H/C Bingo square: Food poisoning (kinda)
Hoodietime Dean H/C meme prompt by spartygirl87: Here Dean gets sick in the middle of a hunt. He's feverous, nauseaous, headachy but refuses to rest "because people are dying Sammy, i can't just leave them." Something happens to Dean on the hunt because he refused to stop and rest.
Warnings: Unbeta'd and probably full of errors. Vomiting happens. Dean is both sick and damaged. Hurrah!
A Rolling Stone
The thing is, Dean never gets sick. When Sam is in the middle of his latest streaming cold and complains about Dean's apparent immunity, Dean just shrugs and puts it down to the constant exposure to all manner of weird and wonderful germs and bacteria during their wandering childhood. Must have made me ultra-hardy, Sammy, he says, because even in the coldest of winters he rarely gets more than a minor sniffle. Why Sam never acquired the same hardiness is beyond Dean's powerful intellect, so he doesn't brood on it too much. He just plies Sam with tissues and Night Nurse and calls his little brother a whiny bitch in case his nurse-maiding makes him look like a chick.
So when his back starts aching on the long drive to Ohio from their latest successful hunt putting down a small pack of chucucabras in California, he just puts it down to a pulled muscle. He rubs absently at his lower back and carries on driving, Sam asleep and snoring like a miniature Impala in the shotgun seat. It's a dull sort of pain, not worth even a four on the Winchester pain scale, so clearly it's nothing to worry about.
After twelve hours straight driving, even Dean needs a break, so he pulls into the next truck stop café on the far edge of Colorado, wakes Sleeping Beauty up with a punch to the arm that earns him the best bitch-face of the week so far. He climbs out of the Impala and stretches his sore back without even noticing he's doing it. It's early evening, but the baked heat still hits him like walking into an oven. He can feel the sweat trickling down his neck.
"Come on, Princess, let's get inside before I melt."
Dean strides into the air-conditioned chill of the diner, not really listening to Sam's grumbling about it not really being that warm. It might be Colorado, but it has to be over a hundred degrees out there.
Dean orders a double cheeseburger and fries, but halfway through eating his stomach cramps up unpleasantly, and he ends up pushing the fries around his plate. Luckily Sam has the laptop out and is too absorbed in whatever geekiness he's found to notice Dean's uncharacteristic lack of appetite. Dean downs his cold beer in a couple of gulps and orders another to go with his cherry pie, which arrives smothered in enough cream to start a dairy. Cheered by the smell of pastry, Dean tucks in.
"I think I've found us another hunt on the way to Ohio," Sam says, waving a long finger at the computer screen, and Dean grins at him through a mouthful of pie. "Sounds like a vengeful spirit in Decatur, Illinois. It was happy enough for years just occasionally throwing things around, vandalising property and once it killed a pet cat, but now it's started murdering people. Maureen Cole was the first, last week, and yesterday it got her cousin, Mabel Henney."
"Great," Dean says, dabbing at the sweat running down his forehead. Why can't these middle of nowhere diners get their air cons sorted out? Bet he or Sam could even fix it, given the right tools… "There's nothing like a straight forward salt'n'burn to warm us up for a bit of demon hunting when we get to Cleveland."
Of course, Dean should know better than to say shit like that. It's just asking for trouble, right?
Dean shifts uncomfortably on the shiny red vinyl seat. The backache has returned, and now his stomach is aching in harmony, like the two body parts are talking to each other. It's a conversation Dean could do without. He throws the keys to Sam and stands to go to the washroom.
"Here, geek boy, you're driving."
Sam snatches the keys out of the air with a quizzical look on his face, but Dean has an urgent need to piss so he doesn't pay it any mind. The urinal is so old and stained, Dean thinks he must have imagined his golden stream of urine being tinged with red; though, man, for some reason, it hurt like a bitch to pee. Fuck. He settles down into the shotgun seat and is asleep in seconds. He hadn't realised he was that tired.
Dean wakes up feeling like death warmed over, and he should know, he's been dead often enough. He's sweating like a chilled beer glass on a warm day, his back is aching so badly it's making him cross-eyed, and worst of all, his stomach is a roiling mass of unhappiness.
"Stop the car!"
Fortunately for Dean (and for the Impala's interior) Sam's quick reflexes mean they pull over immediately, and almost before the car's fully stopped on the hard shoulder, Dean is leaning out of the door, projectile vomiting. It ain't pretty.
"Hey, hey, easy there," Sam's voice is right behind him, Sam's big hands holding Dean by the shoulders to stop him face planting and drowning in his own waste products, something Dean is exceedingly grateful for. He probably did die that way on one of those Tuesdays in Florida, but Dean doesn't remember, and has no desire to put on a repeat performance.
His stomach finally empty, Dean sits back shakily. It's a measure of how rough he feels that he allows Sam to wipe his face with a cold wet cloth and help him hold a water bottle while he swills the sour taste from his mouth.
"Well, that was fun," he says, a little hoarse from the passage of bile. He takes a few small sips and waits warily to see if they stay down. Nothing drastic happens, so he risks drinking the rest of the water and feels a little better.
"Perhaps we should find a motel for the night, rest up and tackle this ghost tomorrow night," Sam says and Dean bristles up quicker than any porcupine.
"How far are we from Decatur?"
"Um, about ten miles, give or take," Sam says, frowning.
"Oh come on, Sam, we wait until tomorrow night, this spirit could kill another person and that would be on us. I'm fine now – thrown up everything there was to throw, so as long as I don't eat anything, it can't happen again, right?"
