-1Fandom: Supernatural

Title: Afternoon Conversation

Spoiler: This is a tag to Dead in the Water, the third episode in the series. It might make more sense if you watch the show at least up to that point, but you don't have to.

Disclaimer: I keep checking, and they still aren't mine, dang it.

Dean walked into the motel room he'd rented for the week and glanced at his
brother's sleeping form. He thought seriously about slamming the door and waking
Sam up, but hell, the kid almost never slept under the best circumstances, so maybe this damn cold was good for something after all. Instead of giving in to the temptation he unloaded the bag of groceries and put the cold stuff away. Humming softly to himself Dean opened a bag of beef jerky and bit into it, relishing the smoky flavor. He flipped on the TV and had just settled in to watch some very crappy daytime TV, when a coughing fit jerked Sam out of his sleep. "Morning, Glory."

Dean's voice was entirely too cheerful for this time of... afternoon? Sam glanced blurrily at his watch before taking a sharp breath and coving his face with his elbow and sneezing several times. "God, kill me now."

"I didn't understand a word of that, just for the record. You sound like you have a clothespin on your nose or something." Dean tossed his brother a box of tissues. "I got those pansy extra thick with aloe ones you're so damn fond of." He rolled his eyes, as if hinting that extra thick tissues enhanced with aloe simply proved his point more that he had a sister, rather than a brother. "Feeling any better there, Francis?"

"Fuck you." He sniffled and opened the tissue box. "God, I have to sneeze."

"Again? Well, do me and everyone else that's gonna stay in this room a favor and sneeze into those. Lord knows no one else wants this cold of yours."

Sam glared at him as he buried his nose into the soft paper. When he'd finished, he blew his nose again and tossed the mess into the trash can. "Yeah, because I'm the only sick person who's ever stayed in this room. Do you have any clue just how many germs there are already in here, Dean? I went to school with a girl who had a summer job cleaning motel rooms. Let's just say, Dad might have jumped the gun grounding you when you got that case of crabs when you were only thirteen."

Dean shook his head. "I knew it. I got started young, but not that young. Besides, I always thought Dad was a little unfair anyway. It was punishment enough having to admit to your father that you had crabs to start with. He didn't believe me when I told him I didn't know how I got them." He turned red. "Why the hell are we talking about this anyway?" He crumpled up the empty bags and tossed them in the trash can. "Okay, I'm still trying to figure out how you caught a cold from jumping in that damned lake. I was in there too, you know." He turned uncharacteristically serious and looked at Sam hard.

"You didn't spend three and a half years in a place that never seemed to get cold." Sam wiped his nose and refused to meet Dean's eyes, hoping the explanation would be good enough for him.

"Yeah, and I'm also sleeping and eating like a normal person. Sam, you know I'm not much for We-Need-To-Talk-About-This moments, but dude, we need to talk about this. It's... it's making you sick now, man."

Sam sniffled and rubbed at his forehead. "Dean, it's a cold, that's all. It's not as if I'm dying or anything. Besides, if we could just focus on finding Dad, instead of following every lead that may or may not be a job... we'd..." He held up a long finger and sneezed four times into his elbow.

"We wouldn't be any closer to finding him and people would be dying besides. I mean, if we hadn't showed up when we did..."

"I know, I know, a lot more people would have ended up dead. Look, Dean, I'm not saying that what we've been doing is a bad thing, I'm just saying that maybe it shouldn't be our top thing, you know. Dad should be at the top of our list all the time." He coughed deeply into his elbow and groaned, flopping back on the pillows.

Dean pulled back the curtains and looked out the window, seeming to be several miles away. "Right now getting you better is at the top of my list, Sammy."

Sam's red, blurry eyes softened and his face lit up. Still, he was firm on one point: "It's Sam, Dean, Sam. But are you really that worried about me?"

Dean dropped the drapes and turned back to Sam, an overplayed look of disgust on his face. "Hell no, dude, I just don't want to stay in this damn stuffy room waiting for you to get better, you know. You want to keep it so hot in here, too."

"I beg you pardon? I'm the one keeping it hot in here? You were the one determined to sweat this cold out of me. Or did you forget?"

"That was just at first and it didn't work, did it? Yet, you seem to like it. Now, you seem perfectly happy to keep it this warm."

"It's not hot in here, Dean. You forced me under all the blankest in the place, then you cranked the heat up. Now I'm used to it and comfortable. Besides, it feels better now that you took your blankets back."

Dean headed toward the sink, filled a paper cup with water and stuck it in the microwave. "I'm making you some tea." He seemed more than ready to get away from an argument neither of them were going to win.

"Tea from the microwave. Yeah, I can tell I'm not in school anymore." He coughed
into his pillow and sneezed again. "God..." Sam moaned softly and closed his eyes.

"Damn, you gonna stop that any time soon?" He walked over to the bedside and picked up the novel that Sam had been reading. "Maybe you're not sick at all. Maybe you're allergic to geeky things, like this fat book here. This doesn't have anything to do with the job. It's something about the last Czar of Russia."

"Not everything I read has to do with the job." Sam reached over and pulled the book from Dean's hands. "It's a great book."

"Looks boring to me."

"Any book without pictures looks boring to you." Sam groaned and curled up around himself. "But right now the print's to small for my head."

Dean resisted the urge to pat Sam's knee, and instead flopped back on his on pillow casually, as if letting him know that he was cool with having some downtime, in spite of what he'd said earlier. "So, Nicholas and Alexandra, huh?"

"It's a good story. Hell, if you weren't so dead against books in general, you might like it." A small, sad smile played on his lips. "I read it last Spring Break, around Easter, when Jess was clear across the country with her parents, something about her great grandma's hundredth birthday or something like that. I was gonna go too, but I got a bad cold and a sinus infection at the last minute, and you can't fly with those. I read it as a reminder that some people had it a hell of a lot worse than being sick and alone during the holidays." He blew his nose and closed his eyes, refusing to make eye contact as Dean opened his mouth to protest that he certainly hadn't had to be alone. After all, he'd had a phone. He could have called. "Man, I'm bushed."

Dean's face softened. "Go to sleep then, genius. I got you some of that night time cold syrup for you. Knock you right out." Dean tossed Sam a bottle of Nyquil before Sam could protest that he didn't want it, or didn't need it.

Much to Dean's surprise, Sam opened the lid and downed the prescribed cupful. "Thanks. Hope it works."

"Me too, I wanna get the hell out of here." He turned on the TV and smiled to himself as Sam fell into a drug induced sleep. "Night Sammy," he whispered as he took the book from under Sam's limp hand. He flipped through it with interest, then turned off the TV and started to read it too. Sam wasn't the only one who enjoyed a good book on his down time. He was just damned if he was ever going to tell Sam that.