Fanfic: Minnesota Winter
Beta: borgmama1of5. She rocks. All mistakes are mine
Summary: The episode where the boys spend the night together in the Impala during a blizzard. What? No such episode? That's because Dean'd have to kill you if it ever aired.
Spoilers: Set in Season 2; before Dad's last words reveal
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any of its characters. They belong to the CW and Eric Kripke -- who'd best treat them well
A/N: Written for the afterthecold Comment Fic and Prompt Challenge.
"I'm not doing this."
"You have to."
"It's a real possibility. Now stop being an asshole and get back here with me!"
Sam sighed. Mistake because more frigid air entered his already burning lungs and he never knew breathing could friggin' hurt. He kept his voice as steady as possible through chattering teeth. "Dean. Please. We're stuck. We'll probably freeze to death as it is. The only thing we have is body heat, such as it is. Get. Back. Here."
Dean grunted. Whined. Wheezed. Whirled a bit more before finally scrambling over the seat to land with a thud atop his little brother.
" 'S all your fault," Dean groused.
Sam squirmed to adjust to the solid weight covering him. It was weird, but man that instant heat felt good. "How exactly is that?"
Dean wiggled further. Jesus, his brother never ever could stay still for more than a millisecond – even when freakin' sleeping he moved all night. Of course, they weren't usually this close.
"You didn't say no."
Sam blinked unsure he'd heard right. "What?"
Dean moved his arm and they settled into this awkward partial embrace. "What's that?" Dean spit out suddenly.
"Dean I don't know what you think you're feeling but I can assure you it's not whatever the hell you're thinking."
"Better be a gun."
"I wish. So I could shoot you."
Dean chortled. "Then you could climb inside of me to keep warm like they did with that tom-tom in the Ewok flick."
"It was a tauntaun. And that wasn't the one with the Ewoks, was the one before that one."
"Oh for … you would know that. Geek."
"You started it … Ow! Quit that. Move your elbow, it's pushing into—"
"What?" he answered still annoyed.
"Can't … I can't feel my fingers."
Sam looked up alarmed. They had one lousy pair of gloves between them. And Dean'd insisted that Sam wear them claiming he never was bothered by the cold. Sam peered out the window but there was nothing but black. He knew that that black was covering a whole lot of swirling white. They'd gotten caught in a mother of all snow storms.
It wasn't their brightest idea to take a case in Minnesota in the winter. Suddenly he got what Dean'd meant before. He hadn't said no.
"Here," he told his brother ripping the gloves off his hands and pushing them toward Dean.
"No. You need them."
"Stop being an ass. Take them. I'll put my hands in my pockets for now."
Dean met his eyes a moment and then lowered his gaze and slid the gloves on. Sam knew his brother would complain at this next part. "Now. Give 'em here."
He grabbed each of Dean's gloved hands in his and squeezed.
As expected Dean tried to pull away but Sam's larger grip was solid. "I am not holding hands like little schoolgirls!"
Sam ignored Dean and proceeded to gently squeeze Dean's finger's through the gloves. "Need to get the blood back to your fingertips. Don't want you losing any fingers."
He felt Dean flinch. Wasn't much he couldn't feel being this close. Damn, he couldn't remember the last time he and Dean had cuddled like this. He couldn't have been older than nine. After a few moments Sam asked, "Any better?"
"Freakin' hurts now. Pins and needles."
Sam smiled. "Good."
His own hands were freezing but he kept massaging his brother's fingers until Dean's complaining approached epic. Good enough, he thought, working his hands into his jacket pocket.
Dean looked at him a moment before looking away. "I kinda stopped feeling my toes a while back, too."
Oh for heaven's … "How long?" he asked afraid of the answer.
"Fifteen minutes maybe."
Had to be longer. Dean and telling time weren't exactly on speaking terms. Unless it was mealtime. God, he didn't know what to do. They had a blanket in the trunk. Was it worth going outside? "Can you wriggle your toes at all?"
Dean struggled a moment, his face showing agitation. "No."
Decision made. Sam eased up. "Where are you--?"
"Gotta get the blanket."
"Sam -- are you nuts? You can't go out there."
"Gotta. Not feeling your extremities is the first sign of frostbite."
"This is a bad idea."
