A/N: Sorry, but this is unbeta'd and I warn you that this is rather plotless and mostly just an excuse to hurt poor Sammy, but I hope you like it anyway.
July 24, 2000, Home Sweet Home Motel, St. Louis, MO:
Sam pulled his blanket up to his chin and shivered through another round of chills despite the fact that it was over 85 degrees in the room, wishing the Tylenol he had taken would kick in soon and let him sleep off this fever in peace. All the while he tried unsuccessfully to block out the voices of his father and brother talking about him in strained tones only a few feet away from him as if he wasn't in the room.
"He's got a fever, Dad." Dean dared to point out, "maybe I should stay here with him."
"It's just a stomach virus or food poisoning, Dean." Dad groused, shoving a pair of jeans into his duffle bag.
"Yeah, I know, but …"
"No 'buts' … I need you with me on this – we're already a man down with Sam sick and this is the last chance to we have to get these werewolves before the moon changes. It's hard enough trying to take down one alone, but three? I'm gonna need some backup."
Sam had just about enough of Dad and Dean going back and forth on the issue – he was kinda hoping they would just leave already and let him be so he could get some sleep before the barfing started again.
He pushed himself up onto his elbows and attempted to sit up, swaying a little on his rump once he was fully upright, blinking away the black spots dancing in front of his eyes, "God … just go, Dean." Sam mumbled wearily towards his brother, "Dad's right …"
Dean turned on his sibling with a look that said he was worried that Sam's fever might be making him delirious if he was actually agreeing with anything their father was saying, "He needs back-up, it's too dangerous to do on his own … I'll be fine… jus' a stomach virus or something I ate from that disgusting Golden Corral you wanted to go to for breakfast."
"Hey – it wasn't that bad and all you ate was a bowl of fruit."
"Then it's probably just the flu and I'll be fine in the morning." Sam tried to convince Dean, even as he fought to regain some kind of control over his rebelling stomach and wrapped another blanket around his shoulders.
"You sure? You haven't kept anything down all day, Sammy."
"My name is Sam, asswipe," Sam griped in way that he hoped would prove to his brother that he wasn't going to keel over from a little fever and a tummy ache, "and I'm seventeen not seven."
"Jeez … sorry, Sammy," Dean sneered in return for Sam's crankiness, "you sure you got the flu or is it just that time of the month?"
"Don't be such a jerk. Just go already, will ya?"
Dad handed Dean the duffle filled with weapons, "You heard him, Dean. He'll be fine; he doesn't need to be babied." Dad then turned to Sam and walked up towards him with a tiny flicker of worry glinting in his eyes, gone almost as soon as it appeared before placing a palm on his forehead to check his fever. Sam wouldn't ever admit how much he savored the feel of his father's calloused hand on his face, he was far too old for that, but there was still enough of a boy left in him to accept the love in that touch.
"Well … fever doesn't seem to be too high, but you make sure you drink plenty of water and take that Tylenol. Dean and I will both have our phones with us, but just in case you can't get a hold of us, you call pastor Jim, got it?" John ordered in his usual no-nonsense tone.
Sam nodded, yawned and laid back down into his pillow while saying, "Yessir." at the same time.
Dad gave Sam the slightest hint of a smile then shouldered his duffel, "Get some rest, Sammy. We'll be back soon."
Dean gave Sam one last lingering glance before offering his own demand to his little brother, "Get better, okay?"
"Whatever." Sam mumbled, slipping off into a fitful sleep.
Sam woke up sweating and in the dark, unaware of what time it was or how long Dad and Dean had been gone.
He untangled himself from the sheets and sat up before grimacing as a fresh, new round of queasiness hit his stomach while simultaneously, something that felt much like a molten-hot poker speared his abdomen and had him clutching his arms tightly around his middle. Sam was aware of the pitiful whimpering noise that was coming out of his throat and was glad that he was alone and didn't have Dad or Dean around to witness this. He could just imagine Dad's face marked with silent disapproval at Sam's inability to handle the pain he was in like a man.
But Goddamn, it hurt and no one was around, so he let the tears drop unchecked into his lap.
I need to get a hold of myself – just need to puke and then I'll feel better.
