Title: Double Standard
Author: tarotgal
Rating: G
Disclaimer: not my characters or world. No money made, I promise.

Summary: It’s Dean’s way or the highway, especially when it comes to colds the Winchester boys catch.



Double Standard


hehhh… hehhh-Hetchahh!” Dean sprayed the dashboard and most of the steering wheel before dragging the back of his hand under his nose.


Sam preferred not to watch the road when Dean did that. They’d had too many close calls already that day. So he kept his eyes trained on the map until Dean sniffed back his runny nose. “You sure you don’t want me to drive?”


Clearing his throat and shaking his head, “No. You drive too slow. I got this.”


“You’ve got a cold.”


“That too. Heh… hehhh-ERshoo!” The car swerved briefly and Sam kept his eyes down, hands clenched.




Dean lagged behind. Sam wasn’t surprised; Dean’s fever had been in the hundreds all day. Even with Dean nestled in jackets and blankets across the backseat of the car, it hadn’t let Dean get more than a few minutes of sleep. The fact that he refused anything more than Tylenol would have pissed Sam off if he hadn’t been used to it. Dean said he liked to stay alert. Sam was beginning to think Dean was just a masochist.


As they came to a clearing in the forest, Sam stopped, pretending to need to catch his breath. Dean dropped to his knees, coughing so hard he was almost sick to his stomach. He pulled out his much-abused bandanna and blew his stuffy nose into it as best he could.


“Dean, you’ve had it. Stay here. I’ll get the—”


At once, Dean was on his feet. He was swaying and stumbling forward, but upright. “Which way?” he croaked. He swallowed, wincing.


Sam looked around for signs and noticed some snapped twigs and flattened grass heading off in one direction. “There.”


Dean had started off before Sam had finished raising his hand to point.




hah-hahh-HITchhh!” It was with the same smooth movement as he shoveled dirt out of the hole that Dean scrubbed his nose into his damp shoulder.


Sam sent a shovelful out as well and wiped sweat off his brow with the back of his hand, probably leaving a streak of dirt in its wake but not caring. If he was tired, Dean must be just about dead. “Take a break, man. It’s probably just another few inches. I’ve got this.”


Dean shook his head. “Can’t. Almost there.” His shovel stabbed in deep and the tip struck something. The resounding sound of metal against metal. “Jackpot!” The exclamation cost him valuable voice, though. Leaning against the hole’s dirt wall, he gave in to a coughing fit while Sam continued to shovel and eye his brother.


No sooner had they dug up the urn with the lady’s ashes in it that Dean snatched it from Sam. He plunged his hand in and withdrew a locket. It opened to reveal a set of photos.


Sam leaned close, looking over Dean’s shoulder to see the photo of the lady most recently turned into a vengeful ghost. And a photo of her cat. “A cat? Really?”


Dean sighed and dropped it back into the urn. “Time to light it up.” His voice cracked and he turned, coughing into his arm.


Sam took the urn, squirted in some lighter fluid, and dropped in a match. He could almost hear a ghostly meowing sound, but he figured it must be his imagination. He wouldn’t really be able to hear anything on top of Dean’s coughing and snuffling.




hehChff!” Dean’s shirt had been taking most of the abuse during the hunt, given he didn’t have any hands free to drag his bandanna out repeatedly. “hehSheff! hahKshff!” Despite his cold, Dean still managed to decapitate a couple vampires and save a couple hostages before they retreated back to their motel room.


“You okay?” Sam asked, dabbing an alcohol-soaked cotton swab at the puncture marks on Dean’s neck where one of the bloodsuckers had tried to, well, suck blood.


Dean pinched his nose and held his breath until Sam was done applying the bandage. Then he fell sideways onto the cheap motel bed duvet and sneezed three times running into his bandanna. His eyes were red. Hell, his nose and cheeks were red too. His throat was so sore he didn’t want to drink and his nose wouldn’t stop running. “Give me three hours,” he croaked. “Then we can hit the road.”


Sam reached over and rubbed Dean’s arm. Dean shivered and pulled away in order to curl in on himself. “Three hours,” Dean muttered.


“Dean, you’ve got a hell of a cold. Maybe we should stay put until you’re over the worst of it. A couple days in one place, just so you can rest.”


But Dean wouldn’t have any of it. “We’ve gotta be outa here by sundown. We torched that whole nest. Won’t be long before more of their kind come looking for them and find out what happened.”


At one especially violent shiver, Sam stood up and folded the duvet over on itself, tucking the ends up and wrapping Dean up like it was a sleeping bag.


“‘Sides… monsters to kill, people to save. You know the… the drill. Huhhhh-CHISHHH!” Dean blew his nose copiously as Sam sat back down on the bed. Dean with a cold-filled head always meant plenty of snoring and there was no way Sam was going to sleep through that. Better just to grab his laptop and wait it out.




Sam got returned from the bathroom with a flyer in his hand. He set it down on the table. “I think we’ve got a new… case…” He’d folded a couple squares of toilet tissue and stowed it in his pocket. Really, he’d thought he’d last longer before needing it, but the congestion was already starting to make him feel fuzzy and if a good sneeze or two would clear it out, he was all for it. “ihh… ihhh-KITCHEW!” He snuffled into the toilet tissue, balled it up, and stuffed it back into his pocket.


Before he’d taken another breath, Dean’s hand was on his forehead.


“Some guy disappeared right in the middle of a family reunion,” Sam explained, pulling back. “And when I say disappeared, I mean—”




Sam stared at his brother. “What?”


“You’re running a fever. You’re going straight to bed, Sammy.”


Sam couldn’t deny the idea had a certain appeal. But they’d just been passing through town for lunch. They didn’t even have a motel room here, let alone a bed. “It’s Sam. And we don’t—”


Dean held his hand up and flagged down the waitress. “Check please. And can I get a cup of that chicken soup to go? Thanks.” He dug out his wallet without even glancing at his half-finished burger.




“We passed a grocery store on the way into town. I’ll go stock up on tissues, Vicks, and Nyquil. I’d better pick up enough food. Might be holed up for a couple days in the room ‘til you start feeling better.”


Sam didn’t feel all that bad yet. “Dean!” Sam finally caught his brother’s attention. Dean looked right at him, worry filling in his eyes. “What about this case?”


Dean picked up the flyer, glanced at it, and then waved his hand dismissively. “Guy’s been missing seven weeks. Another couple days won’t make a difference.” As Sam stared at him, Dean shrugged. “You can’t possibly work a case if you’re sick.”