A/N: I'm trying to get back into the big leagues here, but just not quite there yet. My mind has ran away with my muse. Here's a little one shot for your enjoyment and my security. Don't want you to forget about me! Still working on some other...things and trying to get back on track. This is set this season, after Uriel mentioned the anniversary of Jess' death. The expression on Sam's face got me thinking.

Title inspired by a line from Hinder By the Way. NOT A SONGFIC. enjoy. Also, I know the voting is over and they're announcing winners but I wanted to thank whoever nominated Psyche for the thirteen days of Sammy awards over at livejournal. It's up for best motel room fix up and I'm really grateful. It bolsters my courage with other projects to have the nod there even if nothing comes of it. So, THANKS and I hope if you read this you'll let me know it was you so I can thank you properly.

In The Winding Down Hours

The motel drapes were pulled tight against the early morning sun. Sam's head turned on the bed and he sighed, stilling as sleep pulled him deeper. His fist curled loosely into the motel sheets bunched at his waist, his thumbnail raking over the ridges of his abdomen. His head worked again as he sighed once more. Muscles worked across his chest, shoulders bunching and releasing as he dreamed. His eyes screwed tight and he growled low in his throat, his fist clenching as if he could put permanent creases in the sheet. Sam stilled and then his blue green eyes shot open. He remained still, completely silent until the thumping he heard slowed and finally stopped echoing through his head.

Sam cast hooded eyes around the motel room, taking in the wallpaper that resembled the backdrop at a paint ball range. Multicolored splatters that looked like exploded drops of paint bored their way through Sam's mind. He remained still, only his eyes moving and his chest rising and falling. Finally Sam took a deep, ragged breath and forced his eyes to close once more. Sam concentrated on his breathing, blocking out the sounds outside the room, blocking out the rising sun as it tried in vain to burn through both the blinds and his eyelids. The world around him came to life and Sam wanted nothing more than the silence of the night.

---

Dean's head worked into the pillow as he rolled onto his right side, his hand remaining tucked up under the flat motel furnished cushion as his fingers gripped the hilt of the knife he was never without. The smooth wood comforted Dean as his eyes blinked open against the dim lighting in the room, furnished for free by the rising sun. He worked his fingers around the smooth surface and sighed, pulling in a breath as he allowed his body to relax back into slumber. The sleep that he needed toyed in the darkness of his peripheral vision, dancing just out of his reach. Dean's shoulders stiffened, muscles rippling across his body as his left fist clenched in the blanket that rested lightly against his abs..

Dean's ears picked up the sound of breathing from the other bed, the soft sound pulling him further away from the oblivion he wanted. It wasn't the rhythmic, regular sound of his little brother getting rest. It was the sound of his brother, awake, unable to shut off his mind. Dean willed the silence to take over once more, but found himself unable to turn away from his brother. Dean pushed himself up on a single elbow and watched the dim lighting play over the tight lines of his brother's profile.

---

Sam sensed the change in his brother and knew Dean was awake and aware that he wasn't sleeping. Sam forced himself to relax, forced the lines he felt in his face to smooth, the tension in his shoulders to leave him. He took a breath and forced the rhythm to move towards the regular, soft sound that would allay Dean's concern for him. Sam released his fist from it's death grip on the sheet at his waist, gasping as the feeling returned to his fingertips and his digits started shaking. Sam took another breath and forced himself to still completely. He waited, his eyes closed against the ever brightening sunlight until he heard the soft swish of flesh against fabric as he sensed Dean lying back against the motel bed once more.

---

Dean watched Sam as he feigned sleep, forcing his body to relax, his breathing to regulate. He stared at Sam's forced relaxation for another moment before he allowed his elbow to slide out from beneath him as his head hit the pillow again. His fingers worked back up beneath the pillow and closed on the hilt of his knife once more. A wave of comfort washed over him, followed quickly by a wave of guilt. His mind drifted to his brother and the silence in the room once more, only broken to two sets of lungs pulling air in and releasing it. The sun broke through the blinds once more, highlighting rising and falling chests fringed by blankets and coarse motel sheets. Sam's head worked into the pillow, turning away from the window.

---

Dean closed his eyes again, against the encroaching daylight, against the wakefulness pounding through his veins, vibrating through the air he breathed. He knew he would be unable to truly rest while the same eluded his brother. "Sammy?" Dean said softly, his voice hoarse from hours of disuse. Dean saw his brother's head roll towards him, his hair whispering over the threads of the pillowcase.

"Yeah, Dean?" Sam said softly, his voice still echoing in the stillness of the early morning motel room.

"You wanna talk?"

"Not really Dean."

"Okay." Dean sighed. He propped himself up on an elbow once more and watched his brother's blue green eyes as they played over him in the morning light. "Feel like breakfast?"

"Not really."

"First shower?"

"Go ahead."

"Sam."

"What?"

"I'm here. Ya know that, right?"

"Yeah." Dean stood from the bed and worked the residue of another sleepless night from his body, grabbing clothes from his duffle. He headed for the bathroom. Sam sat up on the bed, feeling the fatigue settle into his bones. He was getting used to it. He leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees, working his fingers through his disheveled hair. He sighed, closing his eyes as a pair of blue ones filtered through his mind. Dean emerged several moments later walking through a billowing cloud of steam, his jeans riding low on his hips as he pulled on his black tee-shirt.

"Sam?" Dean said as he moved towards where his brother sat on the bed and joined him, mimicking his position. Dean's shoulder bumped Sam's, cotton against skin, loud in the silent room.

A sniffle echoed in the stillness. "It's been three years and I can still see her eyes, her smile." Sam near whispered.

"I know you can."

"I miss her Dean."

"I know you do."

"Does it ever go away?"

"No." Dean put an arm around Sam's hunched shoulders, squeezing gently. "It does get better though."

"Promise?"

"I swear."

"Go get a shower. We'll grab breakfast on the way outta town."

"Dean?"

"Yeah, Sammy?"

"Can we leave town?"

"Ya wanna ditch this Burg?"

Sam gave a watery smile. "I don't think I ever wanna come to Palo Alto again."

"Oh come on, not even for spirits haunting the girls' varsity locker room?" Dean said, smirking as he ducked his head to catch Sam's downcast eyes. Sam looked at him.

Sam smiled, dimples appearing. "Not even for spirits in the girls' locker room."

"Breakfast over the border, right?"

"Right."

"So, Palo Alto and Lawrence. That the only places in the continental forty eight that we wanna forget exist?"

Sam ruffled through his bag and pulled out some clothing and headed for the bathroom. He pushed the door mostly closed before poking his head back out of the door. "What about Miami?

"Miami is at the top of the list." Dean said, smirking at Sam as his head disappeared through the door way again. "I'm goin' out for coffee, Bitch."

"Bring me back a latte. Jerk." Sam yelled through the door.

"Girl."

"Watch out for the Varsity Girls, dude."