The second of a series of short vignettes recording the better part of Finding Nemo from Marlin's point of view.

Disclaimer: All characters and events belong to Pixar, not me. Please don't sue; thanks.

Gone!

By Victoria

It was gone.

The wake of the boat had begun to fade visibly some way back, and Marlin had redoubled his efforts, pushing himself to the limit as the fought to keep up with the tireless outboard motor. But it was to no avail; he was falling back, and he knew it, and he had no way of regaining the ground he had lost.

And now the boat was gone, and Nemo with it.

"No," he gasped as the wake completely disappeared, the last of the bubbles floating to the surface and popping. "No no no, it's gone, it can't be gone! No! Nemo!" With a last gasp of water Marlin darted to the surface, hoping against reason that the boat was still visible in the rolling waves of the open sea. "Nemo!" he shouted; the roar of the ocean drowned out his voice. "Nemo, Nemo!" He was forced to go down for water again quickly, though; he was still out of breath from his marathon sprint after the boat. As he broke the surface again, he shouted a fourth time, "Nemo!"

But there was no sign of his son, or the boat that had taken him away.

Terror shot through Marlin as he was suddenly struck by the thought that he might never see his only son again. He had no clue as to his location, no hope of ever locating the boat himself—wait! What if someone else had seen it!?

Without another moment's hesitation Marlin dove beneath the waves, and powered by fear he reached the bottom in record time. It was teeming with schools of fish racing to and fro, and Marlin shouted into the crowds. "Has anyone seen a boat, a white boat, go by? My son is on it!" One annoyed fish batted him aside as the clownfish strayed too close; Marlin tumbled away helplessly, barely catching himself in time to intersect the last of the school, undeterred from his quest. "My son, please! They took my son! Help me! I have to find my son!" I'm panicking! Panic isn't going to help anyone! But Marlin couldn't stop the near hysterics as he cried, "Please help me find my son!"

But the fish snubbed him, and he raced onwards in desperate search for someone more considerate—

"Look out!"

"Waugh!"

Marlin looked up from his frantic efforts in time to see the regal blue tang barreling towards him, but not in time to avert the impending disaster. He saw stars as he clonked heads with the other fish and was only vaguely aware of his body slamming into a rock before hitting the sandy bottom of the sea. He groaned, pushing himself up with one fin and rubbing his head with the other as an image of Nemo swam before his eyes. N-no, Nemo is gone … he's gone!

"Oh, I'm so sorry! Didn't see you there!" cried a friendly voice. "You okay?" The tang he had slammed into swam into his peripheral vision, her gaze open and concerned. "There there, it'll be all right …"

"No it won't," Marlin slurred as his eyesight finally cleared. He's gone … he's gone he's gone he's gone …

"Who's gone?"

Marlin didn't even realize he'd spoken aloud until the tang asked. "My son … was taken by this boat ..."

"A boat? A boat!? I-I've seen a boat!" the tang stammered out, her eyes lighting up.

Marlin's brain took a moment too long to process her answer. "Really!?" he gasped. "A white one!?"

But the tang smiled brightly at him as if something had just occurred to her. She stuck out a fin. "Hi! I'm Dory."

Marlin suppressed a scream of frustration at this useless information. "The boat! Which way did the boat go!?" he snapped, voice almost cracking on the words. Don't worry, Nemo, I'm coming!

"Oh, right! I-i-it went this way, this way!" Dory answered, again almost stumbling over her words in her eagerness. "Follow me!" and with that she raced off in the direction she had pointed.

Marlin swam after her, tired fins spurred by elation. "Thank you! Thank you!" he cried, following her straight path.

She swam close to the bottom – it was probably safer down here, Marlin reflected – and in short spurts of speed, full of energy and purpose. Finally, someone who would listen, someone who would … help …

Dory slowed down and started to swim back and forth lazily. Wha … is she tired? Marlin swam closer to ask. Maybe tangs didn't have much stamina; the clownfish wasn't sure. He hadn't met many tangs before. But when she caught sight of him, she startled and started to swim in a straight line, glancing back at him as if confused or suspicious.

