Day 8

Title: Day 8
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: It just figures that Sam's allergic to a holiday.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2018-19 project project for Sexualoddity.

As the door closed behind them, Sam and Dean walked the length of the porch then down the stepping stone path leading to the sidewalk. They walked in near silence, Sam’s sniffling the only notable noise. When they were halfway down the sidewalk to the next house in the neighborhood, Dean couldn’t take it anymore. He turned around, grabbed the lapels of Sam’s suit, and held on tight. “All right kiddo, since when have you been allergic to Christmas trees?”

Sam’s brow wrinkled, and he cocked his head just a little. “I don’t know that I am.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “Are you kidding me here? Ten seconds after you sat down next to that tree, you were sneezing.”

“Maybe they had a cat or something?”

“I’m the one with the cat allergy, not you. You, Sammy, are allergic to a holiday.

Sam shook his head. “I’m not. I’m fine. See?” He breathed carefully in and out through his nose to show Dean he wasn’t at all congested or sniffly. Only his nose did still feel a little ticklish. And his eyes did feel a tad bit itchy. But Dean didn’t need to know that. “Let’s just go to the next house, okay? We’ve got a shapeshifter to find, and it could be anybody in any of these houses. We can’t let it get away again.”

“We won’t,” Dean reassured him. “Just… try not to have another sneezing fit, all right? It distracts the potential witnesses.”

“Not a problem. I don’t feel like sneezing anymore.”

They walked up to the next house, a small house with gray siding and white trim. This one didn’t have a porch, but it did have a giant, inflatable snowman sitting deflated in the front yard like a plastic puddle. And it had icicle lights hanging down from the roof. When the door opened, they found themselves facing a surly teenager. The hair on one half of his head was shaved off and he refused to take his earbuds out. “What do you want?” he asked, seeming unimpressed with Sam and Dean’s Homeland Security badges.  

With his phone out, Sam opened the camera app and glanced at the screen. No retinal flare. “Do you have a parent at home? Siblings?”

“My mom's in the kitchen,” he said, gesturing behind him and then shrugging and wandering away.

“Kids these days,” Dean muttered, rolling his eyes. To the kitchen it was, then. Between the front door and the kitchen was a large, formal living room with not one but two Christmas trees. Dean hesitated, but Sam headed right in as if determined to prove he was not allergic to the trees.

They found the kid's mom in the kitchen all right, sitting at a round table only big enough to hold the three bottles of booze, the ash tray, and the half-crumpled pack of cigarettes. They couldn't tell if she was chain smoking while drinking or drinking while chain smoking, but it amounted to the same thing in the end. Her eyes were unfocused, even as Sam and Dean showed their fake IDs, but when Sam looked at her eyes in his phone's video recording setting, there was nothing out of the ordinary about them.

“Have you noticed anyone acting strangely in your neighborhood, ma'am?” Dean asked.

She took a long swig straight from one of the bottles. Then she tapped her cigarette on the edge of the ash tray. “You payin' for information?”

“No, ma'am. Just asking everyone to do their part in keeping the neighborhood safe.”

She gave a laugh and took a drag on her cig, exhaling smoke in their direction. Sam coughed, trying and failing to hide his nose and mouth against the collar of his suit. “I didn't see anything.”

Truly shocking. “All right then. Thank you for your time.”

“Yes,” Sam agreed, clearing his throat. “Thank yeh-you” He lifted his hand, rubbing at his nose. “hihhh... heh-yehhh... ehhh ehhhh Yehhhhh...” Dean shot him a look that Sam didn't see. Sam's eyes were already closing as he lost his battle. “heyyy-YETCHhhhh! HEHTchuhhh!” He snapped forward, cupping his hand over his mouth and nose.

“Okay,” Dean said, putting his hands on Sam's shoulders and turning him around to march him out. “Thank you for your help. We'll see ourselves out.”

hahh...  thanks... hahh-KIHTChhhh!” Sam tried again, stumbling forward as Dean pushed him out of the kitchen and through the room. “yehh-HIHShhhh! Hehtchhhh! Hehshuhh!” Sam sneezed repeatedly, barely able to keep his eyes open, counting on Dean to guide him around the coffee table covered in empty pizza boxes and the couch covered in blankets. Dean practically shoved his brother out the front door, off the stoop, and down the stairs to get him out into the fresh air. Only then did the sneezes start to back off. 

“You all right, Sammy?” Dean asked, his hand on Sam's upper arm.

