Cold & Flu Book


Written for cowboyguy, December 2017


Dean and Sam both watched their dad stuff things into his duffle. “I won’t be gone more than a week, maybe two. If…”


“I dow,” Dean said, scrubbing his nose with the back of his hand. “Call Bobby.” He pressed his hand hard against his nostrils as his eyes snapped shut. “hetChhhh!


John zipped his bag up and slung it over his shoulder. He surveyed the living room. His eldest son stood by the door and his youngest son sat on the couch, giving the television just as much attention as he gave his father. He was old enough to understand why his father disappeared so often, but that didn’t mean he liked it.


Dean handed him his jacket. “Here, Sir.”


John nodded at him. “Take care of Sammy.” He paused then thought to add, “And get some rest. You’re fightin’ somethin’ yourself. No staying up late watching TV.”


“Yes, Sir.”


“Bye, Sammy!” John called.


Sam raised a hand and waved, glancing over his shoulder briefly.


As soon as their dad was gone, Dean vaulted over the back of the crappy yard sale couch, crashing onto the cushions with a bounce. He grabbed the TV remote out of Sam’s hand and changed the channel. “Hey!” Sam tried to grab for it, but Dean moved it to his other hand, stretching his arm out of reach.


“I’b sick. Watchig sobethig good will bake be feel better.” He flipped until he found an episode of Walker Texas Ranger.


Sam huffed and crossed his arms over his chest.


“Dob’t you have hobework to do?”


“Already did it.”


“Great. Thed you cad do bide.” Dean turned, digging his head into a cushion and stretching his body out across the couch. His feet ended up on Sam’s lap. Sam tried to shove them off, but Dean was bigger, stronger, and heavier, especially when he made his body go limp.


Frustrated, all Sam could do was wiggle out from underneath. He wished Dean would have at least waited until he was done with the science program he’d been watching, but he wasn’t surprised. When Dad wasn’t home, Dean was in charge. It used to be that Dean would do anything for his little brother. And while that was still mostly true, it wasn’t always the case when Dean didn’t feel so good. Sam knew his big brother well enough to know that Dean liked to be left alone when he was sick, and this was just Dean’s way of giving him a push.


But Sam also knew that colds didn’t last all that long. Probably it would be completely gone by the time Dad got home. And Sam wondered if that wasn’t their dad’s plan to begin with.




It was late at night when Sam headed back to the couch. Dean had fallen asleep with a crappy B monster movie playing. Sam looked for the remote but only saw Dean and a whole bunch of balled-up tissues. So Sam switched the set off without it. “Time for bed.” Dean didn’t move. Sam jiggled his brother’s foot at the heel. “Dean?”


Dean sniffed and coughed and opened his eyes.


“It’s late. Time for bed.”


“Oh… yeah. Go… brush your teeth.”


Sam already had. “I—”


“Go, Sabby. I’ll be right there.”


So Sam headed back to the bathroom and ran the water as though he were brushing his teeth. Instead, he checked the medicine cabinet. There were mostly bandages and painkillers his dad took when he was hungover. But Sam found what he’d been looking for and grabbed the thermometer. He headed back to the couch where Dean was busy sneezing into several tissues. Sam sat down and waited for him to stop.


hehhh-HIHShh! Hehtchhhhh! Huh-Tehshhhh! hehhTChhhhh! H’Hetchoo!” He came up for air, snuffling, and immediately narrowed his eyes at Sam. “What—” was as far as he got before Sam stuck the thermometer in his mouth. The older Winchester’s gaze turned from a look of suspicion to a glare.


When Sam pulled it out, he inspected it and frowned. “One-oh-three.”


“Cad’t be! You’re readig it wrodg.” Dean grabbed it from him and looked for himself. He held it up, turned it a little, and shook his head. “You were wrodg. It’s ode-oh-three boidt five.” He placed a palm to his forehead. “I dod’t udderstad. This is just a cold. Dad eved said…”


Sam took the thermometer back. “It’s the flu.” Dad was wrong, but Sam wasn’t about to say that out loud.


Dean shook his head again and tried to get up from the couch. But he winced when he tried to use his arms to push himself up. “Ohhhhhh…” Dean groaned.


“S’okay,” Sam said. “I’ll get you a heating pad and some Tylenol. And water. Lots and lots of water.” Sam rounded everything up, returning to the couch also with a blanket, another box of tissues, and Dean’s pillow from his bed. After making sure Dean took the Tylenol, he plugged the heating pad in and laid it against Dean’s upper back at the lowest possible setting.


As Sam proceeded to clear off the used tissues and then tuck his brother in for the night, Dean stared at him. “How do you dow what to do?”


“Read about it in a book.”


“A… a… sniff! A book? Ehh-HEPTschhhhh!” He pulled a tissue from the box Sam had brought and blew his nose.


“Yeah, you know those things they have in libraries and schools with the words in ‘em? Dad’s got his hunting trips, and he’s teaching you how to hunt, too… so I thought maybe this could be my thing.”


“What could?” Dean looked like he was struggling not to fall back to sleep already. It was probably the warmth and the fact that his nose wasn’t running for the first time in an hour.


“Trying to keep you guys alive and well.”


Dean reached out from under the blanket and mussed up Sam’s hair.


“Hey! Quit it!” Sam laughed and ducked, moving back out of reach.


But as Dean moved, the TV remote slid out from between couch cushions and onto the floor. Sam picked it up and considered it a moment. Then he turned the stupid monster movie back on, but with the volume down low. He flipped the living room light switch off. Leaving Dean illuminated by the glow of the set, Sam headed to their bedroom where he intended to stay up late reading, something Dean and their dad never let him do. But he left the bedroom door open so he could hear Dean… just in case.