Title: One Long Afternoon
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: G (so very weechester G)
Disclaimer: Not my boys!
Prompt: Nesting in the backseat of the Impala when sick is the best thing ever. I want to see a fic set entirely in the backseat. Stuff blankets, pillows, tissues, and anything else you can into the backseat with one or more of the boys and start your story!
Notes: Happy slightly belated birthday, sinnerforhire! It's slightly different from the prompt, but I hope you still like it!



One Long Afternoon




“You okay back there?”


These days, Dean had more conversations with his dad through the rear view mirror than face-to-face. He didn't really mind, though. He liked sitting in the back of the car. He had plenty of room to spread out and he could look after Sammy in his car seat. And maybe Dean missed having a room and a bed like he'd had before... but he truly didn't mind sitting in the back of the car. Dad said there'd be a lot of it this summer.


“Not sure. I feel kind of funny. Head's all fuzzy. And my nose...” He scrubbed his palm up and down, rubbing hard at his nose. “It's so tickly.”


“Think you're getting sick?”


Dean shrugged. “Maybe?” Dean studied his dad's reaction: furrowed brow, knitted eyebrows, concerned eyes. He wasn't happy about this. Quickly, Dean dropped his hand and sniffed. “I'm sure I'm okay.” But as soon as he said it, he knew he shouldn't have. “heh!” he gasped, cupping both hands to his face. “hah-Cheee!


“Hang tight. We'll be stopping for a break in about fifteen.”


Dean nodded and looked out of the window. He wasn't exactly sure, but it felt like suddenly the car was going a little faster.


When they got to the gas station, everything was routine. Dad hopped out to pump the gas. “Take your brother to the bathroom.” Dean didn't need to be told. He was already undoing the buckles and straps that held Sammy in. His little brother's hand was wet and sweaty in his as the kid toddled along. It left Dean's other hand free to rub at his nose, which he did, almost constantly, as he led Sammy over to the gas station bathroom.


It would have been faster for Dean just to carry him, but they'd been in the car all morning and Sammy needed to stretch his legs, whether he knew it or not. Sammy always had so much energy these days, and there was only so much swinging his legs and arms he could do. Sammy had to walk twice as fast to keep up with Dean, but he did so excitedly, beaming up at Dean as he jumped up onto a curb.


When they got back to the car, Dad swept Sammy up in a hug and then buckled him into the car seat. Dean started to climb into his side of the car and stopped short. The thick gray blanket from the back of the car was on his seat, and he hadn't put it there. “Dad? What's... what...” Dean turned, cupping his hand to his face. “huh-Chihttt!


“That's for you. Here.” Dad grabbed the blanket and unfolded it before draping it across the back of the seat. Dean was too big to scoop up but once he sat down in his seat, Dad swirled it around Dean loosely. He patted Dean's shoulder through the blanket, then cupped his large palm to Dean's forehead. “Mmhmmm. You're pretty warm. I think you are getting sick.”


Dad grabbed something from the front seat, pulling it out of a brown paper bag. It was bright orange and tasted bright orange when Dean downed the contents of the little plastic cup Dad had poured for him.


“That's going to make you feel better. We have a long way to go today.”


Dean nodded. His fuzzy head felt fuzzier. His eyelids felt heavy. But the blanket was tight around him like a hug, and when he tilted his head, it rested on more of the blanket like a soft pillow. They were barely back on the road when Dean fell asleep.




He woke as the car slowed on another exit, as if he'd somehow sensed that they were pulling off for another stop. “Dad? I-heh-heh-IMShhhhh!


“Lunch!” Sammy shrieked from his seat.


Dean looked over at him. Was it lunchtime already? Had he really slept through the whole morning?


“It's early, but they should be serving lunch already. You want your usual, Dean-o?” Dad asked as he pulled into a McDonald's.


Dean had learned long ago that shrugs didn't get him anything. Dad couldn't see them from the backseat and he usually demanded a verbal answer. “Yes, Sir.” He didn't feel like eating French fries, but maybe something warm in his tummy would be just the thing.


