Disclaimer: Very brief mention of the deal but no spoilers for any of the episodes.
A/N: Hey guys, just a little idea that came to me one night and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote. So…here it is. Also, hope everyone had a good Halloween for those of you who celebrate the day.
Dean wasn't too sure but…he was beginning to wonder if he was dreaming because if he wasn't dreaming, then he would seriously have to reconsider the idea that he might be going crazy. Squeezing his eyes shut once again just to make sure; he counted to five and dared to peak again.
Nope….still Big Bird.
Blinking again thinking maybe it was some kind of after-image, he couldn't help but stare at the six foot yellow bird—complete with orange legs and roller skates—roaming around the room. Watching the feathered creature, which actually looked slightly worried at the moment, pace back and forth was just…odd. "I really need to wake up now," he mumbled and then fumbled to pinch himself and get out of this weird place.
As he tried to move, he couldn't stop the little groan that escaped him as aches and pains awoke and he had to lay back against the bed once again in exhaustion. God, he hurt. Even his bones ached. And where the heck was, Sammy?
Hearing the mumbled words, Big Bird quit his pacing and turned towards Dean. Relief spread across his face once he realized Dean was awake and he headed towards Dean's side. "Dean! Oh, Dean, man am I glad you're awake. I was so worried!"
Dean reeled back as the giant bird crowded towards him and suddenly felt overwhelmed by the overload of brightly colored feathers and movement. His eyes blurred slightly at the motion and he had to hold on to the bedding for a moment until his brain caught up with what he was seeing. "Whoa…feathers." Hesitantly, he lifted a hand to ward against the glaringly bright hue and pulled back into the bed even more. Huffing out a breath, he tried to give Bird a glare. "Look, I don't know why you're here, but I've already got one Sasquatch to deal with, so why don't you go try and find Snuffy or something?" At least that's what he thought he said, but even to him it sounded a little slurred.
Big Bird's eyebrows drew together and…huh…Dean didn't remember them ever being that expressive before. "Dean, what are you talking about? Snuffy?"
Dean relaxed a little bit as Big Yellow moved away and thanked whoever was listening for that as his head gave a rather nasty throb. "You know…big, brown…elephant looking guy? Always sounds like he's got a head cold?"
Bird paused for a moment in thought and then those eyebrows shot up again as he looked at him in shocked confusion. "Are you talking about Sesame Street?" Big Bird asked suddenly.
"Yeah. Now, why don't you go find Olivia and Gordon, or…what's her name. Now she was hot! I'm sure they'll know where he is." As Dean talked, he had been trying to scoot back across the bed slowly without Bird really noticing what he was doing and hoped maybe he could figure out how to wake up or at least get away and find Sam, but so far he hadn't seen his chance. But now, with Big Bird standing there with his beak hanging open in shocked silence Dean finally saw his chance.
Crawling the remaining distance to the far edge of the bed, he planted his feet on the floor. At least he thought that it was the floor. As he pushed off the bed and to his feet, he suddenly felt like everything was on a tilt-o-whirl and his vision threatened to fade out to black. Stumbling a few steps, he threw out his arm to steady himself against the wall and tried to keep his eyes on the door in front of him. But currently, he wasn't having much luck as the floor tilted and twirled beneath his feet. Almost there.
Feeling long, feathered arms wrap around him and then tug him back towards the bed, Dean started to panic. "No, let me…go. I've gotta…find…Sammy." He kicked and scratched and squirmed trying to get out of the hold but felt his energy waning with each minute.
"Dean, stop…Stop! I'm not going to hurt you." Dean squirmed a little more continuing to fight to get free. As he tried to pull at the arms around his waist he marveled at how strong the big push-over really was and Dean could tell he was going to lose this battle.
"No, please, I can't…" he pleaded and tried to pull in a breath. And there was no way in hell he would ever admit that that might have sounded like a sob. "I've gotta find, Sammy." His energy finally bottomed out and he began to sag against his captor.
Sinking to the floor, Bird kept him from crumpling to the floor too fast. "Easy, Dean, I've gotcha. It's okay."
