Double Dog Dare
Dislaimer: The Winchesters belong to Kripke et al. The love belongs to us.
Beta'd: By Phx and Muffy. Thanks, girls!
Dedicated: To MY boys. Love you!
Winchesters don't turn down a dare. It's a matter of family pride.
Being sick, sucked. Okay, Dad usually stuck around for an extra day or two, and well, having Sammy as his own personal slave kind of rocked, but overall it still sucked.
The flu was always bad, food poisoning somehow even worse, a cold was just plain annoying, but the worst had to be the case of strep throat Dean was currently nursing. He'd been on antibiotics for two days now, and while the fever came and went, his throat constantly felt raw.
Dean doubted scouring his throat with sandpaper could have felt worse.
Yet here he was, sitting across the booth from Sam, their dad reluctantly off on what he assured them both was a quick overnight hunt, and Dean was miserable. Forget burgers, or pie, the lukewarm soup Dean was sipping hurt like a son of a bitch. There was no way he'd be able to finish it. His lackluster reception of the soup hadn't been missed by his eagle-eyed brother, and Sam was giving Dean his best impersonation of Dean's very own stern look.
"What?" Dean growled. Technically, it was more of a harsh whisper with a bronchial squeak at the end, but he was pretty sure his scowl made up for it.
"Maybe we should go back to the room. You look like shit, Dean." Sam said, the forced frown on his fifteen-year-old face morphing into all younger brother concern.
"Good thing Dad isn't here to hear you talk like that," Dean said, hoping to deflect some of his brother's pit-bull attention.
"Well, he isn't here, I am," Sam said, crossing his arms. His no doubt would-be diatribe was cut short by the commotion at a crowded table to their left.
"Damn it, stop laughing, Jackson, these wings are fire!" Laughter erupted from the table, followed by thumps, and taunts.
"What's the matter, Matt?" Jackson asked, tipping his beer towards the other man. "Too hot for you?"
"Yeah," Matt conceded. He picked up the basket and shoved it across the table towards his friend. "You want to see if you can do any better?"
Jackson scoffed and took a gigantic bite of hot wing. As he chewed his face turned red, then purple. He let out a bellow and started chugging his beer. "Shit, Matt, what the hell is in those things?"
"Ghost chilies," Matt laughed. "Hottest damn chili on the planet, my man."
Dean shook his head. "Bunch of pussies," he whispered. Or at least, that's what he thought he was doing. His voice chose that moment to flare back to life just as the volume of laughter decreased.
Jackson turned to glare at them. "You got something to say, boy?"
Dean opened his mouth to speak and Sam kicked him under the table. "Let it go," he whispered harshly.
Sorry, Sammy, I'm just not the 'let it go' type. "I said, you're all being a bunch of pansy-asses." Maybe that wasn't what he'd said, but it was the gist of the sentiment considering he had an audience now.
Jackson stood, his giant beer belly reaching the Winchester's table before he did. "You got a set of balls, boy, can you back them up?"
Dean stood, shrugging off Sam's grip on his sleeve. Nobody intimidated him, especially not when he was responsible for watching out for his brother. Jerk-faced, middle-aged, redneck was not getting any closer that much was for sure. "Damn right." Of course, it would have sounded more impressive had it not been a near whisper with the annoying squeak at the end. Stupid strep throat.
Jackson's eyes glinted maliciously, but he was smiling. "Hey, Janice, we need another round of those challenge wings!"
"Hold your pants on, Jay!" the waitress shouted back. "I ain't your mother."
The men at the other table all laughed and Jackson took another swig of beer. "You're gonna eat those wings boy and put your money where your goddamn big mouth is." With that he slapped twenty bucks on the table. "Eat up or pay up, Mouth."
Dean swallowed convulsively. The soup felt like glass going down his raw throat. Hot wings would be the death of him. "No."
The men all laughed and Jackson leaned in, his greasy face inches from Dean's. "Come on, hot-shit, I dare you."
"You're daring me? What are you, five?" Dean asked.
Jackson took a step closer. "I double dog dare you."
Those were fighting words. Dean squared his shoulders. "Fine."
Before he could react, Sam, who'd finally sprung up a few inches seemingly overnight, but wasn't by anyone's definition a guy who cut an imposing figure, was between he and Jackson. Sam poked the redneck in his gut. "Back off."
"Sam, stay out of it," Dean growled, albeit a fraction his usual volume.
"Yeah, little man, let Mouth here fight his own battles," Jackson goaded.
"He's my brother," Sam said, his tone more ferocious than Dean could ever remember hearing it before. "You got a problem with him." Sam poked Jackson in the chest this time. "You got a problem with me."
A couple of guys at the other table chuckled, but a few of them looked at Sam with respect. "Makes no difference to me," Jackson said with a shrug. "You do it."
