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[sticky post] Masterlist

There's Always Tomorrow:Collapse ) Both boys are morning sneezers. They make a game out of it.
No Friggen Cats:Collapse ) Dean has one rule with hunts...
Magic Fingers:Collapse ) Sam and Dean get the chance to stay in a posh hotel. It doesn't go well.
Gimme Shelter:Collapse ) Teen!chesters. Papa Winchester is away and Dean's coming down with something.
Four Boxes:Collapse ) Dean goes through four boxes of tissues in one day.
Worth It:Collapse ) Just an average morning at the Bunker.
Driver Picks the Music:Collapse )Dean's got a cough that won't quit.
Motels, Hunts, and Colds:Collapse )Sam and Dean are sharing a horrible cold. Also, it's Christmas.
Allergy Season:Collapse )RPF. Jensen has allergies filming Lazarus Rising.
Quiet.:Collapse )Sam and sick Dean hide from a rawhead. Dean tries to be quiet.
Can't That Wait?:Collapse )Dean has a cold but the impala needs fixing.
Five times Sam drove when Dean was sick:Collapse )As the title suggests.
Not Bad At All:Collapse )Camping out in the backseat of the impala when you're sick isn't all that bad.
Breathe:Collapse )Dean's having a hard time breathing through his nose... and his mouth.
Even When It Hurts:Collapse )Dean is sick and hiding it because it's just easier to keep it from his dad, or is it?
Germaphobe:Collapse )Dean is sick. Sam's afraid of germs.
11 Days:Collapse )Mindless, plotless, senseless whump.
Sam has a cold. Dean has asthma:Collapse )Pretty much what the title suggests.
Gas Station:Collapse )Outsider POV. Dean has a cold.
Don't Go To Sleep:Collapse )A late night phone call. Stanford era.
Ticket to Ride:Collapse )it's a long ride back to Bobby's, and Dean's not doing so hot.
But It's Valentines Day!:Collapse )Dean's sick but he doesn't want to admit it.
Hickory, Dickory, Chxtt!Collapse )Dean's got allergies.
Rock and a Hard Place:Collapse )Two times Dean got sick.
Taking Some Time:Collapse )Dean's sick coming off a hunt. Things might be worse than he's letting on.
Convention Madness:Collapse )RPF. VegasCon '15. The boys are sick. Very sick.
Daddy's Little Soldier:Collapse )Hunt's seem to find them everywhere they go, even when Dean's sick.
Sneezy Dean:Collapse )There are vampires, and Bobby gruffness, and bitchy Sam... and a very sneezy Dean.
Because 'How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters' would have been better if Dean had a cold.:Collapse )It was a great episode... but it would have been better if Dean had a cold.
The Yearly Supernatural Flu:Collapse )RPF. Jensen's sick at San Fransisco con.
Just need some sleep, Sammy:Collapse )My first fan fiction :3 Dean's sick (as usual), and he friggen hates witches.
Dark Angel
Time's a Wastin':Collapse )Something is killing X5's. Can Max save Alec before it's too late?
One Direction
Sick at the ARIAS:Collapse )Nialler's not feeling so hot.
Chapter Twenty Five

Dean took the pills and lay on the bench for a while, his head throbbing from what was probably a mild concussion. Riley carted her fingers through his hair and he almost let himself fall asleep at how tender the gesture was, but Sam had gripped his arm and kept him conscious. Eventually, once the relaxants and painkillers had made him suitably numb, they got him into the back seat of the impala. He coughed wet and long once he was upright, the fluid pooled in his lungs after his little stint at being horizontal. Sam took him home, Bobby waiting at the front door when he arrived to help him inside.
He was tired. His brain in a thick fog. He hated feeling like that. Drawing away from consciousness, being pulled down by a cocktail of prescription medication. By the time he was lying in bed, he couldn’t feel a thing.
“How you doing, man?” Sam’s voice was small, hushed in the quiet night.
Dean huffed, attempting a smile, “You know I could have kicked that guys ass?”
Sam looked down, laughing, but he didn’t raise his head again, and Dean knew he was crying. Because it was a lie… and they both knew it.
Eventually Sam just said, “Yeah, I know, man.”

Sam couldn’t help but choke up at Dean’s comment.
When he’d walked out the back to find Dean standing there, barely standing there, the guy advancing on him again, and Dean doing… nothing. It broke his heart. His brother didn’t even fight back. He didn’t lift and arm or clench a fist to throw a punch. He did nothing. He did nothing. Time ago Dean would have flattened that guy for even looking somewhat threatening. And in that moment Sam realized that that time had passed. Dean wasn’t a fighter anymore. Dean wasn’t strong anymore. Dean wasn’t a hunter anymore. And it broke his heart… But, what Dean was, was a brother. His brother. So, Sam decided that was all that mattered. And it was all that would ever matter.
“How’s he doin’?” Bobby whispered from the doorway.
Sam finally got up and left his brother’s side, pulling Dean’s door partway shut and entering the hall with Bobby.
“He’s asleep.”
“He hurtin’?”
Sam looked back towards the room and shook his head, “Nah, he was comfortable once we got him down. I think all the pills worked.”
“Well, that’s what they’re there for, I guess,” Bobby grunted as they both wandered out to the kitchen.
“I can’t believe that asshole,” Sam said through clenched teeth.
“Let’s not forget Dean did hustle the guy out of 500 big ones.”
Sam stared at the older hunter, “Are you seriously taking his side?”
Bobby snorted, “O’ course not. I’d sooner kill him myself… I’m just saying.”
Sam sighed, “Did you ever think there’d be a time where Dean would take a hit like that and not fight back?”
Bobby shook his head, “Not a chance.”
Sam leaned on the counter, head dipping.
“But, Sam, the boy is hurt. He’s sick. He’s not going to be how he used to be… not for a while anyway.”
“If Cas would just heal him,” Sam bit, feeling the anger creep up his neck.
“You know it goes deeper than that. Cas said so himself.”
“But it’d be a start, right? That’s all we need. Just… we need hope, Bobby.”

Sam was hurting. He was hurting bad. He’d carried Dean too much after working a full day. His chest was in agony, muscles tight around his broken ribs, tensing up to protect them but only making things worse. He whimpered as he rolled over in bed. He was sweating too, shaking slightly. It had been too long since he’d seen Ruby. Since he’d had a taste.
A kind of understanding dawned on him as he lay there, mouth watering. This was how Dean felt. The want, the desire, the need to get his hands on a bottle, to drink away all his problems. Dean’s drinking though, it didn’t really serve a purpose. His addiction did. He was doing good. He was saving people. He was getting revenge. He was going after Lilith. And he was going to fix this. He was going to help his brother. He was. He just needed some more demon blood… and a painkiller, shit.
He groaned again, pushing over onto his back. He couldn’t sleep like this. He was in too much pain. He tried to remember where he’d left Dean’s heavy duty painkillers… On the bedside table next to Dean, in case he woke up during the night.
Sam pushed himself up to sit on the edge of his bed and skimmed a hand across his chest, wincing.
Time ago Dean would have been in the next bed over, in a dingy motel room, waking up at the sound of him stirring and there to help him, get him whatever his little brother needed. But Sam had to remind himself once again the curse of passing time.
So he struggled forward himself, down the hall and into Dean’s room. He was bending over, snagging the pill bottle when Dean’s voice made him jump.
“What are you doing?” Dean asked, humour in his tone.
Little shit, Sam thought.
Sam dragged a hand down his face, “Jesus, you scared the crap outta me.”
“Gee, fancy that. When you’re the one sneaking around in my room.”
Dean sounded tired and sick, but these days he usually did.
“Ribs bothering you?”
Sam relented and sat down on the edge of Dean’s bed.
“Yeah, a little.”
“Well, I guess that’s mostly my fault…”
“No, it’s okay… What are you doing awake anyway?” Sam asked, fiddling with the cap on the bottle.
“Ah, you know me.”
Sam tipped a pill onto his hand, watching it come to rest in between the lines on his palm.
“Yeah,” he sighed, then knocked it back and dry swallowed it.
Silence past and Sam listened to Dean breathe, not ready to walk away yet, sensing something else was coming.
“Yeah, Dean?”
Dean paused and licked his lips, “… I miss dad.”
Sam looked in his brother’s eyes, surprised the words had come out of his mouth.
“I know it’s been a couple of years now… and I know you didn’t always get along.”
“I miss him too, Dean,” Sam clenched his teeth, breathed out heavily.
Dean sighed, “It doesn’t get better with time. It only gets worse.”
“I know.”
“And I know you didn’t always believe it, or feel it, but dad loved you.”
Sam welled up. Dean didn’t often get emotional. He didn’t talk about these things. He’d built a fortress for himself to hide in. Strong walls. But all walls had cracks. Dean’s showed at night, when he had been left alone with his thoughts, when he was in pain, sick, vulnerable, and drugged out of his mind. It felt like an invasion to listen to Dean now, to let him say these things. But he obviously needed to. So, Sam listened.
“He always wanted the best for you, always wanted you kept safe… it was different with me.”
“Dean… he loved you too.”
“Yeah he did, but… he treated me differently. I had to look out for you. I had to look out for him. He changed after mom… He’d come home drunk, beaten. He always had a bottle in his hand.”
Sam waited for Dean to finish, listening to him breathe through the emotion.
“I never thought I’d become him.”
Sam saw Dean’s eyes shining in the moon light through the window, “You’re not, Dean. You’re better than him.”
“I want to get drunk. I do. I know I can’t. I know I’m not supposed to, but I do. I want to drink until I forget everything… until I can’t feel anything at all… I feel like I’m drowning, man… and I can’t get past it… I can’t.”
Sam gulped, feeling a lump in his throat.
“I don’t want you to waste your life,” Dean mumbled, almost too softly to hear.
“What does that mean?”
“No, Dean. What does that mean?”
Sam waited a long time, then Dean cleared his throat.
“You should lie down before those pills knock you on your ass.”
Dean coughed, and Sam thought it might have just been so he didn’t have to listen to what was coming next. He made a little gasping noise and tilted his head back a little, opening his airway. Sam patted his chest gently.
“Just wish it didn’t hurt to breathe,” he said in a halting, breathless voice.
“It’ll get better, man,” Sam said, wanting to say so much more. Wanting to tell Dean he’d never leave him. That staying with him and giving up hunting, giving up all of it wouldn’t be wasting his life.
“It’ll get better… I promise.”

Dean’s eyes were stinging so he rubbed them hard with his index finger and thumb, pressing down until balls of darkness and light swam across his vision. Tears were prickling in the corners so he rubbed them away.
Sam was still sitting on the edge of his bed, looking out the window, jaw working.
“I almost forgot to ask you,” Sam said, and Dean felt the air get sucked from the room, because he knew what was coming next, “How did your date go?”
Dean coughed again, grabbing a tissue from the box at his hip to spit into.
“I’ve had better dates,” he groaned, and Sam’s eyes stayed on him for a while, gathering information. They could talk to each other by now without saying anything at all.
“Did the pancakes suck?” Sam said finally.
Dean smiled, “The pancakes were awesome…” he ran a hand across his stomach, “Not so good the second time round though.”
Sam grimaced, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Dean closed his eyes, “Not really.”
Should you talk about it?”
Dean swallowed, “I just… she’s not who I thought she was, I guess,” he paused, “I’m probably just being an ass.”
“You generally are,” Sam said without skipping a beat.
Dean hit him in the arm, then sighed, “I think I might have ruined it.”
“Look, man,” Sam sighed, “If something happened I’m sure you’ll be able to fix it, but you gotta ask yourself… is it worth fixing.”
Dean licked his lips, “Man, you get insightful at 3 o’clock in the morning.”
Sam laughed and put his head down, “You getting much sleep these days?”
Dean winced at a pain in his chest, “Enough.”
Sam nodded, seemingly satisfied with the answer, “I should get to bed.”
Dean returned the nod.
“Can I get you anything else?”
Dean pointed towards the power cord running from his heat pad, “Flick that switch on, will ya?”

