Day 2

Title: Day 2
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG
Pairing: None
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Sam and Dean have settled down and shopped for curtains. Now they're trying to celebrate their first Christmas and going all-out.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2014 project for cowboyguy

Sam Winchester was allergic to dust, and maybe he always had been. But when growing up moving from motel room to motel room with housekeeping, it had never been a problem. When they’d taken up residence in the bunker, they’d thought Sam was just under the weather from doing the trials. It had taken them weeks to figure out Sam was sneezing because of dust. Dean had been the one to finally figure it out, a fact he never let Sam forget. And though Sam frequently tried to explain that he’d been too busy being miserable and sneezy to figure it out, he was still grateful for Dean and his can of Pledge.

So when they had left the world of hunting far behind and settled down for good in an apartment in the suburbs, Dean’s first move had been a top-to-bottom cleaning. The man never stopped looking after his little brother. And Sam had been fine—more than fine, actually. They were happy. They were safe. And that was cause for significant celebration.

This year, they were going to do Christmas right. No stolen trees and presents from down the block. No artificial tree on deep discount covered in fishing buoys and car fresheners from the gas station. Dean had saved a little from each paycheck from the garage and Sam had saved a little from each paycheck at the gym and together they’d had enough money to make Christmas happen.

There were stockings hung by the front door, because there wasn’t a fireplace. There were two batches of homemade egg nog in the fridge, one significantly stronger than the other. There was a wreath on the front door; they’d double-checked to make sure it wasn’t made out of anything that would call up pagan gods. And then there was the Christmas tree. They’d bought it at a grocery store lot, sure, so it wasn’t perfect. But both men loved it. They’d strung up colored lights, put on some shiny ornaments sold in packs of 24 for ten bucks, and had covered the whole thing in tinsel and candy canes. There was a red tree skirt on the bottom and instead of a star or an angel they tied around the top a blue necktie. That was close enough.

The radio in the house was turned to some station that played Christmas carols 24-7, and Sam had actually caught Dean singing along to a few of them while cleaning up or just walking through the room. He had even heard Dean singing them in the shower, though Sam knew he couldn’t mention that to Dean if he wanted to live.

The music was on now, as Sam sat at the small rectangular, wooden table they had squeezed between the kitchen area and the living room. He was writing out Christmas cards which, given how few people were around to actually receive them, was the most depressing task ever. Two cups of nog had softened the blow a little, but sending out Christmas cards was what normal people did and so, damn it, that was what the Winchester boys were going to do.

eyhhh.. Yihkshooo!” Sam’s hand was starting to cramp up from all the writing. The living room was kept dim so that the Christmas tree was impressively bright, making it harder to read the cards as he wrote them out. But the biggest impediment by far was that Sam was sneezing. “Yihh-KTschoo!” Sneezing a whole lot. Sam tried to ignore it, keeping his mind on the task at hand. However, the sneezes kept coming.

After an especially strong sneeze that rocked Sam in his chair, a box of tissues thumped down in front of him on the table, followed by a bottle of NyQuil. His nose buried in the crook of his arm, Sam raised his head and looked up at his older brother who hovered over him, hands on his hips, glaring. “When were you planning to tell me you were sick?”

Sam sniffed and took a tissue from the box to wipe his nose. “Looks like you figured it out without me having to say anything.”

“Not the point,” Dean said. “The point is, drink some of that and get straight into bed.”

“It’s just a little cold,” Sam protested. “I could use some tea.”

“Screw tea. Take the medicine.”

“I don’t need to—”

“You do if I say you do. If you’re sick, you stay in bed until you feel better. That’s how things go now. We don’t have to be out there busting our asses saving stupid teenagers from vamps or saving the world from demons. When we get sick, we get to take a sick day or two and climb into bed until we feel better.” He cracked a smile. “And I should’ve known you’d get sick. You never did like the cold, you weakling.”

“Jerk.” Sam flipped his brother off then took the cap off the top of the NyQuil bottle. He poured it a little past the suggested dosage line then downed the green liquid in one go, making a face as his taste buds briefly entertained it. Taking the tissue box, he stood up to head to his bedroom. But his gaze fell on the Christmas tree and he paused for a moment. It was Christmas Eve. How did he manage to come down with a cold now of all times? He must have the worst luck ever; he blamed all those mirrors smashed while trying to capture Bloody Mary, though that seemed like lifetimes ago. Sam looked from the tree to his brother and gave him puppy dog eyes without even meaning to. “Dean… I’m gonna miss Christmas.”

Dean clapped Sam on the back. “No you won’t. We can open presents in your bed if we have to. The important thing is for you to rest and get over this cold.”

Sam gave a powerful, body-shaking yawn.

Dean patted Sam’s back again and walked his brother to bed. Sam climbed into bed fully clothed in his jeans and plaid shirt. The NyQuil was hitting him fast; already his eyelids were weighted down with anvils and he was finding it hard to keep his eyes open. As his head hit the pillow, he very nearly gave up trying.