As his vision began to blacken around the edges, Dean worked to suck in enough air and wasn't having much luck. He must have blacked out for a moment because the next thing he knew, he was laying on the floor cradled in Big Bird's arms. He noticed that his feet were sticking out in front of him along side Big Bird's orange legs and Dean wondered idly how the big guy was going to get back up after this. At least how he remembered, Bird wasn't that graceful on TV.
"Its okay, Dean. You're okay."
A yellow, feathered hand swiped across his sweaty brow and he couldn't help but close his eyes against the cool, silky feel of those feathers. "I gotta…find…"
Big Bird swiped his hand through Dean's short hair once again and nodded. "I know. I know. Don't worry. I'll look for, Sammy. Okay? You just go to sleep."
Dean wanted to protest, to fight, knowing that this was all wrong; but he was so damn tired. Shifting slightly once again, he tried to rise in protest but quickly fell back again as the rest of his energy drained away and he slipped into darkness.
The next time he woke it was in small increments.
Finally, a low buzz seeped into his sleep and he pulled closer to wakefulness trying to figure out what the annoying noise was. As he surfaced consciously, an incredible wave of heat washed over him and he had to fight to catch his breath. Feeling something heavy resting on his head he tried to raise his arm to swipe it away and then tried to open his eyes. But right now it felt like his eyes had been glued shut and every movement seemed to grate against his over-sensitized skin. Frowning, he cringed slightly at the scratchy feel of the blanket; and that slight movement seemed to awaken his other senses, which in turn seemed to alert him to how much like crap he really felt.
Man, he was gonna have to tell Sammy not to let him drink that much ever again.
"Honestly, I think it was a terrible plan. You should've known better."
Dean's eyebrows drew together in confusion as he tried to figure out who was speaking. It didn't sound like Sammy.
"Well, I couldn't really let him go in half-cocked by himself now could I?"
Nope, not Sammy…again.
"Well, you could've called me. Maybe I could've talked some sense into him."
Okay…where was Sammy?
"Yeah, right, you know what he gets like when he's sick. You probably could've had more luck talking to the wall."
Dean finally managed to open his eyes and rolled his head towards the voices…and then wished that he hadn't.
"So why didn't you stop him? You know you shouldn't be hunting when you're sick," said…Oscar the Grouch?
"I didn't know!" said Big Bird in defense as he sat back in his chair emphasizing how much bigger than Oscar he really was. "And believe me, if I'd known, I would've hog-tied him to the bed until he was better." And to make things worse, it looked like they were trying to do research.
"Oh, God," Dean mumbled and tried to roll over and bury his face in the blankets wishing everything would just go away. But as he moved, he realized it was a bad idea. Everything lurched and blurred out of focus and he had to take careful breaths to keep his stomach from trying to come up through his throat.
And that would be Bird.
A cool hand landed on his head and Dean whimpered slightly as even the slight movement of his hair seemed to hurt.
"Hey, Dean, can you open your eyes for me?"
Dean took a few more careful breaths feeling his stomach settle slightly and then cracked open his heavy lids once again. Bird was perched on the edge of the bed looking down at him in concern and Dean whimpered again as he buried his face in the bedding. "Not real," he said as he let the bedding muffle how miserable he really sounded.
"Hey, Dean, come on. I need you to try and drink something for me."
Dean did groan this time. Why couldn't they just leave him alone? "No." And boy didn't that sound pitiful. But right now, he didn't think he could muster enough energy to turn over let alone care how miserable he sounded.
At the moment, his whole body ached and he was all at once too hot and also too cold. And from the way his head was throbbing, he knew for a fact that if he tried to move again right now his head may just pop off and run screaming into the night.
"Come on, Dean. Here, I'll help you."
Dean growled low in his throat and turned just enough so he could glare at the seemingly neon yellow bird, but it really wasn't working as he was having trouble focusing on anything in particular.
With a lot of grunting and frustrated huffs on both party's parts, they finally managed to get him semi-sitting up with what seemed like every pillow in the room propped against the headboard so he could drink something. After taking a small sip he grimaced at the taste and pulled away. "What is that crap?"
