Author's Note: So this is a sequel to my other story 'Natural Disasters'. It's not really necessary to have read that one first although some of the references might make a little more sense if you have! For those who haven't, the basic story was the boys getting caught in an earthquake while on a simple salt & burn mission. Dean got hurt – which gave Sam a bit of a scare - so they decided afterwards to take a vacation, as Dean wanted to see the sights San Francisco had to offer...
Before I let you get on with the story, I really must say the biggest thank you to Sarah (Ziggy) and Jules (Mizpah) who's amazing emails to me this week are the reason this is even being posted. Or anything else for that matter. Thank you so, so much, girls:)
Sam called his brother's name anxiously as he scanned the empty hotel room. It was nicer than the places they'd usually stayed, as Sam had decided if they were going to take an actual vacation then they would do it properly. Dean's protests that they couldn't afford it had been met with the simple statement that Sam 'had it covered'. Dean's constant pestering about exactly how Sam had it covered had been met with silence and in the end he'd had to grudgingly give in and trust that his brother knew what he was doing.
Sam had no intention of telling Dean that he'd sold Jess's engagement ring to get the extra money together. He'd wanted this to be special – Dean deserved it not just for what he'd been through in the last week but for all the times he'd put everyone else first in his life. It was finally Sam's turn to do something for him in return, and he wanted them to be able to enjoy this week without having to look over their shoulders because they were using a fake credit card.
Truth was, it was also just a painful reminder of what would never be - better to try and move past that and at least create something good out of it. The money that would be left over would come in handy too, in case of emergencies. After all, they'd only too many of those lately.
Besides, it had been worth it to see the look on Dean's face when they'd checked in. He'd been thrilled by the flat screen tv which actually had more than 4 channels on it, not to mention the bathroom that was larger than most motel rooms they stayed in and housed a huge bath and steam shower that had Dean practically bouncing with excitement.
Sam had watched with amusement as Dean had explored the whole room exclaiming excitedly at each new luxury he found. They'd checked in an hour ago and Sam had left his brother trawling through the channels on the tv while he went to get some food for them. He hadn't been gone very long but somehow in that time Dean had managed to disappear. Sam felt panic surge in his stomach as he glanced round, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Just as he was about to take out his phone and try to call Dean, he heard the toilet flush. A few moments later the door opened and Dean came out. He looked up, saw Sam standing there, and grinned.
"Hey Sammy. What did you get?" he said, eyeing the bags of food hungrily.
Sam let out a relieved breath and shook his head, mentally berating himself for not thinking of the fact that Dean might just be in the bathroom.
Dean, as always, could read Sam and knew something was wrong. He frowned and took a couple of steps towards his brother.
"You ok? Did something happen?" he said and Sam shook his head, blushing a little.
"No, everything's fine Dean. I just, uh, I was just wondering where you were that's all." he said, trying to sound casual.
Dean raised his eyebrows. "Dude, I was in the bathroom. I wasn't aware I needed a note." he said dryly, unable to resist teasing Sam for jumping to conclusions.
Sam rolled his eyes and whacked Dean lightly on the arm as he handed him one of the bags.
"Very funny, Dean. You can't blame me for being a little edgy, you only got out of hospital yesterday." he said.
It was Dean's turn to roll his eyes now as he sat down on one of the beds and eagerly opened the bag.
"Would you quit worrying, Sammy? I told you I'm fine." he said exasperatedly.
"Uh-huh. And I've told you we both have different ideas of what the word 'fine' means." said Sam as he sat on the other bed and opened his own bag.
Dean ignored Sam's comment as he happily took out the tortilla chicken wrap Sam had brought him and took a huge bite.
Sam watched and noted that at least Dean's appetite was unaffected. He still wasn't convinced that Dean shouldn't have stayed in the hospital longer than just 24 hours, but his brother had been adamant about leaving and Sam knew well enough how pointless it was arguing with him when he was in that mood. The doctor had at least reassured him that there was no damage from the pipe Dean had landed on and that thanks to the blood transfusion they'd given him he ought to make a full recovery pretty quickly.
He had been clear about the fact Dean should take it easy for the next couple of weeks though and that was one promise Sam intended to make sure he kept. It was the only reason he'd gone along with Dean leaving the hospital.
So far his brother did seem intent to stick to it, although Sam knew that had more to do with the fact that he was still feeling quite tired and his side was going to be stiff and sore for a while yet.
Dean glanced up and saw he was being studied.
"What?" he said. "I got food on my face or something?"
Sam smiled and shook his head. "No. I was just thinking that's all."
"Well whatever it was keep it to yourself" said Dean dryly, taking another bite of his food. "You're being enough of a mother hen as it is."
"I am not a mother hen." said Sam indignantly and Dean snorted.
"Yeah, sure you're not, Sammy." he said, smirking.
"It's Sam." said Sam pointedly and Dean's smirk just grew.
Sighing and deciding he might as well quit now, Sam took out his own food and began to eat.
"Hey, did you pick up those leaflets?" said Dean after a while and Sam nodded.
"Yeah, they're in my jacket." he said, indicating his coat which he'd thrown over the chair when he came in.
Dean slid to the end of the bed and got up, wincing a little as he did so. Sam had to force himself to sit still and not immediately jump up and get them himself. He knew making a fuss about Dean's injuries would only make his brother even more stubborn.
