Author's Note: After the amazing response to "Walk Beside Me", I decided that I would write more Sam/Castiel friendship stories. Also, I'll write longer stories too as a lot of people wished that "Walk Beside Me" was longer. I may go back and re-write that piece and expand it. Anyways, long story short, there will be more friendship fluff, with big brother Dean thrown in just for fun! Again, I'm still new when it comes to writing as Cas so forgive me if he seems terribly out of character. Also, there is shameless fluff in here—no slash—but lots of brotherly love fluff and friendship fluff, which I adore way too much for my own good. Please enjoy!
"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."
Sam sighed, drained and tired. He turned his pounding head and met the concerned glance of his older brother. Dean stood at the door, duffel in one hand, and car keys in the other. This argument—because that's what it had been at first, with Dean being stubborn and Sam refusing to back down—had been going on for about two days. Bobby had called asking for help on a hunt. Normally, the two brothers would've immediately agreed; however, Sam had been slightly ill. Nothing too bad—just a cough and a bit of a runny nose, but it was enough to cause his insanely protective older brother to hesitate about leaving Sam alone.
"Dude, it's only for a couple of days," The youngest Winchester pointed out. "I'll just stay put here and rest."
"But Sam, what if you get worse or—" Dean protested.
"Dean, go!" Sam urged. "I'll be fine!" His older brother eyed him skeptically and Sam resisted the urge to just push him out the door. Dean was concerned, which was usually a good thing. After all, it was nice to know that he had someone who cared so much about him that he'd be willing to drop everything to keep him safe. Sometimes; however, Dean's protective nature felt suffocating.
"Are you sure—?" The youngest Winchester rolled his eyes and sighed exasperatedly.
"Out!" Sam exclaimed, pointing to the door. His older brother smirked slightly. Sam rose from the bed that he had been sitting on and practically shoved his brother out the door.
"Fine, Sam, but you call if—"
Sam's only response was to the slam the door in his face. Sure, he had a bit of a cold, but frankly, that's all it was. For once, it was something simple. For once, their Winchester luck hadn't reared its ugly head.
Looking back on it now, he probably should've let Dean stay.
The first 24 hours without Dean were fine.
Sam watched crappy TV, ate his salad in peace, and just tried to relax. His headache had worsened, but with a few strategic doses of ibuprofen, it had now calmed into a dull thud rather than the sharp pain of before. All things considered, he was doing just fine.
"How's the hunt going?" Sam questioned, voice a bit scratchy.
"Still looking for the damn thing," Dean mumbled and the younger Winchester chuckled as he heard Bobby shout something about how Dean could contribute to the research. "What about you? Feeling better?"
"About the same." He answered.
"Did you check your temperature?" Sam smirked. His brother was such a mother hen sometimes.
"I don't have a fever, Dean."
"Check your temperature, Sam." The eldest Winchester ordered. Reluctantly, he fished out the thermometer and waited the two minutes it took for their crappy piece of junk to tell him his temperature.
"99.9," Sam replied. "See? Doing just fine."
"Keep an eye on it, alright? And if it gets worse—"
"I'll call." Sam assured him.
"Good," Dean said with a relieved sigh. Then, as if to cover up for the fact that he had let it slip how worried he was, he added, "Try not to have too much fun with your girly stuff, Samantha."
"Bitch." Came Dean's fond response. Sam smiled slightly.
"Bye, Dean." He hung up and then spread out on the bed.
And that's when, things started to go downhill.
By the second day of Dean's hunt with Bobby, Sam had a fever of about 101, a cough that caused him to gasp for air, and a constant pounding in his head. All in all, it wasn't the most awful thing he had ever had, but it was starting to get progressively worse.
"Shit, Sammy," Dean growled over the phone and Sam could picture his frustrated brother pinching the bridge of his nose and pacing the room. "You sound like crap."
"Thanks." Sam wheezed, trying to keep the conversation light.