But, Sam didn't want to throw up again – he's been doing it all day and he was sooo tired that even getting out of bed to walk the three feet to the bathroom's toilet seemed like an impossible feat – it might as well have been a mile away.
However, his mouth started to water with that ominous signal that always preceded another violent upheaval of his innards and his stomach gave another painful lurch. Suddenly, just sitting there writhing in pain wasn't an option any longer and he was racing for the commode, making just in time before the explosive echo of him roaring into the john reverberated like the howl of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.
An eternity later, it finally ended and Sam barely had enough energy left to flush the toilet and clear some of the smell of sickness from the tiny bathroom let alone the energy to make it back to the bed, so he merely got off of his knees from his praying position in front of the porcelain god and sat back on his butt, scooting a foot backwards until his back made contact with the cold tile wall.
He rested the back of his head against the wall and closed his eyes, summoning the strength the get up again and into his warm bed, but as soon as his eyes were shut, sleep had other ideas.
Sam woke again with his face smooshed into the hard tiles of the floor. He couldn't remember how he got there or why he was on the bathroom floor, his brain was far too mushy and slow for such higher cognizant skills, but he was certainly aware of just how damn cold he was. He shivered involuntarily as he pushed himself off the floor to sit up again.
The room spun and went in and out of focus and he had to grab onto the lid of the toilet to keep the black spots crowding his vision from taking over. He breathed heavily, feeling far weaker than he ever had before in his life. God … leave it to Sam to catch the superbug of the century while Dad and Dean got off scott-free.
Sam eventually was able to make it to his feet without falling over and stumble back over to his bed, wrapping himself up in as many blankets as he could find and still shivering despite all of them.
After about 20 minutes doing nothing but trying to warm up, Sam finally decided it was most likely time for him to take some more Tylenol and try to drink something. He doubted he would be able to keep even that down and he was proven write not five minutes after he took two pills and a glassful of water and had to rush back to the bathroom for an encore performance.
Exhausted, nauseous, the pain in his gut swelling, and unable to keep the pills that might keep his fever from rising into the stratosphere in his stomach, Sam completely gave up any notion of doing anything but lying in bed miserably, wishing he hadn't been so quick to send Dean out with Dad.
Right about then, he would have done just about anything for his brother to run a washcloth under some cool water and place it on his forehead like he always did when Sam was little and had a fever, but he was supposed to be a man now – he didn't need to be coddled, no matter how much he wanted it.
He must have fallen asleep. He didn't remember consciously deciding to shut his eyes, but when they opened, his sight is flooded with bright sunlight streaming through the blinds, driving daggers into his overheated brain. His stomach, not wanting to be left out of causing Sam more misery, joined in on the pain parade, twisting, turning and assaulting him with renewed vigor.
He had hoped that he would have gotten at least a little better now that he could see that it was morning, but if anything, he just felt worse and it was hard to think beyond anything but how much he needed to vomit again.
This is exactly what he promptly did; right over the side of the bed and onto the floor.
Shit – Dad and Dean were gonna be pissed that he hadn't found the energy to even get out of bed and make it to the bathroom. How much of a wuss would they think he was now?
Puking did little to remove the hot, fire poker in his stomach – it just made things worse and all he could do after that was curl up into a small ball and whimper like the baby he was.
Sam was certain that death was just around the corner, but he was really too tired to care. He might just float off into a dark, dreamless sleep where the pain couldn't touch him and never come back and he'd be just fine with that.
Suddenly Sam was jarred into a semi-coherent state by a ringing noise next to his ear. It went off several times before his brain caught up to the fact that it was the motel's phone making that racket.
Sam rolled over and reached a shaky hand out from under the covers to reach for the phone, shivering as his bare flesh met the air of the room and caused goosebumps to pop up along his arm. He picked it up after it rang once again and brought the receiver to his ear.
"y'ello?" He croaked, his throat raw from the abuse all of the puking he had put it through.
"Hey. Took you long enough to answer. Did I wake you?"
Sam mumbled something that sounded like an answer to him.
"Sam?" He guessed that his answer wasn't sufficient for his brother.
"Yeah … still here."
"Feeling any better?"
Sam grunted a half-moan in response.
"Guess that's a 'no' huh? You hang in there, okay? And listen … this job … it's bigger than Dad and me figured it would be we might be a few more days. You think you'll be alright?"
