Title: Ten Minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for swearing)
Pairing: None (Gen)
Disclaimer: they're only mine in my heart. They don't belong to me and I don't make money from this, believe me!
Meme Prompt: Sam and Dean both have colds. Or allergies. Or whatever, as long as they are sneezy. They are in the Impala on the way to a hunt, and one brother voices their concern to the other brother that he doesn't think he can be quiet enough during the hunt, and will put them in danger. An argument about 'control issues' ensues, and this escalates into the boys having a competition over who can go the longest without having to sneeze. Who holds out the longest and what happens next is up to you :)
“ahhh…” Dean glanced sideways to see Sam reeling back in the passenger seat, mouth dropping open. “ahhhhh-YIHhkshhhhh!” He snapped forward, held back only by his seatbelt.
Dean dipped his hand into the tissue box between the two of them on the seat and pulled out a tissue. He waved it in Sam’s direction, letting it go so it fluttered and landed on Sam’s thigh. “Cover your schnoz, kiddo.”
Sam sniffed and largely ignored the tissue. He leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest, shivering a little but also pouting a little. “Why bother? Sniff! We already have the same cold.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean I want to get sprayed by your gigantor sneezes.”
“I sniff, sniff, didn’t sneeze anywhere sniff near you.”
“Right, because we’re not sitting next to each other in a… a car… shit...” He grabbed a tissue for himself and only just got it to his face in time. “hahh-HAHShhoo!” His body jerked forward, hand sliding down and causing the steering wheel to turn.
Dean swore again and corrected before they could meet oncoming traffic head-on. He made sure his course was straight before blowing his nose one-handed. He winced and rubbed the tissue back and forth under his red nose before tossing the tissue over his shoulder into the back of the car with the others. “I’ve only had this cold since yesterday. It’s unbelievable how much my nose hurts.”
“We’ll pick up some softer Kleenex after the hunt. Just try not to kill us on the way, okay?”
Dean’s upper lip curled, but he clenched his teeth and he kept his gaze on the road ahead.
Dean glanced over at his brother again and sighed. “We’ve only got about an hour and a halfuntil we get there.”
“Sniff!” Sam bent his arm and rested it against the window, and then he laid his head on that and pressed his forehead against the coolness of the window. “Sniff!” But he didn’t close his eyes. “Sniff, sniff, sniff!” He sat there thinking. “Sniff!” And sniffling. “Sniff!”
“Damnit, Sammy!” Dean pulled out another tissue, palmed it, and then tossed the tissue box at Sam. “Blow your nose!”
“I…” Sam started to argue then gave up. He crunched the tissue box to his chest and pulled out a couple. He took a deep breath and blew his nose a dozen times until it went from drippy and wet to honky and sore. When he was satisfied for the moment, he slammed the tissue box back down between them. “I was trying not to.”
Dean’s eyebrows rose. “What’s that?”
“Sneezing and blowing my nose is loud. I was trying to be quiet.”
Dean snorted. “’Cause you didn’t want me to find out you had a cold? I hate to tell you, Sammy, but…”
Sam shook his head. “We’re going to be hunting a shapeshifter. We don’t exactly have the best track record against those. Sniff! We’re going to need everything we’ve got, including the element of surprise. And I can’t exactly surprise anyone when I can’t stop sneezing for ten minutes.”
“Sammy, I’ve got the exact same cold as you do. If I can keep from sneezing for ten minutes, so can you.”
Sam lifted his head. “You? You can go ten minutes?”
Dean shrugged. “Sure. I got loads of self-control.”
“Okay. Prove it.”
Dean cleared his throat. Already he felt his nose tickling a little. “It’s already been—“
“No. Starting now. I’m… ahhh… I’m ti… ahhh-HATChishhhhh! Timing it.” Sam rubbed his forearm against his nose, sniffling.
“Wait,” Dean said, holding up a finger. “I need to… to snee… sneeze too.” Dean fumbled for the tissue box, crunched and turned the wrong direction. He didn’t want to take his eyes off the road, so he gave up after a second and pressed the side of his hand to his nose. “heh-hahhhIHHHChhuh!”
“You’re never going to last ten minutes,” Sam chuckled.
“I’ll last longer than you.”
“Sniff! Like I said: prove it.”
Dean reached out and tapped the impala’s dash. A few seconds later, the clock changed from 9:45 to 9:46. “Ten minutes. Starting now.”
“Starting now,” Sam agreed. He sniffed lightly, almost silently.
One minute passed. There was quiet in the impala. Every so often, there would be a heavy breath or a half-gasp, and they would exchange looks. Dean knew what the look in Sam’s eyes meant. It meant ‘you’re going to sneeze first!’ It meant ‘I knew you couldn’t last that long!’ And, most significantly, it meant ‘please, please go right ahead and sneeze because then this competition will be over and I can sneeze all I want!’
Two minutes. Three minutes. Dean wasn’t stupid enough to get cocky; he knew he was way too sick to think he could just coast through another seven minutes. His nose was already tickling.
But so, it seemed, was Sam’s. Every couple seconds, Sam raised his hand and scrubbed at his nose. Sometimes he rubbed at his red nostrils. Sometimes he rubbed the bridge. Sometimes he rubbed the side. Sometimes he smashed his palm against his nose and just rubbed. But he didn’t sneeze.
Four minutes. Four and a half-ish. Dean’s breath hitched. His eyes tried to close.
“Rub your eh rub your nose.”