Sam ignored him and flung open the door, struggling to stand in the ferocious gale. The wind attacked his face despite the scarf he'd quickly put over it. He slammed the car door shut to keep his brother warm and fought against the howling blast. The horizontal snow stabbed his eyes like tiny ice spears. Dean was right, he realized too late. This was a really bad idea. Even if he could open the frozen trunk the blanket would be a cold sodden mess by the time he got back into the car and … Oh god … it was really cold.
He turned back, thinking it would be best to get inside again before he froze on the spot and became a permanent ice sculpture, but he couldn't make headway against the wrong-way blowing wind. A hand grabbed his arm. What? He slit his eyes open as Dean pulled him back toward the open vehicle. Together they stumbled into the Impala's back seat and heaved the door closed against the punishing wind.
"Sam," his brother huffed out of breath. "Of all the dumb ass, friggin' moron-of-the-year things you've done to drive me insane over the years. This – has to top the list."
Sam wanted to reply. Tease back. But his teeth were vibrating too hard to get a sound out. Breathing sent knives through his chest.
"Sam?" Dean was shouting now. "No. You are so not doing this to me."
Dean forced the gloves back onto Sam's hands and then grabbed him in a huge bear hug. He couldn't stop shaking, felt like his body was going to explode from the runaway tremors. He heard Dean mumble "Jesus" and thought it strange because his brother never prayed … man, was it cold.
He settled against Dean's shoulder tucking his head a little closer and thought he hadn't felt quite this safe in like ever.
"Sammy. C'mon … no sleeping. We'll sleep when we get a room, okay. Someplace nice and warm with cable." Dean gave him a forceful shake. "I watched enough of Discovery Channel to know that sleeping is a really bad idea. Not as bad as going out in the freakin' blizzard of the decade … Sam!"
He heard Dean yelling and thought something was wrong. The trembling was lessening and he tried to open his eyes, think, but he felt cloudy. "Why're you wet?" he mumbled into his brother's ear.
Dean pulled back. "Sam? You with me again? I'll tell you why I'm wet – because my idiot little brother decided to leave baby's nice dry interior to commune with the friggin' Winter Warlock."
"Heh. I used to love that one. Was the one with the Kringles, right?"
Dean just gave him an incredulous stare. Thankfully Sam's brain fuzziness was dissipating.
"You know what's goin' on?" Sam asked.
"You mean aside from being stuck in a blizzard in the middle of nowhere-anybody-should-ever-want-to-live Minnesota?"
"What do you know about hypothermia?"
"I know you aren't supposed to fall asleep," Dean huffed.
"We have to raise our body temperatures. It's bad, Dean. Can impair judgment. Cause hallucinations, even. No joke. We have to warm up."
"Okay. What do we do?"
Sam looked around the Impala's interior. Gas gauge was low. Real danger of running out of fuel. But … maybe they should risk using up some to run the heat. He looked over. Damn, Dean'd gotten wet coming out to get him. Sam never should have gotten out of the car. Idiot. His brother was shivering like mad now.
Acting quickly, Sam climbed back into the front seat, ignoring Dean's puzzled, "What are you--?"
Sam turned the key and was pleased when the old girl responded like they were in Florida. He patted the steering wheel a moment before blasting the heat. No wonder Dean loved her.
From the back Dean said, "Can't do that, Sam. Don't have much gas left. Gotta save it to—"
"I know. But we have to warm up. Move back here."
"I'm already in the back."
"No. I mean. Come back to the front. To the heat."
Dean mumbled a curse and contorted himself back into the shotgun seat. His hands immediately flew to the heating vent. "Thanks baby," he murmured. Then to Sam, "Not too long. Can't. Or we'll never get out of this godforsaken state."
"Yeah. Now take off anything wet that's touching your body."
Dean stared at him. "Do it, Dean."
Together they both stripped off their shoes, socks and outer jackets. The minute his clothes were off Sam's shivering kicked in again at top speed. Felt like his body was in a blender. Across the seat he felt Dean shuddering. "Hold the clothes in front of the vent. The heat should dry 'em so we'll have what to put on when we need to shut it off."
Dean complied without another comment which freaked Sam out because Dean didn't do anything quietly. Still silent, Dean lifted his foot to the heat. With relief Sam saw it wasn't bad, couple of toes had a white tinge but he knew it was black that was the danger. After a few minutes by the vent Dean started wiggling them. Sam mentally counted to two …
"Oww. That friggin' hurts."
