A/N: Thanks for checking out my story, I just want to give a forewarning: I haven't written a fanfic in about 6 years, so I'm a wee bit rusty. I also don't have myself a Beta, so there are bound to be a few errors, those are all mine.
I got this idea when watching "Nightshifter" and seeing the black hoodie that Sam was wearing. I wanted to give a little bit of a background story to why he was wearing it. That said, there are spoilers abound for most of Season 2 in here.
Disclaimer: I own nothing here. Sam and Dean Winchester, Supernatural, and pretty much everything involved belong to the evil genius that is Eric Kripke and his cohorts at the CW. I'm just playing around with them. No offense is intended and no monetary gain made.
Six hours had passed since the Winchester brothers had put Cornwall Connecticut in the review mirror. The first little while had been rather strained after Sam's confession of having remembered their little talk the night before when he got so spectacularly tanked. After stopping in at a hospital on the way out to change Sam's soaked cast and finding out he no longer needed it, well it lightened the mood considerably. Sam had been so happy to get that cumbersome thing off. Dean was happy too, to see his brother whole again, at least physically.
The eldest Winchester looked over to Sam in the passenger seat. He was leaning against the door, fast asleep. He'd actually been like that for a little over two hours now. Dean really couldn't blame the kid. Sam had hardly been sleeping. The nightmares that had plagued him after Jess had subsided for a while, but had only increased since their father had died. Added to that the stress after the whole Gordon incident and finding out the demon's plans. Then to top it all off Ava goes missing. . . well he was lucky to get two hours of uninterrupted sleep. Hell, this was probably the most Sam had gotten in weeks so Dean just turned Zeppelin down a bit and let him keep sleeping, even if it made for a boring drive.
Green eyes glanced down at the gas gauge and Dean noted that they'd have to pull in somewhere soon. Couldn't have his baby running on fumes. Coming up on the side of the road he noticed a sign claiming that Ambridge was only a few miles away. Dean expertly guided the Impala onto the off ramp and toward the small town. The frequency of houses increased eventually, and another sign came up happily welcoming people into "Beautiful Ambridge, Pennsylvania". It really was a picturesque little town, if Dean cared to notice such things. A nice little slice of normal all nestled up in the river valley.
After a few minutes of aimlessly driving around he found a gas station and pulled up to an empty pump. Normally stopping the car would rouse Sam, but he still sat there, head against the cool glass of the window. The position his younger brother had placed himself in, freakishly long legs drawn in so his knees were up, hands resting in his lap and torso completely tilted toward the door, provided an opening Dean just could not refuse. He jabbed his finger into Sam's exposed side, eliciting a sharp cry from the younger brother. Dean snickered to himself as Sam blinked blearily, getting his bearings before looking over to his brother in the driver's seat and glaring for all he was worth.
"Mornin' Princess," Dean greeted nonchalantly.
Sam sighed, "Where are we?"
"Pennsylvania already?" Sam sat there, mentally calculating the travel time to the best of his ability. "How fast were you driving?"
"Dude, I'm insulted that you would think that I'd be anything less than careful with my car." Dean countered in mock disgust, at Sam's raised eyebrow he just shrugged, "Seriously, only like ten over the limit, come on, that's good for me right? Besides, you were out for a while."
Sam rubbed the sleep out of his hazel eyes before glancing at his watch. It was already mid-afternoon, "How long?"
Dean started to get out of the Impala, moving over to the rear end and removing the gas cap before going back to the pump and removing the nozzle. "A little over two and a half hours." His younger brother took in the information with a slightly shocked look on his face. The nozzle clicked after a few moments and Dean replaced it on the pump. "Look you want anything to eat? I don't want to stop for a while after this."
"Huh? Uh, no, no I'm good." Dean nodded at Sam's response and walked over to the gas bar. While there he picked up a few provisions for the road. Namely some soda, chips, a couple of the least questionable looking sandwiches and a large bag of the much coveted peanut MnM's. As he walked up to the counter he saw Sam get out of the car and stretch a bit before heading to where the washrooms were.
