Title: Like the Romans and the Carthaginians
Rating: PG-13 (sick!Dean swears a bit)
Fandom: SPN, gen (Dean, Sam - season one)
Word Count: 1430
Summary: For the hoodie_time Dean-focused hurt/comfort comment-fic meme, written for the prompt: Sam sitting next to pukey!Dean in the bathroom aaaall night long, because he's an awesome little brother. That just about says everything about it.
Disclaimer: For realz, none of this belongs to me.
“Gonna be sick, Sammy,” Dean mumbled, roughly pushing past Sam to enter the motel room and stumble toward the bathroom. Sam stepped inside after his brother and kicked the door shut with the heel of his boot.
Dean made it about halfway to the bathroom before he caught himself in the mirror hanging over the dresser and stopped. He blinked at himself through glossy eyes and swayed a bit on his feet.
Sam barely caught Dean in time when he knees buckled. Great, Dean, thanks for the warning.
“Whoa there! Okay, I've got you.” The dead weight of his older brother tipped Sam off balance, but some things had gotten easier when he outstripped Dean in both height and weight a few years back and manhandling his stubborn brother was one of them. Sam half-dragged, half-carried Dean into the motel bathroom and eased Dean down toward the cracked linoleum, one arm around Dean's middle. Dean's hands found the rim of the toilet and he gripped the porcelain tightly, eyes pinched shut. His breathing was coming out in sharp huffs through flared nostrils, and yep, Sam recognized that face. It was the one that meant –
Sometimes, Sam hated being right.
Dean retched forward, his stomach going rigid under Sam's splayed palm. Dean vomited bile, gagging, and Sam winced away from the yellow-green spew contaminating the bowl.
“Fuck,” Dean bit out, and his body trembled through another bout of nausea. He had nothing left in his stomach to give up, and Sam rode out the dry heaves with him. After a few minutes, Dean spat into the bowl and rested an arm on the rim. He remained hunched over, panting, but his abdomen relaxed and the urgency in his posture seeped out of him. Sam kept still, not knowing what to do next.
As if Dean read his mind, he offered a viable solution. “You can stop hugging me now, Samantha.” His voice was gruff, and he cleared his throat and spat again.
“Oh,” Sam extricated his arm quickly, awkwardly, and stumbled back to his feet. If Dean noticed, he didn't seem to have the energy to comment. He was resting his forehead on his forearm, eyes closed, breath slowing, legs splayed around the toilet. His cheeks were flushed red.
Sam hovered in the doorway. Dean was like a cat when he got sick, always had been: he'd deny the illness until it became undeniable and even then he'd slink away to die somewhere hidden like the back of a closet or under a bench in the garage. It had taken Dad six days to realize Dean was suffering the effects of Chicken Pox back in 1990 and that was only after Dean had run out of clean longsleeve shirts to hide the angry red marks. Puking his guts out in front of Sam was at the top of Dean's list of Things That Shall Never Happen, right up there with owning an iPod and enjoying salads. Add in the fact that they'd only been back on the road together a few months now and they were still getting back into a comfortable routine, locating old boundaries and finding a new rhythm of shared existence. They'd crossed a line in the past seven minutes, a serious and irreversible transgression.
Dean was thinking the same thing. “I've got it from here,” he said, in a tone heavy with fuck off Sam and a dash of please, leave me alone. When Sam made no move, frozen to the spot, Dean sighed, lifted his other arm and waved it vaguely where he knew Sam was standing. “Just, go read a book or something. I'm fine, just a bit dizzy there but I'm good now.”
Dean would probably never change. He hadn't left Sam's side that first week after Jess' death, shuffling an almost catatonic younger brother to the shower, reminding him to eat, drink, get out of bed. Heaven forbid if Sam tried to repay the favor when Dean was clearly miles away from fine.
“Are you sure? You look, you look like shit, Dean. You're probably running a fever and we should get some liquids back in your system,” Sam made a move toward the sink, turning over one of the waiting glasses to fill it with water.
“I swear to God, Sam, if you aren't out of here in the next five seconds I will fucking end you,” Dean snapped, head whipping up from its resting place. A thin sheen of sweat coated his upper lip and his red rimmed eyes were definitely fever glazed. Sam held up his hands in surrender and backed out of the bathroom.
“Fine. Whatever. I'm going out for food. Do you want anything? Need anything?” Sam checked his pockets and confirmed keys, wallet and phone. At the mention of food, Dean paled even further, and he bent his head to rest on his arm again.
“No, I'm good,” was the muffled reply, and Sam sighed. He took one last glance around the room and then stepped out the door, a fresh bout of Dean's horrendous gagging chasing him out into the night.
** ** **
Dean heard Sam slam the motel door over the chaos of his own wretched retching. When the spasms quelled, Dean flushed the toilet with a shaking hand and exhaled into the silence. He felt miserable but it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. Mind over matter, Dad had taught him. Breathe.
Sam could save his mother hen routine for somebody else. It was bad enough being sick without the constant cluck cluck of Sam's over-worried brain.
Dean was summoning the energy to crawl to his waiting bed when the world tilted sideways again, and he found himself crumpled between the toilet and the bathtub, clutching the ground while the room pitched and danced around him. Dean screwed his eyes shut and swallowed back more churning nausea that swelled with each thump thump thump of his aching head. He wasn't sure how long he lay there, but by the time he heard the click of Sam unlocking the motel door, the tilt-o-whirl ride had ended and he chanced opening his eyes once more.
Sam was leaning against the doorframe, one eye raised to the ceiling. He held a plastic bag in each hand.
“If that isn't the picture of perfect health, I don't know what is,” Sam gestured to where Dean was bonelessly slumped, head lolling on the bathroom floor.
“Fuck off and die,” Dean groaned back. Sam felt it was a little lackluster. He stepped forward and dropped a shopping bag onto Dean's prone form, a little huff of air shooting past Dean's chapped lips as the contents connected with his stomach. Dean curled further in on himself and mumbled obscenities.
“Gatorade, crackers and aspirin. Humor me and take a little of everything.”
“You can't make me,” Dean said petulantly, and then as he saw Sam lowering his gigantic body to the bathroom floor, “What the fuck do you think you are doing? You can't sit there.”
Sam pulled a paperback and a sandwich from a second grocery bag and eyed his brother. “What is this, middle school? I can sit where I want. It's a free country. Take the fucking pills, you look like deep fried shit.” He propped himself up against the wall and started in on the sandwich, pausing occasionally to flip to the next page of his no doubt trashy murder mystery.
Dean mumbled something that could have been, “Your mom looks like deep fried shit,” but Sam ignored him. Ten minutes later, after Sam's sandwich was gone and Dean had worshipped once more at the porcelain alter, Sam heard a plastic rustling as Dean groped inside the grocery bag. Suppressing a smirk, Sam watched out of the corner of his eye as Dean popped a few aspirin and washed them down with a small swig of Gatorade. He then collapsed back into a heap under the toilet.
A war of attrition, Sam thought.
They stayed like that for most of the night, Sam reading his book and Dean fitfully dozing until his fever broke. Dawn found the brothers slumped together, Dean's head propped in Sam's lap with one hand curled around Sam's ankle. Sam would have a fantastic crook in his neck when he woke, but for the time being he was content to take what Dean would give. Call it a step in the right direction.