Title: Dean Hearding
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: not my boys. Well, I mean, I adore them, but I don’t own them or make any money from this in any way
Summary: Dean hearding is harder even than cat hearding.
Prompt: Written for my comment fic meme in 2014. Huge storm approaching causes Sam & Dean to pull over at the nearest motel. There isn't one. But they do find a Bed & Breakfast with one available room. Problem is, the storm gets out of hand and it's not safe to leave. So they're stuck in this house for several days. With possibly strange or possibly awesome other people and the owners of the B&B. And with whatever food supplies were on hand. And with several cats. Which make one of the boys sneeze. A lot. And there's absolutely no chance going out for allergy pills.



Dean Hearding


Sam walked down the stairs to the sunken basement, feeling the significant temperature drop on the way and seeing the glow of oil lamps increase. He stopped on the bottom stair. “Everything going all right?”


The woman who owned the B&B couldn’t have been more than fifty-five. She stood there with a pad of paper and a pen poised upon it. A too-cheerful young woman about Sam’s age turned from the shelves; she had a can of peas in one hand and a can of corn in the other. “Inventory’s coming along. We’ll have enough to last weeks…”


“Let’s hope we don’t need it,” Sam said. “Keep up the good work.” He turned and headed back up the stairs.


In the living room, the young woman’s boyfriend was helping a retired gentleman vacationing from Africa board up the windows. Sam tested the nearest window, giving one of the boards a little tug. The nails held it all right, but it gave a little. Sam wasn’t sure it was going to stand up to the storm they were expecting, but it was better than nothing.


“If we have extra wood and nails after we make the first rounds, we’ll reinforce them,” the man said, his accent rich and unidentifiable. Sam wondered why anyone from Africa would choose to vacation in North Carolina of all places.


He and Dean wouldn’t even have been here if they’d had a choice about it. They’d been driving south from New York and ran into highway closures. The detours had sent them wildly off course. Apparently the heavy rains were pretty soon going to give way to a massive storm complete with a hurricane. There hadn’t been any motels free, so they’d had the choice of weathering the storm in their car or holing up in a bed and breakfast with a vacant room.


They’d chosen the latter. At the time, it had seemed like a no-brainer. But Sam wasn’t entirely sure now they’d made the right choice.


 “Keep up the good work,” Sam told them before checking out the kitchen.


The first person they’d met at the B&B had been an elderly woman out for a smoke. She was in the kitchen now, boxing up anything that might be useful—bread, fruit and vegetables that wouldn’t keep for long, oil in case of burns, those sorts of things. She was the calmest of the bunch and seemed relaxed as she looked over her shoulder to see Sam. “Do you need any help?” he asked her.


She shook her head. “No, dearie. I’ve got it all under control. You just see to that handsome young brother of yours.”


Sam bit his tongue as he nodded and continued up a narrow flight of stairs to the upper floors. He followed the sound of water running to the bathroom, where water was filling a plugged-up, claw footed bathtub. Water in the sink was flowing into emptied milk jugs, Tupperware containers—anything clean and empty that they’d been able to find in the kitchen. Sam guessed that this was not the way the couple had been wanting to spend their honeymoon, but they both gave him smiles as they switched out one full container with another.


Sam checked each bedroom as he passed it, making sure the windows had been boarded up. In some cases, they’d dragged large pieces of furniture to that wall to block the windows as well. All the bedrooms looked as secure as they could get, including the one at the top of the stairs that had been Dean and Sam’s. When they’d thrown their bags in there, they’d agreed to take turns on the bed and the floor. But it looked like everyone in the B&B was going to be spending the storm in the basement, so that didn’t much matter now.


The problem was that “everyone” included the B&B owner’s five cats. Sam thought they were all pretty cute, actually, except maybe for the scruffy orange tom with one torn ear and foggy eyes. Sam had thought it was kind of nice that they were the snuggling, clingy sort of cats. Dean, on the other hand, was less fond of them.


“Hey, Dean. How’s it going?”


“Close the door, quick!” There was a scuffle and hiss, a grunt, and Sam turned and shut the door just as a black and white cat nearly slipped out, but didn’t.


It seemed to take Dean considerable effort to lift his head up from the damp, balled-up bandana he had clutched in his fist. When he did, and his bloodshot eyes met Sam’s, Sam had to control himself to keep from overreacting. Dean looked horrible. His nostrils were red and raw. His eyes weren’t just red but puffy also. His mouth hung open, expecting another sneeze any second now. “This is worse thad hell, Sabby. At least id hell I could breathe while I was beig tortured.”


An adorable white and gray ball of fluff jumped onto the bed next to Dean and rubbed against the man’s thigh.


“Doe! G’off!” Dean begged, trying to push the cat away. It purred, arching its back. And Dean fell forward, nose meeting bandana. “Ehhpttshuhhh! Hetshhhhhh!


The sneezes were weaker than they had been the last time Sam had checked on him; Dean was obviously running low on energy.


“Why do I hab to be the onde who rounds these cats ub?”


“We drew straws for jobs, Dean. Besides, this shouldn’t take long. I thought you’d have them done by now.”


hehhhPTchuhhhhhh!” Dean rubbed a knuckle at his eyes as he glared over at the cat carriers. Only one out of four contained cats. “I got adother ode id, but whed I tried to double-ub with the big carrier, they both escabed.” Dean’s expression was pleading. “Helb be, Sabby?”


