Warm Fuzzy Bunnies
Disclaimer: The Winchester brothers, the kick-butt car, and the wee ghosties belong to Kripke and the CW. The love belongs to us.
Beta'd: By Muffy Morrigan because this is all her fault so she should be the one to suffer the consequences. Don't you agree?
Time Line: Season Two, post CSPWDT, pre AHBL.
Challenge Word: Peeps
Dedicated: To my father-in-law who loves Peeps as much as Dean.
Warning: Brotherly fluff – I'm not even faking a plot.
Sam couldn't take it anymore. The air was stale, confining, and it smelled distinctly of sick and sweat. After three days cooped up in the tiny motel room with Dean, both of them suffering from a bout of the flu, well, rank didn't even come close to describing the odor. He piled all of his blankets on his brother's shivering form, then opened the door. "Aaahhh," he sighed, breathing in the fresh, green-scented, spring air.
Dean coughed weakly from the bed. Sam's forehead squinched in concern as he turned to check on his brother. The older man's eyes were closed, his breathing rhythmic. Dean was still sleeping, which was good because Sam had heard him tossing and turning several times during the night. He supposed it meant neither of them had managed enough rest, but this morning he was feeling marginally better.
Sam looked longingly at the coffee pot. They'd run out of coffee yesterday, but neither of them had the ambition to go to the office for more. He turned towards Dean again, decided his brother was okay for the moment, and pocketed the motel key. He didn't bother with shoes; the socks were headed for the trash anyway.
The front door chimed when Sam walked in and the smell of fried dough and coffee assaulted his nose. He bit back a gag. It was too soon for doughnuts, he could scratch that off the foraging list. Denise, the motel owner, looked up when Sam walked in and frowned. "I hope you boys are planning to stay again tonight, you look awful."
"Yeah, I'll be down later to pay," Sam said. "Probably two more nights, actually."
"Are you sure you don't want me to send James down to clean your room?" Denise asked, her expressive brown eyes reflecting concern. "It'd only take him five minutes."
Sam shook his head, their weapons were strewn about the room for easy access. Dean had made sure to secure the area, laying the salt lines and strategically placing weapons before succumbing to the flu two hours after Sam. "I wouldn't want to get anyone sick."
"And yet, here you are," Denise chirped, a grin splitting her face. "And wipe that pitiful look off your face. I was just teasing."
Sam tried to smile, the corners of his lips tugging up into a half-hearted grin. "Sorry. I'm just here for towels, coffee, and more of that instant soup if you have it."
"Stocked up yesterday," Denise said. "I also picked up some Easter candy, you know, for people traveling through. I know you aren't feeling well but it's over in the candy display if you want to look while I get your towels."
Sam nodded. "Thanks." He decided to snag a doughnut for Dean just in case his brother was feeling better and a packet of instant oatmeal for himself. The motels they stayed at weren't usually this well stocked, but Denise was recently single, the new owner, with a new life, and was trying to make a go of the place. She was easy to listen to, open, and outgoing. Sam figured the only thing that had spared her from Dean's charm was a nasty virus.
He peered into the glass display cabinet housing the candy, popcorn, and assorted snacks. Denise had added jelly beans, brightly colored, foil wrapped chocolate eggs, and marshmallow Peeps. The bright pink, sugar-coated, marshmallow bunnies were Dean's favorite Easter candy, aside from his normal fare of peanut M & M's.
"Sam?" A hand on his back caused Sam to startle. His face flushed with embarrassment.
"I tried to get your attention twice," Denise said, her tone firming into a milder version of Dean's mother hen one. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Just tired," Sam replied, hoping his roiling stomach didn't give him away. "Hey, uh, I think I'll take a package of the Peeps."
"Sure thing," Denise said with a smile. "I'll put them in with the soup and coffee. James will drop them off in about an hour along with fresh sheets."
Sam shook his head, "That's not necessary."
"Sweetie, if you could see how pale and miserable you look right now, you'd agree with me." Denise thrust the towels into Sam's arms. "Now scoot." She pushed on his back. It was embarrassingly easy for her to man-handle him out the door.
"Okay, okay," Sam said, with a light chuckle. "I'm going."
"See ya later!" Denise called out the door after him. Sam waved a good-bye.
