have with this story. Nothing is going right and I'm sorry this is both so late and without art. Hopefully I will be able to link the fabulous art tomorrow, but tonight LJ won't let me browse my computer files to upload in the posting box and neither will my scrapbook. That's the only way I know how to do it, so...it will be with the fic as soon as possible.
Title: Death by Unicorn
Genre: Pretty sure it's gen, with maybe a tiny bit of het.
Summary: Sam spots a unicorn while on a school trip to Busch Gardens. Now he's just got to convince his brother.
Characters: Sam, Dean, OFCs, OMECs(other mythological equine characters).
Warnings/Spoilers: Some violence of a unicorn related nature. No spoilers.
A/N: I'd like to give huge props to my artist just_ruth for coming up with the awesome cover art from just the summary.
"Oh, my God."
The words are softly spoken, but their awed reverence is clearly audible in the crowded car. Sam turns from where he’s pressed against the glass, tearing his gaze from the animals below to look at the girl standing next to him.
“What do you see?” Sam’s gotten an eyeful of giraffes and gazelles and if Miriam’s spotted something rating that tone, he wants a look at it. She’s staring, transfixed, at the herd of zebras milling on the grassland and Sam follows her line of sight until he sees it too.
“Oh, my God.” It takes all his willpower to twist his head until he’s staring back at his classmate. A further glance around the train car that’s carrying them through the animals’ enclosure clues him in to the reaction of the rest of the class. The kids on the far side of the car aren’t affected, laughing and pointing out animals in the distance. Some on his side are staring intently and others don’t seem to see the creature at all. Which they shouldn’t. Because it doesn’t exist. Miriam’s camera is hanging uselessly from her wrist and Sam shakes her arm until he gets her attention. She blinks slowly at him, like she’s just woken up.
“What?” she asks irritably.
“Take pictures,” Sam says, gesturing out the window. “So we know we really saw it.”
“Yeah, okay.” Miriam nods, her dark eyes a little dazed. She’d been Sam’s partner at the tenth grade science fair last month and he can almost see the gears spinning in her head as she begins snapping photos. “Next year maybe our project can be on how some myths are actually real.”
Sam just shrugs. “Maybe.” Dad’s letting him finish out his sophomore year here in Tampa with Dean but he’s pretty sure they’ll be heading out as soon as the semester ends. Getting another year at the same school would require a direct commandment from God that his father would probably just ignore.
The tram’s moving on and Miriam moves down the car, pushing through to the windows to get every last shot she can. The zebra herd and its strange visitor are traveling along with them, like they’re being pulled by the power of Sam’s mind.
“Come on,” he whispers, willing the zebras to keep moving. If he could, he’d stop the tram and find a way to jump off, wild animals notwithstanding. He knows how to drop and roll, the chances of major injury are unlikely if he doesn’t get trampled.
The tram gets to the far station way too soon for Sam’s liking and as it glides to a stop the zebras turn and thunder back the way they came. Miriam and Sam stay glued to the windows until a heavy tap on their shoulders turns them around.
“Come on, you two. People are waiting for us to get off so they can get on board. Don’t make me use my chaperone voice.”
“We’re coming, Mrs. McNally.” Miriam grins up at the science teacher. “Just getting some ideas for next year’s science fair.”
“Really.” The teacher arches an eyebrow as she fingers a white, braided necklace. “Well, based on your project this year, I, for one, can’t wait.” She jerks her head toward the door and puts on a mock angry expression. “Out.”
Miriam hands Sam the camera as they join the throng of teenagers heading down the platform stairs. There’s another long line for a jumbo coaster in their near future and as Sam scrolls through the pictures, screaming through corkscrews is the furthest thing from his mind. It’s there in every shot and everything Sam’s ever learned says it shouldn’t be possible. He’s going to get in trouble for ditching his group, but he’s got to get these pictures to Dean.
“Oh, my God.” The words are softly spoken, but the awed reverence in the voice is somehow clearly audible over the jabber of voices ordering food.