Sighing, Sam resigned himself to help. He walked over to the bed and scooped the gray fluffball up into his arms. It looked up at him, purring. By the time he’d walked over to one of the carriers, it was kneading happily into his forearm. It definitely didn’t want to go inside, given its newfound attention-giver, but Sam managed to pull it off his arm and ease it into the largest carrier. “There… that wasn’t so hard.”


Dean stared at him, wide-eyed. “How the heehhh… hehhhGITSHUHHHH!” He bounced in place on the bed and the orange tom hissed at him from the corner of the room, where it had chosen its spot under a nightstand. Dean blew his nose then cleared his throat while rubbing the back of his hand against red eyes. “Did you fide adythig out there that would helb?”


“Helb?”Sam spotted the black and white tuxedo cat pacing in front of the door again and set his sights on it.


“Kleedex? Eye drobs? Allergy bedicatiod? Huh-huh-Kitchhhhh! Blease, blease tell be that subode had sobe Bedadryl!”


Sam shook his head regretfully.


“Sudafed? Zyrtec? Afrid? Adythig?”


Sam shook his head again.


hehh-IHShukkuhhh!” Dean winced as he wiped his dripping nose with the wet hanky. “You’re killig be here, Sabby.”


“I think it’s the cat dander that’s getting to you, actually.”


heh-t’chahhhh!” It snuck up on him so suddenly he only had time to lift his fist halfway to his face. Then he scrubbed his knuckles at his nose.


With a sigh, Sam scooped the black and white cat in his arms. It struggled for a second, climbing up Sam’s front toward, setting claws in to get purchase on his shoulder. Sam carried it over to the largest carrier and squeezed the metal door latch. He pulled the door open, slid the cat in, and shut the door again. The two cats inside looked at each other, sniffed at each other, and settled down.


Turning, Sam found his older brother staring at him again. “What are you? The cat whisberer?”


“It’s really not that hard, Dean. Just grab a cat and put it into the carrier.”


There were two cats left—the orange tom and a long-haired Persian who looked to Sam like two shining eyes hiding under a bed. “Which one do you want to get?”


heh-ihshahh! Eh-GIHShhuhh!” Dean dropped the bandana onto the floral bedspread and rubbed his nose into the crook of his arm. “heh-Chumffffff!” He lifted his head. “I’ll get the fluffy ode. You get the ode with the bitchface.”


Sam chuckled and dropped down to his knees. The tomcat was cornered under the nightstand still. It wouldn’t be too difficult to reach in and pull it out. But Sam was attached to his fingers and thought he’d like to keep them if possible. He crawled over to the cat and got down. He clicked two fingernails together and put on a smile. “C’mon big guy. This is for your own good.” It regarded Sam for a minute then squeezed out from under the nightstand. It rubbed against Sam’s hand and Sam took hold of it. With one hand on its belly and the other the scruff of its neck, Sam lifted it into one of the empty cat carriers.


The second Sam snapped the door shut, Dean yelped. He pulled out from under the bed on one side as the cream-colored Persian cat shot out from the other end. It sat, washing itself in the far corner, while Dean cradled his arm. He pulled back his shirt sleeve to reveal three superficial scratches. Dean looked up at Sam. “I… I-IHHHSchhhhh! You’re doig this to be od burbose, ared’t you?” He cleared his throat and scrubbed his nose into his shoulder. “For dot stobbig back id Virgidia whed you told be to?”


Sam wanted to laugh, but was pretty sure that his big brother would shoot him dead if he so much as smiled. He bit the inside of his cheek hard and concentrated on the pain to keep his amusement in check. “I’ll get her, Dean. You can start carrying these cages down to the basement.”


Dean went to pick up one of them and dropped it the second his hand curved around the handle. “hah-Shuhhh! Heh-KEHTchhhh! Heh-GIHShhhh!” Apparently, getting closer to the cats was a mistake. He buried his nose in the crook of his unhurt arm. “ehhh-shfffffffff! Snrfffff! Sabby…?” He wasn’t going to make it down the stairs.


Sam picked up the Persian cat.  It struggled a little in his arms, but he rubbed its cheeks and pet its head and it was purring in his arms by the time he had to escort it into the final carrier.


He wished very much that he could just usher his brother into a cage right now and carry him downstairs to wait out this storm. Dean was an utter mess. Bleeding. Itching. Sniffling. And absolutely pissed off. “I’ll get the cats, Dean. Go help the others board up the windows.”


hehhh-KIHShhhh!” Dean tried to nod, but his head snapped down again. “ehhhFishuhhh!


“No, wait. You’ll probably drive a nail through your hand at this rate. Go dunk your head in the sink… no… we need all the freshwater we can store—“




Sam rubbed his palm over his forehead. “Sit down on the bed, Dean.”


Dean sat down on the bed, looking just about as miserable as it was possible to look. “hitchuhh! Hehhh-KITchuhh!


“I’m going to take these cats downstairs and get some bandages for you.” Sam picked up the biggest carrier and walked to the door. He looked back over his shoulder. “We don’t have any allergy medication here.”


“Cad’t you go get be sub?”


Sam’s heart ached. “The roads are all closed and the sandbags are already set up. It’s not safe out there.”


Dean’s face fell. “ehhh-K’chishuhhhh!


“But I bet I can find you some tissues, a cool washcloth for your face… and some whiskey.”


A spark of hope flickered on Dean’s face for a single second. Then he cupped his hand to his face. “ehhh-Hihschhh! K’ptchshhhh!