Day 7

Title: Day 7
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG
Pairing: None (Gen)
Warning: serious drug usage mentioned
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Allergies and hunting aren’t a fantastic combination.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2013 project for cowboyguy

“But, Dad…” Dean lowered his voice and glanced over his shoulder at Sam, who was sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by school books and pretending he couldn’t hear every word of the conversation just feet away from him. He hated the way his brother and father talked as though he weren’t right there. “I can come with you.”

“Not this time.”

 “Sam’s in high school now. He doesn’t need a baby sitter. And you need someone watching your back out there.”

“I need you here, looking after your brother.” John picked up his duffle bag and headed to the door. “This is an easy job and just upstate. I’ll be back in a couple days.”

Sam briefly looked up from his books to wave and nod goodbye. He was all too used to his father running out on them whenever something better came along. He wouldn’t really have minded if Dean had gone as well this time; at least then he could have had the place all to himself and could have studied in peace.

And Dean would have been in a better mood. Sam’s older brother grabbed a soda, sank into the secondhand Salvation Army store sofa, and switched on the television set, Dean’s version of silently pouting.


Sam’s sprint broke only so that he could pull keys from his pocket and fit the right one into the lock. He slipped inside their ground floor apartment and quickly engaged the deadbolt and the chain to lock the door behind him, not that either was effective against ghosts. “Dean!” His backpack, heavily full of books, weighed his shoulders down, but he didn’t bother taking it off.

Dean came out of the bedroom, scrubbing his face with his hand like he’d only just woken up at two-thirty in the afternoon. “What is it Sammy?”

“Ghost. At least, I think it is. I didn’t see it too well. Could just be a practical joke, I guess, but—”

With his sawed-off somehow already in hand, Dean interrupted him. “Where?”

Sam had always been a bit wary about the old, abandoned house he passed when walking home from school. It wasn’t one of those stereotypical haunted houses like you saw in horror movies… or on any given Winchester family vacation. It was a rundown townhouse that had been condemned by the city and then overrun by drug dealers and heroin addicts as a place to crash after they’d shot up. It was boarded up now, but a loose piece of wood around back made it easy for high school students to sneak in on dares, which was what Alex Jones had done after school today. Only the kid hadn’t come out again. And there had been a lot of screaming. His friends had heard it from their spot in the backyard and had run in the opposite direction, which was more sense than Alex had had. Sam had heard it from where he’d been walking past on the sidewalk in front, and he’d looked up just in time to see something whitish-gray flicker in one of the top windows. It might have been a trick or even a trick of the light. But he was pretty sure it had looked like some strung-out ghost.

As Sam explained all this to Dean during the walk over, he felt in his pockets, making sure again that he had salt and his knife. He’d never backed Dean up like this without their dad around. And while Sam wasn’t much of a hunter, he didn’t want Dean facing whatever was in that house all alone.

Sam pushed aside the loose board and squeezed through the gap, into the house. Dean pried several boards off so he could get through. Once inside, he took the lead, heading up the stairs to where Sam said he saw the whatever-it-was-he-thought-he-had-seen.

Not a minute in, Sam started sniffling. Dean kept glancing over his shoulder, distracted by the sound. Halfway up the first flight of stairs, Sam couldn’t help but sneeze. “Ihtchhh!

Dean paused, rolling his eyes. “You’re never going to be a hunter if you sneeze every time there’s a little dust in an old house, Sammy. Whoever heard of a hunter with allergies?”

Who said he wanted to be a hunter in the first place? Grumbling, Sam slipped his arm out of one backpack strap. He dug a crushed box of Sudafed out of the front pocket and popped the last pill out of the blister pack to swallow it dry. He rubbed at his nose to keep from sneezing any more as he followed his brother the rest of the way up to the third floor.

They didn’t find the ghost first. What they found was Alex in three pieces in the center of a room and a decaying body on a bare mattress in the corner of the room. “Don’t look,” Dean said sharply, pushing Sam out of the room, even though the damage had been done and Sam had already seen too much. Usually, Sam didn’t like being treated like he was a kid, but this time he didn’t mind not having to look. Sam laid down salt lines while Dean set to work burning both bodies.