Sam bent and turned on the heat pad, leaving it on level 4, one below the highest, knowing if Dean had the control he’d leave it on 5 all night. Sam groaned as he straightened, needle like jabs of pain stabbing through his ribs.
“Get some ointment on that,” Dean ordered.
Sam stood up, “Yeah, I will.”
“Good boy,” Dean smirked, “Night, Sammy.”
“Goodnight, dude.”

Sam woke up groggy. Weighed down. He wasn’t conditioned to Dean’s pain pills like his brother was. Checking his watch on the nightstand he realised it was after 10 in the morning. He’d slept through, since his head hit the pillow.
He dragged his aching body up and sat on the edge of the bed, running his hands through his hair. As he became more aware of his surrounding it was clear to him that he was the last up in the house. He could hear Dean and Bobby talking in the lounge room, in the throws of quite a heated discussion, it sounded like.
He took a deep breath, winced as it pulled against his ribs.
“You can do it, boy. You just did it before.”
“Yeah, I know, Bobby. Give me five freakin’ seconds.”
“Would you stop your bitching and get on with it?”
“… Drill sergeant.”
Sam followed their voices down the hall. He was surprised to find Dean in loose sweatpants and a t-shirt, lying on the floor on his back doing his exercises, Bobby crouched closely by him. What was unusual about the scene was that Dean’s hips were raised, a good ten inches off the ground in a near perfect bridge pose.
The way Dean was positioned, he couldn’t see Sam enter, which was probably a good thing as it looked like a lot of concentration was involved. Bobby, however, glanced over, widening his eyes as if to tell him not to speak or announce his presence.
“That’s it, son. Keep your back straight, tuck your chin in.”
Sam could see Dean trembling, letting out his breaths steadily, sweat on his temple. Dean had been given a set of exercises to do each day, Bobby and Sam had studied them up and had watched Dean do them every day since he was cleared after surgery. Bridge was on the list, but Dean had never been able to do it before. Until today. Until now.
Bobby’s hands hovered under Dean’s back.
“Okay, good. Come down. Nice and slow. You got it.”
Once Dean’s back was flat on the ground, Sam walked into sight.
Dean looked up, face a little pale but red on his cheeks and around his hairline, sweat flecked across his forehead and upper lip. He was breathing through his mouth, a hand pressing down on his chest like he was sore. But he smiled, pride in his latest victory dripping off him.

“Heya, Sammy.”
“Man, what the heck? You just did that for like ten seconds. That’s awesome!”
Bobby looked down at Dean, sitting back on his heels, “He’s done it three times this morning.”
Dean grinned and closed his eyes, clearly exhausted.
“Dude, how is it you get beat up and are better than you were before?”
Dean sighed, and allowed the assistance from Sam and Bobby to stand.
“I’m not better,” Dean moaned, pulling up his shirt and exposing the bruise on his side, “Just more… motivated.”
Sam furrowed his brow, “Dean - ”
“Don’t, Sam,” he muttered, walking into the kitchen, “The shit almost hit the fan last night… I can’t just keep biding my time on this. I can’t put my hope and trust in angels. The only way out of this is through it.”
Dean lay his hands on the bench and coughed towards the ground. It rattled thickly at first but tapered off towards the end.
Sam sighed, “How’s your breathing? You shouldn’t be lying flat, even to do those exercises.”
Dean rolled his eyes, “Sam, please.”
“Alright, boys. That’s enough,” Bobby said calmly.
“I just don’t want –“
“I get it, Sam. I do. You don’t want me doing something stupid and going backwards, but I’m alright, okay? I promise. And I’ll tell you the minute I’m not.”
Sam stared at his brother for a moment, Bobby silent beside him.
“Deal?” Dean rasped, wiping sweat from his brow.
Sam nodded, “Yeah… yeah. Deal.”
“Good,” Dean breathed, letting a smile tug at his lips, “Now make me a sandwich.”

Chapter Twenty Four

Dean needed a bottle. He needed a bottle right now. His hands were shaking, mouth watering. He wanted to throw up. God, how could he be so stupid?
"Son?" Bobby tapped on the door, "Why don't you come out and talk about things?"
Dean wiped the sweat off his brow.
"Why don't you tell me what happened?"
He couldn't answer Bobby, couldn't move to let him in, because all his energy had to work to get him to the bathroom.
He leaned over the toilet and threw up the breakfast that had once tasted so good. Now it was bitter, sour, sitting like a lump in his stomach and it had to come out.
He coughed hard, his knees giving out as he slumped against the wall.
Bobby took that as his cue to enter.
"What in hell happened, kid?" Bobby asked, staring down at him.


Dean still refused to talk about it. Mostly because he was afraid of saying it out loud and hearing how ridiculous the whole thing had been. So she was studying psychology. So what? It didn't mean anything. It didn't mean she'd chosen to hang out with him because of it. And maybe he was just looking for something. Waiting for something to go wrong. Looking for a reason to run.
Dean, I don't want to talk to you through text but if you won't pick up the phone then I'll have to. I just want to talk to you.
But Dean didn’t want to talk to her. Not right now anyway. And probably not anytime soon. He remembered telling her the reason he’d like her so much.
“You make me forget about all that…”
Now he couldn’t. Now he wouldn’t ever forget about “all that”. All the things that made him screwed up, all the things he’d been through. Because he’d always be thinking that maybe she wanted to know all that, maybe she’d try to analyze all that, maybe she’d try to fix all that. Dean couldn’t be fixed. More importantly he didn’t need to be fixed. He didn’t need anyone’s pity, least of all hers.
“Hey, you ready to eat some lunch?” Bobby asked, sticking his head into Dean’s room.
Dean had been hiding out since he got back. Right now he was laid up in bed, trying in vain to get some sleep he desperately needed. But he couldn’t when his brain wouldn’t quit. Wouldn’t shut up for 5 seconds.
“I’m not that hungry,” he croaked.
“Well, I don’t really care if you’re hungry or not,” Bobby said casually, “Because I’m making you lunch and you’re gonna eat it.”
Dean smiled, “’Kay. Understood.”
“Besides I think you’ve got some pills you gotta take right about now,” Bobby looked at his watch.
Dean nodded, coughing into his fist. He squeezed his eyes shut as he felt a jab of pain under his ribs. Just then his phone started ringing again, as it had been incessantly since he’d left Katie’s.
“Here,” Bobby extended his hand, reaching for the phone as Dean continued to choke.
Dean eyed Bobby but handed it to him anyway.
Bobby answered the phone and pressed it to his ear, “Listen, Dean’s resting right now. He’ll call you when he wants to talk to you and no sooner, you got that?”
Dean finally took an uninterrupted breath and swallowed painfully, watching Bobby listen.
“Good,” was all he said before hanging up.
He handed the phone back to Dean and left, calling behind him, “Lunch’ll be ready in 20.”

Dean felt the darkness wash over him. He could hear the distant screams of the tortured. Feel the sticky warmth. Smell the decaying bodies, the blood and the entrails. He could taste blood in his mouth, steely, thick and warm. No matter how he shouted, Sam never came. Soon he began to forget what his brother even looked like, that he even had a brother…. and finally he’d forgotten what it was to be human…
Dean gasped awake, chest heaving, flicking his eyes quickly to where Bobby was standing leaning on the doorframe. He gulped, actively tried to slow down his heart.
“You alright?”
Dean closed his eyes again and wiped the sweat from his forehead, “Why wouldn’t I be alright?”
If Bobby rolled his eyes Dean didn’t see it, but there was a pause before he spoke again.
“Lunch is ready. You wanna come out and eat something?”
“Sure,” Dean said, pushing himself up, powering through the trembling in his arms.
He swung his legs around to get out of bed on the side facing Bobby, but he must have moved too quickly, the change in altitude being too much for his fuzzy head.
“Whoa,” Bobby’s hands are on his shoulders, “Easy, boy. Take it slow.”
Dean sniffed and steeled himself, “I’m good.”
“You sure about that?”
“I said I’m good,” Dean snapped.

Sam was getting off work at 5. He’d done a full shift, chest aching from the constant movement, bending and reaching, and wiping tables. Riley had got in an hour ago, taking over for the evening shift.
“Hey, Sam,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder as she walked past.
“Hey, Riley. How are you?”
“I’m good. How’s the day been?”
“Pretty steady actually.”
Riley cocked her hair looking at him, “Are you alright? You look a little beat.”
“Yeah, I’m… I’m alright.”
“Something up with Dean?”
Sam huffed, “Something’s always up with Dean.”
“Hey, speaking off…” she nodded behind Sam and he turned around to see Bobby and Dean ambling through the door. Dean didn’t have his crutches (he’d decided he didn’t need them anymore), but he was walking pretty straight, pretty steady. He had a pale, drawn look about him though. He looked like he’d been sick, and Sam saw him ghost a casual hand across his midsection, confirming suspicions.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” Riley smirked as they approached the bar.
Dean met Sam’s eyes and gave him a nod.
“Hey, Riles.”
Sam placed a glass of water in front of Dean, giving him a once over. He looked to Bobby, who sunk heavily into a bar stool and eyed him, a telepathic conversation taking place.
How is he?
Awful. But a pain in the ass as usual.
Tell me about it.
Dean took a sip of his water and Sam noticed the slight tremble in his hands.
Riley leaned on the bar, clasping her hands in front of her, “What are you boys up to tonight?”
Bobby sighed, “Had to get the idjit out of the house. He’s been driving me crazy all afternoon,” he grunted.
Dean narrowed his eyes in Bobby’s direction and smirked.
“Causing trouble, is he?” Riley chuckled.
“I’d like to cause some trouble with you, sweetheart,” Dean winked.
“Okay, that I didn’t need to hear,” Sam cringed.

Sam, Dean and Bobby all hung out at the bar and had dinner. Dean didn’t eat much, but his mood had perked up and he even mapped out a hit for hustling pool. Even though his hands had shaken every time he’d raised a glass to his mouth, watching him play pool he’d never been steadier. He’d come back to the table an hour later, $500 burning a hole in his pocket. Bobby called it a night and went home, leaving just the brothers. Sam could tell Dean was a little worn around the edges though, so he didn’t stop him when he said he’d needed to get some air.

