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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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Fic: Salt Water Cure (Sam/Dean, R) Part 1 of 3

Title: Salt Water Cure

Author: smalltrolven

Pairing: Sam/Dean

Rating: R

Word Count: 9,100

Summary: Set after episode 10.5 “Fan Fiction”- Sam and Dean have to be pretend boyfriends for a case which leads to many changes neither of them ever expected.

Author’s Note: Not my characters only my words. Written for locknkey for spn_j2_xmas 2014. I tried to include several of your likes, pretend boyfriends, first-time, rain, hope you enjoy and sorry it was late in getting posted!  Big-time beta thanks go to firesign10 who jumped in to help when she was needed most.

Also can be read over at AO3 right here.


The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. ~ Isak Dinesen

“This is where they filmed ‘The Birds’, you know,” Dean says for at least the third time on their long drive from Flint, Michigan to Bodega Bay.  The ruggedly beautiful Northern California coast is distracting enough that Sam doesn’t feel the need to protest the repetition of useless movie trivia.

“Well, I’ll keep a lookout for too many birds in one place, but I’m more worried about this resort probably being haunted,” Sam says, flipping through his notebook.

“What’s our cover gonna be?” Dean asks.

“Oh, uh, I forgot to tell you, this is a couples-only kind of place,” Sam says, trying not to stammer in his rush to get the embarrassment over with.

“Really? So, pretend boyfriends, huh? How long have we been together? We should get our story straight,” Dean says.

“Let’s go for, we’re here to celebrate our ten year anniversary,” Sam suggests, looking over at Dean quickly to see how that idea hits his brother.  He smiles when he sees Dean’s smile. “Figured we’ve played this role so many times, it ought to be easy by now.”

Dean looks over at his brother quickly, but Sam can see he noticed his smile. “Long-time then, not too much PDA expected, good thinking, Sammy.”

“Yeah,” Sam says, trailing off noticeably, like he has more to say, but doesn’t for some reason.

“There something else?” Dean asks.

“What? No, uh…nothing, just thinking about the case,” Sam answers, shuffling through his notebook again, trying to distract himself from thinking about anniversaries, PDA, and anything about pretending to be in a relationship with his brother. It’s not something he’s honest with himself about, because there’s no point; it’s not something that will ever have a chance in hell of happening, so why bother?

They drive the rest of the way in a silence broken only by the crackly classic rock station that Dean’s managed to find.  A little north of the picturesque town on the bay, they drive along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It’s heading towards sunset and the clear view is spectacular. The Bodega Bay Sweetheart Seaside Lodge is enormous, with a very grand entrance complete with a central fountain in the courtyard outside. Several wings of the hotel, as well as the sprawling grounds that adjoin the coastal wetlands are immaculately landscaped in waving sea grass and California lilac.


“Hi, we’re here to check in- we have a reservation, under Steve Rothery,” Sam says, arriving at the front desk before Dean.  The tall redheaded man behind the marble-topped counter looks up and gives Sam one very clear howyadoin’ look up and down.

“Hi, welcome to the Seaside. I’m Nick, manager of the lodge, please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you during your stay,” Nick says, shaking Sam’s hand slowly and with a lot more rhythmic squeezing than a normal handshake.

Dean arrives just then, putting his hand out to shake across the counter, blocking Nick from doing anything other than releasing Sam’s hand quickly and taking a small step backwards. “Hey there, I’m Mark Kelly, nice to meet you. I’m Steve’s partner, and we’re here celebrating our tenth anniversary.”

Nick regroups and adjusts his face to a pleasant mask. “Your room is in one of the outer wings, it’s got a sea view.  The package you booked, Mr. Rothery, includes two dinners at our best on-site restaurant, as well as two room-service breakfasts and one couple’s spa treatment. Here are your keys, do you need help with any bags?”

“No, we’re fine. Thanks,” Sam says after he signs the charge slip and pockets the key cards Nick has placed on the counter.  As they step away from the main desk, he tries not to startle when Dean places a warm hand on his lower back, the heat bleeding in through his light jacket.  He knows Dean’s just playing the part of the jealous lover, but it still feels good.

“Good catch on the name, Dean,” Sam says as they exit the main building. “I wasn’t expecting you to guess that one.”

“Yeah, Marillion, right?” Dean asks, as they walk towards the parking lot to move the car.

“Yeah, uh, you’ve been listening to it a lot lately, and I don’t think we’ve used them before. Thought the names didn’t sound too English or memorable.”

“Good call. That Nick guy at the desk though, he hit on you right from the jump. How rude was that?” Dean asks, starting the car and moving it down to the very end of the parking lot, much closer to the ocean.

