Prompt: Somebody (could be Jess, could be not-Jess, all up to you) has been hiding and taking care of a small furry animal (think kitten, rabbit, guinea pig sort of thing) in their dorm for most of the semester. Now that finals are approaching, the school is doing a dorm inspection, so Somebody has to take their pet with them to class. Guess who's allergic.



Guess Who’s Allergic


Professor Shoemocker’s class before the final exam was a review. It wasn’t one of those convenient ‘this is all you need to know before the exam’ but it was as close to that as Sam was going to get in his second semester at Stanford. He sat with his pencil poised at the top of a page near the end of his notebook, ready to take notes.


Sam was half a page and fifteen minutes into the lecture when he sneezed for the first time. It took him completely by surprise. “hahh-IHHHKshhhh!” He’d snapped his hand up to his nose just in time, and through the palm over his mouth he whispered a muffled, “Excuse me.” He massaged his itching nose with thumb and forefinger then dragged his finger under his nose with a sniff. But already he could feel another urge to sneeze.


Sam groaned inwardly. Every single time! It was like his body heard the words ‘final exams’ and his immune system completely broke down. In high school, Dean had teased him about it endlessly. But he’d still managed to bring Sam tissues and Dayquil in-between hunts. Dean had even given up his own pillow to help prop Sam up and help his breathing at night; he’d claimed it was so Sam wouldn’t snore and wake him up in the middle of the night, but Sam knew it was just Dean being the older brother. This was his second semester at college and his second cold during final exam week; already, he was thinking fondly of his brother’s caregiving.


But he could do this without Dean. He hadn’t spoken to Dean in almost a year, and he’d made it through one cold already. He’d had a good teacher and knew what to do now. On his way home from class, he’d pick up some medicine and extra tissues. This cold would make studying inconvenient but not impossible.


hah…” He was ready for this one. He raised his hand and pinched his nostrils tightly. “hhhhh’KXXT!” It wasn’t so loud this time, but he still sensed some of his classmates growing uncomfortable. “Excuse me,” he said. The last thing he wanted was to spread this to the rest of his class. Finals were going to be miserable enough without two hundred pre-law students sniffling and sneezing and miserable through the week.


Sam rubbed at his nose, which made it feel a bit less itchy. Then he set his priorities in order. First, class. The review was what was important. Then he’d do something to make himself feel a bit less miserable from his cold.


Except… he didn’t feel all that miserable yet. In fact, apart from the sneezing and the itchy, runny nose, he felt fine. Maybe it was one of those strange colds that came on one symptom at a time.


Or maybe it wasn’t a cold at all.


He quickly went through his mental inventory of what he was allergic to: hydrangeas, pollen, cats, dust, and ragweed. It was months from ragweed season and pollen wasn’t much of a problem in California, which was nice. He supposed the classroom might be unusually dusty, but after two semesters at school, none of them had ever made him sneeze or itch before. He rubbed at his eyes and caught himself after the third time his knuckle grazed across. Allergies. Had to be! But to what?

Maybe one of the people around him was wearing perfume? Cautiously, he sniffed. He didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary. But his nose was already slightly stuffed-up. “huh-KIXxtt! H’KNXT!” They were getting stronger. And he didn’t have any tissues on him. Maybe one of his classmates had a tissue or a napkin or something? He looked around, full of hope, and saw the girl in the seat next to him gathering up his notebook and backpack then relocating to an empty desk on the other side of the room.


Sam hung his head. And rubbed his nose. It was even itchier than before. So it was pretty obvious Sam hadn’t been allergic to that girl. Maybe one of his classmates had a pet cat? Sam looked around again, not sure what he was trying to see—hairs on someone’s shirt? A shirt with ‘I’m covered in dander’ written on it? Sam rubbed at his nose again and tried to concentrate on his professor’s review.


But, already, he had to sneeze again. It wasn’t just more itchy but more tickly. The urge to sneeze was stronger. “huhh.. uhh-HHH’KXST! HERKXXTtt!” They were like little explosions against his palm. The pressure in his head was building. Building in the bridge of his nose and in his forehead and his ears. “huh-EXXttt!” Sam dragged his hand under his nose. This was starting to become a problem. He wiped his hand as discretely on the leg of his jeans as possible.