“Hey, asshole!”
Dean turned.
“Look, man, I don’t want any trouble.”
“Really? I didn’t want any trouble either… until you took all my money.”
Dean sighed, rolling his eyes, “You want the money? You can have it.”
“Nah, you see you made me look stupid in front of my girl… I can’t have that.”
The man took a few steps towards Dean and Dean winced as he stepped back, pain rocketing up his spine.
“And you can drop the “wounded vet” act. I know you only did it to hustle me.”
Dean took a heavy breath in, “Dude, seriously, it’s not an act.”
Dean would have turned around and lifted his shirt to show the guy his scar but the guy had already swung a right hook, landing right on Dean’s jaw. It was sloppy. The guy’s form was terrible. Dean could bring him down in an instant. Dean knew how to handle guys like this. He wasn’t even as big as him. But he couldn’t take him down. Not today.
Dean reeled back, stumbling sideways and pressing his hands into the brick wall to keep standing. The punch rattled his entire body.
“Please, man. I’m not kidding… my back –“
The guy advanced and punched Dean in the left side, under his ribs.
Dean groaned, fisting his hand in his hair.
Dean sighed. He didn’t have to turn to know who that was, and to know he was okay now.
“What the hell’s going on out here           !?”
“Nothing, man, just –“
Dean heard scuffling, turned slightly to see Sam standing over the guy who was flat on his back in the road, bleeding from his lip.
“You beating on a guy with a broken back!?”
“I didn’t know he –“
“Don’t you ever come here again or so help me God I will kill you myself!” Sam stamped down on the guy’s chest, “Do you understand!?”
“Yes, yes, okay!”
Dean looked back at the wall as the guy scrambled away from his giant machine of a brother.
“Sam,” his voiced came out stuttering, as steady as he tried to keep it, layered with pain, weak and desperate.
“Dean, oh my god…” Sam put a hand on Dean’s shoulder and he flinched, “Okay, okay…”
Dean stumbled backwards but managed to keep his footing. Sam grabbed his arm and ducked under his shoulder. Dean leaned on him more than he should have and Sam struggled under his weight, not prepared for it.
“Easy, man.”
Sam walked Dean inside through the back door to the kitchen.
“Riley!” he called, coming through, trying to find a place to put Dean.
Jim was out the back and Sam lifted his chin at him, “Get Riley.”
Jim’s eyes widened at them both and left the kitchen in a hurry.
Dean moaned and clenched his eyes shut.
“Okay, you’re okay. Let’s sit down. How bad is it?”
Dean kept his eyes closed and tried to catalogue the damage. His face and head throbbed, but the punch to the side had done more damage.
“Oh my God, what the hell happened?” Riley was beside Dean before he could even open his eyes to look at her. She pulled his other arm over her shoulders, taking more of his weight off his feet, which he was incredibly grateful for.
“That jackass Dean hustled,” was all Sam offered as an explanation.
Dean groaned, and Sam adjusted his hold on him.
“Come on, let’s sit him down.”
“No,” Dean choked out, “I think… I gotta lie down.”
“Dean, there’s no where –“
“He can lie down in a booth. The seats are wide enough.”
“Yeah but not long enough. His legs can’t hang, it’s bad for his back.”
“Guys,” Dean interrupted.
“Alright, booth it is,” Sam said, and they started walking again.
The bar was closed now, only a few people hanging about. Dean crumpled halfway to the table. Sam shifted to take more of his brother’s weight.
“Come on, man. Little further.”
“Gonne be sick,” he mumbled.
Riley barked orders and Jim came over with a champagne bucket. Dean took his arm off Riley and clutched the bucket to his chest, expelling his dinner.
“Alright. You’re okay,” Sam muttered next to him.
Riley and Jim pulled the table away from the booth bench so they could fit Dean in, and slid a chair against the end of it so Dean could put his legs up.
Ah, crap,” Dean winced, back spasming as Sam lowered him down.
“Sorry,” Sam grunted, “Deep breaths.”
Dean couldn’t take deep breaths though, because if he did that he’d start coughing and that would be the worst thing to happen right now.
Sam’s chilly fingers pulled Dean’s shirt up to assess the damage to his side.
“Okay, it’s not that bad, Dean. It’s not that bad.”
Riley appeared next to him with ice wrapped in a tea towel, pressing it to his jaw.
“It just… It jolted me,” Dean said, breathlessly.
Sam scrunched his face in concern, “Do you think it’s…”
Dean could tell what Sam wanted to know. Did he think it had damaged his spine. Did he think it had moved the herniated disc. Did he think the bones had shifted. The panic and worry was written all over Sam’s face.
“No,” Dean croaked, “No… it’s probably nothing,” he added a tight smile just to reassure him.
Riley’s hand was in his hair.
“Sam,” she sighed, “he’s got a fever.”
“Dean, do you think we should go to the hospital?”
“You’re gonna have to knock me out for real if you want to take me there,” Dean groaned.
Sam huffed, “Okay, man. We’ll deal with it.”
Dean closed his eyes, relief washing over him. He didn’t want to go back to hospital. Because if he went back they wouldn’t just let him out straight away.
“Dean?” Riley ruffled her hand in his hair, giving his scalp a little scratch with her fingers.
He opened his eyes, “I’m okay.”
Sam had a hand on Dean’s chest, “What do you need?”
Dean smiled, closing his eyes again, “I guess a painkiller… and a valium… and a new spine.”
Sam actually laughed, "I'll do my best, brother."

Fic: No Friggen Cats (SPN)

Prompt: It's the middle of the night and the boys have just finished a hunt. They don't have a motel room in town, as they hadn't planned on staying. In fact, they don't know the town well at all... a fact that is made obvious as they drive through the whole town, block by block, looking for a 24-hour laundromat. During the hunt, both characters got COVERED in something that is stuck to every inch of their clothes and it's making one (or both) of them sneeze. They absolutely MUST get these clothes cleaned. But they can't find a laundromat. Can't even find a motel. Hell, at this point, they'd settle for a fountain in a town square they could dunk their shirts in.

No Friggen Cats

“Turn down here,” Sam said, hopefully.
“Do you know where we’re going, Sam?” Dean asked, annoyed.
“No, but I thought I saw…”
“What’s the friggen map say?”
“Uh, my phone died, I’m just going on a hunch here.”
Dean glared at Sam.
“Are you kidding?”
Sam tried for a reassuring smile.
Dean scrubbed his nose with his arm, sniffing, then he grimaced, “Ah, God. That made it worse.”
“Dean, don’t touch your face.”
“Yes, thank you, genius.”
“Dean… I’m –“
“Don’t,” Dean snapped, “Don’t say it.”
Sam cleared his throat and looked out the window, trying to see any kind of neon vacancy sign.
“It’s in my car, Sam.”
Sam winced, looking guiltily into the fiercely windy night.
Dean coughed, keeping both hands on the wheel, turning down yet another street.
“I know.”
“I have one rule about hunts, Sammy. One rule.”
“No cats?”
“No friggen cats!” Dean shouted over the top of him.
“I thought the shelter had closed down, Dean!” Sam whined, defending himself, “How was I supposed to know the cats had stayed around?”
Dean growled low in his throat, “God, I’m so itchy.”
Dean turned into another street.
“Didn’t we just come down here? Are we going in circles?”
Sam tried to keep his brother calm but his mood was worsening as his level of discomfort rose. He was having a particularly long break between sneezing fits, which they were both grateful for, but whether or not it meant a big one was coming was another issue.
“There had to be a motel as we came into town. Maybe we should just head in that direction,” Sam suggested.
Dean sniffed and moaned, “There’s no-hh- no motels. If we’d passed one… I woulda-huhh- woulda stopped. Hit’SCHewW!
“Bless you.”
Dean coughed again.
Sam looked down at himself. His jacket, his button down, his jeans, even his socks, were covered in cat hair. He could see strands of it on the seat between him and his brother. Dean was worse. The spirit had thrown him through the glass into the room where the cats were sleeping apparently. He’d not only come out, covered head to toe in cat hair, but his hands and even his neck had been clawed viciously. Dean sneezed just being near a cat… but this. This was a whole new level.
“Dean, man. You gotta let me drive.”
Dean went to rub his nose with his arm again but realized halfway through and thought better of it, his arm hovering near his face, cat hair drifting through the air.
“Shut up.”
Sam sighed, “What if we find a Laundromat? At least then we can get these clothes off.”
“This town doesn’t even have a motel. What makes you think they’ll have a Laundromat?”
“Well we have to do something, man. You can’t stay like this.”
Dean’s face went lax, chin tilting up in the air, eyes unfocused, “Hhh’EXCHTSUEWuh!” he sneezed towards his lap, car swerving a little.
“If you ask to drive,” Dean sniffed hard and cleared his throat, “one more time…”
“You’re going to crash the car, man! I’m only looking out for your precious baby.”
Dean swallowed, staring out into the night, turning another corner.
“I think this is the main street again,” Dean ignored Sam.
“Keep an eye out for a Laundromat.”
“You keep an eye out. I’m kinda busy,” Dean wrinkled his nose.
They drove through the street in silence, the only sound Dean’s labored breathing.
Soon the shops along the street became houses, suburbia, and they knew they were pretty much screwed.
“Dean, you’ve never had asthma before, have you?”
Dean glanced at Sam with an annoyed expression, “You ever see me have asthma before?”
“No, but… you’ve never –“
“Gotten cat all up in my business? No, I haven’t. This is a first for me.”
“It’s just… I can hear you breathing.”
“Sorry to disturb you. I’ll try to breathe more quietly,” Dean snapped, sarcastically.
“Dean, come on.”
Dean brought the car to a lurching stop in the middle of the street. He curled his hands around his face. Shoulders rounded in and hitching, his back expanding rapidly as he gasped ever quickening, deepening breaths.
Sam’s hand was on Dean’s hunched shoulder, “Bless you… you okay?”
Dean sniffled into his hands, still curled forward, “Do I look okay to you?” he said, voice raspy.
Sam pulled the collar of Dean’s coat back and checked the scratches on his neck. He hissed, “God, Dean. We have to clean these wounds.”
Heh’TSCHT! Urrrrghhh,” Dean growled. He wiped his hand down the front of his pants. “I want to scratch my face off.”
Sam frowned as Dean started driving slowly again, and then he had an idea.
“Hey, there’s gotta be a school around here, right?”
Dean wiggled his nose furiously, then cast bloodshot, vacant eyes towards Sam, “A school?”
“Yeah, we could break in and use the showers. Even if we can’t get past the security system they’d surely have a swimming pool. We could wash off in there, and rinse our clothes out.”
Dean blinked, “This has to be the stupidest idea you’ve ever had.”
Sam shrugged, “You got a better idea?”
Dean took a moment, and then sighed stuffily, “I can’t even think right now.”
“Alright,” Sam said, surely, “Then we go with my idea.”
“Maybe you should try and be a bit more quiet.”
Dean narrowed his eyes, “Involuntary, Sam…”
“I know, just… we’re kind of trespassing here.”
Hhh’KXCHT!” Dean hunched into his elbow, getting more cat hair on his face. “Whad kind of school doesn’t have a locker room?” Dean coughed lightly.
“A tiny school in the middle of nowhere. Let’s be thankful there’s a pool.”
The pool was outdoors, leaves rustled as the wind ripped through the trees, icy cold. 
Heh’CHHHXT! God, Sam, it’s freezing.”
“We’re just gonna have to deal with it. Hurry up and get your clothes off.”
“I better not ever hear you say that again,” Dean groaned, pulling off his jacket.
Sam and Dean stripped down to their boxers and threw their clothes in the water. They had their duffle by the edge of the pool with a change of clothes for them. All their laundry was dirty, some filthy, and Dean’s shirt was covered in blood, half of which wasn’t even his, but it was better than clothes covered in cat fur. Who would have thought?
Sam jumped in first. Dean was taking his time, pausing intermittently to sneeze and cough, and Sam hoped if he lead, Dean would follow.
Sam couldn’t help but gasp as he came out of the water. It was bitterly cold. His body began shivering instantly.
Dean was bent at the waist, sneezing into his hand, other hand braced against his knee to keep him upright. He snuffled and stood, “It’s freezing, isn’t it?”
Sam shivered hard, arms wrapped around his upper body, “N-no.”
Dean sighed through the congestion and muttered, “Let’s get this over with.”
The water washed over Sam’s head as Dean jumped in next to him.
“Son of a bitch,” Dean muttered through clenched teeth. He put his head under and scrubbed his hands through his hair. When Dean came up a second time he coughed into his fist.
“Ya’lright?” Sam asked, rubbing his arms and shoulders.
“N-no, Suh’ Sam… huh’TSCHUWw! Ndot alright… hh’EXCKSHUhh!
“You having trouble breathing?”
“I’m sneezing every five seconds. Yeah, I’m having trouble breathing.”
“You know what I mean, Dean. If your chest starts feeling tight or something you gotta tell me.”
“So we can get to a hospital,” Sam said, matter-of-factly, grabbing his clothes and shaking them off under the water.
“Stop over reacting,” Dean whined, and then proceeded to cough up a lung into his closed fist.
“Show me your hand,” Sam said, reaching for him.
“Oh, yeah,” Dean held them out, “Lovely, right?”
Dean’s hands were swelling up where the claw marks were. They looked red and angry.
“Dude, we need to get you some medicine and ointment for that. Show me your neck.”
“Hang on,” Dean huffed, twisting away, “Huh’TTSICHXT! Heh’KKSCHTT! Hh’CHXTT!”
Dean’s convulsing sent waves through the water and Sam cringed in sympathy.
Dean sniffed into his hands, still turned away, “Huh’KSSSCHTTUHuhh! *snifff* Okay… now I’m done.”
“Alright, let me see,” Sam tilted Dean’s neck towards the light and Dean craned his head away so Sammy could get a better look. Sam hissed, running his fingers over the welts, “This is pretty bad, Dean. Does it itch?”
“God, yes,” Dean pulled away and started scratching.
“Stop it!” Sam batted his hand, “You’ll make it worse.”
Dean sniffed thickly, “I hate this.”
Sam wiped down the impala’s seats with one of their old t-shirts, trying in vain to get rid of all the cat hair from the car, which was hard without a vacuum. Dean was sitting on a park bench, blanket wrapped around his shoulders, shivering and sneezing into a balled up diner napkin. He looked beyond exhausted at this point and was having a hard time pretending he was anything but.
Sam threw the shirt in the nearby trashcan and turned to Dean.
“I think that’s as good as it’s going to get.”
Dean stifled a sneeze into the blanket and sniffed hard, “Where we gonna go now?” he croaked.
“I guess we just head off in a direction and drive until we find a motel, more importantly a pharmacy.”
Dean got up and coughed again, pressing the blanket to his mouth to muffle the sound.
“That cough getting any better?”
“Not yet.”
“You finally gonna let me drive?” Sam said as Dean hunkered down into his elbow and sneezed a few more violent sneezes.
Dean pulled another napkin out of his pocket and tiredly blew his nose, giving a slight nod.
“Yeah, Sammy, you can drive.”
“Dean… I’m sorry we –“
“Nah, it’s alright, Sam. Forget it,” Dean said, small smile on his lips, tossing the keys to Sam.
The boys got in the car and Sam started her up.
“Bless you. I’d say try and get some sleep but, uh, that’s probably not gonna happen.”
Hhh’EKCHSCHUEww! Dude… just drive.”
Sam smiled as Dean leaned forward and turned the radio on.
“Bless you, by the way.”
Dean groaned, curling up against the door, “Shut up.”