Dean doesn’t turn but he bends further over the freezer he’s digging into for two Creamsicles and a sundae cup, khakis pulling tight across his backside. His shirt rides up, exposing a strip of tanned skin and soft sighs breeze along the front of his booth. When Sam announced that his class was taking a field trip to Busch Gardens, the first thing Dean did was snag a job there. Weird shit happened in Florida and this place got a thorough going over before Sam ever walked through the overpriced turnstiles.
The line of women waiting for ice cream snakes across the walk, blocking traffic, but all efforts to direct the customers to other booths result in abject failure. Word of Dean has gotten around and every age group over puberty is well represented. Dean serves his ice cream with a smile and a flirty twinkle no matter if the women are fifteen, fifty or eighty and his pockets are full of phone numbers that come folded in dollar bills. He hands the Creamsicles and sundae over to a trio of giggling thirteen year old girls who blush and scurry away when he calls them “sweethearts” before turning to the next person in line.
“What can I do for you?” he asks, wiping a glob of melted ice cream off the counter.
“Oh, the ways I could answer that question.”
Dean shivers as the voice hits him right in the libido. He carefully drops the rag back in its bucket before looking up, because there’s no way the speaker could possibly match the fire hot promise in the words. When he finally does lift his head he’s greeted by a curly mane of hair so pale it’s practically white framing the most perfect face he’s ever seen. The girl’s lips curl up in an expression that exactly matches Dean’s own.
“But I’ll start with…I’d like a cherry rocket pop, please.”
Dean snorts out a laugh and raises his eyebrows. “Coming right up,” he replies and he’s having a hard time keeping something from coming up, because that voice speaking those words is insinuating something way less innocent than ice cream. The rocket pops are in the freezer below the counter so he doesn’t have to turn, but she’d probably gotten an eyeful of his assets when he’d gone searching for the Creamsicles.
“Thanks,” she purrs as he hands over the rocket pop. Dean starts as her hand brushes his skin and grins as she folds a business card into a five dollar bill. “Keep the change,” she throws over her shoulder as she turns away. Dean doesn’t take his eyes off of her as she moves gracefully along the concourse until a familiar voice, loud with familiar anger, erupts from the back of the line.
“Look, ma’am, I don’t want any ice cream, I just need to talk to my brother. Ow!”
Dean sighs and reluctantly peers toward the back of the crowd where Sam is hopping on one leg. It looks like Grandma Sanders, in line for about the twentieth time today, whacked his little brother on the shin with her cane for trying to cut the line. He goes back to serving his customers with a little smile. Sam can wait his turn just like everybody else.
The line generally moves quickly, but because Sam’s waiting Dean spends a little extra time chatting with each besotted female he serves. When Sam finally gets to the counter he thrusts a camera at his brother, nostrils flaring in irritation.
Dean ignores the camera and grins at the girl by Sam’s side. “What can I get you?”
“Just look at the pictures, Dean. It’s important!”
Dean stares at his brother blandly. “Do I know you?”
Sam’s lips compress and his forehead furrows. Dean keeps his face straight though he wants nothing more than to burst into laughter. Sammy’s annoyed face is the funniest thing ever.
“Sorry.” Dean purses his lips and shakes his head. “Still can’t place you. Here,” Dean’s still inwardly amused at Sam’s furious expression, but he hands over the business card sexy voice had given him. “Meet me here at seven and we’ll see if we can’t figure out where you think you know me from.”
Sam studies the card for a moment, then shows it to his companion, whose eyes widen in surprise. “Sure,” Sam says, thoughtful now instead of annoyed. “We’ll see you there.”
“We?” Dean parrots back, but Sam and the girl are being dragged away by a stern faced woman who’s giving them an earful about ditching their class. Gleefully positive that Sam’s even more pissed off now, Dean whistles as he goes back to peddling ice cream.
Sam arrives first, irritation in full bloom. He sits in a booth running through the pictures over and over until Miriam shows up and drops down beside him.
“Hey,” Sam says, sliding the camera across the table. “Sorry I didn’t get this back to you before.”
“It’s okay,” Miriam replies with a shrug. “Not your fault Mrs. McNally kept us separated for the rest of the day. It’s still there right? We weren’t hallucinating?”
