Day 7

Title: Day 7
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Every time Sam sneezes, something unfortunate happens. Problem is, his allergies are acting up.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2020-21 project project for sexualoddity

Neither of them were sure exactly when the curse had started. Had it been earlier that day when the grilled cheese sandwich Sam had ordered was served burnt? Had the curse been at work when a cassette tape got stuck in the car's tape deck and played the same four AC/DC songs over and over again? Was it the curse that had caused them to both somehow slept through all three of the alarms they'd set? Or maybe it had been at fault the day before when they'd gotten stuck in stop-and-go traffic for more than two hours? Their luck had been so rotten lately, it was hard to know what was a witch toying with them and what was simply fate having its usual way with them. 

The thing was, it didn't really matter when it had started. It had started. That was enough to know going forward. That and the fact that everything would be fine if Sam just kept from sneezing again.

“You sure you don't have to sneeze?” Dean asked, casting his eyes to the side in suspicion as his fingers closed around the car keys.

“I'm sure.” Sam rubbed a few fingers alongside his nose in a way that indicated to Dean that Sam wasn't sure at all.

“Because if you sneeze and it causes us to run off the road... if it means my baby here gets totaled...”

A normal person would probably argue that their lives were more important than a car. But a person with that argument didn't know them or the Impala. And Sam Winchester wasn't a normal person. He was a hunter. He was tired of being magically manipulated. And he was almost certainly allergic to something in town.

Dean's money was on the honeysuckle, but the whole dang town seemed to be in bloom, so realistically it could be any number of things or even a combination. Had the witch known about Sam's allergies? Had she known what town they'd be heading to next? Had she known how soon her curse would be triggered or how quickly it would take hold? Uncertain.

The only thing Dean was certain about was that when all this was over, he was going to track down every last person who planted honeysuckle in this town and make them pay for making his brother sneeze.

The sneezing itself wasn't so bad. It was the fact that every single time Sam sneezed, something unpredictable and unfortunate happened. A drink spilled. A fire alarm went off. A phone drained its battery. At first, it had seemed like terrible coincidences. But it hadn't taken them long to figure out it was a curse. It had to be.

Hahhh... ha-Chuhh!

“So much for not needing to sneeze.”

Before Sam could either defend himself or apologize, the buckle on his belt sprang open and popped off. Sam grabbed at his pants by the waist before they could slip down more than a quarter of an inch.

“Well, that could've been worse.” He glanced back at his baby. The paint was still unscratched, the tires still inflated, the windshield still unchipped. Intending for it to stay that way, Dean shoved the car keys back in his pocket. Then he gripped Sam by the arm and manhandled him back into the motel room. It wasn't foolproof, but there was less ragweed or pollen or whatever the hell was making Sam so damn sneezy inside rather than outside. “Until we figure this out, I feel like I should just burrito you in bubble wrap or put you in some sort of protective bubble.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “Where do you think we could buy a hazmat suit? Might be a good investment to have one on hand.”

The bed springs squeaked as Sam sat down heavily on the end of one of the beds and dropped his head into his hands, knees on his thighs. “We're screwed, aren't we?”

Dean couldn't have phrased it any better if he'd tried. Dean couldn't take on the case that had brought them to this town by himself. They could call Bobby to send other hunters, but who knew how much damage this demon could do in the meantime? And what was the point of dropping the case if they couldn't safely drive back to the previous town to confront the witch? Besides, that required days of driving and some sort of guarantee that she'd actually be waiting right where they'd seen her last. Assuming, of course, that they even arrived in one piece. And everyone knew what happened when you made assumptions. “Yup,” Dean replied. “Pretty screwed.”

At least Sam wasn't quite so sneezy indoors. Maybe they could lure the demon right to their motel room somehow to take it out? That would be a great trick, but it would require some luck on top of skill, and luck was definitely not on their side right now.

hahh-IHPShhhh! Hahhschhhh!

Especially not when Sam was sneezing.

A short cracking sound followed by a hard thump followed the sneezes almost immediately as part of the bed frame of Sam's bed snapped. The side he was currently sitting on dipped as the box spring hit the carpeted floor. Unsteady at that angle, Sam slid and got to his feet before he wound up on the floor as well.

