Title: Winchester Brother Override Privilege
Pairing: None/Gen, though the boys get a little snuggly
Disclaimer: Not my characters. No money made.
Summary: Dean has a cold and gets super clingy. Sam deals.
Notes: I have 3 stories I really, really wanted to write, but this one popped into my head around 1am this morning and wouldn’t let me alone all day!
Winchester Brother Override Privilege
“hhh!” As Dean’s breath caught, Sam looked up from his book. He watched his brother fight the obviously oncoming sneeze for a few seconds, rubbing mercilessly back and forth with his knuckles. It wasn’t long before he gave up entirely. “h’IHTChhhhhh!”
Sam closed his book. “That’s it. I’m invoking Winchester Brother Override Privilege.”
Dean still managed to scowl, even though he was sniffling. “That doesn’t…” He brought his hand up again, intending to scrub at his nose some more. Instead, he shot forward. “Hahhh-YIHshhhhhh!”
“That makes twelve sneezes in less than an hour. I’m taking over. You’re sick.”
Dean shook his head, tightened his grip on the steering wheel.
“If you’re not sick, then why do you keep sneezing?”
Shrugging, he suggested, “Maybe allergies?”
Sam opened the glove compartment. He leaned over, looking at the floor of the car by his feet. He turned in his seat, craning his neck to look into the back seat.
“What the hell, man?”
“I’m just looking for the cat.”
Dean swore. Morning sunlight glinted off his rings as he
scrubbed his nose again, and Sam could tell he was trying harder than ever to
“Shut ub, Sabby. I hnghhh…” Quickly, his eyelids dropped closed while his mouth dropped open. “hahKITChhh!” He slapped his hand against the steering wheel in frustration.
“Do you really want a repeat of Minneapolis?”
Dean didn’t reply, but the way his shoulders sagged let Sam knew he’d already given in.
“Pull over and go grab the stuff out of the trunk.”
Dean pulled the car over. With a grunt, he slid the keys over to Sam before they both got out. Sam went around the front while Dean went around the back. When he climbed into the passenger seat, it was with a rattle from the bottle of pills in a pocket, the strong scent of Nyquil on his breath, and a heavy woolen army blanket clutched to his chest. After fastening his seatbelt, he turned in his seat toward the side window and draped the blanket over his left shoulder. He let it fall around him and sighed.
“You find any Kleenex back there?”
Dean shook his head and closed his eyes.
“Okay, we’ll pick some up the next time we stop.” Sam turned the heat knob up and turned the radio down. Dean was asleep and snoring in minutes.
A bead of sweat trickled down Sam’s face, but he didn’t wipe it away. He was too hot inside the Impala to expend any unnecessary energy. The heater was cranked up as high as it would go and Dean, wrapped tight in the thick blanket, was huddled up against him. Dean was putting out just as much heat as the car was—maybe more. But he’d nuzzled his face into Sam’s side and draped an arm over Sam’s waist, and Sam hadn’t had the heart to push him off, not with the way Dean was sniffling and snoring and coughing. Only three hours into the drive and his brother already sounded horrible. This wasn’t going to be one of those colds they could work through.
Sam was grateful when the next exit came up. He needed some cool air, the Impala needed gas, and Dean needed to wipe his nose on something that didn’t resemble Sam’s shirt. After pulling up to one of the gas pumps, Sam nudged his brother. “Dean?”
Dean sat up with a start and a cough. “What?” He reached for his knife, which Sam had commandeered while Dean slept.
“Relax. Pit stop. Go take a leak while I fill up.”
Sniffling and rubbing at his nose, Dean gave a nod. He threw off the blanket and shivered his way through the winter air to the gas station store with his arms crossed over his chest.
Sam filled the tank and pulled into a parking spot by the door. Dean was waiting for him inside, standing under a heat vent. He’d helped himself to a tissue box and snuffled into a handful of them as if that were a greeting. They exchanged looks and Dean stood outside the door while Sam used the bathroom. When he got out, Dean immediately leaned into him. “Sammy, my head hurts.”
“Did you take some Advil already?”
Dean shook his head.
Sam plucked a bottle off the shelves, along with another box of Kleenex. He swept up a handful of bags of chips and a couple sodas. All the while, Dean stuck to him like Sam was a three-year-old kid who might get lost if he were left alone. “Do you want some coffee?” Sam asked, getting a cup for himself.
Dean coughed and shivered, as if that were an answer, and Sam took it to mean he should get a second cup. If nothing else, it would help keep Dean warm.
When they got back into the car, Dean slid over and attached himself to Sam’s side once again. Even though he hugged a tissue box to his chest, he rubbed his face into Sam’s shoulder, sniffling and flaring his itching nostrils. “Dean,” Sam said quietly, calmly. “I’ll need my hand to drive.”
Dean pulled back, looking slightly embarrassed. He buried his nose in a fresh batch of tissues. “huhh-IHFShhh! H’YSChhhh!”