"I'll live." Sam replied, not entirely sure that wasn't a lie.
Sam could hear the heavy, worried sigh come out of his brother through the other end of the line, "You know we could just ditch this hunt if we have to, Sam. We could be back in a few hours –"
"Nah … you don't have to. " Sam came back, trying desperately to not make it sound like he was on his death-bed and not wanting his brother to be worried about him and distracted on the hunt. He knew his dad wasn't about to leave a job unfinished and if Dean was too worried about him to have his head in the game, he could get hurt. Even if everything hurt and he wanted nothing more than his brother there to make it all better, he couldn't risk it.
"I'm okay … just be careful."
Dean was silent for a moment, as if struggling to believe Sam's assurances that he was going to be fine. "Alright, Sammy … just remember to drink lots of water and are you taking the Tylenol?"
"Yeah." Sam lied. He would take it if he could keep it down.
"Good. Keep taking it. And, oh … I forgot to tell you before we left, but there's a credit card on the nightstand so you can pay for another few nights in the room and to order some food, okay?"
"Yeah … whatever." Sam muttered, trying to suppress a groan as another spasm of pain gutted him and warned him that he was going to make a mess of the floor beside his bed yet again.
"Call me if things don't get better by tomorrow, dude. I mean it."
Sam curled up onto his side, bringing his knees up to chest, practically hugging himself, "Yeah. Fine." He managed to grind out between his teeth then hung up the phone quickly before Dean could hear any of the whimpering that was about to start.
Sometime after Dean's call Sam managed to haul himself out of bed and clean up what he could of the mess he had made beside his bed because the smell was just making him even more nauseous, if that was even possible.
But even doing that left him breathless and dizzy and after marginally clearing some of the puke smell, he collapsed again onto the bed and wormed his way under the covers. He tried again to take a few sips of water and actually kept a little of it down, finding that if he stayed curled up on his side as absolutely still as possible that he could fight the overwhelming urge to throw it all up.
He dozed off for a while and was woken up an indeterminate time later to the sound of banging on the room door. For a brief instant he was hoping that it was Dean and Dad coming back early, but his fevered brain reminded him that they would have just come right in and wouldn't bother with knocking.
Slowly, he pushed himself up as the knocking continued and he rolled out of the bed, making it up to his feet, swaying as a wave of dizziness took control. He grabbed onto the nightstand for purchase until it passed and he was able to stand without falling over.
The knocking grew louder even while Sam propelled his uncooperative and shaky legs forward to the door, wishing that he had grabbed a blanket or something to wrap around his shoulders as a round of chills raced across his nerves.
At last he made it to the door and looked through the peephole, finding a rather irate looking man standing on the other side. Sam recognized him as the manager of the motel and remembered then that Dean had said something about needing to pay for the room.
He opened the door to blinding sunlight, blocked only a little by the body of the stocky man, "Hey – it's after noon. Check out time was an hour ago, so if you're staying another night you need to pay."
Sam winced and squinted against the light and nodded wordlessly, trudging back towards the table Dean said their father had left the credit card.
All the while he could feel another wave of pain gripping his stomach – he hadn't moved this much in quite a while and his stamina was quickly fading, but he found the card and willed himself back to the open door where the manager was waiting for him impatiently.
"Can you … uh ..." Sam had trouble stringing words together as the pain increased, making it hard to think, "Can you put another three days on this?" He asked, handing the card over.
"Yeah, but you'll need to come to the office and sign the receipt."
Shit … Sam didn't want to think about even walking that far, but he nodded wearily, found his shoes and followed the grumpy man out of the room and into the bright, blinding sunlight.
They crossed the parking lot and made it to the office where the manager walked behind the tall counter and swiped the credit card. He then looked up at Sam who leaned heavily on the counter, breathing heavy and sweating, trying not to up chuck in the office. The man's eyebrows creased together, his demeanor suddenly changing from gruff to concerned as if he had just noticed that Sam was ill.
"Jeez, kid. You okay?"
Sam nodded tightly, just wanting to get this over with so he could get back in bed and find that position that didn't cause him so much pain again.