Sam bent over, one hand on his thigh, the other still cupped to his face. “HEHTChhh! Hehhh-IHHShhhh! HERTChuhhh!” He sniffed and rubbed the back of his hand at his nose, blinking tears out of his eyes. 

“Not allergic to Christmas trees, huh?”

Sniff!” Sam wiped the cuff of his sleeve at his eyes. “It was the cigarette smoke.”

Dean sighed with frustration. “Seriously?”

“She yihhh-Hehtchuhhh! She blew it right in my face.”

“Oh for the love of...” Muttering, Dean threw his hands up and stormed off toward the next house.

Snuffling, Sam followed behind. Without a word exchanged, they waited for Sam's sneezes to back off entirely before either of them rang the doorbell. Sam wasn't exactly composed, but he was as good as he could be, under the circumstances. A little sniffly... a little congested... it was the wintertime, and everyone was just going to assume he was a little under the weather.

A young woman answered the door, wearing a dainty negligee only half covered by an even dantier robe with fluffy feathers at the cuffs and collar. Dean could already predict Sam using those as an excuse. “Agents Van and Halen of Homeland security. Can we ask you a few questions?”

She gave an overly dramatic shiver and simultaneously flipped her black hair over her shoulder while hugging her arms over her chest. “Only if you two come in. It's freezing out.” It was above forty, and both Winchesters had long underwear on beneath their suits, prepared for the long day canvasing the neighborhood. Dean tried not to stare at the woman's cleavage or nipples or whatever else her nighty revealed, so he looked up, seeing a sprig of mistletoe nailed above the door. He glanced over at Sam; the kid wasn't allergic to that.


Or was he?

As they headed inside, Sam took out a pocket square and wiped at his nose. Two seconds inside and already he was feeling sneezy? This wasn't going to end well.

The living room was dark, the only light coming from a Christmas tree in the far corner adorned with red lights and hideous pink tinsel. There seemed to be an unspoken agreement between them to make this quick. Dean began “We're responding to some reports of incidents in your area. We were wondering if you—”

“Care for a nip, gentlemen?” she glided over to a cabinet on the side of her living room and unstoppered a sherry bottle.

“No thank you. We're on duty,” said Dean, who desperately wanted to say yes. Sam didn't say anything; he was taking advantage of the woman being distracted in order to rub his nose and get his phone back into video mode. The woman knocked back a few pours all at once and refilled her sherry glass. She watched the liquid slosh about in the glass, mesmerizing her. “We were wondering if you had noticed anything suspicious lately.”

“Suspicious?” she asked, pressing the tip of her tongue against her top lip. “You mean, like two handsome officers suddenly standing in my living room?”

“We're federal agents,” Sam said, his voice a strained and unconvincing croak. He cleared his throat and sniffed and was entirely done for. Quickly, he buried his nose in the pocket square, which was really meant for show and not for containing Sam-sized sneezes. “hehh-URShh! Yihh-GIHShhhh! Hihkshhhh! Ihhhtshhhh! HEHPPTShhhhhh!

Dean glared at the Christmas tree, as if it if were doing this to his brother on purpose, as if he could salt and burn it in a way that would make all the other Christmas trees in the neighborhood disappear. With a sigh, he took the phone out of Sam's hand and checked her out on the screen. He was almost disappointed that she wasn't a shifter. The sooner they found this thing and ganked it the better. Then he could get Sam back to the motel, dose him with Benadryl, and shove him into the shower until his sinuses started cooperating.

“Suspicious,” Dean said. “Neighbors behaving strangely? People going missing? That sort of thing?”

She shook her head. “I tend to keep to myself...” She drained her glass, stepped forward, and slowly undid the string holding the robe closed. “Unless I have a reason not to.” She smiled, meeting his gaze. “You know, I do love a man in a suit.”

Dean's heart raced. New plan: send Sam out to the car and take this woman up on her offer.

heyy-IHTChhh! Hehh-HRSchhhhh!” Sam gripped Dean's arm. “heyyyYIHSHOO!

Dean sighed and put his hand over Sam's on his arm, patting reassuringly. “We've got to get going. Happy holidays.”

He filled her glass again and echoed his “happy holidays,” in the most seductive voice possible.

heh... hihhh HIHTChhhh!

Dean gripped Sam's arm and hauled him outside.

It took longer for Sam to recover this time, sneezing and sniffling almost constantly as he leaned against a tree by the sidewalk. Dean waited patiently, arms crossed over his chest. When his sneezing finally backed down, Dean asked, “So are you going to tell me what the hell that was?”

