The three men stood in stunned silence and stared at the eden before them; hypnotised by the warm breeze which bathed them in the fragrance of a million colourful blooms.
"This is it? Our place?" Dean asked nervously, hardly daring to believe it could be true.
Bobby glanced down at a crumpled piece of paper in his hand, "Mau Loa Palms Resort;" he read from the paper, looking up at the carved wooden sign on the wall of the whitewashed building; "yup, this is it!"
"Gentlemen, welcome to Mau Loa Palms!"
All three jolted out of their reverie by a soft woman's voice beside them. Glancing at each other in confusion they spun round to see an elegant young polynesian woman standing beside them, beaming a radiant smile in their direction.
"You must be the Singer family; I'm Leylaani and I'm delighted to welcome you to our resort."
Sam's face stretched into a grin as Dean's demeanour instantly changed. The man who only hours before had been a nauseously grey, puking, quivering bundle of drug-addled nerves was suddenly defying the remains of the heavy medication that was still assaulting his system and switching on the five hundred megawatt smile as he looked down at the dainty figure before him, her long black hair tucked neatly behind one ear with a pink rose.
"… an jus' when I was thinkin' this place couldn't get any prettier;" his grin softened into an appreciative smile; "man, I love bein' wrong!"
Bobby glanced at Sam with a resigned smile and rolled his eyes; "someone's feelin' better then!"
A soft blush coloured her tawny cheeks and her giggle crinkled the edges of her chocolate brown eyes as she lifted the lei of yellow hibiscus that she held in her hands over his bowed head and hung it round his neck.
"I hope you'll be very comfortable here;" she whispered with a smile as they touched foreheads in a traditional Hawaiian greeting; "oh, so do I," Dean groaned in delight, trying not to buckle at the knees.
After their warm welcome, the bemused three, gaily decorated in their yellow leis, followed their impossibly pretty guide into the resort.
"If you would like to follow me, I'll show you to your suite, I'm sure you must want to rest and freshen up after your journey."
Sam nodded enthusiastically; "oh God, Yes please!"
The elevator door opened on the second floor and she walked them along a short hall to suite number 12, opening the door and handing the key to Bobby.
"There you are sir; we've left a welcome buffet in your suite; if there's anything else you need, I'm happy to help."
She withdrew discreetly with a kind smile which, although aimed at all three of her guests, was distinctly tilted towards Dean; and softly closed the door behind her.
Sam, Dean and Bobby stood in mute astonishment, taking in their surroundings; the suite of rooms was a beautiful, oyster-white airy space; simple and rustic, decorated only with wall hangings and rugs of traditional Polynesian art. Huge windows bathed the whole space in a soft, early evening daylight.
It seemed like half a lifetime before anyone spoke.
"Holy crap;" croaked Sam weakly.
Dean had already turned his attention to the welcome buffet; a generous spread of breads, cakes, cheeses, nuts, cold meats and a selection of tropical fruits so colourful and fresh, it hurt their tired eyes to look at.
It made them realise how famished they were and all of them, even Dean whose appetite had well and truly come out of hiding after his ordeal of the last ten hours, fell upon the feast with enthusiasm.
It wasn't long before the spread had been reduced to a few empty, crumb strewn plates. Bobby and the boys sat back, rubbing their very full bellies; laughing as Dean's empty and drug-shrivelled innards gurgled alarmingly in protest at the onslaught they had just been subjected to. He leaned back in his seat with a blissful groan, licking sticky pineapple juice from his fingers. It was then that he spotted it.
His longed-for balcony.
Sam pulled open the glass doors, and the three stepped out to lean on the balcony's railings, hypnotised into silence as they watched the vermillion disc of the sun sink lower and lower, staining the darkening sky with layer upon layer of vivid, vibrant colour, worthy of any artist's pallette.
Dean's voice was the first to break the silence.
"This is real, isn't it Sam?"
Sam turned and looked at his brother who stood, leaning on the wrought iron rails, staring unblinking at the blazing horizon; his mouth slightly agape.
"I'm scared, Sam;" Dean murmured, "I'm scared it's all a dream an' tomorrow morning I'm gonna wake up in another crappy motel room with stains on the carpet with only you and the roaches for company."
Bobby smiled sadly, patting Dean on the back; "It's real son, don' you worry; it's all real."
