Title: Out In the Rain
Prompt: The Impala breaks down one night, and Sam and Dean get caught out in the rain trying to fix it on the side of the road, which really sucks when Sam’s been coming down sick.
Out In the Rain
“Okay. Hand… lugnuts… now.”
Dean’s words could barely be heard above the roar of the rain, though Sam was certainly straining to listen. Even so, he didn’t quite understand the words. “What?” He brushed water from his brow and narrowed his eyes, trying to make out the movements of Dean’s lips in the darkness.
“Lugnuts. Gave… you hold…” Dean stretched his arm out, palm up. Raindrops hit it and dripped down. But as the second ticked by, and Sam put nothing in his hand, it became obvious that whatever Dean wanted, Sam couldn’t give him. “Damnit, Sammy.” That part Sam heard clearly and his heart sunk. “Handed… safe you keep… remember?”
Sam tried hard to remember. The car had hit… something. Something that had sliced open a tire and tore off the front bumper and headlight. It had penetrated the tough metal skin of the Impala, stabbing at the engine. Forty-five minutes later, the engine worked again. It made a sickly, wet, unsteady noise unlike its normal comforting rumble. With the bumper in the trunk and only one working headlight, Dean had set to work on the easiest fix: changing the tire.
At least, it was supposed to have been the easiest fix. “What’s so… fuck… tire lugnuts and hubcap… no?”
Sam shook his head, out of answers and unable to get the words straight in his head anyway. The rain had started two hours ago and their visibility had dropped so suddenly Sam had been kind of impressed they hadn’t just run off the road. Dean had kept them going almost miraculously. Until hitting the something.
Dean rounded on him, grease smearing his face. “…the… wrong you?”
Sam blinked. The wrong him? He glanced down, studying himself. He seemed right. Well, all right, he’d been feeling kind of shitty all morning. And now, surrounded by freezing cold rain, he felt strangely overheated. The cool air felt hot and humid to his lungs. And he couldn’t get his head to clear. Words drifted through, but nothing seemed quite right. And he didn’t want to say the wrong thing. Then Dean really would suspect it was the wrong him.
Dean snapped his fingers. The sound made Sam jump, not because it was so loud or so sudden, but because he hadn’t realized Dean was quite so close to him. When had Dean gotten so close? Sam wanted to reach out and pull him close, let Dean hold him. But he didn’t know how to say it and, besides, that was a stupid thing to want, really. It was pouring rain out here and anyone could just drive by and see. They weren’t going to get picked up hitchhiking if a trucker saw them making out on the side of the road.
The single word registered this time. He thought maybe Dean had said more, actually, but that was the only word Sam heard. And he was. He felt miserable and hot when he knew he should be cold. And he knew the car needed fixing, but he truly wanted to climb inside to get out of the rain, curl up across the backseat, and fall asleep.
Dean pressed the back of his hand to Sam’s forehead and said something else. This time, Sam didn’t catch a bit of it because of the sudden tickle in his nose, but Dean did not look pleased. “ehpp-TISCHHHH!” He looked even less pleased after Sam sneezed in his face. Turning too late, Sam pressed the side of his hand to his face and sniffled so wetly it was hard to tell the sniffle from the rain.
Reaching into his pocket, Dean pulled out a tissue and held it out to Sam. Still sniffling, it took Sam a second to register it was there. By the time he reached out and took it, it was so dampened by the rain it was wetter than Sam’s nose and fell to pieces when he tried to rub his nose with it. Feeling pathetic, he stuffed the wet clump into his pocket and lifted the collar of his shirt, sniffling and wiping his nose into that fabric.
“Gotta get… inside.” Dean said next. At least, that’s what Sam heard. And he grinned, moving forward again, thinking of Dean burying himself deep inside. His hands found Dean’s chest, raced down his sides, dove lower.
Dean pushed him away, startled, angry. And Sam muttered an apology, not understanding at all. Inside. The word resonated inside his head, making him dizzy. “Inside a motel room?” A motel room sounded good. Hot shower. Box of tissues or at least toilet paper. Thick comforter. Firm mattress. But how were they supposed to get there without a working car?
“ehhhFSCHHHH!” Sam snuffled wetly and pulled at his shirt collar, lifting it to his nose and wiping. He hadn’t done that since he was little and Dean had told him not to, but there wasn’t much of a choice. Everything was just so wet.
