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Whatever happened to simple salt and burn?


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Hey all, gonna post this separately as it's a longer one. It's a very late response to a prompt from Tarotgal:

There's a demon/ghost/whatever that can only be seen when someone is feeling sneezy. You choose whether that means inducing or finding something one is allergic to or hanging out in a doctor's office hoping to catch something. LOL

Combined with an old, old prompt from 27_JaredJensen:

The guys are low on money. They decide to participate in a clinical trial for the common cold. Sam gets sick, Dean is immune.

Hope you enjoy!


Dean fumbles in the glove box for tissues and antihistamines as they tear down the driveway.

“Shit, shit Sammy, I’m sorry.”

“KuhsShYew! TssshhYew! UshYew! HahUSHHH!”

“Ten minutes Sam, then we’ll get you back and cleaned up.”


The dental floss and needles come out the second they’re in the hotel room. Dean is halfway through stitching a gash on Sam’s back when Sam grabs at his wrist to ask him to stop.

“Huh…HuhAHSHhyew! UhHITTchhyew!”

He reaches for the box of tissues he’s left on the nightstand and blows his nose before allowing Dean to finish up.

“Bless you. I’m nearly done now. You know,” Dean muses, dental floss pinned between his teeth as he knots up the stitches, “It might work better when you’re more like this. Maybe we should wait ‘til you’re getting over it a little.”

Sam rubs at his nose with the tissue. “This is just cos I took some meds. I’ll have stopped in a minute.”

Dean frowns and takes hold of Sam’s wrist. “You need ice on this.”

He sniffs and pulls away. “We can pick up frozen peas when we head out. You gonna let me take a look at you?”

Dean pulls up his shirt. “Knock yourself out.”

The slash across Dean’s stomach is wide, and there’s blood dried over his skin and soaked into his pants.

“Jesus,” Sam winces. “I’m gonna grab you a flannel.”

Dean flinches a little at the cold as Sam runs the cloth over the wound, cleaning Dean up so that he can see what he’s doing. He has to break off halfway through to twist over his shoulder, sneezing.

“I’m sorry Dean,” Sam sniffs. “Clearly I suck at this.”

“Nah, you don’t suck. We just need a new plan.”


They head back to the laptop for inspiration, or rather Sam does, while Dean goes out to get something for Sam’s wrist. When he returns it’s with a bag of ice that he ties in place round Sam’s arm with a bandana.

“How goes the research?” he asks, pulling up a chair next to Sam.

“Well,” Sam bites at his thumbnail as he reads down the page he’s just loaded, “one-handed and slow, but you’d be surprised how much lore there is on this.”


“Yeah. Try looking up ‘Medieval superstitions about sneezing’. Seriously, there’s pages of them, apparently they had a different meaning for pretty much every time someone sneezed, depending on how many times they sneezed, where they were, in what situation… It’s nuts.”


“But the one with the most mileage in it is this, I think.” He taps at the computer screen. “You ever look up the origins of the term ‘bless you’? People thought that if you sneezed, your soul would escape and you had to bless people so that the Devil didn’t jump into its spot.”

Dean raises his eyebrows. “Your soul flies out of your body and Lucifer jumps into its place?”

“Pretty much.”

“Were your allergies acting up last year, because…”

“Well, it’s not actually Lucifer. That’s just how people interpreted it. I think, maybe, some kind of spirit?”

“So… spiritual possession through the medium of sneezing?”


“And again I say ‘huh’.”

Sam leans back in his chair. “I think I saw something.”

“You did?”

“Yeah, well, before the allergy attack and not being able to see anything… Kinda makes sense actually, I mean, ghost possessions are rare, maybe it’s easier for them to get in if there’s something to help them along. You didn’t see anything?”

Dean shakes his head.

“Same with every single witness. I’m wondering if it’s a Reaper-type deal, you only see it when you’re its target… would explain why the victims were all either sick or allergic.” He scratches at the back of his head. “S’gonna be an expensive pharmacy trip.”

“What is?”

“To find the one type of antihistamines that are shitty enough that they don’t fix me but good enough to leave me vaguely capable of hunting.”

