Dean's got a problem, Sam's got a plan, but nothing ever turns out the way he expects.
It had been a long two hours; two hours which had started off hilarious, drifted gradually into irritating, stopping off briefly at distracting and which were now hovering somewhere around pathetic.
Sam stifled a snort, trying hard not to look across the drab motel room at his brother sitting on the edge of his bed with his two index fingers in his ears wearing a scowl that could kill a cow at ten paces.
'It's not 'hic' working Sammy!'
Biting his lip, Sam glanced up in the direction of the indignant moan.
"Try drinking some more water," he suggested sympathetically.
"Ah, man," Dean sighed, "If I 'hic' drink any more friggin' water, I'll be pissin' like a racehorse all 'hic' night.
Sam scratched his head absently; his repository of knowledge concerning cures for infuriatingly prolonged attacks of the hiccups wasn't extensive, and so far his suggestions to Dean, which included holding his breath, drinking glass after glass of water and sticking his fingers in his ears had achieved precisely nothing.
Sam watched in hopeless exasperation as Dean's body convulsed through a series of rapid fire hiccup spasms that left him jerking up and down on the bed like an over-wound clockwork toy.
Dean groaned and kneaded his solar-plexus with a clenched fist, gulping mouthfuls of air into his abused chest.
"This 'hic' sucks dude," he gasped, looking up, face a mask of abject misery that had 'kicked puppy' written all over it.
Another few minutes passed while Sam pondered his next move. He'd read somewhere that giving someone a shock could effect a hiccups cure. The problem with that particular plan was that, given their line of work, Dean wasn't an easy man to shock.
Glancing out of the corner of his eye, Sam watched Dean as he sat slumped on the side of the bed rubbing his aching ribs and miserably sipping on his glass of water. His pale grey T shirt stretched across his hunched back and the seed of an idea took root in Sam's mind.
"Um, just slipping outside dude," he mumbled vaguely, opening the door and manoeuvring through it before Dean had a chance to interrogate him. Once outside, he swiftly made his way along the motel's shadowy frontage to the ice machine and pressed the button, releasing a small avalanche of ice cubes into his cupped hand.
Stepping nonachalently back into the room, he was greeted by Dean's glum face.
It was beyond pitiful.
With his fist full of ice cubes tucked discreetly behind his back, Sam strolled across the room toward Dean, trying hard to arrange his face into an expression that didn't suggest he was suffering third degree iceburn across his palm. "Uh … wanna coffee?" he asked shiftily.
Dean eyed him suspiciously.
"Yeah … okay," he mumbled hesitantly; "anything's better than any more freakin' water."
Stepping round behind Dean, Sam approached the kitchenette, waiting for the opportune moment to spring into action. It came almost immediately as Dean turned to pick up his hated water glass again.
And wished he hadn't.
How can shoving a fistful of ice cubes down the back of someone's T shirt be so damned difficult? Sam pondered that question as he used the same rapidly-melting ice cubes wrapped in a faceloth to staunch the flow of blood from his swollen nose after Dean had smacked it – and smacked it way harder than was absolutely necessary as far as Sam was concerned.
The brothers sat on their respective beds glaring at each other. Sam stewed moodily as his explanation that he was only trying to give Dean a shock to cure his hiccups made no inroads into the older Winchester's sense of wounded indignation There's gratitude for you.
The sullen silence in the room was deafening.
Eventually, Dean stood.
Impatiently rubbing his cramping midriff, he grimaced as yet another hiccup escaped, followed up by a pained groan.
"I'm goin' to the 'hic' bar at the end of town," he snorted irritably; "you comin'?"
Sam's enquiring eyes looked up at him over the ice pack that soothed his reddening nose.
"I figure if I'm gonna be miserable and friggin' 'hic' uncomfortable, I might as well have a good time doing it," Dean explained breathlessly; "and I 'hic' get wasted, it might relax me enough to stop this crap, an' if it doesn't, then 'hic' I'll be too tanked to care, so it's a 'hic' win-win."
Sam's eyeroll went unnoticed as Dean tugged the door open and stepped out into the night.
Another hiccup was followed by a horrified gasp loud enough to bring Sam and his throbbing nose running to the door.
"SAM …" Dean yelled; "the Impala … some goddamn no-good douchebag's freakin' scratched her, look!"
Mumbling darkly under his breath about what he'd like to do to the sonofabitch responsible, Dean ran a shaking finger along a narrow three-inch scratch in her driver side front door; a mark so faint that Sam struggled to see it in the dim light of the motel's parking lot.
"Oh, baby," Dean murmured softly, rubbing a reassuring hand over the scarred black paintwork as Sam watched, struggling not to bust out laughing at his brother's pained dramatics because, well, he kinda liked being alive.
Oh yeah, and it wasn't all bad. …
At least Dean's hiccups had finally stopped.