Dean glanced over at Sam. “Right, ‘cause it’s working so well for you?” But he rubbed at his nose. It hurt to touch his nose, damn it, but it did help. Or, at least, it helped for a few seconds. Then he gasped and pinched his nose. He could feel his nostrils fighting. He could feel his ears popping when he tried to hold his breath. But it passed without further incident. He let out a slow breath and lowered his hand. He gripped the steering wheel again and tried to control his breathing. The urge to sneeze was still there, just not as strong. He checked the time.
Five minutes. No, six now. Over halfway there. “First one to sneeze loses,” Dean said. “Even if we both make it to ten minutes.”
“Sounds fair. But we’re not going to make it.” Sam scrubbed hard at his nose. “I really have to sneeze.”
“This is a killer cold. Where the hell did we pick it up?”
Sam shook his head. “Somewhere in New… New… ahhh…ah-AH—“ Sam’s face screwed up with concentration. He pinched his nose at the bridge then the bottom. He squeezed his eyes shut and bounced his leg up and down. After a few seconds when they were both sure he was going to sneeze, Sam relaxed and let out his breath. “Jersey,” he finally finished. “I thidk. Sniff! Sniff! I think.”
Seven minutes. “heh… yihh…” Dean suddenly didn’t think this competition was so fair. He had to try to hold back sneezes while driving, while Sammy got the benefit of being able to close his eyes and squirm in his seat. But if he was going to lose this, he was going to do it with dignity. He pinched his nose closed again and held his breath. “ihhhh! IH!” Just when he thought it wasn’t going to work, the sneeze backed off. Dean started to relax. “IHHH!” he brought his hand back up and pressed the back of it then the side of it to his nose. For a second, the need to sneeze was so overwhelming he was sure he’d lost. He was sure he was going to have a massive sneezing fit and run them off the road. But then the urge passed. He sniffed and reached for a tissue.
“No blowig your dose.” Sam sounded stuffier than ever, and he coughed softly, pressing a tissue to his nose as it started running freely.
“Blowig your dose is too loud.”
Shit. He’d been counting on clearing his nose, hoping that might get some of the annoying little tickle out.
Eight minutes. “That’s not fair. We didn’t agree on that before sniff we sniff started.” He scrubbed at his nose with the side of his hand. It was running uncontrollably now.
“Fide. You wadt to go idto that library blowig your dose and see how log it takes the shabeshifter to hear you? By guess is two secods.”
“Oh, you’re so godda sdeeze.”
“Ab dot, bih… bitch.”
Nine minutes. “Dide bidutes.” As soon as he said it, he regretted it, like the words made his nose tickle more. “ihhh!” He was going to sneeze. And it was going to be a big one. “ihhh-HIHhhhh!” Dean checked the rear view and side mirrors then pulled over onto the side of the highway. His breath hitched. His eyes closed. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger up and down his nose and held his breath. And when he finally sneezed, he held it back as much as he could… and Sam did the same.
Split seconds, that’s all that had separated the sneezes. Dean pried his eyes open to look at Sam.
“AhhShoo! HahhChuhhh! AhhhChuhhh!”
Dean handed Sam a tissue. “Bless… hahhh-YIHshuhhh! Bless you, Sabby.”
Sam took the tissue from Dean and pressed it to his nose. “Blow your dose. You’re all stuffed ub.” He closed his eyes and coughed. “Did we bake it?”
Dean wasn’t sure. It had been close, but probably not close enough. He helped himself to another tissue and emptied his nose into it.
“The shabeshifter’s goig to kick our asses.”
With a shallow breath in and out, Dean tested and found he wasn’t feeling sneezy just yet. “I can’t argue with you about that.” Dean coughed, his whole body bouncing helplessly in the seat. It went on so long Sam reached over and pounded his back, as if that would help anything. When it passed, Dean waited a few seconds, a few breaths, making sure he wasn’t going to cough again. “We’ve got two choices, Sammy. We can pull off at the next exit, find a motel room, and hole up for a few days while we get over this cold while dozens of people die. Or we go in, sneezing and not giving a damn, and hunt this son of a bitch down?”
“Dot buch of a choice. Ahh… ahhh…I’b godda… godda try…” Sam tried to hold back, really did. He pinched his nose and tried to stifle it. “ah-IMPtchh!” He only half-restrained it.
Dean watched his brother carefully, thoughtfully. “Do you think he’ll pick up our cold if he shifts into one of us? How does that work?”
Sam shook his head again. “I dod’t dow.”
“And, if he did, do you think he’d know how we sneeze?”
“You bead if you disabbear aroud a corder sniff add thed suddedly go ted bidutes without sdeezing, sniff, sniff I’ll dow you’re actually a shabeshifter?”
“Or if you suddenly stop sniffling, I’ll suspect something.”
Sam laughed. “I bay be sdifflig, but I’ve got your back.”
“I know you do, Sammy.” Dean cleared his throat. “We keep going then?”
Nodding and taking a tissue out of the box, “Yeah. But if that shabeshifter had better dot take by idedtity add tie be ub so I cad’t reach by dose.”
“If he does, I’ll sneeze on him when I kick his ass.”
Sam laughed again.
And about three minutes later, after they’d each sneezed again at least once, Dean pulled back onto the highway. “I totally beat you, by the way. You sneezed first.”
“Did dot! I odly let by sdeeze cub because I heard you start to sdeeze. You were first.”
“Only one way to settle this.” He tapped his finger on the dashboard clock again. “Time starts now.”
Sam nodded resolutely and started rubbing his nose.