Title: Panic Room

Author: tarotgal

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Not my characters or world or anything, and I'm not getting paid for this.

Prompt: Sam, Dean, Bobby (and/or other characters of choice) are forced to take refuge in the panic room for several days for whatever reason. Sam has a miserable cold. Usually he likes to retreat when sick, but there's nowhere to go and no privacy. He's forced to suffer through this cold with his every sniffle on full display. Also, cold medicine and tissues were not super high on Bobby's priority list when stocking the panic room.
Author’s Notes: Written for LadyKorana’s birthday in 2016!



Panic Room


The pain in Sam's head didn't seem so bad compared to the one in his side from running so hard and so fast for so long. But, thanks to his long stride, he was the first one to reach Bobby's panic room. He yanked and then threw the door open. Dean, right behind him, spun on the balls of his feet the second he got inside, raising his sawed-off shotgun for all the good that would do. Bullets hadn't seemed to slow the creatures down one bit. Nothing else had, either. The Winchesters hadn't seen anything like these things before, and neither had Bobby. Bobby ran in, pulling the heavy iron door shut after him with a yell from the effort. Or, at least, what Sam hoped was the effort.


Only two seconds later, one of the creatures slammed itself against the door. The window hadn't been closed on either side of the door, and the three hunters could see the creature's face as it looked inside at them. The giant eyes were bloodshot and full of rage. The veins in its face, all blue and purple, were raised and bulging while its skin was so pale it was virtually translucent. Its mouth was toothless, but its tongue was thick and black and covered with some sort of ooze that dripped down its chin onto its chest. The door was impenetrable, but that didn't stop the creatures from throwing themselves at the door repeatedly, trying to get through and howling in pain as they came into contact with the protection symbols on them. Dean pushed past Bobby and slammed the window shut.


A little out of breath, Dean turned to Bobby. “You all right? Did they get you?”


Bobby’s hand was clamped to his upper arm. He pulled it away, showing a shallow gash. “Nah, I caught myself on a bit of barbed wire out there in the yard. Good thing I got that tetanus shot. Should be all safe now.” Punctuating this comment was an especially loud thump as another one of the creatures threw itself at the door. The whatever-they-weres weren't going to let up any time soon.


“There's a first aid kit in here somewhere. Let's get you fixed up.” Dean patted Bobby's other arm and looked over at Sam. “You okay, Sam?”


No, I’m not okay. I’m trapped in a panic room. Sam found himself on the far side of the room, nervously. giving the cot a wide berth. He'd spent enough time strapped to that thing when going through demon blood detox and was not eager to bring back those memories. There were a couple books here and there around the room, and he found himself instinctively slipping into research mode. He sat down on the concrete floor and set a book on his lap. He looked up at his brother's question, though, and tried to figure out how best to answer. “The creatures didn't touch me.”


Dean nodded and located a first aid kit. Sam watched it carefully, noting its contents. Gauze. Band-Aids of various sizes. Neosporin. Rubbing alcohol. Tylenol. Ace bandages. A sewing kit. There was enough there to help Bobby stop bleeding from his cut, but nothing that was going to help Sam out. Oh, what he would have given for even a small travel pack of tissues. Another clang of a creature against the door made Sam jump. They were going to be here a long time. And unless Sam was mistaken about what the sore, scratchy throat and deep tickle in his nose meant, pretty soon Dean and Bobby were going to find out that he was coming down with a cold.


So his best bet was to figure out what these creatures were so that they could be stopped. Then Sam would be able to crawl into bed at Bobby's, or at least curl up in the passenger seat of the Impala, and sleep this off with a double dose of NyQuil. “Are these the only books you have in here, Bobby?” Sam glanced around. There were three old volumes of lore, which were going to be the most useful, one on religions, which would probably be less useful, and one old Nora Roberts paperback which Sam hoped was there just in case there was a need for kindling and not because Bobby snuck into the panic room to relax with a romance novel every so often. He had enough memories of that cot without having to imagine Bobby lying on it, reading romances.


“Yep, sorry. I took 'em all out when...” He stopped, not wanting to mention the last time the three of them had been in here, when Sam was out of his mind and detoxing so hard it nearly killed him. Or maybe he just wasn't sure how to phrase it. Or maybe “AH! Dean! Warn me next time, ya idjit.”


Dean swabbed the cut with a pad of gauze soaked in rubbing alcohol and looked up, smirking. “The number of times you patched me or Sammy up after a fight...”


Bobby watched Dean's skills then he looked back over at Sam. “Hey, if I'd known we'd be spending some time in here, I'd have restocked sooner. I only brought a couple books back in.”