Fic: Four Boxes (SPN)

Four Boxes

“Dean! I’m back!”
Dean was snuffling into his last damp tissue, eyes red, face shiny.
“I got another box of tissues.”
“Thagk God.”


“Heh’CHXTT! Huh’ESCTHKu! Fugk be…”
“Dude, slow down. You’ve already polished off two boxes. Don't make me hit the store again.”


Dean reached his hand into the box and all he could feel was the bottom of it. Hands shaking, body slick with fever sweat, he heaved a sigh that made him cough long and hard.
“Sab?” his voice broke.
“Hey, you alright?”
“Tissues,” he waved the empty box in the air.
“Another one?”


Sam looked at the clock. 12:04. The codeine had kicked in and Dean was finally asleep. Sam rubbed his tired eyes and looked around the room. The trashcan and floor around it was covered in balled up, visibly wet tissues. Three empty tissue boxes were stacked on the floor next to it, the other, now empty, box was clutched in Dean’s arms, as he snored, mouth wide open, flushed with fever of 103 degrees. And in that moment of relative quiet, Sam wondered how many boxes his brother might go through tomorrow…

Chapter Twenty Three

The shower was nice. The warm water seemed to relax everything and he was able to wash away the salty sweat from his skin. He even ran some shampoo through his hair.
He turned the water off and used the rails to get out of the shower chair, the shower chair he would one day take a baseball bat to.
Scratch, scratch.
Dean looked at the bathroom door, brow furrowed.
Nothing happened for a minute so he looked back to the mirror, rubbing the towel over his head.
Scratch, scratch, scratch.
His heart rate ratcheted up and he spun around to look at the door again.
"Bobby?" He called softly.
He stared at the door.
Dean saw the door bending in under force. There was more scratching again, but louder, more fiercely, like it was gouging lines down the wood. Howling filled the night, followed by rabid barks against the door. They were coming for him again.
Dean backed up against the wall, hands gripped over his ears, but he could hear it just as loud anyway. Like the sound was coming from inside.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, howl.
Dean felt tears fall down his cheeks, chest on fire with his rapid breathing.
Not again. Oh, please, God, not again.
Dean sunk back further against the wall, heart pounding, so terrified.
Knock, knock.
Dean opened his eyes and drew his hands away from his ears, looking back at the door.
"You okay in there?"
Dean looked around, listening. There was nothing. No scratching. No howling. No hellhounds.
"Yeah," he managed to say, trying to keep his voice steady.
Just a nightmare.
Dean wrapped the towel around his waist, fingers still trembling.
Just a nightmare, while you're awake.
"I got some clean clothes for ya," Bobby said through the door.
Dean sighed, trying to stop tears that were still pouring from his eyes. A steady leak. Wasting fluids. But he couldn't really stop.
He was shivering now because it was cold tonight, and while the shower had been warm, now he was freezing.
Eventually Dean straightened, cautiously opening the door, glancing at the other side of it, expecting to see claw marks. It was fine.
“Dean,” Bobby said.
Dean looked up. Water was still dripping from him. He was sure his eyes were red, dewy with tears. His chest was heaving in and out, and his heart was pounding so hard it probably could be seen beating against his ribs.
“What’s wrong, boy?” Bobby’s face was crinkled with concern, and a little panic, a testament to how terrible he must have looked.
Dean cleared his throat, dragging his wrist across his brow, “I, uh… it’s nothing.”
“It doesn’t look like nothing,” Bobby said, holding out his clothes to him.
Dean managed a tiny smile, trying to offer comfort in any form.
“Do you want to tell me what happened?”
“I just got scared, that’s all,” Dean took the clothes.
Bobby nodded, but looked stern.
“I’ll give you some privacy,” he grunted, leaving the room and pulling the door closed.
“Leave it, Bobby,” Dean breathed, “Leave the door open.”
Bobby furrowed his brow, but nodded in understanding, and wandered down the hall.
Dean sat heavily on the edge of the bed, clothes at his side and face in his hands. He should have told Bobby what had happened, what he’d heard. It was getting worse. The nightmares only stopped if he’d drunk enough to pass out or taken enough pills to kill a horse. But it was hard. Dean had never spoken about these things. About the hard things. He’d learned, taught himself, to bottle everything up. Never show weakness. Never show fear.
“I just got scared, that's all.”
That had been too much to reveal. Too out of character. Too vulnerable. But there was only so much he could shoulder alone, before he broke under the weight. Who was he kidding? He was already broken. Held together with duck tape and rubber bands. Even if the pain was gone. Even if his back was healed, lungs healed, shoulder healed, his mind, his soul was damaged. Beyond repair. He’d seen too much. And no matter what, that would always have happened to him. He would have always gone to hell. He would have always been tortured. He would have always tortured others. He couldn’t change it. He couldn’t forget it.  He couldn’t forgive it.
“Dean, you should get dressed,” Bobby was standing in the doorway.
Dean looked up, startled. Maybe more time had passed than he’d realized.
“’Kay,” he mumbled.
He’d struggled into his boxers and was having difficulty pulling his t-shirt over his head when Bobby came back in, silently helping his weak left arm find the hole.
“Come on.”
Bobby helped him into bed and then sat down in the chair in Dean’s room.
“Bobby?” Dean asked.
“I’m not going anywhere, kid.”
Dean let out a breath and nodded.
Dean lay there with his eyes closed and listened to Bobby breathe. He probably lay awake for close to an hour before he heard the soft snores to signify Bobby had fallen asleep. He opened his eyes and looked across the room in the dark. He still hadn’t exactly calmed down. He was still scared to death. And Bobby was always great to have around… but sometimes he just needed his brother.

Sam took a deep breath in and sleepily pulled his eyes open. He hadn’t been sure what had woken him until he turned his head to the right and saw Dean on the bed next to him. He was lying back on some pillows, on top of the covers, arms folded across his chest, staring down at him.
“Hey, man,” Sam mumbled, crinkling his brow.
“Hey, Sammy,” Dean croaked.
“You okay?” He brought a hand up to rub his eye.
Dean smiled, “Yeah, I’m okay.”
Sam nodded against his pillow, eyes already drooping again.
“I’m okay,” Dean said again, although this time it looked like he was trying to convince himself, not Sam.
Sam smiled, and went back to sleep.

When Sam woke the next morning he had a vague memory of waking up to find Dean next to him. Looking over, if his brother had been there earlier, he was not there now.
He went out into the kitchen and found his brother sitting at the breakfast bar, coffee mug in hand.
“Mornin’,” he muttered, heading to the pot to grab a cup himself.
“Morning,” Dean’s voice was low and rough.
Sam looked over at him, “You alright?”
Dean closed his eyes and nodded. He looked far from alright.
Sam decided not to mention the previous night. Dean had obviously needed him. Dean didn’t like to be vulnerable. He wouldn’t call him out on it.
“What time do you need me to take you?” Sam asked, casually.
Dean cleared his throat, “Just whenever you’re on your way out.”
“Do you need to take anything? You know what pills you have to take?”
“I got it,” Dean said, pulling the list out of his pocket.
It was crumpled now, and had different medications added on in different colour pens. The list of all his medications and the times he needed to take them, and then underneath that the list of pills he could take as needed and the amount he could have in a day. There were quite a few on there now.
Sam sipped his coffee.
“I gotta take a shower. Whereabouts does Katie live?”
Dean rubbed his fingers across his forehead, “It’s not far.”
“Okay… you eat?”
Dean cleared his throat, “I had some toast.”
Sam thought for a moment that his brother might be lying. But he knew how sick the pills made him if he took them on an empty stomach. And he knew Dean wouldn’t be sitting there, fairly upright and stable, if he hadn’t taken them already.
“Alright. I’m gonna take a shower.”
Dean nodded and Sam left him to it, taking his coffee mug with him. Dean was always hard to talk to in the mornings. Shut down from his nightmares. Sore from lying in the one position too long. It always took Dean a while to wake up, even before all this started. So, he didn’t hold anything against him. He just felt sorry for this poor girl. She was going to have her work cut out for her.

Sam stopped the car out the front of Katie’s house and looked towards the front door.
“You gonna be okay?”
Dean raised an eyebrow at his brother and slapped on a smirk, “I’ll be just fine, Sammy.”
Sam smiled back, “Alright, well call me or Bobby when you wanna get picked up and we’ll come get ya.”
“Thanks, mum.”
“Shut up.”
Dean got out of the car and walked towards the front door. He turned to find Sam still watching him through the window of the impala.
Dean pointed down the road and mouthed ‘go’. He turned back around and heard the impala purr down the street.
Katie had a screen door and a wooden door at the front of the house. The screen was closed but the wooden door was open, and Dean could see inside, hear the sounds of sizzling bacon, smell the pancakes, hear Katie humming sweetly.
He knocked, before opening the door himself.
Katie was coming through as he entered.
“Hey, you,” she smiled.
“Hey, yourself,” Dean put an arm around her waist as she kissed him on the cheek, “Something smells great.”