"I mean it, Sam," His older brother hissed. "This is worse than a cold. Hell, knowing you, you probably got fucking pneumonia or something—"
"I'm fine," Sam ground out, only to end up coughing for a full minute. Sucking air back into his aching lungs, he willed his voice to be strong. "Look, I can handle this. I'm not a child. I can deal with a cold—"
"Right," Dean muttered sarcastically. "Listen, Sam, I can come back—"
"No!" He snapped, lapsing into a coughing fit again. "Finish the hunt. I'll be okay." Without hearing his brother's response, Sam hung up. He got up and shakily got himself a glass of water and a dose of some of their more heavy-duty pain pills. Swallowing them, he returned to the bed and willed himself to get better.
He had to get better.
Day three brought a fever of 103, a constant feeling that he was spinning, and an inability to stand for more than four minutes at a time. When he ignored Dean's phone call, it wasn't because Sam knew that Dean had been right in the fact that he shouldn't have left, but it was because of how far away his phone was. The walk to the counter seemed like too daunting a distance for him to attempt.
"God, I'm screwed." Sam mumbled. He shut his eyes and tried to fall into the comforting darkness.
His eyes flew open. Castiel was peering down at him.
"Geez!" Sam exclaimed, startled by the sudden appearance of the angel. "Cas, what are you—?" Castiel's eyes scanned him, cataloging every detail and the youngest Winchester wondered what exactly he was doing.
"You're ill." The angel stated and Sam chuckled, only to cough towards the end. When he was finally done practically hacking up a lung, Castiel handed him a glass of water.
"Thanks." He whispered as he took a sip, the cool liquid soothing his ravaged throat. The messenger of Heaven stood awkwardly, almost as if he was unsure of how to proceed from here.
"Dean asked me to come," He mumbled. "He informed me that you had been ill and you had not responded to his attempts to communicate with you."
"Yeah," Sam muttered. "I couldn't, um, get the phone." He gestured to the counter and confusion filled the angel's face. Embarrassed, Sam looked away.
"How long have you been exhibiting symptoms like this?" Castiel questioned. "Perhaps you require the aid of a medical professional?" While the two brothers had agreed previously that Cas' healing powers were only to be used in dire situations, it turned out that Cas didn't know how to cure illnesses. Even the messengers of God couldn't cure the common cold. Who knew, right?
"No," Sam replied. "I'm fine."
"You are ill," Castiel stated firmly. "As such, you require the aid of someone else. Unless I am incorrect?"
"Well, yeah, I guess having someone take care of you does make you get better faster, but I—"
"Then, I shall remain here until Dean returns."
That caught Sam's attention.
"Dean is coming back?" He asked quickly. "What about Bobby and the—?"
"Your brother informed me that he had taken care of it," Castiel explained. "He did; however, have to remain there to dispose of the remains and such. He said he would arrive here by tomorrow night."
"Look, Cas, you don't need to stay—" The angel simply held up his hand and waited for Sam to fall silent before speaking. Determination lit up his eyes and it was obvious that he had made up his mind.
"You need someone to look after you, Sam," Castiel told him firmly, his tone indicating that there would be no way to convince him to leave. "As your friend, it falls to me to help you until further aid arrives." With that, he nodded his head and picked up the thermometer that the youngest Winchester had carelessly tossed aside earlier. Confusion graced the angel's features and Sam smirked slightly. Two minutes passed in silence as Castiel attempted to figure out what the purpose of the strange object he was holding was.
"It's a thermometer," Sam finally informed him. The confusion remained fully rooted on his face, though his eyes met Sam's gaze. "It takes your temperature."
"To check for fever." Castiel completed and then nodded his head. He handed the crappy thermometer to Sam and then continued surveying the room, as if he was looking for some magical sign as to what to do next. Deciding to oblige him, Sam stuck the thermometer in his mouth and waited. It beeped shortly after and then he glanced at the display.
"Crap," He cursed because this honestly was not what he needed. "103.4." That certainly did explain why he thought it was freezing in this room.
"Is that bad?" Cas inquired, completely clueless.
"Yeah." Sam replied. Instantly, the angel darted to the bathroom and soon, the sink was running. A few seconds later, he re-emerged with a wet washcloth in his hand. He awkwardly sat down on the bed and after trying to figure out what the next step was, he simply handed the cloth to Sam who immediately placed it on his forehead.