"Gatorade. You've lost a lot of fluids," Bird said and pushed the bottle towards him once again.
"I know, Dean, but you need it."
Managing a few more sips, he relished how cool it felt against his parched throat but finally turned away knowing that if he had any more it was going to come right back up again. "Enough," he mumbled and let his gaze slip over to where Oscar was.
Oscar just glared at him in return.
"So…I always wondered," Dean managed with only a little slur to his words.
Oscar sat a little taller and frowned at him. "What?" he asked slightly wary at what Dean might ask.
Sinking back into the pillows a little more, Dean watched him for a moment and wondered idly if he got closer if the Grouch would really smell as bad as he looked.
"Dean?" Oscar asked looking a little concerned when he didn't answer right away.
Dean snapped his eyes back to Oscar cutting short his rambling thoughts. "Huh? Oh, uh…I always wondered…why not a dumpster? I mean…a trashcan? It's gotta be pretty cramped in there." He raised his hand slightly to point towards the can and then let it flop back to the mattress when he realized it seemed to weigh a ton. A flush of heat worked its way through his body followed by a sudden burst of chills and then nausea swept through him so suddenly he had to swallow quickly several times to keep from throwing up. "I don't feel so good," he murmured as he blearily looked around the room finally realizing that something was missing. "Where's, Sammy?"
"What's he talking about?" Oscar asked and Dean continued his search for his brother.
Sam, you better not have left me with these two chuckle heads while you went out hunting.
"I told you," Big Bird said as if proving a point.
Oscar just looked at the two of them for a moment. "Oh you've got to be kidding me."
"Hey, Oscar," Dean said as he tried to get up. "Just…cool it. Why don't you…" He tried to fix the two characters with a stare but it wasn't really working as his vision swam in and out of focus. "Two do something useful and help me find my brother." Dean struggled with the scratchy covers as he tried to get up and couldn't figure out how to untangle them from his legs. "I just…gotta." He moved a little too quickly as the blanket wrapped around his body suddenly unwound and he fell forward slightly making the world shift with a sickening pace. Stopping all movements, he quickly closed his eyes against the maddening movement and tried to keep from blowing chunks.
"Dean, stop, just…lay back down," Big Bird suggested and then not realizing the dilemma Dean was in pushed him back down on the bed a little too quickly and that was all it took.
Dean managed to roll to the side of the bed before he was throwing up all of the Gatorade he'd just drank splattering red liquid all over the floral printed carpet and Big Bird's feet.
Bird yelled slightly in surprise before quickly grabbing a trashcan and quickly placed under Dean's head before putting a hand on Dean's shoulder to keep him from falling off the bed as he continued to wretch pitifully into the empty can. "Oh God, Dean, its okay. You'll be okay."
But Dean was anything but okay. His head felt like it was going to explode as he continued to dry heave long after his stomach had emptied, and the little bit he was able to open his eyes made him even more nauseous as the world spun and tilted around him until little black dots started to cloud his vision.
"Dean, come on man, breathe," Oscar grumbled from beside him and Dean so would have glared at him if he could only focus for one second.
After a few more minutes, Dean began to wonder if this would ever end as his stomach didn't seem to want to settle and he continued to dry heave. He desperately tried to suck air in between heaves, but couldn't seem to get enough air as he wheezed heavily seeing the black dots start to merge and he knew he was in trouble. "Sam…my?" he managed to get out as he tightened his grip on the bedding and the arm across his chest that was the only thing keeping him from taking a header off the bed at the moment. Come on Dean, just…calm down. You can do this. It's no big deal. Nothing you haven't handled before right? But…he couldn't breathe.
"It's okay, Dean, I'm here. It'll be okay in a minute."
The arms holding him tightened slightly as he continued to gag and choke, and Dean really hoped that it would just be over already. His muscles twitched in exhaustion as his stomach continued to try and expel whatever was in his body making him sick and Dean just couldn't take it anymore. "Sam…my," he almost sobbed and flailed to grip the arm holding him up hoping that it might help to anchor him as everything seemed to get more distant and the pain began to take over.
