Title: But the Impala Needs Fixing
Disclaimer: Not my character or world or paycheck.
Summary: Dean has a cold but the Impala needs fixing up.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2016 comment fic meme (prompt is the same as the summary)
But the Impala Needs Fixing
Dean opened one sleep encrusted and weary eye. The motel alarm clock read 7:25. That was too damn early, in his opinion, to be doing anything. But they’d never let a little car trouble stop them from hunting before, and this wasn’t going to be the first time.
“hah-hah-Ihptfff!” Dean smothered the quick sneeze into the crook of his arm and looked over his shoulder. Sammy lay sleeping, undisturbed, mouth half open because his nose was all stuffed-up. Thank God for small favors, or maybe just thank Dean’s quick reflexes; Sam needed all the rest he could get if he was going to get over this cold. Sam had been up half the night sneezing before finally passing out around four. And Dean, who had been kept awake beside him through it all, wanted to go right back to sleep now that it was morning. But the Impala needed to be fixed if they were going to make it to Wisconsin by nightfall.
Slowly, carefully, Dean slipped out of bed. Sam stirred, gave a miserable snort, buried his face deep in his pillow, and fell back to sleep. Lucky bastard. Dean put on jeans and a few extra layers of flannel shirts because his coat would be too thick to let him maneuver the way he needed to. He tucked an extra bandana into his pocket because that one little sneeze had not been enough to get the tickle out of his nose. He felt constantly like sneezing, and at least outside he’d be able to do it without waking his brother up.
The tools were in the trunk of the car. The sun was already up. He was prepared to do the work. What he wasn’t prepared for was how fucking freezing it was outside. The cold air hit him harder than that demon in Reno that had struck him so hard he’d flown across the room. For a second, he couldn’t breathe. He closed the motel room door behind him and doubled over, coughing.
With his hands on his thighs, he struggled to catch his breath, and it was a struggle. He hacked and gasped and only managed to stop coughing once he’d taken a deep enough breath to blow his nose. ‘A mess’ didn’t even begin to describe him right now. And all those layers of flannel didn’t do enough to keep the cold out. Weak, shaky, and shivering, he walked to the car and got in the driver’s seat.
For a brief moment, he considered getting into the backseat, crawling under the blanket they kept back there, and sneaking in another hour or two of solid sleep. Then a sudden, uncontrollable sneeze had him spraying the dashboard and brought him back to reality. “hahhh-IHKTSchhhhh! Uhh…” They needed to get the car fixed and back on the road as soon as possible, otherwise they’d be getting to Madison in the middle of the night and not getting any sleep before the hunt. Thinking of nothing but the feel of the road under the Impala’s tires and the promise of a warm bed tonight, Dean popped open both the Impala’s hood and its trunk.
He grabbed his toolbox and a couple old rags he’d need to check the fluid levels. He resisted the urge to rub his nose with them, because his nose was running badly in the cold and from his cold. Sniffling and rubbing his nose into his shoulder, he jacked the car up. Sniffling and coughing, he slid underneath the car. Sniffling, he grabbed one of his tools and set to work.
But it was slow-going. Once, he sneezed so suddenly his head snapped forward and fell back with a hard crack on the asphalt so hard he saw stars for a second. Once, he started to sneeze and it just wouldn’t come, forcing him to lie there, under the car, his breath hitching helplessly for a full minute before finally sneezing. And more than once, he had to wriggle back out from under the car in order to sit up and blow his nose so that he could breathe.
“hahh-Hehhtschahhh! Hah-HAH-HIHSchhuhhh!” Nose dripping into a wet bandana as he leaned over the open hood of the car, Dean tried to focus on his baby. He’d spotted the problem, now he just had to fix it. That would take time, but at least he didn’t need to hitch a ride to an auto parts shop.
Normally, he enjoyed working on his baby. There was a zen-like peace in being able to put the rest of the world aside for a while and just focus on fixing the thing literally two inches in front of his nose. But today he just couldn’t get into it. His nose kept tickling and bothering him. His throat was scratchy and he wished he had brought some water out with him. A pounding in his head kept reminding him of how little sleep he’d gotten. And shivers insisted that it was too damn cold for him to be outside, on the ground.
“hahhh-AHShhhhh! hahh… hahhh… shit…” He just couldn’t stop sneezing. Even after sneezing a sneeze, he still felt that tickle deep in his nose. Nothing stopped it—not blowing, not rubbing, not pinching, not holding his breath, and certainly not taking the weak decongestants Sam had picked up at the gas station for them yesterday. Dean usually needed to work his way through bottles of the ‘quils in order to make a quick recovery, but with all the driving they needed to do, they’d decided to stick with something that wouldn’t show up on a breathalyzer test if they got stopped by the cops. “HAHTCHHHhhtttttt!” He winced, the spray falling back on his face. “Sorry baby,” he muttered, wiping at her with one of the rags.
Dean gave such a start he smacked his forehead against the underside of the car. Then he wriggled his way out from underneath again. Sam stood there in a warm coat—at least the kid had some sense—holding a bandana in one hand and a motel room Styrofoam cup of something steaming in the other. It was probably another of his horrible herbal tea concoctions. “What’s wrog?”
“Dnothidng,” Sam replied. “Brought these for you. Thought you bmight dneed thebm.” He offered both items.
Dean accepted and mopped his nose with the gloriously dry bandana right away. Then he inspected the cup and discovered it was coffee. It was as strong and black as tar, but still definitely coffee. Grateful, he took a few sips. Fantastically warm. This would do double duty of waking him up a little and warming him up a little. “Thadks, Sabby. S’great.”
“How’s the car?”
“Should have her ruddig withid the hour.”
Dean rubbed the back of his dirty hand under his nose before remembering the fresh bandana. “Oh?”
“Wadnted a sick day for odnce.”
Dean chuckled. “Debods dod’t stob killig just ‘cause we have the sdiffles.”
“Yeah, I dknow. Just hobped.” He coughed and cleared his throat. “Adnythig I cadn helbp with?”
After thinking for a moment, Dean nodded. Having Sam hand him the tools would definitely speed things up. And Sam would be able to start up the engine when it was time while Dean checked under the hood to make sure all the parts moved the way they were supposed to. “Sure, you cad—“
“ih-ihh-KDJIHhshhh! ehHEPTschhhhhh! Eh-eh ih ihhhhh HIHPTJshhhhhh!”
Dean watched his brother snap forward helplessly with each sneeze. Sam swayed, looking like he might not stay on his feet. And considering how freakishly tall the guy was, his fall would be gigantic. Sammy sounded awful, but they didn’t have the luxury to enjoy a day off. Dean took a deep breath and revised his plan. “You cad just sit here add keeb be cobady.” He got up and grabbed the blanket from the backseat of the car to wrap around his brother. It was freezing out here, and they were both sick, but the Impala needed fixing.