“What do you mean? Rude because he was coming onto me instead of you for once?” Sam asks, getting out of the car and grabbing his backpack out of the backseat.

Dean just laughs like he knows Sam’s got his number, because he pretty much always does.

“Besides, you staked your territory pretty clearly, so I think we’re off to a good start,” Sam says with a grin, closing the trunk with a controlled slam.

“Just don’t like it when people assume stuff like that,” Dean tries to explain without really explaining.

Sam doesn’t pursue it, because he knows Dean doesn’t really want to talk about it. As they walk towards the room, they hear a strange groaning; it grows louder the closer they get to the elevator area.  At first it sounds something like air pressure in the elevator shaft, but then it seems to travel overhead along some of the water supply pipes. Eventually it stops completely and they shrug at each other as Sam opens the door.

Dean’s the first to comment, because he wasn’t the one who found this case or booked the room. “Wow, Steve. You really went all out for our anniversary - this room is pretty damn amazing.” The view of the Pacific is flat-out magnificent, the orange glow of the sunset shining its last on the waves below the cliffs is brilliant.  Dean flops onto the giant bed and groans with exaggerated and yet somehow honest happiness.  “This mattress is even better than the one I’ve got at home.”

“Nothing but the best for my Mark,” Sam answers with a smile, walking to the French doors and opening them both wide. The sheer white curtains billow out with the sea breeze. Sam looks back to see Dean stretched out on the bed, his eyes closed and face relaxed, his body long and perfect and whole. He flashes on Dean laid out on his bed after he’d died, after Sam had cleaned him up. How he looked nothing like this. When Dean inhabits his body, it changes everything.

“Sammy, you okay?” Dean asks, sounding a little worried.

“Yeah?” Sam answers, shaking his head a little to dislodge the horrifying and sad image. Now he sees that Dean has propped himself up on one side and is closely examining him. “I’m okay. Just a little tired after being in the car. You want to walk the grounds before it gets dark?”

Dean flops back onto the bed and stretches with another groan that makes Sam’s stomach do a little flip. He should be used to his brother’s inappropriately sexy noises by now.

“I’ll be right behind you, give me a few minutes to just be horizontal, okay?”

Sam turns back to the view of the ocean, deciding to wait on the small covered porch in one of the lounge chairs. He watches the waves below, trying to quiet his mind, disturbed by that vision of Dean lying there dead. Forcing himself to think of something else, he goes back over the case at the girl’s high school that they just wrapped up in Flint. The drama girl’s enthusiasm and love for their story, of all things, is still something that he’s working on accepting. He could see the potential enjoyment of reading the books, but creating a full-on musical out of them? That’s just kind of mind boggling.

Dean taps him on both shoulders to get his attention, standing over him. Sam looks up at him, upside down. “You seem kinda out of it. Sure you’re okay?”

“I am. Just thinking about that play thing still.”

Dean looks out at the water and smiles. “It was pretty good for a high school thing. Kinda cute in a creepy sort of way.”

“That wasn’t what I meant. I’m still getting over those girls being so into our story that they wrote a whole musical.”

“Face it, Sammy,” Dean says, squeezing his shoulders briefly. “We’re freakin’ inspiring or somethin’. Let’s get out there, huh? The sun’s going down and it’s gonna be dark soon.”

The echo of Dean’s touch ricochets down through Sam’s body, making him shiver slightly. He’s always hyper aware of the effect from any physical contact he has with Dean, something makes him want to memorize it. All these casual touches, however fleeting, seem precious after his recent death. The possibility of a life with no more Dean in it had spooked him more than he’s been able to express. Having the project to find Dean when his body disappeared pretty much saved him this time.

“So, you said there were two hotel workers and one guest killed so far, right?” Dean asks, shutting the door behind them.

“Yeah, the guest was in the shower in room 112, the first worker was in the pool control room, and the second worker was working on the fountain out in front,” Sam answers, striding off towards the room he just mentioned.

“Huh, so all water related then. We’re thinking some kind of ghost thing, right?” Dean asks.

“Ghost or water demon maybe? I don’t know much more than that yet,” Sam answers with a sigh. Then he thinks to himself, “We’re thinking? No,I’m thinking, since I’m the one that found the case.” But that’s just how Dean’s always talked, using the collective We, with Sam as the brains, Dean as the muscle, in their assigned roles as far as Dean’s concerned. But at least it’s assuming they’re a team, a unit, a matched pair that only functions well together. That’s Sam’s world now, and he’s finally good with it. Something about having Dean gone for those long months has reset his internal resentments to zero and settled most of his objections to living this life.