He was suddenly aware of Dean sitting down on the edge of the bed. Sam had a glimpse of him sitting there, looking concerned, before Sam’s eyes closed for good. “Don’t worry, Dean. I’m… I’m… yihh-KItchooo! I’m fine.

“Say that without sneezing and I might actually believe you, kiddo. ‘Cause I know it ain’t the dust this time. I just cleaned a couple days ago and you only started sneezing today.” Dean moved the tissue box from the nightstand onto the bed beside Sam’s pillow for easy access. “Feel better, Sammy. If you need anything, just call.”

Sam nodded drowsily. “Need you… to finish the damn Christmas cards…” Sam managed to say before succumbing to sleep.


Even before Sam opened his eyes, he could sense a light in his room like he had left a light on. As he emerged from his NyQuil-induced haze, he couldn’t remember having touched the lights in his bedroom. But there was a definite warm, amber glow beyond his eyelids. So he opened one eye curiously. At the sight before him, he opened the other one immediately. While he had been asleep, Dean had apparently been turning his room into the North Pole.

Somehow he had moved the tree all the way from the living room into Sam’s bedroom by himself. And it was still decorated with ornaments and lights; in fact, now it also had tinsel icicles and candy canes all over it as well. Beside the tree was the footstool from the hall closet with a plate of homemade cookies for Santa on it. From the front corners of Sam’s dresser hung stockings stuffed with small, wrapped items. Under the tree was a small sea of presents with colored wrappings, bows, and tags. And, right beside them on the floor, lay Dean in his sleeping bag. He had a pillow bunched up under one side of his face and Sam could see a bit of a blue earplug in the one ear turned upwards.

He might be sick in bed, but Dean had brought Christmas to him. “Oh Dean…” Sam was glad Dean couldn’t hear the reverence in his voice or see the tears welling in his eyes. Sniffling again, he roughly wiped the tears out of his eyes with two fingers. Then he rubbed at his eyes. And rubbed some more. They didn’t feel tired so much as itchy. Itchy like his nose. “Hehhhh… hahhhIhshhhhh! IhKShhhhh!

The sneezes were so loud they woke Dean, despite the earplugs. Dean got up, transforming his sleeping bag into a cape around his shoulders as he walked around the bed. “Hey, Sammy. How do you feel?”

HehIHShhhhh! HehKshhhh!” Sam couldn’t answer. After every sneeze, he drew a breath. “IhhhTchhh! Hihtchhhh!” And after every breath, the need to sneeze intensified. “HhKShhhh! Hehshhhh!” His nose was itching like mad. “Ihhh-Yihshhh!” This was not how it felt whenever he was sick. This was how it felt when he had to crawl under the bed to grab something he’d dropped and breathed in too much dust. This was how it felt when he was going through boxes in Dad’s old, dusty storage unit. “IhhhKitshhhh!

Dean reached out and cupped his hand to Sam’s forehead. “I guess that means you’re not feeling much better. Want some more NyQuil, kiddo?”

Sam shook his head. “D-ihhhh… hihhKtshhh!” He looked around wildly, spotting the tissue box wedged beside his pillow and nightstand. He plunged his hand in, extracting far too many tissues at once. Several fell out on the way from the box to his nose. But then his nose was couched in soft, dry tissues. And he could rub it. A lot. Oh God, because it was unbelievably itchy. “Duh-dust,” Sam finally said, snuffling and scratching at his nostrils through the tissues.

“Nuh-uh.” Dean looked around the room. “This place is spotless. Your room is clean. The decorations are new. It can’t be dust. You’re just sick, Sammy.”

Sam shook his head vehemently. “Don’t think I… I… ihhhh-KShhhh!

Dean stroked his head. “I know it sucks being sick on Christmas.”

Pulling away with a jerk, Sam leaned so far over he overbalanced and had to jump out of bed to keep from falling out and landing on his ass. He narrowly missed crushing a present underfoot and stumbled sideways, brushing against the tree. Tinsel attached to his arm. A snowflake ornament fluttered to the floor. And Sam sneezed his head off. “IihYIHShhhH! HihShhhh! IhhhKShhhh! IhhhShhh! HehhShhih! Ihhkshhhh! IhhChshhh! IHTchhhh! HihSHhhh! De… ihhhhIHShhhh! EhShhhh! YihkShhh! Dean! IhhhShhhh! IhhChshhhh! Yikschhh! Hihshhh! Chushhhh! Ihhhh… ihhKTshhh! Help! IhhhSchhh! Ktshhhhh! Hihhhehshhh! Yihhshhh!

Grabbing Sam by the arm, Dean hauled his brother out of his bedroom. Sam sneezed his way down the short hallway past Dean’s bedroom and the bathroom. He sneezed across the living room. He sneezed as he crossed the salt-covered threshold. He sneezed outside on the concrete stairs Dean had him sit down on.