There was an impatient sigh from behind him. “Dude, cut it out.”


Sam could almost—almost but not quite—have believed that was Dean. It was the sort of thing Dean might have said if Sam had been having an allergy attack around him. Only Dean would have said it playfully. This guy sounded annoyed. “Excuse me,” Sam muttered again.


The words made his stuffy, itchy runny nose buzz and tickle. “hah-KNnxxxt!” God, he had to stop sneezing! Now! He didn’t want to miss the review, but he couldn’t stay here much longer if it was going to make him sneeze so damn much. It wasn’t as though he’d caught the last part of the review anyway.


He sniffled as softly as he could and ducked his head, scrubbing at his nose more vigorously. And it was there, with his neck bent and head tilted that he saw the movement. His hand moved instinctively to his pocket where he kept his pocketknife. Almost a year away from Dad and Dean and he still thought of Dean, still reacted like a hunter.


Only it wasn’t a ghost or a demon or some supernatural creature this time. The movement had come from a bag one seat over from him in the row in front. The bag moved and, from the mouth of it, out came a small pink nose. Then whiskers. A cute little furry face. Pointed ears. A little gray and white kitten poked its head out and looked around. It sniffed around, then looked up and met Sam’s gaze.


Sam looked at it. It looked at him. And then Sam’s nose twitched mercilessly. “huh-huh-KINXTTtt!” When Sam sniffed and opened his eyes, the kitten had retreated back into the bag. It might be hidden from sight, but it still made his nose tickle. “h’KNXXFfttt!


“Quit it!” came a hushed whisper from somewhere behind Sam. In front of Sam, someone turned around and stared accusingly around. “Trying to listen!” someone else hissed, piggybacking on the recently-voiced irritation.


Realizing Sam hadn’t heard another word his professor had said anyway, Sam packed up. Slouching, as if he could make himself not so tall, he slunk from the classroom. A few people sighed in frustration as he passed in front of them, blocking their view of the overhead projector. But he moved quickly, thumb and forefinger pinching his nostrils the whole time.


Once Sam was out in the hallway, the tickle started to back down. He sunk down the wall, onto the floor. He could hear the professor a little, catching certain words here and there, but it was mostly muffled through the door. Sam sniffed and sniffed and scrubbed at his nose until the end of class.


When the door opened and his classmates began filing out, Sam jumped up and scanned the crowd. He saw her at once, cradling her bag against her chest, and went over to her at once. “Excuse me?”


She almost walked past him, but she caught sight of him. And whether it was the way he was pathetically rubbing at his nose or the puppy dog eyes—as Dean called them—that Sam was flashing her, she came over to him. “Yes?”


“I was wondering if I could copy your notes.”


“My… why didn’t you take—”


h’KXxtttt! Hept-ENXXTT! Excuse be… Sniff!” He gestured toward her bag. “You know, they don’t allow pets in classrooms for a reason.” Sam was pretty sure the reason didn’t entirely have to do with his allergies, but she got the picture.


“Oh no, I’m so sorry!” She opened her bag and pulled carefully pilled her notebook out from beside the furry little kitten curled at the bottom of her bag. “They’re doing an end-of-year inspection of dorm rooms before move-out and I couldn’t let them find Mary. Here.” She scribbled her email and phone number in the front cover of the notebook and thrust it at him. “You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?”


He shook his head and took the notebook. The kitten’s name was Mary? For a moment, he felt like laughing or calling Dean; Dean would find this hilarious, especially the shade Sam’s nose was now. “I won’t say a… a...” He turned and covered his mouth again. “h’NNxxxttt!


“I’d better go. I’ll need the notebook back by Saturday.”


He nodded, sniffled, and snapped forward again. “huh-NXXshhtt!


She apologized again and hurried away. Sam rubbed his nose and eyed the notebook that had just had a kitten rubbing up against it. This was going to be a long afternoon.