Maybe it was the fact that Dean hadn’t had something like that in a while. Maybe it was the fact he usually felt too sick to want to eat, or had just lost enjoyment in everything these days. But warm pancakes with ice cream, whipped cream, maple syrup, and bacon was the most incredible thing Dean had experienced in a long while. It was better than any diner short stack he’d ever ordered.
There was something, though, that made Dean feel a little awkward. Katie was a lovely girl. She was kind and sweet. Kind of ‘girl next door’ type. He liked her. He did. She was a very pretty girl too. It wasn’t hard to like her. But somehow, unsurprisingly, he didn’t belong. And it wasn’t just her. It was her nice house, and her nice parents, and her parent’s nice car. It was the family photos on the mantel, and the recipe books on display in the kitchen, the coats hanging by the door. It was the pancakes. The smell, the taste, the texture. It was all too good. Too good for Dean Winchester.
They’d finished eating and were sitting on the lounge. The too comfortable lounge with too many pillows. And they were talking, and she kept looking at him with her too blue eyes, and her glowing face with a few scattered freckles, and her soft bouncy hair with the gingerish hue. It would be different if it was just sex. Dean could do just sex. In fact Dean loved just sex. Because it was fun, and it didn’t mean he had to feel anything.
“What’s going on in your head?” Katie hummed, nudging him gently.
Dean took a breath and tried to use that to ground himself. The conversation had tapered off. It had mostly been one sided, as it always was with her. But he liked to listen because it made him forget about how screwed up he was.
“Nothing,” he lied, feeling bad for not giving her more than that.
He shifted in his seat. The painkillers were wearing off and the pain was starting to creep back up. And that negative voice was back in his head again.
You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve her.
And it was all he could do not to get up and run.
Katie’s phone buzzed against the coffee table. She leaned forward and picked it up.
“Sorry,” she breathed, embarrassed, “It’s my dad.”
Dean straightened a little bit, “Oh, that’s okay.”
“I’ll be right back,” she said softly and answered the phone, pressing it to her ear and walking into the hall, “Hey dad.”
Dean shifted, listening to Katie talk.
“Yeah, I’m okay. We’re… both okay… Yes, I know. Of course, dad. Don’t worry, I’m fine. How’s Florida?”
Dean turned his attention to the bookcase.
“Okay. Love you both. See you soon.”
Katie walked back in, and her face flushed a little, “Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine,” Dean smiled, then nodded his head towards the bookcase, “Whose text books are those?”
“Oh,” Katie turned to look, and then faced Dean, “They’re mine. I, uh, I took a year off when umm…” she trailed off.
“You were studying psychology?”
Katie nodded, no sense of panic, guilt, or deception in her gaze and yet Dean felt all three.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t think it was all that important,” she said casually.
Dean looked down, penny dropping, and muttered, “That’s why you’re so interested in me.”
“What?” she leaned closer.
“Is that why you’re so interested in me?” Dean asked louder, unable to school his expression.
“No, Dean, of course not.”
“You just pick the most screwed up guy you can find to practice, right?”
“Dean, that’s not what this is.”
“Isn’t it?” Dean gazed straight at her, “You trying to fix me, Kate? Huh?”
She stuttered, “Y-You’re my friend. I want to help you.”
Dean stood up, “You know, I should have figured this out. I kept thinking to myself ‘why would someone like her be interesting in someone like me’. I guess I have my answer.”
Dean walked to the door, grabbing his coat off the hook, thankful he’d decided to keep his boots on.
“Dean, don't go. You’ve got it all wrong. It’s not like that.”
“Thanks for breakfast,” Dean uttered, and left.

Dean had walked to the end of Katie’s street and was pulling his phone from his pocket. Luckily, it wasn’t far to turn the corner and be far enough away from the house. Still, he was panting, and that only pulled on his chest. He dialed Bobby’s number and sat down on someone’s brick letterbox.
“I need you to pick me up. Now.”
Bobby paused, “… Okay. Where you at? What’s the address?”
Dean looked up, trying to see a street sign. Maybe he should have called a taxi instead, and got it to take him to the nearest bar. He felt like he needed a drink now more than ever.
“Son? You there?”
“Yeah, I’m here,” Dean rubbed his head, “I can’t…”
“You can’t what? Do you know where you are?”
“Hang on,” Dean breathed, feeling suddenly nauseous, “I’m dizzy…”
“Stay with me, boy. Breathe.”
“Crap,” Dean was looking down at the ground and the world started dancing in front of his eyes. He closed them but that made it worse. If he wasn’t careful he’d fall off this damn thing.
“What’s going on, Dean? You alright?” Dean could hear Bobby’s car start up, even though he didn’t know where he was going yet.
“I’m really freakin’ dizzy.”
“I need to know where you are.”
“I was at Katie’s… round the corner. I walked.”
“Why in god’s name are you – never mind. What’s Katie’s address? I’ll find you.”
“16… Birchwood Drive.”
“Alright, I’m on my way. How you doing?”
“Feel like I’m gonna puke.”
“Well, as long as you don’t pass out, I’m happy.”

Dean stayed on the phone to Bobby until he heard the car coming and walked down to the street corner.
“I see ya.”
Dean hung up and shoved the phone back in his pocket.
He climbed into the passenger seat, without looking at Bobby.
“Thanks,” he muttered.
“No problem,” Bobby huffed, “Seatbelt.”
Dean rolled his eyes and put on his seatbelt.
“Wanna tell me what the hell happened?”
Dean’s phone started ringing and he pulled it out and silenced Katie’s incoming call.
“Not really.”

Fic: Magic Fingers (SPN)

Prompt: Character has never slept in a hotel this posh before. Which is why they begin the night unaware of how desperately allergic they are to the feathers filling the down pillow/duvet. Maybe they don't even know what down IS....

Magic Fingers

“Dude, this is sweet.”
Sam laughed, “We should do this more often.”
“Awww, man,” Dean let out a pleased groan as he sat down on the end of one of the double beds. He bounced up and down a few times, “Oh, the bed, Sammy. The bed.”
Dean cast a glance over his shoulder and sagged a little in disappointment.
Sam laughed again, “I’m afraid this place is too classy for magic fingers, Dean.”
Dean frowned.
Sam dumped his bag at the end of the other bed and walked towards the window, checking out the view.
Dean’s eyes fell on the little table where the hotel brochure sat.
“Dude,” Dean said, lunging for it, “We are so ordering room service.”
Sam shook his head and huffed, but couldn’t help smiling, “We probably shouldn’t blow all our money in one night.”
“Sam… I earned that money fair and square.”
Sam’s eyelids drooped, “You hustled some dumb rich guys at poker.”
Dean stared blankly, “Yeah. What’s your point?”
Sam laughed again, “Alright, man.”
“Yeah,” Dean grinned, lying back on the bed, reading the menu.
Sam thought at some point Dean would want to go and check out the hotel bar, but he seemed pretty content to hang out on the bed, messily eating a grilled steak sandwich, and watching TV.
Dean sniffled, mouth full of food.
“I’m ruined, Sammy.”
Sam looked up from his laptop.
“I’ll never be able to sleep in a two-bit motel room ever again.”
“I hate to say this, dude, but we might have to. This place isn’t cheap.”
Dean snorted, then choked on his sandwich. He sat forward coughing, eyes watering.
“You alright?” Sam asked with a hint of amusement.
“Sandwich tried to kill me,” he croaked.
“That’s why you shouldn’t eat lying down.”
“Know it all.”
Sam shook his head.
Fifteen minutes later Dean had finished the sandwich and was still cozy on the bed. He coughed again.
“Dude, is that still from the sandwich?”
Dean shook his head, still coughing into his fist, “Dunno. Feels like something’s caught in my throat.”
“Drink some water,” Sam suggested, looking back to his computer.
Dean sighed, and reluctantly got up, heading to the bar fridge and grabbing out a beer.
“I said water,” Sam moaned.
“Beer, water. Same thing,” Dean shrugged.
He sniffed and dragged the back of his hand under his nose.
Ahhh,” he sighed, sitting back down on the bed, “This is the life.”
“Bless you!” Sam looked up in surprise.
“Ah, that’s been coming for half an hour,” Dean said, scrubbing his nose.
Sam chuckled and shut his laptop, rubbing his hands over his face and through his hair.
Sam raised an eyebrow at his brother, who was struggling upright. He trudged into the bathroom and came back with a length of toilet paper, wiping his eyes, which looked red and watery.
“You alright?”
Dean bent at the waist and sneezed again into the tissues. It sounded harsh and throaty.
Dean lay back on the bed. He cleared his throat, “What?”
“What’s up with you?” Sam thumbed the edge of his laptop.
“Dunno. Hay fever?”
“It’s January.”
Dean groaned, “I dunno, Sam. Maybe I’m allergic to your face.”
Sam rolled his eyes, “Are you sick?”
“I don’t get sick.”
“Sure,” Sam moaned.
Hih’ETKCHSU!” Dean coughed, “Sond of a bitch.”
Sam ignored Dean and got up from the table, drawing the curtain and coming to sit on his own bed.
“What’s on the box?”
Dean chucked him the remote.
“You’re letting me pick?” Sam raised his eyebrows.
Dean shrugged, wiggling his nose like it was itchy.
“You must be feeling bad.”
“Shut up,” Dean whined, sniffing thickly.
“Jesus,” Sam eyed Dean.
“Heh, flatterig, but just call be Dean.”
Sam’s eyes widened at Dean’s voice, “What the hell, man? You sound awful. You’ve been sneezing for the past hour. What’s wrong?”
Dean didn’t answer. He just got up and shut himself in the bathroom. Sam could hear him blowing his nose. Then the shower came on.
Dean emerged 20 minutes later. The skin around his nose and eyes was red and his hair was damp and sitting flat. His nostrils glistened and he wiped them on the sleeve of his Henley.
“Feel better?” Sam asked.
Dean slumped down on the bed heavily. He rubbed his face and groaned.
Sam sighed, face scrunched in sympathy, “Maybe you should call it a night. Get some sleep,” Sam suggested.
Dean coughed, “Baybe you’re right,” he said with a sniff.
Dean climbed under the covers and nuzzled into the pillows.
Sam got up and switched off the light, room still partially lit by the light of the TV.
“At least this bed is cobfortable,” Dean rasped through the congestion.
From there the night got a whole lot worse.
Dean was lying on his side, body turned away from Sam.
Huh’KSCHTUu! Heh’TSCHU! Heh’eh… EK’TSCHUew!” Dean gasped, “Hep’TTSCHTXCH!
He coughed wheezily.
“Shit, Dean. Are you alright?” Sam worried.
“Doh… dot alright,” Dean croaked, rolling on his back and placing a hand on his chest, “ I dunno… what’s wrog wid be.”
Sam could tell something was wrong. And not a little bit wrong, but a lot wrong. He could see the silhouetted profile of Dean’s face and something about the structure of it was different. Sam was out of bed and flicking the light on in seconds.
“Dude,” Dean brought a hand up to shield his eyes.
“Stop it. Let me look at you.”
Sam took a sharp involuntary inhale when he got a look at Dean’s face.
“Dean, your eyes…”
“Huh? Huh’KKCHXT!
“Oh, man… okay. Get up.”
“Whad’s wrog?” Dean coughed into his elbow.
“Your eyes are really swollen and you’re red… pretty much everywhere.”
Dean mumbled something, struggling to open his red, swollen, weepy eyes, to get a good look at himself.
Sam poked his neck, “Man, is that itchy?”
“Whad –“ Dean gasped incredulously, “Well, it is dow!”
Sam’s eyes widened, “Dean, these pillows are down. Have you ever slept on down before?”
“Combe againd?” Dean wheezed.
Down. Duck down…”
Dean stared blankly.
“Duck feathers!”
“Doh, Sab. I ain’t eber slept on duck feathers before. I guess… heh’KSCTH! cheap places can’t… eh’CHHHXTT! …can’t afford it. Son of a – Heh’TSSCHT! Huh’ITSCHU! Heh’EKSCHTUEW! Huh’’hh’EXCHTT!
Dean was hunkered down in the crook of his elbow, breathing heavily.
“Come on, man. Out of the bed,” Sam put his hands around his brother’s shoulders and manhandled him upright, “Jesus, the quilt is down as well. It has to be what’s caused this reaction.”
“Fugk. Cand’t I just habe onde good thig?” Dean sniffled, before dissolving into a high pitched, wheezy cough.
“You gotta strip off and shower, now. I’ll call reception. Do you have Benadryl in your bag?”
Dean blinked and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, “Thigk I used the last of it after that case with the lady with the cats?”
Sam shook his head, “It’s always animals with you.”
“Shud up. Hehh’TSCHK!
“Shower, now. Cool water.”
“I hear ya.”
After Sam spoke to reception quite firmly about the situation with his brother things happened very quickly.
They were moved to a hypoallergenic room, no animal anything.
Dean was still sneezing, and snuffling, and coughing. His eyes streaming continually.
The hotel staff had swiftly located allergy medicine, the perks of 5-star service.
Doped out of his brain, head full and throbbing, still sneezing by the minute, Dean rolled his heavy head towards his brother.
“Hey, Sam.”
Sam reacted quickly, ready to give Dean anything and everything he might need, “Yeah, Dean?”
Dean coughed and curled up a little tighter, “Next tibe cand we pigk a place with magic fingers?”