There was a shriek from the hallway just as Sam finished with the line across the doorway and the thing he wasn’t sure about reappeared, definitely proving now that it was a ghost. The ghost of a girl not any older than Dean was. Her hair was light and stringy, her t-shirt falling loose on a skinny body, sliding off one shoulder. Her eyes were dark, hollow, and track marks dotted her arms. She must have overdosed and not crossed over properly. Or maybe she’d been killed by a dealer for not being able to pay up and was out for vengeance. Or maybe… she was coming straight at Sam.

“Dean, she’s here!” Sam called out to his brother, taking a few steps back from the salt line, to be safe. Dean looked over his shoulder just as Sam shook the rest of the salt from the bottle he’d brought at the ghost. It drove her back, made her flicker, and bought them enough time for Dean to get his lighter out. The body went up in flames, as did the ghost in front of Sam. It’d been simpler than Sam had thought it would be.

But the house was old and dry and the fire caught, spread. It leapt to the wall and one tattered, stained curtain. The blaze was fierce and almost too fast for the boys. Dean stumbled out of the room, grabbing Sam by the arm and pulling him. “Run!”

As they ran, they heard sirens. And then Sam heard his brother swear. Sam had the feeling that the whole upstairs of the house was going to collapse down upon them. He jumped down the last three stairs and flattened himself to the dusty floorboards as some light flashed toward the front windows. Police? Firefighters? Both?

“Out the back. Hurry!” Dean whispered, dropping low and crawling along. He made Sam go through first then followed him out.

There were shouts as soon as their feet hit the grass; they’d been spotted.

For the second time that day, Sam found himself sprinting through their neighborhood. They ran between houses, through parks and unfenced backyards. It seemed to Sam like they were being chased, but he didn’t dare look back to find out. He kept his eyes on Dean, following him at every turn.

It was Dean who spotted the open storage shed and decided that was where they would hide. Sam had some reservations about being trapped inside, but he figured that if his big brother could get rid of a ghost, he could get out of a storage shed. So he let Dean shove him inside and close the door. Sam’s backpack hit the handle of a push lawnmower and he swung the bag off and stumbled to the side, hitting several empty, clay flowerpots.

“Shhh!” Dean warned. There weren’t windows in the shed, so they couldn’t see if anyone was still after them; they would have to listen.

Sam couldn’t see anything in the dark, but he had a small flashlight clipped to his backpack, which managed to give him enough light to find a place to stand.  He quieted his heavy breathing, his heart still beating fast from the run. He heard the sirens still, but far away, and he wondered where they’d ended up; somewhere where yards had storage sheds in them, that was about all he knew. He tried to retrace their steps. Two blocks past the house, then a right through a playground and behind some fast food place, then—


Taken entirely by surprise, Sam jumped and dropped his flashlight, though the sneeze hadn’t been his. In fact, he couldn’t remember ever hearing Dean sneeze so loudly before. Even when his big brother had a cold, his sneezes were restrained, silent—hunter sneezes, not like the sort Sam sneezed and definitely not like these ones. He looked over at Dean, whose hand was clapped over his nose and mouth, and tried to ask what that was through his expression.

Dean shook his head, shrugged. He waited a full minute before he lowered his hand. And then, only a second later, he wished he hadn’t. “Hee-IHHHShhhhh!” He cupped his hand to his face, squeezing his nose between thumb and forefinger.

There was a sound like a thump and movement in the near darkness that didn’t belong to either of them. Then Sam felt something touch his leg. It rubbed against his shin, arched its back, and began to purr. Sam retrieved the dropped flashlight from the floor of the shed, hoping it was a cat. Just a cat. Not a skunk, not a raccoon, not a demonic Hell cat with glowing red eyes and a taste for human flesh.

It was, in fact, just a cat. A cute one at that. Tan with orangey-brown stripes and a bright pink nose to match its collar. Sam glanced around the storage shed and saw a cat bed in one corner and the remains of what might have once been a bird in another corner. The cat turned, rubbing against Sam as it walked the other way, heading straight for Dean.