"You should sleep." The angel told him.
"And what will you do?" Castiel glanced around the room and then settled for sitting on the bed opposite of Sam's. Sighing, the youngest Winchester got up and shakily reached for his laptop before handing it to the angel and plopping back on the bed, clearly exhausted. "You know how to use that?"
"Dean showed me."
A comfortable silence passed, interspersed with periods of typing. Sam shut his eyes and focused on trying to relax.
"Yes, Sam?" The angel's voice was quiet, as if he was afraid that raising his voice would somehow make Sam worse.
There was pause and Sam opened his eyes slightly, just enough to see a tiny smile on the angel's face.
"Your welcome." With a small grin on his own face, Sam let himself fall into the peaceful darkness.
He awoke burning.
Cool, strong arms pulled him up and Sam forced his eyes to focus on Castiel. The angel's normally expressionless face was full of concern and worry. What was wrong? Was someone hurt? Did Dean—?
"Cas?" Sam slurred, wondering idly why he sounded so weird. "D'n?" God, his head was heavy—like it was full of rocks or something. Dean had told him once that his brain was too big for his own good.
"Your brother is not here yet," Castiel explained. "Your fever is too high. The research I have gathered on the Internet informs me that you must cool down immediately." Sam had no idea what the angel had said—half of the time Cas barely understood him—but he went along with it, especially given the fact that he was too weak to fight him off. Normally, the tidbit of information would've worried the experienced hunter, but Sam couldn't really bring himself to care.
"Kay." His eyes slipped closed, then immediately snapped back open when he was submerged into the ice-cold water. It felt surprisingly good and the a bit of the pounding in Sam's brain seemed to subside. Above him, Castiel hovered, clearly concerned.
"You are to remain there until your temperature falls within an acceptable range." Castiel told him, as if he had memorized this and was now reciting it in front of the class. He was stiff and clearly uncomfortable, though for the life of him, Sam couldn't figure out why. He had a fever? Where was Dean? The hunter tried to lift his arm to fix his now soaking shirt, only to find that he hadn't the strength for it. Suddenly, Castiel knelt down by the tub and helped adjust Sam so that he was in a more comfortable position.
"Cas . . ." He had wanted to say something, but he was so tired. Still, the angel was scared about something and Sam couldn't rest until he had put his worries at ease. "S'okay." He awkwardly patted Cas' hand and then allowed himself to shut his eyes.
"You will be alright, Sam. I swear."
That whisper followed him into his dreams.
He was floating.
Voices echoed in the darkness, muffled whispers and cries. He couldn't make out most of them and frankly, he didn't care about what was being said.
Sam, can you hear me? Dean, his fever is too high—
The darkness was peaceful and calm. Sam liked it here. It felt safe and comforting. He didn't have to worry about anything here.
Sammy? Sam, come on, dammit, Sam answer me! Cas, how long has he been like this? If it gets any worse—
Jessica had liked the darkness too. That was one of the things he had in common with her. Of course, Jessica hadn't known about what lurked in the darkness until it was too late. He often wondered if she ended up in the dark and had just let go at the end.
—a hospital, Dean.
People died around him. His mom, Jessica, his dad—maybe it was better for him to just stay floating. It would just be so much easier than fighting against the evil inside him, against destiny. This way, he could protect Dean and Cas—he could keep them safe from him.
—take him, Dean? An ambulance will not arrive—
He could be forever floating.
Hold on, Sammy, you hear me? You can't—
And then, the darkness turned to light and he was plummeting back to reality.
His eyes opened gradually and the bright lights immediately assaulted him. Groaning, he shut them once more.
"Sam? You with me?" His brother's voice, urgent and alongside him. Blinking a few times, the younger brother finally met Dean's gaze. His older brother's eyes were a bit bloodshot and it appeared as if he had been sleeping in that chair for a few days at least. The last thing he remembered, he had been at the motel room waiting for Dean to return, not in the hospital.
"How do you feel?" Dean interjected, clearly still concerned. Sam experimentally moved his head from side to side and took a deep breath in but it all yielded the same result—no pain. Sure, his head felt a little foggy, but other than that, he had no complaints.
