Summary: Sam and Dean are on a hunt for a garden variety ghost when a drunk driver derails their plans and may just change their lives forever. Sam suffers a debilitating injury and Dean is left to pick up the pieces.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, I gain nothing from this story but the pure enjoyment of putting this idea out there. I don't have any power over the show, it's wonderful characters, or franchise and take no gratuity in return.
Dean's mouth instantly drained of all moisture, his tongue the spitting image of sun dried cotton as words stick to the back of his clenched throat. He took a breath to settle his mounting shock. "Ok Sammy just stay calm, don't freak, ok." Dean patted his pocket for his cell phone and realized almost instantly he'd left it in his jacket which, at the moment, was somewhere inside his upturned vehicle. Sam's deep brown eyes, wide and terrified, pierced Dean's soul with their unfocused gaze.
"I need somebody to call 911, my brothers hurt!" Dean shouted above to the growing group of onlookers collecting at the edge. A women in her mid thirties with a wild mop of curly brown hair and an orange Sea Lion Caves t-shirt called down to him, waving her phone in the air. "I've already called, I'm speaking with 911 right now. The dispatcher wants to know if your brother is having any difficulties breathing or staying conscious?" "Dean please, Sam pleaded. I don't want them to know I can't see, don't tell her, Dean, please." Dean patted Sam's shoulder. "I won't bro, just stay calm ok and sit down. You don't need to be moving around right now you could hurt yourself." Dean directed his little brother to a dark, smooth piece of petrified log resting inches from the passenger side door, both the boys feet sinking further into the damp sand as they moved. His heart seized as Sam's hands fumbled for the remarkably soft surface of the trunk and a tether to the ground below. Oh God, Dean thought, this can't be happening, please don't let this be happening.
Dean shook his head and glanced at the women above. "No, tell them he's conscious and breathing just fine, he swallowed a lump of anxiety trapped in his throat, but tell them to hurry he has a…" Sam's right hand flailed and grabbed his brothers bicep tightly. "Don't tell them Dean, Please." "I won't Sam, I told you that." Dean snapped, his tone tense and more harsh then he would have liked but his brother needed to keep calm and was making it hard for him to focus on helping him. "Tell them my brother hit his head on the dash and it's bleeding." "Ok. She called putting the phone back to her ear.
A few seconds later the shrill sound of sirens filled the air and Dean could see their glowing red lights reflecting off the crowd and sand around him. He imagined this was the same thing his brother experienced when they'd been pulled from the car after the demon possessing the semi had crashed into them. He had thought about that day a lot since then. How close they'd all come to dying. He figured Sam had probably thought the worst, being the only one awake, he'd probably felt the same kind of pain and worry that Dean did right now. The one main difference, this time, that Sam was coherent and scared he could be disabled.
Sam instinctively looked up, in unbridled anticipation, as two twenty something men came racing down the foot path precariously hiding a few feet from where the car had slid over. The crisp rattling of rescue equipment and shrill passing of air as they ran alerting him to their approaching presence. "I hear something Dean." Sam breathed. "The ambulance here?" Silently nodding his head Dean realized his brother was lost to the action, and he managed to choke out a "yes."
As the men met them at the bottom, Dean realized the tide was starting to come in, another wave of panic hitting him. "The tides coming in, can't we go somewhere else? My brother can't see, we need to leave here!" One of the men glanced out at the water still several meters away. "It's ok, it'll be at least an hour before it gets to us. You guys, the car, and all these spectators will be long gone before it makes it to this point, trust me I've lived along time and know this beach."
Dean grabbed his brother's arm securely and forced his worry to settle at the back of his mind as the medics surrounded them both. From that instant on, the rescuers took control and pushed Dean to the side forcing him to let go of his brother as they assessed his injury's.
Questions floated around in the salty sea air as answers where expected from both of the boys. It gave Dean focus on something other then Sam while he was pocked and prodded.
"What's your name?" "Dean."
"What's your name, sir?" An invisible hand rested on Sam's shoulder. "S, Sam."
"What happened?" "Car was hit."
"You guys live around here?" "No."
"Where are you hurt?" That question stopped the obedient on slot of mindless answers and Sam froze. He choked on his reply. "I, I um, my head. It hurts. I can't. I can't." The hand patted his shoulder again and lost contact. "You can't see, we know. My partner Jack here is just going to look in your eye's, hold still for us, ok?" Sam nodded and grabbed Dean's arm fervently while the taller man shined a small beam of crisp light into his eyes. The other guy, the one belonging to the disembodied hand, clutched a clip board and jotted down Sam's BP, heart rate, and stat's on his report.
Before either brother knew what was going on, they where being lead into the back of the Ambulance and were on their way to some coastal Oregon hospital. As they pulled out of the rest area Dean caught a rickety brown tow truck pulling his beloved Impala from it's resting place in the sparkling, golden sand below. The medic had been right, they were out of there before the tide came in. That only gave him momentary comfort as he glanced back at his brother staring straight at him, but not seeing him at all.