Fic: Gimme Shelter (SPN)

Prompt: Every morning for five days in a row, Dean wakes up feeling *kinda* like he might be coming down with something. His throat is *kinda* sore; he’s *kinda* sneezy with like pre-cold sneezes; he feels *kinda* run-down and low-energy. But by each afternoon he’s feeling okay, so he’s not really sick. After almost a week of this, he’s getting pretty tired of it. Then he wakes up the next morning and… yeah, he definitely has a bad cold.

Gimme Shelter

Dean turns his head into the pillow.
“Dean, get up. You’re gonna be late for school.”
Dean pries his eyes open and groans, “Hey, Sammy. Sorry.”
Sam’s standing over his bed, backpack already slung over one shoulder.
“Do you want me to get the bus?”
Dean clears his throat, “Nah, give me a minute. I’ll walk with you.”
Sam takes his bag off his shoulder and slumps into a chair in the little kitchenette of the motel room they’ve been living in for the past 2 weeks.
Dean pulls himself out of bed, feeling the sting of the air against his skin and the ache in his bones.
“You eat breakfast?”
“Yeah,” Sam says, watching Dean.
Dean slips into the bathroom to change and throw some water on his face. His throat is a little dry and he feels like he might be coming down with something. He moves quickly though, knowing how mad Sam will be if he makes him late for his first class.
They lock up the motel room and walk side by side to school. Dean clears his throat and sniffs again, already getting sick of feeling like this.
“You okay, man?” Sam looks up at him.
Dean coughs lightly twice into his fist, “Yeah, I’m cool, Sammy.”
“It’s Sam, dude.”
Dean smirks and ruffles a hand through Sam’s hair. Sam laughs and bats him away.
Dean feels better and better as the day goes on. By the time they get back to the motel Dean’s feeling good enough to make up for not cooking breakfast, and have bacon and eggs for dinner. Sam, of course, is thrilled by the idea.
It’s 9 o’clock and the brothers have been watching TV and generally talking shit.
“Alright, bedtime, small fry,” Dean says, giving his brother a playful shove.
Sam scoffs and looks at Dean, “Small fry? One day I’m gonna be taller than you.”
“As if,” Dean laughs, “Go on.”
Sam smirks but follows Dean’s orders, brushing his teeth and climbing into his bed.
Dean heads to the bar fridge and grabs a beer, vowing to make sure it’s restocked before his dad gets back.
After another hour or so, Dean falls asleep.
Dean wakes early because he didn’t close the curtain all the way the night before and the sun is shining right in his face. He groans softly and feels his chest clench, forcing a cough. God, maybe he is coming down with something. His face feels heavy, full, and he sniffles, looking over at Sam’s bed where the kid is still out like a light.
Dean forces himself to get up and make breakfast.
He’s scrambling eggs in a pan when the inside of his nose starts tickling.
Huh’TSCHT!” he twists and sneezes into his shoulder.
“Bless you,” comes Sam’s sleepy voice from behind him.
Dean stays with his face pressing into his shoulder because he’s not done yet.
Dean sniffs and takes the pan off the hotplate before it burns.
“You okay?” Sam asks, settling at the table.
“Uhg,” Dean groans, wiping his nose on his sleeve, “Yeah.”
“I think you’re sick.”
“I’m not sick. Shut up,” Dean snaps.
He dumps a plate of food in front of Sam and sits across from him, putting his head in his hands.
“You’re not eating?” Sam enquires.
“Not hungry,” Dean rasps, voice a little raw.
Sam stays quiet and eats his egg on toast, while Dean tries not to fall asleep and face plant the table.
Once Dean gets to school and starts the day he feels better again. He sneezes only once during roll call and takes a nap during history, by the afternoon he’s feeling normal.
Sam doesn’t pester him when they meet out the front of the school to walk home together because Dean’s fine, talking and teasing and generally being his normal jackassy self.
And Dean starts to think that maybe he could have been getting sick, but managed to fight it off without injury.
The next 3 mornings are the same. Dean wakes feeling run-down, lethargic, congested and sore. His throat hurts, his nose tickles, and a few morning sneezes are becoming the norm. By the evening off the fifth day he feels fine again, as he has been, although this night he’s a little more tired than usual.
Dean opens his eyes.
“Dude, it’s like 7 and you’re asleep.”
Dean looks at the clock, “Hm,” he stretches, “Felt later.”
“Maybe you should… go to bed or something,” Sam shrugs and goes back to doing his homework.
Dean straightens and drags a hand down his face. He is unbelievably tired right now.
“Dean,” Sam says again.
“What, dude?” Dean asks, getting a bit frustrated.
Sam looks at him, “Nothing.”
“You want some help with that?” Dean asks, even though his brother is already on senior math and probably doesn’t need Dean’s coaching anymore.
“No, I’m okay. But you should get some sleep if you’re tired.”
Dean yawns, “Maybe you’re right,” he stretches out on his bed and let’s his eyes close once again. “Don’t stay up too late.”
“I won’t,” Sam says, a smile in his voice, “Night, Dean.”
Dean wakes from a nightmare. A nightmare where he was trapped, forced under water, his head held down and he couldn’t breathe. He gasps and has to turn on his side he’s coughing so hard. The sun is up. Sam is up. It’s morning. And this morning, this morning, is the absolute worst so far.
He soon realizes why he was dreaming about not being able to breathe. His nose is completely blocked, his throat feels swollen shut, his whole body is aching, and he’s covered in sweat.
“Morning, Dean,” Sam comes over to him with a glass of orange juice.
Dean pushes up on one elbow and focuses on Sam, “Shouldn’t you be ready for school?” his voice is hoarse and talking makes him cough.
“It’s Saturday,” Sam says, crinkling his brow.
He holds the drink out to his brother and Dean takes it with a trembling hand.
“You okay?” Sam sits down on the bed opposite Dean, staring at him.
Dean takes a sip and swallows carefully, “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Sam rolls his eyes, “Dude, you’ve been tossing all morning and you look like shit… you sound like shit too.”
Sitting semi-upright forces things to move inside Dean’s sinuses and suddenly his nose is runny and snuffly, and incredibly tickly.
“Bless you,” Sam says, and he sounds worried. He comes forward and takes the glass of juice from Dean, placing it on the nightstand.
Dean flops back on the pillow, unable to hold himself up anymore. He wipes the sweat off his brow and grimaces.
“I need to take a shower,” he sniffs and swallows, cringing at the pain in his throat.
“Isn’t dad supposed to call today?”
“Crap,” Dean curses, forcing himself upright.
He wavers and has to grab a hold of the nightstand, nearly toppling the juice, to steady himself, but he gets his feet planted on the floor.
“Are you okay?” Sam asks, timidly.
Dean closes his eyes and nods, “Yeah, I’m okay, Sammy. Just got a bug, that’s all.”
“Do you need a doctor?”
Dean shakes his head, “It’s just a cold. I’m fine.”
“Do you want me to talk to dad?”
“No,” Dean snaps.
Sam looks down at his feet and Dean feels mildly guilty for making his brother feel bad, but he’s actually too sick to care.
“Bless you.”
Dean’s coughing into his fist, face turning red when the motel phone rings twice, then hangs up. Dean looks up at his brother for a second and they lock eyes. The phone starts ringing again.
Dean swallows another cough and palms his forehead, feeling woozy. He nods to Sam.
Go ahead.
Sam picks up the phone.
Dean reaches for the orange juice Sam left on the nightstand and takes another sip, grimacing at the fire it ignites going down his throat.
“Yes, sir… Yeah, Dean’s here,” Sam listens to a response on the other end and looks wide-eyed at Dean. He’s pretty well sure his dad wants to speak to him.
“Uh,” Sam stammers, “He’s still in the shower. Do you want to wait?”
Dean smiles and little and mouths ‘thank you’. If his dad were to hear his voice right now he would know immediately how sick Dean was.
“Okay. I’ll tell him… When will you be home?”
It’s not a question Dean usually asks. If John doesn’t tell him he’s going to be home soon then he usually expects the hunt is taking a little longer than anticipated. It bothers Dean, but he doesn’t show it, and he understands. He does.
“Oh…” Sam’s reaction tells Dean enough.
Dean can’t listen to the conversation anymore though, because he can feel his nose tickling and has to make a quick escape to the bathroom so his father doesn’t hear.
He shuts the door and slumps back against the wall, tearing off a length of toilet paper and bringing it to his nose.
Heh’KKSCCHT! Huh’CHXXTuh! Hep’PSCTHH!” Dean sags, breathing heavily, vision swimming, “Het’chewchxx!”
His last sneeze is weak, breathless.
Sam’s knocking on the door.
Dean opens the door but remains leaning against the wall, feeling hot and sick, and dizzy.
Sam looks up at him with concerned eyes, a look that weighs too much for how young he is.
He just wraps his arm around Dean’s waist and softly says, “Come lie down.”
Dean’s arm settles on Sam’s shoulders and he wavers where he stands. He knows he’s really sick. At least it’s the weekend and he won’t have to push through the two worst days of this at school.
Huh’TSCHTUt!” Dean curls away from Sam, sneezing into his elbow. He almost loses his footing and Sam helps him get back to the bed.
“I should… take a shower.”
“Dean,” Sam says in exasperation, “You should just lie down until you feel better.”
Dean coughs into his fist. His voice is husky and raw when he says, “This sucks, Sam.”
“I know,” Sam says and pushes on Dean’s shoulder until he lies back.
Dean snuffles and wipes his nose on the bedspread, “Just a few hours, okay? Then I’ll,” he pauses, “get up and make you lunch.”
Sam huffs, “Yeah, sure,” he says sarcastically, “Go to sleep.”
Dean cracks one eye open and glares at his little brother, “Don’t tell me what to do.”
Sam just laughs.

