Yeah, yeah - I know it's all been done before; sick Dean, sweaty Dean, undressed Dean … yada yada. Can we ever have enough?
Disclaimer: I own nothing except my own perverted mind!
Rated T for a couple of naughty words
In Sickness and in Stealth
It started slowly at first.
Tiny, imperceptible changes; the sort of things that only Sam would notice.
First of all, there was the running. Despite Sam's long, loping gait, Dean could outrun him every time. When they were running towards (or occasionally away from) some nasty supernatural freak, it was always Dean, with stocky powerhouse legs pumping like pistons, who arrived at their destination first .
Dean did not rock up at a laboured trot, a minute and a half after Sam, wiping his glistening brow and blowing like a Kentucky Derby winner.
Then there was the snoring. Dean's snores were, even by Sam's admission, cute. Soft, rhythmic snuffles which sounded like a sigh if he was on his back, or a muffled huff if he was on his belly, occasionally punctuated by an indignant snort when he inhaled his pillow as he was occasionally wont to do. Sam knew that whenever the volume or the pitch increased, that was a bad sign.
When it got the point that Sam thought he was sharing a room with a rutting elk and had to cream Dean with his pillow to shut him up, he knew that trouble was on the way.
There were other signs, the flushed face, the surruptitious pinching of the bridge of the nose, knuckling of the chest and the sneaky Paracetamol popping when Dean thought Sam wasn't looking, Sam couldn't help but smile at his brother's naivety: he still, after all these years, hadn't grasped the fact that Sam had eyes in his ass when it came to his brother's welfare.
A string of childhood illnesses in infancy had left Dean with a slightly weakened constitution; It wasn't that he got ill often, but an illness which would lay Sam low for a couple of days could floor Dean for a week. Dean hated the fact and absolutely refused to acknowledge any sign of weakness, pushing his body to and often beyond it's limits, much to Sam's constant annoyance.
Sam had perfected the art of spotting early symptoms in his brother. What he hadn't perfected was the art of coaxing Dean to take it easy.
Sam wasn't happy.
He glanced at his watch. 8.30 am. They had been holed up in this crappy motel in this crappy one-horse town for nearly a week now, looking into the haunting of a crappy apartment block by a particularly crappy poltergeist. The crappy information Sam had managed to uncover at the monolithically crappy local library had led them on an infuriatingly crappy wild goose chase which a by then undeniably sickly Dean, with his crappy, bullet-headed stubbornness, had flatly refused to sit out, and they had eventually found the dead dude's crappy grave in a totally different cemetary (a crappy one, no less) to the one indicated in the town's indescribably crappy records. They had ended up digging up the grave in the pissing rain well after midnight, and as salt 'n' burns went, it was about as crappy as they got.
Dean had looked in worse shape than the cadaver by the end of it all, and that dude been dead a hundred and thirteen years.
Sam was concerned. Dean would normally have been up a couple of hours by now, but he was still sparked out on his bed. Sam regarded the vision of loveliness sprawled untidily across the bed on his front, mouth agape, a small drool patch on the pillow under his chin, left arm hanging off the side of the bed, fist clutching a snotty tissue. Sam stood at the sink, sipping his coffee an listening to the gluey sound of his brother's laboured breathing.
There had been talk around town of a nasty flu' bug doing the rounds. The library was full of those public information posters about not sneezing over people and washing your hands after you've hawked a headful of mucus into them. They clearly weren't doing the trick if the bug was doing the rounds. duh!
He crept over to the side of his brother's bed, and squatted down next to the sleeping form, and ghosted a hand over his brother' forehead. He could feel the heat without actually touching.
He leaned in closer to Dean, listening to the sticky, laboured breathing.
He jerked backwards. His brother was awake; glassy, bloodshot eyes looking up into Sam's face with an unreadable expression.
"Uh, morning' dude" smiled Sam.
"You're freakin' me out - pervert," came the reply.
"Sorry", said Sam with an embarrassed smile, "it's just, uh, you didn't sound so good".
"At least I don't sound like a woman, Samantha." Dean did illness with such good grace and dignity.
Sam knew when it was time to back off. He headed over to the kitchenette to prepare Dean a cup of brown sludge which, in this place, masqueraded as coffee.
Dean was attempting to rise. "I'm goin' to take a leak", he announced gruffly, "wanna come and watch?"
"No thanks, I'll pass," Sam replied lightly
After a couple of abortive attempts, Dean swung his legs over the side of the bed and eased himself upright. He rested his arms on his knees and sat, hunched and stiff, as his head spun from the sudden change in position.
He shivered, but felt a bead of sweat trickle down the side of his nose. "How the hell can I feel hot and cold at the same time?" He rubbed his chest, not realising Sam was watching his every move, "chest feels like it's full of cement," he thought; "dammit, it's just a sniffle you great girl - pull it together, drama queen". He sucked in a painful, rumbling breath through clenched teeth.
"Need any help?" Sam's voice drifted across the room.
"Don't make me hurt you".
Dean rose to his feet, and swayed a little. He shut his syes tightly. Sam put his coffee cup down, ready to dive across the room if needed, but was mildly relieved when Dean made it to the bathroom in a game attempt at a straight line without incident.
Sam busied himself folding his clothes, and watching Dean's coffee go cold, as he listened to the hiss of the shower.
Suddenly he thought he heard something that made him stop in his tracks.
He walked over to the bathroom door, "Dean?"
Again, the barely audible voice, "Sam …"
Sam tried the handle, thankfully Dean hadn't locked it.
"Hey, dude," Sam said timidly, scanning the steamy room.
The voice came from the shower stall.
Sam yanked the curtain aside, peering through the mist of steam, forgetting any pretensions of modesty or privacy, and froze.
His brother was slumped in the corner, gazing up through the steam with heavy-lidded, unfocussed eyes.
"Sammy", he whispered, "Can' stand up any more ".
Anyone else think Dean needs a bit (or maybe a lot) of TLC?
Chapter 2 on it's way …