Title: J is for Jammies
Sam presses the back of his hand against Dean’s forehead and Dean leans forward, increasing the pressure of the touch, trying to get closer to Sam. But Sam is already up, out of bed and dressed. And Sam tucks the covers tightly around Dean. “Now, I’m going to go pay for a few more days of the room and pick up something from the continental breakfast. You stay right here. I’ll be back in ten. Do you understand?” Dean makes absolutely no sign that he understands. He sniffles and rubs boyishly at his bothersome nose. “Dean, nod if you understand that I’ll be back in ten minutes.”
Dean nods as if it’s a reflex, and Sam isn’t entirely sure Dean knows what he’s nodding about. But he’s got only a couple minutes to get over to the Super 8’s lobby before the bagels and cold cereal are swept up and boxed away for tomorrow. So he pats Dean through the blanket, grabs his winter coat, and leaves.
When he gets to the lobby, there are no bagels. There are, however, donuts and danishes and fresh fruit. Sam loads up a large plate, knowing Dean won’t have much of an appetite anyway. There is also a man who is more than happy to take Sam’s money for two more days. “There’s a paper convention in town this weekend, so the motel is booked solid. You’ve got to leave by 11 on Thursday.”
Sam promises they will be checked out by then, thanks him for the food, and heads back to the room, which is just around the corner and down the walk from the lobby and front desk. When he rounds the corner, however, the sight in front of him stops him cold. Dean is there, fully dressed, hand on the handle of the driver’s side door. Rushing to intercept, Sam nearly loses his breakfast, plate and all. He pulls Dean by the arm, increasing the space between Dean and the Impala, until Dean is practically back inside the room. “Dean, what are you doing?”
irises wade in the pools of confusion that are Dean’s eyes. He answers the
question with two of his own. “Are you ready to go?” He presses a fist to his
nose, snaps forward. “Hehhh… hehEhshooo! Do you doe where by keys are?”
Before Sam can reply, Dean begins to sway and Sam lunges forward, grabbing him. He’s never been so glad to have hidden Dean’s car keys the night before. But he’s not so happy to find Dean outside, fully clothed. “We’re not going anywhere. You’re sick. Not to mention we have nowhere to go.”
Dean nods as if this hadn’t occurred to him. He spent so much time on the road it was just second nature to get up and go. Back in the room, Sam finds their bags by the door, open and jammed with things Dean shoved in them in a hasty attempt at packing. His pajamas are in there, along with the extra shampoo bottles from the shower stall, the trash can from the bathroom, and a lamp from the nightstand. Instead of unpacking, because the Winchesters never really settle anywhere if they can help it, Sam grabs Dean’s pajamas from the bag on the way back to bed.
Dean coughs and sniffles as Sam tries to get the clothes off him. But Dean’s arms are stiff and strong and all his body wants to do is flop onto the bed and snuggle up with blankets. He bats Sam’s hands away. “C’mon, Dean. I’m trying to get you into your jammies. Will you just quit fighting me on this?”
Even sick and feverish Dean’s got a little fight in him. But it’s like he can’t figure out if he wants to stay in bed or leave. Sam does the only thing he can think of to tame a feisty, restless Dean—leans over and kisses him. And then, just like that, Dean goes limp. He lets Sam strip off his clothes and pull the soft, white t-shirt over his head and the flannel sleep pants up to his waist. Loose drawstring. White tube socks. But Dean shakes his head when Sam goes for the sweatshirt and Sam chalks that up to the fever. But Dean doesn’t protest when Sam tucks the covers securely around him.
It’s just before lunch when Dean wakes up. Sam’s lying in bed, reading a book he’s not particularly into. Rolling over, Dean nuzzles his face into Sam’s chest and sneezes four times running. “Um, gross?” Sam winces as Dean snuffles, wipes his nose with the edge of Sam’s shirt. “I’m going to go get you some tissues. Let me up.” Sam manages to extricate himself from the bed. The tissue box is part of the counter in the bathroom, but he pries open the cover and extracts the box.
When he returns, Dean is up and his pants are off. He’s trying to get his jacket on, though.
“Dean, what’re you doing?”
“Goig out.” It’s almost impossible, but he sounds even stuffier. “I gotta get tissues. I cad’t… hehh… hehhEHGshhhh! Egxxshh! Cad’t stob sdeezig.”
“Because you’re sick. Get your jacket off and get back in bed, Dean. I’ve got your tissues right here.”
Dean stares at him. “Bushy Sabby.”
