Day 10

Title: Day 10
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not my characters! I make no money from this.
Summary: Sam’s allergic to… something.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2012 project for shangrilada

Sam rests his chin on crossed arms as the final pins are placed on his back. He doesn’t move, doesn’t squirm, but—hell­—he wants to. “That’s all one hundred and fifty,” the RN says. “You’ll need to stay there a while so we can see which you react to. Can I get you anything while you wait?”

He hates his answer, because it makes him sound weak, but he can’t help it. “My brother.”

She hesitates then nods. And less than a minute later, Dean is waltzing into the exam room. He stops in the doorway when he sees Sam like this, lying on his front, pins sticking out of his back. It’s like some new demonic torture method and all he wants to do is rescue his little brother from it. But he had to pull strings to even get Sam this appointment in the first place and it’s pretty much Sam’s only chance of getting better, so he resists the urge and drags a chair over to the front of the table. “Gonna call you the human pin cushion from now on. How’re you doing?”

“Bad,” Sam whispers. He’s got part of his shirt sleeve in his mouth, biting down hard. “Itches, Dean. So damn much.” His fingers flex and one of his arms pulls free from under his chin, starting to bend backward so he can get at his back and just scratch a little.

But Dean intercepts, grabs both hands in his, holds on tight. “You can do this, Sammy. It’s worth it.”

Sam squirms and turns his head, sneezing into his shoulder five times straight.

Dean wants to get him a tissue—he’s already honed in on the box next to the sink across the small room. He could get there in a stride and press tissues to Sam’s nose for him. But he isn’t willing to let go of Sam’s hands. So Sam just sniffles and rubs his nose into his shoulder.

“Just hang in there,” Dean says, squeezing Sam’s hands as they’re trying to pull free. “Not long now.”

“You’ve said that to me before,” Sam points out, sniffling.


The Road So Far

“Dude, I was going to wear that today.”

Sam looks up from the soft flannel shirt, he’s buried his nose into and realizes with horror that it’s Dean’s. “Sorry,” he mumbles, lowers the shirt, drags his runny nose on his own sleeve instead. “Just couldn’t help it. Had to sneeze.”

It’s those sneezes that had woken Dean up. He’d wanted to sleep in, given that Sam had kept him up all night, but Sam’s sneezes were just too damn loud to sleep through, just like his snorts and snores and all the other miserable noises his allergic little brother had been making since they rolled into town. Though, if he were honest about it, Sam’s sinuses had been bad before then, too. Hell, they were bad all the time. Just… worse than usual lately. “What happened to that box of Kleenex I bought you yesterday?” Dean had shelled out for the expensive extra soft kind; the least Sam could do to thank him for that was use ‘em.

Sam turns his head, looking at the box on the floor by the foot of his bed where it’s fallen.

Dean walks over to scoop it up and realizes it’s completely empty. “Dude…” He’s kind of amused, kind of horrified, and kind of impressed all at once. “This was a 200 count.”

Sam nods woefully. Then his face goes slack. His head tilts back. His eyes slam closed. He pitches forward. “HUHHKTCHSHHHHHH!” He sits down on the edge of his bed again, the sneeze making him unsteady on his feet. “H’Ktchuhh! Ketchoo! Huh-KXxxxShhhhhh!

“Here. I’m not wearing it now anyway.” Dean grabs his flannel off the bed and presses it to Sam’s face.

Sam looks grateful for a second and even tries to blow his nose to get some relief. But he’s not done sneezing. Of course he’s not. “EhhhKetchhhh! HeyyyIHTchhh! HURKSHUHHH! Uhhhh… huhh…” His breaths are congested, raspy, but he takes enough to be able to blow his nose. Repeatedly.

Sitting down on the side of his bed to face Sam, Dean waits patiently through all the sniffles and blows. Sam finally lifts his head again and rubs a knuckle at one of his eyes. “Hey! Knock that off.”

Sam stops, but only for a second. Then he rubs harder. “Can’t help it. Itches like crazy.”

