This was written for the Get Well Challenge, in honor of PlatinumRoseLady. She asked for a sick Sam story and the challenge word was "worn." It went a little long, hope you don't mind. *g* Feel better, Platinum!

Another chapter of "Not So Drunk as You Think I Am" is up now, for those waiting on it.

The Power of Suggestion

"A pox upon your house!" the old gypsy woman spat as Sam and Dean beat a hasty retreat from her colorful but weatherworn tent.

"Dude!" Dean complained as they headed down the fairway. "That was harsh! We spout a few words of Latin in her precious tent and she curses us?"

"Those few words of Latin," Sam replied dryly, "exorcised the demon that was feeding her information about people. Pretty sure her career as a psychic is over, man."

Dean waved that bit of logic away, unperturbed. They continued walking, both enjoying the sights and sounds of the lively fair until Dean stopped suddenly, a look of concern washing over him. "Wait. You don't think it's a real curse, do ya?" He ran a critical eye over Sam, looking for hints of sickness. "Maybe she's some kind of gypsy witch. What if you really do come down with somethin'? The Pox—that's bad, right?"

Sam wryly noted that Dean didn't seem to care if he himself came down with something. It was vintage Dean—only ever concerned about Sam's well-being. He was sure the old woman had just been blowing off steam, so he let his brother ramble, as only a worried Dean could. Suddenly, something Dean'd said caught his attention. "Wait, why would you assume she'd target me? Why not you?"

"Well to be fair," Dean pointed out reasonably, "you were the one who exorcised the demon."

Sam gaped at him, indignant. "But you were the one who—"

"I hope this isn't like the time you got chicken pox," Dean went on, shaking his head. "Dude, that was miserable." He continued to study Sam appraisingly, head tilted to one side, as if the right angle would make any sickness apparent.

"Yeah, I remember, man. I was there," Sam responded dryly. He scratched an arm absently, felt an itch start up on the other one.

"No, Sammy. I mean it was mis-er-ab-le," Dean drew the words out. "Ya know, for me." He quirked a brow, gave a cocky grin.

Sam just snorted at that, scratching the other arm now. Maybe he was allergic to their soap or something.

"No, dude, really. I mean you had chicken pox everywhere, bro—your arms, your chest, your legs, everywhere. We had to practically bathe you in the pink stuff." Dean shuddered at the memory of his afflicted little brother. "You were constantly scratching at 'em, too. Finally had to duct-tape socks to your hands or you'd have been scarred for life." He thought for a minute, perked up a little. "Got some duct tape in the car if it gets that bad again," Dean offered helpfully.

Sam just scowled. "Dean, I'm fine. You're not duct-taping socks to my hands."

Dean just shrugged and pointedly looked at Sam's hand, which was scratching his chest in earnest, though he hadn't realized he was doing so. Following Dean's gaze, Sam started guiltily and dropped the hand to his side, though his chest continued to itch. Dean studied him a moment longer, noticed the twitch as his hand instinctively lifted to scratch before Sam caught himself and stopped it. "All right," Dean announced abruptly, tilting his head in the direction of the exit, "we're goin' back to the motel."

"But Dean—" Sam tried to protest, giving up restraint and scratching openly at his chest. Just when he had that taken care of, his arm started itching again.

"And that old witch," Dean cast a dark glare at the tent down the fairway and Sam hastily grabbed his arm to keep him from marching back that way and taking the woman down, right in the middle of the crowded carnival, "better hope you don't get so much as a sniffle, or I'm coming back here and I won't be happy." It might've been funny to think of Dean fighting with a little old lady, if he hadn't looked so completely serious about it.

"Dean, I'm fine," Sam tried again. He had to clear his throat against a sudden tickle there.

Dean turned his attention back to his little brother. "I don't know, you don't look so good, Sammy." He reached up and managed to get a hand to Sam's forehead before the taller man could knock it away. Sam settled for letting out a long-suffering sigh. It was best to humor Dean when he got like this. "Yeah, I think you might be comin' down with somethin'. Feels like a fever startin'."

Sam rolled his eyes at that. "Dean, it's 110 degrees out here, of course my forehead's hot." Still, he used the hand not currently scratching his arm to tug at his shirt collar, which suddenly felt stifling.

"Your eyes are startin' to get that glassy look, too," Dean steamrolled right over the words. "How's your stomach feel?" he asked worriedly, gently herding Sam toward the exit with a hand around his bicep.

"Not so hot," Sam had to admit, abandoning his scratching to rub suddenly burning eyes. He thought of the four loaded hotdogs he'd wolfed down on top of cotton candy and a giant pretzel, and that had been before going on the giant spinny ride he'd talked Dean into. He couldn't help it; he loved fairs. "But that's not—" his words were cut off by a sneeze. It was probably just all the dust the carnival-goers were kicking up—they were in the desert, after all. But still…

Sam held an arm against his stomach as if to ease the discomfort there. Another big sneeze made him groan. His eyes were watering and his nose running. Truth be told, he was starting to feel a little weary and worn down. He wished he could lie down somewhere for a while. Preferably in the shade. Had it been this hot a minute ago? He swayed, though he wasn't sure whether it was from a mystery malady, the memory of the spinny ride, or from trying to keep up with his brother's chaotic concern. How had this situation gone so wrong so fast?

"We need to get you home, little brother." Dean hustled into action, ignoring Sam's continued protests and attempts at employing logic. Logic had never held any sway when his younger brother's health was at risk. "Here," Dean slipped his arm around Sam's waist and hooked his fingers into a worn belt loop, "just lean on me, dude."

Sam conceded, putting one arm around his brother's shoulder to help keep his balance, anchoring himself with a fistful of Dean's worn tee. With the other hand, he took the plush cotton-candy-pink elephant Dean shoved at him. It had been the most sought-after prize at the shooting gallery and naturally Dean had won it effortlessly. Sam knew he'd gotten it for him, even if Dean hadn't said so. It looked just like one Sam'd had when he was a kid.

Now that he really thought about it, Sam wasn't feeling all that great. Maybe he was coming down with something, after all. He wondered idly if people still died from the Pox. Knowing the Winchester luck, even if they didn't, he was still doomed. Great. He was going to die, done in by an old gypsy and some fair food, with only a stubborn big brother and a stuffed pink elephant for comfort.

Dean steered his big little brother toward the waiting Impala, keeping up a steady stream of reassurances that distracted Sam from the cough itching at the back of his throat and the burning in his eyes. "You'll be fine, bro. Don't worry, Sammy, we'll figure something out."

Sam just nodded morosely as he settled into the passenger seat, hoping his big brother was right. Death by the Pox wasn't really the way he'd pictured himself going out. Dean would probably insist on burying the freakin' pink elephant with him if he died.

"And hey, man," Dean offered helpfully, sliding into the driver's seat, "maybe the Pox isn't even all that bad." He tossed something over into Sam's lap. "But just in case it is, we've always got this." Sam looked down to see what it was.

Duct tape.