"Blood vessels are expanding. It's good Dean."
He got a nasty grimace back for this. Man, that heat felt good. Unfortunately it reminded him how cold he'd been. And was likely to get again. He blinked. It was unpardonably dangerous to have gone outside like that. Clearly he'd been more out of it than he'd realized. Compromised. How could he stop this from happening again? What if Dean did something stupid next?
"Dude, we gotta keep warm."
"Feelin' pretty toasty now."
"No. I mean when we shut the engine off again. Gotta take it serious. We have to stay close."
"Oh no. You're not starting up again with that cuddling crap."
Sam fought back his frustration. "This isn't a joke, Dean. This car's gonna get cold. Like before. Maybe worse." He glanced at his watch. Dawn was three hours away yet. He looked at the gas gauge. "We can run the engine maybe for another fifteen minutes. And we'd better find a gas station soon tomorrow."
Dean didn't reply. They absorbed as much of baby's heat as they could. Sam still felt cold but not like before. His mind felt sharp, and he'd stopped shivering. Best, his socks were dry and warm. Putting them on felt good. They redressed without words.
Dean took a sad look at the gas gauge as Sam turned the car off. The sudden silence rang incredibly loud. Sam touched his brother's coat sleeve and indicated he should follow him into the back seat again. Dean pursed his lips but followed.
" 'M not even cold," Dean whined.
"Yeah, but we can't let our body temperatures drop so low again or our thinking will get messed up."
Dean jumped on this, "So you admit it was monumentally stupid to go outside earlier."
Sam conceded, "Yeah. But you were affected, too, or you wouldn't have let me."
Dean looked like he was going to argue this further but then stopped. Sam knew he had him. "Okay," Dean yielded.
It took very little time for the howling wind and punishing ice crystals to chill the auto's interior. Sam started shivering again. "Dammit."
"I know … it's freakin' cold."
Sam looked at the time. They had hours to go and if this storm didn't let up when the sun rose … He wished there was a way to hide his shaking from his brother, but against each other like this it was impossible.
Suddenly Dean was opening his jacket.
"What are you--?"
"Open up yours, too."
Was Dean nuts? It was freezing in the car now. They needed more clothes, not less. Sam didn't move.
"C'mon Sam, I watched one of those survivor specials once. Guys stuck on a mountain top or a glacier or something big and frozen. Survived by … well, what you said … cuddling I guess. Body to body." He stopped, met Sam's amazed stare. "You're shaking like a damn magic fingers bed, now open up."
Sam pulled off the gloves and unzipped the jacket. Then with clumsy fingers he unbuttoned the flannel shirt he wore underneath. That left his tee-shirt. He couldn't take it off. He settled for lifting it up a bit to bunch on his upper chest.
Wordlessly Dean did the same. Stared at Sam again. "You tell anyone about this. Ever. And I'll freakin' disown you."
Sam smiled. Given that between them they could barely scrape together enough for a cup of coffee most days this was pretty funny. He moved in and pressed his chest against his brother's. The warmth of Dean's skin was amazing, considering. They each grabbed the edges of their coats and cocooned the fabric around them. He wrapped his arms around Dean and pressed his hands under his brother's shirt, against his bare back and fought the spike of oddness. He must have been eight the last time he and Dean had wrestled topless in the warm summer sun. Dean'd spent hours teaching him how to fight, how to defend himself … Actually, what hadn't Dean taught him?
"Wanna stretch out?" he asked. It was going to be a long night as it was.
"Dude, can this be any more—?"
"I know. But it's better than us freezing to death. Or worse."
Dean chuckled at this. "What can be worse?"
Something happening to only one of us. But Sam didn't say it out loud.
They laid down along the back seat in this sideways embrace. Their bent knees tangled awkwardly. Sam had to admit it felt ridiculous. Damn, he'd hardly cuddled this hard with Jessica. For all that Dean teased him about chick flick moments it was Dean that was the touchy-feely one. Not him. Was a little different around his brother, 'cause … it just was. But nobody else got away with touching him much. Just Dean. And Jess.
"Wanna talk?" he asked into Dean's ear.
"Oh for pity's sake, maybe we should just start taking estrogen shots and grow boobs. At least I'd have something to play with then."
Sam didn't reply but returned Dean's smirk.
Sam pulled back a bit. "Stop what?"
"It's like you're giving me a damn back massage or something."
