Title: H is for Hay
“There.” Dean points up ahead to what looks like an abandoned barn. One side has a tractor through it, but the roof is pretty much intact and it sure beats spending the night out in the rain in the middle of a cornfield with corn only up to their waists. “C’mon.”
Sam hesitates. The barn looks temping, but it sounds like
Dean’s forgotten the incident with the horse when he was fourteen. He shakes
his head, little droplets of water falling from his hair like a dog that shakes
off when he’s wet.
“This isn’t open for debate, Sammy. You’ll catch cold out here in the rain all night. At least there we can keep dry and get some sleep. We’ve got a long walk back to the car in the morning.” He sets off for the barn without further discussion and Sam has no choice but to follow.
The sky goes bright with light and, not a second later, thunder rumbles so much they can feel it in the ground. Dean and Sam quicken their pace. They’re drowned rats by the time they get inside the barn. Rain trickles through gaps in the roof and between slats of the walls. “Up in the hayloft looks like our best bet,” Dean nods toward the ladder. “Looks like the roof is better up there.”
“Nah, I think we should hunker down under the loft.” He points to the far corner that’s protected on two sides by pretty sturdy walls and has cover of both the loft floor and the roof. “Easiest to make a break for it if someone finds us.”
Dean looks unconvinced. “Up in the loft, we’ll be hidden from sight, and safer if any wild animals come calling.” He grins. “Do I have to pull the big brother card or are you gonna head up that ladder?”
Reluctantly, Sam starts climbing. The hay is a thick cushion, kind of harsh and prickly, but also dry and warm. He kicks off his shoes and Dean climbs up. “Better take off all our clothes, let them dry a little while we sleep.” Sam agrees with that, and they lay the items out over the hay, which starts to soak up some of the moisture. They even stuff their sneakers with hay. Though Sam hesitates to do so, it’s too late now to stop whatever will come.
Maybe he’s grown out of it, he wonders, as he lies down in the hay. Dean lies down beside and thrusts a leg between Sam’s. Sam throws an arm around Dean, not realizing how cold he feels until he stops moving. Thunder booms outside and Sam’s thoughts drift, trying to remember if he saw a weathervane on top of the barn or not. Dean isn’t so preoccupied, as he nuzzles his face into Sam’s chest and starts breathing slowly, deeply, bringing sleep about. For a few minutes, Sam’s stupid enough to think this might actually work, that he might actually make it to sleep and be able to sleep straight through until the storm lets up.
But then he feels the damn tickle in his nose, so deep and itchy he can’t do anything about it. In vein, he scrubs at his nose with his knuckles. He presses the back of his hand to his nose. He pinches with his thumb and forefinger. But the tickle just gets worse. He sucks in breath and tries to hold it. Fails. “hurhh… HERSchhhhh!”
Dean doesn’t get it. He snuggles closer. “Bless you.”
Sam tries to explain. Fails. “Dean… no… I… al… the… huhEHKShhhh! huhtshhhh! HUH-SChhhhh! UHSHHH!”
Dean lifts his head as Sam shakes against him. “What’s wrong?”
But it’s too late to ask that and too late to do anything about it. The hay’s gotten to him. “hihhhhhtSchhh! HUHKSchhhh!” Sam’s hand, cupped at his nose and mouth, is wet. “huh-EHKShhhh! huhhhUHShh!” He doesn’t even bother trying to open his eyes or close his mouth. “Hihhh-EHSHhhh! UHPTSHHHH!”
“God… Sammy… I forgot all about the damn horse…”
His eyes watering, starting to itch, are still closed but he can see the images replay in his mind. That ghost racehorse out for revenge against its former owners and trainer that had sold it for glue. John Winchester had brought Dean and Sam along to help. And while Dean had helped, tracking down the remaining tail hairs in some woman’s locket, Sam had spent the whole time sneezing uncontrollably any time he came close to the stables. It wasn’t horses he was allergic to, though, but the hay.
And here he is, tangled up with Dean in it. In a lot of it.
“Do you want to go?”
Sam thinks about the sneezing and the misery and the cold wet outside. Above the sound of his sneezes, he can hear the rain beating down on the roof. There’s nowhere else within a hundred miles to take shelter. Hating his answer, he shakes his head. And sneezes some more. “hehhSchh! HUTTShuhhh! Huhhh-URShhikuhh!”
Dean slides his arms around Sam, pulling him close. Sam presses his nose to Dean’s dry, warm shoulder, trying to hide against his brother, getting ready for an incredibly long night.