He gets out of the car and goes to find a tree to piss against. He staggers and almost doubles up at the sudden pain that stabs through his penis as he tries and fails to squeeze out a single drop, in spite of everything telling him it's mighty urgent for him to empty that bladder. Holy fucking shit! He leans his forehead on the rough bark and bites down on the scream that wants to break free. Come on Winchester, you can't swear or show the pain, or Sam will have you resting up in a motel bed before you can zip up your fly.
He straightens up and walks back to the Impala as if nothing had happened. Nobody is dying on his watch just because Dean Winchester can't cope with a little food poisoning.
He must have dropped off the minute Sam started Baby's engine, because there's no way those freaky zombie shrimps that are drilling into his skull are real. At least he hopes not, anyhow, as he jolts into wakefulness as Sam pulls into an unlit side road next to Decatur's old cemetery. He passes a hand over his head, just in case. No shrimps or anything but hair in evidence, thank fuck.
"You okay, Princess Aurora?" Sam asks, that concerned frown still creasing his massive forehead like it's taken up residence there. Dean saves the expected retort until he's clambered out of the car, trying not to wince as the pain in his lower back amps up from a six to a nine point five.
"You're the only Princess round here, Sammy," Dean manages a grin to go with the words, though the effort is killing him. "Come on, let's get this show on the road then we can find a nice motel and have a beer before bed time."
He loads up his sawed off, fills his pockets with extra cartridges then wipes the sweat out of his eyes. Who'd have thought Illinois would be just as hot as Colorado, and in the middle of the night too? He can feel Sam staring, so he walks into the graveyard with a touch more swagger than usual to compensate.
Sam's pinpointed the culprit just from the Internet research, and sure enough, the ghost of Ebenezer (seriously?) Williams, de-frocked reverend and really fucking furious spirit, appears the moment they excavate his coffin. Sam's in the hole and it's the blade of his shovel that first pierces the rotten boards. Old Eb materialises with a shriek that would have deafened a banshee, and Dean's got the sawed off aimed and firing before Sam can even twitch.
The blast passes straight through the spectre. Which is no surprise - obviously, solid matter meets incorporeal being, it will carry on its path, not having met any resistance. But so does Ebenezer. Carry on, that is.
The only good thing about this baffling and unwelcome equipment failure is that Dean now has Ebenezer's full attention.
"Keep going, Sammy!"
Dean yells as he fires again with the same result – i.e. nothing at all. The shot spatters against a gravestone, but Ebenezer is completely unaffected, apart from being even angrier than he was before. Dean fumbles in his pocket for new shells, trying to reload before the spectre reaches him, but he has no chance. Ebenezer's freezing hands grasp Dean by the lapels of his second best jacket and then Dean is hurtling backwards through the air with a sense of déjà vu. What is it with ghosts and demons and their complete lack of originality when it comes to fighting hunters? Always with the throwing about. Dean lands, momentarily winded, then the back pain from earlier hits him anew and he nearly jack-knifes in half with the shock of it. He tries to roll over but before he can kneel up, the ghost is on him again. He's slammed forwards this time, and his head smacks into the nearest gravestone. Peachy, of course it does. Head ringing a complete peal of bells, Dean finally loses consciousness when Ebenezer decides to be a little more innovative and shoves his burning cold hand deep into Dean's back.
Dean doesn't even have the breath to scream before he blacks out.
A monotonous beep. The faint rustle of someone shifting on a hard chair. The sound of sensible shoes on a polished floor somewhere in the distance, and that unmistakeable smell of disinfectant and decay. A hospital then.
"I know you're awake."
Sam's voice, even sounding as pissed as this, might just be the best thing Dean's heard for a long while. The last thought he'd had before the fucking ghost took him out had been that he was leaving Sam unprotected. Clearly he hadn't needed to worry. Dean cracked open his eyes, blinked at the glare.
"W'hupp'n?" was the best he could manage, but Sam understood.
"For some obscure reason, you'd loaded the shotgun with ordinary pellets, not rock salt."
Dean managed an eye roll and a raised brow, and felt a sense of achievement. Though he was pretty gutted that he could have made such a schoolboy error on a hunt. What the hell?
"So when were you going to tell me about the back pain? Or the fever and the headaches?"
"How'd you know about that?"
Sam leaned forward, putting his big frowny face right into Dean's space. Dean blinked again. Uh oh. Sammy really was mightily pissed off.
"When I brought you in, you didn't just have a head injury but you'd pissed your pants bloody when Ebenezer shoved his hand inside you. So I kind of guessed there was something seriously wrong. But I hadn't thought that you'd be stupid enough to walk around with kidney stones and not tell me you were in pain."
"Yeah. Hence the lower-back pain (don't think I hadn't noticed you rubbing your back) and the throwing up and the sweating. Dammit, Dean, when are you going to stop this martyr routine and talk to me when you have a problem?"
Dean had the grace to look abashed.
"Sorry, dude, but it was only about an eight or nine, I didn't think it was that serious."
Sam threw his hands up. Dean hadn't thought people did that in real life. Sam Winchester, drama queen. He felt kind of proud, really. The boy could have had a great career in the movies.
"Fuck, Dean. Your nine would be off the scale for a normal person. Next time, just talk to me."
Dean nodded, too tired to argue. Besides the kid had a point, he knew.
"Anyhow, it looks like the ghost actually did you a favour rummaging around your insides."
"Seems he managed to pulverise your kidney stones, saved the hospital the trouble of operating or trying ultrasound on them. Psychic vibrations did the trick so you'll be able to pee the debris out under your own stream."
Dean raised both eyebrows this time. "Your own stream? Really Sammy? Joking at a time like this, it's hardly appropriate behaviour to show at the bedside of your sick brother. Gimme some respect, will ya?"
He fell asleep to the sight of Sam's grin.