“Well, actually I was thinking about that…” Dean fishes in their bag for a newspaper. He flicks through it until he finds the page he needs and hands it to Sam.

Sam recognises it immediately. Same pale yellow advert with a medical snake and staff in the corner and green writing splashed across the middle.

“Cold medication clinical research trials – three hundred dollars a participant.”

Dean had thrust it in front of his face triumphantly the day before, announcing that they could make in half an hour what they’d take in a week on the pool table. Sam told Dean to feel free, but that he’d be sticking with the nice, warm pool hall. The thought of voluntarily hunting sick was ridiculous, and besides, Sam only just gotten over a cold and, frankly, he was still enjoying the novelty of being able to breathe through his nose.

“I told you what I thought about that.”

“Oh come on. How many times have we hunted with colds. We’re fine. You had a cold the other week…”

“I remember.” Sam replies, curtly.

“..besides, don’t you get how perfect this is? For starters, I’d be able to see it too. Plus, you must know how right you are for this. When you have a cold you wander around for half an hour at a time trying to sneeze. Right away you’re a target, and no having to take split second glances at it while you try not to die of allergies...”

Sam sighs and has a second look over the paper.

“And, six hundred bucks!”

There isn’t really a lot of room to argue.


“What box did you get?” Dean asks as Sam rips at the surgical tape holding a cotton pad to his arm.

Sam digs in his back pocket and reads the label. “B.”

“I’m A” Dean passes Sam a notebook and pencil as they get into the car. “Here, you gotta record a baseline.”

Sam gawps at Dean, amused. “Are you actually enjoying this?”

“Are you kidding me?” Dean eyes Sam incredulously, “We’re science.”


They spend the first half of the day seeing if they can find anything else to link the victims. Dean insists that they do this with wet hair and an open window, but after four hours of shivering through internet pages and local archives they haven’t found anything that they didn’t already know, and Dean makes the executive decision that they’re headed to the bar.

Sam Is halfway through his second beer when he freezes, frowns, and tucks his nose into the crook of his arm.

“HiISHHhhah! HiSSHHhhyew! HuUSHHhhh! Ugh,” he sniffs. “That’s probably not a good sign.”

“Hey,” Dean eyes him. “That’s a great sign. Eyes on the prize Sammy. I’ll grab you some toilet roll.”

Sam pulls his hood up over his hair and sniffles.

They stay a little longer in the bar, but this cold is apparently coming on quick because Sam’s already starting to feel it. He’s privately pleased when Dean suggests they head out to get some tissues before the drugstore shuts.


Sam wakes the next morning to the click of the door, surprised to find himself on Dean’s bed. He shuts his eyes and burrows into his pillow when Dean hits the light switch.

“I’m sorry.”

There’s a click as the room darkens and the next thing he hears is Dean tugging on the curtain rail.

“The lasdt thindg I rembember was eating pizza and watchindg crappy TV.” Sam blinks sleepily as he looks up on his brother, as Dean grabs a notebook and pencil and sits himself on Sam’s bed.

“Yeah, you fell asleep. How’s your cold?”

“Delightful,” Sam moans.

“I’m gonna need more than that kiddo, I’m filling in your report thingy.”

“Oh.” Sam coughs into the bedsheets before sitting up. “What do you dneed?”

“Okay… um…” Dean flicks through pages in the book until he finds what he’s looking for. “Marks out of ten for how bad it was last night and then again for this morning,”

Sam sniffs and reaches for some Kleenex from the nightstand. “Umb… lasdt dnight… three? Andd today, uh, six.”

“Okay.” Dean scratches at the paper with his pencil. “Symptoms. Throat?”

“Sore,” Sam replies. It sounds it as well.

“Out of ten?”

“Uh… sevend.”

“Oh yeah, I have tea. That might help.”

Sam perks up instantly. “Awesombe, thandk you.”

Dean hands Sam a cup from the nightstand. “Headache?”

Sam nods. “Eight.”

“Shit. I think we have some asprin…”

Sam coughs. “I cand’t have asprind though, cand I? I cand have…” he reads the box next to his bed, “..bymstery bmedicinde B, and I cand’t have thadt for andother two hours.” He reaches for some Kleenex to blow his nose. “How combe you’re ndot sick?” He asks, realisation dawning for the first time.

