The drive up to the Grand Canyon took a little more than an hour and Dean seemed to be having a harder and harder time controlling his grin. Sam noticed of course, and it made him smile even more himself. His brother had something sneaky planned, obviously. But Sam sure as hell wasn’t going to spoil the surprise, Dean was having too much fun. And he needed it. They both did.
They paid their fee to enter the Grand Canyon National Park and kept driving as the sun set and it changed to full dark, the anticipation both of them felt increasing the closer they came to the actual canyon itself. It had been one of those things they’d always said they’d do, but life had always intervened. This felt like a different kind of trip for them, not momentous, but important somehow. Like they were finally taking the time to have a life together, even though all the crap was still happening around them. It would always be happening, they’d at least learned that lesson.
“Dean are we really staying in the park?” Sam finally asked.
“Looks like it,” Dean answered with a grin that he tried to hide.
They pulled into the parking lot for something called Bright Angel Lodge. All the lights were on, it looked cheery and welcoming compared to the dark night.
“You stay here, until I get our room situated,” Dean said through the car window.
Sam huffed a little in protest.
“Hey, I want you to save your energy for what’s coming later,” Dean said, waggling his eyebrows obscenely. Sam couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Fine, I’ll just sit here like a bump on a log.”
“A very sexy bump,” Dean said over his shoulder as he walked away.
Soon Dean was parking and helping Sam out of the car with his crutches. He led the way with one of their duffle bags to a large cabin that seemed to be perched on the very edge of the canyon itself.
“Welcome to the Buckey O’Neill cabin,” Dean said, unlocking the front door and standing back so that Sam could crutch his way through. He opened the back door that looked out onto the dark night sky over the canyon.
“Wish we could see it, I know it’s right there,” Dean said gesturing towards where the canyon had to be.
“Tell me you didn’t pay the rack rate for this room, Dean,” Sam said, as he leaned against the closed room door.
“Give me some credit, wouldja? I got a good deal on this place. I know a guy, okay?”
“It’s going to be spectacular in the morning with the view. I can’t wait to see it,” Sam said, leaning against the open door and looking out at the dark canyon with Dean.
Dean turned to look at Sam with a strange expression Sam couldn’t place. “It’s already spectacular,” Dean said with his eyes only for Sam.
Sam rolled his eyes at the unexpectedly sweet praise coming from his brother. Compliments like these were uncomfortable because they were so rare.
“Hey, don’t roll your eyes, Sammy. I mean it,” Dean said, one hand curling around Sam’s wrist.
Sam searched Dean’s face to see if he was kidding and only saw honesty and earnestness there. He nodded and tried his best to smile.
Dean reached out and traced Sam’s lips with one gentle finger. “That’s better.”
Sam couldn’t resist and licked at Dean’s finger, sucking it into his mouth. Dean groaned almost instantly, making Sam smile around Dean’s finger in triumph. He set right back to sucking the finger even deeper into his mouth.
“You’re killin’ me here, Sammy,” Dean breathed out. He closed the door of the cabin, locked it and helped Sam over to the bed. The beautiful wooden bed creaked as they settled on top of it. It was enormous and very comfortable. Dean arranged himself over Sam and set to kissing that delicious smile. They kissed and caressed each other for a longer time than usual. It had been a long couple of weeks without this.
“Missed this, Dean,” Sam murmured between kisses.
Dean didn’t answer, but slid off the bed and rustled around in the duffel bag he’d brought in. He turned out all but one light and returned to stand next to the bed, holding something in his hand.
“That for me?” Sam asked.
“No, it’s for me. Uh…I mean, for you to use on me.”
“Better get those clothes off then,” Sam said, eyes tracing up and down Dean’s body in a possessive slow crawl.
Dean could feel himself blushing at Sam’s words and was suddenly glad that there wasn’t too much light on in the cabin. He took his boots off first and began to undo his jeans, but he was stopped by one of Sam’s gigantic hands curling around his upper thigh.
“Let me,” Sam said, he reached up and unbuttoned Dean slowly, caressing each amount of skin revealed. “Commando again, huh?”