Unaware of all the drama going on in Sam’s brain, Dean hurries to catch up, pulling the EMF detector out of his pocket. As they near room 112, it starts to blip quietly, ramping up to more than halfway when they’re at the door. Dean turns the sound off, but the display remains lit up. He turns it off and puts it away when one of the hotel maids comes around the hallway corner towards them. Dean grabs Sam’s hand in his and pulls him a little closer so they look like any other normal, happy vacationing couple walking down the hotel hall. Sam smiles a little at the feel of Dean’s warm hand enveloping his. I could get used to this, he muses to himself.

“I think we should go check out the fountain, it’s closest,” Sam says, tugging on Dean’s hand to pull him in the right direction.  He catches a glimpse of a smile that crosses Dean’s face and looks down at their joined hands. Dean squeezes his tightly for just a moment and then laughs. Sam laughs too, not really knowing why, since playing pretend with his brother seems like something he’s been doing his whole life. But, being easy with each other like this hasn’t always been possible. And it’s good.

They stroll through part of the gardens on the way back to the entrance, checking out all the many water features, small ponds, a fake creek or two, several small bridges crossing them. It’s all beautifully maintained and perfectly planned, not a leaf out of place.

“For being right on the ocean, they’ve sure got a lot of water things going on here,” Dean observes.

“You’re right, I remember reading the California coast had water shortage problems recently too, seems kind of wasteful,” Sam says.

Dean stops and points at a small heart-shaped wooden sign that reads:

This garden uses municipal reclaimed water.

Please do not drink or wade.

Thank you,

Management of Bodega Bay Sweetheart Seaside Lodge

“There’s your answer for that one at least,” Dean says.

“And that reclaimed water system, it could be how the ghost is getting around, if it’s water-related that is,” Sam says.

They arrive within sight of the central fountain, and Dean turns the EMF back on. It instantly starts chirping, ramping up higher with every step that they take toward the fountain. Dean hits the mute button, but keeps the display tipped towards Sam so they can both see it. They circle the fountain and notice there seems to be the most reaction where the water comes out at the top of the fountain. It’s a modern design, stacked stone blocks of different sizes and types, with holes drilled in the corners of the three rocks that are balanced on the top. Having reached the fountain’s basin, Dean’s stretches to wave the EMF around. They’re too busy to notice the approach of the maintenance worker over the noise of burbling water.

“Can I help you guys?” a man asks, startling them both.  Dean stashes the EMF reader in his jacket pocket and slips an arm around Sam’s waist, holding him close.

“We were just admiring the fountain, I was trying to show my Stevie how it works with the holes in the top,” Dean says.

“Well, that’s fine, just be careful please. We had an accident in the fountain a week ago,” the man says, looking at both of them curiously.

“An accident, my goodness really? You mean right here?” Sam asks.

“Yeah, one of my guys died here. We’re still not sure exactly what happened,” the man says in a gruff, kind of sad voice. He adjusts his green coveralls that have the name Lou stitched on the breast pocket. “I’m Lou, by the way, head groundskeeper and head of maintenance here at the Lodge.”

“Hi Lou, I’m Steve, and this is Mark. I’m sorry to hear that one of your gardeners died. But wow, really, why is this place still open? Isn’t that dangerous?” Sam asks in a breathless, giddy sounding voice. He hears Dean stifle a laugh at his disingenuous question.

“Steve, I’m sure your man here can keep you safe,” Lou answers with a low chuckle. “Just don’t drink the water, huh?”

“Thanks, Lou. And the gardens are really beautiful by the way,” Dean says.  Lou pretends to tip his cap slightly and walks off on the path they just came down.

“What the hell was that, Sam?”

“What?” Sam asks, trying to put on an innocent face.

Dean elbows him roughly in the ribs. “Talking like some chick in a horror movie.”

“It was because you called me, ‘my Stevie’. I guess I took it a little too far, sorry,” Sam says.

“Well, at least we got to meet Lou. He seemed kind of sad about his co-worker getting killed.”

“Where do you think the pool control room is?” Sam asks.

“Near the pool.”

“Genius, I tell you, sheer genius. It’s an honor to get to work with you,” Sam snarks.

Dean looks mock-affronted and then folds his arms over his chest. “Are we swimming then? Or are you too awe-struck by my awesomeness?”

Sam takes a chance and puts his arm around Dean’s waist, bumping their hips together and getting them started walking back towards their room. He’s secretly thrilled that Dean isn’t pulling away or making a fuss about it, he seems strangely okay about being so handsy with each other.  Getting into the role or something else, Sam wonders.


