Summary: Missing Scene for 8x21 – Sick, Feverish Sam / Worried, Big Brother Dean – Sam had followed through with their plan and had managed to call Dean before dropping like a rock.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Warnings: Usual language, plus spoilers for season eight (specifically 8x21).
I'm burning up with fever. ~ Gene Simmons
Dean lingered in the doorway of their hotel room; one foot in the hall, one foot still in the room.
...which was symbolic of how Dean felt right now – half hunter, half big brother; half wanting to further research the case, half wanting to forget the case and just stay with Sam.
Pale, weak, sick, exhausted, feverish, vulnerable Sam who alternated between being vaguely lucid one minute...to fondly reminiscing about farting donkeys the next.
And perhaps even more puzzling – and concerning – was that the farting donkey story had never even happened.
"You remember when, uh...when Dad took us to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on that pack mule ride?" Sam had asked out of nowhere a few minutes ago, sprawled on his back on the bed farthest from the door with his arm slung over his forehead.
Sitting on the opposite bed, Dean had blinked at the unexpected question.
Because actually, no – he didn't remember that.
"The what?" Dean had asked in return.
And a coherent Sam would've recognized the confused tone.
But tired, feverish, loopy Sam had kept talking as if Dean had not spoken.
"...and your, ah...your mule kept...farting..."
Dean had blinked again, had even glanced around the room wondering what the hell was going on as Sam had continued to haltingly describe gale-force winds erupting from a mule's ass and then had laughed; the kid apparently having found it pretty damn funny.
Still sitting on the bed beside Sam's, Dean had shaken his head and sighed.
Because yeah, okay.
Whatever you say, Sammy...
Dean had enough experience with a loopy little brother to know when to just roll with whatever crazy shit Sam came up with.
And right then, that option had seemed better than asking Sam what the fuck he was talking about...and had been easier than trying to reason with Sam when the kid was creating his own fever-induced, fatigue-fueled memories.
Dean had shaken his head again. "Dude, you were, like, four-years old..." he had told his brother.
Even though if this had really happened, there was no way Dean would have ever agreed to allow a four-year old Sam to ride a donkey by himself, especially on what must be a steep, treacherous trail.
The kid would have been riding double with Dean, regardless of what John might have said.
But whatever – this had been Sam's made-up memory, and Dean had been rolling with it.
"I barely remember that..." Dean had added about this adventure from their childhood.
...which was true – because there was nothing to remember.
This pack mule trip had never happened.
Hell, they had never even been to the Grand Canyon, much less to the bottom of the damn thing.
And they had certainly never gone on a trial ride to the bottom with John.
It wasn't like their dad was the vacationing type or like they would have ever had extra money to spend on something like that.
But none of those details had seemed to matter to Sam as he had laughed again, genuinely amused and still sprawled on his back with his arm over his face.
"Ahhh..." Sam had sighed in that loopy, sleepy way he sometimes did when he was this tired. "You rode a farty donkey..."
And with that, Dean had been officially done with this stupid conversation about something that had never even happened.
Dean had shaken his head. "Okay..." he had replied – more of a dismissal than an agreement – and had refocused on the brochure he had brought upstairs from the lobby.
Sam had continued to laugh.
Dean had continued to ignore him.
It was sometimes the best thing to do when Sam was drunk, high on meds, or strung-out from fever and fatigue. Just leave the kid to his own little world until he slept it off...and then tease the hell out of him later.
Dean had nodded, had twitched a smile.
Because that part would be fun – but this part, not so much.
Dean had sighed. "I'm gonna go check out the Two Rivers Tribal Museum and Trading Post," he had announced, reading the name from the front of the brochure he had still held and then had flipped it over to find directions to the place.
Sam had immediately sat up. "Yep. Yeah...I'm 'onna, I'm 'onna, um...I'm 'onna follow the hotel manager, D-Dr. Scowly-Scowl. He's like a villain from Scooby-Doo."
And yeah, that wasn't happening.
Because first of all, Sam had just slurred his words all to shit.
Second of all, Sam had just made up a name based on a guy's expression and then had compared that name to a cartoon character.
And last but not least, Sam was so exhausted that he had just sat there, staring blankly at the wall.
How the hell did this kid think he was going to stay awake and on his feet long enough to follow anybody anywhere?
Dean had shaken his head.
Because Sam wasn't going out into the world unless Dean was there to watch him, and Dean had something else he needed to do right now, so...
"No. Hey, ah...Little Big Man..." Dean had called, reaching for his brother and grasping Sam's shoulder.
Sam had slightly startled and had stared up at him, wide-eyed...like he had momentarily forgotten that Dean was even there.
And that was nice. That was encouraging about Sam's condition.
Not to mention that Sam had looked spacey as hell – like a five-year old doped up on meds.
Dean had inwardly sighed. "You..." he had told his brother, still grasping Sam's shoulder and holding his gaze. "...should get some rest."
There had been a pause, Sam's gaze flickering between Dean's face and Dean's hand.
Dean had braced himself for an argument.