“Clear as day in every shot.” Sam’s mouth screws up a little. “Now we’ve just got to get Dean to look at them.”
“What was up with him pretending not to know you back at the park?”
“Uh,” Sam flushes avoiding Miriam’s gaze. “I, um…I kind of made him promise to do that if we ran into each other in while I was there.”
“Well, if he’s anywhere near as embarrassing as my big sister, I don’t really blame you. I swear she gets off on treating me like an idiot in front of my friends.”
“Exactly,” Sam replies, but there’s no heat behind it. He’s torn between being pissed at his brother and feeling like he got exactly what he deserved for extracting that promise from him in the first place.
“Wow,” Miriam says, squinting as she stares around the diner. “Wish I’d brought my sunglasses.”
Sam twists in his seat, eyes under the same assault as Miriam’s. The diner is painted in the hues of the rainbow, every color of the spectrum brilliant and glittering along the walls, floors and tables. “Me too,” he says, unable to manage a lot of interest. His family has stayed in motel rooms that make the riot of color here look positively sedate.
The bell over the door jangles loudly and Dean saunters in. Sam watches his brother scan the diner in seeming disinterest, then head for their table. When Dean doesn’t even break stride as he reaches them, Sam’s had enough.
“Dean,” he snips, stopping Dean in his tracks. Dean stares at Sam blankly for a moment then allows his face to fall into a parody of recognition.
“Sammy?” he asks hesitantly. “Sammy Winchester? Oh, my God! I knew I recognized you from somewhere! You’re my pain in the ass little brother!”
“Bite me,” Sam mutters, sharing a long suffering bitchface with Miriam.
“And you’re Miriam, right? I remember you from the science fair thing.” Dean drops into one of the chairs across the table and waves the waitress over. She’s at the table, flirty smile firmly in place in record time and Miriam and Sam exchange another look. She’d never even glanced their way until Dean showed up.
“What’ll you have?” she simpers to Dean, ignoring the fact that there are other customers at the table.
Dean nods at Miriam. “Ladies first, Kristy” he says genially scoping out her name tag, and the waitress turns a sour look toward the younger woman.
Miriam smiles sweetly at Dean and asks for a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich with fries and a coke. When the waitress tries to take Dean’s order next, he merely raises an eyebrow and nods at his brother. Sam gets the chicken salad sandwich with chips and Sprite and the waitress turns her attention back to Dean with a put upon sigh.
“Are you ready to order now, hon?”
“Sure am, darlin’.” Dean’s flirty smile brings hers right back. “I’d like the bacon cheddar burger well done, extra onion, a side of onion rings, a Michelob and your phone number.”
“You got it.”
Dean watches her hips swing all the way to the counter before turning his attention back to Sam. “So?”
Sam slides the camera across the table silently and waits. Dean stares at the picture on the viewfinder for a long moment before scanning through the rest of their shots.
“Well?” Sam asks impatiently when Dean sends the camera back his way.
“Well, those are some really black and white zebras? I gotta say I’m not seeing any reason for you to have broken radio silence today and ditched your ‘Dean’s got cooties’ act.”
Miriam giggles a little at that, but Sam just glares. “Cut the crap, Dean. I know you’re pissed, but come on. They’re not even supposed to exist and there one is, big as life. Even you have to admit we’re onto something even Dad doesn’t know about.”
Dean sighs and rolls his eyes. “Let me see them again.” This time he studies each picture closely, but when he’s done he shakes his head. “Whatever you’re going on about, I don’t see it.”
Sam scowls and grabs the camera away from his brother, flipping through the frames until he finds the shot with the biggest, clearest shot of the mythical creature. “Here,” he says, slamming his finger down on the screen so hard it leaves a smudge. “Tell me you don’t see this.”
Dean rubs at his eyes for a moment, studying the picture for a few long moments before shaking his head. “Sam…”
“You really don’t see it.” Miriam’s more perplexed than angry and she lays a calming hand on Sam’s arm. The waitress picks that moment to return with their drinks, and Miriam picks up the camera and points the screen in her direction. “What do you think of this picture?”
Kristy empties her tray before leaning down and squinting at the picture. “Cool zebras,” she says without much enthusiasm, already moving toward the next table.