Marlin arched an eyebrow. What is she do—

Before Marlin could even finish the thought, Dory darted away. "W-wait!" he gasped, still a little breathless, swimming after her. She began swimming erratically, darting back and forth and around rocks and plants as if – as if she was trying to shake him off! Confused and worried that he'd horribly misunderstood something, Marlin took huge gulping breaths of water and tore after her, desperately trying to keep up – only to pull up short as Dory spun around and glared at him. "Would you stop!?" she demanded.

"Wha—?" Marlin began, but he didn't get much further before Dory interrupted him again.

"Whaat? Is the ocean not big enough for ya?" she mocked; Marlin stammered a half-formed question, just trying to get a word in edgewise, but Dory plowed onward heedlessly. "Yeah, you got a problem, buddy? Huh? Huh? Do ya, do ya, do ya?" she approached until the were nose to nose; Marlin swam backwards. "Oooh, I'm scared now! You wanna piece of me? Yeah! Yeeeeah!" Dory put up her fins as if preparing to punch him. "Stop following me!"

Marlin was speechless for a moment. This fish is … she's nuts! Finally he managed to find his voice. "What are you talking about!?" he demanded. "You were showing me which way the boat went!"

"A boat?" Dory's fins dropped away, her eyes lighting up. "A boat!? I-I've seen a boat! It went this way, this way! Follow me!" And with that she began to dart off again.

Marlin felt his mouth fall open; he swam after her and overtook her. "Wait a minute, wait a minute!" he demanded, putting up his fins and spreading them wide, getting in the tang's way and forcing her to stop. "You already told me all this!"

The tang looked at him blankly. "I did?" she asked.

Marlin's eyes widened. What kind of game was this!? "Yes you did!" he snapped, beginning to get angry. "Is this some kind of a practical joke? Because it's not funny!" he huffed. When she just stared at him, he scrambled for credibility. "And I know funny! I'm a clownfish!"

"Oh no, no, I know it's not," the tang replied miserably. "I'm so sorry. See, I suffer from short term memory loss," she explained earnestly.

"Short term memory loss," Marlin echoed incredulously. She's nuts. She's absolutely crazy.

"No, really," she replied, bobbing a little. "It runs in my family! At least … I think it does … Hm. Where are they?" She floated away, apparently deeply concentrated on the question at hand; Marlin stared at her dubiously, rowing a little ways away. A moment or two of silence passed while Marlin waited for her verdict on the matter of familial problems and debated how to get away from the situation gracefully; then the tang turned to look at him again. A smile broke out on her face. "Can I help you?"

Argh! What is this!? Marlin barely kept from screaming at her. He took a deep breath instead; when he let it out, he felt a little better. "You're nuts. Really. And you're wasting my time," he added. Never mind exiting gracefully; she'd forget he even existed in a minute or two anyway. "I've got to go find my son. Goodbye." With that self-righteous pronouncement, Marlin turned to swim away, a foul mood brewing beneath the sudden and complete hopelessness of the situation.

He turned right into the big sharp pearly whites of a great white shark.

The foul mood dissipated and was replaced by immediate, overwhelming panic. When did that get here!? Marlin gasped; the shark grinned, showing off his gigantic myriad of teeth, rows upon rows of great, sharp, nasty—

"Hello," said the shark, its grin unchanging.

Shark said hello. What do you say to a shark who says hello!? Marlin just stared; he was trembling, but he was too petrified to move. For a horrible, eternal moment he was reliving the barracuda attack; he gulped and tried to find the nerve to speak.

Frozen as he was, he had imagined that the blue tang had already swam for her life – any sane fish would have swum away, after all – but Dory was no sane fish. Marlin nearly jumped out of his scales when the tang raced up from behind him, waving a fin. "Well, hello there!"

The shark's grin got wider – if that was possible. Marlin was positive he was going to faint. "Name's Bruce!" he said brightly.

A shark that introduces himself to his meals. Only I would get eaten by a shark with manners. Marlin rowed back a few more precious inches from the sharp teeth while Dory remained frightfully close; he shielded himself behind the tang. "Th-that's nice," he managed to squeak.

