Sam slept for a solid three hours before waking up. Dean hadn't left his side in all that time. He watched over his sibling, sitting in one of Bobby's wingback chairs with his elbows resting on his knees.
"D'n," Sam whimpered and the young man was instantly at his brother's side, crouched down beside the couch.
"I'm right here, Sammy," he murmured and pressed a cool hand to his brother's brow. He still had a fever but it didn't seem to have gotten any worse.
"M'thirsty," Sam said hoarsely and Dean nodded. After puking up all that black shit and having a fever on top of it, Sam must be dehydrated as hell.
"Okay, Sammy," Dean said and stood up, "I'll go see what Bobby's got."
Dean walked into the kitchen and saw the grizzled hunter sitting at the table, reading a newspaper and drinking coffee.
"He any better?" Bobby asked, setting the paper down.
Dean shrugged, "Fever's about the same."
Bobby nodded, "Keep an eye on that. Don't want it to send him to the hospital again."
Dean nodded and opened the refrigerator door, thinking back to just a couple of days ago when Sam had had that seizure in the Impala.
Dean pushed that memory from his mind and grabbed the carton of apple juice.
"If ya need anything for Sam," Bobby told Dean as he watched him pour a small amount into a glass, "Let me know an' I'll make a trip into town."
Dean eyed the measurement of juice and picked up the cup, "I think we're okay for now."
Taking both the cup and carton into the living room, Dean saw that Sam had managed to sit up, listing heavily against one of the couch arms.
Dean sat the carton on the coffee table and handed the cup to his brother.
Sam stared glassy-eyed at the yellow liquid but didn't drink.
"I know you don't like apple juice," Dean said, "But its that or beer, and I am not giving you alcohol. You'd be plastered before you finished the first bottle."
Sam lifted the glass to his mouth and drank greedily. He might not have been a fan of that juice but his thirst won out.
"Can I have some more?" Sam asked and Dean nodded.
Dean leaned against the counter after putting the juice away and the cup into the sink.
"You okay?" Bobby asked the younger hunter.
"Uh, yeah," Dean answered distractedly.
Bobby didn't look convinced.
"I'm just worried about Sam," Dean explained, "I know the fever's not bad but it can't be good for him to be sick like this after everything that's happened to him the past few days."
"Just keep an eye on him," Bobby said, "That's all you can do."
Dean nodded and wiped a hand across his mouth.
"Yeah, you're right," he muttered.
Bobby smirked, "Course I am."
Sam fidgeted on the narrow confines of the couch. He couldn't get comfortable. Sweat beaded on his brow even as he shivered. He wanted a blanket but he already had three on top of him.
"Sammy, c'mon man, relax," Dean said and Sam startled when he felt his brother's hand on his shoulder.
"C-Cold, D'n," Sam muttered and peered pleadingly up at his brother.
"I know Sammy," Dean answered, pulling the blankets further up so that they touched Sam's chin, "But I can't give you anymore Tylenol yet. I don't want you to overdose on the stuff."
Sam nodded sadly.
"Are you thirsty?" Dean asked and Sam shook his head.
"Try and get some rest, Sammy," Dean told him and Sam closed his eyes, trying to ignore the chills wracking his body and sleep.
Dean was contemplating taking Sam to the hospital. The fever hadn't gone up but it hadn't broken either by the time evening closed in.
Bobby advised against putting Sam through a trip to the Emergency room again, "All they'll do is the same as what we're doing here. Get him into a bed and give him fluids and meds."
"Okay, okay," Dean acquiesced, "But if he has a fit, I don't care what you say."
Bobby held his hands up, "Fair enough."
The young man jumped when he was startled awake in the middle of the night by his name being called.
"Sammy? What's wrong?" he sat up stiffly from the wingback chair and crouched down beside his brother.
"Close your eyes a minute," he told Sam and turned on the lamp sitting on the end table beside the couch.
Golden light flooded the couch and Dean saw that Sam looked a hell of a lot better than he had earlier.
His face was no longer slick with sweat and although he was still pale, the red spots on his cheeks that indicated fever were gone.
"How're you feeling?" Dean asked, resisting the urge to immediately check his sibling's temperature.
"Better," Sam said roughly, rubbing his throat.
Dean smiled, "You want some apple juice?"
"How long was I sick for?" Sam asked, earning confused looks from Bobby and his brother.
"Uh… a few days," Dean answered, "Hey, what do you remember?"
Bobby opened his mouth to speak but Dean kicked him underneath the table.
"I remember that diner where you and that spray-tanned waitress were ogling each other," Sam said.
Dean frowned, that was just before Sam had become sick.
"And?" he asked.
Sam shrugged, "Waking up on Bobby's couch."
Dean stared at his brother, "That's it? Nothing else?"
Now it was Sam's turn to look confused, "No, why? Did something happen?"
"No," Dean answered quickly, "Of course not. You were just sick as a dog for the past few days. I just wanted to know if you remembered anything but you must have been pretty out of it."
Sam nodded, clearly not completely convinced with his brother's explanation but saying nothing against it.
"That's not strange at all," Dean said to Bobby once Sam had left to go upstairs and take a nap; he may have been feeling better but he still wasn't a hundred percent.
Bobby shrugged, "Maybe it was the flu."
"Yeah," Dean said but glanced up at the ceiling, frowning, "Being that sick can really fry your brain."
The shade peered into the bathroom mirror and smiled. It had been close but the hunters had been too late after all. Sam Winchester no longer existed. There was only the shade now.
A knock on the door turned the monster's attention away from its reflection.
"Hey, Sam?" Dean's voice asked from the other side of the door.
"Yeah," the shade replied.
"I'm glad you're okay," the hunter said and the monster smiled even wider, "So am I."
Thanks to ncsupnatfan, souldarkalone, reannablue, Jst27, BranchSuper, L.A.H.H, Mutilated Pancake, and Zubala for reviewing.
Thanks to everyone who alerted, followed and favourited.
Please take a moment and leave a review! I know this wasn't a happy ending- and not the ending I envisioned- but I just had the idea and had to roll with it. Please let me know what you think.