Sam shifted into reverse, backed out of the parking space, and then shifted into drive. They were back on the highway in fewer than five minutes. Dean was attached to his side again in fewer than seven.
Having grown up on the road, driving did not tire out either of the Winchesters. However, worrying about his sick brother was enough to exhaust Sam. They could have kept going through the night, but Sam needed a break and wanted his brother to have a proper rest in a proper bed. Dean needed rest if he was going to get better. His already bad head cold was growing steadily worse and a couple short Nyquil-induced naps in the car just weren’t cutting it.
When Sam pulled up to a motel, Dean started to get out with him to get a room. “You’d better stay.”
“Look, I can—“
“Remember what Dad taught us? Not to be memorable? Sorry, Dean. You’d be hard to forget right now.” Lightly, Sam patted Dean’s leg. “Stay here and stay warm.”
“And blow your nose. I’ll be right back.”
Sam negotiated for a room with a desk clerk who barely looked up from his computer. When he got back to the car, Dean was stretched out across the front seat, snoring again. Sam nudged him, and Dean woke long enough to curl, bending his legs with his knees to his chest. Sam squeezed in and drove the car to their room.
He tossed Dean’s bag on the first bed and his own by the foot of the other bed. Dean, still wrapped in his thick blanket, came in after him. He took a look at the two beds, and then he shuffled over to Sam’s and burrowed under the covers with his Kleenex box. “Sabby,” he said, nuzzling his face into a pillow. “Cub keeb be warb?”
Sam kicked off his shoes and sat down on the bed, his back up against the headboard. He stretched his arm out and Dean shifted his head into Sam’s lap while Sam rubbed small circles on Dean’s upper back.
When Sam showered, Dean came with him, breathing in the steam before taking a shower of his own. When Sam left to get them dinner, Dean insisted on going in the car with him, even though he shivered the whole time. And when Sam got ready for bed, Dean showed no interest in going back to his own bed to sleep.
Sam didn’t get much sleep. He’d slept beside Dean thousands of times over the years as kids or in the car or in motel rooms when space had been tight. But lately he was used to having a bed to himself. He wasn’t used to Dean snoring loudly or shaking the bed with coughs or sneezes. Despite the Nyquil, Dean tossed and turned all night long, unable to breathe freely or get comfortable. Sam tried to prop him up with more pillows or thump him on the back to help his breathing, he tried cool compresses on Dean’s hot forehead and warm ones on Dean’s chest to help his breathing. He even went out for ice from the motel machine to construct a makeshift ice pack for the back of Dean’s neck, but nothing really helped.
Finally, Dean fell asleep around four-thirty and, miraculously, stayed asleep. Sam drifted only off a minute later, grateful for some peace.
He woke a few hours later to the bed shaking and knew it was Dean having another sneezing fit. He really wanted to keep his eyes closed and pretend he wasn’t awake yet, but his worry took over and he opened one eye.
Dean sat hunched over on the edge of the bed, the blanket draped over his shoulders, one hand at the side of his head, and the tissue box on his lap. “huh-CHISHH! H’Kschooo! Uh… huh-YIHTChhh! IHshhhh! Epschhhh! huhh-KETChhhh! Owwww…” He lifted his head, rubbing tissues at his nose, and caught Sam’s eye. His face lit with relief for an instant. Then, in a broken, scratchy whisper, he said, “Sabby… subthig’s wrog.”
Sam took a deep, steadying breath. “Okay. You’re okay. Get dressed. I’ll find a clinic to take you to.”
Dean wouldn’t leave his side. Sam nearly elbowed him in the face twice accidentally when brushing his teeth; Sam didn’t dare try to shave. It was even harder trying to get dressed with Dean constantly there, standing so close, arms wrapped around him. Repeatedly, Sam had to bite his tongue to keep from telling Dean to back off. All Dean seemed to want to do was be next to Sam. And it wasn’t just for warmth or to help stay upright, either. He just wanted to be with Sam. He wanted Sam to hand him tissues, wanted Sam to rub his back, wanted Sam to put an arm around him and squeeze.
By this time in his life, Sam was well aware that Dean got needy and clingy when sick, but this time he was taking it to a whole new level. Dean buried his face in Sam’s chest, one hand still clutching tissues, the other taking tight hold of Sam’s flannel. When he spoke, his voice was a harsh, squeaky whisper. “Dod’t wadt to go to a clidic. Wadt to get back od the road.”
With a cool hand sweeping against the back of Dean’s hot neck, Sam tried to calm his brother. “I know. But your temperature keeps spiking and now you’ve lost your voice. We need to have a doctor take a look at you or you could get worse.”
Dean looked up at Sam for a second. Then his head snapped back down. “huhhh-Ih-Yihshhhh! Oww...”
“Did that hurt?”
Wiping a tissue at his sore nose, Dean nodded then winced and tilted his head slightly to the side.
“Oh yeah, we’re going to a clinic.”