Dean was tired of waiting, tired of sitting in this dam plastic chair. Watching medical personal pass in and out of the very door they'd forbid him from entering. Thankfully the staff had aloud Dean to stay with his brother through the preliminary exams and further assessments of other injuries, but once it was determined that Sam needed a CAT scan and MRI, Dean was shuffled out into the imaging waiting room and told he would not be aloud to follow his brother while he was tested. That was over an hour ago, and now Dean was beginning to loose his composure and restraint.
Every time he tried to ask the lady at the admitting desk where Sam was and if he was done, she gave the same mind numbingly annoying answer; "you'll know as soon as I know, now please sir go sit back down." Her long slender finger directing him to his tattered plastic chair resting in the corner providing him full view of both the admitting desk and the doorway. Not even Dean's attempt at Winchester charm seemed to sway the young nurse or change her answer.
If somebody didn't let him know what was going on with Sam soon, he was gonn'a loose it and the last thing he needed was to be put in jail for assault while Sam was lying, blind in some backwoods country hospital.
He couldn't take it anymore. Every nerve in his body was firing and he wanted a dam straightforward answer, NOW. He stood up and started to walk to the swinging doors with the sign on them reading 'Hospital Personal Only'when an older man with stark black hair and a long white doctors coat emerged from them.
"Is there a Dean Singer here?" He asked quickly glancing at the four men scattered around the sparse waiting area. Before Dean could respond the girl at the admitting desk spoke up. "Oh yes, Dr. Miller, he's standing right there." Her long finger singling Dean out immediately. He's very anxious to speak with you. Good luck Dr. Miller he doesn't take no for an answer very easily." She finished, rolling her eyes visibly relieved to have Dean removed. Dean shot her an angry glare and then focused his attention on this doctor that knew his name, well his current name anyway.
"I'm Dean Singer. He stated extending his hand. How's my brother, are you the one that did the test's?" Doctor Singer smiled a weak, non-reassuring smile. "I am. Your brother is being taken up to room 342. I have to finish some paperwork up down here and then I'll meet you in his room with the results and my prognosis." A cold shiver radiated down Deans tired spine. "You can't tell me now? He's being admitted?" The doctor smiled once more and shook his head. "I would prefer you and your brother both hear the same thing. If you go down this hall and turn right you'll see an elevator. 342 is on the third floor. Once you get out of the elevator turn right and it will be the fourth door on the right. If you have any trouble finding it just ask a staff member. We're a pretty small hospital, anyone will be able to direct you to the right place."
Sam's room was indeed where the doctor had said it would be. As Dean walked off the elevator the memory of Dr. Miller's side stepping really bothered him. Had something happened to Sammy while he was forced to wait out in that dam waiting room. Was their something the doctor was to chicken to tell him in a room full of people? Dean shook his head and pressed the handle on his brothers hospital room door. Before the day was over, Dean was sure he was going to deck somebody he just didn't know who the lucky person would be yet.
Inside his brother was washed in a blanket of bright afternoon luminosity. The sun shinning precariously through the drawn shades on the big bay window centering the room. Sam's clothes had been removed and replaced with a faded blue hospital gown and a white terrycloth robe. He was gripping an IV pole standing at attention next to him feeding his veins clear, wet liquid from a plastic bag. Sam was sitting on the edge of the only bed staring out the window oblivious to the light around him. Dean's heart momentarily halted at the scene. How would Sammy survive if this was permanent. How would either of them survive?
"Dean?" Sam asked turning towards the door and sound of heavy feet hitting the hard linoleum below them. Dean's voice froze in his throat of a second and then he seemed to recover it. "Yeah, Sammy, how'd you know? Are your eye's better?" His last statement soaked in hope and fear. Sam shook his head. "Ah no, he blinked, I just knew it was you. You smell, it's hard to get past." There was a forced smile on Sam's face and Dean knew he was seconds away from loosing his composure. "And by the was, big brother, it's Sam, not Sammy. I'm not twelve years old, remember." Dean chuckled and made his way over to the bed his brother rested on. Sam could feel the mattress shift as the older hunter sat down.
"How you feeling, Saaammm?" He stated making sure Sam was aware of the last word. Sam shook his head. "Like dog shit, my head hurts, my body hurts, and well, he waved his hand in front of his face, you know the rest."
"Yeah, I do."
"Any word as to when my doctor's supposed to give me the verdict"
"How about now." A deep voice radiated from the entrance of the room. Both Sam and Dean looked towards the noise.
"Sam, it's Dr. Miller again, your neurologist, I've gone over the scans and I have an answer for you and your brother. Ready to hear what we've found?" "Yes!" Was the unilateral answer from both Winchesters.