But Bruce's eyes narrowed. "Oh, it's all right, I understand," he said, closing the distance between his prey and himself. "Why trust a shark?" Marlin gulped again and stared with wide eyes at the mouth preparing to close around them. Just let it be quick, he thought miserably. I'm so sorry, Nemo!

The shark turned and started to swim away.

Marlin's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. Dory just watched patiently, clearly not quite comprehending the situation. Meanwhile the clownfish decided to take advantage of Bruce's … whatever-it-was, and began to swim away—

The shark closed the distance between them in a mere second and slammed his teeth shut only centimeters from Marlin's nose.

"Waaah!" Marlin darted behind Dory again as Bruce began to laugh uproariously at the private joke. Marlin couldn't stop shaking; for a moment he wondered if a fish could die of fright. The tang, for her part, seemed honest-to-goodness impressed by the shark.

"So," Bruce said as he finally overcame his laughter. "What are a couple of bites like you doing out so late?" He was doing the smiling-with-the-scary-teeth thing again.

Marlin scooted further behind Dory. "N-nothing, nothing, we're not doing anything," he stammered. "We're not even out!" Dory bobbed in the affirmative, but she was still smiling! How stupid could the fish be!?

"Goood," intoned the shark. "See, I'm having a little – a little get-together down at my place. We'd love to have two morsels like you for dinner."

Yeah, clownfish and tang on the menu! Marlin was caught speechless again, terrified out of his wits. Dory, however, was thrilled. "A party!?" she asked excitedly.

"Yeah, yeah, that's it; a party," the shark agreed as if the word had just occurred him.

"I like parties!" Dory enthused. "Sounds like fun!"

If you're suicidal! Marlin nearly shouted at her. What a stupid, idiotic fish! But just then he became aware of Bruce's beady eyes locked on him, and again his anger dissolved into fear. Got to get away, got to get away—he forced some babbled answer out. "Y-yes, it does sound fun, a-and it's tempting, but I really—"

A large fin intercepted his path. "Oh no, I insist," the shark said pleasantly, pushing Marlin through the water on his fin.

"O-o-okay," the clownfish stuttered nervously. "Th-that's all that matters." And with that, he twisted around to see where they were going.

It was a dark trench, and it looked dangerous, and if possible, Marlin was getting even more scared. "Hey look, balloons! It is a party!" Dory cried; Marlin eyed the 'balloons' – huge metal balls floating up from the ocean bed and held in place by chains – dubiously. They look like mines to me …

His worst fears were confirmed when Bruce chuckled nastily. "Mind those, now! They're awful touchy; you wouldn't one of them to pop."

How fun, the clownfish thought miserably.

In the middle of the trench rested the ruin of a human's underwater boat. Of course a shark lives here! Marlin thought, continuously debating the merits of turning around and swimming away from under the shark's belly and hoping Bruce didn't catch him. But the fin behind him seemed poised to prevent that very possibility. Marlin finally decided it was a good idea to try and stay in the shark's good graces. He hadn't eaten Dory or himself thus far, so maybe there would be a better chance to get away a little later …

He'd almost forgotten that it was a 'get-together' he was going to when he heard the clamoring from the sunken ship. "Hello, Anchor, Chum," Bruce said congenially. "I brought company!"

Marlin peered into the dusky water and managed to make out two more sharks – a hammerhead and a mako. "Bruce! Finally!" cried the hammerhead. "I was gettin' hungry!" added the mako.

Hungry!? They're gonna eat us! Trying to act all buddy-buddy, huh!? It was all an act! Panicking, Marlin spun around to swim away, but Bruce's fin neatly caught him, preventing escape. He was being steered right into the hammerhead's mouth. He was about to die. Bruce was feeding him to his friends! Trembling, Marlin squeezed his eyes shut and covered them with his fins, not wanting to see the end. Let me die quick, let me die quick, let me—

When Marlin opened his eyes again, he was not inside a shark's mouth as he had expected; he was inside the underwater boat. How had he gotten here – and when? I must have fainted …

He spun around, staring at his surroundings; the mako was to his right, the hammerhead just beyond Dory to his left. The great white shark was in front of them all. Unsure whether he ought to be relieved or not, he settled for shaking slightly and hanging close to Dory, who seemed to not be afraid at all.

