Title: A Bright New Day
Author: Dhvana
Series: 1) The Monster Under the Bed, 2) A Little Help From Bob, 3) The Temptation of Dean, 4) Questions Without Answers, 5) Don't Lose Your Head, 6) Retribution and Remorse, 7) The Return of an Old Fiend, 8) Undulating Dynamics, 9) Personal Weirdness, 10) On the Road Again, 11) Doubletalk, 12) The Golden Agenda, 13) The Rescue of Dean, 14) Alone, 15) A Learning Experience, 16) A New Life, 17) Two Words, 18) Beyond Good and Evil, 19) Security Deposit, 20) An Uneven Fit
Rating: R
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Summary: Sam lets Dean in on their new case.


Dean rose the next morning more awake and refreshed than he'd felt since...honestly, he couldn't remember when, but it was a damn good feeling. Aerosmith was playing on the clock radio, the sun was shining brightly through the cracks in the blinds, and Sam was sprawled across the bed, out cold. His face was smooth and innocent in his sleep, seemingly without a care in the world. Seeing his brother like that, a wave of fierce protectiveness washed through Dean, one he'd started to worry had been lost. He was relieved to know that he could still be a brother to Sam, that he was capable of feeling concern for his wellbeing. He knew Sam had never slept so peacefully while they were apart—knew he hadn't, either—but now that they were together, the least they could do was try to ease each other's burdens, maybe fix the jagged edges between them.

And, naturally, being who he was, such a thing had to be done in the most infuriating manner possible.

"RISE AND SHINE, SAMMY!" he bellowed, giving the mattress a violent kick.

Sam jolted awake, his entire body tense as he stared around him with confused eyes. His sluggish reaction instantly sparked a vein of irritation in Dean. This just proved that his brother had grown lax, careless. Probably was relying on his powers and being around two other hunters to keep him safe, which was clearly bullshit. Bigfoot could have crept up on him and he never would have heard a thing.

"What time is it?" Sam groaned, rubbing a hand over his face. His eyes were still bruised, in spite of a decent night's sleep, and the sight worked to sooth Dean's hunter sensibilities. He'd get on Sam's case another day. Right now, he just wanted to keep his positive momentum.

"Time to grab some breakfast and hit the road. You ready?"

"Yeah," he muttered, pushing himself up so he was sitting on the bed. "Just give me five minutes."

"Take your time," Dean said, feeling generous. "I'll get the gear in the car. Want me to scrounge up something to eat?"

In truth, he was hungry enough to eat the entire breakfast menu at McDonald's, but he'd settle for something quick if Sam wanted to get on the road.

"I was thinking we'd hit the Waffle House on the way out of town."

"Awesome," Dean grinned, ignoring the way his brother looked like he was about to start snapping 'Christo' at any second. "Get moving, man. I'm starving."

"Yeah," Sam said slowly, rising from the bed. "I'll get right on that."

Singing along to the radio, Dean gathered their things and packed up the car, giving his baby a loving caress when he closed the trunk. "Missed you, girl, even more than I missed him."

"I heard that," Sam said, stepping out of the room.

"And...?" Dean returned with an impish grin. Sam rolled his eyes, but Dean noted the way the corners of his lips twitched. He'd get him smiling in no time, get them back on track. It would just take a little work, that's all.

For breakfast, Dean had waffles, eggs, sausage, bacon, country ham, toast with strawberry jam, and enough coffee to fill a bathtub. Sam had already eaten most of his much simpler breakfast and was now watching each bite disappear into Dean's mouth with an increasing green tinge to his face.

"Where are you putting all that?"

"I'm like a cow. I've got four stomachs."

"Disturbing, but I believe it," Sam said, pushing his plate away.

"You going to eat that?" Dean asked, grabbing the remaining link off Sam's plate.

"I might throw up if you do."

"That's a risk I'm willing to take," he grinned, sinking his teeth into the sausage.

"I'm gonna hit the john," Sam said, sliding out of the booth and avoiding looking at Dean's face.