“Haven’t gotten around to doing much…unf,” Dean said, shocked into silence by Sam’s lips wrapping around the tip of his cock. He plunged his hand into the thickness of Sam’s hair and held on for dear life as Sam took him deeper and deeper down his throat. He could feel Sam teasing at his hole at the same time, a finger or two pressing in and out, stretching him gently. Sam’s fingers ended up in his own mouth, teasing at Dean’s cock, making him impossibly harder, gathering up some of the excess saliva and pre-come that was accumulating. Sam used it to push his way inside Dean, opening him up even more, stretching and scissoring in a steady rhythm that matched the actions of his sucking.
Dean pushed Sam away and smiled at the frown Sam made, his lips smacking like it was being denied something essential. “Want to come when you’re in me, Sammy.”
Sam groaned and flopped back on the bed covering his eyes with one arm. He still had all of his clothes on, and that was not going to work for what Dean needed to happen next. He stepped around to the foot of the bed and removed Sam’s slip-ons, the ones he hated to wear but boots were impossible during the rehab. By the time he crawled over the footboard and onto the bed, Sam had his jeans undone and pushed down to his knees. Dean pulled them off, careful of his still-healing injury. Sam half-sat up and pulled his shirts over his head.
Dean held back his gasp of amazement. He should be used to it by now. Seeing his brother’s beautiful body shouldn’t be such a surprise, but it still was, even after all these years. Those sculpted abs, the defined torso and veined arms, all hard and powerful and all Sam. His Sam.
“Love it that you still look at me that way, Dean,” Sam said, grinning like the love-struck fool Dean knew he also was.
“Can it, and get yourself ready, I’m gonna ride you,” Dean said with a laugh, trying not to overreact to Sam’s words. He propped Sam’s injured foot up on the footboard under a bunch of the decorative pillows. Sam had taken the lube and was stroking himself slowly, so hard and ready.
Dean pressed some of the lube into himself with a couple of fingers, making sure he was open enough to take all of Sam inside. Sam’s eyes never left Dean’s, Dean almost felt like it was Sam’s hand entering his body, Sam controlling the speed, the depth, the rhythm. But it was just Sam being Sam, putting everything he felt and desired out into the open for Dean to see. All of it there, taking Dean’s breath away as much as Sam’s body ever did.
He shook his head at himself and climbed over Sam, straddling his hips. He held himself open and sank down onto Sam’s cock as slowly and steadily as he could manage. Sam helped by holding his hips in an iron-tight grip. Finally he could sit all the way down on Sam’s thighs and he rested there, spread open as wide as possible, filled completely by his brother.
“Now don’t move your leg too much, okay? Just let me do the work this time,” Dean said, beginning to move his hips in a slow figure-eight motion.
Sam groaned and thrust up in little abortive movements. His eyes were gone so dark with want and need, the sweat-dampened hair around his face curling so perfectly. Dean touched him everywhere he could possibly reach, soaking in the softness of his skin, the feel of his straining muscles beneath. He caressed his brother’s face, teased at his nipples until Sam growled.
“You’re so damn beautiful like this, Dean,” Sam said, looking up into Dean’s face, holding his eyes. “All mine. Want to watch you while you come.”
Dean locked his eyes onto Sam’s and sped up his movements, Sam’s hand surrounded his cock with matching speed. Soon, too soon, he cried out some mess of Sam’s name and a whole lot of other embarrassing shit, all the while coming all over his brother’s stomach and chest. Sam went wild at that and thrust into him several more times, hard and fast and so perfectly deep. He almost managed to come again along with Sam.
A few moments went by and Dean pretty much collapsed over Sam, hands curling into the Sam’s hair, burying his face in it.
“Now that’s the best kind of rehab, I needed that,” Sam said, smiling into Dean’s hair. Dean couldn’t answer, he was too out of it, and let himself be cleaned up and moved under the covers. He fell into the dark pull of sleep wrapped up in a Sam that finally smelled right again, covered in his scent, the smell of their sex mingled together on their skin. The best sort of lullaby.
“You need to stop braiding my hair when I’m asleep. It’s getting kinda weird, dude,” Sam said, fumbling through his hair to undo the tightly woven braids.
Dean blinked himself to a more awake state, propping himself up on one elbow to watch Sam unbraid his hair. “I’m not the one doing that, Sam. I kinda wondered why you were.”