Sam nodded, thinking of the huge library of books in the house. “Let's just hope that they're the right couple of books, huh? Huh...” He scrubbed quickly at his nose with one finger, his knuckle rubbing against his ticklish nostrils. Don't sneeze. Don't sneeze. Don't sneeze.Huh!” He didn't sneeze. Sam sighed softly with relief, though apparently not softly enough.


“Find something, Sammy?”


Sam swallowed, finding the sharp stab of pain as he did. And he blinked, finding the florescent lights of the panic room made his temples throb. And he breathed carefully, finding that if he went in through the mouth and out through the nose, it didn't tickle quite so much. “Nope. Nothing yet,” Sam replied, hanging his head and flipping through the pages of the book.


Even though none of them had seen these creatures before, Sam was willing to bet that they weren't something new to the world. They'd come out of the lake like this, not from the cemetery or some medical lab running experiments. And there were only a half dozen of them, not hundreds. They didn't seem to be converting people the way zombies did... they just wanted to get at Sam, Dean, and Bobby.


huh! Huh!!” Furiously, Sam scrubbed at his nostrils. He tried to hold his breath, but an involuntary gasp or two still escaped him. “huhhh!” Sam cupped his hand over his nose and mouth, bracing himself for the inevitable. ”huh! Huhh!” Quickly, before it struck, he switched to pressing his nose in the crook of his arm. No sense in getting his hand dirty. “hhhhhmphhhchphhhh!” Besides, the sneeze was pretty well muffled this way anyway. Maybe the others hadn't even noticed.


“Gesundheit, kid,” said Bobby, inspecting the bandage Dean had put on his cut.


“This place is kinda cold, isn't it?” Dean said. He spotted a blanket—Sam could literally see Dean switching into big brother mode. He probably didn't even realize he was doing it. Dean grabbed the blanket and tossed it to Sam. “Stay warm. Can't have you getting sick on me, can I?”


Sam gave a weak smile back but couldn't meet Dean's eyes. Luckily, he was so busy unfolding the blanket and wrapping it around his shoulders that Dean didn't even notice the evasion.


Another thumping clang sounded as the creatures threw themselves at the entrance to the panic room. But they would be repelled back again. They would never be able to force their way inside, no matter how many times they hit it. Or so Sam told himself as he stuck his nose back in the book so no one could see him rubbing at his nostrils and he turned the page loudly so that no one could hear him sniff. He wasn't sure how long he'd be able to hide this from them, but he hoped he would figure out what the creatures were before Dean and Bobby figured out what he had.


hah... huhhh!” Sam rubbed. Getting away with this would be a lot easier if he'd just quit sneezing all the time.


heh-IHTchhhhhhhh!” Dean sneezed suddenly, freely. He narrowed his eyes at the book he'd just picked up. “Ugh, Bobby, don't you ever clean in here?”


“Oh yeah, I'll just tell the maid to head on over once a week and tidy up the demon and ghost-proof panic room?” He muttered something that sounded to Sam like it could have been “Idjit.” But Sam was too fixated on watching Dean to care. Not only did Sam have a new excuse if he had to sneeze now, but Dean had a bandanna with him. Sam watched Dean take it out of his back pocket, wipe at his nose, and then shove it back in again. Sam made a mental note. If his cold got out of hand and his sleeve was too wet and he was really desperate, he could ask Dean for his bandanna, though he really wanted it now. Just the idea of blowing his nose into something dry and warm was so alluring to him he almost couldn't concentrate on what he was reading.


Dean had another of the dusty lore books open on his lap and Bobby had the third one. Bobby leaned against the door with it, as if leaning against it would help enforce it. Sam slumped down, hiding as much of his head behind the book as possible. There, his nostrils twitched and he rubbed and rubbed, keeping the tickle at bay.


It worked for a while, though Sam wasn't sure how long exactly as the panic room seemed outside of time somehow, without windows or clocks. And it was silent in here; the only sound was the fluttering of book pages, their breathing, and the repetitive banging of body against the panic room door every few minutes like clockwork.  In any case, no one was paying any attention to his nose but him when he was finally helpless to stop another sneeze from coming. “huhh.. huh-yeh... huhhhhhhhhhh-UHH-HUHGTShhhahhhh!” His nose felt so full still; he needed to sniff, but he didn't want to make more noise than he absolutely had to. So he pressed his nose against his sleeve and rubbed. “Excuse-huhhh!Oh no. Not another one! His nose was drippy and full and another sneeze would be terrible just now. Don't sneeze. Don't sneeze. Don't—this time, his pleading was for naught. “huhhh-HuhhhKTtgddshhhhhhhhh!


Sam kept his eyes closed afterward, fearing their expressions. But he heard movement and footsteps before Dean sat down next to him. “Uh, Sammy?”


