Day 9

Title: Day 9
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13ish?
Pairing: Sam/Castiel
Disclaimer: Not my characters! I make no money from this.
Summary: Sam’s got the sniffles. Dean’s on edge. Castiel is confused.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2012 project for familybizness

Sniff! Sniff!

Dean looked up from the newspaper he’s been scouring. The last job ended badly thanks to Sam and one wicked head cold he caught at the absolute wrong time. He’d spent a week recuperating in a motel, but the cold was still hanging on, obviously. Dean bent his arm and nudged the napkin holder a smidge closer to Sam.

Sniff!” Sam didn’t get the hint. But he did squeeze his teabag and add some honey to his tea before taking a sip. He set the cup down as fast as he’d picked it up. “hahhhh-EHTchhooo! Sniff! Sniff!

Dean cleared his throat but before he could say something like ‘Blow your nose or I’m going to lose it here and do it for you’ Castiel appeared. “Clingy angel at three o’clock,” Dean muttered and stuck his head back in the paper. He needed something to do with his energy; there was only so much drinking he could do in a day.

The angel had had a weird sixth sense when it came to Sam lately; practically every time Sam sneezed, he appeared, as if that were his way of being called now. And he didn’t appear at the table; he was at the door to the diner, telling the greeter he was with them. He strode over, trench coat and all, and slipped into the booth beside Sam. He slid close, put an arm around Sam. “Are you all right, Sam?”

Sam nodded. “Yeah. Sniff! It’s just this cold, you know?”

Castiel cocked his head. “Your cold? But it’s been a week.”

“Yeah,” Sam thinks for a moment. “I guess it has.”

“But colds are supposed to be over in a week.” Cas really should have whispered the next part, but didn’t realize he should. “And you said we couldn’t kiss or make love until you felt better. I want you to feel better now.”

Dean choked on his fries and had to down some Pepsi to head off a full-blown coughing fit. Instead of diving back into the paper, he sat back in his seat. Once upon a time, one of their favorite games was confusing Castiel. The angel had such limited knowledge about anything that didn’t have to do with Heaven or Hell that it didn’t take much. Cell phones, take-out orders you placed by item number, DVDs that came out of vending machines, you name it. But the game hadn’t been the same since Sam and Castiel had somehow become an item. The angel had shown up once with a men’s magazine, pointing to pictures and asking how those positions were possible and if he could try them. From then on, Dean declared Sam to be the expert in all things; he hadn’t had to wash his eyes out since.

Sam gave Cas a weak smile. “I want to feel better now too, but colds aren’t like that. Sniff! This one’s hanging on longer. It’ll be over when it’s sniff! over. Sniff! SNIFF!” He went to rub the back of his hand at his nose, but Castiel held up his arm.

“You can use my sleeve.”

Sam laughed and used his hand anyway. “Um, thanks but I got this.”

Looking disappointed, Castiel lowered his arm. “All right. But it will be here if you need it.”

“Thanks. Sniff! My nose is just…”

Dean expected another sneeze to strike. But Sam just coughed.

“It’s not just your nose,” Castiel said, frowning even more. “If it were just your nose, you wouldn’t be coughing.”

“I…” Sam looked tired of trying to explain, cleared his throat, looked at Dean. “Any time you want to jump in here... Sniff!

Dean bristled at the sound. “Oh, you’re on your own with this one, Sammy,” he grinned, popping three French fries dripping with catsup into his mouth like he was sitting back and watching a most entertaining movie instead of his little brother trying to explain illness to an angel of the Lord.

“If you are still sick,” Castiel went on, “you should be in bed back at the motel.” He scooted even closer, put his arm around Sam. “I can take you there immediately.”

Sam quickly picked up his tea and took another sip. “No, sniff, no. It’s all right. I feel up to lunch today.” Truth was, he’d been going just as stir-crazy as Dean. Maybe Dean’s restlessness was wearing off on him, or maybe it was just the Winchester family trait, having been raised on the road.

“You’re either sick and need to be in bed or you’re well enough to be out.”

With a sigh, Sam tried again. “Look, it’s just something that happens. Sniff-sniff! Humans can get bad colds that last a long time. But you’re typically only contagious the first few days. And by the end, it’s just symptoms hanging on. Sniff! Your nose gets stuffed-up sniff and it takes a while to clear. And your throat is raw and tickly sniff so it takes a while for the cough to back down—“

“But won’t that lead to something worse? Flu? Pneumonia?”

Sam massaged the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. “It doesn’t work like that, Cas. This is just a cold. And I feel better.”

“Better enough for sex?”

Sam sniffed again and Dean coughed again.

Castiel turned his attention from Sam. “Dean, are you getting sick as well? You might have caught Sam’s cold. Have you two been kissing?”

Dean dropped the paper and held his hands up. Sunset light from the window glinted off his rings as he stood. “That’s it. That’s all I can take. You’re on your own this time, Sam. I’m gonna go hit the bar. I’ll be back later.”

Castiel nodded solemnly. “You should call first, in case Sam and I are having sex.”

Dean looked from Cas to Sam, who shook his head almost imperceptively. “Uh, yeah. Will do.” He grabbed his coat and left the diner as quickly as he could.

Sam slumped back in the seat. “Cas, what have I told you about talking about sex in front of Dean?”

Cas looked confused. “Dean has a lot of sex. He seems to be quite an expert on the subject. I do not see the problem with consulting an expert when I have questions.”

