A/N: This is a slightly belated Birthday present for the lovely 27JaredJensen! Hope you like it hun ^_^
Putting the World on Hold
The cool air blew wildly around the dilapidated cemetery. It was a smaller family graveyard, right off to the side of a larger estate. A chilly dew had settled on the grass and surrounding headstones. It had even begun to build up on the shovel and shotguns that littered the ground around the hunters. The simple salt and burn was going surprising well…or at least it had been…
Sam stood hunched in on himself on the surface while Dean was shoveling away at the muddy dirt in the grave. Both remained as quiet as possible so as not to tip off their ghost. It didn't bother Sam one bit to be working in silence. Every little noise sent his head pounding while every move jostled his already tight chest. He'd been feeling a little off for a few days now, but didn't want to let Dean know. They'd just gotten back into the swing of things and he didn't want to be the one to ruin it because of a stupid chest cold…
So Sam stood there in the cemetery as the wintry air ruffled his long hair and cut through his then jacket. They were trying to put a Mrs. Angie Glade at peace. The lady had been murdered by her little brother in their recently deceased parents' home. The same home that sat a few miles away from the cemetery on the family's property. Her brother had believed he was entitled to more of a share of the money and estate, and took measures into his own hands rather than going through the hassle of courts and lawyer fees. It allowed him to gain more of a profit from the property…it also gave the property it's own angry spirit who went after every man who stepped foot on the property.
"Son of bitch," Dean softly muttered as he hit a huge clod of dirt on the side of the grave. Soil and dust went flying everywhere as the wind picked up around them. It carried the offending particles straight up into Sam's face. He gasped and sputtered as it lodged in his already scratchy throat and raw nose. It wasn't long before he was thrown into a full on coughing and sneezing fit that nearly brought him to his knees.
"Sam?" Dean questioned from inside the grave. "You ok?"
"Yeah," Sam stammered in between ragged coughs.
"Just take a deep breath, Sam," Dean soothed. "You gotta keep it down. Don't want our spirit hearing us 'round here." Dean started to hop out of the grave, but the air suddenly grew icier.
Sam felt the shift as well. He tightened his grip around the shotgun. In the end it was useless. Sam soon found himself flying through the air and landing hard against an old oak tree. Leaves toppled down, causing him to cough more.
"Sam!" Dean's gruff voice filtered through his dazed mind, but he couldn't answer around the coughing. He saw Dean start to run towards him. The ghost must have too, because before Dean was able to get to Sam's side, he was flying through the air as well. He landed near the grave with a grunt.
The ghost then turned her attention on Sam. The coughing had subsided some, however he was still feeling pretty awful in the aftermath.
"What do we have here?" the spirit taunted. "Why are you bastards on my property? It belongs to me!"
"I-" Sam started. The ghost moved swiftly and wrapped her transparent hands around his already tender throat. The force of it pushed his back painfully into the rough bark of the tree. He gasped and sputtered as he clawed uselessly at her grip. His hands went through hers.
"I don't like men messing with my property!" The wind picked up, as if to emphasize her displeasure at the situation.
Spots began to dance in front of Sam's red-rimmed eyes and unconsciousness wasn't too far in his future. He was about to give into the pull of it when warmth radiated out around his neck and down his body. The grip around his throat disappeared, leaving him sputtering for air and hacking roughly. With the spirit no longer pressing him against the tree trunk, he began to slump forward.
"Woah," Dean said as he rushed towards Sam. Mud and dust caked his clothes and hands, but he didn't pay any attention to it. He focused on reaching his brother before the kid face planted into the cemetery's hard ground. Dean just barely made it to Sam's side and prevented him from falling. "I've gotcha ya."
Sam allowed Dean to take most of his weight as another bout of coughing wracked his sore frame. He felt one of Dean's hands move from his shoulder up to his forehead.
"You've got a fever?" Dean gently pushed Sam away to get a better look at his brother. Sam was pale, aside from the slight reddish tint to his cheeks and the purpling bruises forming around his neck. "How long you been sick?" Dean tried to keep his voice calm, but he couldn't help the sternness that crept into the accusation.
Sam averted his gaze before answering. "Been feeling off for a few days…nothing major. Started as a tickle in my throat that turned into a cough…"
"And you thought it smart to hide this from me…you should know by know that hiding shit doesn't work out in your favor dumbass."