Sam raises his eyes to the ceiling for a microsecond. “Pushy. Right. All this is just a power trip and has nothing to do with your fever.” He crunches the box under his arm as he forces the jacket off and the pajama pants back on. With a hand around Dean’s upper arm, he marches his older brother back to bed. Dean lies down and Sam tucks the blankets tight around him. Then he sits down on the edge and supplies Dean with as many tissues as he could want. Dean passes them back, used, balled-up, and damp. Sam winces and drops them over the side of the bed into the trash can.
Sam sticks a thermometer in Dean’s mouth, kisses his forehead, strokes his cheek. Sam turns his back for one minute and Dean is out of bed, stripping off his pajamas and crawling across the floor for his shoes.
Sam doesn’t need the thermometer to tell him Dean’s still running a fever. He picks him up and puts him right back in bed, wishing that he could strap him in instead of tuck him in.
The shower helps Dean’s breathing a bit. He isn’t quite so snuffly as he stands there in the hot, steamy bathroom. He can take a deep, full breath without coughing. Sam has to hold Dean up. Fevers and slippery tubs are a bad combination.
After they get out, Sam turns to retrieve Dean’s pajamas, neatly folded on the lid of the toilet. But when he turns back around, Dean isn’t there. He’s made a break for it, heading out of the bathroom and straight for his duffle bag.
Sam intercepts, steers him back, and dries him off before the pajamas go back on. “Jammies and bed,” Sam insists. Dean nods.
It’s the middle of the night and Dean kicks down the covers for the fifth time. The sudden, cold rush of air sweeping over them wakes Sam and makes Dean shiver. He runs hot and cold too quickly to keep up with, but he clings to his brother, whimpering.
Sam gets up out of bed. He pulls the sheet and blankets back up again, folding the end of the sheet over the edge of the blankets as he tucks them around Dean. Stroking Dean’s forehead sends Dean back to sleep. For another twenty minutes. Then he kicks them down a sixth time.
“Hah-EGShxxttt!” Dean sneezes into a t-shirt he’s just taken out of his bag as he roots through just about everything he owns. His sneezes are forceful, wet, and the tissues have long since run out.
Sam stands in the doorway, plastic bags from the grocery store, filled with everything from Kleenex packs to canned soup, hang from one hand. He surveys the damage of the room—clothes and other items strewn about. There’s a skin magazine open in one corner. There’s a sawed-off shotgun sticking out from under the bed. There’s a baseball cap perched on a lampshade. There’s a pair of muddy shoes on the table. “Dean, what’re you doing?” Sam is beyond exasperation now. He’s beginning to think Dean won’t be well enough to move on Thursday when they get kicked out of the room, not if his fever’s making him act like this.
Dean snuffles and looks up. “I dod’t feel good,” he admits. “hah-hah-h’EKkkShhhhh! Sniff! Sniff! I’b sick.”
“I know that.”
could’t fide by jabbies. I deed to chadge idto theb and thed get idto bed.”
Sam wants so badly to laugh, but he knows he shouldn’t. What he does instead is take hold of Dean by the shoulders. “Dean, you’re wearing your jammies already, that’s why you can’t find them.
Dean looks down and studies himself for far too long. It’s an uncomfortable silence, punctuated by sniffles and throat clearings. His nose runs as his head hangs down. Finally Sam guides his brother to bed. And Dean climbs in, sliding under the covers happily and settling in.
Sam goes to work tucking his brother in again. First he rips open one of the new Kleenex boxes, gives Dean a few tissues, wedges the box between pillows and nightstand. Then he runs his hands down both of Dean’s sides, sliding a little of the blanket just underneath Dean. He’s become an expert in tucking, folding the sheet over the edge of the blankets and comforter then making sure that covers Dean’s shoulders and neck, all the way up to under Dean’s chin. Dean is tight and secure, which is what he likes when he’s sick and, more importantly, what he needs.
He goes to fish out the tissue boxes from the grocery bag to tend to Dean’s runny nose. But he feels a hand on his back and Dean sniffling into his neck. Ten seconds. Ten seconds and Dean’s up and out of bed again. At this rate, he’ll never get any rest. There’s only one thing to do.
“That’s it. I’ve had it.” He turns. “I feel like I’m on repeat. You can’t keep getting out of bed, Dean, or you’ll never get better.” Sam ushers his brother back to bed and then crawls under with him. It’s a lot harder to tuck Dean in from under the blankets, but he tries. And then he wraps his arms around Dean, spooning and cuddling from behind. Dean couldn’t escape now even if he wanted to.