Dean’s hands were on him now, turning him around, manhandling him toward the Impala. The door opened and Sam was ushered inside. Sam curled up on the back seat, sniffly wet nose against the dry upholstery. He hadn’t slept back here since he was a kid and the backseat had seemed a whole lot bigger then. He managed to wedge himself in, but his shoes pressed against one door and he had to snuggle against the seat to keep from tumbling backward off it. The bumps and curves of the seat were kind of uncomfortable, as were the buckles that stuck up, stabbing his side. He tried to push them down. His hand pushed between the back and bottom of the seat and came back with a LEGO brick. He wondered how many more were stuck in there somewhere. Maybe enough to make a mini-Impala.
Sam wasn’t even aware of falling asleep until he was shaken awake again. Sam opened his eyes and sneezed. Freely. But Dean’s arm was already wet and he didn’t flinch. “Tow truck… Sammy.”
When he sat up, Sam could see angry red taillights cutting through the darkness and striking his eyes. The light through the rain-streaked window seemed brighter than daylight but distorted and made his head hurt. He shut his eyes tightly and the world spun again. “Can I stay?”
The fact that Dean kept calling him that wasn’t a particularly great sign. He crawled and climbed out of the car. Dean had his jacket off and immediately threw it over Sam’s head. He wasn’t tall enough to hold it up over Sam’s head like an umbrella, but Sam reached up and flipped the front so he could see as he walked over to the truck and got in. He didn’t even question where the truck came from, but somehow knew his brother would have found them one.
The tow truck guy got the Impala hooked in place and Sam was soon squeezed between a complete stranger and his older brother. Dean looked drowned and sat, dripping, clothes clinging to his skin. Sam leaned into Dean anyway, feeling awkward leaning against a stranger and feeling too dizzy to sit up straight on his own. Sam felt like sneezing again but rubbed at his nose to get the tickle to die away. He rubbed the collar of his shirt beneath his runny nose and the tow truck driver eyed him. It was better than sniffling though and the guy would probably let it go without comment considering how cold and wet it was outside. A little case of the sniffles was to be expected.
“Hang on.” Dean rested a hand on Sam’s let and squeezing in a reassuring sort of way. “Two miles… station… fix.” It didn’t make a lot of sense, but Sam guessed what he meant. He hung on.
And, sure enough, soon he was stretched out across four plastic chairs inside a gas station repair shop. He sat up when Dean came over with plastic cup of water and a couple pills. Sam swallowed them, glad to not have to explain how he felt. The florescent lights overhead made him squint and want to close his eyes. Dean said something, but the words were and mixed-up jumble Sam couldn’t make any sense of.
All he knew was that when Dean pressed a hand to Sam’s forehead, it felt good. And he both felt and saw that Dean was shivering nonstop. “Cold?”
It was meant as a question but Dean took it as a complaint. “Me too.” His teeth chattered. He fussed with his jacket, draped over part of Sam’s front when he should have been wearing it.
Sam forced his eyes to focus and saw a coffee machine in the corner of the room. He pointed and Dean jingled change in his pocket until he came up with enough for a cup. But when he brought it to Sam, Sam pushed it back, making Dean drink it, hold it. “I don’t feel good.” Sam’s whisper sounded too loud to him in the large, empty room, and he was glad Dean didn’t answer back, just nod.
When Sam felt like sneezing again, he quickly lifted his shirt collar to his nose. “ihhchhhhhh!” Dean handed over the napkin he’d picked up for the coffee and Sam swabbed at his nose until it stopped running.
An especially violent shiver gripped Dean, despite the coffee, and Sam scooted closer. It was uncomfortable, sitting on the edges of two chairs to get right up beside his brother. But Dean wrapped a protective arm around him and Sam found his spot there. Sam gave his brother his own feverish body heat until Dean stopped shivering.
It would only take an hour or so to fix up the Impala enough to make her road-worthy. An hour until Dean could change. An hour until they were rolling down the road again with the heat on high. An hour until they could dig the thermometer out of the small first aid kid and find out how bad Sam’s fever was. An hour until Sam could sleep and rid himself of the words that didn’t make any sense in his head.
An hour until Sam would have to pull out of Dean’s embrace. He dipped his hand into his pocket and pressed the LEGO brick into his brother’s palm. Then he rested his head on Dean’s shoulder.