Title: Escape to Paradise
Author: Dhvana
Rating: PG
Pairing: None (gen)
Summary: For ten seconds, there was peace in hell.
Disclaimer: Fiction.
Spoilers: season 3 finale - No Rest for the Wicked
Warning: References to my short story Paradise; can be read first but works as a stand-alone.
A/N: A short fic inspired by endorphins for the good and beer for the maudlin.


For ten seconds, there was peace in Hell.

"Oh my god, it worked. Dean!"

Dean stumbled as his brother literally threw himself at him and he quickly had to steady himself against the onslaught. His arms wrapped tight around Sam, he blinked furiously at the sudden change of light, the clear bright sunshine almost managing to obliterate the afterimages of flames dancing before his eyes. Almost. "Where am I?"

Sam pulled away and grinned. "Paradise. Don't you recognize it?"

Dean looked around at the river, the trees, the mountains in the distance and a memory flickered in his mind of him and his brother and a fishing trip that had nothing to do with fish. "I think so," he frowned, focusing on Sam. "How did I get here?"

His brother shrugged, eyes sliding away from his. "I thought you could use a break."

"Sam..." he began, wanting to know what his brother had to sacrifice in order to make this happen but terrified of the answer.

"Dean, please, just...go with it, okay?"

The pleading voice, the puppy-dog eyes—yeah, he was a goner. "Okay."

"Thank you," Sam said softly, then his smile returned. "Beer?"

"Oh, hell yes."

"I kind of thought you'd be missing this right now," he chuckled, digging a beer out of the cooler resting in the glacial river water.

Dean took a long drink from the bottle, letting the cool liquid sooth his burning throat. It was the best thing he'd tasted—ever. "God, I needed this. Imagine, denying a man his beer. Those demons, Sam, they're bitches!"

A shadow crossed Sam's face and Dean immediately felt bad for bringing up his situation, but fuck, what else was he going to talk about? He rolled his shoulders, feeling the lingering aches through his body where the hooks had been. Wasn't like he'd been anywhere, done anything in the past...well, however long it'd been.

"How long have I been...you know...dead?"

Sam flinched. "Don't say that."


"Yeah, I know, just—don't, okay?"

Dean rolled his eyes. Whatever. "But seriously, how long have I been amongst the living impaired?"

"A couple months," Sam muttered and Dean took a moment to look himself over.

"Damn. Not too shabby for the recently deceased."

"Dean," his brother said in a pained voice and he sighed.

"All right, I'll stop. So, Sammy," he said, settling into one of the lawn chairs sitting in front of the river, "what've you got to eat?"

The weight on his shoulders immediately lightened and Sam began digging through the bags near the campfire. "Hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, chips, pork rinds, marshmallows, graham crackers, Hershey bars, apples—"

"Apples?" he asked, incredulous, and Sam grinned.

"More for me than for you."

"That's my boy. Hand me a burger." He didn't even blink when Sam gave him a plate that had a burger on it, already cooked and between a bun with all the fixin's. He took one bite and nearly melted into a puddle of joy—a pound of meat char-broiled medium rare, perfectly seasoned—it was manna from heaven. "God, Sammy, I could kiss you."

"Not like that, you're not," Sam said, wrinkling his nose as bits of food flew from Dean's full mouth. "Swallow, then speak."

"Whatever," Dean grinned and took another huge bite. If he weren't already dead, he probably would have choked, but being in an alternate reality had its benefits and he fully intended to put away as many burgers as he could before this little hallucination went away.

Sam stretched out in the chair next to him, a couple brats on his plate, a bag of chips between them.

"This rocks," Dean said, breathing in deep the clean, sulfur-and-brimstone-free air, basking in the blue sky and the lukewarm—not skin-boiling—sun.

"Yeah, it does," Sam said, and Dean could feel his brother's eyes on him.

"So, tell me, Sammy, what've you been up to? Giving me something to live vicariously through, I hope? Getting laid? Twins? Triplets? Dude, tell me you bagged triplets," he said, voice filled with the anticipation of awe, and Sam just shook his head at the hopelessness of Dean.

"You know what I've been doing. Hunting. Researching. Trying to get your ass out of the fire." He shrugged. "The usual."

"Sam," Dean sighed, playing with the label on his beer, "you can't...you can't put your life on hold for me. It's a done deal. I may not like it, but I know there's nothing you can do to change it. You've got to keep going."