A blast of odiferous air greeted Sam when he opened the door. He wrinkled his nose, leaving the door open. It took him less than a minute to strip his bed, put away all but the hidden weapons, and start the shower to warming. It had been three days, he was sure he smelled as bad as the room. Dean stirred, flipping onto his side to face Sam's bed. "You feeling better?" Dean croaked, his deep voice scratchy.
"Yeah," Sam said, adding more energy and enthusiasm into his reply than he felt. "I'm good. You sleep."
"You're a craptastic liar, Sammy," Dean said, opening his eyes. He smiled and the younger man couldn't help smiling back.
"Do you need anything before I shower?" Sam asked. "Denise is sending down clean sheets, along with some other stuff and I brought back a doughnut if you want it."
Dean swallowed convulsively. "Nah, I'm good." He lifted his head to glance around the room.
"I put them up," Sam explained.
"Good boy," Dean said, chuckling at Sam's eye roll. "Go shower, Sam."
"I won't be long." He waited for a nod of acknowledgement from his older brother before grabbing clean clothes. He shut the motel door on his way to the bathroom. It might stink in the small room, but he wasn't leaving Dean sleeping with the door open.
He glanced in the mirror as he undressed. It was no small wonder he had been shooed out of the office by Denise. The dark, shadowy beginnings of an unfamiliar beard and mustache only amplified the paleness of his skin. His hair stood out in all directions, and he didn't want to know what had caused the stain on his rumpled t-shirt.
The shower felt wonderful, the warm spray soothing sore muscles. He'd have to recommend it to Dean. This was the best he'd felt in days. Shampoo and soap replaced the scent of sweat. A thorough teeth-brushing rid his mouth of the horrible taste of sick, replacing it with a minty freshness. He briefly thought about shaving, but decided it sounded like too much work. His arms and legs were beginning to feel rubbery as it was. A deep, bone-chilling cold seeped through him. Sam cranked the hot water repeatedly, but the freezing sensation kept spreading. It was time to get out of the shower.
He clumsily toweled mostly dry, slipped into clean sweats and t-shirt, then staggered out of the steamy bathroom, teeth chattering. Dean was up, pacing the small space. The door stood wide open again, both beds had been made and the food set on the table. "I'm going to shower if you're done in there," Dean said, glancing over. "I'm roasting."
"I-it's all y-yours." Sam staggered over to his bed, climbing under the covers. He curled into a ball to conserve heat. He closed his eyes and tried to still his shivering. He heard the door shut, the sounds of fabric moving, and then felt the weight of additional blankets.
"Try to get some sleep," Dean said, patting him on the shoulder. Sam opened his eyes to meet the concerned gaze of his brother. "Sorry I opened the door."
"I d-did earlier, too," Sam said. "It really stinks in here."
Dean nodded. "Agreed. It's a little better now that we have clean blankets and sheets. She may have to salt and burn the old ones."
Sam snorted. "I'll be sure to tell her when I go down to pay for the extra nights."
"Already done," Dean said. "Sleep. I'll be out soon."
"Yeah, okay," Sam said with a yawn. He'd used up all his energy. A smile played across his lips when Dean started singing slightly off-key. Dean was feeling better, too, it seemed. He drifted to sleep shortly after he heard the shower turn on.
Dean emerged from the shower feeling better than he had in days. The doughnut Sam had brought back for him almost sounded good now. Almost. A cursory glance in his brother's direction told him the younger man was sleeping.
He didn't want to turn on the television and risk waking Sam. He grinned as his gaze fell upon the laptop. Internet surfing it was, then. Settling in and typing quietly, he felt a little like a child trying to avoid getting in trouble with a parent. He chuckled, amused at the disapproving expression Sam would most certainly be sporting if he knew was Dean was up to.
Dean clicked on a link to Peep Show II. The first picture nearly undid all of his quiet consideration for his brother as he swallowed back a laugh. A marshmallow Peep diorama depicting The Mummy filled the screen.
He continued to click through the pictures. There were a couple of lame ones, but the diorama of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Peep and the four Peep Ghostbusters complete with proton packs was more than he could take. He chuckled quietly, stealing glances at the huddled lump on the bed. Luckily, Sam didn't stir.