Dean sighs. “I don’t know. But I’m working on it.” He picks up the second cup from the nightstand. “This, apparently, is iced mocha,” he pulls a face before taking a drink. “It sucks. Plus I thought I’d have a shower in my clothes before we head out. I was gonna get you to breathe on me as well, but I dunno, you look a little gross.”

Sam just flops back onto the mattress.

“Okay, um, sneezing?”

“Dnot yet.”

“You feeling like you could though? cos we kinda need that.”

Sam sighs and nods his head.

“Okay, good. Coughing?”

“Yeah,” Sam croaks.

“Uh… which of the following best describes your cough,” Dean reads aloud, “A – ‘dry’, B – ‘Chesty and productive’ or C – ‘Chesty and non-productive’.

“Oh God Deand.”

“C’mon, give me a letter. If you’re gonna be suffering we might as well get paid for it.”



Sam shoots Dean a withering look and wriggles his nose.

“Out of ten.”

“Eight. Andd a half.” Sam scratches at his nostril with a knuckle before groaning and reaching for a kleenex. He sits on the edge of the bed for a moment, tissue spread out across his open palms as his breath snatches at the air and he closes his eyes waiting.

HehKnkkShyew! H’ISSSHhhyew!” It’s sudden and powerful and his chest aches a little after.

“Okay, so back to sneezing again,” Dean announces, flicking for the right page in Sam’s notebook. He sets it down though, when his cellphone begins to ring. He frowns at the display for a moment before answering.

“Agent Dobbs.”

Sam sniffles and looks up and Dean, waiting for news.

When Dean hangs up, he tosses Sam the notebook and pencil and grabs his mocha. “Okay, you can finish the rest of this in the car, we got another body.”

To his disappointment, Dean doesn’t have time for his fully clothed shower, but he does tip a bottle of water over himself in the parking lot and then drives with the window down. It makes Sam shiver. As they’re pulling up outside the victim’s house, he reaches over to take a swig out of Sam’s tea.

“Deand!” Sam snaps, suddenly irritable.

“What? I gotta get sick. I need your spit.”

Sam sighs and snatches the cup back from his brother. “You dond’t dneed to catch idt frobm mbe you bmorond. You’ve beend indjected with the frickindg stuff.”

“I’m just too damn healthy!” Dean complains, before reaching for another bottle of water from the glove compartment and tipping it over his shirt.

Sam rolls his eyes, stuffs his pockets with tissues and heads off into the victim’s house.


They spend a good few hours interviewing witnesses, and find out little that they didn’t already know. Sam’s losing his voice by the end and he’s out of tissues and can’t stop sneezing. He’s shivering too, even in front of the victim’s mother’s fire, so he’s pretty sure he’s running a fever. When he makes it back to the Impala for the last time, he dives into the box of Kleenex and blows and scrubs at his nose before leaning back against the headrest.

“How you holding up, kiddo?” Dean asks, sliding in beside him.

“Are you actually condcernded or do you jusdt wandt more ndumbers off mbe?”

“I’m concerned you idiot.” He frowns at Sam, who is fussing at his nose with his palm. “You okay? Your eyes look watery.”

“Yeah, I dneed to sndeeze.”

Dean grins.

“You’re dnot… Huh… HuhISHhhyew! You’re dnot…huuuh… uh… helpindg HarrISSSHyew! ISHHHuh!” He massages the bridge of his nose between finger and thumb.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Dean reaches over to the back seat for a second box of Kleenex, which he tears open and hands to his brother, “You know this is exactly what I was talking about, though? How long you been wanting to sneeze like that?”

Sam coughs roughly into his fist and shuts his eyes, sinking back against the headrest. “Godd I feel lousy. You planndindg ond gettindg sick andy timbe soond? Cos I kindda wandt this over with.” His throat is sticky and sore. He tries clearing it, but it only starts off another coughing fit, and this time it’s a fight to catch his breath.

