Disclaimer: Of course, all the standard disclaimers apply. I wouldn't be so lucky as to own the fantabulous Winchester boys.


By: Vanessa Sgroi

Sam and Dean Winchester sat sprawled in a booth at the Krysla Cove Diner in Krysla Cove, Maryland. Both men were exhausted from wrestling with a confused and very stubborn eidolon that had refused, loudly and profusely, to be exorcised from a family's summer home. For once, neither of them had suffered much in the way of injuries except for bruises, scrapes, and scratches. It was pure exhaustion now that had the boys so drawn and miserable.

Dropping the menu on the table, Dean muttered, "I'm too tired to even think about this, I'm just gonna go with a good ol' cheeseburger and chocolate shake."

Sam unsuccessfully stifled a huge yawn behind a big hand and nodded. "I might as well have the same."

The waitress, a tall, buxom redhead whose nametag read "Helena" sauntered over a few minutes later. "What can I get for y'all?"

"We'll both have cheeseburgers, fries, and chocolate shakes."

"Sorry, we're out."

"You're out?"

"Well, we're outta cheeseburgers, I mean."

Dean sighed. "Okay, how about a couple of bowls of chili and two Cokes then."

"Sorry, sugar, outta chili too."

"Ah, c'mon! How the hell can that be?" Dean didn't mean to be so testy but hunger and weariness were a bad combination.

The waitress shot him an annoyed glare. "Hey, it was a busy day. Always is during the Krysla Cove Mustard Festival. We even had to hire a coupla extra cooks for the weekend. Besides we're comin' up on closing time."

Sure enough, when Dean looked at his watch, it was 8:25 p.m. and the sign on the door indicated the diner closed at 9:00 p.m. He dropped his head back against the wall.

Sam jumped into the conversation. "Sorry—Helena, is it? We're just a little tired. What can we get that's quick?"

"We make a pretty decent chicken salad sandwich. Comes with either our famous baked potato salad or chips, and a pickle."

Sam looked at his brother with a raised eyebrow. "Dean? How 'bout it?"

"Yeah, yeah—that's fine. I'll take the sandwich with potato salad. And a Coke."

Sam nodded. "I'll have the same except chips instead of the potato salad."

The waitress scribbled down their order, grabbed the menus off the table, and sashayed away. She returned minutes later and set their Cokes down in front of them, Dean's a little harder than Sam's, causing some to spill over the rim.

"I think she's a little mad at you," Sam said with a half smile.

Dean took a long drink of the icy liquid, draining half the glass. "Yeah, I see that. Didn't mean to piss 'er off," he murmured, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

Things grew quiet, as Sam fiddled with the salt and pepper shakers. Rolling the glass shakers between his palms, he said, "At least we should be able to get a good sleep tonight. Job's done and we don't have to hightail it out of town for once."

Dean nodded but didn't say anything.

When Helena returned with their food, he looked at her and smiled a decidedly weary smile. "Hey . . . uh . . . Helena, look, I'm sorry about before. I'm just tired and cranky. I shouldn't have taken it out on you."

The redhead looked at him for a moment. Whether she saw the truth of his words about being tired or whether it was his soft-spoken, sincere apology he'd never know, but she offered him a sweet return smile.

"It's okay, sugar. Since you're tired AND hungry, you've a right to be a little outta sorts. Want a refill on your drink?"

When the elder Winchester nodded, she grabbed his glass and hurried away. A few moments later, she returned with the freshened drink and placed it in front of him, much more gently than the last time.

"Y'all enjoy now."

As she moved away, the brothers tucked into their food, nearly inhaling the much needed sustenance.

Dean downed his sandwich in record time. About half way through the potato salad, he surprisingly found himself full and dropped his fork. He pushed his plate away. Despite being full, he reached over and filched a potato chip off of Sam's plate. His brother glared at him, slapping his hand away when he reached a second time.

"Dean," he growled, "eat your own food!" Sam pointed at Dean's plate.

"Nah, I'm good," he drained the rest of his soda. "You ready?"

"Not yet," Sam mumbled around a chip.

Dean shifted in his seat and stifled a yawn. Pulling out his wallet, he tossed some cash on top of the check that was laying facedown near the edge of the table. After returning his wallet to his back pocket, he rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands.

"You ready yet?"

Sam gulped the last of his Coke and gave a soft burp. "Yeah, yeah. Let's go."

The short drive to the Moonlight Madness Motel was made in silence, each brother lost in his own thoughts. Their small room, for once tidy, clean-smelling, and comfortable, looked like Heaven when they crossed the threshold.

Two steps into the room, Sam was already pulling off his long-sleeved striped shirt and the navy blue t-shirt underneath. "You gonna grab a shower?"

Dean plopped down on his bed. "Yeah, I think so." He bent over to pull off his boots and socks. When he straightened, he muttered, "No—nevermind. I'm beat. I'm just gonna hit the sack." He quickly stripped down to his black boxers and gray t-shirt.

Sam shrugged. He knew Dean would be more comfortable if he showered before going to sleep, but he wasn't going to argue with him. Sam discarded his own boots and socks and dropped his jeans to the floor. He grabbed a fresh pair of boxers from his duffel bag and strode into the bathroom. Twenty minutes later when he exited the bathroom, steam billowing out behind him, his brother was facedown on the bed and sound asleep.

Sam dived into his own bed and got comfortable, pulling the butter yellow top sheet just to his waist. A ceiling fan, a rare luxury not usually found at the motels in which they usually stayed, stirred a cool, refreshing breeze that ruffled Sam's damp hair. He sighed in contentment. Well, as close to contentment as he'd gotten in a long time. From the open window, the sound of crickets chirping in the warm summer night lulled him into sweet slumber.

(SN) (SN) (SN)

TBC . . .