Summary: An ailing Sam gives his older brother cause for serious concern.

Disclaimer: Alas, still not mine, just borrowing!

Author's notes: This short story is for IheartSam7 – a late birthday and early Christmas gift. Her request: I am craving pukey, feverish, miserable Sam …I like it when he is embarrassed that Dean has to help him, and comfort him.

Thanks to Supernaturaldh for the awesome beta!

-o-

Miserable

Dean propped himself against the bathroom door-frame. "You done?"

Sam raised his head slowly. "I think."

"You think? Is that a yes or no?"

"Maybe?"

Dean rubbed his eyes. "I guess that means we're staying another day."

Sam just inched closer to the porcelain bowl, holding on to the cold rim as he swallowed and gagged.

"I'll take that as a yes then," Dean muttered, backing quickly away as he felt his own stomach start to churn in sympathy.

Sam was grateful for Dean's hasty departure, not keen on having a conversation, let alone a witness as he heaved his guts up.

It had started first thing this morning – his body signalling its protest even before he'd rolled out of bed. He'd stumbled to the bathroom, nearly tripping over his own feet in his haste to reach the tiled sanctuary.

Dinner from the night before had made a sudden and unwelcome reappearance, scorching its way up his throat with unexpected force. Lunch had soon followed, chased by everything else he'd digested over the last couple of days.

Mentally cataloguing everything he'd eaten the day before, he'd searched for a culprit as he'd flushed yesterday's remnants out of sight. Early morning sunlight was just peering through the curtains as he'd stumbled his way back to bed, falling in with an exhausted sigh. He closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would come quickly, and the ordeal would prove to be nothing more than an unpleasant dream.

His sleep was short-lived.

Dean was still snoring softly in the adjacent bed when his churning stomach pulled him once again from a restless slumber. With eyes barely open, he threw back the covers and retraced his steps to the bathroom, prepared now, for what was to come.

Looking back, he felt like he'd repeated the process of napping and vomiting until the two blurred together into one long procession of misery.

Now, his stomach continued to spasm, unaccepting of the fact that everything he'd eaten had already been expelled. Dry heaves had set in with tireless regularity, churning the vile acid in his stomach and sending white hot shafts of pain thumping through his body.

He wrapped an arm across his cramping stomach muscles.

He felt truly miserable.

-o-

Dean retrieved yesterday's clothes off the floor, dressing quickly. As he sat on the edge of his bed and pulled on his boots, he tried to zone out the sounds resonating from behind the bathroom door.

He wasn't surprised Sam was sick. His brother had looked a little pale the day before, his voice raspy, all signs pointing to the fact that Sam was coming down with something. The sudden cold snap coupled with Sam's finicky immune system was a green light to any virus going around. It was almost ritualistic with Sam, scarcely a year going by without his little brother getting at least one dose of a winter bug.

Just one more unwelcome thing Sam liked to attract.

He gathered up his wallet and keys, before glancing at the bathroom door again, the silence from within suddenly registering.

Striding across the room, Dean pushed the door slowly open. "Hey dude, you okay?"

"No," Sam whined, glancing up with tired, bloodshot eyes.

Dean hesitated on the threshold, eyes locking with those of his brother. This was just some common virus, or the flu, right?

"You ah, need anything?"

"No," Sam groaned.

"Seriously Sam, you need a hand getting back to bed?"

Sam swallowed, not sure if it was safe yet to leave the bathroom. He leant his head back against the cold tiled wall, mustering up the effort to reply. "No."

Dean looked at Sam, seeing reminders of the pouting toddler he used to be. "You sure?"

"Yeah."

"I'm ah, just ducking out for ten minutes. You want me to bring you anything back?" Dean asked.

"God, no," Sam moaned, visions of Dean's standard breakfast flashing through his mind.

Still, Dean hesitated. "You'll be okay 'til I get back?"

Sam waved a hand at his brother, signalling for him to go.

"Okay then." Dean turned to leave. "Ten minutes Sam, just, you know, phone if you need anything."

Sam thrust his head back over the toilet and heaved, a light shudder racking down his spine.