Dean's tone was light, but Sam couldn't help but flinch, knowing that Dean was referring to his demon blood fueled escapades with Ruby. "I know," Sam gulped. "But I thought it wasn't that bad…thought I could handle a damn salt and burn toni-" Sam was cut off as a cough escaped through his mouth.
"Calm down kiddo," Dean soothed, rubbing Sam's back as the hacks worked their way through him. Dean noticed something slick coating his hand. When he moved it away from Sam, he saw that it was blood. "Let me look at your back, bud. Try not to move too much. You might end up in another fit. Got it?"
Sam nodded before Dean pulled his head towards his chest and began inspecting along Sam's back. He pulled out his flashlight from inside his leather jacket so he could better see the damage. There was blood soaking through the fabric of Sam's coat in a few places. He slid the clothing away to expose Sam's back. He shivered as the cool air hit his bare skin.
"I'm sorry, Sam," Dean said softly as he pulled the shirt and jacket back down. "Looks like the bark cut into your back some. Might have a few splinters…I'll have to check once we get to a motel room."
"Thought we had to head out? Cas-"
"We're not going anywhere with you like this." Dean's words were a little harsher than he intended, but it got his point across to Sam.
"Fine," Sam sighed. "Can you help me to the car?"
"Pretty sure your ass isn't makin' it on your own right now."
Sam glared at Dean, but with him looking so sick, it didn't have the desired effect.
"Come on." Dean gently pulled Sam up off the ground. His little brother stumbled over the tree roots and uneven ground. It took longer than either of the hunters would have like, but they finally made it to the Impala. Dean leaned Sam against the side of the car while he fumbled with the keys. Sam tried to catch his breath; his chest and head felt like an elephant was sitting on them.
Dean finally got the door open and he guided Sam into the passenger seat. He then shrugged off his leather jacket and wrapped it around Sam's shivering frame.
"Thanks," he mumbled.
Dean nodded in acknowledgement. "Gonna go check the grave and see if I can't fill it back in. Then we can crash for the night."
"K," Sam replied.
Dean ran back to the gravesite, ignoring his own aches. The fire had died down and the bones were ash. Dean breathed a sigh of relief and got to work on filling the grave back in. He made quick work of it. Once he patted the dirt back down, he grabbed the rest of their gear and rushed to the Impala. He had a little brother to take care of…
When the Impala came into view, Dean noticed that Sam was resting his head against the glass of the passenger window and his eyes were closed. Dean quietly opened the trunk and tossed the gear haphazardly in…he knew he'd have to clean it all up later. He grabbed a discarded hoodie and threw it over his head, hoping to hide some of the mud and dirt that coated his shirt. He then slid in behind the wheel. He cast a quick glance at Sam.
The kid looked to be asleep, but it seemed far from peaceful. His face was more flushed than it had been earlier. His breathing was ragged, as if his chest was congested. It sounded quite painful really. All of it made Dean press a little harder on the accelerator.
After a few moments on the road, a nice little motel came into view; it looked much nicer than most of their usual stops did. Dean only hoped the inside of the room was nice as well. He pulled the Impala into the empty parking lot. Sam remained asleep beside him, so Dean decided against waking his brother. He could go in and get a room just fine on his own.
Dean climbed out of the car and headed into the main office. A young lady sat behind the counter with a curly headed toddler sleeping peacefully on her lap. Dean smiled softly at the sight as he approached them.
"Hi," the girl greeted quietly. "How are you this evening?"
"Not too bad," Dean replied, keeping his voice soft as well. He remembered all too well how much a bitch it could be to get a toddler back to sleep.
"You want a single for the night sweetie?"
"Double…actually. I have my little brother out in the car. We, uh, are road tripping, but he caught a chest cold and feels pretty crappy."
"Aww, poor guy. Jace here had one not too long ago." She pulled the sleeping boy higher onto her chest. He snuggled in closer to his mother but remained asleep. "Seems to be goin' around. The night manager here called in sick cause of one tonight."
"Yeah…must be," Dean sighed. He quickly handed over the credit card and other information before she in turn gave him a cardkey for a room. "Thank you."
"Hey," she called as Dean was about to leave the office. "I'm Morgan, and I'll be in here all night. Just holler if you need anything for your brother."
"Will do." With that Dean headed back out to the Impala to collect Sam. He carefully opened the passenger door. He had to move quickly to prevent Sam from falling out of the car. While he was able to catch Sam, he wasn't able to prevent his brother from waking with a start.