As Sam watched by the light of the admittedly inadequate flashlight, he thought he could see Dean’s eyes tearing up, reflecting strangely in the darkness. Dean rubbed hard at his nose, pinching, scrubbing. But despite all this, he pitched forward. “HIHSchhhh! HehChshhh! Hehshhhhhhh!

“Dean!” Sam hissed. “Quiet?”

“M’trying!” Dean said, pressing his forearm to his face, but still snapping forward again. “HEHShhhh! What the hell?”

But Sam was willing to bet anything that Dean wasn’t suddenly coming down with a cold. There were a lot of things in the storage shed. Old birdfeeders, open bags of fertilizer and mulch, the lawnmower and a big bag for grass clippings that hung from it, even some packages of seeds and bulbs on one shelf. There was even a lot of dust, but that pill Sam had taken earlier seemed to still be working.

HIHShhhh! Can’t… HEESchhhhh! Can’t stop… sniff!

Sam took the flashlight with him as he turned and bent down, going through his backpack again. He pulled out a small packet of tissues. With the way Dean was sneezing, he was going to go through the supply fast, but they were still better than nothing. “Blow your nose. It might help.”

Annoyed, Dean snatched the tissues and ripped one as he pulled it out and it snagged on the sticky tab that kept the pack closed. “HEHShmmmm!” He sneezed into it, following up with blowing his nose.

Sam chuckled softly, the beam of his flashlight dancing off Dean’s face. “Whoever heard of a hunter with allergies?”

“Shut up!” Dean moaned. “My eyes itch so much I want to just scratch them out of my face. You have any more of that allergy medicine?”

Shaking his head, “Sorry. I took the last pill earlier. I think I have more at home.”

“Great.” Dean rubbed his eye and, distracted by the itch, couldn’t stop the sneezes in time. “HIHTChhhh! Hehshhhh! Heeee-EHHShhhh! HE-SHIkkkshhh!” He gasped for breath and rubbed his other eye. “What do you think is doing this?”

Sam tried hard not to laugh as he pointed downward at the cat sitting by Dean’s shoes. Its cute little head was cocked curiously, looking up at Dean as though fascinated by the sound and wondering what these strangers were doing in its little home. It was almost impossible to believe something so cute could turn Dean Winchester into such a mess in such a short period of time.

“D’no. Sniff! I’b dot allergic to c-cats. Hehhh-IHHHShhhh! I dever have beed. HEEKshhhh! Sniff!

“Well, congratulations, because you are now.”

“I… hah-HEHSHhhhh!” He blew his nose furiously and wiped tears from his eyes. “Dod’t tell Dad, okay?”

Sam thought that the fact that Dean was now suddenly and terribly allergic to cats was exactly the sort of thing their dad should know about. But he nodded in agreement anyway, because that’s what you did when you were stuck in a stranger’s storage shed, hiding from police, after accidentally burning down a haunted townhouse in your own neighborhood because you were trying to stop a murderous ghost.

hehhh-Shhhhhh! HeeeShihhhh! Hehshhh! Oh… sniff! Sniff! I’ve gotta get outa here. HeeShuhhh!

“I don’t hear anything out there,” said Sam, who couldn’t hear much of anything above Dean’s loud sneezes. But he had to assume that if someone chasing them hadn’t heard sneezes coming from a storage shed and been suspicious about them by now, then probably they’d gotten away just fine with the breaking and entering and arson.

“We should sblit ub. Just id case.”

Sam nodded. “I’ll go home past the library and if anyone asks, I’ve been there since school let out.”

“Good. Add I cad say I was with a girl. Hehh-IHShhhhh! They wod’t be able to questiod her because I dod’t rebeber her dabe, but—”

“I do,” Sam said, bending down to get his backpack. He pet the cat’s soft, furry head between its ears then checked the tag hanging from its collar. “Her name was Mittens.”

Quickly, Sam shouldered his way out of the door and was back on the sidewalk, managing to get a safe distance away before he burst into laughter.