Day 9

Title: Day 9
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 gets a harsh dose of reality at the worst possible time.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2014 project for Lady Korana

“Dean?” The headlights of occasionally passing cars illuminated Dean's pale face, but Sam's eyes strained in the darkness to see his brother all other times. Bobby was going seventy—maybe eighty—miles an hour, just hoping to get back to the motel before Dean bled out. Sam and Dean had been raised as hunters; they knew how to patch up wounds better than most, and their instincts were, like Bobby's, to go to first to their first aid kits. But this was bad enough that they should probably be heading straight to a hospital. Problem was there wasn't a safe hospital nearby and Dean's injuries needed attention immediately.

Dean didn't reply, but another car passed by them, flashing its lights at them. “Shit!” Bobby said, and slowed down to sixty just before sailing under and overpass with a cop waiting with a radar detector. If they were stopped by the cops, Dean would be taken straight to the hospital, without any doubt. But they'd be in bigger trouble that. “Hang on, Dean,” Bobby said, waiting until they passed the second cop car before he could speed back up again.

Sam noticed that Bobby hadn't said anything to him, not that Sam expected him to. Sam had been the one to fuck up, after all. And Dean had been hurt. This was his nightmare, and it was happening right here in the back of the Impala in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. Sam switched hands, one applying constant, firm pressure on the t-shirt bunched and pressed to Dean's wound, the other rubbing at his nose.

He had to sneeze. Again. Of course he did. His cold symptoms hadn't stopped all night.  Or all day. Or all weekend. “hep!” Sam didn't want to sneeze. Bobby didn't want him to sneeze. Probably, if Dean had been conscious, he wouldn't want Sam to sneeze. But Sam couldn't help it. “heh-eh-ehh-KFSchhhhh!” At all. “heh-ehh-hehYIHSchhhhh!” Sam wanted to curl up, wanted to sleep off this cold. But he couldn't take his hand off Dean. He couldn't let his brother die. Sneezing messily into his upper arm was the only thing he could do.

Bobby slammed on the brakes as he took a sharp curve on an exit ramp. It was two short blocks to the motel, and Bobby seemed perfectly fine with running the stoplights along the way, but they turned green upon the car's approach. Getting Dean inside was difficult. Bobby carried him, but Sam kept close, holding the cloth to Dean's side. They got him into the room and onto the bed. Dean grunted, which was a fairly good sign that he was coming around but a bad one that indicated he was in pain.

“Hold on,” Bobby told him again, digging out the first aid kit and grabbing an armful of towels from the bathroom. When he got back, he shoved a towel under Dean and shoved a tissue box at Sam. “Go,” he said, softly without looking up at Sam.

Sam looked at him blankly. Go? He had to help with Dean, had to help sew him up and clean the wound and get some juice and iron-rich food into him.

“Go,” Bobby said, waving at Sam dismissively. “I've got this.”

Sam didn't know where Bobby meant him to go, but he had no intention of leaving them. So he sat down on the other double bed in the motel room and tried to stay quiet. This was easier said than done.   “h'CHIHhhhh! heh-KTchkkkkk!” Sam eyed the box on his lap, then dipped his hand into it. He cupped a tissue to his nose and mouth, breathing hotly against it. “ehhhh... HEHShhhhhhh!

On the other bed, Dean groaned again. Sam wished Dean had stayed unconscious for this bit. It was going to hurt. Sam stood up. “Dean needs--”

“I know,” Bobby said. Without looking up, Bobby pointed back at the other bed. “Sit down, Sam. I've got your brother. This isn't my first stab wound, boy.” He eased a washcloth into Dean's mouth. Dean bit down, eyes tightly closed but breath racing. “This is going to hurt, Dean. Take a deep breath.”

Dean did, his yell muffled through the wash cloth as Bobby began to sew him up.

Sam winced and sat back down on the bed. “eh... huh... ehh-Yihhkshhhh!” He shivered and glanced over his shoulder at the bedspread. The thing was probably teeming with germs, but he was already sick. So he pulled it up and around his shoulders. The tissue box slipped off his lap in the process, and Sam was too busy pulling the blanket around himself to cover his nose. “eh-HIHSchhhh! Heh... ehhYihkshhhhh!

Bobby looked up at him, droplets of blood on his cheeks.

“Sorry,” Sam said. He looked down at Dean and bit his lower lip. “I'm sorry,” he repeated.  He pulled his legs onto the bed and lay down on his side. He pulled all of himself under the blanket. Sam was tall, but he curled up, trying to get as small as possible, trying to disappear. He'd been through this before. 


“You were supposed to have your brother's back,” John threw over his shoulder as he kicked the car door closed behind them. Dean was draped over their dad's arms, face contorted in pain. John hurried from the car to the door of their apartment building. And Sam followed behind, head down, feet shuffling. 

