Title: Black White Red
Author: Mad Server
Characters: Sam, Dean, OCs
Word Count: 3000
Summary: Something's after Dean. Sick!Dean, gallant!Sam.
A/N: Big thank yous to betas Janissa11, who did some deft de-awkward-ifying, and Enkidu07, who astutely spotted the ambiguous bits.
Disclaimer: I don't own these guys.
"I don't know how they do it." Sam pops his collar against the wind and crosses his arms. He turns to Dean. "It's like, thirty degrees."
Dean's still watching the lineup behind them shift under the streetlights. He pulls a flask out of his jacket, takes a swig and winks at somebody down the queue. "Looks good though, dunnit?" Dean's lips are bright red as he offers Sam the bottle. "Here. Warm up."
Sam shakes his head. "Yeah, but how can it be worth it? So they look pretty. Why do they have to look nice out here? Can't they wear snowpants or something and then change inside?"
Dean rolls his eyes. "Look, it's just the way they do it. They're creating an image. Hate to tell you, Sam, but first impressions start here, outside." He takes another swallow, hisses and tucks the canteen away. "Hard to block out the winter gear later, know what I'm sayin'?"
Sam cocks his head. "Are you really that shallow? You'd rather have the hot girl who waits in line mostly naked in November than the hot girl who takes care of herself and saves the sexy outfit for where it's warm?"
"Snowpants aren't hot, Sam. That's my point."
Sam shivers. Dean looks warm as a fox.
"Are you sure we're related?"
ID, cover charge, glow-in-the-dark hand stamp, coat check. There's no puke-smell inside and a good third of the patrons are in their age range. Sam relaxes a little.
Dean twitches an eyebrow, turns and threads through the tables.
On the bar he lines up three tequila shots in front of each of them. He licks and salts his hand, then passes the shaker to Sam. It's disturbingly greasy.
"To being alive."
Sam slams it all back and chokes on a lemon wedge.
Dean slaps him between the shoulders and motions to the bartender for water. "I said alive, Sam, not suffocating on citrus pulp."
Sam helplessly coughs.
"S'good stuff, right?"
Sam's doing it again. He's focusing on the feel of Dean's palm against his shirt, trying to save it for later. "Uh. Yeah." He manages a flickering smile.
"Hey. You OK?"
Sam's not going to ruin Dying Wish Number Six. "Absolutely."
He can just make out Dean's hair once in awhile, when the crowd reconfigures. There are hands with long, shiny fingernails working over Dean's scalp. Sometimes he sees Dean's face and it's grinning. His mouth is smudged with lipstick.
"You look lost." There's a girl standing close, at the edge of the dance floor.
"I... you." Sam's tongue's numb. "Need snowpants."
She frowns, then shakes her head and laughs. "Dance with me." She's warm against him. Her hands guide his hips back and forth in time to the music. He smells her hair and tries not to cry.
The club's emptying out. Bodies brush past Sam, filing downstairs to get their coats. He fumbles his phone open. There's nothing in his inbox.
The bathroom door has paint chips missing out of it. Sam pokes his head in and sees boots, legs, somebody on the floor. Their eyes are closed and their cheeks are stark white.
Another man's there, standing over Dean. He turns around and all Sam can think is, Beautiful. "This your friend?"
"Looks like he's had too much of a good thing."
"Looks like it." Sam's gaze is back on Dean. He trades places with the stranger and squats down on the black-and-white checked tiles.
"Need a hand getting him downstairs?"
"No. No thanks." Sam's fingers are on Dean's neck, lapping up that pulse. He risks another glance at the other man and is struck again with the thought. Beautiful.
The guy disappears out the door and Sam rubs his eyes. "Something weird about him, man." He slings Dean's cool arm over his shoulders and drags him up. Dean doesn't stir. "Wish you were here."
Sam wakes up in the dark. His stomach's off and he fumbles for the lamp, has to see his brother. Yellow light floods the room and there's Dean, waxy-pale on the other bed. Sam sees his chest rise and fall and forces himself to take a deep breath. He gets cheap detergent and old carpet smell.