Chuckling, Dean shoved the rest of the sausage into his mouth. He pulled out his wallet, put down enough to cover their bill, and decided it would be a good idea to relieve himself of some of the coffee before hitting the road. "We're good to go as soon as we're done here," Dean said, walking into the bathroom and up to the urinal. He could feel Sam's eyes on him, watching his reflection in the mirror above the sink.

"What?" he asked, not turning around.


"Come on, Sammy. Something's eating you. What is it?"

"It's just...what happened? One minute, it's all you can do to be in the same room as me, and now it's like the past year didn't happen. Are you...is everything okay? Is it really you in there?"

Dean sighed, the breath carrying a little of his joy away as he zipped up. "Look. I just woke up in a good mood, all right? You want to spoil it, keep talking like that and we'll go back to the way things were."

"No!" Sam quickly said, then took a deep breath. "No. This is... this is good. I like this."

"Great. Then shut the hell up and get in the car."

With an anxious nod, Sam took off out the door. Dean washed his hands and followed, hoping the matter was settled and his brother would relax. If he was going to put in the effort to make things as normal as possible, Sam could at least do the same. And while his brother had been wrong to even think he'd forgotten about the past year, he couldn't let it dominate his entire life. They'd both changed, Sammy into psychic wonder boy or whatever the fuck he was, and he had that whole warrior bullshit to deal with, but he was still Dean at the core and he wasn't going to let anything take that away.

Sliding into the driver's seat, he shot Sam a grin. "Think we should grab some snacks before we hit the road?"

Sam clutched his stomach and groaned. Goal achieved, Dean laughed and pulled the Impala onto the road.

"We've got to get you eating regularly again, get you back into shape. No more starving yourself to look like Paris Hilton. You need some flesh on your bones."

"Shut the hell up."

Dean chuckled to himself and switched on the radio. It really was turning out to be a good day.

They were about two hours down I-10 before Dean finally thought to ask, "So, where are we going?"

Sam glanced at him out of the corners of his eyes, his posture wary. "I'm not sure I should tell you."

"Why not?"

"I wouldn't want you to get distracted while you're driving."

"Is it that bad?"

"Not exactly."

"So it's good?"

"Not exactly."

"Sam..." he warned.

"We're going to Florida."

"Sammy," Dean said without a hint of humor in his voice, "this had better not be a joke."

"It isn't. We're going to Florida—sun, beaches, bikinis, the whole shebang."

Dean sat there, blinking for a moment as he tried to figure out which was the most important part of that sentence—Florida, or 'shebang'. Definitely Florida. He could give Sammy shit about saying 'shebang' later.

"Dude...I think I love you."

"If I'd known that was all it took," Sam teased, and Dean winked at him.

"It wouldn't have hurt. We will have time for the beaches, right?"

"I figure once the hunt's over, we can take a few days off and relax."

"We have to find a place to stay that has a tiki bar. I won't settle for anything less than a fully stocked tiki bar."

"Deal. We can drink, swim, and ogle to our hearts' content—after the job is done."

"Of course," Dean smirked. "I am a professional."

"Right. A professional."

Dean chose to ignore the skepticism in his brother's voice in lieu of visions of bikinis bouncing through his head. Sure, he might only be able to ogle, but Sam had agreed to let him look. He knew damn well he'd never get to touch, with the exception of his brother, and a vision flashed across his eyes, letting him know just what a couple days at the beach with Sam would mean. There would be hours of Sam walking around practically naked in just swim trunks. He would emerge dripping wet from the ocean, exposing miles of tanned, taut, glistening skin, placing every inch of him on display before hundreds of covetous eyes and needy fingers—his own included. Even the satisfaction of knowing that Sam was his and only his couldn't counter the fact that his brother would be oozing animal magnetism, a magnetism he might not be able to resist.

Suddenly, Florida didn't sound like such a good idea. How would he be able to tell Sam 'no' when his feelings of betrayal were being drowned out by lust?

