Sam wakes up covered in sweat, and he groans while keeping his eyes shut, convinced he’ll see hazy waves of heat if he looks around. Either the heater is broken, or this shitty motel really IS a hellhole—literally.
His eyes shoot open. Hellhole. Hell. DEAN. Sam sits up and looks at the bed beside him. It’s empty. His first reaction is relief: Dean isn’t having a Hell flashback thanks to the ungodly temperature of their room. Of course, his second reaction is worry. Where is he? Grimacing as his moist skin slides along cooling, sweat-laden sheets, he gets up and moves over to the bathroom. Empty. He then trundles over to the front door, yawning along the way, and opens the door a crack to check outside. Blessedly cool air hits his face, and he smiles at its crisp comfort as his eyes fall on a snow-covered Impala. Not out at the bar, either, he thinks, shutting the door. The heater is next to him, so stops and gives it a hard knock with his pajamaed knee. It sputters off.
"Gotta love manual science," he says to no one, and he turns back to walk over to his phone. There’s a text waiting for him. It’s short, only five words, but they’re enough to make his blood boil under his perspiring skin:
'Sneezing. Go back to bed.'
"Dammit, Dean…" Remaining in his sleep wear, Sam throws his winter coat on over his tee and shoves thick socks and boots over his sweaty, stinking feet. Then he grabs his gloves, his flashlight, and their room key, locks up, and heads around the building to the frozen tundra behind it.
It isn’t long before he’s freezing, and his damp sweatpants are crystallizing with ice. Sam trudges on through ever-deepening snow drifts, hands flexing in and out of fists so he has enough strength in them to twist his brother’s giant ear and hall his even-more-giant ass back to the room. You WOULD have to get a cold during a snowstorm, Sam thinks at Dean, shivering and irate, and in BUFFALO, no less! Yes, the hunt was over, and fine, so Dean had found a motel off a rural route before the storm hit, but at some point, he got sick, and as usual, he didn’t tell Sam. And now you’re out here somewhere, letting yourself freeze to death just so you don’t accidentally grow through the ceiling when you—
It’s loud enough to be heard over the howling wind, and Sam squints his eyes to see through the snowflakes. Dean is up ahead, taller than the huge evergreens on either side of him, even though he’s still sitting down, and just about covered in snow, save for his cherry-red nose that only highlights the look of sheer misery on his face. Sam’s anger is temporarily replaced by sympathy, and Dean catches sight of him as he makes his way over.
"Aw, dabbit, Sabby!" his stuffed-up and rough voice barks. "I towd you to go bag to bed! Just cos I hab to be out here in the frozen food section doesn’t mean tha…thaaa…Ah-CHOO!" He grows with the sneeze, up another twenty feet in one burst, making him at least 50 feet, if not more; it’s hard to tell when he’s sitting down and doing his best impression of Frosty the Snowman with a head cold. Sam shakes his head at him.
"Dean, this is ridiculous. You don’t need to banish yourself every time you get a cold!"
"Yes I do!" he insists, dabbing his nose with a bed sheet. "I’b not gonna terrorize eberybody. It’s bedder if I just get through id on by own. Dat way, nobody gets hurd."
"Nobody except you!" Sam yells back. Of course, Dean doesn’t share Sam’s incense, so used to sacrificing his own comfort, happiness, safety, you name it, if it will benefit someone else. So he just blinks and feigns ignorance and innocence as the icicles dotting his eyelashes clink against each other as chimes. Sam sighs in reply, and as his breath fogs up his view of his huge brother for a few moments, he collects himself and starts
again. "Look. You know and I know that the best way to beat a cold is to get some rest."
Dean shrugs. "I’b resting…"
"No, you aren’t! You can’t get any sleep when you’re shivering! You need to be inside, where it’s warm, sleeping away under the covers." Sam pauses as Dean gives a wistful looks back at the motel. "Come on, Dean. When I’m sick, you practically tie me to the bed! And don’t say ‘kinky’," he scolds as Dean’s blue lips part to make the expected joke. Sam shakes his head but then reaches out and grasps Dean’s nearly-frozen pinky finger. "Come on, Dean," he repeats, more gently this time as he plays the Little Brother card with his usual, exceptional skill. "I’m not gonna get any sleep as long as you’re out here suffering. And you know me an worrying…I’ll get sick from it. You don’t want that, do you?" The Puppy-Dog eyes are out in full force, burrowing into Dean’s huge, green irises until the giant has to look away. Sam knows he almost has him, so he counts off the facts on his fingers: "This motel is practically empty. No one is staying in any of the rooms above us or next to us, and we’re on the end, remember? So even if you do have an…incident, no one is gonna see it! That means there’s zero reason to be out here!" He tugs at the pinky again. "Please, Dean? I’m starting to get a little sniffly myself…" He fakes a sneeze, pretty believably if he does say so himself, and Dean finally relents.