Dean paid the clerk for the gas and snacks, then made his way back to the Impala. He threw a soda and the candies into the front and stuffed the rest into his bag in the backseat. Climbing into the driver's seat he started the vehicle and pulled her around to the side of the building, freeing up the pump and making it easier for Sam to catch sight of him. He just sat there for a few minutes, absently picking at the MnM's. He was beginning to get a little apprehensive about what was taking his little brother so long. Last time things took such a long time at a gas station washroom they ended up following a happy little trail of mind control induced suicides.
Finally Sam emerged from the dilapidated confines of the rundown washroom. He immediately noticed the new position of the Impala and slowly treaded over to it. Dean took the opportunity to take in his brother's appearance. In short, he looked worn out. His skin was pale, though his cheeks seemed a little red, and when the sun hit just right, Dean could make out a slight sheen of sweat situated on his little brother's brow. If it hadn't been for Sam's slow gait, Dean would've figured that he did have a vision. His current lack of any sense of urgency quickly negated that option, however.
The creaky door opened, admitting the younger hunter, who slumped into the seat, seemingly exhausted from that slight jaunt to the restroom and back.
"Everything alright?" Dean ventured.
"Yeah," Sam croaked out. At Dean's disbelieving look he elaborated a little more. "M'really tired."
Dean nodded. That much was obvious. From the sound of him, Sam's throat must've been pretty sore too. "Thirsty?" He inquired.
Sam, who had laid his head on the top of the seat and closed his eyes, turned to look at him again. Dean was obviously on to him. Hell, it was pretty foolish to think he'd be able to hide the oncoming cold from his older brother. After all, it was Dean who had taken care of him when he was little. "Yeah, actually." In fact, his throat was killing him. He couldn't say exactly when this cold had run up on him. Probably somewhere in between the not sleeping, the impromptu swim at the Pierpont Inn, and the hospital waiting room filled with sneezing and coughing kids waiting to get his cast removed. Dean just gave him an I thought so look and rummaged through the bag in the back to produce a ginger ale and a cola. Sam opted for the former. Receiving a look from his older brother for that choice, he silently reassured Dean that his stomach was fine. Accepting that, Dean put the cola back into the bag, started the engine and peeled out of the parking lot.
The brothers continued on in silence for a while, Dean concentrating on the road, Sam sipping his soda. In his quiet, cracked voice, Sam asked, "Where we headed?" They hadn't had a destination in mind after setting out from Connecticut. It was just another case of Dean randomly picking a direction.
In response Dean just said "West" with a smirk and a glance to his brother. Sam snorted out a small laugh, which ended up in a cough. They seemed to be in another case of Dean driving 'til he got tired enough to pull into a motel somewhere.
Absently Sam put the cool bottle of ginger ale to his forehead. The action didn't go unnoticed by the older hunter. Though decent enough, the weather certainly wasn't warm. In fact Dean found it cool enough to wear one of his warmer coats. Considering he could always handle colder temperatures better than his brother (evidenced by the many layers the kid always wore) and his flushed look earlier, Dean figured his brother had a bit of a fever. Sam hadn't mentioned anything though so he let it slide for now.
It was nearing two in the morning now and the interior of the Impala was quiet once again, except for the soft, slightly congested breathing and sporadic coughing from Sam. The coughs had actually increased in frequency and intensity, often leaving him breathless. In the dark of the back roads Dean couldn't see much of Sam and couldn't really tell how the fever was doing. He was starting to feel the familiar pull to find a motel now and kept an eye out for any signs pointing him in that direction.
After a few minutes of searching, Dean thought he heard a whimper come from the passenger seat. Slowing down a bit, he focused more on his brother. He could make out slight movement followed by mumbling.
Super. Dean pulled the car over and turned her off before turning to Sam. He flicked on the dome light to get a good look at his brother. Sam's eyebrows were drawn down and he was grimacing as if in pain. He continued to mumble intermittently but Dean couldn't make out any of the words. There was sweat on Sam's brow but it seemed like he was actually shivering now. Dean reached out and gently shook the younger man's shoulder.
"Sam. Sammy? Come on man, it's just a nightmare." Dean shook him a little harder and was rewarded with a startled gasp from Sam as he shot forward. The gasp quickly turned into a coughing fit that had him doubled over in the seat. After a moment, he managed to get his breathing back under control."Y'alright?"