"I am," he snapped, body tensing with building anger. "Hunting and family, the two most important things to a Winchester. I haven't forgotten."

"Those aren't what's important! You're important, Sammy. You, your happiness, finding someone to settle down with. That's what you need to do!"

Sam glared at his brother for a few minutes and then the anger was swept from his body, leaving only weariness and determination. "I'm doing what I need to do, Dean. You can yell at me all you want, but I'm not going to change my mind."

"Fuck," Dean growled and finished off his beer in one long swallow. "Fine. Stubborn asshole."

"Another?" Sam asked, getting up and reaching for the cooler.

"Fuck yes. Get me good and drunk before I have to go back there." For a second, Dean's image flickered to reveal torn and bloody clothes, skin sunken nearly to the bone, eyes wide and hollow and empty of everything except pain. Sam shuddered and quickly looked away, grabbing them each another bottle. "So, how are things?"

"Bobby's doing well. Keeps a close eye on me."

Dean nodded. "Good man."

"I don't know what else to say. World's in one piece still. War's lingering on the horizon but so far, no one seems to want to make the first move. Too much in-fighting, I think."

"Yeah," he agreed, thinking back to the behavior he'd witnessed during his internment. Definitely some hostility amongst the ranks going on there. "You should take advantage of it while they're distracted. Guerilla warfare, something sneaky they won't see coming. Take out as many as you can before they realize what's happening."

"We're working on it," Sam nodded, "but you know how hunters are."

Dean snorted. "Bunch of bitchy little girls."

"Exactly," he smiled. "It's taking time, but I'll get through to them."

"Just do it before the world ends, okay? We need to make sure the sacred rituals of human existence are preserved. Like spring break. Panty raids. Parties at the Playboy Mansion. Vegas."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Glad you've got your priorities straight."

"I've always cared about the important things in life." He made his way over to the bags and started digging through them. "Jackpot!"

"Those were supposed to be a surprise," Sam said, pretending to pout as Dean tore open the bag of chocolate covered pretzels.

"It's the perfect food," he sighed, holding up a pretzel. "The ideal combination of salty and sweet, almost like having dinner and dessert in one little bite."

"That's disgusting."

"Go eat your apples, Sammy," he said, settling down into his chair, "and leave me to my pretzels."

"Like hell. Give me some of those," Sam said, reaching over and grabbing a handful from the bag.

"Hey! My pretzels!" Dean growled, snatching the bag away from him and holding it protectively to his chest.

"Whatever," he grinned and munched loudly on his stolen snacks. After a few minutes of contented chewing, he felt Dean's eyes on him and looked up in time to see his brother glance away. "What?"


Sam waited, knowing if it was important, Dean would spit it out eventually.

"Just...whatever it took for you to do this, I just want you to know...thanks."

Sam smiled. "You're welcome."

"Now, did you bring the poles or did you plan on using your mind to catch the fish?"

"I figured I'd just push you in the river and have you catch them by hand."



The brothers grinned and Sam passed over a fishing pole and the jar of hot pink garlic marshmallows. The brothers spent the rest of the afternoon cheerfully not catching a thing, drinking beer after beer, gorging themselves on junk food, and trying to memorize every second spent together...just in case.

When the sun began to sink into the horizon, Sam caught his brother rubbing his shoulder and his side as if to ease a constant ache. His heart grew heavy every time Dean twitched and he started glancing around him as if to spot something hiding in the corners of his eyes. When Dean began to look seriously freaked, Sam set down his fishing pole.


His brother whirled around, shoulders sagging when he saw the expression on Sam's face.

"We're just about done here, aren't we?"

He nodded, afraid to answer and hear his voice crack.

"Fuck," Dean said, then sighed and set down his pole. "Well, I knew it wouldn't last forever. It was nice, though."

Dean tried to smile and Sam understood, tried to smile back. "Yeah, it was."

His vision of Dean began to flicker and Sam quickly stood up and pulled his brother into his arms.


"It's all right, Sammy. It's going to be all right."

"I'm coming for you. You know that, don't you? I'm coming for you and I'm going to get you out of there."

"I know you are, Sammy." Dean's smile was real this time, and then he vanished, his final words lingering in the air.

"I know."

For ten seconds, there was peace in Hell, but for the screaming man, those ten seconds were worth an eternity.