"We're at a motel, Sam. Think you can make it to the room? It's just right over there bud."
"Yeah," Sam replied, slightly more awake. He coughed into his hand a few times before he was able to stand up and head to the room. He moved slowly as the aches of the cold and bruises made themselves known at each step. He had to pause every once in awhile as more coughs wracked his body.
Dean was there every step of the way with his hand around Sam's bicep to steady him. He quickly unlocked the door to their room and shuffled Sam over towards the bed farthest from the door.
"Lay on your stomach…I'll clean up your back before you crash. You need to take some Tylenol too."
Sam nodded and began to shed himself of his boots and jacket. Dean moved to the duffle bags and grabbed the first aid kit as well as fresh clothes for Sam to sleep in for the night.
"Here." Dean handed Sam the change of clothes and the Tylenol. He then walked over to the kitchen area of the room and filled a glass of water. Sam quickly changed, leaving his shirt off so that his brother could clean the cuts along his back. He then gulped back the medicine and lay down on his stomach. The position aggravated his chest, but he didn't have any other options.
"I'll make it quick," Dean said, noticing how the position was causing Sam to cough more. Dean sat next to Sam and inspected his back. "Don't see any splinters. And don't need stitches. Just have to disinfect and cover some of these."
"I'm hurrying. I know this isn't helping your chest. But don't think you want another infection on top of that."
"I know," Sam mumbled around more hacking.
It only took a few minutes to clean and cover the scrapes, however it felt longer. Dean's heart broke as the ragged coughs never relented. "All done. Roll over…see if that helps." Sam gently slid a t-shirt on over his head before he crawled onto his side. "Get some sleep."
And Sam wanted sleep…desperately wanted it. But his body had other plans. Every time he would come close to falling asleep, another cough would work its way through his chest and throat. He felt it rattle through his body and heard the congestion in each and every one.
"Dean," Sam finally said, "do we have any cough syrup in the kit?" His voice was hoarse and exhausted.
"I didn't see any…"
Dean saw Sam's shoulder slump. Misery practically flowed off his brother. "Let me run to the office…the girl at the counter said her son just had it. Maybe she has something you can use."
"Thank you," Sam sighed.
Dean slipped out of the room and rushed back towards the office.
"Hello again," Morgan said softly. "How's your brother?"
"Not great," Dean replied wearily. "You don't happen to have any cough meds? He can't get any sleep."
"Unless he's under 12 or fairly small…"
"He's 26 and a pretty built 6'5…"
"Then the meds I have probably won't be that good…"
"Damn," Dean muttered under his breath. "Well, do you know any stores open at this hour?"
"None close by," she sadly said. Then she thought of a way to help. "Actually, hold on a minute." The girl walked back further into the office to what Dean could only assume was her living quarters. She came back a few minutes later carrying a box. "Try this."
Dean took the box and read the side of it. "Humidifier?"
"Yep!" Morgan smiled and brushed the bangs out of her eyes. "Works like a charm on breaking up congestion in the chest."
"Awesome…thank you! And do you care to tack on another day or two to our room?"
"Sure thing sugar…just let me know if you need anything else."
Dean sent the girl another smile and swiftly walked back to their room. He could hear Sam's heart wrenching coughs through the heavy, wooden door. Dean entered and cast another worried glance at his brother.
"Any luck?" Sam croaked. His voice was getting worse.
"No meds, but got this." Dean pulled the humidifier out of the box. He held it out for Sam to see before he set it up. The machine whirred to life minutes later.
"Yeah…used to work when you were a baby."
"Never remember seeing one in the trunk."
"Dad got rid of it after it broke. Used to use it all the time when you were little. Was the only thing that'd work back then."
Sam smiled a little and started to snuggle back into the surprisingly comfortable bed. It took awhile, but eventually the coughs began to subside, allowing Sam to succumb to his exhaustion.
Dean walked over to the bed once more. He carded his fingers through Sam's hair and checked his temperature. He still felt warm, but he knew the coughing probably hadn't helped with that. He'd give the Tylenol some time to work before he'd worry about the slight fever.
With that, Dean clicked the TV on, making sure to keep the volume low, and settled down on the other bed. The news droned on…various freak occurrences that could probably be related back to Lucifer and the angels played one after another.
Dean sighed and turned it off. They'd deal with it all later. Right now, he just needed to deal with a sick little brother. The rest of the world would just have to take care of itself for the night.