Dean grabs Sam by the arm and hauls him into the bathroom. He turns on the shower instinctively, knowing it won’t really help with what Sam’s got. But when his brother was young and caught cold, he’d spend all night with Sam in the bathroom of whatever cheap apartment or motel they were in, letting the hot steam clear Sam up a bit enough to fall asleep. Allergies—bad allergies—didn’t really work the same way but it couldn’t hurt. He plants Sam on the closed toilet seat. It’s better to be in front of the sink for this, but Sam’s too freakishly tall, so he’s got to be sitting down. Dean grabs the eye drops. “Head back,” he instructs, and Sam obeys.

 Dean doesn’t like the redness of Sam’s eyes—redder somehow than the last time they did this—or the way Sam winces when Dean holds one open. But he puts the drops in—four in one eye but only three in the other because Sam pulls away to sneeze. “hahh-EHHShuhhhh!

“Damn it, Sammy” Dean leans against the sink. “How can you be so sneezy already? You just woke up. You haven’t even gone outside yet.”

Sam shrugs. “Bust be allergic to subthig id the roob.” He pulls off a long line of toilet paper from the roll and blows his nose.

It’s not dust. Dean knows Sam’s allergic to dust because his allergies act up every time they’re investigating an old, abandoned house. So after Sam’s first allergy attack here, Dean had housekeeping come in and give the place a thorough cleaning. He can run a finger along the top of any surface in that room and it’ll come back without a trace of dust on it. But Sam’s still sneezy.

And the only thing on Dean’s mind is to get his brother away from whatever is making him like that. Sam’s been getting worse and worse and there’s only so much of this he can take. “Then let’s get out of the room,” Dean says. “Take a shower. Get some clothes on. We’ll go grab some breakfast.”

Sam slowly works his way through napkins at the diner. When he pulls the last one from the metal holder at the table, Dean gets up and silently switches it for the one at the next table. Sam thanks him with another blow of his nose, wincing as the rough paper brushes his red nose.

The waitress jumps when she brings their breakfasts and Sam sneezes loudly. “I’b dot sick,” Sam explains through layers of napkins pressed to his face. “It’s allergies.”

“Oh,” she relaxes a little—but only a little—and puts their plates down before retrieving a coffee pot from the counter. “Here’s a refill on your coffees. So… what’re you allergic to?”

Sam’s snuffling into the napkins and sounding like he wants to cough and hawk up whatever’s in his system, making his nose run and itch, but he’s not going to do that in a diner, in public, so he’s just miserable and barely able to breathe. “Everything, apparently,” Dean answers for him, pretending to find his brother’s allergies amusing when, in fact, they’re anything but.

Sam catches his breath finally and gives the waitress a sheepish smile.

The waitress goes and Sam apologizes, but Dean doesn’t really take notice. He’s too busy thinking. What is Sam actually allergic to?

After breakfast, they go for a drive, with air recycling through the car and the windows rolled up. Dean needs to feel the rumble of road under him and Sam needs… well he probably needs one of those bubbles to live in, but this is the best Dean can do.

It doesn’t really help, though. Sam doesn’t seem to be sneezing quite as much, but he’s still sneezing. He’s got some napkins from the diner crammed in his pockets, but those aren’t going to last him long. Dean tries to pretend Sam isn’t sniffling and sneezing and curled up all miserable in the passenger seat. He tries to look at the road ahead and pretend they’re heading out of town for another job, instead of just taking a joy ride through the countryside surrounding the town to pass the time. But Sam’s in no condition to travel day and night and it’s not like Dean can just wish for some demonic sign to pop up to distract them and have Sam’s sneezing go away because they’re too busy to stop and deal with it. Sam had soldiered through his allergies on the last hunt, but they seem to be getting worse and Dean doesn’t think he could do that again.

huhhhh-IKKKFSHHHHH!” Sam pitches forward in his seat, held back only by the seatbelt, and moans. “Dean… I want to go back to the motel…” He closes his eyes and tightens his grip on the handle of the door to steady himself. “I… hahh… have t-to… hehhh… sneeze...”

“You’ve been sneezing all morning,” Dean points out.

Sam shakes his head, though it’s true; he has been. But he cups both hands to his nose and mouth, a napkin buried in there somewhere, and snaps almost in half. “This tibe I really HEH… have to… HEHPTChew! EHKChoo! HEHSHHHSHUHHH! EHShuhhh! K’chfffffff! hehSHOO-HERSHOO!