"Yeah, I can do that, too..." Sam had readily agreed and had flopped backwards; had landed in a boneless heap on the mattress, his hair fanned out across the pillow, seemingly instantly asleep.
No argument, no fight – just lights out.
Dean had blinked. "Okay..." he had commented, surprised and concerned by how easy that had been.
Because healthy, coherent, well-rested Sam would have bitched about being ordered to stay behind in the hotel room.
But Sam hadn't been healthy, coherent, or well-rested in weeks.
Dean had rubbed his hand over his face at the unwelcomed reminder, had stared at his sleeping brother and had tried not to dwell on how quickly Sam was deteriorating as a result of the trials.
But facts were facts – and the most worrying fact right then had been the heat Dean had felt through Sam's shirt when he had just touched his brother's shoulder.
Dean had frowned, had taken advantage of Sam being asleep and had palmed his brother's forehead, further confirming the rising fever.
"Great..." Dean had growled and had shaken his head, slipping his hand from beneath Sam's sweaty bangs. "Just great..."
Because now what?
Should Dean be a good hunter and go to the museum across town to ask questions and see what he could find out about their case?
Or should he be a good brother and stay with Sam, whose fever felt a few degrees away from being scary and dangerous?
Dean had sighed.
Because that decision was always easy – being a good brother always took priority over being a good hunter.
But Sam was asleep...finally.
And as exhausted as Sam was, he would likely stay asleep for at least the next two or three hours.
So theoretically, in a perfect world...Dean had time to do both – to be a good hunter, check out the museum, interrogate whoever was there...and then come back to the hotel to spend the rest of the day with Sam.
To humor made-up memories, apply cold washcloths, and tolerate any clinginess or professions of brotherly love that usually occurred whenever Sam's fever reached a certain level.
Dean had snorted and rolled his eyes, anticipating an entertaining afternoon and evening with his little brother...even though Dean knew he would be tired and completely drained of patience by the time it was over.
But that was later.
Right then, he had a decision to make.
Dean had sighed, had glanced again at the brochure still in his hand.
Because according to the directions on the back, the museum was only ten minutes away, which meant Dean would return to the hotel in plenty of time before Sam woke up.
Hell, with as out-of-it as Sam had been just moments ago, the kid might not even realize Dean had left at all.
But then again, Sam needed to know that Dean was leaving in case Sam got worse while Dean was gone and needed to get in touch with him.
Dean had nodded, making his decision.
He would go to the museum and do his job...and then he would come back to the hotel and do his real job – take care of Sam.
"Sammy..." Dean had called, hating to wake his brother but needing the kid to hear this.
Sam had stirred at the sound of Dean's voice.
"Sam..." Dean had tried once more.
Sam had shifted on the mattress and had blinked open his eyes, squinting up at Dean.
Dean had smiled patiently and had allowed his brother time to focus...or at least focus as much as Sam could right then.
Dean had cleared his throat. "Listen..." he had told his brother as Sam had continued to blink up at him. "I'm leaving for a little while, okay? Gonna go see what I can find out at that museum across town."
Sam had said nothing but had frowned at the news as if he had not liked the idea of Dean leaving; had not liked the idea of being left alone.
Dean had tried to ignore the stab of guilt in his chest. "I won't be gone long," he had promised Sam. "But if you need me, call me. Got it?"
Sam had blinked.
"Sammy..." Dean had prompted, because this was serious.
Dean had needed a response from his brother.
"Sammy. You hear me?"
"Mmhmm..." Sam had hummed, had closed his eyes as if their conversation was over.
Dean had frowned. "Sam..."
"Need you, call you..." Sam had drowsily paraphrased, his eyes still closed. "Got it." He had swallowed. "Be safe, 'kay? Bye-bye."
Dean had chuckled softly, because sometimes Sam was fucking hilarious just by saying the simplest things in that loopy tone of voice that mimicked childlike innocence.
"Yeah, bye-bye yourself..." Dean had returned affectionately and had shaken his head as his brother had fallen back asleep.
A few seconds had passed.
Dean had sighed, had checked Sam's fever one more time, and then had crossed to the hotel room door...where he was lingering now.
"This is ridiculous..." Dean muttered, feeling like a nervous mother leaving her baby for the first time, and advised himself to get a grip.
Because Sam would be fine.
Sure, the kid was pale and sick and feverish...but he was also finally sleeping, which was one of the best things for him right now.
And yeah, Sam was vulnerable; was too weak and too incoherent to defend himself or even help himself if something should happen.
But Dean wouldn't be gone long.
Ten minutes across town...maybe 30 minutes tops at the museum...then ten minutes back to the hotel...with a possible pit stop by the corner grocery store to replenish a few supplies if Sam hadn't called him before then.
It was good plan.
All he needed to do now was move his ass and set it in motion...which wasn't happening as long as he stood in the doorway of their room staring at a sleeping Sam.
Dean nodded again and sighed. "Okay. I'm going..." he relented, silencing his inner dialogue. "See ya soon, Sammy..." he quietly told his brother over his shoulder and closed the door behind him.