"All right, everyone," said Bruce up in front; he had everyone's rapt attention, including Dory's. Marlin watched the shark's mouth open and close and hoped fervently he was never inside those nasty jaws. "I would like to officially call this meeting to order. Raise your right fin," he instructed. Marlin watched nervously as both Anchor and Chum did so; Dory followed suit after a moment, grinning widely at Marlin. Marlin just stared at her disbelievingly.

Together the sharks recited, "I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food."

"Except dolphins!" hissed the mako as they finished the pledge. "Ugh, they're so cute! 'Oh look at me, I'm a flippin' little dolphin, let me flip for you!'" Chum did a fair impression of a dolphin; Anchor clapped and laughed rudely.

Marlin stared. ... Vegetarian sharks!? The clownfish had no idea what to make of it. It didn't matter at the moment, he supposed, since he couldn't very well go anywhere; feeling very small and very captive, Marlin watched the proceedings continue.

"Order, order," Bruce said calmly, his grin still frighteningly cruel. "Today is step five of the program: Bring a Fish Friend. Now, does everybody have their friend?"

"I've got mine!" exclaimed the hammerhead. Marlin looked on apprehensively as Anchor lifted a fin to reveal a very tiny, bug-eyed minnow, gibbering quietly to himself as his gaze darted around the boat nervously. Marlin sympathized, but his attention was drawn forward again as Bruce asked, "What about you, Chum?"

Chum began to stammer. "Ah, well, er, I, um … misplaced … my friend," he explained unhappily – as a fish skeleton popped out from between his fierce teeth. Marlin jerked backwards, stifling a gasp of horror, trying to keep from drawing any attention to himself.

No one seemed to notice, fortunately. "Aww, it's all right, Chum!" Bruce's tone was encouraging; Marlin didn't feel very encouraged. He wanted nothing more than to swim away for his very life. "Help yourself to one of my friends."

Marlin froze in terror at the words, and the next thing he knew he was being swept under the mako by a big shark fin. "Why, thank you, Bruce!" cried the mako. "A little friend for friend, eh?"

Don't let him get hungry before this is over, Marlin begged silently.

"Okay, it's time for the testimonies," Bruce said then. "I'll go first. Hello, I'm Bruce."

"Hello, Bruce," intoned Chum and Anchor as if they were used to it.

The big shark grinned. "I haven't eaten a fish in three weeks—On my honor!" Bruce added when Anchor and Chum began to clap. "Or may I be chopped up and made into soup."

"Oh, that's fantastic," enthused Anchor. Chum slapped his fins together. He didn't seem to notice as he jostled his 'fish friend' between his fin and his body uncomfortably.

The great white took the praise in stride. "Right! Who's next?"

"Oh, oh, pick me!"

Marlin groaned softly when he heard Dory enthusiastically calling out; he poked his head out from under Chum's fin to see her waving her fin about in the water, clearly trying get Bruce's attention. He was hoping to be forgotten. Maybe if he just hid back behind the mako's fin …

"How about the little sheela down in front?" Bruce said pleasantly enough. "Come on up here." He glided down from where he had been floating facing everyone else and lined up next to the other two sharks while Dory obliviously swam up to take his place.

"Hi! I'm Dory!" she said, waving.

"Hello, Dory," answered the three sharks. Marlin started to duck lower behind Chum, but the shark seemed to sense it somehow, and shifted his fin to prevent escape.

"Well, um … I don't think – I don't think I've ever eaten a fish," Dory offered.

Marlin smacked his face into his fin.

"That's amazing!" Chum enthused after a pregnant moment of surprise; "Great job, Dory!" Bruce agreed, and Anchor seemed impressed as well. They all clapped enthusiastically.

