Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: The boys climb a lighthouse in the oldest city in the country...
"Christ." Dean mumbled from behind him. "How many steps does this freakin' thing have?"
Sam, if he remembered correctly and he usually did, believed the placard in the nearby historical stone home turned museum had said: two hundred and nineteen. He glanced down over the slow wind of the spiral railing and the good one hundred feet that separated them from the floor below.
"Imagine having this job?" Dean mused as he looked up to the good extra sixty feet to go. "Running up and down these stairs every time the drizzle got bad..."
Sam imagined that in Florida the weather got bad fairly often. But hundreds of steep steps aside, it was the nature of the task that made him wonder about the men that had done so long ago. Guardians and watchers of a tower. It was almost mythical if you let yourself fall down that rabbit hole. A lone man living just outside of this looming beacon for passing ships that drifted by out on the nearby ocean. Countless lantern lit climbs up in this empty vast column of space to the top. Lighting the way for the souls far way lost among the waves and searching the shore for a way back home.
Sam smiled to himself at his inevitable self insertion of nobility in just about any mundane task.
But it was profoundly odd how much two utter strangers could depend on one another and actually never look into each others eyes. Never know another's name. Never maybe even know that they had even ever been there at all.
He rubbed a hand across his damp forehead. It was extremely and unpleasantly warm. For all its vast unhindered space, there was something stifling about the air. It was heavy with the humidity off the surrounding old town built by the Spaniards. In fact, to Sam's tentative wonder with most random trivia, the city was the oldest of all cities in the entire country. The only thing around that rivaled the age of the city limits was the tower that sat on its edge. It sure felt like all one hundred years of its existence in perpetual summer hung trapped and stagnant within its silent walls.
They were nearly to the top. Saving their breath for climbing the stairs, the soft echo of their footfall on the metal grated steps was the only sound to be heard.
Sam paused when he heard Dean stop behind him.
Just above them was the final landing just outside the small door that led out to the observation deck that circled the very top. This was where all the sightings seemed to have occurred the most. A man in shadow. A fleeting hostile whisper. Foot steps that followed you up the long undulation of the stairs. Sometimes just the sound of the tower door slamming shut. Various versions of the same mystery.
But it seemed quiet now. Even swathed in darkness Sam could plainly see it was devoid of anything but a folding chair left there undoubtedly for any weary climbers.
From behind him he heard the brief buzz of the EMF and Dean's noncommittal shrug to himself.
"While we're here and everything..." His brother sighed. "Might as well check outside."
Sam easily picked the padlock on the old door. Shouldering it with a shove, the chipped painted metal creaked, its rounded edges looking almost more like a portal on a ship.
The wind that suddenly gushed in as it opened was strong and thick with the briny scent of the sea. It swept the heavy hot oppressive weight away with a cool welcome caress across his sweaty face. The warm glow of dusk beyond the door was framed like a picture.
After the long climb in the smothering darkness, he actually hesitated before he stepped through it. Stepping out of the dank gloom and onto the deck truly was just like opening a hidden passage at the knoll of a tree and finding some other kind of world on the other side.
It was quite a sight.
The stretch of the coast line reached out forever onto either side of him. The lush level flat of the marsh lands left him with the biggest sky he'd ever seen. The large lazy forms of pelicans flew just below. The intermingled cries of seagulls and the hiss of the breakers rolling and crashing on the beach drifted up even this high. Twilight was smoldering across the horizon, filled with outrageous pinks and even greens that he had been certain only existed on postcards for tourists.
These days, Sam never bothered to correct Dean about his childhood nickname. Mostly because Dean had dropped it pretty much after Sam asked him to. But most of all because that when Dean ever happened to use it, it was a completely involuntary interjection as his brother lapsed into some stray and unplanned thought.
"Sammy, take a look at that."
Its infrequent use passed for something that didn't happen often in this family. It long since ceased to make Sam irritated and instead made him curious as to when and where his family unknowingly did it.
He looked towards where his brother was pointing.
It would figure that with the stretch of Atlantic ocean and a sliver of tropic moon, his brother would be looking right down into the parking lot to what interested him most.
"She looks like a match box car." Dean grinned.
Sam laughed just a little because he knew there was a: "I think I can see our house from here." coming if they stayed up here long enough. But he supposed he had no choice. They had to linger just long enough for the horizon to fade and cool right into night so they could get down to the real work they had come here for.
"Wonder why he did it."
Sam knew without asking that Dean meant the man that had taken his life on this tower long ago. Back when there hadn't even been a world war yet, lone keepers walked this deck and kept an eye for the shroud of storms. Ever watchful to guide and protect the men that traveled the sea. Maybe it was the perished man's sense of duty that had kept him here long after he had passed. Still watching. Still wary. Still standing here just like them.
"I dunno." Dean half said to himself as he leaned down and rested his elbows on the railing. "A view like this... doesn't seem like something that would make you want to leave."
Looking back at the sun swiftly setting into the water, Sam silently and wholeheartedly agreed.