John laid Dean down on the couch and took out his knife. Sam flinched at the sight of the bright, silver blade. John cut away Dean's plaid shirt and inspected the bullet wound. “Just grazed his arm. You're lucky, Dean.” John glanced over his shoulder,  narrowing his eyes at Sam. “And, Sammy, you're lucky this isn't worse. Now don't just stand there. Go get me some bandages from the bathroom.”

Sam fled to the bathroom at once. He had to pull over a stool in order to reach the medicine cabinet, but bandages were on the first shelf, easy to reach. The usual medicines were on the second shelf. And everything of Dad's was on the top shelf. Sam grabbed a box and raced back to the living room. He held it out at arm's length, scared to get closer to Dean in case he made things worse.

John took the box, examined it, and sighed. “Gauze. You brought gauze. You can't even do this right. Where's your head today, Sammy? I thought you were smarter than this.” He got went to the bathroom and got the correct bandages this time. Then he proceeded to bandage up Dean's arm.

“Sorry,” Sam whispered. The young boy backed into the wall, hiding himself behind the coat rack. He peered out around the coats and scarf and umbrella. If he positioned himself just right, he couldn't see their dad or Dean's hurt arm, but he could see Dean's face. He watched as Dean's expression turned from a look of pain to one of relaxation. Dad gave him a Tylenol and draped a blanket over him. 


The room was so dark, Sam almost couldn't make anything out in it. But he knew Bobby was asleep in one bed and Dean was asleep in the other. Sam sat on the edge of Dean's bed, watching over his brother. He couldn't sleep, anyway, not with this cold in his head.

uhh-hschooo! Huhrshooo!” Sam tried to keep the sneezes quiet when they came. The last thing he wanted to do was ruin a good night's sleep for Bobby or Dean. But he couldn't help sneezing; his nose just tickled too badly. Every breath was dangerous, triggering another sniffle or a cough. In this dark room, it sounded like the sneezes were ten times louder than they actually were, even when he smothered them into his shoulder or upper arm.

He looked down at Dean, studying his brother's pale face for signs of distress. But Dean looked peaceful enough and patched-up, no thanks to Sam. “Dean...” Sam whispered. “About what happened out there on the hunt? It was my fault. And I'm so sor... sohh... sor-hehp!” Quickly, he buried his nose in the crook of his arm as his breath sped up. “heh-heh-hehhh-HEHHH!” He waited, expecting the sneeze to burst from him at any second. But the sneeze stuck. Sam lifted his head, flaring his nostrils a little to encourage the sneeze to come. It was still there—strong, just not strong enough.

Finally, he sniffed and rubbed his nose with two knuckles. All day he'd done nothing but sneeze at the worst possible time. And now, when he wanted to sneeze, it wouldn't come out. He knew he shouldn't be surprised.  But he could take advantage of it now. “Dean, I-hahUPTSCHHhhhhhh!

Sam slapped his hand over his nose and mouth too late. There was a grunt from behind Sam, and he looked back to see Bobby stir but not wake. Sam looked down at Dean to make sure he was asleep as well, and saw instead Dean's eyes staring up at him.

Sam gave a start, startled, shaking the bed. His horror at waking his brother was short-lived, however, because he snapped forward at the waist. “hehhKTchhhh! Hehptschhhhh!” He tried to hold the sneezes back, but it was no good. “Sor... hehshhhhh!” Sam shook his head miserably and glanced back at Bobby again as he got up off the bed. “Go back to... to... hahhHihpshhhhh! Sniff! Sorry. Go back to sleep.”

Whether it was from the fight or the loss of blood, Dean seemed to be having a difficult time keeping his eyes open. “Sam...” His eyelids crashed down again.

“Slee... sleep. Sniff! Sorry, Dean.” With the bedspread wrapped around him, Sam grabbed the tissues and the car keys and headed outside into the cool night air.

Despite the fact that he wouldn't be able to stretch out, he knew he'd be more comfortable crawling into the Impala's backseat than trying to not wake the others up. He lay on his back, knees bent so that he could fit on the seat. “hah... ehhPTschhhhh!” His chest rose, his head snapped upward. But then he relaxed back against the familiar seat. With his hands resting on his chest, he tried to fall to sleep.


Sam had suffered through lunch at the diner, trying not to sneeze on the food and shivering with cold even though the soup Dean had insisted on ordering for him had been hot. Sam's colds were usually short but powerful; this one came with sniffles and chills and a sore throat that made Sam shy away from the soup. But he still had to sit through the entire lunch, sneezing into diner napkins that were rough on his nose. It was a relief when Dad decided lunch was over and Sam finally got to crawl back into the backseat of the Impala and snuggle into the nest of blankets there.

