Bobby snorted softly from under the shade of his tipped cap as he dozed under the late afternoon sun, his arm dangling limply at his side, fingertips brushing an empty Corona bottle; John Grisham's latest best-seller laying face-down across his slowly rising and falling chest.
The rhythmic ebb and flow of the sea, softened into a lullaby by the warm breeze, played a whispering backbeat to his quietly contented snores.
Bobby could get used to this life.
It was almost painfully hard work for him to open his eyes when the shriek of a petrel passing overhead jolted him back into a degree of consciousness.
He yawned wearily, stretching as far as his fragile back would allow, then settled comfortably back into the lounger. He was about to pick up his book and reaquaint himself with the absorbing words of Mr Grisham when a distant snort of laughter distracted him.
Bobby was a man who was hard to shock. He had seen a whole lot of weird, freaky and downright disturbing crap; spirits, imps, demons, talking animals, vampires, two-headed creatures, no-headed creatures. Bobby had seen it all and wasn't surprised or impressed by any of it.
But the sight a little way ahead of him of two grown men building a sandcastle had him blinking through the dazzling sunlight and rubbing his eyes in amused disbelief.
The brothers knelt either side of the impressive structure they had spent the afternoon lovingly constructing.
It boasted four hefty crenellated walls, topped with carefully crafted ramparts, enclosing a large central keep complete with arrow slits. Low bastion towers adorned the castle's four corners and Sam was in the process of crafting a tall tower midway along the east wall.
He was watched by a simmering pair of green eyes peering disapprovingly from under an irritably knotted brow.
"You wouldn't put a lookout tower on the east side, dumbass; that's the side sloping down to the sea."
Sam shrugged; "and?"
Dean huffed in exasperation; "well, you put the lookout tower on the highest side; the side sloping up the beach, you friggin' cretin."
"Jeez Sam;" Dean groaned; "how the heck can you be so smart and so dumb at the same time?" he threw his hands up in surrender; "Your tower needs to look out from the highest point of the castle so that you can get plenty of warning of invaders."
There was a brief pause as Sam looked down at the wad of damp sand in his hands.
"Dean, it's a sandcastle."
Dean bristled; "yeah … and your point is?"
"Well who's gonna invade it?" Sam enquired calmly; "the massed ranks of the commando molluscs? A horde of marauding limpets?"
Dean snorted irritably, seemingly unimpressed by his brother's knowledge of marine life; "stow the smartass comments bitch, I'm tryin' to educate your geeky, useless ass."
"Well, I want to put it here," announced Sam, gathering up another handful of damp sand and planting it firmly on the castle's east side, "it looks nice."
There came a long sigh as Dean rolled his eyes; "I'm trying to build an impenetrable fortress to protect us against the forces of evil here, and you're going all friggin' 'homes and gardens' on me;" he curled his lip at the tall structure evolving beneath Sam's careful hands.
"You gonna run up a pair of drapes for it?"
Sam briefly glanced up from his careful labours. "Stop your whining jerk, and start digging the moat."
"Why have I got to dig the moat?" Dean snorted, "that's peasants' work."
Sam cocked an eyebrow in his brother's direction and gave a knowing smile. "You said it, peasant," he grinned.
They both looked up as a shadow loomed over them.
"Am I interruptin' something?"
Dean wiped his sand-caked hands on his shorts. "yeah;" he snapped, "will you tell Rapunzel here that you don't put a tower on the downhill side of a fortress?"
Bobby thrust his hands into the pockets of his shorts and studied the boys' creation.
"Looks nice though," he muttered absently.
Sam beamed smugly, ignoring Dean's petulant slap round the back of his head.
Dean rolled his eyes and pointed dismissively to the castle; "jeez you two couldn't defend yourselves against a stiff breeze in this!"
Glancing up at Bobby then back across to his brother, Sam grinned evilly. Without warning his long arm reached swiftly across and shoved Dean face-first into the castle keep.
Scrambling to his knees, Dean lunged towards Sam with a stream of muttered obscenities, knocking him over backwards into the sprawled wreckage of the castle's wall, complete with it's now-flattened keep still bearing the imprint of Dean's face.
The two rolled over, brawling and scuffling, limbs flailing and insults flying as they tussled with each other in the scattered pile of sand. Bobby shook his head with a smile and turned, "when you two have finished discussing your architectural differences, you can come and join me for a drink beside the pool."
The brothers rolled apart and lay on their backs amidst the flattened ruins of their castle, chuckling uncontrollably as Bobby walked away shaking his head.
Dean looked across at Sam, his chest heaving as he panted for breath through his laughter; green eyes sparkling brightly through a sand-caked face; "at least I won't have to dig that friggin' moat now!"
Rising shakily to their knees, the brothers jogged down the beach and plunged into the sea, the comparative chill of the water after an afternoon spent in the heat of the sun eliciting yelping gasps from both of them.
Paddling chest-deep into the sea, they pinched their noses, ducking under the sparkling water. They both emerged at almost exactly the same time, shaking their soaked, sand-free hair like a pair of over-excited terriers.
Relaxing in the sea for a few moments, they lazily trod the water enjoying the refreshing coolness lapping against their hot skin and talked about how great their castle was going to be tomorrow when they rebuilt it bigger and better with a drawbridge and a gatehouse and taller, stronger battlements; and no, it WAS NOT going to have a freakin' tower on the east side.
Their plans were halted when Dean's eyes suddenly widened in alarm; "crap, I forgot something!" He turned and began to frantically splash, half swimming, half paddling along the sea bed toward the beach.
"What?" Sam asked, concerned.
Dean reached the shallows and scampered up the beach toward their loungers, his soaked sunflower-print shorts clinging to his hips like a second skin as he ran; "back in a sec," he called back after himself.
Sam watched him go, confused; a confusion which morphed into a grinning eye-roll as Dean turned, clutching Danno.
"Can't go in the sea without my buddy," he yelled for the whole beach, and probably the whole resort, to hear.
Sam couldn't help but laugh as man and dolphin crashed back into the sea with the force of an Atlantic breaker.
"Happy now?" Sam grinned.
Dean looked at Danno; "are we happy now?" He made the dolphin nod, "yep, we're peachy!"
The merry trio cavorted in the sea for a little while longer, engaging in a variety of combat sports, all of which culminated in Sam getting dunked or battered insensible by Danno.
Sated, and more than a little light-headed by an evening beside the pool fooling around and sampling an impressive selection of endlessly imaginative cocktails with Sam and Bobby, Dean took up his usual spot on the balcony.
He closed his eyes and relished the soft whisper of the warm breeze across his surprisingly sun-bronzed face, inhaling deeply of the ocean's salt freshness and the ever-lovely fragrance of kukai blossom.
Sitting in silence, he gazed across the night sky over the gently rolling ocean, mesmerised by the flickering ripples of light which danced across the water, living reflections from the crystal-bright waning moon.
Behind him he could hear Sam and Bobby in the room talking in lowered voices; he didn't know exactly what they were saying, but he guessed they were discussing arrangements for the flight back, he heard words such as 'Dramamine' and 'airport' peppering the conversation.
Dean knew they only had three days left in paradise, and he suddenly found himself not caring about the flight back.
Nothing could scare him more than the thought of leaving this place.