"Phew!" Dory said happily. "Glad I got that off my chest!" Marlin rolled his eyes; she was completely, totally nuts.

"So, who's next?" Bruce asked just then; the sharks looked at each other, and then Chum suggested, "How about you, friend?"

"Yeah, how about you? What's your problem?" Bruce agreed.

Marlin realized after a moment that they were talking to him. "W-who, me?" he squeaked. "O-oh no, I don't – I don't have any problems," he hastened to assure them. The last thing he wanted was three sharks staring at him all at once, and that was what he was getting now and what he would get if he had to speak. This was just a bad scene.

"Oh, okay," the great white shark bobbed his head – before his eyes focused sharply on him again, along with the other two sharks. "Denial!" They chorused, and three shark fins shot out and under Marlin, flipping him forward.

"Waugh!" Marlin righted himself just in time to avoid colliding with Dory again; the tang happily conceded her place in front of the sharks, and Marlin was alone with three dangerous pairs of eyes belonging to three sets of very very sharp teeth fixed on him. He began to tremble again; he couldn't help it. "H-hello?" he began, making the word a question; he cowed back under the intense gazes sent his way. "My name is Marlin … I'm a clownfish," he introduced himself lamely, his voice shaking slightly.

"A clownfish!?" the hammerhead's eyes lit up and he came closer. "Tell us a joke!"

"Yes, come on, tell us!" Bruce agreed, joining Anchor.

"Oh, I love jokes!" Chum laughed, popping up between the two other sharks.

Marlin backed up a bit further as each new set of jaws approached; he gulped, but at least the sharks seemed more interested in hearing what he had to say than eating him. "W-well, I do know one joke that's … pretty good," the clownfish managed. "You see, there's this mollusk. Now mollusks don't really talk much, but in a joke, everyone talks, so … anyway, there's this mollusk. A sea cucumber swims up to the mollusk – well, sea cucumbers don't really swim, they crawl. So the sea cucumber crawls up to the mollusk and says—"

Something glinted in the water.

Marlin's eyes were caught, and he lifted his gaze from the three confused-looking sharks; they fell on a green and black mask, identical to the ones that—

"Nemo!"

It was the mask of one of the divers that had taken Nemo away! What a stroke of luck! Maybe there was a clue to where Nemo had been taken! Forgetting the joke and the sharks in a moment of elation, Marlin swam up to the mask.

"I don't get it," he heard the mako say; "The clownfish isn't that funny," added Bruce in what he probably thought was an inconspicuous voice.

"No, no, Nemo is my son," Marlin sighed, gazing unhappily at the mask. "You see, he was captured by these divers. I'm trying to find him."

"Oh, you poor fish," Dory's voice drifted up to him, and in a moment the tang was beside him. Marlin barely noticed as he finally came even with the mask. He began looking it over for clues. The sharks were yapping about something; then he heard Bruce begin to bawl. Well, whatever. They aren't trying to eat me, so—

But Marlin paused as he swam over the mask; something was scribbled on the back of it. "Argh, what do these markings mean?" he muttered to himself, touching them with a fin; it was familiar but undecipherable. "I can't read human!"

Dory had joined him; she gave the mask a swift push and darted under it, catching the strap across her back. "Well, we'll just have to find a fish who can read it!" she informed him crisply, her gaze shifting downwards. "Oh look! Sharks!"

Marlin felt another rush of terror; of course Dory had forgotten about the sharks already! She really wasn't kidding about this short-term memory stuff! "No, Dory!" he hissed as she swam to the bawling sharks; he darted after her, grasping the mask in his fins. "Stop! Give that to—me—" he tugged on the mask, but Dory wouldn't let go; she stubbornly swam backwards, stretching the mask between them. A short tug-of-war ensued, the sharks over their heads completely forgotten.

Marlin's grip was the first one to fail; the end of the mask he'd been holding snapped back and clocked Dory in the nose. "Ow!" The tang exclaimed, rubbing her nose.

Guilt stabbed the clownfish. "Oh, I'm sorry, that's my fault!" he grimaced, swimming up to her. "Are you all right?"