The younger man wiped at his tearing eyes before nodding to his brother, "Yeah." He then hunched into himself more, pulling his light coat around him. Dean frowned and turned to his pack in the backseat. Sam's tired eyes followed his brother's movements quizzically. "Dean?" He rasped, "What're you doing?" A few minutes of muttered cursing was Sam's only answer. He was about to inquire again when Dean exclaimed happily and turned back with a black hoodie in his hands.
"Here, put this on." He tossed the hoodie at Sam, whose sluggish reaction completely missed the sweatshirt. On closer inspection, Sam noticed that it was the same hoodie that Dean had worn after he had the heart attack. Thinking back now, that was pretty much the only time he'd ever seen his brother wear it.
Dean watched as his brother just stared at the shirt in his hands. Wow, the kid was really out of it. "Hey? You just gonna look at it all night or you actually going to put it on?" That seemed to snap Sam out of it and he slowly removed his coat and slipped the shirt on over his other two. The fit wasn't all that bad really, actually somewhat baggy, especially where the shoulders and chest were concerned, Dean noticed smugly. While Sam went about putting his coat back on, Dean rummaged through the glove compartment, snagging a wayward bottle of Tylenol. He threw the bottle into Sam's lap while he reached under his seat to retrieve a bottle of water he had stashed there. "Take those. Should help with the fever." His little brother nodded, and took two tablets. "I'm gonna see if I can find us a motel."
"Hey, Dean?" Sam asked, quietly.
"Don't mention it." Dean started up the Impala again and pulled her away from the shoulder. He glanced out of the corner of his eye to see his brother settle back down.
It was a full hour before Dean was able to find a motel open at that time of night, but find one he did and he gladly pulled into the parking lot. After booking their room he pulled the old Chevy into the stall in front of it. He gave Sam's knee a slight slap before exiting the car. "Come on, we're here." It took the younger man a few moments to figure out where exactly "here" was, but once things fell into place he unfolded himself from his seat and joined his brother at the trunk. They grabbed their bags and opened the door to room twelve. Dean threw his stuff onto the first bed while Sam put his laptop on the table then flopped onto the other.
"You want a shower?" Dean offered, though he figured he already knew the answer to that and was already collecting his things to go into the bathroom. Sure enough, Sam just shook his head and mumbled something that could've been, "Naw, I'm just gonna crash." Dean just nodded and closed the bathroom door behind him.
Twenty minutes later, Dean emerged, squeaky clean and feeling far more drowsy. As he entered the room again he saw that Sam had managed to change into some sweatpants and a t-shirt, and apparently opted to keep Dean's hoodie on. The kid was also only partially under the covers, seemingly getting too tired to bother untucking the rest of the bed. It was something he had done since he was a lanky teenager. Because of his height, a lot of the motel beds were a little too short for him, so in order for him to lay down straight and have his feet hanging off the end rather than scrunched up, he had to unmake the beds. Dean finished this for him and threw the covers over his brother. He took a moment to check Sam's forehead, he was still pretty hot, even with the Tylenol in his system. There wasn't much to be done about it though, so he decided to wait until morning and see how he was doing then. If things got worse he'd have to find a pharmacy.
Morning broke uneventfully, for which Dean was very thankful. He took a moment to just lay there, taking in the generic room and the few rays of sun that broke through the blinds. He rubbed his eyes and turned to look at Sam. The covers were thrown off the bed, but otherwise he seemed alright. He certainly didn't seem as flushed as the previous night, which Dean took as a good sign. Glancing at the clock, the numbers read 10:43am. Not too shabby.
The older brother tossed the covers off himself, grabbed his jeans and a shirt from his bag and wandered back into the bathroom for his morning routine. A few minutes later he came out having successfully conquered his bed head. He sat down next to Sam on his bed and checked his forehead again. There was a definite improvement over last night. Dean heaved a small sigh of relief. He had been worried that it was going to escalate into something worse the way the fever had come on, but it seemed to just be your garden variety cold. Sam flinched under his touch and slowly blinked his eyes open. Dean stood and grabbed his coat from the chair he had thrown it over last night.
"How you feelin'?" He inquired.
Sam seemed to actually think about it for a moment, taking stock of everything, then finally, "Better." His voice was still a bit raspy, and his eyes still looked a little glazed, but there was a definite improvement.
"Good. I'm gonna go get us some breakfast, you should have a shower, you look like crap." Dean smirked as he opened the door.
