E/O drabble challenge for Mad Server's birthday. Dean has a fever. Happy Happy! Sorry this is late. I haven't had time to spit this week. I haven't read any of the others yet but hopefully mine is worthy. I needed some gentle so this is gentle. And 1000 words on the dot! Hope you have a great B-day!

Ashes


Listening to the rain drumming on the roof, occasional rumble of thunder and flashes of lightning making the room glow, Sam prodded the fire with a stick, watching as the flames jumped and sparked. The old hunting cabin they were 'borrowing' had seen better days, but the fireplace worked and the hand pump at the old sink still functioned after a few minutes of muscular priming.

A quick search of their emergency supplies had yielded a few cans of soup, some coffee and a few chocolate bars, so they had dinner, if Dean felt up to eating.

Even in the dancing light of the fire, Sam could see the flush on Dean's cheeks along with the sheen of sweat glistening on his face. The low-grade fever he'd been running for the past few days had spiked suddenly and Sam, tired and tense from trying to drive in the heavy rain as evening descended, had spotted the cabin just off the rutted back road they were traveling on and declared the trip over for at least the night.

The fact that Dean hadn't protested spoke volumes about how bad he really felt. He leaned wearily against the wall while Sam picked the lock, collapsing without a word onto the blankets Sam piled on the beat up old couch in front of the fire, staring listlessly into the flames, to achy to sleep and to rung to the bones to want to stay awake.

Sam had retrieved their med kit, forced some aspirin down Dean's throat and Dean had finally fallen into a restless, murmuring doze.

Sam settled himself carefully on the floor, using the couch as a backrest, kicked off his boots to let his stockinged feet toast a little and sipped at the coffee he had made using the somewhat rusty coffee pot he had found. Despite the slight metallic taste, it was hot and helped dispel some of the cold the fire couldn't.

How long he sat and stared into the fire, mind a blissful blank for one of the few times in his life he had no idea, coming back to himself only when Dean coughed behind him and moved restlessly, his hand sliding off the couch to rest against Sam's arm.

Sam turned and lifted Dean's hand back onto the couch, resettling the blankets around Dean's body. He rested the back of his hand against the side of Dean's face, moving it up to his forehead, gauging the temperature.

Not horrible but not good either.

Clambering to his feet he went to the sink and poured some of the water he had pumped earlier into a tin bowl, wet a clean t-shirt he dug out of his duffel and returned to the couch, settling on the edge of the cushion with the bowl on the floor.

He was surprised to find Dean watching him, his eyes fever bright and glassy.

"Hey!" Sam said, smiling. "How you doin?" Dean opened his mouth then closed it swallowing. "Let me get you a drink. You've been asleep for a while." Sam fetched another clean cup and dipped out some more water.

He resumed his perch on the edge of the couch. "Sit up a little," he said putting his hand behind Dean's head to help him. The fact that Dean did nothing to protest Sam's assistance was a testament to how bad he really felt. He raised his hand to help hold the cup, but if Sam had let go it would have fallen. Dean took a few sips of water, running the tip of his tongue over his lips to catch stray drops.

"Enough?" Sam asked.

Dean nodded slightly, "Thanks," he whispered hoarsely, closing his eyes as Sam eased him back down. Taking the damp t-shirt, Sam gently drew it over Dean's face, wiping off sweat and hopefully cooling him down a little.

Dean gasped slightly at the first touch then lay still, blinking slowly as Sam, worked the cloth down Dean's throat.

"You feel any better? You don't seem so hot. I think your temps down a little."

"Where...are we?" Dean rubbed clumsily at his eyes.

Sam shrugged, "Some old cabin. It was raining like hell and you needed to lay down, so..."

"Thanks," Dean said again. He remembered nothing of the drive here.

Sam glanced up as he noticed Dean's breathing start to stutter slightly. "You okay?"

Dean began to shiver, his hands shaking. "Cold," he said unsteadily, pulling at the blanket.

Sam threw more wood on the fire and prodded it until it crackled and he could feel the heat on his face.

Dean continued to be wracked by chills, breath gasping in and out.

"Hang on," Sam said, "Sit up," he grasped Dean by the upper arms and pulled him upright.

"Whaya d-doin?" Dean mumbled.

"Be quiet," Sam admonished, sliding in behind Dean's upper body and pulling him against his own body to try and stop Dean's shaking.

Dean, predictably, stiffened in Sam's embrace but lacked the strength to push away.

Sam pulled Dean closer and positioned him so that Dean's head rested against Sam's shoulder, ignoring Dean's weak protests.

"Dean, you're having chills, for God's sake, no one can see us. Just lay still and shut up." he gave Dean's body a slight shake and settled back against the lumpy cushion.

Whether by choice or waning energy, Dean gradually relaxed, eyes slowly falling closed only to snap open again, and damn...was he snuggling?

Sam tentatively rested the palm of his hand on Dean's forehead again as his shivering slowly abated.

Dean shifted in his arms slightly, his eyes staying shut this time. "Mom, used to kiss my forehead to check for fever..." He murmured drowsily and Sam knew Dean was out of it.

Sam's mouth tightened a little as he watched Dean sleep, eyes moving restlessly beneath the lids.

What the hell.

Sam smiled a little and leaned down to lightly brush his lips against Dean's forehead.

What Dean didn't know wouldn't hurt him.


End notes: I know it's schmaltzy and probably totally out of character but the mood was what I wanted. (I can't be horrible ALL the time)