With the lower half of his face still pressed into his sleeve, Sam cast his gaze upward. “Yes?”


“Something you want to tell us?”


Sam shook his head, which had the added bonus of wiping his nose against his sleeve, so that when he lowered his arm, his nose looked and felt dry. “Not really, no.”


Dean looked at him for a minute. A long, excruciating minute. “Tell me the truth, okay? I'm your brother; I deserve that after all we've been through: are you coming down with another cold or did one of those creature things get to you?”


Sam noticed Dean's hand inch closer and closer to the pocket where he kept his knife. He wouldn’t want to hurt Sam, but being trapped inside a panic room with one of those creatures—even if the creature was your brother—was something else entirely. So Sam knew he couldn’t get away with this any longer. And he knew Bobby was listening; the room just wasn't big enough to have a private conversation.


“I started feeling sick yesterday before we even rolled into town,” Sam told him. “Feels like it's just a cold.”


Dean relaxed, almost looking sheepish about moving toward his knife. He reached over and tugged at the blanket, pulling it further down Sam's chest. “Why don't you ever tell me these things? Ever since you were a kid, I've had to drag it out of you every time you were sick.” He sighed. “You and your badly timed head colds. You're always so sneezy when you have a cold. You feeling super sneezy yet?”


Sam shrugged again. I am. I absolutely am. But he wasn't about to admit it out loud. Besides, it wasn't really what Dean wanted to hear. “I'm feeling well enough to keep trying to find a mention of those creatures in the books.”


Dean smiled and patted Sam's arm. “Good. Just try to keep that cold to yourself. I don't want to have to deal with both you and Bobby sniffling all day.”


“I huh... I think I... huhh...huh-uh-huhhhh-HUH-HUHGDshumhhhh! I think I'll manage if I can huh just quit snee... sneee-huhhhh! sneeeeee-zing-huhUHGIHShhhhhhhhhh!” Sam sneezed into his sleeve. He hoped Dean might hand over his bandanna now, but it didn't occur to his brother. Sam wasn't desperate enough to beg for it yet.

Dean returned to his book and Sam returned to his, not so worried about his sniffling being noticed any more but, instead, worried about what he might need. The panic room wasn't equipped to handle someone with a head cold. The ventilation issue alone meant he'd probably already spread his germs to Bobby and Dean without meaning to. There were no nasal sprays, no tissues, and just this one blanket, which wasn't really cutting out the chill as much as he'd hoped, frankly. “huh... huhIHGTSchhhhhhhh!” How in the world was he going to make it through this?


He wasn't.


But he was going to try. Page by page. He couldn’t afford to miss anything, so he went slowly, page by page, trying to keep his anxiety in check. His head hurt. His eyes stung. All his body wanted to do was to lie down and cope by sleeping this cold off as if it were nothing more than a bad hangover. All his mind wanted to do was focus on the last time he’d been in here, going out of his mind and shaking from withdrawal. But if he didn’t figure out what those creatures were, he’d never get out of here. In here is where I go crazy. And out there is where there are beds and comforters and tissues and cold medicine. So he went through the book page by page.


Page 15.




Page 20.


Over there was where I saw Jess laughing at me as she burned.


Page 27.


huhhhhh… huhIhhh-GIHTChhhh!


Page 34.


Over there, Azazel cut his wrist open and dripped blood on the floor of the room for me.


Page 44.




Page 45.


Over there, Dad told me he should have killed me the second I was born.


Page 45.




Page 45.


Sam lifted his head, feeling useless and panicky in the panic room. His everything hurt and his nose was dripping and irritated from the rough, wet corner of the blanket rubbing against it. His heart raced fast. His mind raced even faster. Desperate came a lot sooner than Sam would have liked. “Deand?” I can’t believe he’s going to make me say this out loud. I can’t believe he hasn’t noticed I’m going crazy here. Dean looked over at him. He wanted to ask for so many things. For Dean to make all this stop. For Dean to knock him out for a couple hours. For Dean to tell him he wasn’t always so useless. Instead, he asked, “Cand… sniff cand I borrow sniff your banddanda sniff! for mby ndose?”


The idea clearly had not occurred to Sam’s big brother. “Oh. Oh yeah!” He dug it out and tossed it over.


Sam’s cold-dulled reflexes meant he stuck his hand out a split-second too late and missed it. Nice one. How do they trust you to do anything? As he blew his nose, he started wondering if they really did trust him anymore. Not that long ago, he’d been drinking demon blood. Not that long ago, he’d had powers and some destiny demons seemed interested in controlling.


huhhh-KTChhmmphhh!” Oh, but at least he had Dean’s bandanna now. It felt so good to sneeze into something warm and dry. He knew the feeling wouldn’t last long—he was just too sneezy—but for the moment, he felt better.