Sam put on his best puppy dog eyes. “Perfume?” Dean narrowed his eyes. “Feathers? Dust?”

Christmas tree?” Dean suggested with emphasis.

Sam shook his head.

“Damn it, Sammy! Why won't you just admit—”

“There's a shapeshifter to catch,” Sam changed the subject, waving his phone.

They headed to the next house.

hehhh!” Sam cupped his hand to his nose and mouth even as Dean reached for the doorbell. They hadn't even made it beyond the front porch and already Sam was a sneezy mess. With the back of his hand, holding his phone, he rubbed at his eyes. “hah-hah-IHPTChh! HEPTChhh! Hihh-YIHSchhhh! HihSHUHHH!” He sniffed and lowered his hand to find Dean staring at him.

Sam gestured at the door. “What are you waiting for?”

“You, Sneezy. Hey, isn't there an elf named Sneezy?”

Sam's brow wrinkled. “You're thinking of Snow White's dwarf.”

“Oh. Right.” He rang the doorbell.

An elderly couple answered together.

heh-PTCHHHHH!” Sam sneezed so suddenly he didn't have a chance to cover up. His cheeks went bright red when he caught sight of the man and woman's startled expressions. “S'just allergies,” he muttered, as if that made everything all right. He was still bright red as Dean introduced them and asked the standard questions. Sam checked them both out in the video screen and gave Dean a small shake of his head. No shapeshifter here either. They'd been canvasing all morning and had barely made a dent. The street seemed endless and the neighborhood immense. At this rate, it would take them all week, right up until Christmas. And what if the shapeshifter changed form in that time or assumed the identity of someone they'd previously checked?

“Thanks. That's all. Have a good day,” Dean said finally. The couple couldn't get their front door closed fast enough.

“They seemed suspic... suspiciiihhhh ihhh-HIPTSHHHH! HEHTCHOO!” He sniffed and accepted Dean's bandanna, pressing it to his face immediately. “Thah... thanks hahhh-IHHGSHHHH! My nose is sniff so itchy, and I didn't go near a Christmas tree this time,” Sam pointed out.

Dean did not look amused. He merely lifted his hand, pointing at the pine wreath clearly hanging on the front door.

Determined not to give Dean the satisfaction of being right about this, Sam leaned a few inches forward and took a big whiff of the pine scent. The wreath must have been fresh, because it smelled strongly. It smelled like Christmas, and Sam smiled fondly. Then, almost at once, his nostrils flared and face fell. He buried his nose in the bandanna. “HEHPTChhh! EHSHOO! HEHPPTSHHH! HIHSCHHHH!” The itch persisted; it felt like no matter how strong the sneezes were, he couldn't get rid of that itchy tickle in his nose now. “heh-IHKTCHHH! HIHSCHHH! YIHHTSHHHH! HEHYSHHHHHH!

Dean grabbed him by the arm and dragged him, stumbling, off the porch and down the front walk.


Dean patted Sam's back repeatedly, waiting it out. He, apparently, had more faith than Sam that the sneezes would eventually end. Sam wasn't convinced. The sneezes seemed to be getting stronger, not weaker.


He rubbed at his eyes, itchy and teary. His throat itched, too. Hell, his whole body felt a little itchy. He wanted to go back to the motel. He wanted Dean to load him up with Benadryl. He wanted to get into a hot shower and breathe in the steam.


Sam was hunched over, being thrown forward with each and every sneeze.

“Sneeze the allergen out, kiddo. It'll pass.”

Shaking his head, readjusting the handkerchief, Sam tried his best to believe him. But it wasn't easy.

YIHshhhhh! HEHSChhhhhh! Hehh... hehhh-Ihschuhhhh!

“See? Better already.”

ihhh... hehhh-h'Gschhhhh!

As Sam wound up for another sneeze, he realized Dean was right. He didn't need to sneeze again just now. He sighed, careful to control his breath, not wanting to trigger another tickle flaring up in his nose.

He spoke slowly, not wanting to risk setting himself off again. “Guess it... was a good thing we never had a Christmas tree when we were growing up.”

“Guess Dad managed to give us good Christmases without even trying. Who knew?” Dean chuckled. “You up for one more house?”

Sam looked at him like his brother was insane.

“You can handle this one, I promise.” Dean gestured to the next house, where a Menorah sat in the window.