The smell of sickness made Dean swallow convulsively and wrinkle up his nose with distaste. "Okay then," he stepped away, making a hasty retreat.

-o-

Sam wiped the back of his hand across his mouth when he was finished. His hand trembled lightly as he pushed the damp hair away from his face, feeling a sudden need for a healthy dose of fresh air.

He tried to push himself up off the floor, but his legs, cramped from too long kneeling, screamed in protest. Instead, he scampered backwards, until his back was resting against the edge of the porcelain tub, his legs stretched out in front of him.

Dejected.

His head hung loosely on his neck, angled towards the floor, the weight too much to lift. He felt drained, sapped of all his strength, his body on the verge of collapse.

Taking slow steady breaths, he fought to gain back control.

He closed his eyes and just concentrated on the rhythm of breathing.

-o-

Dean let himself back into the motel room, greeted by empty beds and the stale stench of vomit. He dropped the plastic bags containing his purchases onto the table and headed towards the bathroom with barely a pause.

"Sammy?" Dean swung the bathroom door open, eyes searching out his brother on the floor.

Sam tried to lift his weary head.

"Hey, Sammy?" Dean crouched down beside his brother, reaching out and cupping Sam's chin to lift his face.

Sam blinked, focusing on the eyes staring intently at him. "Dean."

Dean stroked the hair out of Sam's eyes, surreptitiously checking his forehead for warmth. "How're you feeling?"

"Okay, I guess."

Dean snorted at the blatant lie. "You done here? Ready to get back to bed?"

Sam shrugged his shoulders.

Dean stood, before reaching back down and grabbing hold of both Sam's arms. "Come on Sasquatch, up and at 'em."

Pulling Sam to his feet took more effort than Dean had anticipated, his brother doing little to expedite the process. Once upright, Sam wavered, and Dean hastily pulled Sam's arm across his shoulders, taking on some of his brother's weight.

"Easy there," Dean muttered, pulling Sam in tight against his body.

"Mmmmm," Sam mumbled, nearly tripping as his feet seemed to tangle among themselves.

Dean practically dragged Sam to the bed, laying him down and wedging a pillow under his head.

Staring down at his brother, Dean didn't like the sight that greeted him.

Sam looked sickly - skin ashen with a fine beading of sweat, bloodshot eyes peering back at him from between damp tendrils of hair.

Dean chewed on the inside of his lip. "You need a doctor?" He held his breath as he waited for Sam to answer.

"No." Sam shook his head.

Dean took a weary breath.

Sam paused before continuing. "I don't know, maybe …no, no, I don't think so."

Dean felt the blood drain from his face at Sam's indecision. "Sam?"

"I'm just really tired." Sam whispered, rolling onto his side and wedging a hand under the pillow.

Dean pulled the covers up over his brother. "Try 'nd get some sleep, okay."

Dean stood for a moment, watching as Sam's eyes closed; watching the gentle rise and fall of Sam's chest as he pulled the covers in tighter around his body.

"Just rest Sammy, I'm right here," Dean whispered as he moved quietly back to the small table and chairs nestled in the corner of the room.

He emptied out the contents of one of the plastic bags, littering the table with an assortment of pain medications and cold and flu remedies, unsure of what exactly Sam needed.

When the soft sound of snoring echoed across the room, he glanced back at the bed, confirming that Sam was already dozing. He pushed the medications aside, deciding for now, to let Sam sleep.

Sliding out a chair, he sat down, propping his feet on the edge of another. Pulling the other plastic bag towards him, he removed his now cold breakfast, grease already soaking through the paper wrapper. With a small shrug, he leaned back in his chair and started eating, his eyes never straying far from his little brother.

Watching.

The food felt hollow in his stomach, bringing him little comfort. He scrunched the empty wrapper into a ball, tossing it into the small waste paper basket.

His eyes roamed the room before resting again on Sam.

Watching.

He pulled the tattered local phone book towards him, flipping through the pages until he reached the listing for nearby medical facilities. He scanned the page – just in case – and left the book open on the table.

All he could do now was wait.

And watch over Sammy.

End.

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