A/N: Mighty be slightly crackfic? I blame the last part of this on Castiel, because ever since Cas started meeting Dean in playgrounds, I've had this thing for them. And also because a playground I used to go to had one of these. Happy belated birthday Mad! If your in the mood for more miserable, illness ridden Dean, check out the other Suffering for Server fics by my co-conspirators: Sidjack, Soncnica, PADavis and Newspaper Taxis!
It was Saturday night when Dean first suspected something was off, because coughing into a pretty girl's mouth? Not sexy. Sam had silently reached that same conclusion a day and a half earlier, but all he says to his brother is "Werewolf in Saratoga."
Sunday, Dean can't stop his nose from running, and by the afternoon his upper lip is chaffed from wiping it and snail trails cover his red long sleeve shirt. Sam keeps his quiet catalog of symptoms, worries a little, but only asks "Denny's sound good for dinner?"
Monday morning, Dean dusts off his old pair of sunglasses and lets Sam drive. Sam doesn't have to say anything, which the pin pricks throbbing behind Dean's eyes appreciate.
It isn't until early warm, partly cloudy Tuesday that they both quit pussy-footing around the issue of Dean's health. Dean, because he's panting, swallowing, and generally making soft noises of discomfort in the passenger seat, and Sam because his brother in real distress isn't something he could ever ignore.
"Dean, are you feeling alright? What's wrong?"
"Nauseous." His brother answers, fidgeting and wiping a hand over his face. The smooth plain of Sam's forehead crinkles, eyebrows meeting in concern. Sam takes on hand off the wheel and begins rubbing the back of Dean's neck and looks for a place to pull over. Dean huffs a little and grabs Sam's jacket sleeve.
"Keep driving, stoppings not gonna help. " He leans forward, head on his knees. Hates the awkward feeling that precedes puking. "Just wanna…get it over with. " Sam understands- sometimes trying to calm down an upset stomach just prolongs the inevitable. Another thing the youngest Winchester knows is that this is probably only the start.
He takes the next off ramp he sees. Hello, Podunk.
They drive around the town square playground four times before Dean succumbs to sickness. Next stop, motel.
That night, and the three days that follow merged into one blur of sick as Wedthurfriday. As if, once Both Winchesters stopped pretending, Dean's illness too gave up any hint of subtlety and attacked with full force.
Sam wonders if it's possible to have every single cold and flu symptom, because Dean seems to be trying to fill them all, like some disease riddled check list. Before lucidity is replaced with searing delirium, Dean whispers about muscle aches and flinches every time Sam touches his face, calloused hands like sandpaper against fever sensitive skin. Every opening in his brother leaks or gushes or spurts-there are endless sweaty hours surrounded by porcelain, propping up his brother so the vomit has someplace to go.
The sounds are starting to get to Sam too. Burbling snot bubbles, raw retching wharfs and heaves, and the stuttering stuffy snorts of incomplete inhales- A nightly congestion serenade.
At one point in the middle of that awful smudge of indecipherable time, Sam had to make a medication and grocery run. Dean had been drooling when he left, rolled up in a sheet and sweat burrito. So it made perfect sense that Sam would startle at the sight of Dean sitting at the front motel table, staring out the front window and watching cumulous clouds drift by. Sam's hands lost interest in the plastic shopping bags, went to explore his brother instead.
"What are you doing up?" It would have made Sam happier to see, if Dean had had any clothes on besides a pair of briefs and if his eyes tracked at all. A palm met big brother's forehead.
"It's nice outside." Dean sighed in a spacey, drifting manner. His voice was wrecked from days of illness, but he still managed to sound very young and wistful. "Don't want to stay inside. Take me out to play in the park?"
"Promise. You have to kick this thing in the butt first. Whatever this is. For now, it's back to bed."
Which is where Dean spends the rest of the working week, and into the weekend. The fever breaks mid-Friday, allowing Sam a measure of relief and Dean the respite of healing sleep well into Saturday afternoon. By the time he's had a shower and a microwave soup that is all Sam will let him eat, they're both restless from four days of inactivity and itching to get out of the motel room. And hell, Sam did promise…
So it's Saturday night again, but instead of a girl and bar, Dean's spending the clear evening with his brother in the park. The merri-go-round is giant and yellow, at least twenty feet around and propped up at an angle.
He'll later deny he ever said it, but for now:
"Give me a push, bitch."
Sam huffs under his breath about just where he'd like to give his brother a push, but he grabs one of the bars and gets a running start.
One, two, three, times around before he hops on, stretching out beside Dean, shoulders touching.
Stars rotate dizzily above them and they spin and spin and spin.