Dean glances over. Sam’s forehead is pressed to the curve of the dashboard, face down by the glove compartment. And the kid can’t for the life of him stop sneezing.

Dean looks around for what might have set him off. Nothing but fields as far as the eye can see, butting right up to the skinny dirt road they’re on, and an intersection up ahead where he thinks he can turn the impala around.

HEHKShggghht! EHGShuhhhh! HeppKIFFCHuhhhhh!

“Hang on, Sammy,” Dean mutters, turning the wheel hard left. “If you do, I’ll get you more Kleenex and some more allergy pills and whatever else you want.” The car finds its lane and Dean speeds a little; the fields are so flat he’ll spot a cop a mile away, literally, and no one’s going to look at Sam sneezing away like this and wonder why Dean was going a little faster than he should have been anyway.

HAPPTISHHH! IHHHKSHHH! HEHHHKshhhh! Hushhh! Uhhh…Hihchooo!

Dean reaches over and strokes Sam’s head. He pulls loose hair back, tucking it ‘round Sam’s ear to keep it out of his face where it might tickle and irritate his nose even more. “We’re heading back,” Dean promises, taking the main road right back into town.

“Thah… HERKShhhhhh! Ngh… HERFKETCHhooo!

Considering that a thank you, he nods.

Sam uses his last napkin, all of which are now balled-up upon the floor of the car like a light dusting of snow at Sam’s feet. He snuffles into his sleeve but he just can’t stop sneezing and his damn nose has no idea he’s run out of things to sneeze into. “HAHHH-ingxxx! HUR-ihfngttttt!” He tries stifling them, but they’re too strong to do that with. “HUH-Ngtxxxxxx!” Dean can’t stand it; he reaches over and pulls Sam to his side.

Instinctively, Sam tries to pull away, but Dean holds him until Sam presses his nose into Dean’s warm shoulder, the soft, dry cotton brushing his poor itchy, tickly nose. Dean pets Sam’s head again. “S’all right,” he murmurs. “Just let go, Sammy.”

Sam hesitates, but his nose doesn’t. “hehhh-YIHKtchhhh! HITchhhhh!” he sneezes into Dean’s shirt uncontrollably. “HURShoooo! YIHShoooo!”  

Dean feels the uncomfortable wetness on his sleeve but smiles for Sammy’s sake. “Not long now. Just hang on.”

Sam does, grabbing Dean’s hand and squeezing it. Dean gets the car back to the motel using just his left hand.

Dean marches Sam straight into the shower this time. “Gotta wash off whatever’s making you sneeze,” he says. “You gonna be okay here on your own?” Sam lifts his head, water spraying down on his face. He’s holding himself up with hands pressed to the tile walls. He nods wearily and sneezes again, freely, as wet as the shower he’s in. Dean should probably shower too, come to think of it. But first he’s gotta hit the pharmacy again and stock up. He’ll buy two tissue boxes this time. Maybe even three.


The cute shop girl restocking the painkillers on the other side of the aisle in the Walgreens smiles sympathetically at him.

“They’re for my brother,” he says, realizing he’s been scrutinizing the allergy medication boxes for a solid seven minutes. “He’s got ‘em bad.”

“What’s he allergic to?” she asks. And though he knows she’s just trying to make conversation, maybe even flirt a little with him, he finds it annoying because he doesn’t know the answer.

Cats. He knows Sam can’t be around cats. Bobby took in a stray once and even though Sam had loved the little long-haired furball, that hadn’t gone well at all. Sam had needed to be rushed off to the emergency clinic when he’d started wheezing and struggling for breath. It had taken a day for Sam to recover properly and Bobby gave the cat away before their next visit.

And hay. God, was Sam allergic to hay. Dad had been tracking some ghost in a haunted barn once and Dean had brought Sam along for pony rides as a pretext for Dad to get in and check for EMF readings. Sam had broken out in hives and sneezed his way out of there so fast Dad hadn’t been able to do a bit of recon. And if Dad hadn’t needed Dean to take care of his little brother, Dean probably would have been punished for that.

But there hadn’t been any hay or cats on the drive today. Or dust for that matter; at least not more than usual. So what had set him off this time to make him sneeze so uncontrollably? “Uh, I’m not actually sure…”

“Probably grasses. They’re bad lately. And the pollen index is high.” The what now? “You should get your brother checked out. There’s a good allergist in town. They’ve got business cards up at the pharmacy counter.” She fills up a row of Ibuprofen and then tilts her head toward the counter in the back of the store.