"I thig so," Dory said nasally, still rubbing her nose. "You reddy glocked me dere! Amb I bledding?" She lifted her head for inspection.

A thin little stream of blood ran out the end of Dory's nose and drifted into the cold water. "A little," Marlin acknowledged, wincing in sympathy. "I'm really, really sorry—"

"Mm … smells good …"

Marlin froze as the sinister voice of Bruce deepened and darkened; he stared up at the shark, whose menacing grin hung over them viciously.

He was hungry.

"Oh no," Marlin whispered in a tiny voice.

"Intervention!" Before Marlin could even move, the two smaller sharks had slammed full-throttle into Bruce, shoving him up against the wall. "Just a bite!" pleaded the great white; "No, Bruce!" Anchor grunted, holding him back. "Be strong!"

Marlin could see that Bruce was going to get free.

"Uwaaaaah!" Without a moment's hesitation Marlin spun around – and slammed right into the diver's mask. Right can't forget that gotta get awaaaaay—"Come on, Dory!" he shouted, shoving his fins and head up against the mask and swimming faster than he ever had before, squeezing through one of the small rusted grates in the floor. The burden of the mask lightened just a little, and Marlin realized that Dory was swimming with him.

Everything was roaring in Marlin's ears, he was so panicked, but he distinctly heard Bruce as the shark struggled through a hole a little too small for his huge body. "I'm having fish tonight!" he cried.

Not me not me not me! Marlin thought in abject terror; together he and blue tang barreled through the human wreckage, Bruce tearing the ship apart behind them as he followed through tight spaces and rusty grates. Dory was screaming; Marlin was vaguely aware that he too was yelling as they swam.

Abruptly they were approaching a doorway; it was almost closed. "This way!" Marlin cried as he and Dory swam through the space between the door and the doorjamb; Bruce was far too big to do the same, and he slammed full-throttle into the door, slamming it shut behind Marlin and Dory.

It was only then that Marlin realized they had swum into a dead end.

"There's no way out!" he cried, fear settling like a bad piece of seaweed in the bottom of his stomach. "There's gotta be a way out!"

The shark slammed himself up against the door, his body making a resounding clang.

Marlin jumped visibly at the noise; Dory swam cheerfully over to the doorway, the mask draped over her back again. "Who is it?" she sing-songed.

What on earth are you doing!? Marlin thought in horrified frustration. "Help me find a way to escape, Dory!" he snapped, still darting to and fro in the closed-off chamber. He couldn't find any holes or anything! There was no way out!

Bruce struck the door again; Dory seemed undeterred. "I'm sorry, you'll have to come back later, we're trying to escape," she informed the enraged, hungry shark on the other side of the door. "La la la la …"

Marlin's already frayed nerves were beginning to snap. The shark repeatedly slammed himself against the doorway; the tired, rusted metal was beginning to bend and warp under the abuse. Eventually Bruce would be in here, and then he would be eating two tasty morsels for dinner! "There's no way out, we're dead, we're dead, we're dead," Marlin moaned.

"Hey, look! What's this say?" Dory said from the top of the chamber. Marlin stared at her as she examined the human words on the wall. "'Ess-cop-ay!'" she giggled. "I wonder what that means! Funny, it's spelled just like 'escape'—"

Escape! "Let's go!" Marlin grabbed the mask as he swam by, through the small opening in the ceiling that he hadn't noticed in his panic; the mask caught Dory, and together the two of them popped out of the wreckage and back into the open ocean. "That was close," Marlin sighed as they took a moment to breathe; then suddenly his brain snapped into gear. "Wait a minute!? You can read?" he cried, spinning to stare at Dory.

Dory looked blankly at him for a moment. "I can read?" Then her eyes lit up again, like a little child who has been told she can have kelp. "That's right! I can read!"

Marlin fought off the urge to smack her silly – how could anyone forget they could read? – and thrust the mask in her face. "Then here, here, read this now!" he cried, even as Dory reared back, startled by his harsh demand.

