A/N: Written for the hc_bingo challenge on LiveJournal for the prompt "cuddling."
If someone had told Ruby a year ago that she'd be waking up in the morning wrapped around an overgrown human boy, she'd have laughed in their face. Then she probably would have torn their lungs out, because her acting like a love-struck teenager? That's just insulting.
She has to admit it's kind of nice, though. She doesn't have to sleep, but it lets her rests, lets her mind drift somewhere that neither Heaven or Hell can reach her. It's an advantage of inhabiting an empty body–she doesn't have to worry about there being an uprising in her head while she's taking a nap.
The other part, of course, is Sam. She tells herself that it makes him feel better about the whole sleeping-with-a-demon thing when she can do basic, unnecessary human things. It's like sleeping and eating and brushing her teeth is enough to make him forget that what he sees is just packaging–there's not much human left in her, and Ruby's proud of that.
Still, as much as she says it's for Sam's benefit, there's something comfortable about waking up pressed against a warm back, in the lazy slide and press of bare skin that has nothing to do with sex, and everything about proximity and intimacy.
The motel room is dark when Ruby wakes up, the blackout curtains letting in only a thin blade of morning sunlight. Reluctantly, she peels herself away from Sam and stretches, craning her neck to see the glowing green numbers of the bedside clock. It's later than she'd expected, which is odd–it's almost ten o'clock, and Sam's usually been awake for hours by now.
She nudges at his shoulder. "Sam."
Ruby shoves harder. "Come on, sleepy."
He groans. "Leave me alone." He sounds horrible, his voice hoarse and raw, and the words are followed by a deep hacking cough. Ruby pushes herself up into a sit, and looks down at him.
Sam looks like Hell. His face has a sallow tone, the narrow slits of his eyes that are visible are too bright, and there are dark, bruised circles underneath them. His hair is sticking to his forehead, dark and matted with sweat, and now that she's paying attention to it, his skin is unnaturally warm.
"You're sick." Even in her own ears, she sounds surprised.
"No shit, Sherlock," Sam mumbles, and buries his face in his pillow.
For a long moment, Ruby just stares at him. Sam's grown strong in the months they've been together; she hasn't seen him like this since she convinced him to give up self-medicating into oblivion. She'd assumed that her blood was enough to ward off stupid, mortal things like colds. Obviously not.
"Do you, um, need anything?"
"Just wanna sleep." Sam's voice is muffled by the pillow.
Ruby shrugs. "Okay. Whatever."
She showers, dresses, and fixes herself a cup of coffee before Sam stirs again. It's his coughing that she notices first, the sound too wet and coming from too deep in is chest. She'd hoped she could get thorough this without playing nursemaid, but she's getting a sinking suspicion that it's not going to happen.
Sam's thrown off the sheet and cigarette-burned converter, his body shining faintly with sweat in the dim light. The only movement she can see is the labored rise and fall of his chest.
Ruby crosses to the side of the bed. She'd thought Sam was asleep, but he opens his eyes and blinks at her like he's not one hundred percent sure what's happening.
"Let me see." She presses the back of her hand against his forehead, feeling the burn of his skin. Damn it. She goes back into the bathroom, looking around for something she can use. Ruby's used to patching Sam up after a fight, but this is different. She's not even sure how serious it is—Sam could be perfectly fine or he could be dying. Still, she can at least remember the basics of sickness, even if now it's mostly theory. There's a washcloth hanging by the shower; she soaks it with cold water and wrings it out enough that it won't drip all the way back to the bed. Sam groans when she lays it across his forehead.
"That's the point."
She drags the washcloth down his face, mopping at the sweat on his neck, and he sighs, arching his head back. After a few minutes, he falls asleep again.
It's quiet for a while after that. Ruby digs Sam's laptop out of his bag, and idly looks for cases. She gets bored after a few hours, and ends up playing some retro videogame inspired thing instead. She's just considering going out to find lunch, when Sam stirs.
Ruby freezes halfway to the bed, because if Sam just said what she thought she'd heard, this is so above her pay grade. Her first instinct is to just leave, to let Sam work through whatever fever dreams he's in the midst of, and go find a stiff drink. She's stuck with him, though. She'd worked him through those first few months where he'd been half-comatose with grief, and she can make it through this.
Sam moans, and God, is he crying? Ruby carefully walks over to the bed and sits down next to him. He turns towards her, but he's still mostly out of it. His eyes are screwed shut, and his face is wet with either sweat or tears.
"Hey, Sam," Ruby says, feeling more uncomfortable by the second. "I've got you." She eases Sam's head onto her lap, then edges forward until he's leaning against her.
"God, Dean, I'm so sorry," he whispers, his voice breaking. He reaches back and knots his fingers in her sleeve, and it's taking everything Ruby has not to break away. She likes sex, sex is good, but this kind of intimacy is ridiculously outside her comfort zone. That he thinks she's Dean isn't helping either.
"Um," she says, "I'm here Sammy. I'm not going anywhere."
He turns around and buries his face against her shoulder. "Thank you." His voice is muffled, but he still sounds a little more lucid. "Anybody ever tell you that you're awfully sweet for a demon?"
Ruby bends down and presses a soft kiss against his forehead. His skin is still too warm and sweaty, and it should be totally gross, but she finds herself not really caring. "Just sleep Sam," she says. "I'll be here when you wake up."
She stretches her legs out and shifts her grip so she can lean back against the pillows more comfortably. Sam's breathing gradually evens out, a soft, soothing rhythm. It's hard to imagine right now that she's trying to make the world end and that as far as her superiors are concerned, Sam is just a means to the end. She brushes his hair off of his forehead, and wraps her arms tighter around him. Maybe Sam is just the key to release her Father, but she can't help but think that Sam can be more than that. He's beautiful and fierce and totally hers.
She sighs, and leans back against the headboard, her fingers combing softly through Sam's hair. Ending the world can wait for tomorrow.