He wrapped up in the blankets and lay down on his side with his head on Dean's thigh. His big brother's denim jeans were soft against Sam's cheek, not to mention warm. And Dean didn't seem to mind.

At least, he'd never minded before. Today, though, was another story. Dean was absorbed in his Gameboy. Too absorbed.

eh-hihKSchhhhhh!” Sam sneezed, snapping forward. It made Sam shake, which of course shook Dean.

“Damn it, Sammy!” Dean groaned. “I was working on that all morning. I was on the last level! Now I have to start over!”

Sam sniffled and sat up. “S-sorry, Dean. I... eh... eh-Hikschhhhh!” Sam took the blankets with him as he leaned to the other side. He leaned against the side of the car, not nearly as soft or comfortable, but at least he wasn't bothering Dean this way.

“Boys!” John snapped from the front seat. “Keep it down back there! Don't make me say it twice!”

As his dad turned up the radio, Sam let his sneezes get hidden in the heavy metal baseline.


A tapping on the Impala's window woke Sam from the light sleep he'd managed to drift off to overnight for a few short hours. Sam tried to sit up and ended up banging his head against part of the car. He curled up to make himself smaller, rotated his body, and sat up, huddling under the blanket as best as he could as shivers seized him. He blinked tiredly at the window to see Bobby outside.

Bobby held up a brown paper bag. “Get your ass inside. I got bagels and the coffee's on.”

Sam watched him go, marveling for a moment at how Bobby never seemed to look cold. A baseball cap and a flannel and he was invincible. Sam, on the other hand, was nestled under a bedspread, curled up on himself inside a car and he was still cold. Maybe that was the head cold's doing, or the fact that he'd slept outside all night. Maybe it was something else—the loneliness and solitude getting to him, tainting everything with an unwelcome edge of paranoia. Finally, Sam got up and headed back inside the motel room, if only because he was worried about what they might be saying about him in his absence.

As it turned out, he needn't have bothered. Bobby sat at the small table in their room, going over the map Sam had printed out yesterday while he polished off a blueberry bagel loaded with cream cheese. Dean, on the other hand, sat on his bed with a cup of coffee on the nightstand on his left and a gun on his right. In his hands was the knife he was sharpening, in preparation for the nighttime's activities. “You sleep outside all night?” Dean asked, apparently not remembering waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of Sam's sneezes.

Sam nodded, going straight for a box of tissues on the nightstand between the two beds. His knuckles brushed Dean's coffee and the warmth was pleasant. He thought about getting some, but his first priority was tissues. “ehh... HIHTchuhhh!” He directed the sneeze toward one then cupped it to his nose and blew; that hurt more than he had expected it to. Apparently rubbing at his nose all night in the cold hadn't been good for it. Noticing that Dean was noticing him, Sam got up immediately to get coffee, sniffling into his shoulder and upper arm to quiet the sound.

He sat back down on the bed across from Dean and nursed the coffee in-between sniffles. “So, what's the plan for today?”

“We're going to go clear out that vamp nest as soon as we're sure they're all asleep for the day.”

Sam nodded. And took a long sip, savoring the warmth and the little jolt of caffeine he could already feel working on his system. “I'll get dressed then.”

“No.” Dean set his knife down on his thigh. “We're going to clear the vamp nest—we being Bobby and me. You are staying here and resting.”

“But I don't need to r-r-reh-ehhhh-Umptschhhhhh!” He buried the sneeze in a fistful of tissues, but it was still late to protest.

“You're staying here, taking some medicine, and getting over this head cold of yours.” Dean gathered his weapons and his coffee. “Medicine's in the bathroom. Take it, Sammy. Hey, Bobby, you ready?”

Bobby downed his cup of coffee in one last gulp and grabbed his gun. “Let's go kill us some vampires.”

In a flurry of well-wishes toward Sam and general determination, they headed out of the motel room, leaving Sam sitting on the bed, alone and abandoned and miserably sick. Sipping at the coffee, he went into the bathroom where he saw two matching bottles on the counter—one of DayQuil the other NyQuil. Sam considered them for a moment. In no way could this time of the morning be considered the night, but what did he have to be up and alert to do except sneeze? And it wasn't like anyone was around to hear him. It wasn't like they let Sam go along on the hunt.

Immediately, he downed a cupful of NyQuil, stumbled back to the bed, burrowed under the covers, and completely passed out. Alone.



“Hey, keep it down!”

Sam jumped about a mile at the sound of Dean's voice. He'd been so busy trying to keep his runny nose from dripping on his AP Government textbook that he hadn't even heard Dean sneaking up on him from the bedroom they shared. Which meant it could just as easily have been Dad instead. Which meant that Sam had narrowly avoided one of John Winchester's lectures. “Sorry,” Sam said, rubbing at his nose without stop.