"Sam, you have some swelling in your brain. The doctor noticed instantly the shock and concern plastered on both men's faces. He continued. "We're giving you anti-inflammatory's to reduce that and I expect it to subside fairly quickly."
"Is that what's causing his blindness?" Dean interrupted, his voice strained and worn. "Yes and no." The doctor stated plainly.
"Sam, the swelling is from a rupture of a blood vessel in your brain, now, the drugs are controlling that and I don't see any surgery in your future, however, there has been some damage and that is what is causing your vision loss. Your eyes are fine, no damages, no injuries but the portion of your brain that supports the intersection of your optic nerves has been disrupted. The pressure from the bleeding caused swelling near your optic chiasm and stopped the viable flow of blood carrying nutrients to your optic nerves." He paused letting the information soak in.
"You have a condition called Cortical Blindness. Usually this condition results in vision loss in only one eye or only portions of both, but your injury was centered at the bridge where both Optic nerves cross in the brain. The damage effected both of them and is what is causing your total loss of vision.
Sam turned a whole new shade of grey with that portion of the doctors explanation. He had brain damage? His optic chiasm? Swelling? He tried to shake his brain clear. "I, is it…will it go away." His brow creased and his disturbingly clear puppy dog eyes revealed just how frightened he really was.
"Is this permanent?" Dean locked eye's with Dr. Miller and his stomach flopped at the physicians sagging facial features. He was glad his brother couldn't see the look on the mans face.
Dr. Miller took a deep breath, not missed by the older brother, and continued. "With brain damage there is always the chance that it can be permanent, I wouldn't be a responsible physician if I didn't tell you that, but I'm not sure. There is a chance you could recover all of your vision, some of it, or none at all. Only time will tell what the final outcome will be. We need to wait for the swelling to go down and for your brain and optic nerves to relax. We should have a definitive answer with in the next few months."
Sam's body slumped and Deans eyes widened to the size of saucers. "You won't know if my brothers going stay this way for a couple of months." He used quotation marks to accentuate that last bit. Dean stood up and began to pace the room. "Dam mid-evil doctors. I want, we want a second opinion!" He spattered clenching his fists with pent up rage, fear, and disappointment. Sam reached for Deans hand but failed miserably as he was already across the room.
Dr. Miller smiled, understanding the boy's frustrations. "You are more then welcome to a second or third opinion, Mr. Singer, and I would encourage that, really. But for now you need to calm down. The last thing your brother needs is more stress and turmoil right now."
"Are you ok Sam, do you have any other questions?" Sam silently shook his head, the doctors news still to fresh in his screaming mind. He cleared the cobweb's from his thoughts and replied. "Just one, I guess, how long do I have to stay here? How long do I have to be hospitalized?"
Dr. Miller shrugged his shoulders, keeping one eye on Dean as he did. "It should take a few hours for the anti-inflammatory's to work so I'd say sometime tomorrow afternoon. Other then the med's and more scans down the road, there's nothing else we can do for you, so, you'll be released relatively quickly. Dr. Miller put his hand on Sam's goose bumped arm. "I know this is a lot to stomach but there is hope. Cortical blindness can reverse it's self. Maybe not to the extent of before but even that's not out of the question. Just try to get some rest and I'll make sure to have one of my nurses supply you and your brother with some brochures on rehab facilities and therapy for the blind. Whether this goes away, lessons, or stay the same, your going to need to change a few things and get some training. I'm sorry my news couldn't be more reassuring but I don't want to give you false hope."
"Dr. Miller…Dean began but Sam cut him off. "Don't Dean ok, the doctors just being honest with me." Sam looked in the direction the deep thundering voice of the doc was coming from. "Thanks for the information, Dr. Miller. If you don't mind, though, I'd like to have a little down time with my brother."
"Of course," the doctor replied. He turned towards Dean. "Mr. Singer…" Dean interrupted him. "It's Dean doc and ah, sorry for earlier. It's be one hell of a long day." Dr. Miller slapped Dean's back. "That it has, son. I'll have Sam's nurse bring in that information and get them to bring you one of those reclining chairs for visitors. I have a feeling your not going to be leaving anytime soon, am I right?" Dean shook his head no. "Ok then I'd say, Dr's advice, that both you and your brother get some rest then. You both look exhausted and that won't help this situation one bit." With that the doctor was gone and Sam and Dean Winchester were left to face the giant demon shadowing the room and cloaking them in an un-ending blanket of uncertainty.
A/N: Ok I know this is one really really long chapter, I hadn't expected it to run quite as long as it did, but wanted to get past the explanation and onto the next phase of the story. I have a little twist that I will hint at in the next few chapters. I hope that you enjoy and are entertained with what is to come. Thanks so very much for all of your reviews and comments. As always let me know if there's something I missed or something you'd like to see put in or explained and I'll do my best to put it in. Have a wonderful weekend and happy new year!