There's a really bad ice storm, and Sam's sick, so they take refuge in the first motel they find. But they're also out of cold medicine. Dean's gotta brave the storm while Sam rests in the motel. While on his way to the pharmacy, Dean slips on the ice and falls flat on his ass. Ouch, bruises. Eventually he gets back to the room with everything Sam needs, but by this point he's really grumpy.



Dutiful Brother


Pain. Sharp, shooting pain. Pain in his back. Pain in his tailbone. Pain radiating through his whole backside from neck to knees. Pain at the back of his head. It hurt so intensely that, for a second at first, all he could see was white. Then it faded to black, like the nighttime sky above him. Then white again as he focused on the snow falling thick and heavy around him.


Dean stretched his arms out and tried to push himself up, but the pain was too intense. His back hurt so much when he tried to move that he thought he might be sick. Hurt. Hurt tailbone. Hurt shoulder blades. Hurt head. Hurt ankle. Hurt ego.


How had he managed this? Dean Winchester, hunter born and bred, had just braved the ice storm for an emergency supply run. It was something he’d done a hundred times before over the years. It was just a little snow and ice. And Sammy’s cold had been terrible; the kid had barely been able to stop sniffling all day. He needed a world of tissues. He needed heavy duty cold medicine, the kind that knocked you right out. He needed Dean to run to the store.


And Dean, dutiful, concerned older brother that he was, had reluctantly pulled on his winter coat, hunched over, and headed out of the motel and into the snow storm. There was too much snow and ice to drive; that’s why they had pulled off the road and found a motel room in the first place. But Sam had worked his way through the box of tissues from the bathroom as well as all the little packs they’d had with them in the car. And then he’d spent twenty minutes just sneezing and sneezing into Dean’s bandana with no relief in sight. They were out of medicine, out of tissues, out of hope unless Dean went out to get more.


At first, it hadn’t been so bad. It was fucking freezing out, yeah, but Dean had kept a fast pace, bent over and braced against the strong winds that whipped the sleet and snow at his face. No one was out in this storm, so the sidewalks and roads were clear. He’d followed lights toward what looked like it might be the backside of a strip mall down the street.


But now the only backside he could think about was his own. The one in serious, excruciating pain.  Dean felt like laughing. If Sam were here, he’d be laughing. Sam. Dean shifted his body a little. God, that hurt. But if he could just get his phone out of his pocket, he could call Sam for help. Sam could come pull him up and help him to a hospital.


Except Sam was sick. A sick Sam out here in the snow, trying to support Dean’s weight? That wasn’t going to happen. And no one was stupid enough to be out in this storm—no one other than Dean, that is—so no one was going to be along to help him. He could call 9-11, but who knew if an ambulance could even make it through? There were feet of snow on the streets already and the sleet decreased visibility while depositing a coat of ice on everything.


That was what he blamed for his fall. He could feel the hard ice underneath him, hard against the aching back of his head. Snow fell on his face and, instinctively, he closed his eyes. Apart from the cold and the terrible, terrible pain, this wouldn’t be such a bad place to nap for a little while.


Dean forced his eyes back open. He’d hit his head. Probably had a concussion. Sleeping was just about the worst thing he could do right now, second only to moving. But he couldn’t stay here all night or he’d freeze to death. Plus there was Sammy, back at the hotel, probably huddling under a blanket in the bathroom, sneezing his way through the roll of toilet paper.


Dean brushed off the snow that had accumulated on his face and front. If he was going to do this at all, he’d better do it now. With a deep breath, Dean rolled over on the ground. He screamed. There was no one there to hear him, so his ego didn’t take as much of a hit this time. But the pain was worse than he’d anticipated.  His whole mid-section exploded in hot, angry discomfort, like someone had dropped a piano on his back and he’d somehow survived. Face-down in the snow, Dean gathered all his strength and pushed himself up.


He couldn’t stand. He could get himself up on two feet, but he couldn’t straighten up. The pain was too great. It was just as well, what with the sleet turning to hail and pelting him. He kept his head down and tried to take a step. He screamed again. “Fuck!” Dean raised his shaking arms out at either side for balance. Slowly, cautiously, he shuffled one foot forward in the snow. It hurt, but not as bad. Okay, shuffling was the winner then. One foot forward. Then another. Another. He was making progress. Progress at the speed of a turtle with only one leg, but still progress.