Unfortunately, that was when Bruce slammed the escape hatch all the way open. "Aaaaah!" Marlin and Dory screamed together. Instinctively Marlin darted away, too startled and terrified to remember the mask until it was far too late; when he did remember, he glanced back to see huge jaws and deadly eyes, and he let out another undignified yell and swam faster. "Dory!" he cried, trying to get the tang's attention so the fish would follow him; she glanced his way and he took it as a sign she had heard him. Darting around a rusting antenna, Marlin doubled back down the side of the ship, into a crevice that he was sure Bruce wouldn't fit into. Dory was right behind him, and not a moment too soon; the great white shark's teeth slammed against the entrance to the hole only half a second after she arrived.

The crevice was blocked.

Frantically Marlin's eyes darted around the little chamber, but it was clear there were no 'ess-cop-ay's this time. Bruce's nose slammed back into the opening, and Marlin jumped, pressing himself up against the back of the chamber, which kept jouncing a little each time the shark struck the ship hull. It was only held in place by a single screw; Marlin hoped against hope that screw didn't fall out.

"Sorry about—" Wham! "Bruce, mates!" Wham! "He's really—" Wham! "A nice guy!" Wham! Anchor and Chum attempted to explain without getting between Bruce and his meal. Marlin barely heard them, preoccupied with surviving – and the glint of green he could see in Bruce's mouth.

The diver's mask was inside Bruce's mouth!

"I've got to get that mask," Marlin gasped to Dory, breathless with fear. How do you get something inside a shark's mouth without getting eaten!? He wondered, shuddering at the thought of ever straying past those hideous teeth.

What he hadn't taken into account was Dory's ingenuity.

"You want that mask?" she asked, her voice full of purpose. "Okay!" And with that, she slammed the screw holding the back wall of the chamber in – a torpedo – into the tubing.

The torpedo began to slide forward.

A rush of horror overtook Marlin as he felt himself being pushed forward inexorably. "No! Dooory—!" he cried, squeezing his eyes shut as they came within a hair's breadth of Bruce's teeth—

He pried his eyes only a split-second later, though, when Bruce gave a frustrated but muffled scream. He was in the shark's mouth, but the great white wasn't able to close his teeth on his prey – the torpedo had wedged his jaws open!

There was no time to be relieved. The mask hung on Bruce's teeth, and it only took Marlin a second to zoom underneath it and lift it off its perch. "Dory!" he cried as he shot back into the torpedo chamber; the blue tang followed him, and the two small fish swam to the far back of the chamber – which was much further back, now that the torpedo was gone. The far back end was inky black, but Marlin felt much, much safer there. No way Bruce can get us now! No way …

"Swim away, swim away!" cried one of the sharks.

Marlin frowned in the dark, not sure whether to be relieved or terrified by the cries of the sharks. After all, sharks didn't swim away from just anything; was it an even bigger fish?

"Aw, is the party over already?" Dory asked sadly, beginning to swim forward again; Marlin joined her, a morbid curiosity overwhelming him. We can always go back down the hole if we have to, he thought as they reached the entrance; we'll be—

"Oh no," Marlin gasped under his breath as his gaze settled upon the path of the torpedo that he and Dory had shoved into Bruce's throat. It was falling right … on …

The mine exploded violently as the torpedo touched it, sending a shockwave through the water and starting a chain reaction of explosions; Marlin let out a startled yell and began to swim back into the torpedo chamber, but before he could swim away the first shockwave caught him, and he slammed into the wall so hard he was knocked unconscious.

Author's Notes: Yep, that's the end of this vignette; however, the next one will probably pick up right where this one left off. :)

Thank you very much to everyone who reviewed 'Pelicans are Your Friends'. I really appreciate your taking the time to read my story! :) I know it was a kind of boring subject, so I doubly appreciate your time! Sadly, this portion contained much of the same parts as The Bawdy Bardess' fic 'Fish are Friends'. I'm sorry, Bardess … I'm not trying to steal your idea! I'm really not!

Hope you enjoyed this story. Please leave a review; thanks!

~~Victoria