Dean could feel Sam watching him and forced himself not to hold his side as he walked. It was feeling a little better than it had when he'd first left the hospital, but it was still really sore and any sudden movement resulted in a stabbing pain that literally took his breath away. He knew he was going to have to take it easy and let things heal, but that didn't mean he was going to let Sam fuss over him.
He was pleased when Sam stayed where he was and didn't say anything, and he appreciated it even more as he could see how much effort it took him to do that.
Even though he was trying to appear casual and not like he was watching Dean's every move.
Which of course he was.
Dean made his way back over to the bed and sat down carefully. He flicked through the leaflets Sam had picked up from the Hotel reception, picking out the one on Alcatraz first.
"We gotta do this one, Sam. All those scary guys that were locked up there? Can you imagine the spirits that might be hanging around?" he said, excitement making him sound like a kid.
Sam shook his head. "We're supposed to be on vacation, Dean, not looking for spirits." he said warningly.
"Oh come on, don't be a spoilsport. I didn't say we were gonna have to hunt any of them. It'd just be cool to see it, that's all. We can't come to San Francisco and not see Alcatraz." said Dean, looking at Sam with a hopeful look on his face.
"Fine, we'll do Alcatraz. But the first sign of a spirit we are outta there, got it? You're supposed to be resting and you promised." said Sam, pointing warningly at Dean.
"Cross my heart." said Dean sincerely, looking pleased with himself.
By the time they'd finished eating Dean was starting to flag. He'd looked through all the leaflets on the tourist attractions they were going to visit in the next week and had put the tv on again, although his eyelids were drooping even as he watched.
Sam kept glancing over as he watched the film with one eye and Dean with the other. After about half an hour Dean was practically asleep.
"Why don't you go to bed?" he said softly and Dean jumped and looked over at him blearily.
"What? I'm watching this." he said, waving his hand in the direction of the TV.
Sam snorted. "Sure. You've been watching it for the last 30 minutes through the back of your eyelids." he said dryly.
Dean looked indignant but he had to admit he was feeling pretty wiped out. Grumbling, he got up and went over to his bag to grab the shorts and t-shirt he usually slept in. As he bent over and grabbed the bag it pulled at his side and he couldn't help the hiss of pain that escaped.
Suddenly Sam's hand reached past him and grabbed the handle.
"I got it." he said quietly, resting his other hand on Dean's back gently while his brother got his breath back.
Dean would have protested except for the fact that he was concentrating on getting some air back in his lungs. Making a mental note not to bend over and pick anything up any time soon, he allowed Sam to help him stand up and gave a brief smile of thanks as Sam put the bag on the bed in easy reach.
While Dean was in the bathroom Sam kept one ear open in case his brother needed anything. He knew Dean wouldn't accept any fussing but he also knew he wouldn't ask for help until it was too late. He'd learned long ago how to tread that thin line between what Dean needed and what he'd actually accept.
On the other side of the door, Dean sat down on the edge of the bath to get his breath back. It was amazing how tiring something as simple as cleaning your teeth could be. He shook his head, glad that the bathroom door was closed. Sam would have totally made a scene if he could see how wiped out Dean really was.
It wasn't that he didn't appreciate Sam's concern because he did. He knew his brother only fussed because he cared and truth was he was exactly the same when Sam was hurt. That didn't mean he had to like it though and it was still ingrained in him that he was the one who did the taking care of, not the other way around.
Dean jumped at Sam's soft call. He realised he'd probably been in there a while and had to admit he was impressed the door hadn't been kicked open already.
"Yeah, I'm just coming." he called back, standing up with huge effort and rinsing his mouth.
When he opened the door Sam was sat back on his bed, trying to look like he wasn't watching Dean out of the corner of his eye.
Dean couldn't help smirking.
"I gotta admit, I'm impressed Sammy." he said and Sam frowned as he looked over at him.
"Impressed by what?" he said and Dean's smirk grew wider.
"That you didn't offer to wipe my ass for me." he said dryly.
"Hilarious, Dean. I shoulda just left you in there and stepped over you in the morning." said Sam, even though they both knew it would be cold day in hell before that ever happened.
Dean smirked as he threw his clothes on the chair and got into bed, carefully. It felt good to lie down in a bed that actually had soft sheets and a mattress that didn't feel like there was a quarry full of rocks hidden in it. He heard Sam switch off the tv and head into the bathroom himself. By the time Sam came out again, he was already dozing. He heard his brother come over and stand next to the bed, and could just picture the worried expression that would be on his face as he stood there. He wanted to tell Sam to stop worrying but opening his eyes or speaking required far too much effort right now. Instead he endured the scrutiny silently and made a mental note to slap Sam upside the head later.
Of course Sam wasn't content to just look and Dean suddenly felt the blankets being pulled up and moved closer around him.
Oh, you so did not just tuck me in he thought but that was of course exactly what Sam had just done.
He was really gonna slap him upside the head in the morning.
Unaware of his impending bodily harm and satisfied that Dean was now warm and comfortable, Sam got into his own bed. Switching off the lamp he sank into the soft mattress with a sigh of contentment.
Maybe this whole tourist thing might be fun after all.