"I'm fine," Sam replied and Dean visibly relaxed, a tired grin filling his expression. "What happened?"
"First off," Dean began, leaning forward. "I'm always right."
"Dude, what are you talking about?"
"Wasn't just a cold, Sam," His older brother replied matter-of-factly. "Turns out you had a nasty case of the flu."
"The flu?" He echoed, disbelievingly. "But I thought that wasn't a—"
"It isn't usually a big deal," The eldest Winchester answered. "But your fever was too fucking high." Anger suddenly filled his brother's tone. "Jesus, Sam, you scared the shit out of me. Cas called me and was rambling on about how you wouldn't wake up—"
"Cas!" Sam exclaimed, suddenly remembering the angel's worried face. "Where is he?"
"Coffee run," At Sam's puzzled expression, Dean continued. "He told me he wasn't being useful here and then said he was getting 'a caffeinated beverage'." Sam nodded, absorbing the information and then let his head fall back on the pillow.
"How bad?" He asked quietly, knowing that it had been close judging from his big brother's appearance, but needing to hear it for himself.
"It was . . ." Dean's voice trailed off and he chuckled dryly, clearly relieving a painful memory. "You came pretty close to boiling up, Sammy."
"And how long—?"
"Hunt with Bobby?"
A paused passed.
"Sorry I scared you and Cas." He said quietly, as his eyes slid shut.
Dean simply squeezed his arm, but Sam knew that was his brother's way of accepting that the immediate crisis had now passed.
"Sam is—?" Sam pried his eyes open and smiled softly at the angel who passed the cup of coffee to Dean.
"Hey, Cas." The youngest Winchester whispered as the angel came to stand by his bedside.
"I am pleased to see you are better." Castiel informed him, relief evident in his tone.
"Thanks to you," He said. "You were the one who called Dean, right?" A hazy memory of hearing the frantic voice of the angel on the phone filled his mind.
"He did." Dean affirmed.
"I am sorry for not being able to help you." Castiel apologized.
"You did help me though." Sam pointed out. "So, I owe you one, okay?" A slight smile turned up on the messenger of Heaven's lips.
"And we're done with this chick-flick moment, okay Samantha?"
"What is a 'chick-flick' moment?"
"Really, Cas? You can't figure that one out?"
"It has to do with poultry?"
"You know what? Never mind."
Sam just laughed, momentarily forgetting his troubles. Because for this one day—just this day—it was okay to act like Cas' confusion was their biggest headache, rather than the impending apocalypse.
Sam was lucky to have them.
Two days later, he was discharged.
The doctors advised him to take it easy and Dean—not Sam—assured them that they would be okay. They went to a different motel room, though Sam never asked why, and life continued on. Dean had stated that they were on "vacation", which meant that they weren't hunting until Dean—again, not Sam—decided that Sam was healthy enough to get back to work.
Their hours were filled with crappy TV movies, games of poker and occasionally go-fish, and conversations on anything but hunting. It was on the third day of their "vacation" that Castiel appeared.
"Jesus, Cas!" Dean shouted, startled.
"I apologize." He mumbled sheepishly, glancing at the ground as if he was almost ashamed.
"Hey, Cas," Sam greeted, an easy smile on his lips. "Wanna join in?" He held up a deck of cards and Castiel eyed them oddly.
"I don't understand—"
"Sit down." Dean ordered gruffly and reluctantly, the angel did as he was told. Sam dealt him some cards and Dean showed him how to hold them.
"The rules of Go-Fish go like this." Sam began.
Sure, his life was crappy and at times, he felt like had no more reasons to go on since it always seemed like the deck was stacked against them, but it was moments like these—Dean's teasing, Castiel's confusion, his own laughter—that kept him fighting. Because at the end of the day, this was what he fought for—moments like these—and these were the people he had sworn to protect. Nothing would change that for him.
Author's Note: And that concludes my shameless fluff! I hope you enjoyed and even though I got a little bit cheesy towards the end, I hope that no one was too out of character. If you have a second, I'd love to know what you thought! Please review!