“Hold on a second, let me get this straight. You think I’m waking up in the middle of the night and braiding my own hair. Which I have never once braided in my whole life.” Sam said, sounding like he was on the edge of yelling.
“Yeah, true, that’s weird. Well, I didn’t think too much about it,” Dean admitted.
Sam sat up in bed, back against the wooden headboard. “How long has this been happening?”
“A couple times since your surgery? Maybe three? I thought it was from you being on pain meds,” Dean said, sounding unsure, and a little worried.
“So it might have to do with the jackacabra bites?” Sam asked.
“Why the hell would that make you braid your hair?” Dean asked, beginning to sound a little defensive.
“No clue. Could you hand me my laptop? I had some research about some Mexican goblin legends that didn’t fit in with the rest of what I thought we were looking for. I remember there was something about hair.”
“Ugh, Sammy, we haven’t even had morning sex or coffee yet,” Dean complained.
“C’mon, Dean. This could be important. Maybe the things did follow us here, there was that weird report we read last night.”
Dean got up out of bed and stalked over to the table, stark naked and grumbling. Sam enjoyed the view even though Dean’s face said he was more than grumpy. He looked downright disappointed, which meant he’d planned for this to be a real vacation instead of just a diversion from his boredom with rehab. But it seemed like there was something more causing his grumpiness.
“I’m sorry this is happening during our vacation, Dean. I know it means a lot to you to finally be here.”
“I’ll get over it. Besides it’s your hair, I know it’s your precious,” Dean said, referencing Lord of the Rings in that adorably nerdy way he always had.
“No, that’s definitely a who, not a what,” Sam said, teasing his brother.
Dean rolled his eyes at Sam’s sappiness and handed over his laptop. Sam grabbed his wrist before he could get away and pulled him down into a kiss that made them both groan with pleasure.
“You are, you know. My precious,” Sam said in his best Gollum imitation.
“And of course you’re my Sam,” Dean teased.
“Okay, Frodo, you make us some coffee and I’m going to look into this, see if it’s a curse or what.”
Dean didn’t bother to put any clothes on, just in case it might get Sam distracted into some morning sex after all. He did some stretches while the coffee brewed.
Sam of course noticed his brother’s preening, it was kind of hard not to, even in this huge room. So he whistled and wiggled his eyebrows as he scanned through his research. That seemed to work, because Dean brought him a cup of coffee and settled down next to him in the bed.
“It’s probably one of these goblin things, either El Sombrerón or Tzizimite. Now that I’m looking at it, a lot of the regions in Mexico have a similar one. Their big thing is messing with people’s hair. All the vics had long hair at least as long as mine. But I don’t see how the jackacabras are related. The description’s all wrong.”
“There any way to kill them?” Dean asked.
“No, they seem to be like devas almost, regional spirits, or place spirits that don’t ever go away. Seems like they don’t enjoy holy water much but it doesn’t kill them. They’ll leave you alone if you cut your hair, or move out of their area.”
“Well, I know which option I’m picking,” Dean said, running his hand through Sam’s hair. Sam shivered as usual when Dean’s fingers scratched along the nape of his neck. He still loved it when Dean played with his hair.
“Did those things follow us, Dean? We didn’t go back and burn the bodies, so it is possible, right?”
“I don’t think so. Their brains were pretty much goo all over the ground,” Dean said, recalling the gory scene.
“We have seen some things come back from a brain shot like that though,” Sam said.
“Maybe there are just a bunch of these new things in the area? Or they’ve always been here and are just riled up for some reason.”
“I guess we should contact the vics we have phone numbers for, ask them if they’re experiencing the free night-time braiding service,” Sam suggested. “Can you hand me my notebook, out of my backpack?”
Dean grumbled something about not even getting to see the damn view they’d paid for and brought the notebook and a pen back to the bed for Sam, as well as his cell phone. He plugged the charger in to the base of the lamp and sat on the bed by Sam’s hip.
“I’m gonna go shower, and then pick us up some breakfast,” Dean said, sounding a little sad that working was happening instead of sex or vacationing.