Sammy's favorite was the chicken nugget happy meal. Though he must have been hungry, it was tough getting him to give up his new toy car long enough to eat. He had to put the straw into the small milk carton and hold it for Sam to drink out of in-between nuggets so that it didn't spill. By the time Dean got to his own food, his cheeseburger and fries were growing cold. But the orange juice Dad had gotten him felt good on his throat. He sat back in his nest of blankets and sipped the juice as he snuffled into an edge of the blanket. His nose didn't feel so much itchy as ticklish now.


ehh-Hihshh! ehh-Chiii!


Dad's concerned eyes shot him a look via the mirror again.


But Dean didn't feel like talking about how he felt. He didn't want to admit he didn't have an appetite and that he was starting to feel warm and maybe a little dizzy too. So he just snuggled into his blanket and tried to sleep.




Dean stayed wrapped up the next time they stopped, and Dad took Sammy to the bathroom when he went to pay for the gas. He came back with Sam as well as a popsicle. Sam had one of his own, a red, white, and blue firecracker of flavored sugar water that Dean wouldn't have let him have because he'd just be jumpy the rest of the afternoon. If Sam had to have a treat, the fruit pops were at least slightly healthy. But Dean almost didn't care about this as he quickly unwrapped his own and pressed the coldness against the back of his sore throat.


He wished he could eat it slowly, savor it, and make it last. But it must have been warm in the back of the car with the sun shining through the windows, because the popsicles started melting almost immediately. Dean shivered as he swallowed a bite and then licked the sides to keep it from dripping. He looked over at Sam to see all hope of avoiding a mess obliterated by the sticky, melty treat.


Dad was already behind the wheel, so Dean knew this was his responsibility. He took another bite of his popsicle as Sam began to whimper from the cold and stickiness. Dean slid his into its wrapper and then dug out the pack of wet wipes. “Okay, Sammy, give me your hands.” He held Sam's drippy popsicle in one hand and wiped off Sam's hands with the other until his little brother was clean and complaint-free, apart from the fact that the popsicle was nearly gone. Dean held it, wrapper and some wet wipes bunch around the base to keep the mess in check, while Sam finished eating. And when Dean got back to his own popsicle, it was a liquefied mess he tossed straight into the trash bag. Dad hadn't brought any napkins, so Dean snuffled and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. 


eh...” It felt tickly, even as he rubbed it. “ehhh-IHShhh!


“Dean, play with me?” Sam asked, looking bored like usual. The two states of Sammy in the car were bored or asleep.


“Okay.” Dean said resignedly, pulling the blanket up up around himself and trying to get comfortable again. “I spy something... green.” Dean started to drift off to sleep as Sammy guessed everything in sight except for the one thing Dean had chosen. But it would be hard for Sam to spot the color of Dean's eyes when he had them closed like this. Sam was relentless, though, and wouldn't stop guessing until he got it; the kid never even asked for hints.




Dean woke to see trees out both of the front and side windows; the car was no longer moving. He lifted his head from where it was cradled against blanket and the window and blinked his tired eyes. Sam ran around the grassy area surrounded by picnic tables at the rest stop, shrieking with happiness as he passed by Dad and Dad pretended to grab at him. The kid was fast and tricky, too, pulling away at just the right second; he was going to make a great hunter some day.


Dean lifted his hand to his face and coughed. As he did so, something slid off his lap and onto the floor. When he bent in half to reach it, his head pounded miserably in protest, and he sat up quickly again until it righted itself. It took him a full minute before he tried again, this time making a successful grab before sitting back up. A tissue box. He didn't know when his dad had stopped to get it, and he didn't care. Dean ripped it open and dug his hand right in, pulling out no fewer than fifteen tissues all at once. “ehhh-ehhh-Chishh! Huptshhh!