“Yeah…” Dean agrees thoughtfully. Allergy tests probably wouldn’t be cheap, but at least then they’d know and Dean would be able to avoid whatever needed to be avoided. “Maybe.” He sweeps several boxes of maximum strength allergy relief medicine into his basket and heads to the Kleenex aisle. Sam wasn’t going to like going to the doctor, and they’d have to use their fake IDs. It’ll mean sticking around here until Sam can get an appointment, and there’s clearly something around here Sam’s nose can’t handle. Dean checks out, paying for everything with a credit card in the name of Saul Hudson.

He puts the bags with his purchases on the passenger seat, daring them to make as much noise as Sammy had been earlier. Then he slams his hand on the steering wheel and marches back inside for that damn business card.

When he gets back to the motel, Sam’s still in the shower, sneezing his head off. Dean rips open a box of Kleenex and heads into the steamy bathroom with it. He doesn’t give Sam a choice as he slides the business card and his cell phone out of his pocket.



“Hey,” Dean says, trying to distract his brother. “You remember when we both got the chicken pox and Dad dropped us off at Bobby’s for the week? I held your hands just like this so you wouldn’t scratch.”

It’s a nice memory—or as nice as childhood memories come for the Winchester boys—but being reminded of itches only makes Sam squirm more. “My back’s on fire,” he says. “How bad does it look?”

Dean doesn’t really want to look, but he rises from his seat so he can get a glimpse. It’s gone all red and bumpy like pins sticking out of a hundred inflamed, irritated mosquito bites. There’s a section on Sam’s right that has reacted so badly it’s just one huge patch of red, swelling up. It looks nasty, horrible, and Dean has to control his breathing so he doesn’t overreact. “Not too bad.” But his voice trembles a bit and he leans back in the chair as he sits back down. “Nurse!” he calls to the open doorway behind him.

Sam looks alarmed; he knows Dean’s fake smile when he sees it. He squeezes Dean’s hands back. “What if it’s so bad I need allergy shots every week? I can’t get those if we’re on the road.”

“Then we’ll just stay put for a while,” Dean says matter-of-factly. “Baby’s due for a proper tune-up anyway. Won’t kill us to rest for a bit.”


Dean notices that Sam’s eyes are suddenly overbright. He wants to get a tissue for the guy before the Nurse comes back and sees that Sam’s on the verge of crying, but he’s not going to let go of Sam’s hands for any reason now. “Yeah, Sammy. Whatever you need.” That’s always been the name of the game; Sam has to know that. How the hell did he think that money appeared for him to take all those advanced placement tests in high school? And did he really think Dean had insomnia as a kid and liked staying up with shotgun in hand on nights when Dad was supposed to be home and wasn’t? And had he missed all the pettings and nose wipes over the past few weeks? Dean wants to stroke his long hair now, but he holds tight to Sam’s large hands still and calls again over his shoulder, louder. “Nurse!”

“And sniff what if it’s worse? What if the tests say I’m so allergic to something I can’t be around it anymore even with meds and shots?”

“As long as you’re not allergic to holy water and salt, we can deal. If you’re allergic to flowers in the spring, we’ll take jobs up north. If you’re allergic to trees in the fall, we’ll take jobs out in the desert. We’ll make it work.”

The nurse finally reappears and just about jumps when she looks in at Sam. She mutters something about one of the worst reactions she’s ever seen and disappears at once for a doctor. When she comes back seconds later, she’s got medicine for Sam to swallow immediately and a full tube of Benadryl cream for his back. Dean wouldn’t mind putting that on Sam himself, but Sam’s hands twist in his. For a second, Dean thinks he’s pulling free to scratch, but then Sam’s fingers spread, link with Dean’s, hold on tighter. Before the nurse and doctor can do anything, though, they have to write down which ones Sam’s reacted to. There are more spots on his back that look normal than not, so it’s going to take a little while longer. “Hang on,” Dean whispers, moving in close.

Sam nods and sneezes into Dean’s shoulder. Dean raises his shoulder to rub it at Sam’s nose for him.