"Dean? Oh God…we need to get him to the hospital."
Everything seemed to fade as his heart thudded against his ribs and his ears buzzed with the lack of oxygen until all he could hear was his heartbeat and stuttering breaths. Choking once again on his heaving breaths, he just had enough time to think Oh crap and then everything went black.
Waking this time felt…different. For one: it smelled different. Cleaner. Almost…
"Crap," he tried to say, but what came out was more like a moan. Damn it. He hated hospitals.
"Dean?" Something shifted slightly beside him and then his hand was encompassed in something warm, yet slightly rough. "Come on, Dean. Wake up."
Sam? That was, Sam. Okay, at least that question was answered. If Sam was here asking him to wake up, then he was probably okay. Now, on to the next million questions he didn't have an answer to yet. Awesome.
"Dean, come on, man. Open your eyes. Please?"
Now Dead knew that he groaned that time on purpose. Damn it. Couldn't that kid see that he was trying to open his eyes? Okay…hold on. Feeling like somebody must've glued the lids shut while he slept, Dean tried to pry them open so he could see what the big deal was. And to make sure that his little brother really was okay because you never knew…
Dean huffed silently to himself in frustration. Come on, man. This is getting embarrassing. It's not that hard to open your eyes. But…Sammy if this is one of your newest ideas for a prank, I swear to God I'm gonna…
Finally his eyes opened a crack and he looked towards where he thought Sam was sitting. Blinking a few times to clear the blob that Sam currently was, he finally looked up into Sam's smiling face.
"Hey," he whispered and felt a wave of exhaustion sweep through him as if saying that one word had been a huge undertaking. Sighing in exhaustion, he closed his eyes but quickly opened them again not wanting to go to sleep just yet. First, he needed to make sure Sammy was okay.
Sam smiled even more after hearing Dean's first word in almost two days and thought that it might be the best thing he'd ever heard. "Hey yourself, welcome back."
Dean blinked a few more times sleepily and then frowned in confusion as he finally managed to focus on Sam's face for more than a few seconds. "You're yellow," he managed in a croaky whisper before his scratchy throat caught up to him and he began to cough. Pain spiked through his head sending waves of pain from front to back and back again making his eyes prick with tears. As the coughing finally subsided, he tried to pull in deep breaths and realized how much his ribs and stomach hurt also.
Opening his eyes again he saw Sam filling a cup with water and then place a straw in it. Helping Dean to lean forward a little, Sam helped him take a few drinks of the cool water. It felt wonderful as it trickled down his parched throat and helped to wet his dry mouth. When Sam pulled it away, he almost whimpered wanting more.
"That's enough for now. Don't want to make yourself sick again." He set the cup back on the table and turned to look down at his brother once again. "You okay?" Sam asked as he eyed Dean worriedly.
Dean just nodded minutely still not trusting his voice and just eyed his brother for a long moment hoping he would explain why the heck he was yellow. When no answer came, he finally lifted an eyebrow questioningly as if to ask, 'What the hell, Sammy?'.
Now it was Sam's turn to look confused. "What?"
If he wasn't sure it would cause more problems, Dean would've rolled his eyes. Instead, he reached out and swiped a figure across Sam's yellow arm.
Sam looked down at the offending appendage for a confused second and then understanding dawned. "OH! Uh…" He shifted self-consciously in his chair and raised a stained yellow hand to scratch at the back of his yellow tinted neck. "Courtesy of the hunt," he said sheepishly. "The ghost ended up throwing me into a vat of yellow paint and it…kind of…stuck."
Now both of Dean's eyebrows rose in surprise before dropping again as he tried to remember what had happened and came up with nothing.
"Yeah, you probably don't remember," Sam said quietly. "You got knocked out by a flying paint can. Not to mention you've been running a 103 plus temperature for the last couple of days. Scared the crap out of me when you wouldn't wake up after you got hit and then..." He swallowed hard against the memory as repressed emotions tried to surface and he picked at a loose thread in the blanket covering Dean's bed.
"Hey." The soft reply made Sam look up and Dean gave him a tired little smile. "Dude, I'm fine."