Sam nodded and sat down at the table. Dean followed suit and Jackson sat down with his friends. A minute or so later Janice delivered the wings. "No drinking anything or using napkins until you finish 'em," Janice instructed. "You've got three minutes to finish all six."
Sam nodded and licked his lips. Dean could see the apprehension in his brother's eyes, but he had to hand it to the kid for trying. Sam picked up the first wing and took a bite. His eyes immediately welled with tears and his nose started running. Apparently deciding speed was the trick, Sam finished three wings in record time, snot and sauce covering his face.
Sam's lips swelled and his face paled. As he reached for the fourth wing, Dean could see that his brother's hands were shaking. By now, no one at the other table was laughing. Matt came over and patted Sam on the back. "You got balls, kid."
Sam gave him a wan smile and picked up the fifth wing. He looked absolutely miserable. His hands were shaking so hard Dean wasn't even sure how he could get the food into his mouth, but the fifth wing was already half gone. "That's enough, Sammy," he whispered. "You don't have anything to prove. You've already done better than any of those blowhards."
Sam shook his head and picked up the sixth wing. He honestly looked like he wanted to cry. They had gathered quite a crowd around their table and as Sam finished the last bite a cheer went up from the crowd. "You're all right, little man," Jackson said, slapping Sam on the back.
For his part, Sam was busy downing a glass of milk. Dean handed him a napkin and Sam wiped the sauce off his face and hands. Another glass appeared and Sam smiled gratefully at Janice before chugging it as well. When he was finished, Sam stood and walked over to the other table. Dean frowned and rose to follow him.
"You," Sam started before his voice gave out. He cleared his throat and started again. "You owe my brother an apology."
Jackson scowled, but it quickly changed to a wide grin. "Hey, I'm not arguing with the toughest guy in the room." He looked at Dean and tipped the neck of his beer in his direction. "I'm sorry."
Dean clapped him on the shoulder. "Yeah, me too." As he walked back to the table to get their bill he heard Sam talking to Jackson again.
"You think I'm tough, you should be glad that my brother is sick. He'd've wiped the floor with all of you."
And then there was a hand on Dean's back as his brother herded him toward the door. Sam ripped the meal ticket from Dean's hand and tossed it to Jackson on their way by the table. "Pay up, Jay."
Dean could still hear the laughter from inside as they crossed the street to the motel.
Dean woke to sounds of distress from the bathroom. He grimaced at the smell and stumbled to the window to crack it before continuing on to the restroom. "You okay in there, Sammy?" Dean winced and rubbed his throat.
"Yeah," Sam groaned.
Moments later he heard the toilet flush and water running. The door opened and Dean suppressed a gag. Wow. His lips jerked as he fought to hold back a laugh.
"Shut up," Sam grumbled. He made a bee-line for his bed and flopped down on his stomach, then moaned and flipped over to his back. He threw an arm over his eyes.
Dean sat on the edge of his brother's bed. "Seriously, Sammy, you okay?"
"Yeah," Sam said, lifting his arm long enough to blink wearily at Dean. "But now I know why they call them ghost chilies."
Dean tilted his head and wrinkled his face in confusion. "Why?"
"Because they come back to haunt you." When Sam's stomach rumbled again, he groaned and pushed frantically at Dean. "Move it, Dean!"
Dean stood and this time didn't hold back a chuckle as his brother made a mad dash for the bathroom. "Hope it all comes out all right in the end!" he hollered through the closed door. The effort irritated his throat and he started coughing, every hack a bit of agony, but it was totally worth it.
"Jerk!" Sam shouted back.
Dean smiled as he stood and straightened the covers on Sam's bed. "Love you, too, Sammy," he whispered under his breath.
Sam emerged after several minutes and collapsed onto his bed. "Night, Dean."
"Night, bro." Dean crossed his arms behind his head and only after Sam's breathing evened out as he fell back to sleep, did Dean join him.
Dean woke to the sound of a key jangling in the lock. He glanced over to see his brother was already up and sitting at the table sipping what he suspected was tea out of a motel coffee cup. The door opened and sunlight spilled into the room before his father's frame blocked it.
"You boys been burning something in here?" John demanded, noisily sniffing the air. "It reeks."
Sam's face instantly turned scarlet as he stammered through an explanation and Dean hated to admit it, but the deep belly laugh made him feel better than he had in days. As it turned out, little brothers were the best medicine after all.
AN: So, this one has been half-completed and in my pending folder for a couple of months. My son and husband actually took this wing challenge and both of them finished! I put one drop of the sauce on my tongue. Holy crap! Idiots! Loveable idiots, but idiots nonetheless. LOL.
Sam's reactions to the wings were largely my son's and in fact, I shamelessly stole the ghost chili/haunting thing from him.