The excitement of the succubus visit and all it's associated dramas over, Bobby and the boys settled into a degree of routine.
Each morning Sam opened his eyes and glanced across the room to find Dean's bed vacated, a crumpled meringue of duvet discarded on the floor beside it, and his brother sitting out on his balcony, a condensation-beaded glass of juice in his hand, gazing out across the ocean. Sam knew Dean, not content with satisfying his long-held wish to watch the sun set across the ocean had taken to sneaking out in the wee small hours of the morning to sit and watch the sun rise there too.
Having given up trying to coax Dean back into bed, Sam left him alone to enjoy his precious moments of reflection amongst the sweet fragrances of blossom floating across the morning breeze and the fresh virgin rays of the emerging sun.
This particular morning, however, Sam decided to abandon the delicious comfort of his bed and joined Dean on the balcony. Pulling up a chair, Dean acknowledged his brother's presence with a welcoming smile and then turned back to his sunrise.
Not a word was spoken between the two as they sat and watched the hazy morning sun illuminate the horizon inch by inch, until the whole vista was sparkling with a limpid dawn light.
Sam knew that Dean was in his hyperactive element goofing off in the sea or the pool, especially so when he was busy finding boundlessly inventive ways of tormenting Bobby and Sam. He could also see the joy exuding from Dean during the couple of hours each evening that he had taken to disappearing for long walks along the beach with the lovely Leylaani.
But Sam had never seen him look more at peace and blissfully contented as he was whenever he was sitting on his balcony with the distant song of the ocean soothing his soul.
It was an expression of sublime happiness Sam saw tragically rarely on his brother's face and the sight was so heartwarming that he found himself hopelessly unable to hide his broad smile.
He didn't notice the sideways glance accompanied by the exasperated eye-roll that Dean cast in his direction.
"You got gas or something'?" he grunted towards Sam without taking his eyes from the view.
How to spoil a moment.
It is one of the saddest facts of life that all good things must come to an end, and it was with a brief flash of regret which spidered icily across the pit of Sam's stomach that he realised today marked the halfway point in their vacation.
As of bedtime tonight there was less time to go than had already been.
Closing his eyes, he swallowed back the gnawing heartache, trying his damndest to disregard it, even though a large part of him knew that it would grow and deepen as each day went on.
Was Dean dwelling on it too? It was hard to tell by looking at him; a picture of composure with a glass of grapefruit juice in his hand and an inflatable dolphin at his feet. Dean wouldn't spill, even if his heart was breaking.
Sam decided there and then that he would do everything in his power to make sure Dean's remaining week in paradise wasn't tainted by depressing thoughts of crap motels, of ugliness, of bad food, and of evil, danger and pain. Of their real life.
He would work his ass off to keep Dean distracted.
"Hey Dean, have you seen this?"
Dean picked up Danno, ignoring his brother, and looked deeply into the plastic creature's bug eyes.
"I don't know Danno? What do you think, have we seen it?"
"I'm talking about this, jerk;" Sam slapped his brother across the head with the leaflet he was holding.
"This resort has a health spa."
Dean afforded Sam a cursory glance from his seat beside Danno the dolphin on the end of Bobby's bed.
"A health spa?"
"Yeah, you know; sauna jacuzzi, steam room …" Sam hesitated, to see if he was making inroads; "masseuse …"
"That's the girl one, right?"
Dean tossed the leaflet back onto Bobby's bed and leapt to his feet; "c'mon Sam, let's go."
The two made their way to the door; "hey Danno, look after Bobby, 'cause he's real old," Dean shouted back to his dolphin who sat on Bobby's unmade bed dressed in the older man's cap and sunglasses.
"Shut ya great flappin' piehole, ya friggin' idjit;" came a hollow reply from behind the locked bathroom door.
"What time's my massage?"
Sam leaned back against the side of the hot tub sighing as the hot water pounded his back. He responded to his brother's question without moving or opening his eyes.
"Dean, it's five minutes since you last asked me, so work it out!"
Dean frowned; "ooh, beam me up Snotty." He wormed further down into the water, grinning at Sam and relishing the warm flutter of the bubbling water around his shoulders.
"Hey Sam ..."
Sam cracked open an eye and saw the mischevious grin across his brothers face that he just knew was going to precede some kind of infantile comment.
"Dude, you do know 'fart jokes' are just about the most predictable, unfunny thing anyone can come out with while sitting in a Jacuzzi?"
Dean's grin morphed into a smirk. "Oh yeah?"