Chapter Twenty Two

Sam gulped, trying to think of a way out of this. He had nothing. He had no excuse at all.
“Sam,” Bobby said, lowering his voice, “if you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, I want you to get out quick. You hear me?”
Sam nodded, lips in a tight line.
“You know you can come to me for help, right?”
“Of course,” Sam said.
“You hunting?”
Sam stopped at that question. Was he hunting? Yes. Conventionally? No. Was he doing it alone? Also no. But he figured Bobby wouldn’t be happy knowing the truth either.
He paused for too long, Bobby could see right through him.
“Sam… Dean told me about Ruby. About you using your psychic thing. Now, I know you’ve been hole up here for months now, so I thought we didn’t have to worry about that anymore.”
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Sam sighed.
“Yes, I do. I always will, Sam.”
Sam felt warm at hearing the words.
“You didn’t “fall asleep in the car” today, did you?”
Sam looked down, answering the question without saying anything at all.
Sam could see Bobby shake his head in his periphery.
“Don’t you get it?” Bobby whispered intensely, “I’m trying to get you boys out. Don’t do something stupid and get yourself pulled back in.”
“I’ve said my bit, Sam. What you do next is your call.”

Dean woke up needing desperately to take a piss. He was still groggy from the meds but he managed to get himself up without falling flat on his face, and he considered that a win. He made it to his bathroom using the walls for support, cringing as his back tightened with each movement. He hung onto the rail next to the toilet as he took care of business. It had been Sam (and the doctor’s) idea to install handrails in the bathroom after his spinal surgery, and as much as Dean had hated the idea, it’d been a saving grace multiple times since then. He still didn’t like it. Because it was a disability bathroom now. And that implied he was disabled.
He washed his hands and splashed some water on his face, spilling it all down his front as he couldn't bend over the sink. His shoulder ached. He still had a splitting headache, courtesy of too much whiskey the night before. He wished he’d stashed a bottle somewhere. One nip now would make his headache back off at least. He couldn’t even think about his back right now. When Sam had hit the brakes suddenly, Dean’d been jolted. Just a little. But it was enough. Too much. It seemed like even just walking was too much of a jolt, each step rattling his bones. He felt it like a shockwave, every time his feet hit the ground. He was still breathing carefully too, shoulders curling in to make it easier. The deeper he breathed, the more it hurt.
“You have to take deep breaths, Dean. I know it’s going to be painful, but your pneumonia is only going to get worse if you don’t use your lungs properly.”
He coughed, and had to press the heel of his hand against his forehead. It felt like his brain was rattling around inside his head.
He managed to get back to bed on his own without alerting the whole household. It was still daylight. Late afternoon. But he went to sleep anyway.

Sam and Bobby had pretended like nothing happened and were back to civil, normal conversation. Bobby was in the kitchen, frying up some sausages, and Sam was sitting on the couch, computer on his lap and the news on in the background.
“Bobby, you looked up this pleural effusion thing?”
Bobby turned from the stove, “I was leaving the research up to you.”
Sam pursed his lips and rolled his eyes. Bobby smirked.
“What is it, son?”
“It doesn’t sound very good.”
“Well, I couldn’t imagine it is.”
“I’m serious. This says they usually have to drain the fluid by inserting a tube in between the ribs.”
Bobby grimaced, “Ouch.”
“It can cause all sorts of complications, collapsed lungs, medial shift…”
“Sam,” Bobby stopped him.
“Dean went to the hospital. He’s been checked, all right? We just gotta keep an eye on him, that’s all. Make sure he takes that medication.”
Sam sighed, “Yeah…”
“Maybe you should stop googling everything that’s wrong with your brother and just go and talk to him.”
“He won’t talk to me, Bobby. He won’t talk to anyone, that’s what I’m worried about.”
Bobby turned the sausages in the pan.
“Maybe I should take him somewhere.”
Bobby raised an eyebrow, “What are you on about?”
“Dean hates being in the one place for too long… maybe we should, I dunno, take a trip.”
Bobby pushed his hat back and scratched his head, “Sam, I dunno if he’s up for going anywhere just yet. Can he sit in the car for longer than 20 minutes?”
“He can lie down in the back.”
“It’s a nice thought, son, but I think he needs a bit more time.”
Sam sighed again and closed his laptop, moving it to the coffee table.
“When’s this going to start getting better, Bobby?”

Dean woke again at after eight in the evening. He could smell something amazing. His stomach roared and he realized he was so incredibly hungry. He pushed himself up to sit on the edge of his bed and ran a hand through his hair. He coughed, loud and thick. He took a moment to take several painfully deep breaths, pressing a hand against his chest. When he was quite satisfied that he could stand up without passing out, he pushed off his mattress and caught himself on the wall, slowly straightening.
He stopped by the bathroom to take another piss. The new pills he was on were going to make that a common and annoying need.
By the time he had lumbered down the hall he could feel the sweat on his forehead and his body shaking from exhaustion. His self-loathing kicked it up a notch and he wasn’t quite sure how he could hate himself any more at this point.
When he passed through into the open kitchen/living room area and saw Sam and Bobby sitting there, Bobby in the armchair, book in hand, Sam stretched across the lounge watching TV, and two clean plates with knives and forks haphazardly thrown on top of them sitting on the coffee table, he was filled with more despair than he’d care to mention.
“You saved some for me, right?”
Sam and Bobby were already looking at him, not surprised by his presence. He didn’t exactly have ninja stealth these days.
“Course I did, boy,” Bobby snorted, and Dean felt overwhelming relief.
Bobby was already up and heading for the kitchen before Dean could move again.
“Come sit down, man,” Sam said, immediately followed by, “How you feeling?”
Dean coughed into his elbow as he shuffled over, “I’ll live… I think,” he smirked. “What’s for dinner? It smells good.”
Sam moved his legs so Dean could sit down.
“Sausages, mashed potato and gravy,” Sam raised his eyebrows at Dean.
Dean’s eyes widened in approval.
“I know, dude.”
“Don’t skimp out on the gravy,” Dean called to Bobby.
Bobby snorted in the kitchen, “Since when have I ever skimped out on gravy?”
“Once,” Dean said, straight faced, “And I’ll never forget it.”
Bobby crossed the room with the steaming plate, handing it to Dean, “Idjit.”

“You gonna be here in the morning?”
Dean had been pretty quiet that evening so it took Sam a little by surprise when he opened his mouth. Bobby had gone to bed and it had just been the two of them for the past half hour, watching an old black and white movie on TV.
Sam looked at his brother, who was still looking at him, waiting for an answer.
“Uh, I leave for work at 9:30.”
Dean’s expression didn’t change, “Can you give me a ride?”
Sam furrowed his brow, “Give you a ride where?”
Sam’s eyebrows went right up, “Katie’s?”
Dean shrugged, “Yeah. What?”
“You just spent the night at Riley’s.”
Dean rolled his eyes and looked back at the TV, “Well, if you’re going to be a dick about it, forget it.”
“No, Dean, come on.”
“Her parents are out of town. She’s making me breakfast.”
Sam paused, “… awww.”
“Shut up.”
Sam laughed.
“Whatever. It’s my car anyway, I want it back.”
“Dean, I’ll drive you, all right?”
Dean smiled, although it looked like he was trying not to.
“You know, you tried the whole dating two girls at the same time thing in high school. If I remember correctly, it didn’t work out for you,” Sam smirked.
Dean glared at him, “That’s not gonna happen, because I’m not dating either of them.”
“Really?” Sam raised an eyebrow, “’Cause I think you’re dating both of them.”
Dean looked back at the TV and folded his arms across his chest, “Whatever.”
Sam sighed a little but tried not to be annoyed. He was the one that had pried in the first place.
Dean coughed and leaned forward, bracing his hands on his knees. He looked pale and groaned when he’d finished.
“Jesus,” he gasped, pressing a hand to his chest.
Sam clicked his tongue a few times, thinking, “I googled it.”
Dean did a double take, rubbing his hand down his face, “Googled what?”
“Pleural effusion.”
Dean gritted his teeth, took a slow breath and finally leaned back in his seat.
“How bad is it?”
Dean shook his head. He looked tired.
“It’s not too bad, Sammy. I didn’t bust out or anything… the doc let me go.”
“So -”
“So, it’s gonna be fine.”
Sam nodded.
“How’re your ribs feeling? You doing okay at work?”
Sam smiled a little, “I’m okay, Dean.”
“You don’t have to work there if you don’t want to.”
Sam looked over at his brother but he wasn’t looking at him.
Dean cleared his throat, “I don’t want you working too hard, Sammy. I know… I know I’m a lot to deal with right now but… you don’t have to do it for me. We can find another way.”
Sam almost laughed, “Dean… it’s a bar job, it’s not rocket science.”
“But it’s not just that,” Dean sounded exasperated, “It’s a lot, and it’s me and my shit you have to deal with too. And you’re not 100% yet, I can see that.”
“Dean… is this about today?”
“I’m worried about you, Sam.”
Sam looked down, feeling a lump in his throat.
“You don’t have to worry about me.”
Dean rolled his head on the back of the couch to look at Sam, brow drawn in. It was obvious. Dean was always going to worry.
“Do you miss it?” Sam asked, feeling Dean’s eyes on him.
“Miss what?”
Sam looked up, just to see Dean swallow. He paled.
Dean looked back at the TV, his jaw working. Eventually he put his hands either side of him and pressed up off the couch to his feet.
“G’night, Sammy.”
Sam nodded, tongue tracing the line of his teeth. He should have known that would make Dean shut down.
“Are you alright to get to bed? Do you need something?”
Dean smiled, “No, Sammy, I’m good.”
Sam nodded, and watched the back of his brother disappear down the hallway.

Dean woke up at 3am, literally covered from head to toe in sweat. It was rolling off him. His pillow soaked under his head, sheets damp around him, feeling heavy, pushing him down. He was panting hard, images from the dream still flashing through his head. He had to pull the sheets off him, just to make sure his chest wasn’t in ribbons, blood spilling out of him. He put a hand on his chest and closed his eyes, feeling the hellhounds claw into him, ripping the flesh from his bones. He clamped a hand over his mouth, trying not to yell or sob, let out any sound that might wake Sam or Bobby. They’d seen him pretty bad the last few months but he didn’t want them to see him like this. After a few calming breaths he began to relax, heart beat slowing beneath his hand. He wasn’t in danger right now.
You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re okay.
“Dammit,” he whispered, noticing how wet everything was around him.
He shivered. The sheets were cold and damp.
He gasped as he pushed himself up, back clenching. He winced as searing pain rippled through him.
Slowly, quietly, carefully, he pulled the sheets off his bed. He pressed a hand to his mattress. It was a little damp but the majority of the moisture was in the sheets. He tucked his wet sheets and pillowcases under his arm and shuffled down the hallway in the dark, other hand feeling his way along the wall.
He got to the laundry and flicked the light on, depositing his soaked linen in the washing machine. He realized, looking down at the machine, that he had no idea how it worked. He found some detergent in the overhead cupboard and tipped some of that in, pressed a few buttons and hoped for the best.
Dean jumped, hand going to his chest, “Jesus.”
Bobby was standing in the doorway, eyes squinting against the light.
“You alright?”
Dean braced himself against the laundry bench, “Yeah, I, uh…”
Bobby furrowed his brow, “Weird time to be doing laundry.”
Dean cleared his throat, “My sheets were wet.”
Bobby opened his eyes a little more and took in Dean’s appearance. He softened.
“Come on, son. You have a quick shower and rinse off. I’ll get some clean sheets.”
Dean sighed. He felt like a little kid, but, man, it felt good to be taken care of.
Bobby patted him gently on the back as he walked past and followed him back to his room.