Sam just glared at his brother, "Yeah, thanks." Dean laughed as he shut the door behind him. A moment later Sam heard the Impala's engine rumble to life and fade as his brother left. He stretched a bit, coughing to try and get rid of the annoying tickle in the back of his throat, and stumbled to the bathroom. He really did feel quite a bit better. The fever was still there, but not nearly as persistent as the night before, Sam figured it'd break today. The cold seemed to be mostly in his throat and sinuses, which he could deal with.
By the time Sam got out of the shower, dressed and admittedly feeling much more refreshed, Dean had returned, food and coffee in hand. They sat down at the rickety little table, Sam gladly drinking the coffee, relishing as it soothed his raw throat. As they began their meal Dean spoke, "So I noticed this little bar in town, looks promising. I figure I'll check it out tonight, see if I can't score us a bit of cash." He smirked at his brother. Sam nodded as he washed down his pancakes with more of his coffee. If he were honest with himself, the fact that Dean hustled people for pocket money didn't offend him as much as it did in the past. That wasn't to say it didn't bother him at all, but he was just getting used to it he figured. If it meant they would stay put for another night though, he honestly didn't mind. Even though he had just woke up a little while ago, he still felt drained.
Finally he nodded, "Alright, I can take a look online, see if anything's happening in the area."
With their plans made, the boys passed the day by watching TV and talking, often making their own commentary on the horrible daytime shows. Periodically Dean would go out for a drive and get them some food while Sam would sleep or read through some of their books.
The sun eventually dipped below the horizon and the time came when Dean could go out to the bar and "have some fun". He left Sam sitting on the bed, already well underway his scouring of the Internet.
It was the early hours of the morning by the time Dean quietly entered the room again. Sam was still on his bed with the laptop, but it looked like he had moved around a bit at while Dean was away. He had changed into his sleeping clothes at least.
"You still awake?" He asked incredulously. The kid had, after all, barely been able to keep his eyes open for the past 24 hours.
"Just woke up a few minutes ago actually." Sam answered with a yawn. "Have fun?"
Dean smirked and held up a pretty impressive wad of cash, "Yeah, you could say that." He moved about the room, throwing his coat over the chair again and started rummaging through his bag.
"So, I think I found something." Announced Sam.
"Yeah." He coughed a few times, then continued, "This guy robbed a bank, the uh," Sam searched the page, "The Milwaukee International Trust. So yeah, guy robs it, stashes the money somewhere as far as the cops can tell, then goes home and commits suicide."
Dean paused and turned to look at his brother. Yeah, that was a little odd. Supernatural? Maybe not, but something to look into at least, and they weren't too far from Milwaukee. "Huh, okay."
"Yeah, I mean, I don't know, but there's really nothing else going on in the area." Sam explained a bit further.
The older hunter nodded. "Alright. Well, if we leave in the morning, we can be there by mid-afternoon and do some poking around."
Sam nodded, clicking through a few more pages before closing the laptop. He looked up to see Dean eyeing him critically. "What?"
"You sure you're up to it?"
"Yeah, it's just a little cold, Dean, it's not like we've never hunted while we were sick before. Besides, its just some research for now, right?"
Sammy had a point. The older brother acquiesced. Sam was settling down to sleep and Dean headed toward the bathroom to clean up. Before entering though, he turned around with a laugh, "You know, I don't know how you even managed to get a cold with all that Jaeger you drank the other night."
"You're not going to let me live that down are you?" Sam groaned from under the covers.
"Perks of the job, little brother." Dean commented as he closed the door.
The next day they were on the road, bright and early, headed toward Milwaukee. Dean glanced over at Sam, who looked better today, the fever having broke during the night. He noticed though that he was wearing Dean's black hoodie again.
"Am I ever gonna get that thing back?" Dean inquired, nodding to his sweater.
"Maybe," Sam smirked at him, replying sarcastically, "Perks of the job, big brother."
Dean just shook his head with a laugh. Yeah, his brother was definitely feeling better. He cranked up the volume on B.O.C, guiding the Impala down the winding road to their next gig.
A/N: Alright! Thanks for reading, and please do review.
The title is "Gimme Shelter" because as I started writing this, that was the song I was listening to. I figured it fit well enough. It's by the Rolling Stones and I would definitely recommend it.