Sam glanced sideways to see Dean surreptitiously palming a wet cheek as sun finally dipped below the horizon leaving a faint line of fire along the ocean's furthest edge.
He guessed Dean's sixth sense had kicked in because almost immediately, he cleared his throat, reddened eyes darting around awkwardly; "jeez, that freakin' palm tree pollen is a bitch."
Sam and Bobby exchanged knowing smiles; "yeah, sure it is, Dean!"
It was another hour before either of them could tear Dean away from his beloved balcony. The sunset long since over, he was content to sit and gaze at the stars, listening to the soft whisper of the palms swaying in the breeze against a backbeat of the ocean's ebb and flow.
Both Sam and Bobby agreed that they were beat; stiff, sore and utterly, utterly shattered and consequently the room's beds were looking mightily inviting. Dean, on the other hand, who had far more reason to be exhausted than either of them seemed ready to take on the world.
A brief scan of their suite revealed two queen beds and a sofa bed in their main room, and twin bunk beds in a small room set aside, clearly in place for the children of their guests.
It was immediately obvious that neither Winchester was going to fit their long, solid frames into the bunk beds without either breaking them, getting stuck, or probably both, so they settled on an arrangement of one queen for Bobby on account of his ancient and still-healing back, and one queen for Sam on account of the fact that he was a freakishly long sasquatch and his great freaky sasquatch feet would hang off the end of the sofa bed.
Dean was more than happy with the sofa bed because he had the best view out of the window from it.
A little over an hour after the three men had retired, Sam and Bobby having just about fallen short of forcing Dean at gunpoint to get his head down to rest, Dean rolled over with a quiet sigh.
He could hear Bobby's contented snores, and he knew Sam well enough to gauge the rhythm of his breathing to know when he was in a deep sleep.
Rolling quietly off the couch he tiptoed across the room, slowly sliding open the glass doors with infinite care, and slipped out onto the balcony. He needed to feel that warm breeze across his bare shoulders, hear the rustling of the palms and the lapping of the ocean, smell the sweet fragrance of the kukui blossoms. He had to convince himself that this was real.
Despite Bobby's best assurances, he was scared to go to sleep.
Sam shifted in his bed; his head buried deeply in the soft, plump pillow which smelt faintly like something from one of those classy detergent commercials; all jasmine and honeysuckle or some crap like that. Ultimately he neither knew nor cared; it smelt clean and sweet and never once did it make him feel like he was going to wake up with some strange rash or unidentifiable bug bites. The quilt, crisp and clinically white, enveloped him like protective arms; softer, and more comforting than anything he had ever slept under.
He was comfortable; he was warm, he was cosy and beautifully rested after enjoying the best nights sleep he could ever remember having. He could spend his whole vacation in this heavenly cotton cocoon, and it would be sheer delight.
Across the room, even Bobby's muffled snores weren't enough to break through the soothing wall of utter bliss that surrounded him as he lay, skirting the edge of sleep.
So to say he was mildly perturbed when the cold water hit him in the face was an understatement.
Sam jolted up in bed with a gasping squawk and opened bleary, water-filled eyes. He blinked; wiping his dripping face to see Dean standing at the side of his bed holding an empty glass, a broad grin slicing his beaming face in two; resplendent in almost knee length sunflower-print swimming shorts and a crisp new pale blue short-sleeved button-down hanging open around a bare chest which clearly hadn't seen the light of day for months.
Sam blinked and glanced at his watch on the nightstand.
"Dean," he croaked, rubbing his tired eyes; "it's 7 o'clock – in the morning!"
Dean stood, bouncing in excitement on the balls of his feet; "c'mon Sam; there's a drop dead gorgeous beach out there; white sand, cloudless sky, swaying palms, cool water and hot chicks an' the only thing that's missin' is us!"
Dean scampered round Sam's bed, his bare feet pitter-pattering across the marble floor and gave the end of Bobby's bed a slap; "c'mon Methuselah; get your fossilised carcass up, things to do, places to go!"
Bobby mumbled hoarsely and slowly sat up in bed, adjusting his tangled string vest. Watery eyed, he blinked vacantly, scratching the sparse tangle of hair on his head with a yawn and looked across at Sam.
"Jesus Sam," he groaned, "What in the name of God have we unleashed?"