Sam checks the clock. It's almost noon. Frowning, he slides out from under the covers and peeks behind the motel blinds. It's gray and rainy but definitely daytime.
Sam needs coffee.
Wrapped around the motel toilet, Dean spits and flushes. "Son of a bitch." He tries to remember the fun he must have had last night but nothing comes. Shivering, he pulls himself to his feet.
Everything disappears behind a wash of red spots. When they clear he's flat on his back and his head hurts more. "Ugh. Damn it."
There's a drumming sound. Dean groans and pinches the bridge of his nose. Rolling over, he crawls forward until his palms hit scratchy carpet.
The knocking comes again. It's the door. "We don't want any," Dean calls, his feet still in the bathroom.
More pounding. Dean rubs his goosebumped arms. "This is not OK with me."
The noise starts up again and doesn't stop. Dean grunts, covers his eyes and sighs. "Oh, you are so gonna get it." He lurches upright and to the door and throws it open.
This big guy's standing there in a jean jacket. He's holding an umbrella and a briefcase. "Hi."
"Hi." Dean clasps the doorframe to keep himself standing. Some red dots wink back in. "I'm a serial killer."
"Uh. I'm sorry to bother you." The man pops his briefcase and angles it at Dean. It's overflowing with strips of material. "I'm trying to put myself through school here. See anything you like?"
Dean squints past the floating specks. "Seriously? You dragged me out here for ties?"
The salesman pulls one out and raises it like a white flag. "This one maybe. This seems like the one for you."
It has the Metallica logo on it.
Dean balks. "I hate to say it 'cause you're pissing me off, but that's actually kind of cool."
"I knew it. I can always tell a fellow fan." The guy thrusts the fabric at Dean. "Go on, give it a try."
Dean's head feels like it's drifting near the ceiling. "Look, I don't need that. Just get going, OK? No hard feelings."
He starts to shut the door but the man blocks it with his foot. "I feel bad. You can have it. On me." He holds out the tie.
"Really." Dean drinks in the cool grey background and sharp black letters. "What's the catch?"
"There isn't one." The guy closes up his bag and sets it on the pavement. Awkwardly, with the umbrella tucked against his torso, he ties the tie. "Here. Try it on."
Dean feels himself break out in a sweat. "Ugh. Look, man..."
Then the guy's on him, shoving him backwards into the room. He fits the tie over Dean's head and tightens it. Dean coughs and bucks. The stranger's straddling him, pinning his sick limbs.
His eyes. There's something about those eyes.
Sam's got two coffees stacked in one hand. He jiggles his key in the lock, pushes the door open, steps inside, and finds Dean dead on the floor.
He's on top of his brother.
Dean's skin is chalk white. His eyes are bulged open.
Sam claws at the material until it loosens. He starts mouth to mouth.
His phone's in his hand. He's trying to remember that emergency phone number. His face is wet. Dean's chin is cool where he tips it up.
Dean's still not breathing.
9-1-1. Sam dials.
The tie's in the way. Sam tugs it over Dean's head and free.
Dean gasps in a chestful of air. He blinks fast at Sam.
Dean coughs and rolls onto his side, clutching his throat.
"Hey. You're good, man." Sam pats his brother's back with shaking hands. "You're OK."
Sam shuts the door behind the paramedics and turns to Dean, who's tucked into bed. The pure white comforter is loose across Dean's chest. His eyes look bruised.
"So, any idea why a door-to-door tie salesman wants you dead?"
"No." Dean's voice squeaks and crackles out. "Doesn't want me dead too badly, though, does he?"
"Yeah, that was weird." Sam drops into a chair and rubs his bottom lip. "I take the tie off you and you start breathing again. Are you sure you feel OK?"
"Just hungover." Dean shudders and slides his bare arms under the covers. "You wanna know something? I don't think I even drank that much."
"And how does it feel to be a senior citizen?"
"No, dude, for real. I think maybe I was roofied."
"The date rape drug?" Sam flashes on the man in the bar's bathroom. "Hey. There was a guy. I found him standing over you in the club."
Dean jerks the blanket up higher. "Aw, man. My first time getting roofied and it's not even by a chick."
Dean snuffles into his cocoon. "What?"
