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Sam rushes back into the hotel room with a gust of wind and a flurry of snow at his heels. Outside, the blizzard rages on, as if it’s determined to prove the weathermen wrong and leave more than the promised two feet of snow on the ground. And at the rate it had been falling when they stopped for the night in this sleepy Minnesota town, Dean’s pretty sure the snow’s gonna win.

Through the cocoon of blankets Dean has wrapped himself up in, he listens to the rustle of plastic bags as his brother sets them down on the counter in the kitchenette, digging through them and pulling out supplies one by one.

Dean smothers a cough into the blankets, hauling himself up until he’s mostly upright and leaning against the headboard.

Glancing over at Dean from across the room, Sam pauses with a microwaveable can of soup in his hand, asking, “How’re you feeling?”

Dean sniffs experimentally, but all it does is send a jolt of pain through his sinuses and he grimaces, answering in a raspy, congested voice, “Biserable. Didd’t thigk it was bossible to feel worse, but guess whadt? This cold is kickig by ass…” Dean raises a blanket covered hand in a gesture that’s half shrug, half resignation, and sighs.

“Man, ‘m sorry, Dean.” Sam makes a sympathetic face. “I got you some major decongestants, though. Maybe those’ll help. And I think I practically bought out Rite Aid’s supply of tissues. People were more desperate for the ice melt and the booze.”

Pulling the blankets down to his chest, Dean turns and catches a glimpse through the curtains. Outside, the snow is falling so fast and hard that the visibility it down to almost nothing. It’s like being stuck inside a giant snow globe, and he shivers a little at the mere thought of how cold it is outside. Minnesota in the middle of January can always be a little iffy, but he thinks this might actually be a record. “How bad are the… the… --huh’CHSHHHUH!-- …the roads?” He pitches forward with the force of the sneeze, barely bringing a hand up in time to catch the spray. “Ugh…”

Across the room, Sam rips open the top of one of the tissue boxes and makes his way over to his brother, pulling a couple of tissues out and handing them over. “Starting to get pretty bad. There are tons of plows out, but the snow’s coming down faster than they can keep up with, and all the radio stations are telling people to stay inside.” He takes a seat on the end of Dean’s bed, tossing the tissue box further up so it lands in the tangle of blankets near Dean’s elbow. “Lucky for you, that means we’re definitely in no hurry to get anywhere. I already talked to Bobby, asked him to get somebody else to check out that case in Akron.”

Dean nods, but his response is cut short by the sudden intense urge to sneeze, the sensation making him draw in a quick, gasping breath. “That’s—heh! Uhh-IIIHSHHHH!” He scrambles for the tissues, grabbing a handful and burying his nose in them. “HRRCHSHHHH! huh’MMPFSHHHH! Uh-hhh-hhh—hah’TDSHHHH! …ohbygod…” Snagging another couple of tissues from the box, he blows his nose into them, wincing at the shifting pressure in his head.

Once he can sort of breathe normally again, he lets his head thump back against the cheap headboard, eyelids fluttering shut. He lets out a congested sigh. “Saaaaab…” he whines. “This is the worsdt birthday presedt you’ve ever given be…”

Even with his eyes still closed, he can practically hear the guilty, apologetic look on his brother’s face as Sam responds, “I know, dude, I’m so sorry. If it helps at all, the worst part will be over in a couple of days.”

Dean opens his eyes and raises an eyebrow. “Id a couble of days? Dot helping, Sab. huh’ETSCHSHHHuh! HH’NNNSHHH!”

Sam holds out another couple of tissues as a peace offering and Dean gratefully takes them, even as he glares in his brother’s direction. He directs a wet, gurgling blow into the tissues and then swipes carefully at his irritated nose, tossing the soggy tissues in the general direction of the trashcan once he’s finished.

“Anything I can do?” Sam offers as the wind picks up outside, howling through the trees at the edge of the parking lot.

“How aboudt those de… hhuh… decod—huh’RRSCHHH! – decodgestadts?” Dean suggests, massaging the bridge of his nose as he sucks in a congested-sounding breath through his mouth.

“On it,” Sam answers, jumping up from the bed to dig through the grocery bags still sitting on the counter.

From the bed, Dean breathes out a quiet, “Thagks,” before the itchy feeling takes up residence in his nose again and he succumbs to a helpless bout of sneezing, pulling one tissue after another out of the box as he tries to regain control of his nose. “hh’ITSHCHH! MPFSHHH! ht’CHSKSHHH! Uh… hh’aaah’AETSCHHH! HH’ETTTCHHHHHUH! ---god, I--- HESHCHHH! – hadte this—ehhhh’HHTCHHHH! – sdupid cold --- hh’PTSCHHH!” Breathless by the end of it, Dean reaches for another tissue to scrub desperately at his sore, runny nose, trying to alleviate some of the feeling of discomfort. He’s dreading the next couple of days, if they’re going to be as bad as this, but there’s not a damn thing he can do about it.

“…Dean?” Sam’s quiet, hesitant voice breaks through his inner self-pity monologue.

“Whadt?” Dean mumbles, not looking up as he blows into another tissue with a loud, wet honk. It doesn’t help much, but then, he doesn’t think there’s a whole lot that would make him feel better at this point.

“Happy birthday?” Sam says, and the way he says it forces Dean to shift his gaze upward, making eye contact with his brother who’s standing at the foot of the bed, a pill bottle in one hand and a small plastic box in the other. Sam holds the box out, and Dean catches sight of a perfect slice of cherry pie through the clear plastic. “I mean… if you’re up to eating anything, I thought you might like…”

Dean grins up at him. “Id’s perfect. Thagks, Sabby. …uh’HKTSHHH!”