“Right, you kdnow whadt?” he finally manages, between coughs, “Thadt’s idt. I dond’t kndow whadt the hell’s wrondg with you, but apparendtly you’re dnot catchindg andythindg. Andd if I stick idt out andy londger I’ll be ond mby kndees.” He huffs and scrubs and his nose urgently with the back of his hand. “Mby head hurts andd mby dnose is fuckindg idtchy. This is a sdtupidd dambnd horrible coldd and I just wanna be ind… Huh-Uh…”

They’re gasps of breath that take Sam almost by surprise. The next one is shuddery and immediately his nose is twitching. “Uh…. Huhhuhuhha…” He squeezes shut his eyes and breathes irregularly through his mouth. He’s grabbing blindly at the tissue box, when suddenly the growing trigger peters away, taking with it none of the irritation. He gives a deep groan and pinches at the bridge of his nose, hoping to press back the itch. It’s successful only as long as he keeps his fingers clamped there and his eyes have started to water again. He throws his box of tablets onto the dashboard in frustration.

“Andd mbystery drug B? It’s a fuckindg condtrol. I’d bedt bmondey ond it.”

“You wanna go hunt this thing now?”

Sam clears his throat and buries his face in a tissue. “Yeah.”

“You gonna be okay with just you seeing it?”

“Deand, right dnow I’ll take downd fuckindg andythindg thadt wandts to gedt betweend mbe and a hodt lembond.”

Dean smiles, but his eyes are sympathetic. “That bad, huh?”

Sam gives a stuffy sigh. “Definditely thadt badd.”

“Okay,” Dean turns the key in the ignition while he fishes in their bag with his free hand. When he finds what he’s looking for he holds it out for Sam. “Do me a favour and take your temperature, okay?”

“For mby recordd?”

“Not just for your record.”


It turns out Sam’s fever is running at 102.4, which seems to surprise Dean more than it does Sam. They’re almost at the graveyard before he finally starts sneezing. He’s pathetically grateful for the relief, even though it hurts his head and scrapes and his throat and makes him cough. Five minutes later though, he’s rubbing his nostrils as the prickling starts up again, and it’s not long before he’s gonna be damn uncomfortable again. He just sighs and loads his shotgun and tries to remember that for once feeling crappy is meant to be a good thing.

They’ve been to the graveyard a whole bunch of times when they were both healthy, plus one disastrous attempt after walking Sam six times around a stables. So far, there’s been nothing to be seen. Nothing obviously different about the place itself, and since the witnesses had seen nothing but their friends attacking them and oozing black gunk before they dropped dead, they were only hoping that setting the things on Sam might lead them to more answers.

It’s not until they’re loaded up with weapons and heading out to the field that it strikes Sam as something of a flimsy plan. That, and he’s not sure he can remember Bobby saying that the tattoos would also keep them from ghost possession.

“You see anything yet?”

He hasn’t managed to form an answer before the itch that has been bothering him since the car suddenly concentrates at the bridge of his nose. He pinches at his nostrils as his lungs fill with air in the hope of a quicker recovery.

“HuhNnKktchuh! Hnnkk! Nkkh!”

He’s bleary-eyed as he straightens, but his gun is up with barely a thought when there’s a flash in front of his eyes. The sound of the shot bursts in the air, and the figure has faded before Sam even has time to register where it is.

He’s alert then, trying to keep eyes everywhere, without staring so long that he misses anything. It would be easier if Dean could see them too. But then, it would be easier if he weren’t exhausted, if his head didn’t ache and his sinuses didn’t buzz with the need to sneeze.

“TcHHTchyew! UhTchyew! TuhISHHH!” He sneezes openly this time, and thankfully it’s satisfying enough to chase away the impetus a little.

This time he actually sees figures appearing out of the corner of his eye, two this time, and in roughly the same place that the original blur had appeared from. He unloads a shot on the nearest and yells at Dean hoarsely to fire in the same direction as he reloads. Amazingly, Dean clips the other with his second shot.

“There’s more than one of ‘em?”

“Yeah, they’re combindg fromb over there.”

Dean sprints off in the direction that Sam points.

