Title: Invisible Strings

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Supernatural (Season 7 spoilers)

Rating:  PG

Disclaimer: Not my boys!

Written for my own SPN comment meme.
Prompt: Dean is down-playing a really bad cold. He puts on a pretty good act of being okay when Sam's watching, but when he's alone he's a mess. Ghost!Bobby sees this of course, and tries to clue Sam in somehow.

Invisible Strings


Sam takes the end of the red highlighter out of his mouth and circles something in the newspaper. “Think I found something.”


Dean looks like a zombie in front of the television, sitting on his bed fully clothed and watching a 24-hour news channel almost unblinkingly. He’s got a balled-up tissue pressed to his nose, not a surprising sight lately, what with his cold. He lowers it, looks over at Sam. He sniffs and the sound is only a squeak.


“Dude, are you even going to be okay to go on a hunt?”


“We got Pestilence’s ring, remember? This is just a sniffle. I got this.” He jumps up and grabs the car keys. “I always feel better when I’m on a hunt anyway.”


The car keys slip from his hand and jangle as they hit the floor a few inches away. Sam scoops them up and hands them back to Dean.




Sam wakes as the Impala slows down to take an exit off the highway. He checks the time, looks confused. “What’d you drink too much coffee?”


Dean’s practically massaging his nose with his thumb and forefinger, pinching and rubbing. “D’no. Sniff!” He drops his hand and nods toward the dashboard. “We’re low on gas.”


“What, again?” Sam double-checks the time.


“I’ll check her out when we stop again. Must be a leak in the tank.”


They pull into a gas station and Dean hops out. Sam is only vaguely aware of the two sneezes he hears from inside the car as he falls back to sleep.




“What the hell, Dean?” Sam holds his hand over his arm where he’s just been freakin’ stabbed by a ghost. “You were supposed to be right behind me.”


Dean gasps, clutches his side in pain. “Yeah. Sorry. Got held up.” He makes sure the sawed-off is ready in case the ghost reappears and needs another dose of rock salt. He rubs his nose, wipes his face. He’s visibly sweating. “huh-uhhh…” He turns, hand clenched into a fist. “hetCHTTTT!




Dean’s not done. “EpTshhh! Heh-GIHShhh! HEPTShh! Ehshuhh!




“Why, sniff, snff, snifffff, why do ghosts haudt dusty, old, rud dowd houses?” He sniffs again and smashes his nose into his shoulder, rubbing hard with his arm lifted, bent at the elbow. “Gah!”


Sam shrugs. “We’d better get you back to the motel.”


The front door opens with a bang, sunlight streaming through the doorway. It makes Sam blink and wonder how strong that gust of wind had to have been. It makes Dean blink and double over with another sneeze. “het-SHIH-uhh!




“Of course she’d be buried in a graveyard with security cameras and twenty-four hour guards,” Sam mutters as Dean gets back from the bathroom. His nose is a shade of pink Sam hasn’t seen in ages and he looks exhausted beyond belief, like he’s just going to fall over. “Man… are you all right?”


“Course,” Dean says, his voice scratchy. The word is hardly even a word. He moves toward the tissue box on the nightstand between their two beds, clearing his throat and sniffing.


“Good. Then come over here and take a look at these maps. I don’t know how we’re going to—Ah!” Something had struck his head hard on the side. Sam looks around, seeing the tissue box on the floor. He picks it up, plops it on the table. “Oh, thanks. Throwing things at me? Real mature, Dean.”


Dean is frozen on the other side of the room, staring. “I did’t.”


A sigh, “What, did the box just magically glide across the room and hit me in the head?”


Dean nods, eyes wide like he can’t quite believe it.


“Uh huh.” Sam’s too tired to argue; it didn’t really hurt so much as startle. And they’ve got a job to do. He can work this out with Dean later. His gaze drops back down to the plans but it’s only there for a second before he hears a gasp, a shuffle, and then Dean darting across the room.


He pulls out a tissue, then another, then just manages a third before he has to lift them to his face to catch his sneezes. “heh-EHFShph! EHKTshphhh! Ihh-IHSHph! Heh-CHSHphhh! eh… ehh… Ehhhh-HFSHPH!


“Whoa. You sound…”


ehh… eh-hehhhh…” Dean grabs blindly, locating the box and pulling out a fourth tissue, which he wedges in between the others and his nose. “ih-hih…” He tenses, swaying back and pitching forward. “hihh-IHHSCHphhhhhh! Uhhh…


Sam picks up the keys to the Impala, slides the motel room keycard into his back pocket.


Dean pries his eyes open; they’re a bit watery from the force of that last one, and he blinks that back to focus on his brother. “Just let be get by coat add—”


Sam’s brother really is an idiot “If you didn’t feel well enough to gank this ghost, all you had to do was say so. I can handle a simple salt and burn. And, apparently, a run to the drug store on the way back.”


Dean starts to object, wipes his nose, pulls out some fresh tissues so he’ll have some in his pocket during the hunt.


Sam takes the tissues and his arm and marches him back across the room. “When I get back, I expect to see your ass in bed. Understand?”


Dean nods and practically collapses onto the bed. He coughs and snuffles into the pillow and hugs the tissue box to his chest.


Sam turns to go and pauses in the doorway as movement catches his eye. He thinks it might be Dean trying to get up and looks back to see the left half of the bedspread being pulled over so it folds over Dean as Dean lies on top of the right half of it. It’s not until Sam’s in the car, headed to the cemetery that he wonders how Dean managed to pull that all the way over him while still holding onto the tissue box with both arms.