But he didn’t sneeze as much. In fact… “IhhhKShhhh!” In fact, he didn’t feel that sneezy at all any more. His eyes still itched. His nose still ran. But the uncontrollable tickle was… controllable now. He blew his nose then folded some of the tissues and rubbed at his nose. Then he took a shaky, experimental breath. And, miraculously, he didn’t feel like sneezing again.

Sam opened his eyes. Over the rooftops of apartment buildings across the street and over the vast stretch of trees behind them, the sun was just starting to rise on Christmas morning with a soft, golden glow. There was a chill in the air that said snow wasn’t out of the question, if the conditions for it were right. The world was quiet, apart from a few twittering birds in nearby berry bushes and apart from Sam’s occasional sniffles.

“Here.” Dean turned his sleeping bag lengthwise and sat down next to his brother with the fabric extended. The sleeping back was long enough to reach around the two of them and meet back up in front, though it only covered their middles and their asses were cold against the concrete steps. “So… you don’t feel sneezy any more?”

Sam shrugged. “Maybe a little.” He took a deep breath of cool, fresh, morning air and had to admit his nose did feel mildly tickly, but nothing like he’d felt inside. “I’m guessing you didn’t get me some pet dust bunnies for Christmas?”

“No. I got you a big ol’ pine tree. And apparently you’re allergic as hell to it. Merry Christmas! Hope you didn’t like breathing!”

Sam gave his brother a weak smile. “We’ve never had a real tree before. How were you supposed to know? Sniff!

“Yeah, but maybe I could have figured it out before I drugged you and then dragged the thing into your bedroom. God, your eyes, Sammy.” Reflexively, Sam reached up to rub them as they started to itch again, but Dean pulled his hand down before he could do further damage. “I’ll get you a cool compress for them. Then some allergy medicine. And then I’ll kick that tree to the curb.”


“I’ll salt and burn it.”


“I swear. That thing’s getting nowhere near you again.”

“Dean!” Sam laughed, putting a hand on his brother’s thigh and patting. “This is your Christmas, too. You deserve a real tree. You don’t have to get rid of it. Just… get it out of my bedroom.”

But Dean shook his head adamantly. “I’m finding a store that’s open and buying a fake tree. Don’t care if it takes all day.”

“I do.” Sam rubbed at his nose, smiling. “I want to open presents. And cook that ham. And bake those pies.”

A flash of excitement flared up behind Dean’s eyes. “Okay,” he relented. “But I’m getting rid of the tree immediately. I’m not going to be able to enjoy any of it with you sneezing every five seconds.” He wriggled out from under the sleeping bag. “Give me fifteen minutes to get all the ornaments off and to open all the windows and air out the apartment.”

It took Dean closer to twenty. By then, Sam’s butt was numb and his nose was calm but cold. As much as he hated to admit it, Dean seemed to have been right. He was allergic to their Christmas tree. How did that even happen? All those years training with Dean and Dad in forests, and he hadn’t figured this out before? Or maybe it was different when you were stuck in a room with a tree cultivated especially to produce that wonderful pine scent expected during the holidays. “Coming through! Make a hole!” Sam jumped up, taking the sleeping back with him, and moved to the side on the landing. Dean squeezed past with the large tree.

It had taken two of them to haul the thing up the three flights to their apartment in the first place, but pushing and shoving it down the stairs was slightly easier. Sam still winced at each thump of trunk against stairs or crash of branches against metal railing. Even if it did make him sneeze, it was still their tree—their first real tree. Dean might be angry with it, but Sam was still fond of it. He looked over the railing, watching Dean haul the tree over to the trash cans then march back to the stairs.

When he reached the top of the stairs, he grabbed Sam’s arm through the sleeping bag and pulled him back inside the apartment, over the salt line, and in where it wasn’t as warm as it should have been. All the windows were open and a fan sat sweeping across the living room to circulate the fresh air. Shivering, Sam sat down on their couch. “Tea?” he asked.

Dean ducked into the kitchen and returned with something that wasn’t tea. “Merry Christmas, Sammy.” He handed over a box of Benadryl and a bottle of water. Sam stretched out on the couch as Dean plopped down on the opposite end of the couch. He draped the sleeping bag over both of their legs. “Some rotten Christmas morning, huh?”

Shaking his head and rubbing his nose a little, Sam gave him a reassuring smile. “I don’t know… turns out I’m not sick.” Sam grabbed the remote and turned on the television. A Christmas parade was starting. “And I still get a traditional Christmas that involved candy canes and having my brother kick some ass and take care of me. Kinda perfect, actually. Though it’d be more perfect if you got me some tea.”

“I’m not waiting on you if you’re not sick.” He shoved at Sam’s legs. “Go get yourself tea.”

Sam sniffled pathetically and turned on the puppy dog eyes on purpose this time. Dean laughed, stretching his arm along the back of the couch and turning his attention to the parade.