"My fingers were … I just wanted to flex 'em. Would you relax, I have no designs on you. You're not my type."
"Yeah, probably like 'em big and hairy, eh Sammy?"
Dean laughed. They were quiet for a while. The sound of Dean's breathing near his ear was soothing. Sounded normal. He was cold but not shivering. Was working.
"Were you ever …?"
"Nothin'. Never mind."
Sam smiled. "C'mon dude. Not like anything that goes on tonight's ever leaving this car. Might as well ask. Was I ever what?"
He didn't know what to expect but he'd certainly not expected Dean's next words.
"With a man?"
Sam's voice pitched up. "What? No. Hell no."
The wind picked that moment to whip around the car like a banshee set free. Sam shuddered despite himself. "Were you?"
Dean was quiet. Too quiet. Sam's heart sped up. "Holy shit …"
"It's not what you think."
"Dude … are you … are you coming out to me?"
"No. Sam. I'm not into dudes. It's not like that."
Sam digested this. He'd never seen his brother show interest in anything other than girls. What the hell? "What is it like then?"
Dean was silent again and Sam started to doubt he'd answer at all. Then, almost whispering, "Before Dad went missing I had this job in New Orleans. Witch. Well, I thought it was a witch."
Sam worked this over. "A warlock? Was it a glamour?"
Dean nodded against his shoulder. "I kissed her ... him."
"But you didn't know …"
"Went a bit further."
"Oh. How … I mean the glamour couldn't change his anatomy to the point of—"
"No. God, no. We didn't … But we were working up to it."
"Christ … what happened when you--?"
"I freaked. Wanted to pound the SOB to within an inch of his lying, broom-riding ass. But I did what we always do -- finished the job. Destroyed the alter. Burned as many witchcraft supplies as I could find. All I could do. Bastard was," Dean snorted, "human after all."
Sam nodded, his chin brushing Dean's forehead. His brother twitched and Sam didn't think it was from the cold.
"What?" he asked softly.
"I enjoyed it Sam. I mean, before … felt good. But she was a … Do you think …?"
"Dude. Not that I give a crap who you sleep with, but usually you know this kind of thing pretty early on. Was there ever a time before this when you found yourself attracted to a guy? Tell the truth, man, because really … I don't care."
"No. Always liked girls. Never remember not liking them."
Dean got quiet. Sam felt like there was more still on his mind. He waited.
"Sam, it wouldn't bother you if I was … I mean not like a mistake, but really?"
"No. Would it bother you if I was gay?"
Sam could practically hear the wheels in Dean's mind turning. "Nope," he said finally. "You'd still be my pain in the ass little brother." Sam smiled. "But I'll tell you one thing, this is by far the friggin' gayest conversation I've ever had."
Sam laughed, which got Dean to laughing. After a few moments they both stopped. "Wouldn'ta told you that if it weren't for this damn storm."
"I don't mind that you told me."
Sam held on as Dean started to shiver again. He was likely shaking, too. Hard to tell, given how close they were, if it was him or Dean or both. Damn it was cold. His breath was frosting out of his mouth. Toes going numb.
"The survivor special you watched? Did they make it off the mountain?"
His brother rubbed his hands up Sam's back and pulled him a tad closer. "Yeah, Sammy, they did."
"This would be a piss poor way to go."
"Nobody's going anywhere."
Sam rubbed his leg against the back of the seat to move it a bit and revitalize his circulation. They were both chattering now and it felt like he was being sandblasted from the inside out.
"I miss Dad," Sam said between the trembles.
"But what, Sam? Wish he had'na made a deal with the devil? Me, too."
"No Dean. I … I can't wish that."
The cold was making thinking hard again and Sam didn't know if Dean realized what he was saying or not. Hell, even he didn't know what he was saying, only knew that the moment his brother woke up in that hospital bed was the happiest one of his life.
"Cheated death twice now," Dean said. Sam wasn't sure he'd heard right until Dean continued. "First in Nebraska."
Dean never finished, just let the thought die. Sam knew Dean still thought about the blind faith healer and his bitch of a wife who'd been playing god. Choosing whom to save and whom to murder. Was wrong and evil and vile and not once did Sam ever regret the results they'd gotten. He pulled Dean closer again, blending their shudders.
"Tired," Dean slurred.