Sam sat next to Dean on the exam table, the paper cover crinkling under their butts every time they moved even a little. Sam’s legs swung a little as he waited for the doctor to arrive. Dean, on the other hand, barely moved. He had curled himself into Sam’s side and would not be moved, not even when he needed to blow his nose. So he just sniffled and sniffed and wiped his nose on Sam’s sleeve.
Shifting, Sam hopped down from the table and Dean gave a start. Sam put a hand on his thigh. “I’m just going to grab some of those tissues over there. I’ll be right back.” The wait in the waiting room had been longer than anticipated. Dean had sneezed his way through the travel pack of tissues he’d brought as well as the tissues Sam had crammed into his pockets before leaving… and the ones Sam had loaded in his own pockets as well. By the time they’d finally been called back, Dean’s bandana was damp and hurt his nose terribly when he used it. So as soon as Sam spotted the box of tissues across the room by the sink, he knew he needed them.
Or, rather, Dean needed them. The second Sam handed two over, Dean blew his nose liberally. His nose sounded so full, Sam wasn’t sure he’d brought over enough tissues, but Dean let up after a while and slumped against Sam afterward.
When the doctor arrived, she was a bit taken aback to find two of them there. The fact that Dean didn’t even bother making a pass at the beautiful woman—not even a single line—only emphasized to Sam how sick he really was. “My brother lost his voice overnight,” Sam explained. “He’s feeling a bit… vulnerable.” Dean stiffened next to him, but Sam didn’t care about Dean’s feelings; if his older brother insisted on being so clingy, then he would just have to get over it.
The doctor reviewed the notes the nurse had made and then checked Dean’s ears, eyes, nose, and throat for himself. He had Dean attempt to breathe deeply while he listened to his chest, but Dean kept coughing. Sam finally insisted Dean blow his nose again, until finally he could take a few deep breaths.
“That’s enough,” she said finally, hanging the stethoscope back around her neck. “You’ve got one hell of a rhinovirus. Your fever’s probably a symptom of the ear infection you’ve got in your left ear. And the loss of your voice is due to postnasal drip and excessive coughing.”
“Can you give him something?” Sam asked, thinking about the night they’d just had.
“I’m antibiotics aren’t going to help an ear infection caused by a virus, but it will most likely go away in twenty-four to forty-eight hours. I want you to come in again in a few days if that isn’t the case. Still, there are some things I can prescribe to make you more comfortable—Aspirin will help with the pain, and there are ear drops, nasal sprays. A humidifier would help. A warm, moist cloth over the ear that hurts will help as well.” She rubbed Dean’s arm. “And I want you to get plenty of rest and fluids. That’s the best thing you can do right now.”
“I’ll see that he does.”
She smiled at Sam. “You’re a good brother.”
“Huhh!” Dean quickly turned and buried his face in Sam’s chest. “huh-KShhhhh!”
Sam patted Dean’s back sympathetically as he looked at the doctor. “You have no idea.”
The alarm on Sam’s phone went off at two-thirty in the morning. Inwardly, he cursed it. But if they were going to stay on top of Dean’s pain, he wanted to keep to the schedule. And, for once, Sam was grateful for Dean being so damn clingy during this cold. Dean’s head was on his chest, an arm draped over Sam’s chest. So all Sam had to do was reach over to the nightstand for the water bottle and pills. “Dean…” He poked at Dean until his brother woke.
The quiet of the motel room suddenly gave way to a symphony of sneezes, coughs, sniffles, and moans. Sam passed Dean tissue after tissue until the symptoms temporarily subsided. Then he had Dean swallow some pills. “There you go,” Sam said, petted the back of Dean’s head as Dean laid it back down on Sam’s chest. “Go back to sleep.”
But Dean wasn’t able to do so just yet. As Sam started to drift off, Dean sneezed, “h’KETChhhh!” the spray catching his chin and neck. And, right there, was the downside to the clinginess. Sam pulled a Kleenex from the box beside him in bed and got it to Dean’s face just in time to catch another sneeze. “hah-Huhschhhhh!” Dean nuzzled into the tissue, sniffling wetly, so Sam got him another one. Dean blew his nose. “Sabby… by ear is still killig be. Could you get be adother warb washcloth?”
Sam yawned. He wanted to go back to sleep, wanted to say no. “Sure. Scoot over so I can get up.” Sam tried to move, but Dean pinned him down still.
“Do you want a warm compress or not, Dean?” He rubbed Dean’s back.
Dean let him up but, as soon as Sam was back, Dean snuggled close again. Sam laid the warm washcloth on Dean’s left ear, and Dean let out a sigh as his body relaxed.
“Better,” Dean agreed. “Good edough to head out of towd toborrow.”
Sam took one look at his brother and knew that wasn’t going to happen. “We’ll see. But I reserve the right to invoke Winchester Brother Override Privilege again to keep us here another day. We’re not going anywhere until your fever goes down.” Sam broke off to yawn. “So get some rest, like the doctor said.”
Dean closed his eyes. “She was hot, wasd’t she? If you had’t beed there, I totally would have asked her out.”
Sam smiled, his hand rubbing circles on Dean’s back. Dean really must be feeling better.