Chapter Twenty One

Riley helped get Dean into the passenger seat then turned sharply to Sam, “I’ll be talking to you later.”
“Riley, I –“
“Hey,” she stopped him, eyes wide, “You can justify why you skipped out on work and your brother later. Just take him home.”
Sam swallowed, clenching his jaw. He looked down, about to say something, when Riley cut him off.
“He was really worried about you.”
Sam didn’t say anything. He had nothing to say. He had no reasonable explanation as to why he’d left work for hours and not been contactable.
“I’ll call you later.”
Sam hadn’t even got himself together enough to say thank you. He just responded to Dean’s sharp tap on the window, telling him to hurry the heck up, and rounded the car to slide into the driver’s seat.
“Dean –“
“Sam,” Dean said, his gruff voice sounding weak, “Just drive.”
Sam didn’t speak again until he’d pulled out onto the road.
“Do you want to tell me what the hell happened?”
Dean stiffened, then huffed, “Funny, I was about to ask the same question.”
“Look, man. I’m sorry. I went on my lunch break and I… I fell asleep in the car.”
Dean looked at him, eyebrows raised, “You fell asleep?”
Sam sighed, “I didn’t mean to, alright? I just was resting my eyes and… I didn’t even hear the phone ringing.”
“You not getting enough sleep or something?” Dean asked, voice strained, breathing laboured.
Sam could tell Dean was pissed at him, stemming from the worry he’d held for his little brother his entire life. He knew it was a weak excuse, and it was a lie, all he could come up with on the drive over. But there was more in Dean’s question. He could sense the guilt pouring off his brother. Sam hadn’t been getting enough sleep, because he was working almost constantly, staying up with Dean, helping him get through the day, driving him to appointments, sneaking out with Ruby to exorcise demons and drink her blood, training for when he inevitably left his brother to pursue Lilith. He could feel his own guilt creeping up his neck, flushing his skin. He’d never intended to do this but Ruby was right. Lilith had done this to Dean, all of it. And he needed to make it right. He needed to get revenge. He needed Lilith’s head on a plate.
“Light’s red!” Dean practically shouted.
Sam slammed on the breaks, the heavy car fishtailing slightly. Dean was thrown forward a little, one hand on the dashboard, bracing him back in the seat.
“Ah! Son of a…”

“You alright, Dean? God, I’m sorry.”
Dean tipped his head back, eyes closed. He was breathing carefully, controlled, lips tight.
Dean held up a hand, telling him stop, give me a minute, I can’t answer right now.
The light turned green and Sam eased the car back in motion, glancing sidelong at his brother, whose breaths were quickening exponentially.
Dean’s hands were in tight fists now, one still pressing into the dashboard.
“You gotta calm down, man.”
Dean’s body was rigid. He was in a lot of pain, a lot, and he was having a panic attack because of it.
“Why don’t you… learn to… drive?”
Sam laughed despite himself and reached one hand out to his brother’s shoulder. Dean still hadn’t opened his eyes.
Dean’s breathing wasn’t slowing, it set him off coughing and he curled forward, head on the dash this time.
“Relax those muscles, dude,” Sam’s hand ghosted up and down his hunched back, feeling the dampness and tension, “Slow it down.”
“I know, but you’re freaking out. Just relax a little, it’s okay.”
Dean sighed, but slowly Sam felt at least some of the tension drain out of him.
“They give you painkillers in there?”
Dean nodded almost unperceivably, “Wearing off.”
“Okay, we’ll have some more when we get home.”
Another nod.
“You gonna lean back?”
Dean tensed a little again, “No.”
“Just… watch the road.”
Sam swallowed, tensing his jaw, his lips tightening. He was trying to do the right thing, but he just kept making everything worse.
When they got home Dean uncurled from his position against the dash and hoisted himself out of the car on his own. Sam made it round to his side but he brushed him off, staggering ahead without his crutches until he found the handrail to climb the stairs to the porch.
Dean waited until Sam unlocked the front door and then pushed through first, heading into the kitchen.
Bobby was sitting at the table and looked quizzically between the two boys, the tension so tangible it could be cut with a knife.
“Boys,” he said in a way of greeting, “Somethin’ I missed?”
“I just picked Dean up from the hospital,” Sam explained simply.
Bobby kept his expression fairly blank, although it was clear it was a surprise to him.
“I’m fine,” Dean grunted, rummaging in the kitchen draw for his pills, “Sleeping beauty here on the other hand…”
Sam sighed.
“What’s going on with you two?” Bobby asked, standing.
Sam was still standing by the front door, like a deer caught in the headlights, “It’s nothing, I, uh –“
“He fell asleep, missed work, and wouldn’t answer his phone. That’s not nothing!”
“Dean, calm down,” Sam said softly, avoiding Bobby’s shocked glare.
“Don’t tell me to calm down,” Dean tried shaking some pills out on his hand, ended up upending the bottle, pills scattering everywhere. He tried to bend, dropped the bottle and leaned back against the wall, legs shaking beneath him.
Bobby was across the room faster than Sam was, getting Dean’s arm over his shoulders, “Take it easy, boy.”
“I need two,” Dean slammed his eyes shut, looking queasy.
Sam stood on, feeling helpless.
“Sam, grab me some pills, would ya?” Bobby ordered.
Sam stooped to the kitchen floor, grabbing a couple of pills and handing them to his trembling brother. Dean tipped them into his mouth and swallowed them dry, grimacing.
“Why don’t we get you horizontal?” Bobby suggested.
Dean was tight, unmoving. Sam could tell whatever he’d done to his back had seized him up where he was standing, barely under his own power. Sam was hit with another pang of guilt at knowing his careless driving had caused at least some of it.
“Hang on,” Dean grinded out through clenched teeth.
“Can’t stand here all day,” Bobby muttered, adjusting his hold on Dean.
The movement, however subtle, made Dean’s hand grip into Bobby’s shoulder tightly and he sucked in a short sharp breath.
“Easy, boy.”
Sam watched Dean weaken and it looked like he was about to hurl.
“And we’re walking,” Bobby ordered, pulling Dean with him gently. He knew what would inevitably happen if they continued to stand.
Sam saw them struggling and went to Dean’s left side, getting under his arm. It must have been the height difference, the fact that Sam was a few inches taller, and that Dean had had shoulder surgery only a few months ago, but again, in trying to do the right thing, Sam had made it worse.
Shoulder! Shoulder!” Dean hissed, pressing more weight into Bobby, trying to escape his brother.
“God, sorry…”
For a moment Sam felt like a little kid. The way Dean and Bobby had snapped at him reminded him of their dad, and life on the road before he’d left for Stanford. Before his desire to leave his family had overtaken him, he’d just wanted to do everything he could to make his dad proud. Dean was constantly proud of him, he knew that… dad was a different story. Everything with dad he felt like he had to earn, whereas Dean gave it to him freely. Right now though, Dean had never reminded him more of their father.
It only took a moment for Sam to check himself and get into brother mode. He got ahead of Dean and Bobby, which wasn’t hard, and pulled back the covers on Dean’s bed, plugging in and turning on the heat pad.
Bobby sat Dean down on the edge of the bed.
“Here, lie back, man,” Sam offered.
“I need, uh,” Dean panted, “I can’t be less than 45 degrees,” he indicated with his hand, gesturing to the pillows.
Sam and Bobby shared a glance, “Why not?” Sam asked first.
“I got, uh,” he made a swirling motion around his chest.
Bobby straightened, “Dean, why don’t you tell us why you were at the hospital?”
Dean cleared his throat, “Pleural effusion.”
“What the heck is that?” Sam asked.
“I dunno, Sam. Google it,” Dean moaned, “Basically my lungs hate me.”
“Well is it bad?”
“It can be but it’s not,” Dean snapped.
“Well,” Sam tried to wrap his head around it, and why his brother was being so blasé about the whole thing, “What do we have to do? Could it get worse?”
Dean pulled a pill bottle out of his pocket, “Well, it could but, look, I got more pills. So, we can add that to the two thousand other ones I’m taking.”
Dean paled, other hand gripping the mattress as the task of sitting on the edge of his bed began to wear on him, the brief conversation leaving him out of breath.
“Alright, well, we’ll add it to the list,” Bobby said, stooping to grab Dean’s legs and help him get them up on the bed, “Meanwhile, you need to lie down before you pass out.”
Dean swallowed, and Sam noted that his lips were losing colour too. Bobby wasn’t far wrong.
Sam had stacked the pillows up so Dean wasn’t less than 45 degrees as he’d said. He was going to take Dean up on his offer and Google it though.
It took both Sam and Bobby to help Dean shuffle back onto the bed. Dean gripped their arms and arced his back up in pain.
God,” he winced through clenched teeth.
“It’s alright. We got ya,” Sam muttered, as they finally got Dean semi-comfortable against the pillows.
Bobby looked at Sam pointedly, “I’m gonna give you boys a minute,” he said, before leaving the room and pulling the door half shut behind himself.
“Sam, I’m tired.”
Dean had already shut him out before he’d even begun.
“I get it, dude… Are you really doing okay?”
Dean smiled, rubbed a hand across his chest, “I’m… doing the best I can, man.”
“I’m sorry for –“
“Forget it, dude,” Dean breathed, eyes closed and looking thoroughly out of steam. Too exhausted to fight.
Sam wanted to say something like, we’re in this together, Dean, or, we’ll get through it, I’m here for you. Some chick-flick bullshit that Dean probably wouldn’t appreciate. So in the end he said nothing. Sam sighed, about to stand up when Dean’s eyes opened.
“Hey, um…” Dean glanced away, like he was embarrassed, “Can you get me something, you know, to help me sleep?”
Sam kept his expression carefully blank, not giving away how surprised he was by the request.
“Sure, man.”

Dean woke to his phone ringing on the bedside table. It was his familiar rock riff, along with the intrusive rumbling of the vibration against a wooden surface. His body came awake sluggishly, and it was a long ten or so seconds before he could reach out a hand to grab his phone.
“Hello?” His voice was deep, grumbling low in his chest, causing him a stab of pain.
“Dean! It’s Katie. Is this a bad time?”
Dean rubbed a hand over his forehead, closing his eyes again and swallowing.
“No... Sorry, I was sleeping.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to wake you up. You can go back to sleep. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Katie, wait,” Dean panted, “You don’t have to go.”
She sighed, breathy and sweet, “How are you?”
Dean swallowed again, mouth dry, “I’m doing okay. How’re you?”
“I’m fine,” she paused, “Dean… I know you weren’t in the best way after our date… I feel like I pushed too hard. I just wanted to apologise.”
Dean’s breath quickened and he had to stifle a painful cough. She hadn’t pushed all that hard. He wouldn’t put that on her. A light breeze was all it took these days to set him off. It may have been her questions yesterday that caused him to get a taxi to the nearest open bar, or it may have just been the fact that he was on his own for once, his brother not breathing down his neck. He’d wanted a drink ever since he’d been told he couldn’t have one. Even before that. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he hadn’t wanted a drink. And since he pulled his body through the dirt, out of his grave, the desire had been crippling.
“Dean, you okay?”
“Yeah –“ Dean struggled to control his disobedient lungs, “It’s not your fault. You don’t have to apologise.”
“No, I… I realize there’re things you can’t talk about, things you don’t want to talk about, and I don’t hold it against you. I just wanted to understand.”
“I know,” Dean grumbled, anxiety creeping up his chest.
“I hoped you’d maybe want to, hang out again?” She asked, uncertainly, “I don’t have anything on tomorrow and my parents are in Florida for the weekend. You could come over in the morning and I could cook you pancakes for breakfast.”
There was so much joy and hope in her voice that Dean couldn't possibly say no, especially when pancakes were involved.
“With bacon?” he asked.
She laughed, “With bacon.”
“Then I’m in.”

Sam was sitting at the breakfast bar, clicking away through WebMD on his computer, listening to Bobby do laundry. When he looked up from his computer the gruff, older hunter was standing in front of him with a stern expression. He stared at him before placing a motel room key down on the counter in front of him.
“Found that in your jeans pocket.”
Sam’s eyes widened, “Bobby, I –“
“You and I need to have a talk, son.”