“Alright, Sammy,” Dean says, taking a gulp of his beer. “What the hell do you think you see that I don’t?”
Sam pulls the business card Dean had given him out of his pocket and hands it to his brother. “Where did you get this?”
“A really hot chick gave it to me. Why?”
“Because I want you to remember that you gave it to me after I tried to show you the pictures.”
“Okay. I’ll remember. Now would you just spit it out?”
Sam takes a deep breath. Lets it back out. “There’s a unicorn in the picture.”
Dean just lifts an eyebrow, staring at the card. “So I gave you a card for the Unicorn Diner while you were trying to show me a picture of a unicorn.” He sighs heavily. “What are the chances?”
“It’s us, Dean.”
“Point to you, Sammy. So you both see it?” They nod silently and Dean shakes his head in confusion. “Then why…oh.” His eyes flick back and forth between Sam and Miriam. “So…when you two were doing your science project on the birds and the bees…”
“It was the mating habits of jellyfish,” Sam snaps.
“Yeah, big difference there, Francis. So, while you were researching hot, glowing jellyfish porn, you didn’t, you know, feel the urge to have any kind of sex?” Sam and Miriam both pink up to the tips of their ears and look away, suddenly awkward.
“That’s none of your business, Dean,” Sam retorts, anger warring with his embarrassment.
Miriam looks Dean straight in the eye. “No,” she says softly. “Sam just turned sixteen and I’m not there for another two months. We…we’re just not ready.”
Dean holds Miriam’s gaze for a few seconds and then gives her one of his rare real smiles. “Cool. I can respect that. Now,” he goes on, turning his attention to his brother, “what did this thing look like?”
“Like a big white horse with a horn,” Sam says waving his hand and pointing at something behind his brother’s head. “Kind of like that.”
Dean turns to stare at the mural taking up the one wall of the diner that’s not covered with reds, greens, yellows, blues, indigoes and violets. Instead it holds a life size painting of a unicorn, settled on the ground with its head in the lap of a white robed female. Dean’s eyes narrow. “Son of a bitch,” he mutters jumping to his feet and stalking over to peer closely at the woman. Sam and Miriam hurriedly move to follow him, almost knocking over Kristy as she returns with their food.
“Whoah!” Kristy exclaims, managing to set the try on the table before the entire contents end up on the floor. “Everything okay?”
“Sure is.” Dean’s back at the table, motioning the others to retake their seats. “Just wanted a look at that amazing mural back there.”
“Really?” Kristy’s eyeing Dean with a little less lust in her gaze.
“Yeah, it’s a real work of art. Who’s the model for the woman? Does she work here?”
“Not that I’ve ever seen. Maybe she used to, though. I’ve only been here a few months and this place has been here forever.”
“That’s hard to believe,” Sam interjects. “Because it looks brand new.”
“Rumor is, it’s magic,” Kristy whispers, eyes wide. Then she giggles at the look on their faces. “Gotcha! They just have the world’s best maintenance crew.” She finishes unloading the tray and promises to be right back with refills on their drinks.
“What did you see?” Sam asks as soon as she’s out of earshot.
“The girl in the picture is the one who gave me the business card. What the hell, Sammy? I mean, she gave me the card before you even showed up with your pictures. How did she know? Does she know…” he steals a glance at Miriam, “anything else?”
“A big steaming pile of coincidence and I don’t like it.” Dean tears into his burger. “I’m working tomorrow and I’ll do some looking. You two can meet me there after school.”
“We can’t,” Miriam says with a sigh. “We got detention for sneaking away today. And when that’s done, Mrs. McNally wants us to stay and help her set up an experiment.”
“Wow,” Dean says with a smirk. “Detention. First time for everything, eh Sammy?”
“Shut up,” Sam mutters.
“Okay, well, I’ll ask some questions tomorrow and if this is still a mystery you two can come out with me on Saturday.”
They speculate through the meal, only pausing when Kristy stops by to refill their drinks or flirt with Dean. When she brings them their check, she scrawls her phone number on it in lavender ink.
“Call me,” she coos and Dean promises he will.