Title: Secret
Fandom: Supernatural

Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13

Summary: Sam’s tired out from the trials and Dean’s just plain tired.

Notes: Written for day 11 of my 23 Ficlets project to celebrate my 23rd anniversary in the community




As usual, the door to Sam’s bedroom was open. Still, Dean approached with apprehension. “Sammy?”


There was a grunt and a cough for an answer.


Dean wasn’t sure exactly what sort of an answer, but it wasn’t a no or a slam of a door, so he ventured in. “I brought you soup and cookies.”


Sam sat at his desk, hunched over a book and pages upon pages of notes. It might have been any normal research day for him, if not for the shivering and the blanket around his shoulders. The first two trials had taken a toll on him, a toll Dean wished he could have endured in Sam’s place. Seeing his brother suffering like this was painful, though Sam was the one in the most pain. Still, he gave Dean a weak smile. “Thanks, but I’m not really hungry.”


“How long since you last ate?” Dean marched over, cleared the research away and plopped the tray on his desk. “And don’t count taking one bite of a sandwich and hiding the rest until you could dispose of it without my finding out.”


Sam sighed, which caused him to cough. “Dean.”


Eat.” Dean forced a spoon into his hand.


Sam stared down at the soup. He slid the spoon in. Then he let go of the spoon, picked up a chocolate chip cookie, and took a bite. “Still warm,” he said in an almost moan.


Dean grinned with pride. “Fresh from the oven.” He’d had three between taking baking sheets out of the oven and reaching Sam’s room. “I thought you might be getting tired of soup.”


Sam finished the first cookie off and started on another. It appeared he had found his appetite after all. Now Dean wished he’d slipped some more protein powder into the batch. Or maybe some oatmeal. He laughed inwardly at the idea that he was suddenly the brother insisting on healthy eating habits. But then Sam picked the spoon back up and tasted it. “This is still warm too,” he said, going for another spoonful.


“Well then, eat up while it’s still warm, kiddo. You still all right with water? Want a refill? Or a beer?”


Sam shook his head. He gestured with his spoon toward the water bottle which did look mostly full.


“Call me if you need anything. Or if you find anything,” Dean said, with a nod to the books and papers he’d shoved aside. The sooner they got Sam through this, the sooner he could stop worrying about his little brother. Hell, the sooner he could stop worrying about everything. It was the solution they’d been searching for ever since Mom died.


“Will do.” Sam swallowed another spoonful of soup without prompting, giving Dean the encouragement he needed to leave. To retreat. To hide.


It was easier than normal to avoid Sam these days. When it had been just the two of them hunting demons town to town in the Impala, it had been impossible to conceal a head cold. Not even the best medicine could hide that when you were with someone twenty-four hours a day every day. But the Men of Letters Bunker was so big and Sam mostly kept to the library and his room lately. Dean had had this cold for nearly three days now and Sam hadn’t suspected a thing.


Dean told himself it was all right to lie by omission. It was a way of protecting Sam as much as anything else he’d ever done. Sam was barely hanging on as it was; Dean didn’t want to give Sam yet one more thing to worry about. Besides, a couple more days and he’d be completely over this thing.


He headed into the kitchen to find the soup still warm there as well. It was waiting for him where he’d left it simmering on the stove. After ladling out a bowl full, he sat down at the table with a box of tissues on one side of the bowl and a car magazine on the other. There were enough balled-up tissues strewn about for him to construct a basic devil’s trap, he realized, and then sighed inwardly that it was the sort of thing that would occur to him.


Dean tried to get lost in his magazine, but he didn’t even make it through one column of an article before he stopped to grab a tissue from the box. “Chishhhh!” Hunched forward, shoulders tense, he massaged his nose with the tissue for just a moment before a second struck. “h’CHIHshhhh!” They weren’t loud, and neither was the sound of him blowing his nose. There was no way Sam would be able to hear them from his room, even with the door open. Still, Dean looked over his shoulder to make certain Sam wasn’t standing right there.


Of course he wasn’t. Sam was still in his room just trying to hold it together a little longer, not unlike what Dean was doing in the kitchen right now. Dean turned back around, nose tickling again already. It had been so good while he’d been talking with Sammy. Oh, sure, it had tickled a couple times, but that had gone away with a sniff or a rub or both.


Reaching for a new tissue, he folded it over his nose and curled in on himself a bit to brace himself. “hhttCHuhh!


“Bless you.”


Startled, Dean wheeled around so fast he practically fell out of his chair.


But Castiel reached out and caught his arm. With an arm around Dean’s middle, he helped the man regain his balance and straighten up.


“What are you doing here?”


Castiel looked confused, but when didn’t he? “Blessing you?” he answered. “Just now, I said that.”


“I know that part.” Dean rubbed his hand back and forth over his forehead. Then he slumped back into his chair and motioned for Cas to sit down at the table as well.


Taking a chair on the right side of the table, Castiel sat stiff and straight. “You took medicine.” It was a statement, not a question. Even after all this time, Dean still forgot how much Castiel knew.


“Yeah,” Dean agreed. “And good thing I did. Imagine how sick I’d feel if I hadn’t.”


Castiel cocked his head to the side slightly, and Dean realized the angel really was trying to imagine that.


Dean gritted his teeth. “No, I mean—”


“You should be in bed.”


“I’ll be fine. I’ve been through worse than a head cold.”


“Sam’s in bed.”


Dean blinked. “He is?” It hadn’t been more than a few minutes since he’d seen Sam. He wondered if his brother had finished the soup before crawling into bed or if he had just been too tired to finish it and gone to sleep instead.


“He is.” Cas raised a hand and before Dean could blink again, he found himself in his room, already tucked into his bed.


“Cas!” he protested. “How many times do I have to tell you not to…” His voice trailed off as Castiel pulled back the covers and climbed in. He wished he could lie here and enjoy this, but a jolt of panic burst through Dean. He couldn’t help remembering the mess he’d left in the kitchen with the tissues and the dirty dishes from lunch. What if Sam got up and found the kitchen like that? There would be no way to hide anything at that point. He started to pull away to get up, to go clean up, to do what he was supposed to. But then he felt an enormous sense of peace wash over him as Castiel held him. His memory foam mattress remembered them both, and his body remembered the feel of his angel’s arm draped over it. “Wake me up when Sam get up, all right?”


Castiel’s answer came in the form of soft kisses to the back of his neck. They made Dean shiver and snuggle further under the covers even as he felt another sneeze coming on. “huh’Chhxxxshhhh!”  Somehow, Castiel held a tissue for him. Dean took it, massaged his nose, and closed his eyes.