Sam blinks into the darkness, unable to clear his vision as his eyes begin to tear. He smothers a sneeze into his jacket, hoping that that will help, but apparently it’s too long to look away from the ghosts, because a force that barrels at him, has him sprawling onto his back. Winded, he raises his gun and shoots at the Spirit as it makes a second advance.

Dean is at his feet at an instant. “You got it?”

Sam nods and Dean offers him an arm.

“I’mb okay. You dig.”

Sam can see more clearly now, but his nose is tickling, not urgently yet, but the single sneeze hadn’t been enough to satisfy the impulse, so he sniffs harshly, not daring to sneeze again. It’s a little too quiet for a minute, and Sam briefly wonders whether they’ve gotten the hint that they’re not getting into him.

Apparently they’re not that smart though, because a second later and three of them are flying into him and he can’t reload fast enough. He crashes hard against a headstone.


“Jusdt dig!”

Sam just about manages to fumble with the cartridges before there’s a blow at his side. Clearly they’re getting frustrated now because he can feel this one tearing at him. His shirt is damp when he flips over on to his back. He gets in another two successful shots before he’s messing with rounds and cursing his shotgun again as the remaining Spirit tears in.

There’s a crack from behind and the Spirit vanishes.

“You cand see themb?” Sam asks his brother, who is standing behind the place where the Spirit was, shotgun still smoking.

“I just burned a hex bag.”

Dean looks around him as Sam scrambles to his feet.

“Are we done? I think we’re done.”

Sam makes his own scan of the area. “I thindk mbaybe we are. We didnd’t burn andy bondes though…”

“So, what, we’ve still got Ghosts, but not ones that are gonna start jumping into people?”

“I guess…”

“Well… it could be worse.”

Sam wrinkles his nose and sighs, reaching in his pocket for some balled up tissue. “HuuhUhTchyew! Tchhyew! HUHTttchyew!” He groans and grasps at his side. “Ugh. Well, thadt’s undcombfortable.”

Dean clicks on a flashlight and shines it over him. “Let me have a look.”

Sam pulls up his shirt obediently, wincing as some of the fabric sticks to his skin. Dean pulls off his own top and wraps it tight around Sam’s torso.

“Okay, this is gonna have to do for now. We’ll patch you up properly at the motel.” Dean ruffles fingers in Sam’s hair. “You did good today kiddo.”

Sam wipes at his nose with the tissue and sniffs. “I still feel like I gotta sndeeze,” he tells Dean miserably.

“C’mon,” Dean pats him on the back. “I owe you hot lemon.”

Sam barely finishes it before he’s asleep. Dean stiches up his gashes and Sam stretches out on the bed and the next he knows, he’s blinking awake, pushing his nose into the pillow as he scrambles to smother a string of sneezes.

“MmpTCHyew! ChUSHhhh! HuShhh! TuUshhh!” He groans as the force of sneezing sends an ache across his cheeks that set his teeth on edge. He sits up to grab at the tissues on the nightstand but upright the aching is worse, pounding behind his nose and across his face as if it’s keeping time with his heartbeat.

At that moment, Dean bursts through the door, phone in hand.

“Morning Sammy,” he grins. “Just got off the phone to the clinic. Guess what?” Dean bounces down on to the bed next to Sam’s. “They wanna take some blood tests to try to figure out why I didn’t get sick. Apparently it’s gonna help them find their cure, and we get a hundred bucks a test. How great is that?”

Sam just flops down miserably against the mattress.

“I thindk I have a sindus indfectiond.”

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Awwwww poor Sammy! and lolz Dean is a weird guy yay.gif great story! watsup.gif

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You're just a little bit SO awesome. I'm in love with this story. I like the plot, and the spellings (of course) and oh my goodness poor Sammy! He really got put through the wringer in this one! I love it. I like how Dean was so happy at first when Sam mentioned needing to sneeze, and then as it got worse, he sobered up a little and was legitimately worried. I feel so bad for Sam, though! At least they got 800 bucks out of it. I'd do that for sure.

Mmm... Sam's little hitching stuck sneeze bit was SO good, too. So good. And I like that they each got a little beaten up. I must be slightly evil at heart, because I like it when they get a little beaten up. Just a little. It adds to the misery of the sickness/allergies..

Thank you so much!!

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