That sneaky bastard. He'd probably planned this all along. Sure, he promised Dean the trip he'd always wanted, but he'd put a damper on his fun without even having to say a word.

"What is it we're after, anyway?" he groused.

"There's rumors a vrykolakas is wandering around Tarpon Springs."


"They're not exactly willing to commit, but something down there is causing trouble and I sense a shadow over the area every time I try to focus on it."

Dean opened his mouth to ask Sam to elaborate on exactly what he meant by that and then shut it with a snap. He wasn't sure if he was ready for the details yet.

"That'll be easy," he said instead. "Find the undead guy, do a quick slash and burn, and then it'll be nothing but sunshine and beer for the rest of the week. So why a vrykolakas? Why Tarpon Springs?"

"Large Greek-American population, largest in the U.S."

"And the vrykolakas is Greek in origin. What's it up to?"

"The usual stuff. Some poltergeist impersonations, sabotage on a couple of the boats, harassment of a few people. It hasn't hurt anyone yet."

"Yet. At least it'll be an easy one. A quick slash and burn and then we'll hit the beach."

They rolled into Tarpon Springs around midnight, too tired and cramped to think of anything other than a room, a shower, and a bed. Dean opened the door to their chosen domicile for the night and stared.


"I probably should have mentioned," Sam said, shouldering past him into the room, "Tarpon Springs is the sponge capital of the world."

"The what now?"

"Sponges," Sam said, fingering the pale, rough, porous material through which the light of the lamp shined through. "You know...sponges."

"Right," Dean nodded, trying not to touch the walls, which were covered in the stuff, while grateful that the carpet was just colored to look like a sponge and not going to tear his feet up when he stumbled out of bed in the morning. "Good to know that if I need to exfoliate, I can just rub against the walls."

"You exfoliate?" Sam asked, a teasing lilt to the question.

"Fuck you."

"I wondered how you got such smooth pretty skin."

"I repeat, fuck you."

"Is it as soft to touch as it looks?"

"Sammy..." he warned.

"Come on, Dean," Sam grinned, walking towards him with his hand outstretched, "let me touch your pretty skin."

"Get the hell away from me," he snapped, slapping Sam's hand aside. "I'm gonna take a shower."

"Grab part of the wall when you go so your skin can keep that peaches and cream glow."

"I hate you so much right now," Dean growled, shutting the door and locking it behind him, though he couldn't lock out the sound of Sam's laughter. Fighting his own grin, he stripped down and stepped into the shower.

Dean was woken that night by Sam struggling through a nightmare. After listening to the whimpers and the moans and the occasional curses for fifteen minutes, he finally rose and tried to shake his brother awake.

"Sam. Sammy! Come on, Sam, wake up. It's just a dream."

Locked up in his dream, Sam didn't react to his voice or to the hand on his shoulder.

"Damnit," Dean muttered, crawling onto the bed. He rolled Sam onto his back and grabbed him by the shoulders. "Sam!" he yelled. "Wake up!"

A force smashed against his chest and he found himself thrown across the room. His entire body was slammed to the wall, the back of his head scraping across the rough sponges with the sharp pain of skin being torn from his skull, and he slid to the floor.

"Dean?" Sam jumped out of bed and knelt down next to him, all traces of sleep gone from his body. Sam's hands cradled his face in those overlarge paws, but he was still too stunned to do or say anything. "Dean, are you okay? Oh god, Dean I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I didn't know. Dean, talk to me. Tell me you're okay."

His first urge was to slam his fist into his brother's face. He knew it wasn't Sam's fault—or, at least, he didn't think it was Sam's fault—but damnit, that fucking hurt! He was going to have a headache for the next week now because of this and bruises he'd never be able to show on a beach. His second urge was to let Sam take care of him, to wrap them up in the bed and hold him until his brother's guilt faded enough that they could sleep, to let himself be pampered and adored and loved just like he knew Sam wanted.

The first urge won.

Sam didn't even try to get angry as he rubbed his newly-bruised jaw. "I deserved that."

"Damn right you did. Now help me up."

