Title: Surprise Ending
Disclaimer: Not my boys!
Written for my own SPN comment meme.
Prompt: Dean has a cold and Sam reads to him.
Sam rolls over in bed, not even sure why he feels the need to crack open one eye. He’s startled to find Dean awake in the other bed and staring back. “Dude!” Sam gives a start then buries his face in the stale motel pillow. “How long have you been like that?”
“Like what?” He sounds worse than the last time Sam heard him say anything, and it makes Sam push himself up, long arms straightening and locking at the elbows.
“Lying there, watching me sleep?”
“All night. I can’t fall asleep.” He coughs. “And I can’t get up and do anything useful either.”
Sam knows he shouldn’t, knows it’s a bad idea. But he scoots over to make room in the bed and pats the warm spot he just left. “All right. Grab your blankets and come over here already.”
Nothing puts Dean Winchester to sleep like a strong, relaxing back rub. It always does the trick. And Sam’s exhausted after a day of driving while Dean curled up in the passenger seat, sniffling and complaining nonstop, but he props himself up on an elbow and slaps one giant hand on Dean’s back. He rubs in circles, just warming up. Then he applies a little pressure. He squeezes shoulders, he presses down with the heel of his hand, he does all the things he normally does to help put Dean to sleep when the man is worked up after a job. Or, well, almost all the things.
But Dean doesn’t fall asleep like usual. He’s still sniffling, rubbing at his nose at too-frequent intervals. He tenses up instead of relaxes, directs a sneeze into the pillow Sam had just been using. “herftchhh!”
Sam sighs. They’re getting nowhere with this—he’s getting nowhere.
Dean senses it too. “Time for plan B: you read to me.” Dean sounds three parts like he’s proposing some mighty demon-fighting strategy and one part like he’s some scared little kid in need of a bedtime story.
Sam isn’t buying into it. In fact, it sounds a bit absurd. Just as he’s ready to give out the worst plan of the year award, Dean tenses up again. “hetshttttt! Hebjshhhh!” He scrubs the side of his hand at his nose. “With all that yacking you do in the car, especially when you’re driving, the sound of your voice’ll put me right to sleep.”
Sam bristles. “Oh, thanks for…”
“Nah, it’s good. I’m comfortable with yehh… yheh!” He cups his whole hand over his face. “Got.. gotta… sneh…” His shoulders rise and his body spasms. “hett-TttSchahhh!”
Sam wonders if that’s why Dean always turns his music up so loud. But he gives Dean a “Bless you” anyway.
Dean rubs repeatedly at his nose, though his eyes seem a million miles away. “Mom used to read to me when I was sick.”
Just like that, all choice has been removed from the equation. If Sam doesn’t read him something, he’s suddenly a bad brother for not honoring their mother’s traditions, even if he can’t remember them. “What do you want me to read?”
Dean shrugs, sniffles wetly into his hand, and pitches forward with another, infinitely wetter, “ittschhhhhhhhkklhh! Ugh… adythig.”
Sam thinks about what they have on hand. There’s Dad’s journal, but the things in that are just liable to keep Dean up rather than relax him. Sam could get his laptop out and read erotic stories, but that’s will definitely keep Dean up. And there’s the Bible, no doubt tucked away in one of the drawers in this motel room, but that’s the worst idea yet. Unless Dean’s got some Melville or Atwood or Hemmingway tucked away in his bag, they’re out of luck.
Sam’s about to try to talk Dean into just snuggling close and falling asleep to the sound of Sam’s heartbeat and the traffic on the highway just outside the motel, when he realizes the perfect piece of literature he has nearly overlooked.
Pulling himself out of bed, Sam pads over to the table by the window, snatches the item, and returns. He doesn’t mess with the lamp, because it’ll surely be too bright for Dean’s eyes, but uses one of their pocket-sized flashlights to read by. Dean moves in close the second Sam is in position, sitting up against the headboard. “Taylor’s Homeplace: a home-cooked meal awaits you at your home away from home.”
Dean lifts his head, blinking, “What the…?” The flashlight catches his eye and a sneeze explodes from him. “H’CHSHH!”
Sam doesn’t break in his reading as he passes over a tissue. “Appetizers: Loaded Potato Skins. Hot, crisp potato skins topped with locally grown diced green pepper, melted cheddar cheese, crispy bacon b—”
“Sam, are you reading a menu?”
Sam pets his brother’s head, which falls back upon the pillow, too weak to withstand the touch. “Very good. Now keep quiet or you’ll miss the best part.”
He sniffs, considering, then closes his eyes. “All right… as long as you skip the damn salads.”
Sam skips them, but even so he doesn’t make it all the way through desserts before Dean falls asleep. And the surprise ending that Taylor’s Homeplace will deliver to your home from noon until 10 pm is entirely lost on him.