Prompt: Supernatural. One of the boys is sick (sneezing, coughing, the works). The other one puts Vicks VapoRub on his chest to help him feel better, but the smell drives his nose crazy (the non-sick one). So now we have two boys -- one sick and pathetic, and the other who can't stop sneezing.



Late Night With a Quarter of a Box of Tissues


Sam cranes his neck, checking the digital alarm clock. It’s a hell of a lot later than he’d thought. “You should sleep’b, Dean’d. hah-hah-CHUHshhhh! N’doe reason’d for us both to be exhausted.”


Dean shakes his head. “I can’t sleep. Not until you stop sneezing and coughing loudly every thirty seconds. When do you think that’ll be?”


Sam looks at Dean as if Dean’s bag magically holds all the answers. It always had in the past. When Sam was younger and feeling cold and shivery, Dean would pull out an extra flannel shirt and wrap Sammy up in it, the sleeves so long his hands got lost inside. When Sam’s leg was spurting blood with every limped step, out came a first aid kit with a seemingly endless supply of gauze and bandages. And when Sam had a cold, Dean’s bag always had the best medicine to make it back the hell off until at least their current hunt was over.


This time, however, the medicine doesn’t do shit. Maybe it’s ‘cause it’s his first cold since getting out of the cage and getting his soul back, or maybe it’s ‘cause he’s gone days without sleeping and his immune system is pretty well fucked, but Sam can’t remember ever feeling this congested before.


“Maybe they’ve expired.” Dean scans the box of medicine sitting on the nightstand, turning it over and over and squinting at the fine print. “Nope, they’re still good.”


hah-CHISHHuhhh! Hah-KITChhhh! Huh-Chushhhhh! Haptishuhhhh! Uhhh… Sniff! Deeeeeean’d!”


“Shit, Sammy. Bless you.” Dean had found the biggest box of tissues at the store and had bought two of them. Sam’s nearly through the second and he’s got to go slower on them if they’re going to wait until morning. Sam pulls one out and honks his nose into it. Blowing his nose makes him cough. And coughing makes him cough some more until he’s wheezing and light-headed, hunched over with Dean thumping his back.


“Okay now?” Dean asks, the thumps giving way to rubbing circles on Sam’s back.


“N’dot really.” He sounds like he’s struggling just to get the words through the thick congestion. He looks at Dean’s bag again.


And Dean gets it. He does. But he doesn’t have to like it. “Fine. Take your shirt off, bitch. I’ll get the jar.” It’s at the bottom of his bag. He’s got to dig past the dirty socks and the ripped jeans caked in dried blood that are his most comfortable pair so he won’t get rid of them. He pulls out the jar of Vicks VapoRub and lifts his head.


Sam snorts and coughs and Dean knows he’s just trying to not laugh, but he doesn’t appreciate the effort.  


Sam flops down on his back expectantly and coughs again. Then he dives into the tissue box. He feels another sneeze coming on—for the past day, he’s always felt another sneeze coming on.


“Go easy on the tissues,” Dean tells him, knowing damn well Sam can’t. His nose is too runny and sniffly and itchy.


huh-ehhhhhhh…” he winds up, and Dean waits patiently, watching. Sometimes Sam wishes his brother weren’t quite this attentive. But he has a feeling it’s going to come in handy in a few minutes. Dean lives to take care of him. “eh-ehhKuhhhhh… eh-eh-uh-HIPXXxshhhh! Egihschhhhhh!” Sam refolds the tissues around his nose, sure more are soon to follow. “hehh-KITChuhhh! Ehhhptishhhhhhh! HIHSHUHHHH!” He empties his nose into what’s left of the tissues and helps himself to two more, panting hard to get air in and out, but each breath sounds raspy, labored. He looks up at Dean, over the tissues, his expression pleading.


And Dean feels so goddamn sorry for his little brother that he sits back down on the bed and unscrews the lid of the jar.


At first, it’s fine. In fact, it’s wonderful. The second Dean rubs on the first dollop of cream, Sam’s chest immediately starts growing warm. He can feel his muscles relax and, as he breathes in deep through his mouth and his stuffed-up nose, he can feel things loosen up. Dean adds a second dollop and rubs it in a circle at the base of Sam’s neck. His fingers shoot upwards, coating Sam’s throat with the stuff.


Sam clears his throat repeatedly. It’s thick and scratchy with congestion and Dean gives him a sympathetic look. “Just relax. It takes a while to work.”


It does. They both know it does. But Sam’s tired of not being able to breathe, tired of the coughs that keep his brother up at night, tired of the sneezes and sniffles that the decongestant just won’t touch. He breathes in more.


But so does Dean.


Dean nearly makes it to five minutes, which is something of a record for him. They’re both hoping it’s not going to get to Dean this time the way it used to. They’re both hoping that maybe Dean’s somehow outgrown this allergy. But then Sam sees his nose wrinkle and nostrils flare and Sam knows what that means. They both knew this was inevitable, but it still hurts a little to see it play out, hurts to know this is the trade-off. Sam slides the box of tissues a few inches closer to Dean. They’re running low, so Dean won’t use them unless he has to… and Sam is ready to bet anything that he’ll have to.


Dean swipes the side of his hand at his nose, trying to rub out the tickle. Under normal circumstances, that might actually have worked. But it only brings his fingers closer to his nose and his breath catches. “hihhh! Oh fuck...” He scrubs hard at his nose with the back of his hand, then his wrist. He drops it down and tries to concentrate on rubbing Sam’s chest.


But the urge returns. He gasps and covers his nose and mouth instinctively with a palm that is covered in Vick’s. Then there’s no stopping him. His eyes watering, nose twitching, he hauls himself to his feet and pulls the motel bed comforter up over his brother’s chest. Then he turns and braces himself, one hand still at his face and the other against his thigh as he bends at the waist. “ahhh-Ixxgstt! Ah-Higsttt! hahh-Ixxshhuhh!


“Dean?” Sam asks, concerned. But he pauses to marvel at the way his nose has already cleared a bit.


ahh-GITttchhh! haptxxshhh! Ehktghh! HEGTttttshhhh!” This one makes Dean take a step back from its force. The backs of his legs hit the bed. “ahhKirttshuhhhh! H’shirttt!” Dean buries his nose in the crook of his arm. “ah-huffff! Ahh-Chfffff!


Dean feels something nudge him in the ribs, and he turns to see Sam holding out a tissue. Dean snatches it and bunches it to his nose. “ahhh—“ The sneeze plays at his nose as it twitches against the tissue. Then he sighs as it backs away. He sits on the edge of the bed. “How’re you feeling?” Dean asks.


Sam nods. “Better. I think… I think I could actually sleep.”


Dean’s got to admit he sounds a hell of a lot better.  “Goo… good-ah-HIHHShixxttt! ehKshttttt! Ahhhgihshhh! Hehxsttt!” Dean’s nose feels so hot and itchy he almost can’t stand it. But it’s worth it if Sammy feels better. “ahh-KIXtttt! Hihttshh! Kehxxxt!


When Dean reaches for another tissue, he sees Sam’s already fallen asleep. Well, that makes one of them. “ah-ah-GIHxxttt!