Warning: Set between 8.15 - Man's Best Friend With Benefits and 8.16 - Remember the Titans. Contains spoilers for end of 8.15.


Disclaimer: Don't own. Mo's the pity.

It echoes. That cough that Sam put off as a tickle on the ride back to Lebanon. In this freaking place with vaulted ceilings and marble walls, it echoes.

On one of many trips out to get groceries (the amount of cereal they have is seriously stupid), Dean comes back. He can hear the cough on his way through the heavy door. Hear how Sam tries to cover it up as soon as Dean's boots hit the metal walkway.

"Tickle, huh?" Dean pulls out a bottle of some kind of Robitussin and slams it down on the wide antique table that's covered in musty smelling books.

"I dunno, maybe I picked up a bug," Sam says. "It'll go away."

Except it doesn't. And waiting for Kevin to call, all Dean gets to do all day, besides perfecting his room yet again and looking up recipes on the wifi that Sam's managed to setup down here, is listen to that damn cough; deep and getting deeper by the day.

First it's a cold. Then it's a cold that won't go away, 'because of the damp.' Then it's explained away as the flu. That's pretty much where Dean's had it.

"Your next step is tuberculosis, Sammy." The worry is etched into Dean's features - and all Sam does is flip another page. So Dean stands up and reaches over the table, pulling it away.

"Dude. Look at me."

Sam looks up and Dean actually flinches, the purple shadows beneath his brother's eyes, skin that is downright pasty.

"I just need t-"

Dean cuts him off. "Bed. Now."

For a minute Sam looks like he wants to argue, but instead he slowly pushes himself up from the table. Too slowly. One of his hands reaches out and grabs the bottle of cough syrup and he shuffles off toward the room he's claimed for himself.

Still. All night through. All Dean hears is that cough.

It echoes.

the end