What should have taken twenty minutes took almost an hour. He didn’t even bother turning his head to look both ways when crossing the street. If a car came out of nowhere and hit him, at least then he’d be out of pain.


It was such a relief when he reached a convenience store that it took him almost a full minute of panting and clinging to the door frame to realize that the damn store was closed. Under different circumstances, he might have laughed. Dean was fairly sure that laughing right now would be far too painful. So, instead, he put his gloved hand through the glass door, right beside the sign that read CLOSED DUE TO BLIZZARD. No alarm went off.


He reached in through the hole and disengaged the deadbolt. Then he carefully made his way inside, navigating around the broken glass. He grabbed a couple plastic bags from behind the front counter and began filling them with what they needed: Nyquil, nasal spray, decongestants, cough drops, and all the tissues he could fit into the bags. It was easier shuffling around on the smooth floors, though with the snow and ice melting and dripping from him, he had to be careful to not slip and fall a second time.


Briefly, he thought about grabbing a pie for his efforts. But that was clear across the store and Dean didn’t have the energy left for that. Instead, he popped some pain pills and helped himself to some Icy Hot packs. That was treat enough for now.


Thinking of Sam, Dean dug a couple twenties out of his pocket and reluctantly stuffed them into the cash register’s bottom tray, which he’d had to leverage open with his knife. He’d earned that cash the night before in a bar full of unsuspecting pool players, and he didn’t like the idea of just giving it up now. But he knew Sam would be pissed off if he found out he’d stolen the items during a time of crisis.


On his way out, Dean liberated a balaclava. He probably should have thought of that on the way in, in case there were security cameras. But the damage was already done. And it was easier to endure the biting cold outside with it on. Slow and steady, with the bags clutched in both his hands, he shuffled back to the motel.


By the time he got there, he was frozen through and drenched. Cold had invaded every bit of him. The intense pain in his back had only faded slightly to a strong pain, but he was getting used to it. Though that didn’t mean he was all right with it. When he was back in the motel room, door shut and locked with the chain behind him, Dean threw the bags onto Sam’s bed. Dean toed off his shoes and dropped his coat, gloves, and balaclava at the door. He shuffled to his bed and carefully lowered himself onto it with a yell muffled into his pillow.




With great difficulty, Dean raised his head and turned it, looking over at Sam.


“You got cherry cough dropbs. I ondly like the hondey and lembond flavor.” He lifted a washcloth to his face, burying his nose into the white cloth. “huhhh-GIHTSHHHHH!


It took every ounce of the remainder of Dean’s strength to not snap at his brother. He gathered some of the blanket on the bed in his fists and clenched tightly.


Luckily, Sam sneezed again. “huh… h’GEYYUSHHH!


Dean heard the bags rustle, heard Sam rip the cardboard tissue box open, heard Sam blow his nose copiously, heard the deep sigh of relief, and heard the cough brought on from the sigh scratching his already-raw throat. Poor Sam. This rotten cold was all that had saved him from Dean murdering him over that cough drop comment. ’You’d better keep sneezing, Sammy, or I’ll kill you.’


hehh-h’KETChahhh! HUHGSHahhhh! huhhEXXTSCHHHH! Uhh…” Sam blew his nose. “Oh, that feels so good. Thandks, Deand. Sniff! Sniff! What else did you get be?”


Dean tried to lift his head in order to answer, but his energy was drained. Sam would figure out the answer soon enough. More rustling of bags followed as Sam explored. “Thandk God.” There was a click as the safety seal was broken. Then the twist of a cap and gulps as Sam swallowed down some medicine.


There was more rustling. Then Sam coughed. “Icy Hot pbacks?”


Dean tried to lift his arm to gesture for Sam to throw one to him. But his arms ached and he couldn’t get them to move. He couldn’t move his mouth. He couldn’t even open his eyes.


“Deand? What happbended out there? Hah… huh-UHGITCHHHH! H’ehfSchhhh! HAH-RAHSHHHHH! Sniff! Sniff! Deand?”


But Dean had fallen asleep and did not stir even at the sound of Sam’s loud sneezes.