"You sure … I mean … you look …" It was Sam's turn then to notice what the motel manager was seeing as he caught a reflection of himself in a mirror behind the man's head. He was unsure of what he saw, but straight away he knew that it wasn't good.
He was yellow.
His skin looked as if he had sprayed himself with iodine and not bothered to wash any of it off.
Sam felt his heart leap in his chest and suddenly there wasn't enough oxygen in the room. God – what the hell was wrong with him?
Distantly he heard the man behind the counter say something, but the blood rushing in his ears was too loud for him to make out what it was. At the same time, his stomach clenched tightly and after that all he saw was blue, stained carpet rushing up to meet his face with amazing speed.
Sam woke up embraced in a warm, painless cocoon, swallowed up in a sea of fluffy white down that smelled of fresh scented bleach.
He opened his eyes, willing them to stay open long enough for him to figure out just where the hell he was.
He couldn't be in the motel anymore, that much his slowly turning mind knew – his bed had stopped smelling this fresh long ago. He glanced around, his eyes landing on tubes, plastic bags hanging over his head, and a flickering monitor to his side.
Oh … hospital.
Suddenly it hit him …. Crap … Dad and Dean were going to have a fit when they got back. How long had he been there anyway? They were going to flip out about how they couldn't leave him for even day without him landing in a hospital.
What was he supposed to tell them?
Sam heard the monitor beside him beep a little faster and he lifted his hand, finding a heart-rate monitor clipped to his finger - his yellow-tinted finger.
Shit … what the hell was wrong with him?
He tried to sit, but was stopped by a hand pressing him back down, "Whoa … hey now, squirt. Relax."
What the …?
Sam turned his head to the other side and his vision filled with his brother's face and immediately he was relieved and confused to see him.
"The one and only." Dean smirked but with concern creeping around the corners of his eyes.
"What are you doing here …? I thought you were … How did you …?" Sam tried to ask all at once, his thoughts muddied by whatever drugs he must be on, but considering the fact that his head felt like it might float away at any moment, he thought he was being quite coherent.
"One thing at a time, dude." Dean stood up from a chair beside the bed then sat down on Sam's mattress next to his hip. "What do you remember?"
"I uh … felt like shit … had to pay for the room and then …waking up here. That's about it."
"Well … you've been here the last couple of days, but it's no surprise that you don't recall much of it, you've been kinda in and out of it thanks to dehydration and that fever of yours. You even kept mumbling crap about clowns and shit – but the fever broke this morning and the doctors say you should be good to leave pretty soon."
"What's wrong with me?"
"You got a virus called Hepatitis A or some crap like that. The doc said your liver is inflamed and that you're jaundiced - it's what's making you look like Big Bird. He said it should fix itself on its own after a few weeks of rest, but still… Jesus, Sammy ... you scared the shit outta me. Dad and I finished up that hunt earlier than we expected and hightailed it back to the motel only to find you missing and the manager telling us that you passed out in his lobby and had to have you taken to the hospital. God … give me a heart-attack, why don't ya?"
"Sorry." Sam said contritely, looking down.
Dean reached out and squeezed Sam's shoulder. "It's okay … I'm just glad you're gonna be fine, but you should have told me that things had gotten so bad when I called. I would have come back."
"You had a job to do." Sam explained, "I didn't want you to be distracted and getting hurt."
"You're more important than the job, Sammy." Dean stated with a straight face, meaning every word.
Sam almost snorted. That certainly wasn't something he'd ever hear his dad say, but it was still good to hear it from his brother. Speaking of which …
Dean chuckled a little, "Working out some 'details' with the head nurse," he said, using his fingers to make air-quotes, "she's a real battle-axe and could give Nurse Ratchet a run for her money. She seems to think that dad must have missed your Hepatitis vaccines as a baby and she's giving him all kinds of crap, so he's probably going to be a while."
Sam nodded tiredly, his eyes getting heavy again and he yawned loudly.
Dean ruffled his little brother's hair, causing Sam to bat him away and roll his eyes, "Get some sleep, Banana boy. I'll be here when you wake up."
Sam didn't doubt that Dean would still be there when he woke up nor did he doubt that this would not be the last time he would be calling him 'Banana Boy' thanks to yellow tint of his skin. But, as he fell asleep, he really didn't care what nickname Dean gave him – he was just glad he was there.