Closing his eyes, Dean enjoyed the uncomplicated peace for just a moment. Maybe going out on a solo hunt just to get away from this disaster would be a good idea after all? Or maybe a run to the drug store was the best move to make. He pulled out his phone and did a quick search for the closest one. It looked like there was a Walgreens on the main drag, about ten minutes from their present location. “How are you doing on allergy medication?”

“Took the extra strength stuff just a... a few!” Sam's breathy statement increased in pitch as his face scrunched up with the feeling of another oncoming sneeze, brow furrowing, nose wrinkling, mouth hanging open. “Hah-IHHShoo!” He nearly doubled-over from the force of the sneeze.

Dean's phone immediately went dark. When he pressed the power button, a white 0% message popped up on the screen. He knew he'd left it charging overnight; it shouldn't be drained already. But, apparently, it was. With a sigh, he walked over to the nightstand and plugged the phone into the wall outlet where the cord was still plugged in. Its charging message was little reassurance. If this continued much longer, not only would they be useless as hunters, but it would drive Dean crazy.

“I'm going to the store for nasal spray.” And maybe another box of tissues, too, just in case.

“Do you want compa—” This time, it was Dean's disapproving look that cut him off rather than a sneeze. “I'll, ah, just wait here.”

“Yeah, you will.”

If Dean had any doubt about this curse, it was driven out as he drove alone to the drugstore. The trip was blessedly uneventful in every way. There wasn't a single untied shoelace, broken taillight, or rejected credit card. There was, however, a nasal rinse, a new box of tissues, and a face mask. If they couldn't go after the witch, the best solution had to keeping Sam's sneezes to a minimum. Maybe they would stand a chance that way.

Or maybe they didn't have to do this alone. “Hey, Bobby?” With luck on his side once again, Dean drove with one hand as he held his phone with the other. Bobby had picked up on the second ring. “What are the chances you're anywhere near Utah?”

Bobby wasn't, but he also had just finished a hunt of his own. It was another bout of luck Dean was grateful for.

“Are you in the mood to stop a witch?”

Dean had to hold the phone a few inches away from his head as Bobby's reaction to this wasn't quiet. It wasn't free of obscenities either, but Dean didn't mind that so much. “It's not me she targeted. It's Sam. And the curse is making it almost impossible for us to do this job.”

It didn't take much convincing to get Bobby to change his route. While a detour to Utah on a trip from Arkansas to South Dakota wasn't the most efficient, Bobby was on his way. It took Dean the rest of the drive back to the motel to fill Bobby in on the witch—who she was, where she lived, what she looked like, what powers she had demonstrated, and why they'd ultimately let her go. Bobby wasn't going to make that same mistake.

How many times did they need to learn that lesson? A hunter who showed mercy wound up either as a dead hunter or a cursed one. Given the two options, Dean would have chosen the second, but that didn't mean he was looking forward to heading back inside and facing more of Sam's unpredictable sneezes. With a deep breath, he patted the Impala's dashboard and wheel lovingly, basking in just a few more moments of order before going back in to face the chaos.

But at least he was facing it with supplies. “Hey, Sam!” he called, closing and locking the door behind him. “I got you a rinse that's supposed to... help... Sam?” Sam wasn't there. A toppled chair was the only other noticeable difference. Dean went straight for the bathroom. The light was off and the door open, and there was no Sam inside. Dean checked behind the door and the shower curtain just in case. Still no Sam. “Aw, shit, Sammy.”

His hope that Sam might have just gone for a walk was dashed when he saw the note scrawled for him and left on the table. The message was short but unambiguous, even though it was only an address. It wasn't in Sam's handwriting, and it was almost certainly written in blood. Either that or this demon had made an awful choice in writing utensils on his last trip to the office supply store.

Dean was back in the car and pulling up the maps app on his phone in seconds.

Had the demon been watching them this whole time and waiting for them to split up before striking? Or had it been the curse that allowed the demon to find Sam? Could it be working with the witch somehow, luring them to a town where Sam's allergies were bound to act up? Was all of this part of a larger, sick plan? Was Dean being lead right into a trap even the Winchesters couldn't escape from?