The tissues felt so good against his nose, he almost didn't care that he was sneezing so much. “eh-eh-ehhKtchhh! EhChhh!” Dean looked up from the bunch of tissues to see his dad looking over at him. Dad gave him a nod and a look that told him to stay in the car if he wanted to. Dean definitely wanted to. He was warm and comfortable and had no intention of leaving. In fact, he pulled the tissue box under the thick blanket with him and sunk deeper into its depths. He knew it'd be a while until he fell back to sleep. “hehTShhh!” Dean settled in and watched Sammy running around, arms flailing, legs pumping, giant grin spreading across his face.




“You boys want anything?”


Dean hesitated, rubbing his nose with a tissue. What he wanted was this cold to go away, but that wasn't something even Dad could control. “ehh-h'tishh! Sniff! No, Sir.”


“All right. I'll be right back. Look after your brother.” Dad got out of the car and headed into the grocery store.


Dean kept an eye on Sammy, even as he dealt with the joys this rotten cold had brought him. Dean hadn't been able to get back to sleep that afternoon. His sneezing had gotten worse. So had his coughing. So had his headache, though he hadn't told his dad that part. Sam could have told him, if he'd been old enough to notice how often Dean rubbed at his forehead and the back of his neck. But all Sam seemed interested in was hearing about The Little Engine That Could for the fifteenth time. “Again!”


“Aw, Sammy.” He coughed and snuffled. “Really?” The kid probably knew it well enough to recite it himself by now.


Sam nodded and enthusiastically shoved the picture book in Dean's direction. When Dean didn't immediately begin reading, Sam put on this incredible pout. His lower lip not only stuck out but trembled. His chin dropped as his whole head angled downward. And he looked at Dean with almost impossibly large eyes. “Please?”


Dean took the book. “The Little Engine That Could.” Sam's excited grin gave Dean that little extra push he needed. But he kept a couple tissues bunched in one hand just in case. “Once upon a time, there was a... a heh-Ehptshhhh! Sniff! There was a shiny little blue steam engine. Sniff! He wasn't the biggest. He wasn't the fastest. But even though he was just a shiny little blue steam engine, he thought he could do... do any... thing-hah-Chihhh!


It was a miracle that he made it through the story without another pouty, impatient face from Sammy. By the time he got to the last “I think I can” transforming into the last “I thought I could” Dean's voice was pretty well shot. It was strained, rough, and tired.


He coughed while Sam yelled “Again!” and reached for the book just as their dad returned from the store with a bag. He came around to the passenger side and opened Sam's door. As Sammy's legs weren't long enough to do anything but dangle from his car seat, the Winchesters kept a cooler on the floor of the car between Sam's seat and the front seat. Opened now, Dean watched his dad refresh it with a small bag of ice before loading it up.


“I got you some juices and some Gatorade, in case those are better on your sore throat,” Dad told him.  “You want one now?”


Dean did, not realizing just how thirsty he was until he felt that very first sip of freezing cold liquid against his burning, painful throat. He sipped slowly and steadily, not wanting to overdo it and make himself carsick.




ehh-IHshhhh! Doe...” Dean answered his father, voice muffled beneath the blanket he refused to leave.


“What's that? I couldn't hear you.” Dad's music wasn't all that loud, but Dean had been quieter than usual.


So he spoke up. “Doe, Sir. I thidk they're gettig worse.”


“Then it’s time for some more of this,” Dad said, pouring another cup of orange stuff all the way to the rim of the small plastic cup instead of the tick mark on the side. Dean wouldn’t let him give Sammy too much medicine, but a little extra for himself sounded like a good idea right about now. So he downed it without argument and started feeling drowsy a few songs later.




When Dean woke, he found he was somehow warmer. It took him a second to realize there was something heavy weighing him down. By opening just one eye for a quick inspection, he discovered Dad’s leather jacket draped over the blanket covering Dean’s front. Dean smiled and fell back to sleep.




The next time he woke, he found a bag of hard candy tucked between him and the door. Dean started to reach for it but knew he had to blow his runny nose first before he did anything else. Sammy giggled at the sound, which Dean found kind of amusing. Apparently all he needed to do to keep the kid entertained was catch a bad cold.