Sam just snorted and shook his head. "Yeah, right…you definitely look it," he dead-panned and then sniffed as he swiped at his tired eyes trying to get his emotions under control.
Dean just gave him a smug little smile and then blinked heavily feeling exhaustion start to drag him under again.
Sam, noticing that he was about ready to pass out again, reached up and squeezed his big brother's shoulder. "Hey, go back to sleep. I'll be here when you wake up."
And with that, Dean slipped back into sleep.
Bobby was scanning the local paper for possible hunts in the area when he heard the rustling of sheets. Looking up from the Obits, he saw Dean blinking slowly at him like he wasn't quite sure who he was yet.
With a sigh, he folded the newspaper into fourths and laid it down on his lap before just sitting there staring at the boy for a long moment. "So…who am I today?" he asked with a tired, annoyed tone.
Dean just blinked again, this time in confusion. "What?"
Bobby coolly laid the paper to the side and regarded Dean with a stern expression. "Well, I was just thought I'd try and figure out who you thought I was today before I tried to have a conversation with ya."
Dean just blinked again and then started to shake his head. Bobby could tell the moment the pain of Dean's concussion kicked in when the boy slammed his eyes shut and bit his lip obviously trying not to whimper in pain.
Quickly getting to his feet and to the edge of the bed in two strides, Bobby a hand on Dean's shoulder in support and the younger hunter fumbled for his hand before squeezing it tightly as he tried to get himself under control again. Bobby knew that there were still some lingering side-effects of the severe concussion and that right now Dean probably needed something to help keep him anchored as everything spun and danced around him.
After a long moment, Dean's grip finally began to loosen and he managed to open his eyes a crack to look up and see Bobby's concerned and apologetic face starring down at him. "Sorry," the older hunter grumbled when he noticed Dean's ineffectual glare—it was kind of hard to glare at someone when you couldn't focus properly—but so far it was the best the younger man could do.
Dean gave him a look that Bobby thought probably meant, 'Uh huh, you should be', and then closed his eyes again for a moment as he tried to steady himself a little bit more. When he opened his eyes again, Bobby could tell that some of his walls were starting to come back up and Bobby sighed silently wishing that they wouldn't.
"Where's Sam?" Dean mumbled trying to distract from the current situation and Bobby just barely resisted rolling his eyes towards heaven in a silent prayer because God only knew this was not the first time Dean had asked for his brother, nor would it be the last.
"I kicked him out a while ago to go take shower and get some decent sleep. He hasn't gotten much since you got hurt and he was pretty much running on fumes even before that."
Dean frowned slightly as he tried to remember what happened, but obviously things were still kind of fuzzy for the younger hunter.
"Ghost hunt? Paint factory? Being sick and not telling Sam before going into the hunt? Any of this sounding familiar?"
Bobby watched as Dean processed what he'd just heard and knew exactly when the boy remembered what had happened if the sheepish look that came across his face was anything to go by.
"Yeah, I kinda remember something about that," Dean said quietly and had the good graces to look slightly embarrassed.
"Yeah, well, I should see if I can knock some more sense into that bull head of yours after pulling such a stupid stunt, but seeing as you already got your bell rung pretty good I think I'll let it pass…for now." Bobby fixed the younger man with a glare and Dean tried to give a sheepish little smile in return which just set Bobby's hackles on edge. "Dean you know you shouldn't hunt when you're sick. Too many things can go wrong when you're not at the top of your game. You're lucky you didn't get yourself killed or worse…Sam."
Dean looked up at his friend with a slight touch of fear in his eyes and then sighed tiredly before closing his eyes. "Yeah, I know. I just…you know?"
And Bobby did know. With the deal fast approaching and his time seemingly running out, Dean had been throwing himself into the hunt as if his very life depended on it trying to distract himself and his brother from how much time they didn't have left. The last hurrah, so to speak, before the big send off, and what worried Bobby the most was that if the boy wasn't careful, he'd find himself downstairs even faster than what his deadline said it would be and he might take Sam with him.