Sam jumped a bit at this. No. Shouldn't sleep. Not good. "Maybe we should sit up a bit. 'Sides you're heavy dude. Maybe you should let me be on top." Okay. That came out seven kinds of wrong but Dean was too sluggish to notice.
He heaved Dean up separating them a bit and the chill hit his flesh like a lash. Man, it was cold. If … when they got out of this he was going to stand under a scalding shower for like a month.
A streetlamp provided some illumination, reflecting the whirling snow. Dean's face was pale. Could just be the light. He wondered what he looked like.
It felt like Dean was reading his mind because suddenly green eyes were studying him. "Sam. You don't look so good. We should call Dad."
Oh god. "Dean, c'mon, dude, don't do this. Snap out of it. Dad's dead. You know this."
Dean didn't seem to understand, just muttered, "Tired, Sammy."
"No. You can't. Look, I know it's cold. C'mere. We need to get closer again." He wrapped his arms around Dean and brought their chests back together. Their skin had cooled so much that the contact burned. Should never have separated. Shouldn't have let Dean go. He cuddled tighter to his big brother. Felt Dean's head slump against his shoulder. No.
"Dean, please. Fight it. Stay with me. You always take care of me. No matter what … Please."
His brother stirred. "Ssam?"
"Yes. C'mon squeeze harder. Take my heat. We're gonna get through this and drive outta here soon as it stops …"
He felt Dean move his arms harder around him. " 'S cold."
"I know. Think warm thoughts. Hot showers. Hot baths. Hot chocolate."
Sam smiled. "Yeah, man, hot chicks. Bathtubs full of 'em.
Dean squeezed him. "Keep you warm. Like in Wisconsin."
"Dad left to go hunting. You were little."
"How old were you, Dean?"
Through the shivering he heard Dean murmur, "Not sure, maybe nine."
Sam loved his father but, man, sometimes the old man made it tough. "You were little, too, Dean." His brother ignored this. "Go on, what happened in Wisconsin?" Sam didn't remember anything specific, but truth was the states were all blended from his childhood.
"Heat got turned off in the apartment. Don't know why. Maybe we owed money."
Sam was starting to remember. Layers of old musty blankets. Had no idea where Dean'd nicked them from – maybe the Salvation Army. Weren't new, that much was certain. They'd piled them on Dad's bed and then extra coats on top of that and snuggled in together. Dean'd made it fun. Said it was like a camping adventure. Like they were outdoors even though they were indoors.
He knew he was crying when he tasted salt. Dammit. He swiped at his face, almost choking Dean in the process. "We're getting through this. I'm getting us through this."
"Yeah, Sammy. 'An then we'll call Dad?"
He rubbed up and down very gently along his brother's back again. "Yeah, then we'll call Dad."
The night went on frigid and white and endless.
Sam didn't sleep and didn't let Dean sleep and kept his brother closer than he'd have thought possible without being one person.
"I think I see the sun."
Sam sat up a bit and sure enough there was a golden beam hitting the Impala's window. But more importantly, it wasn't snowing. He sensed the second Dean noticed the same thing. The sun was strong and its heat pierced through the window with life saving intensity.
They came apart slowly and with shaky fingers reclosed their jackets. "You okay?" Sam asked Dean.
Dean looked back at the sun. "I think so."
"You know Dad's … dead, right?"
Sam let out a breath. "Start 'er up."
Dean moved old man like into the driver's seat. Sam understood, his joints felt, well, frozen. The purr of the engine broke the silence filling them with a familiar inner hum.
After a bit the heat started to come back through the little vents. They held their cold hands in front of it.
"Once we thaw out we're gonna have to dig baby out."
Sam nodded. "I know."
"Hopefully we'll have enough gas to take us to the next town."
"For what? Not freezing to death?"
Sam smiled at this dark humor. "No. I mean … not just for that."
Dean met his eyes. Let everything they never said pass between them.
"You tell anyone we freakin' cuddled all night and I will have to hurt you. A lot."
Sam didn't answer and they let the car's warmth drift into their tired bones.
When he heard nothing he looked back at Dean. His brother's green stare was warmer than the sun. "Nuthin'. Feel up to shoveling?"
He smiled, let his eyes answer back in Dean's familiar silent manner. "Yeah. Let's get at it."
They worked together side by side.
"I'm callin' first dibs on a hot shower. Big brother privilege."
Sam gave his bitchface, biting back a smile. Yeah. It was a privilege.