Feeling a tickle rise up in his throat, Dean ripped open the bag and popped a piece of candy into his mouth immediately. “Candy!” Sammy shrieked, stretching his arm out and flexing his fingers expectantly. Dean didn’t think Sam needed any more sugar and, besides, having his little brother choke on hard candy right now in his car seat was not something Dean had the energy to deal with.


“Sorry, Sammy.” Dean held up one hand with his fingers splayed. “You’ve got to be this many to have this kind of candy.” Sam pouted, but he couldn’t argue; he was smart enough to know how old he was. Dean threw himself forward, bringing blanket and jacket with him, as he rummaged around in the cooler. He brought out a small ziplock of grapes. “Here. You can have these instead.”


Dean polished off two pieces of candy before falling back to sleep.




He managed to sleep for longer this time, but when he woke it was to find another box of tissues--the extra soft kind--had been added to his little nest in the backseat. He knew he should thank his dad, and he started to, really. But then he had to sneeze. “ehh-Hehschh!” And sneeze. “h'Ehtshhh! EhhHihkshh!” And sneeze. “ehh-ehhhhhIHGSchh! Hihgshhh! Ehshih! Ihhhshuhh!” And by the time he was done for the moment, he didn’t feel like doing anything but going right back to sleep again.




ehhh-HIHTSchhhh!” The sneeze snapped him forward, and a light jolt of pain shot through his body at the movement.


“Guess that means you're finally up.” Dad glanced briefly into the rear view then pulled over onto the side of the highway. As Dean blew his nose, he poked his head out from the mound of blanket. Sam was fast asleep in his car seat and the world around them was dark and black except for the occasional flash of headlights from a car on the other side of the road.


Dad stretched an arm out across the front seat as he turned in place. “I was going to stop and get a motel for the night, but you were sleeping pretty soundly, and I didn’t want to wake you. Are you okay with us driving through the night? I'm making good time.”


A nod saved his rough voice the effort of answering. It had been the plan to drive straight through, anyway. Dean didn’t really mind, and he knew Dad had a hunt to get to. That was the most important thing.


“Good. How’re you feeling, Soldier?”


Not wanting his little brother to be worried about him, Dean glanced over at Sam. But the kid was definitely asleep. “Dot so good, Sir. All stuffy add achy.”


Dad gave him another cup of orange medicine. “I got you something else.”


Dean looked around at all he’d accumulated that afternoon. He wasn’t sure how much more was going to fit in the backseat with him. And he wasn't sure what he could possibly need that he didn't already have.


But Dad pulled a light brown, plush doggy out of a plastic bag. It had big black eyes and floppy legs. “Thought maybe you could use it as a pillow.”


“Doggy!” They both looked over to see Sam, suddenly half awake and straining in his car seat with excitement at the sight of the stuffed animal.


The crick in Dean’s neck told him to accept the gift and be glad for it. But every other bit of him made him shake his head no and try not to wince as he did so. “It’s okay. Sabby cad have it.” He cleared his throat. “You godda look after it for be, Sabby?”


Sam grabbed the stuffed animal and hugged it, burying his face against its soft albeit short and fake fur. His car seat had a wide bar across the middle like a little ledge or tray where he could rest his arms or put his food or toys, and he set the dog there before immediately resting his head on it and falling back to sleep with his arms still tight around it.


Dean reached over and pushed a few strands of brown hair back from Sammy’s forehead, smiling.


“Here, Dean.” Dad handed back one of his own, broken in, plaid shirts. it was folded several times over into what was sort of a makeshift pillow shape. “Best I can do.”


Dean took it and pulled it into his nest with him. His nose was definitely stuffed up, but he could still smell a bit of dad’s aftershave and deodorant lingering on the shirt. That was better than a new stuffed animal any day. Dad reached back and readjusted the leather jacket that had slipped down some, and Dean felt it pleasantly weighing down his body, like Dad was there with a comforting hand on him.


“Think you can get back to sleep for the night? You comfortable enough?”


“Mmmb.” Dean closed his eyes. He felt his nose start to tickle, but he pinched it closed and held it like that with a tissue until his body relaxed and sleep took him again.