He had a bad feeling about all of this as he drove up to the abandoned, run-down warehouse. But he still got out of the car and went inside, though not before loading up on weapons from the trunk.

The only light inside the building came from the occasional broken windows high up on the walls. Dean could vaguely make out large pieces of furniture. He had expected the building to have been used for manufacturing or storing, but it had been transformed at some point into office space. Instead of machines, there were empty desks. Instead of storage shelves there were whiteboards. And instead of a big, open space that would be easy to find Sam in, there was a maze of hallways and rooms. Sam could be just about anywhere.

And that's when Dean heard the sneeze. Up until now, this curse had brought bad luck every time Sam sneezed. This time, it was going to be useful and bring Dean to Sam. He could tell for sure what direction to go in and took off at a run.


Dean went right.


The door dead ahead was already ajar, and Dean burst through it, rounded a cubicle farm, and kept running.


Dean ignored the doors on his right that were marked as a server room, a kitchen, and an office supply room. He took the next left and found himself in what seemed to have once been a meeting room. Where there once would have been a meeting table, there was just a single chair. And sitting in that chair was Sam.

Sam's legs were tied together around the ankles, and there was rope around one of his wrists, even as he rubbed the side of his hand beneath his nose. But one side of the rope dangled long and loose as his other hand worked on the knot to free his legs. He had freed himself somehow, but that wasn't even the impressive part. Scattered around him were at least a half dozen bodies.

Without even a guess as to how Sam had managed it, Dean froze in place. “Sam?”

Sam swiped his wrist under his nose again. “Apparently this curse has an up-side. In order to torture me, it needs me alive. So apparently when demons try to attack me... and I sneeze...”

“It's not all spilled drinks and untied shoes?” Dean finished for his brother, part impressed and part hesitant still. He hadn't forgotten the powers Sam had once had or what demon blood did to him. But none of these demons were even bleeding or injured visibly. It looked as if they'd somehow just dropped dead.

“Right.” Loosening the rope around his ankles, Sam stepped out of the tangled mess and got up out of the chair. He nudged the nearest demon body with the toe of his boot, apparently just to make sure it wasn't going to rise back up and resume its attack. It didn't.

“Okay... so do you feel like sneezing again? 'Cause I don't want the curse to misunderstand and think I'm a threat to you.”

Sam gave a sheepish smile. “I do feel pretty sneezy still... sorry. But I think you'll be safe.”

“You think?” How could Sam be sure? How could Dean?

“I-I... th... hah! Th-think-huhh!” He pinched his nose, trying to fight the sneeze off.

Dean squeezed his eyes shut and braced himself. Sam was terrible at holding back his sneezes, especially when it came to his allergies. Knowing how irresistibly sneezy he felt when he was around cats, Dean could hardly blame him. But it was going to really suck if this was how Dean died, after all they'd been through.

hahh-P'Shoo!” Despite pinching his nose, the sneeze still struck. It pitched Sam forward, and he stumbled, tripping over the rope coiled on the floor. “Oof!

Dean cautiously opened his eyes just in time to dive forward and catch his brother around the middle before he hit the floor. “Bless you.”

Sniffing, Sam regained his footing and straightened up. “Thanks. Sniff! Told you it'd be okay.”

Feeling the tension drain from him, Dean managed a smile. After all that could have gone wrong, it was great relief to find they were both alive. He threw an arm around Sam's shoulders. “Glad you're okay, too, Sammy. But I'm still not letting you back in the Impala until this curse is broken. I'm gonna call a cab back to the motel and then call Bobby and see how he's doing hunting down that witch for us.”

It ultimately took them three separate taxis to get back, the first got a flat tire after Sam muffled a sneeze into the crook of his arm. The second unexpectedly ran out of gas after Sam sneezed into Dean's bandanna. Though neither taxi driver could possibly connect the dots, the Winchester brothers knew it was from the curse. Sam felt a little guilty, but Dean was more amused now than anything else. Sam managed to hold back his sneezes and Dean managed to hold back his laughter until they were back inside their motel room.