They’re changed into their swim trunks under their regular clothes and are back out the door towards the pool in under ten minutes.  This time, they enter through another garden that has noticeably fewer water features. It’s much closer to the sand dunes, and so it visually merges with the tan colors. The sea grasses are waving in the strong onshore breeze, tickling at their bare calves. Dean starts scratching and grumbling before they’re even halfway there.

“Can’t they trim this stuff or something?” Dean asks sounding more peevish than strictly necessary.

“It’s supposed to look painterly, with no defined border,” Sam answers, holding back teasing because he knows Dean’s skin can get sensitive to grasses sometimes.  “Remember that time in Maine in the summer before I started high school? We were rolling on those big grass hills and you were covered in hives for days,” Sam says.

“Thanks for the reminder. Guess I should cancel my big plans for rolling my way down to the ocean later,” Dean grumps.

“Sorry, I was just remembering how I had to put the calamine lotion on you to get you stop scratching. And we tried an oatmeal bath with instant oats and clogged up the bathtub drain. Good thing we were leaving the next day,” Sam says, not voicing the rest of his memory of that long day before their father had returned. Dean laid out naked and red and itchy all over, beautiful in his misery. Moaning in relief every time Sam’s hands had touched his skin. Nope, keeping that one all to himself.

“Dad was pretty pissed, especially when I couldn’t drive all day and you had to take over,” Dean adds, chuckling at his part of the story.

The pool is situated close to the edge of one of the ocean-side cliffs. Just around the curve of the cliffs, nearly out of sight below, is an enormous water treatment plant; Sam can just barely hear the hum of machinery coming from it.  “That’s where the reclaimed water is probably coming from,” Sam says as he points it out to his brother, who is of course busy scoping out the rest of the pool facility. With an emphasis on the few bikini-clad hotel guests on the lounge chairs.

Inside the changing room area, there is a locked door labeled ‘Maintenance’. Sam sets to work picking the lock with the small set of lock picks he always carries in his jacket. Dean keeps a lookout while he’s bent over fussing to get it open. The EMF starts to go off the moment the lock releases and and he pushes the door to swing wide open. They duck inside the dark room and close the door behind them.  Dean has a flashlight in his jacket pocket, so they use that instead of turning any lights on, hoping to avoid drawing attention to themselves.

The door suddenly re-opens, and a light comes on. Sam and Dean dart behind some large tanks and listen to the approaching footsteps. Once the footsteps begin to come around the first tank, Dean steps closer to Sam and pulls him into what could only be called an embrace. One hand on Sam’s face, one on the back of his neck bringing him down into kissing range.

“Just go with it, Sammy,” he murmurs against Sam’s lips.

Sam nods in answer, trying to relax enough so his bones don’t snap from the sudden tension. He’s not worried about whoever is about to find them in here, he’s worried that he’s going to do something that Dean will never forgive him for.  Like actually full-on kiss him for real. They hear someone clearing their throat behind them. Dean releases Sam most of the way and turns around slowly, like he’s been interrupted in some hot and heavy making out.

“Well. Hello again. Guests aren’t supposed to be in here,” Nick, the front desk manager says, eyes glittering in the gloom of the maintenance room. His focus is clearly and unabashedly on where the brother’s bodies are touching, their hips close together, hands still on each other. Sam would swear he can feel the jealousy coming at him in a wave.

“Sorry, we just slipped in here, my Stevie didn’t think he could wait until we got back to our room,” Dean says, obviously enjoying the disappointment visible in Nick’s reaction.

“We’ll go, sorry, uh, Nick, is it? Did I get it right?” Sam asks, trying to smooth things over. The room suddenly feels a whole lot more tension-filled.

“See you later,” Nick says, sounding like he’s making a promise, or maybe a threat.

Dean steers Sam out of the room with a now-familiar hand on his lower back. Sam’s whole body seems to lose all focus on what it’s doing besides memorizing the weight and heat and feel of his brother’s hand there in that one place. He stumbles a little on the threshold, and Dean catches him around the waist before he falls.

“You okay there, Steve?” Dean asks.

“Just want to get back to our room as soon as we can, babe,” Sam says, noticing Nick catching up behind them.

Dean looks at him sharply, then smiles when he notices their tail.  He pulls Sam closer to him and reaches up to give him a kiss that’s much longer than just a peck on the lips. Sam nearly falls over in surprise, but then melts into it, as it continues far past the point when he thought they needed to sell it to this guy. Finally Dean pulls away, looking up into Sam’s eyes with a bemused twinkle.

“Let’s go then, honey,” Dean says with a wink, slapping him lightly on the ass.  He steers Sam away from the pool, along the cliff edge, heading back towards their room. Nick seems to stay behind, and then he’s no longer in view at all.

Continued ...Part 2