Sam crawled to his feet and held out an arm, pulling Dean up. "Fuck, Dean, you're bleeding."

"Head wounds do that," he snarled, stumbling into the bathroom. "So? How bad is it?" he asked after spending a minute trying unsuccessfully to get a look at the back of his head in the mirror.

"Looks like you were dragged across the sidewalk," Sam said from where he lingered guiltily in the doorway. "I think your back's scratched up, too."

"What? Fuck!" Dean pulled off his shirt and this time was able to get a decent look at the damage in the mirror. Little lines of red were seeping up across his skin. "God damnit! Who the fuck lines their walls with sharp objects anyway?"

"They're not technically sharp—"

"Sammy," he interrupted with a growl, "I just got scalped by the wall. I really don't give a fuck about technicalities right now."

"I know. I'm sorry."

One look at his brother's misery-filled face and Dean sighed. "Not your fault. Well, technically, it's your fault, but you didn't know what you were doing. You wanna tell me what you were dreaming to make you react like that?"

Sam frowned as he rubbed his forehead, trying to recall the details of his dream. "I think it had something to do with the demon and mom."

"Oh yeah? Something I should know about?"

"I'm not...I'm not sure. Sometimes it seems so real and then other times...it's just a dream."

"Well, when you figure it out, let me know, and we'll find out how to stop it."

Sam looked up at him and smiled, that same expression of blind faith that his big brother was going to fix everything he'd worn throughout his entire childhood, and Dean's heart clenched in his chest. Fuck, he hated that look. It made him feel happy, assured about his place in the world, but it also made him feel like crap because of all the feelings he had which were a betrayal of that place. He was Sammy's big brother. He shouldn't be thinking about...other things.

"Go on back to bed," he said gruffly. "I'm going to get cleaned up."

"Dean, what about...what if it happens again? What if I really hurt you?"

"It'll be fine, Sammy. I know how not to wake you up now, or at least not to be in your line of fire when I do, so I'm not worried. It'll be all right. Just get some sleep."

He gently pushed his brother into the bedroom and closed the door. He stripped down and hopped into the shower, hissing as the water stung against the shredded skin on his back. Fuck. Fuck his brother. Fuck the beach. He couldn't go out there looking like he'd fought a losing battle with a sidewalk. Damn Sam and his psychic temper tantrum. He'd just have to hide under the tiki bar and drink his pain away.

Clenching his eyes shut and gritting his teeth, he ducked his head under the water and cursed again as pain skittered across his scalp. He was lucky he didn't have a concussion, assuming he could get a concussion from a fucking sponge. He couldn't even put band-aids on it because there was no fucking way he was walking around with the back of his head covered in bandages. He'd just have to hope it stopped bleeding overnight, or earlier. He really didn't want to have to explain a bloody pillow.

After quickly drying off, he pulled his boxers back on, leaving the ruined shirt on the floor, and walked into the bedroom. It took less than a second for him to read the tense set to his brother's body and know Sam wasn't even close to falling asleep. With a sigh, he walked over to the bed and nudged Sam over on the mattress.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked as Dean lay down on his back next to his brother.

"Making sure we both get some sleep. We've got a hunt to start tomorrow and I'm not going to do it exhausted. And, god knows why, you sleep better when we're in the same bed."

"I don't think it's safe," Sam started to protest but was stopped with an elbow to the back.

"Shut the hell up and go to sleep. It's fine."


"Sammy, I said it's fine," he said, the tone of his voice ending all discussion.

He wasn't surprised that his brother only managed to be silent for another thirty seconds. "Dean?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah?" he huffed in annoyance.

"I'm sorry."

The annoyance vanishing, he reached over and gave Sam's arm a squeeze. "I know."

"Thank you," Sam said, placing a hand over his, thanking him not for the forgiveness but for not being afraid to share the same bed.

"Whatever," he grumbled, but he knew Sam would be able to his intent behind the word. Sam did, his brother's body finally relaxing next to his, and it wasn't long before they both fell back asleep.


Next story in series - Understanding.