"Okay, Sabby. Okay." Closing his eyes, he concentrates and shrinks down to his normal size. Sam helps him stand up. "Fuck, Dean, your skin is like ice! Here." He starts to take off his glove, but Dean pushes his hand away.
"NO! Dob wand you gedding sick. I’ll be fide." Dean stumbles as he tries to walk, no doubt from his frozen toes locked inside his chilled boots, so Sam puts Dean’s arm over his shoulders and helps him walk. Dean sneezes right away, growing to 30 feet, and Sam, still holding on to Dean’s frigid fingers, is dangling above the snow. "Sorry," Dean sniffs, and he shrinks back down. Sam can tell he’s having second thoughts, so he works quickly to reassure him.
"Just hold on for a few minutes. I’ll get some NyQuil from the front office. You’ll be knocked out the rest of the night."
"Why dibnt I thing of dat?" Dean murmurs to himself. Sam bites his lip to keep his tease inside, and Dean gives him a little shove and smirk. "C’bon, Sabby, just say it. You dow you want to."
"Nah, it’s too obvious," Sam smirks back. "I’ll save the main teasing for when you’re feeling better. It’s more fun when I can throw things in your face."
Dean doesn’t reply, but Sam knows that’s just Dean’s way of saying thanks. They’re back to the motel in no time, and the former sauna temperature in their room has thankfully dropped down to a cozy fireside warmth. Sam helps Dean take off his snowy clothes and change into new ones, and then Sam hurries over to the front office for the medicine. Dean downs more than he’s supposed to once Sam's back, arguing that "I’b a giant dow—what’s a liddle more gonna hurt?" Sam can’t argue with that logic, so he helps his weak brother ease back into bed, very careful to not point out how happy he is that Dean is LETTING him help just this once.
"You good?" Sam asks, and Dean nods as he pulls up the covers. "Okay. Good night, Dean."
Sam goes back to his own bed, and it isn’t long before he hears his brother’s breathing even out and deepen into slumber. Then and only then does Sam let his own worry go, and his body relaxes into its own badly-needed sleep.
The next morning, Sam gets up early to buy Dean some breakfast and some DayQuil. The roads and the motel are completely snowed in, and Sam nearly has to tunnel his way in places just to go past the three rooms to the front office. The nice woman that had helped him that night now smiles at him as he steps in the front door.
"How’s your brother feeling?"
"Better, I hope. He’s still sleeping."
"Well he’ll have plenty of time to rest today." She nods out at the enormous snow drifts beyond the front door. "16 feet-a snow out there? We won’t see the first plow before noon, I promise you that. Might have some trouble getting the maid out, too…"
"Oh that’s okay—don’t send anyone over. We’re fine. But we could use a few survival rations to get us through the day…" Sam smiles, and she smiles back.
"Whatcha need, hon?"
A few minutes later, and Sam’s got the DayQuil, two plates of breakfast wrapped up in room service containers, a pot of fresh coffee, six bottles of water, and a promise of "Plenty more, IF you can make your way back here!"
"Thank you so much!"
"No problem, hon. Just take care of that brother of yours."
Sam smiles again and nods as he backs out the front door. He looks down the narrow passageway between snow drifts and motel doors and then considers his tray, wondering if he’ll have to go sideways or if he can make it through normally. He turns, reconsiders, goes forward a step, stops, and just as he decides that diagonally is the way to go…
The front door of their motel room gets blown off, and a 60-foot Dean shoots through the roof of the building, still so out of it from cold and Nyquil Coma that he doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. In the meantime, the motel woman is running toward the door, but Sam sets the tray down and stops her from coming out. "It’s okay, it’s nothing!" he swears. "Just a bunch of snow falling off the roof."
She doesn’t look convinced. "Must’ve been a helluva lot of snow to make a roar like that…"
"It was, I saw it. Like a miniature avalanche!" Sam glances up at his brother, who is wiping his nose with his sleeve—gross—and slowly shrinking back down. The woman is heading back toward the desk, and Sam calls out to her. "Uh, one last thing before I head out." She stops and turns to face him, and he gives a sheepish smile. "Bed sheets. We’re gonna need bed sheets."
She gives him a look…then a LOOK…then a frown and a nod and a forced smile and another look. Sam just nods, and the woman turns around and opens the linen closet without a word, prompting Sam to offer a quiet, "Yeah. Thanks" just to save himself from some of the awkwardness. He hears Dean sneeze again, and he grabs the sheets out of the lady's hands and scurries out the door, yelling another thanks that gets cut off by the door's clanging bell. The woman swears she hears a loud voice mutter, "Cowd's suck, Sabby," but an incoming call keeps her from heading outside and watching a giant shrink back into his room, his concerned, human-sized brother offering up a bedsheet 'tissue' before the huge hand vanishes from sight.