 “Dean…” Sam turned his head, sneezing into his shoulder. “huh-SHUHH! Sniff! Sniff! Dean has sex with women. Lots of women. Sniff! And he wants to stay out of my sex life. Our sex life. Understand?”

Cas nodded. “Yes, I understand.” He ran his hand down Sam’s head, petting. “But I still want to take you back to bed. You are sick.”

“And you’re sniff worried.”

This time, Castiel looked sympathetic instead of confused. “Yes.”

“Let me finish my tea sniff and then you can walk me back to the motel, all right?”

Immediately, Castiel grabbed the cup and held it up to Sam’s lips. Sam laughed and drank up.

The New England late autumn air was chill and sharp as they headed out of the diner. Sam sniffed constantly, holding his gloved hand up at his nose when it got particularly bad. Castiel kept glancing over at him, as if worried he was going to keel over and die from a sniffle. Chances were that Castiel thought he actually would. Cas had applied himself to Sam’s side, sticking fast, holding Sam up even though Sam was perfectly capable of walking on his own. It was breathing through his nose that he couldn’t get a handle on.

He got back to the motel room. It was warm and out of the cold and the wind, but it was also stuffy and humid and where he’d been for the past ten days. Sam was sick to death of that bed. He was sick of being sick with something as annoying as a cold. At least when he was hurt badly on a hunt he was usually on so many pain meds he didn’t care where he was or knocked out completely.

He thought about telling Cas he needed to go somewhere else—anywhere. But he couldn’t think of anything and, damn it all, he had to sneeze again. His breath caught and he sat himself down on the bed, hunched over. “huhhh-Uhschh! Shooo! Kshoo! Hshuhhh!” Sam groaned and lay back on the bed. “Cas…” he croaked.

“Do you want me to put you to bed now?” Castiel asked, confused all over again.

Sam wasn’t sure what he wanted, but it wasn’t changing into sweats and sliding under those dirty sheets again. And it wasn’t moving either; his head was spinning.

“Just c’mere.” Sam reached both arms out and Cas lay down beside him, moving close. Sam nuzzled close, burrowing beneath Cas’s trench coat; it was all the blanket he needed. And his flannel and jeans were as comfy as pajamas if he didn’t notice the occasional button that got in the way or the tightness of the jeans or the heaviness of his shoes still on.

Cas stroked his head again, slowly. And Sam sniffed. His nose tickled and he pressed it into Cas’s chest. Cas didn’t mind. He was confused about it, but he didn’t mind. “I’m gonna sneeze ‘gain. Okay?” Cas petted him, kissed the top of his head. It was okay. “guhhhh… Hihchhhhhhh! Ahhshooo! UhhHfschhhooo! Oh… bless me.”

“Bless you.” Cas followed Sam’s command. “I don’t understand why you said you were better. You’re still so sneezy.”

“I… sniff… I know. I… uhhChoophhh! Uh… sniff! Sniff! SNIFF!

“Should I get that ointment for your chest? We could try that again.”

Sam considered for a moment then nodded against Cas’s chest. “urschooo!

The ointment was VapoRub goop that made Cas screw up his face and wrinkle his nose. “I still don’t understand how anything that smells this bad will help you feel better.”

Sam unbuttoned his shirt and lay on his back. Cas slapped a dollop on Sam’s chest. Sam breathed it in deeply. “It just feels good,” he explained. He closed his eyes as Cas rubbed steady circles on his chest. It was warm and cold at the same time, and soothing, heavy, tight somehow. “Hard to explain to someone who sniff has never caught a cold.”

Though his nose was still ticklish and throat sore, he breathed deep until he fell asleep.

When he woke a few hours later, Cas sat on the edge of the bed, motionless, waiting, standing guard. Sam felt so safe with Dean watching his back. And Bobby too; he’d grown up with them looking after him. But he’d never thought he’d feel that safe with someone else. Sam lifted his hand and reached for Cas’s. Their fingers brushed and Castiel turned his head, looking down. “Did you sleep well?”

Sam nodded.

“Are you well enough for sex?”

Sam smiled. “I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I am, however, ready to sneeze.”

At once, Castiel lay down and gathered Sam in his arms. He didn’t understand everything, but he knew Sam liked this. “ihhihshhhhh! Uhschhooo! AhhKshoo! Sniff! Sniff! SNIFF! SNIFF!

“Oh would you just quit sniffling already!”

Sam lifted his head to see Dean in the doorway.

Cas shot Dean a look, on the defensive. “Sam is sick. He can’t help it.”

“He can help it all right. He just doesn’t want his sweet little nose getting all red from rubbing it with tissues.” Dean grabbed the box of tissues on the dresser and chucked it at the bed. “Problem is, it’s already red. So just blow your nose, kid.”

Sniff!” Sam cleared his throat and pulled a couple tissues out of the box. He took a deep breath and blew his nose. Castiel took the tissue from him and stared at it a good long while, perplexed. Finally, he pocketed it in his trench coat. “No, Cas, you don’t have to do that.”

“Littering is a crime.” Castiel pointed out.

“We’re inside. It’s not littering. Sniff!

“Sam…” there was warning in Dean’s voice.

Castiel didn’t understand. “I’d like to keep the place clean.”

Sniff! We’ll sniff bring over a sniff trashcan. Sniff! Sniff! SNIFF!

“Sammy!”

Sam clenched his teeth and closed his eyes. It was going to be a long night.