He sidled up to Sam and let rip as spectacularly as he could manage without risking some kind of intestinal rupture.
"Jus' thought I'd treat you to a few extra bubbles bro'."
Sam cringed as he felt the hot bubbles tickle their way up his back.
"You're a pig!"
Dean grinned again; "and relaxed, letting his head drop back against the jacuzzi's edge with a soft, wet 'thunk'. "It's been said;" he agreed with a broad smile, arching his back into a long stretch.
Sam reached across under the water and pinched a clump of hair on Dean's thigh, giving it a sharp tug.
"GAAAAH!" Dean almost leapt out of the tub.
Now it was Sam's turn to grin.
"What are you, bitch? Seven?" Dean snorted, wiping his wet face, and squirming away as Sam made a menacing grab towards a stray clump of armpit hair.
"Geddof, you perv …" Dean yelped irritably.
Trying to land a petulant punch on Sam's shoulder, Dean suddenly found himself submerged when Sam lunged toward him, and the two fell brawling and flailing wildly into the middle of the hot tub, their faces popping up and gasping for air occasionally, as the water crashed and plunged, foaming around their grappling bodies.
Eventually both clambered back up onto the seats around the half-drained hot tub, panting and wiping their eyes, giggling like a pair of schoolgirls.
"I though you were supposed to relax in these things," gasped Sam, suppressing a chuckle.
They both slumped back against the sides of the tub, smiling broadly, and there followed a long silence, punctuated only by deep gaspng breaths before Dean spoke up.
"What time's my massage?"
Sandy was tall and thin, and pale in just about every way it was possible to be pale, from her long, neatly tied back, ivory blond hair to her pallid face and ice-blue eyes. She wasn't exactly what Dean would describe as his 'type' but she was kind of attractive in a bloodless sort of way.
What she lacked in boldness of appearance, she more than made up for with a sweet nature, long nimble fingers and a grip that could crack a coconut.
Within minutes those elegant, skilful hands had rendered her latest client helpless.
Dean inhaled deeply of the scents of pine and sandalwood, his eyes drooping closed as he pondered vacantly that he must remember to thank Sam for telling him about this place … he just had to regain the power of speech first, given that his mind had taken a leave of absence.
Above him, Sandy's expert hands roamed over his bare back, each firm sweep of the warm oiled palms driving him further and further away from anything approaching a state of alertness. This wasn't good; Sam was gonna be carrying him back to the room in a bucket before this hour was up.
The manicured fingertips skilfully explored the ridges of his spine, pausing briefly, as his back rose around a deep sigh, they returned to their work, massaging the muscular junction of his neck and shoulders, and carding through the short, spiky hair at his nape.
Dean was skirting the edge of sleep; consciousness drifting further and further away from him, and he had absolutely no desire to chase after it. He was way too busy loving those busy, soothing hands and their deliciously relaxing touch.
Every now and again those searching fingertips would find a knot, or a spot of tension, buried deep in some slab of muscle across his shoulders, or down his spine, and they would gleefully pounce, drilling into it with the force of a piledriver, pulverizing it out of existence.
Every time they did, Dean's poor, boneless body would make a feeble attempt to react until even that became too much effort, and all he could do was let out a breathless moan into he crook of his elbow.
But it was a good pain; all that cracking and crunching and creaking meant that something good must be happening to his poor wrecked body. Either that or he was just going to fall apart and crumble into tiny pieces but, either way, he was just too droopy to care, so that was cool too.
In some remote and tiny corner of his mind that was still just about managing to operate at a level above basic motor functions, he figured his massage must be almost done. Sandy had said something about letting him rest for a couple of minutes and wandered off, leaving him covered up by a soft blanket, alone and helpless in a semi-liquid state listening to a CD of birdsong and wind chimes.
He was slightly surprised therefore, but in no way disappointed, when a pair of soft warm hands once again cupped his shoulders, and began to knead rhythmic circles down his back. This touch seemed different, but no less pleasant, and it was only when the hands worked their way back up to his shoulders and began to work their way along his biceps, he realized that these hands weren't the long pale ones that had been working their magic on him for the past hour; they were the colour of a rich warm mocha, impossibly delicate against his long, solid arms and one of them bore a small bandage.
Dean blinked blearily as he attempted to gather his scattered wits, and glanced up, his unfocussed gaze meeting familiar chocolate brown eyes.
"Hey Dean;" Leylaani smiled at the slightly cross-eyed pile of jello beneath her hands; "I was going to invite you to lunch, but I think I might struggle to carry you out of here!"