"Forget it. Look, we need to know what we're dealing with. Campus has a pretty decent library. I'm gonna head over. You wanna come with?"
"Goody. Research." Dean pushes out of his nest, blanches and sinks to his knees beside the bed. "Hoo boy."
"Whoa, whoa." Sam manhandles him back onto the mattress. "Hey. OK. Uh. Stay here." Sam pulls up the comforter and tests Dean's cheeks. "Just hang tight, man. Don't let anybody in, OK? Call me if you need anything."
"Sorry, Sammy." Dean curls up tight. "Don't have too much fun without me."
The knock at the door is soft and hesitant.
In the warm dark of the room Dean stirs from sleep. "Who's there?"
There's no answer, just more tapping on the door.
Dean sighs, coughs into his elbow and stands. "All right, all right." He pads to the door, unlocks it and pulls it open.
There's a kid in a Boy Scouts uniform holding up a giant tin.
"Hey there. What's all this?"
"Would you like to buy some popcorn to support the Boy Scouts of America?"
The boy's missing both front teeth. Dean rubs his temples.
"Why not. Give 'er here."
"Is it fresh, sir?"
Dean rips open a bag and puts some of the white kernels in his mouth. The child's smile widens.
Sam finds Dean on the carpet, dead in a pile of popcorn.
Two breaths. Chest compressions.
He sweeps Dean's airway and finds a soggy kernel. Right as it clears his mouth, Dean's eyes pop open and he drags in a noisy breath.
Sam rubs Dean's shoulder until those wide eyes look away.
Sam looks pissed.
"It's witchcraft, but it's weak. These are beginner spells. The tie comes off, you wake up. The popcorn comes out and you're back."
"That's good, right?" Dean's fighting to keep his eyes open. "I like being back."
"Yeah." Sam runs his hands through his hair. "But why are they doing it in the first place? It's like they want you dead, but not really. And guess what else. The campus library? It has a couple of occult books. These spells are in one of 'em."
Sam's blurry. He comes close enough that Dean can make out his frown lines. "You don't look so good."
"The salesman. The Scout. They had these eyes. They were the same eyes."
"Like a shapeshifter?"
"I dunno, maybe. But I saw 'em before. At the club."
Sam's jaw drops. "Dean. I know what this is."
The club has a lunch menu and they're open for business. Sam finds a bartender he recognizes.
"I'm looking for somebody... maybe you know him. He was here last night, and he sideswiped my brother in the parking lot with his car. About this tall, brown hair. He's... striking. He took off before we could figure out the insurance. Do you know if he lives around here?"
The guy shakes his head and cracks open a roll of pennies. "That sounds like him. Blue Honda? Try Castle Lane. But you didn't hear it from me."
Dean rubs his eyes and peels his cheek off the window.
"OK. I got this guy. Just, whatever you do, don't let anybody in."
"Dude, who's gonna want into the car?"
"Trust me. I'm locking the doors. Back in five."
"This is humiliating."
"Hey, no fighting evil until you can cross a parking lot without fainting."
Sam shuts the door and disappears up the driveway. Dean sneezes and grunts when the whole world tilts.
"Yeah, I can't do this." Dean struggles with the lock and shoves the door open. He fumbles himself upright and rests with his brow against the cool roof. "Coming, Sammy."
There's someone next to him, but it's not Sam. The voice is female.
"Are you OK?"
Dean pries his eyes open and straightens his head. "Who wants to know?"
"I live right there. Kate."
"Well, Kate, I'm fine, but I think it's awful sweet you asked." He can just make out a red coat, long eyelashes. "Maybe we could have lunch some time."
"It's funny you said that. I just bought this at a bake sale for my daughter's school, but God knows I don't need the calories. Save me from myself?"
Dean blinks carefully at her arms. They're cradling a pie.
"Apple. It's all yours." She sets it on the roof beside his hand.
"That's mighty generous of you." Dean can smell the warm fruit.
"Nice to meet you." Kate vanishes into the street and Dean looks at the food.
"Get m'strength up." Dean dips two fingers into the pie, piercing the crust. He sees red apple skins, lifts the sweetness to his mouth.