"Hey," he said gently and waited until Dean looked up at him. "Don't worry. We'll fix this. Just…make sure you keep yourself alive long enough for us to do that. Okay?"
Dean started to nod then decided better and just gave Bobby a sad little smile. "Okay."
They sat there for a moment in silence before a thought occurred to Dean. "Hey, uh…why'd you ask me who you were when I woke up? Was my concussion that bad?"
Bobby just looked at him for a moment and then cleared his throat as he tried not to laugh out loud. Taking a moment more to school his features into a somewhat reasonable expression, he then looked down at Dean with a straight face. "Uh, well… You see, you were…pretty much…out of it there for a while and uh..." Remembering some of the things Dean had said including asking him whether he thought that Bert and Ernie might be more than just "friends", Bobby couldn't help the little snort of laughter that escaped him before he could hide it with a cough. He then cleared his throat in an attempt to keep it serious and tried to look Dean in the eye. Don't laugh, don't laugh, don't laugh.
"I didn't do anything too crazy did I?"
Bobby swallowed hard and almost strained a muscle as he tried not to laugh out loud. By the way Dean was watching him he knew he was failing miserably.
"What'd I do?" Dean asked in a slightly worried voice and Bobby wasn't sure if he could keep it together much longer.
Thankfully, Sam decided to walk in at that moment holding two cups of coffee and a bag of food. When he saw his brother was awake, a smile lit up his face. "Hey, you're awake. How are you feeling?"
Bobby, thankful for the intrusion, coughed a couple times into his hand as he moved off the bed and towards his chair and Dean had to close his eyes against the movement before answering his brother's question. "I'm fine, Sam," he almost whispered not sounding at all convincing.
"Yeah, I can see that," Sam said sarcastically and then handed Bobby his coffee. "At least your fever broke," he mumbled with a relieved little smile and Bobby returned the smile before taking a tentative sip of his coffee.
Ahhh, good cup of joe.
Sighing slightly in contentment, he peaked into the bag Sam had brought as the youngest Winchester pulled up another chair to sit next to the older hunter. Noticing two sandwiches wrapped in paper nestled in the bottom of the bag, he motioned at Sam in question and Sam nodded in response for him to take one. Bobby grunted his thanks and took out one of the sandwiches balancing his cup of coffee on his knee while he unwrapped the thick roast beef sandwich with all the fixings and then took a bite.
"Hey, you know if you're going to torture me with the smells, can I at least get some coffee?" Dean asked after a moment when all he was doing was sitting there watching them eat.
Both Bobby and Sam stopped what they were doing to look at Dean and then an evil thought occurred to Sam before he looked over at Bobby who was trying to take a sip of his coffee at the moment. "It depends. Are you going to keep calling me, Bird, if I do?"
Bobby almost sprayed coffee all over the place and then had to cough several times to clear his throat.
Dean glanced at Bobby and then Sam in confusion. "What?"
Sam smiled at Bobby before turning a serious look to his brother. "Nothing. Um, I don't know Dean, maybe you better not."
Dean frowned slightly and almost seemed ready to pout but Bobby guessed he wouldn't for fear of being called a girl. Oh this way too good.
"Why don't you have some cookies and milk instead?" Bobby suggested and Sam snorted trying not to laugh and Bobby couldn't help the giggle that escaped him. "I mean…you are the Cookie Monster right?" he choked out against laughs.
And then that was it. Sam burst out laughing then Bobby laughed and before too long they were both almost in tears they were laughing so much.
Dean just looked from one to the other in utter bafflement not sure what was so funny but had a funny feeling he wasn't going to like it one little bit. "I'm never going to live this one down am I?"
Sam and Bobby both calmed long enough to look at each other and then burst out laughing again.
Just then the door opened and a nurse walked in carrying his chart. She smiled slightly as the two men tried to compose themselves and then turned to look at Dean noticing that he was awake. "Well, nice to see you're awake, Mr. Carver. So tell me… Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?"
A/N: Okay, there it is. Let me know what you think of it by sending me a review; and for those of you who follow my other story Jess there will be a chapter posted sometime tomorrow. Until then.