Written for kate_mct's prompt at OhSam: Post 5x18. Sam's been running himself ragged taking care of everyone after the events of 'Dark Side of the Moon' and 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid'. After 'Point of No Return' Sam's exhausted and gets sick (what's wrong is up to you) and is cared for by Dean and Bobby.
The bright lights from the streetlamps overhead flickered through the stolen car's dusty windows. Dean's eyes watered at the beaming intrusion with each passing streetlight. He chalked it up to the blinding light Zachariah's death had caused. But if Dean was perfectly honest with himself, his eyes wouldn't stop watering because he had lost Castiel and Adam that night….but not Sam. And damn if that didn't make fresh tears well up in his sore eyes.
Dean had made it out with his baby brother still alive, bloody and sore as hell, but still breathing.
The deserted roads that spread out towards Bobby's awaiting house allowed Dean to sneak worried glances towards Sam.
The kid slumped down into the leather of the car while his head rested at an angle on the cool window. Sam had conked out not long after the brothers had started back towards Bobby's house.
The more Dean looked, the more Dean could see why Sam was so out of it. Dark purple lined the bottom of each of Sam's closed eyes. His large frame curled inwards, making Dean wonder if maybe Sam was still hurting from the hell Zachariah had put him through.
The blood no longer poured from his brother's mouth, but Sam remained deathly pale. Dean soon found himself unconsciously pressing harder on the accelerator in hopes of getting them back to Bobby's quicker.
The loud ticking of the old clock and the occasionally squeak from the wheelchair were the only noises to fill the house. Normally after having Sam and Dean leave his home, he would enjoy the strange silence that settled in after the rowdy brothers had vacated. Not tonight. Tonight the boys were most likely facing down Michael himself and Bobby knew there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.
Finally the sound of crunching gravel and bright headlights flooded the suffocating room. Bobby maneuvered his way to the front porch and down the ramp faster than he thought possible.
Dean climbed out from the unfamiliar car and sent Bobby a tired smile. "Hey Bobby." Dean shut the door carefully and made his way toward the passenger side of the car, where Bobby could barely see the slumped form of Sam.
"What the hell happened?"
Dean sighed deeply before turning back to Bobby. "I, uh, we managed to gank Zachariah and get out before Michael got there. But we weren't fast enough. Adam didn't make it out. Zachariah worked him and Sam over pretty good, trying to get me to say yes. Sam needed more help moving, so…"
"Not your fault boy." Bobby nodded towards Sam. "He ok?"
Dean slowly opened the door, making sure not to allow Sam to fall out of the cramped car. "I thought so. I mean, yeah, Zachariah did a number on him, complete with internal bleeding." Bobby winced in sympathy. "But after the bastard died, Sammy started to feel better. Wasn't bleeding or anything, just sore. And tired….Kid crashed a couple hours out from here."
"Bout damn time," Bobby grumbled.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Dean questioned.
"Sam hasn't exactly slept much since your little trip on the highway to heaven."
Dean quickly tapped down the guilt that started to spread through him at Bobby's words. Instead, he glided his hands to Sam's shoulder to gently nudge the exhausted hunter awake.
"Mmmmph…" Sam mumbled, but did not fully awaken. Dean's brow creased with worry. Years of hunting had left both of them as light sleepers.
"Hey, Sam, come on. Don't think you want to sleep out here all night." Dean shoved against his brother once again, and this time was rewarded with blinking, confused eyes. Damn…he must me out of it.
"Dean?" Sam managed to sit up a little straighter.
"The one and only," Dean tried to joke, but his heart just wasn't in it. For the first time in weeks, Dean took stock of just how tired Sam truly looked. Dean tried to clear his throat around the lump that was quickly forming. "Come on Sasquatch, let's get you inside."
Sam sluggishly nodded and allowed Dean and Bobby to guide him back towards Bobby's living room. Once there, the older hunters gently deposited a barely conscious, and slightly shivering, Sam onto the worn couch.
Bobby pulled the old blanket from the back of the couch onto the young hunter before turning back to Dean. "You should head on upstairs, get some sleep yourself."
Dean spared another worried glance at his sleeping brother. "Not right now. I'm good here." Dean grabbed a few pillows before sliding to the floor and propping himself up against the bottom of the couch.
Bobby went into the kitchen for some water. When he returned, Dean had joined Sam in sleep, head tilted slightly up towards his baby brother.
Hours later, Dean's dreams of Busty Asian Beauties were soon disrupted by a loud hacking noise somewhere out to the side. After fully waking, Dean soon realized the persistent noise was coming from the couch. Dean looked up, finding Sam curled in on himself, the painful coughs coming relentlessly.