Sam finds the beautiful man in his bedroom. He's sitting at a vanity, plucking his eyebrows. The ceiling's mirrored, and mirrors choke the walls.
"I know what you are."
The man's eyes find his in a reflection. He tugs out another hair. "Do you?"
"You're a warlock. Not a bad one, with all the shape-changing. But that's not the interesting part."
"What's the interesting part?"
"You're Snow White's wicked stepmother."
The man's eyes sparkle. "Finally somebody gets me."
"You didn't have to go after my brother. We were just passing through." Sam glances over the rows of toiletries. "Did you really think he was prettier than you?"
"I know he was. Everyone knew."
"Right. You know what you need? Character. You can't always be the hottest one in the room, man. You could've focused on something else. Made yourself stronger in some other way. Read a book, kicked a ball, painted a picture. Killing the competition? That's just cheap. Everybody's supposed to struggle. That's how we all get better. By striving."
"I was the best. Now I'm the best again."
Sam frowns. "Dean's fine. You're not the fairest one of all."
"But I am." The man turns in his chair and looks at Sam head on. "Go to your car and see."
Sam swallows. "Guess we'll have to skip the hot iron shoes." He pulls out a gun and shoots the warlock in the head.
Dean's on the pavement beside the Impala, blue-skinned, flat on his back. Sam spots the pie and nods. "Dean. Damn it. I could have got you pie." He reaches into Dean's mouth and pulls out a warm, squishy chunk.
Sam tips Dean's head back, pinches his nose shut and blows into his mouth, hard. He starts pressing on Dean's heart.
A minute goes by. Sam digs a flashlight out of the trunk and looks into Dean's throat. He doesn't see any more food but he feels inside anyway.
Somebody comes out of a house in a bathrobe and asks Sam if he'd like him to call an ambulance. Sam says yes.
Dean's grey and he's not moving and Sam's trying not to think.
"Not some vain, half-assed witch, Dean. You gotta work with me here. Come on."
A giddy feeling comes over Sam. He remembers something from the Disney movie. Slowly, he lowers himself to Dean's face. "Uh. Maybe not that." He drifts to Dean's forehead and plants a kiss on it.
Dean twitches under him and rolls to the side, wheezing. Sam jerks back. He sighs and wipes his eyes.
"That's it until you're old, man. That's all the times you get to die."
Sam bundles his brother into the car still coughing.
Different state, different motel. Dean's blowing his red nose and grinning. "Thigk I'b the hottest guy id this state, too?"
"Town, Dean. You were the hottest guy in town. According to a sociopath."
"Dod't have to have a codshids to have taste." Dean hacks into his fist.
"I don't know, man. You kinda look like you've been inside a leaf blower for three days."
"I cad bake that work. Where's the baid?"
"She came while you were sleeping. Pretty much kept her distance. Something about germs and not being able to afford days off."
Dean sneezes. "I coulda bade it worth her while."
"What if she was in snowpants?"
Sam sits forward, rests his elbows on his knees. "What if she'd been wearing snowpants? Would you still have wanted to?"
Dean blinks at him. "Sab, the poidt isd't whether she's hot. It's whether I'b hot."
"You're you. That's my point. Right now you're sick. Later you'll be healthy. But you're the same person all the way through. If a girl wears a snowsuit in line to go dancing and then puts on her nice clothes inside, she's still the same girl. Doesn't the whole person count for something? You don't really believe looks are everything, Dean, do you?"
Dean fingers his T-shirt's sweaty armpit. "Guess I cad't afford to right dow. Dot that I'd wadt to hook up eddyway, so it's irrelevadt." He coughs and spits into a kleenex.
Sam stands. "You need soup. Back in ten." He scoops up the keys, then takes a long look at Dean. "Don't go anywhere."
"Cross by heart, Grubpy."
Teh Prompt: Twist on Bedtime Stories. The Wicked Stepmother from Snow White goes after Dean fairy tale style. So we have the SPN equivalent of Dean being choked with too tight laces, a poison comb and finally the poison apple (pie). Sam has to save him, but no Wincest pls. A kiss on the forehead is fine ;)