheered.
She climbed up the little stairs and came back over to where the men were sitting. "I'm so tempted to just shake myself all over you, like the family dog," Grace said to Dean, grabbing the towel that a smirking Frank handed to her. "But instead, I'll just go and change into dry clothes." She looked at Cas. "Are we still on for that cooking class?"
"Yes," the angel confirmed with a smile. "I'll see you there."
Grace walked away, and Frank drained his beer. "Well, I think I'll go take a walk on the beach," he said, rising from his chair. He glanced after his sister, but she was already out of sight. "I saw a woman there when we were on our horseback ride whose acquaintance I'd like to make, if you know what I mean. See you guys later."
Frank left, and the brothers were looking at Cas now. "Cooking class, huh?" Sam said to their friend with a grin.
Cas nodded earnestly. "Yes. I've decided that I want to make the Thanksgiving meal, this year. In fact, I'd better go to my room and change clothing for the class."
"Just make sure you don't cut yourself with one of those big chopping knives," Dean said, sitting back in his chair. "You know, since your blood is so much more valuable than ours."
Their angel friend looked at Dean blankly for a moment, and then he realized: Dean was referring to the comment that Castiel had made to Anat, back at that shop in Jamaica, when she had been threatening to cut his human friends.
"I only said that to draw her focus away from you," Cas replied, and the brothers nodded. They knew that, of course. Cas went on: "The fact that the statement is true has no relevance."
He got up from his chair and walked away from the brothers, who were silent for a moment. Then, Sam laughed. "I guess he's got us, there," he said, lifting his beer bottle in salute to their friend.
Dean nodded. Yeah, he guessed so, too. But that was okay. Might as well let Cas have the last word, for once. He grabbed his beer bottle and clinked it against Sam's. "So, what do you want to do now?" he asked his brother.
A couple of days later, Sam and Dean were sitting on the beach, watching as the sun set slowly across the water.
"I wonder if we should go back to Oliver's and persuade him to let us talk to Bobby, again," Sam mused aloud.
Dean nodded, a thoughtful expression on his face. Maybe they should. Although it seemed like the case had pretty much solved itself, he had questions running around in his head. Had Bobby sent them to that store to get the statue of Anat because their friend had known what could happen if she got out? Dean touched the amulet necklace. Was Ba'al in there, somewhere? Well, if he was, he was going to stay there. At least the amulet wasn't glowing any more. Yeah, he and Sam could definitely use a few more answers to the questions they both had. But that could wait until they got back. Right now, he just wanted to enjoy the rest of their vacation.
"I can't believe tomorrow's our last day here," Sam said, shaking his head slowly. "The summer's just flown by."
"That's because we've been having such a good time," Dean said softly. "When's the last time we ever did anything like this? Never, that's when. And you know what, Sam? We freakin' deserved it. No matter what happens to us in the future, nobody can ever take this away from us. This, right here. You and me. And Cas. And, yeah, Frank and Grace, too. I'm proud of us, Sammy. We make a difference."
The brothers were quiet for a moment, letting that sink in. Yes, they did. They did make a difference.
Finally, Sam broke the silence. "Since it's our last day tomorrow, why don't you decide what we should do? Cas said that Grace talked him and Frank into this thing called 'Save The Manatees'. It's an ecological diving adventure."
"Seriously?" Dean asked his brother, raising an eyebrow.
"Seriously," Sam echoed. "Only, Frank told me that Cas heard it as 'Save humanity'. He got that squinty angel look he has and said 'Save humanity? What's the mission?' Frank does a pretty good Cas imitation, too. Gravelly voice, and everything. It was really funny."
The brothers looked at each other, and then they burst out laughing. "'Save humanity'," Dean chortled. "That's good."
The two of them sat there in companionable silence for a few more minutes, and then Sam said, "Thanks for doing this, Dean. Thanks a lot. This has been the best time I've ever had."
Dean's throat closed up. "Me too, Sammy," he said around the lump that had formed there. "Me, too. Come on; let's go get a drink."
They got up from the beach chairs they'd been sitting in, and then Dean did something that surprised his younger brother. He pulled Sam in for a hug.
Sam smiled, returning the embrace. Dean wasn't usually a very demonstrative guy. That was why his hugs were so meaningful, when they occurred.
"I love you, Dean," Sam said impulsively.
Dean let go of him. "See, now, you just made it weird," he said, but Sam knew his brother was joking. That was Dean's way.
"Come on; let's go get that drink," Sam said, smiling again. Dean smiled back.
They headed up the beach, toward the hotel.
- THE END. -
“What do you think, SPN Family? Did you enjoy picturing Sam and Dean on their dream holiday? How about Cas in that bathing costume?
Have you ever kept a holiday journal, or done a vacation vlog? What did you call it?
What might Grace do to Dean, in retaliation? What would YOU do?
I hope you’ve enjoyed Team Free Will’s Caribbean adventure, and the events that led up to it. As always, I welcome any Comments or feedback you might have. What was your favourite part? What would you like to see the boys tackle in the future?
Thanks for coming on this journey with me, fellow SPN Family members! There will be further adventures down the road for Team Free Will and friends, including some Halowe’en hijinks, and an unexpected guest for Thanksgiving. What do you say we meet back here again late in October, and see what the boys are up to?”
Check out my other Supernatural original stories on the WFB Writers’ Page, including Christmas and Valentine's Day stories, and a conversation between Castiel and Chuck that was desperately needed but never aired in canon! Happy reading!
Teddy Bear Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay
Swimming Pool Image by teresa cotrim from Pixabay