“I’ll come with you, I just realized it’s way too early to call people,” Sam said. He struggled up out of bed and crutched into the bathroom. It wasn’t huge, but was an updated version of a cabin sized bathroom. Luckily the tub was large enough for both of them to shower in. “Are you getting in here with me or what?”
Dean was in the shower in mere seconds as if he’d been waiting for the word to jump in. Sam crowded him up against the tile wall until Dean hissed at the cold. Sam aimed the shower water over Dean’s shoulder so it warmed him up. Sam’s big hands were everywhere, all at once, pulling Dean’s head back so Sam could suck dark marks into his neck, scratching through his hair along with shampoo and then finally teasing their way down to his hard, neglected cock. He wrapped one hand around both of them together, with a little shower gel for slickness and stroked them off in that familiar pattern that never ever got old for Dean. He added his own hand for extra friction and bit Sam’s shoulder hard as he came. Both of their releases swirled down the drain and Dean let himself rest against Sam’s wide chest. He felt so good here, so safe, and far away from all the stuff they were supposed to be worrying about.
“You okay?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, I’m good. No, I’m great, we’re at the Grand Canyon, Sammy.”
Sam laughed at his brother’s expressiveness.
They were shaved and dressed and then seated in the coffee shop in just a few minutes. Dean had a stack of the local newspaper as well as the ones from Flagstaff and Sedona for them to look at while they waited for their waffles and eggs.
“I’m not finding anything in either of these papers,” Dean said, folding the last pages up and setting them off to the side of his now empty coffee cup. He searched around for their server, but she seemed to be swamped with the now-filled coffee shop.
“I’ve got something here, maybe. It’s a jackalope sighting, not far from here, near the entrance station, just last night,” Sam said, handing Dean the paper across the table. He picked up his coffee cup and noticed it was empty. He caught their server’s eye and she hurried over with the coffee carafe.
“Your orders will be up soon gentlemen,” she said as she poured their refills.
“Say, uh, Doris. We were just reading in the local paper about this jackalope thing someone saw last night. You ever seen one of those yourself?” Dean asked, turning on the charm that usually worked on diner waitresses.
Doris rolled her eyes at him and made a scoffing noise. “Nah, that’s a tourist thing, hon. I’ll go check on those waffles for ya.”
“Well you tried,” Sam said with a small chuckle while he added cream and sugar to his coffee.
“I was thinking about the hair thing. I noticed that this morning there were a few more braids than last time. Seemed like about ten more.”
Sam didn’t say anything, just drank his coffee and ran one hand through his damp hair, separating the strands between his fingers.
“So somehow during the night, your hair is getting tightly braided into increasingly smaller braids, all without either of us noticing. How the hell are you sleeping through that, Sammy? Or me either? You’d think one of us would wake up during the time it takes to get all that hair of yours braided,” Dean said.
“It’s got to have some kind of power to keep us asleep. Because there’s no way I’d sleep through that, you know how sensitive my scalp is,” Sam said.
“Oh yeah, I do know that,” Dean said in a sultry tone waggling his eyebrows. Of course that was when Doris reappeared with their plates of waffles. She looked from one to the other of them and shrugged liked she wasn’t surprised.
They got re-situated in the room and both started making phone calls from Sam’s list. Of the three they could reach, all of them confirmed the hair braiding was happening to them. Not every night, but enough to be noticeable. They compared notes and Sam came to the conclusion that he should have brought more books from the Men of Letters library with them.
Dean stared longingly out their front window at the view, wondering if it had even been worth it to drag his brother up here if he wasn’t even going to get to see any of this.
“Why don’t you go for a walk. I feel bad that you’re finally here and you haven’t even seen the thing yet,” Sam said, buried in the research spread out around him on the bed. “I should have something in like an hour or so,” Sam said, turning back to his work.
“I wanted to, but I don’t feel right leaving you with all this,” Dean said. What he really wanted to say was that he didn’t want to see the canyon for the first time without Sam by his side. That was how he’d always pictured it, the both of them standing at the canyon’s edge, arms wrapped around each other, marveling at the sight. And he also had his other plan to carry out. That’s probably where more of the antsy feeling was coming from really. But he couldn’t spoil that surprise, not quite yet.