“Didn't I tell you to take that green stuff and sleep it off until morning?”

Sam nodded. Dean had said that. But Sam had both heard it and dismissed it. He had a test tomorrow—the first of two prep tests before the advanced placement exam in a month. If he did well on that, he'd earn college credit. Not that he'd told either his brother or his dad about his plan to go to college next fall. He also hadn't told Dean he'd taken the daytime medicine instead of what Dean had pushed on him. He had way too much work to do tonight and he couldn't do it while sleeping and snoring away in his twin bed. “I've got just one more chapter to read here.”

Dean didn't look too thrilled. “Read fast, Sammy. It's almost midnight.”

Sam nodded and pressed a fresh tissue to his nose, having absolutely no intention of going to bed until he'd made it through three more chapters and one set of practice questions.  “ehhh-HihSchhhh! HehhKtschhhhh!

Dean leaned back out of the bedroom door, holding onto the doorknob. “And try to keep it down? Some of us are trying to sleep.”

Sam nodded, cupping his other hand to his nose and mouth as well to cover the tissues. “h'Ehhmmphhh!


When Sam opened his eyes after many hours of sleep more than he had guessed he would get, he was startled to find Dean sitting on his bed, rubbing Sam's shoulder through the blanket. There was no telling how long he'd been there; it was a little creepy and a little comforting. Feeling another sneeze coming on, Sam turned his head into the pillow. “huh-Muhffffff!

The rubbing of Sam's arm stopped for a moment then began again, stronger. “We need to talk.”

Sam rolled his head out of the pillow and tensed against the touch. “Now? I feel too sick for a chick moment, sorry.”

“You're too something. My guess to fill in that blank is angry.”

Sam wanted to hide under the covers again. But he looked around for other options.

“Bobby's cleaning up the scene and taking a drive. So we've got time to talk.”

Talking was not something Sam wanted to do. He was scared about what he might say. “Just leave me alone, Dean. It's what you're good at.”

Dean's hand rubbing his arm didn't even pause. “Yep. Angry. Let's have it, Sammy.”

Sam pulled away, his breath catching. “ehh... hehh-ihhhh... HEHKSchhhhhh!” When he opened his eyes, a tissue dangled before his eyes. He almost didn't want to take it, but his runny nose forced him to.  “hehhh...” Especially as it started tickling again. “ehh-Herkschhh! Sniff! Go... sniff... before I get you sick and ruin your life.”

“Mm.” Dean scooted closer on the bed now that Sam had rolled away. “I'm not going anywhere until you tell me, even if that means catching your cold. So you'd better just tell me.”

After gritting his teeth for a full minute, Sam finally answered. “I can't do anything right when I'm sick,” Sam mumbled into the edge of the pillow. He thought about the times he'd kept Dean up at night or annoyed him, the times he wasn't good enough for Dad, the times he'd put Dean at risk.  He rolled over, staring at Dean's side. He couldn't see the injury or bandages through the layers of flannel, but he knew it was there. “I almost got you killed yesterday.”

“What?” Dean paused a second, thinking. “No... Sammy...”

“That vampire—”

“Sam, that was my fault. It had nothing to do with you. I should have seen him coming with that knife a mile away. He was already on me by the time you sneezed.”

Sam hadn't expected that.

“Wait a second, did you think that's why we left you here today? So you wouldn't sneeze and give away our position?”

Sam shrugged, which was as good as a yes.

Dean chuckled. The sound made Sam shiver and turn back away again. He wanted to hide. No, he wanted to die. This cold couldn't kill him quick enough. “Sammy, that's not why we wanted you to stay here. That was supposed to be a reward.”

Coughing in surprise, Sam rolled back over and sat up. He rubbed two fingers under his nose. “What?” That didn't make any sense. A reward for getting sick? For leading the vamps straight to them? For getting Dean stabbed?

“We always have to power through when we get sick. This time, I had Bobby to help me out. We thought you could use the rest to get better.”

“You didn't need me. Eh-eh-YIHSchuhhhh!

“Sam, we are talking about eight vampires in the middle of the day. The damn Ghost Chasers probably could have taken care of that. You'd already done the hard work in finding the place. You did all the tracking. Hell, without you noticing the patterns and interpreting the portents, we never would have even found this place.” Sam still looked skeptical. “You deserved a reward, Sammy. You deserved to take it easy for once.” Dean tugged the covers up a little higher, past Sam's waist. He shoved several tissues in Sam's hand. “You've got nothing to beat yourself up about, unless it's not covering your nose when you sneeze.”

Sam smiled behind the tissues as he rubbed at his nose. “Sorry.”

Dean shook his head and patted Sam's arm. “Just get better, kiddo. Hunting with Bobby's great, but it's not the same as having you watch my back.”