Page 46.


At least until another one of the creatures tried to throw itself at the door and, once again, it bounced off it with a resounding thunk. If Sam was going to concentrate on this reading at all, he really needed that to stop.


No... what I need is a giant tissue box and some DayQuil to take the edge off before I sneeze myself to death here. What I want is for the creatures to stop making that noise. And that was the thought that really got him thinking. What the heck were the creatures doing that for anyway? They must be mindless if they hadn't figured out by now that wouldn't work. But why were they doing it in the first place? If their purpose was to kill or even kill and eat, there were plenty of easier targets who didn't have magically-enforced panic rooms. The creatures should have been gone by now, feasting on the entire town. But they were still there, trying to get to the three hunters in the panic room. And that had to mean something. Sam just wasn't sure what.


“Bobby?” Sam called out, raising his head from the page and blinking at the lights. That made his nose tickle, so he buried it in the bandana and blew repeatedly. He was swiftly running out of resources but, if he was right, he might be onto something here. “Who knew Dean and I were visiting?”


Bobby cocked his head. Then he took his hat off and scratched at his head. “Ah, I told Jody. Thought she'd want to know.”


“Is that... thah... hahhh-IHHKTschhuhhh! Sniff! Is that it?”


He continued to look thoughtful and Sam continued to sniffle. “Evan Sykes was next to Jody at the diner counter. He probably heard.”


“Is he a... good guy, this Evand Sykes?”


“Oh sure,” Bobby said, nodding. “For a total dick.”


Sam's eyebrows rose.


“He thinks I short-changed him on a couple car parts a while ago. Guy has no idea how much the engine of a '72 Ford costs. He's had it out for me ever since. And that wife of his is a piece of work.”


Sam rubbed the cuff of his sleeve at his nose. “Wife?”


“Total new agey type. Really stands out in town, let me tell you. Into crystals and horoscopes—”


“Andd witchcraft?”


Bobby shrugged. “Probably.”


Sam riffled back through the book and stopped when he got to a likely-looking page. “They're righ... riihhhhh...” His eyes closed. Now, seriously?huhhhhh...” He heard movement, and this time it wasn't one of the creatures at the door. It was Dean with a hand on Sam's shoulder and another to take the book from him. Sam cupped his hands to his face and gave in. “huhhh-IhhgHrschhhhhhh! Hehhtchuhhhhh!


“Vengeance beings, the living embodiment of a witch's rage.” Dean tapped the page. “They're single-minded, brought forth with one purpose, set for them by the witch. There's an illustration. Looks a lot like our friends out there.”


There was some amount of relief associated with knowing what the creatures were at last. But there was an even more pressing question. “Does ihhhh... huhhhh... does it huhhhhh say huhhhhhh how to... to... to-huh huhh-UHHSchhhhhh!


“How to stop them?” Dean's hand slid over Sam's shoulder and rubbed in a circle on Sam's back. “Yeah. Should be pretty easy, actually. We gotta set them on fire and then track down the witch. She had to use her own blood to initiate the spell.”


Bobby seemed less confident than Dean in the plan. “But we tried fire. Those things didn’t so much as flinch.”


huh-Uhrschhhhh! Sniff! They wouldn’t have,” Sam tried to explain. “All they feel is the vendgeadce of the witch who condjured themb. So they’ll go upb id flambes, but they wond’t feel andythig as it hapbeds. We just ndeed endough fire to stopb themb ind their tracks.” This meant they needed something flammable.


“There’s the book pages,” Bobby suggested, eyeing them. The gaze made Sam reach for the book, take it from Dean, and clutch it safely to his chest. “Not the reference books, the cheap romance,” he clarified. Though he made no indication as to what that grocery store checkout shelf novel was doing in the place to begin with.


Sam wasn’t sure that would be enough. Tiny little flames against those things? Reluctant and shivering, he pulled the blanket from around his shoulders and handed it to Dean. “Light this upb. Cover themb with it.”


Dean used his lighter. Bobby opened the door. And Sam stood across from the door with a gun in one hand, a knife in the other, and his running nose pressed to his shoulder.


The creatures didn’t make a sound as they went up in flames. There was the roar of fire, and that was it. The burning creatures moved forward, still trying to get at the hunters, but after a few seconds they stopped in place and Sam could relax a little. It was horrible and wonderful to watch all at once. Dean turned around, looking at Sam. “Your blanket did the trick. Good work, Sam. But you look cold. Wanna warm up by the fire?”


Bad joke, Dean. Sam gave him a weak, placating smile. “Just get mbe the hell out of here andd fide mbe a tissue box before we go after the witch.”