Sam didn’t answer him, or maybe he didn’t hear him. Dean sat on the leather couch for a while, staring at the blue sky through the window, watching the tourists’ heads bobbing as they passed by on the paved pathway between their cabin’s door and the wall at the edge of the canyon. He needed to get out and walk around, but he wasn’t going to go out there without Sam. Not yet.
“Sam, I’m going for a walk,” Dean said, heading out their back door, he heard Sam say something behind him, it didn’t sound like stop or don’t go, so he kept going through the short hallway to the gift shop. He bought Sam an I-Caught-A-Jackalope embroidered beanie that he thought would be perfect. He poked around the lobby of the lodge and found a small museum room filled with all sorts of Grand Canyon history. He was looking through the field journals of Buckey O’Neill when he noticed a small drawing of an animal that looked eerily close to the things that had attacked them in Sedona. He snapped a picture with his cell phone to show Sam.
“No pictures are allowed sir,” a stern voice said.
Dean turned around, searching for the source of the voice. “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I just wanted to show this to my partner, he collects jackalope pictures and I’ve never seen one like this.”
A small man approached him from behind a display, his feet oddly shaped so that his legs moved very strangely, almost as if he had his feet on backwards. He moved quickly though, and stood in front of Dean peering up at him from under the brim of a large black hat. His thick black mustache twitched as he seemed to take in Dean’s scent. “You are interested in such things?”
“Well, yeah, I guess. Like I said my partner is obsessed with jackalope or whatever they’re called.”
“Shzzt!” the man barked, surprising Dean into silence. “Your lies are of no currency here. But I know you do want to know more than what a picture can show you.”
“I do, you’re right. I apologize for lying. It’s just…well, my brother, he was bitten by one of these things a couple weeks ago, down in Sedona. And he’s…well he’s doing better after surgery, but there’s something strange happening to him now.”
“Stranger than being bitten by a mythical beast?” the man asked.
“Yeah, see he’s got this long mess of hair, and almost every morning he wakes up with it braided.”
“This is a problem for him?”
“It is. Because he’s not the one doing the braiding, and neither am I. And it’s creepy and he doesn’t feel safe sleeping now,” Dean said.
“The creatures are different from this picture, correct?” the man asked, pointing at the book between them.
“Yes, they had that face, with the antlers and very sharp teeth. But the body was more like a goat.”
“I know these beasts. They were not meant to harm, only to make a mark that the Tzizimite can follow. Their venom shines like a beacon that draws him. He is the spirit of this place, and he has been greatly disturbed by the building in Sedona.”
“We noticed that, seemed like there were way too many condo developments and resort hotels. So this Tzizimite is disturbed and sent the creatures after hikers?”
“Yes, but not to harm, only to mark. Those with the long hair that he covets. These creatures were a new form he created, and may have been too strong. They had to be to travel the distances people roam now.”
“Would Tzizimite ever stop?”
“If he was freely given a gift he would,” the man said solemnly, “but that has not happened in a very long time.”
“What sort of gift? I’m guessing something hair-related, right?” Dean asked.
The man smiled for the first time, his teeth were shockingly yellow and as pointy as the jackacabras had been. His eyes with flashed with what looked like greed or anticipation. “A gift from one who has been marked. A gift of what is coveted.”
“Wait, hold on. You mean it wants Sam’s hair? All of it?”
“No, not all of his hair. But the best portion,” the man said with a slightly wheedling tone.
“How would we give it to him?”
“Leave it out near where he sleeps tonight. Braid it in the traditional manner. If it pleases him, he will take it and leave your Sam alone.”
“Will he control the creatures he made?”
“When he is satisfied, they will disappear until they are required once again.”
“How do you know all this?”
“That is not a question I can answer to your satisfaction, Dean Winchester.”
“How do you know my name?” Dean asked, suspicious that the man was not just a museum worker with a love of local folklore.
The man shook his head as well as his forefinger at Dean, and made the same sound again, “Shzzt!” backing up until he disappeared behind the display again.
Dean stepped forward to ask him again, but he had vanished. He searched until there wasn’t anywhere left to look in the museum. He decided to take what he’d learned back to Sam. As he walked back to the cabin he went over all the details in his mind that the man had shared with him. It seemed crucial that some of the words he used be communicated to Sam so that he could do this gifting thing the right way. So that it would work.