Dean checked the time. It had been two hours since Sam had fallen asleep. He should be able to get to a store, pick up a few essentials and get back before his brother woke up. They needed to get on with the business of hunting, but that would only happen after he could convince the younger man to finally eat something and replenish lost fluids. That meant getting foods that Sam would actually eat.
He scribbled a quick note in case Sam woke up and snuck quietly out the door. He sighed as he sat down behind the wheel of the Impala. "I've missed you, baby," Dean said, as the engine roared to life.
Dean shut the motel door as quietly as possible. He set the paper bag down on the table, crossing the room to check on his brother. Sam's long bangs were sweaty, sticking to his forehead in curling strands. When he removed the extra blankets and tossed them onto his bed, what he'd been trying to avoid happened. "Dean?" Sam asked, sleepily.
"Yeah, Sammy, it's me," Dean said, sitting on the opposite bed. "How do you feel?"
"Better," Sam replied, scooting up in bed. He rested his back against the headboard. "You?"
"Same here," Dean said, stretching behind him to open the window. "Finally."
Sam grinned, dimples sinking into his cheeks. "Feel up to instant soup?"
"Even better." Dean stood, retrieved the bag he'd left on the table and came back. He pulled out two large Styrofoam containers. "Homemade, well, diner-made chicken noodle soup." He watched as Sam stirred the contents of the bowl and took the first sip.
"Good." Dean settled back against the headboard, then dug into his bowl of soup, scooping up a large spoonful. It tasted salty, but it didn't have much flavor other than that. "I take it back," he said. He continued at Sam's questioning look. "You are a good liar. There's not much flavor here at all."
Sam grinned, pointing his spoon at Dean. "Well, as they say, 'Life gets tasteless when you're sick.'"
"They? Who's they? And what the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?" Dean shot back.
Sam groaned. "I'm banning you from late night cable."
"Dude, Seth Green is a genius," Dean defended.
"Genius might be stretching the definition," Sam retorted.
Neither one of them finished their entire bowl, but Dean chalked it up as a win. "We're going to Easter dinner at the diner tomorrow," he announced.
"Bossy much?" Sam said, but the smile on his face told Dean the younger man was teasing him.
"Oldest," Dean said, with a shoulder shrug. "It comes with the title."
Sam rolled his eyes. He settled back into the pillows, then seemed to change his mind, getting up to fetch something from the table. He dug through the box of food, pulling out a small package. "You didn't find them. I thought you had built in radar for this type of thing."
"Gimme a break, Sam, I've been sick," Dean said. He craned his neck, trying to get a view of what his brother was hiding behind his back. "What is it?"
"An early Easter present, I guess," Sam said. He tossed the package at Dean and it landed squarely in his lap.
"Peeps!" Dean grinned, tearing eagerly into the package. The only flavor Peeps had was sweet. They would be untainted by the flu. He popped an entire bunny into his mouth, delighting in the sugary flavor that literally melted in his mouth. "S'ood," he said around the expanding marshmallow.
Sam grimaced. "That's disgusting."
Dean shook his head, deliberately misunderstanding his brother. He swallowed. "No, it's awesome."
Sam grabbed the laptop and situated himself in bed under the covers. Dean turned on the television finding the original, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He glanced over at Sam. His brother's lips twitched in obvious amusement. "Sam?"
The younger man looked over at him, raising an eyebrow. "Peep Show II?" Dean could feel the heat rising in his neck. "Did you think it was porn?" Sam asked.
"I knew what it was," Dean said. He caved when another of his brother's eyebrows climbed into his hairline. "You know, after I clicked the link."
Sam laughed, a rare but highly contagious laugh of genuine, delighted amusement. "You must have been disappointed."
Dean couldn't help chuckling with his brother. "You have no idea."
Sam laughed again, returning his focus to the computer. Dean closed the window against the cooling night air, then sank deeper into the pillows. He caught Sam looking up occasionally during the Oompa Loompa songs and they shared a knowing glance.
The weight of his father's death and the reason behind it, not to mention the secret he was keeping from Sam still weighed heavily on him. Duty, responsibility, hunting, saving people, all had significance and value.
But moments like tonight, when they could forget everything and just be brothers, were the moments that made his life truly worthwhile.
AN: Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it! To those who don't, have a great weekend!
ANII: There's a not-so-hidden quote included in this story. Geek points if you can name the show it came from!