Helpful Brother


“Did a trip to the store tire you out?” Sam chuckled at his sleeping brother as he readjusted the pillows on his own bed. He set the Icy Hot packs Dean had brought back with him aside. Heat packs didn’t sound like such a bad idea, but he had enough of ice thank you very much. The blizzard outside was currently doing a number on the outward-facing wall of their motel room. It was getting slammed with ice and snow and a wind that came clear across the flat, open parking lot, straight at them. Shivering, Sam pulled the blankets and comforter up to his armpits.


Along with the covers came the plastic bags. He’d already taken out most of the items—though most of the items had been tissue boxes. Dean must have thought he was never going to stop sneezing. Good old over-reacting, over-protective Dean.


Sam folded up and set aside the empty plastic bags; those would probably get filled with discarded tissues soon enough. From the last bag he pulled a small box he hadn’t seen before. Nasal spray. Excellent. Sam pulled open the box and extracted the directions and the small bottle. Sam read through the instructions and then took the cap off.


He inserted the tip into his nose, shuddering a little as it touched his sensitive, chapped nose. It tickled his nose, almost enough to make him sneeze but not quite. At least, not until he pushed down and the dispenser sprayed up into his nose. The scent was medicinal and strong, and he could smell it even though his nose was all stuffed-up. But the stuffiness was the problem. He tried to inhale the medicine, but he couldn’t sniff as much as he needed to. “snff sniff sniff snnffffffff!” The liquid ran down and tickled the inside of his nose and “huhh-YISCHhuhhh!


He looked over at Dean, saw his brother hadn’t woken, and felt a little relief at that. And if that’s how it had ended, it would have worked out fine for them both. But Sam’s nose was more ticklish than ever now and, try as he might, he couldn’t hold back the sneezes. Luckily, Dean had bought him all the tissues in town and Sam already had a box open. “heh-IKShuhhhh! EhChahhhh! Ehhkeshhhhh! HEPTSchhhhh! IhKshhhh! H’CHISHHH!” He swapped one handful of tissues for another, nose dripping and twitching as the feather light paper brushed his sensitive nostrils. “ERIShhhhh! HEPTshhhh! Kihshhhh! Huh-Ehshhhh!




Sam pried his eyes open for a second to see Dean on the other bed, lifting his head and looking around. “Sor… sor-IHSCHHHHHH! HehKetshhhhh! Sorry, Deand. I just had to… to snd… h’IHPSTChhhh! Sniff! To do that. Sniff! Go back to sleepb.”


Dean nodded wearily. “Sleep. Yeah…” He closed his eyes and dropped his head onto the bed again.




His head went right back up again. “No! Can’t sleep!”


Sam shrank back against the pillows and pressed a fresh wad of tissues to his face. “I’ll hah-IhPTshuhhh! I’ll Sniff try to stay quiet.”


“No…” Dean sounded exhausted, like he was fighting hard to stay awake and not yet winning the battle. “No, I have to stay awake…” He looked over in Sam’s direction, unfocused eyes finally focusing, concentration finally checking in and staying. “Keep sneezing, Sammy.”


Sam’s expression over the handful of tissues was borderline murderous. Keep sneezing? Really? Sam had been doing all he could for the past day to stop sneezing. Dean had teased him about it all morning and had gotten a bit punchy when the weather started getting rough. He’d snapped at Sam to be quiet when he was trying to find an exit ramp in all the snow and again when he’d had to figure out what side of the road he was actually driving on. Sam had tried but, God, this cold was awful.  Sometimes he just couldn’t stop sneezing. He’d managed to hold back enough so Dean didn’t drive them into a snowbank. But once they’d gotten settled at the motel, Sam had curled up on the bed sneezing. Dean had insisted on going out to get Sam medicine.


And then he’d stayed out forever, probably because he was so tired of listening to Sam sneeze so much. “hehh-KETChuhhhh!” Like now. “huh-ITCHuhhhh!


Dean, sleepily, blinked his eyes. “Bless… you.” He took a deep breath and kept his eyes open this time. “Can you hand me one of the Icy Hot things?”


That required getting up out of his nest of warm blankets and pillows he’d built for himself. “Deand…”


But Dean wasn’t listening. Dean was wriggling, trying to get his jeans off while lying face-down on the bed, and grunting and wincing as he did so.


Sam almost laughed at him. “What are you tryindg to do?” Taking pity on his brother, who had only managed to get his jeans undone, Sam got up. Dean winced and pounded the bed in pain as Sam pulled his jeans off for him. “Jeez, I ondly—“


But Dean was already ripping open the box and slapping one of the patches on his back. He tensed up for a moment, then relaxed with a sigh, face buried in the blanket underneath him. When he came up for air, he was smiling. “I’m okay. Just keep sneezing, Sammy. I want to hear that all night.”


“Or udtil I pbass out? I just drandk three gulpbs of NdyQuil.”


For a few moments, Dean looked alarmed. But then he relaxed again. “You’re congested. You’re going to snore.” Dean waved his hand toward the bed. “Go, get warm. Get your tissues. Just… keep making noise, all right?”

Sam wasn’t stupid. He knew not to ask questions when Dean was already giving him what he wanted. He also knew Dean was worried about a concussion. Sam had stayed up far too many times in his life babysitting Dad or Dean (that one time, both) after head injuries. He climbed back under the blankets, pulling a tissue box under with him, and curled up against the mountain of pillows he’d built. “You kndow, doctors say that as londg as you dond’t have andy other symbtombs, you cad sleeb after a head indjury.”


Dean looked doubtful. His gaze even flicked over toward the laptop on the table. “Really?”


Sam nodded, mouth dropping open and body pulling back as he sucked in a breath. “HUH-KRUshhhhh!” He blew his nose. “Yeah.”


“Good to know…” Dean closed his eyes.


And when Sam sneezed again, Dean only managed a soft, sleepy “blessya,” before he was asleep again.