Dean pushed off of the floor and sat on the couch within seconds. He pulled Sam up against himself so that his little brother would be able to catch his breath. Dean's hand started rubbing soothing circles against Sam's shaking back. "You're ok. Slow it down Sammy. That's it, just keep breathing. In and out kiddo."
After what felt like forever, Sam's coughing finally subsided and allowed shaky breaths to take their place. Dean moved his hand from Sam's back up to softly cup the back of Sam's neck. Sweat congealed around Dean's palm.
Guilt once again stabbed through Dean. "Think you've got a fever, Sam." Dean pushed Sam's sweaty hair away from his forehead as he checked for heated skin.
Dean knew Zachariah had whammied his brothers, but it shouldn't have caused all this. The shivering and exhaustion could be from blood loss…But the coughing and the fever…
"How long you been feeling sick, Sam?" Dean's voice remained calm and anger free. Sam still flinched at the question.
Sam didn't even bother trying to lie. The exhaustion and fever zapped any energy that he could put forth into a story. "Bout a week….I think," Sam sheepishly replied.
Dean inhaled sharply before guiding Sam back down onto the couch and standing. Dean silently left the room.
Damn it….I thought we were getting better. Guess I was wrong again. Sam frowned into the pillows and attempted to push himself off from the couch. He needed to get to Dean, apologize for whatever the hell was wrong this time. Before Sam was even half way sitting, another violent coughing fit wracked his weak frame.
A hand suddenly pressed against Sam's chest and guided him back to the couch. "Stay, Sam."
Sam finally caught his breath and looked up at the concerned face of his older brother. "Not a dog, Dean."
"Well right now you sure are doing a pretty good impression of a kicked puppy," Dean huffed.
Sam instantly felt shame and guilt. "I'm sorry Dean. I know I should've…"
"Sam, seriously, just stop." Sam looked even more the kicked puppy. "You've got nothing to apologize for. Hell, when have you ever owned up to being sick?" Dean smiled at the embarrassment flickering across Sam's face. "I'm normally just quicker to pick up on it. I've kinda dropped the ball lately when it comes to all that, huh?"
"Dean," Sam sighed, "you don't have to, really. I get it. I screwed this up…" Sam started hacking midsentence again.
Dean rushed to the kitchen and returned instantly with a class of water.
"Here, drink this. And take that Tylenol I brought you."
"Thanks," Sam's hoarse voice muttered after he finally reined in his coughing.
"Don't mention it. So what else is wrong? I know you just don't have a cough, so spill."
Sam huffed loudly. "Just….I'm just really tired. My head's killing me, been hurting for a few days now."
Dean nodded. "I'll go into town tomorrow, pick up some meds for ya. Sounds like you've got the flu or something."
"Dean, really I'll be fine." The words came sputtering out between coughs, clearly contrasting Sam's statement. "We don't," Sam paused to catch his breath, "have time for me to…"
"To what? Be sick? Sam, I don't think we have much choice. You're sick, pretty damn obvious. So just take it easy."
"But, I should…."
"Sam, the only thing you should be doing is keeping your ass glued to this couch. Got it?"
"Fine," Sam sighed. Dean was back into full on protective big brother mode and nothing Sam could do would sway his brother's mind.
"Good." Dean reached down to his discarded pillows and blankets. "Now move your ass down a little."
Sam's eyes were getting heavier, and his words slurred together the more he talked. "What? You wanna cuddle or something?"
"Shut up!" Dean situated himself at the end of the couch beside Sam's head. He shoved a few of Sam's pillows against his leg and pushed Sam down onto them. He then tossed his blankets on top of Sam's shivering form. "Sleeping in the floor hurts like a bitch. Just don't drool all over me. I'll kick your ass if you give me your germs."
"Bitch." Dean couldn't help but smile.
Sam's head nuzzled down into the softness of the pillows. "Could sleep upstairs," Sam garbled out from around the pillows.
Dean looked down, about to respond, but realized his brother had already fallen back asleep. Dean rolled his eyes and sunk deeper into the couch.
Moments later, Bobby wheeled himself into the room, having heard bits of the conversation, to check on the brothers. Sam was curled up with his head still resting against Dean's legs, which stretched out onto the coffee table. Dean's arm rested against his brother's chest. Both were sound asleep.
A warm smile graced Bobby's gruff features and his grabbed a few more blankets from the closet. He silently covered Dean's sleeping form and checked on Sam's fever.
Bobby knew both of those boys had a long way to go, to getting their relationship back on track. But, slowly but surely, they were all getting there.