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.
The silence in the room was deafening. Neither brother knew what to say or how to react to what they'd been told. Dean stood next to the window, staring at the various visual impairment and resource brochures Nurse Christy had brought over 20 minutes earlyer. They were resting on the window sill where she'd left them, untouched, and since then, the subject hadn't been approached.
Dean glanced over at Sam and instantly met his un-seeing eyes. A cold chill ran up his arms, igniting goose bumps, and radiated down his spine. What if Sam was going to stay this way? Blind? Helpless? Shut away in a darkness only he could know? His brother's eyes were just as bright and brilliant as the first day he'd seen their mother holding him. Even if he and Sam hadn't spent so much time together growing up and he didn't know him as well as he did, Dean was sure he'd know exactly what the kid was thinking just by looking into those big bold orbs.
Sam's driver's license, even his police profile, described his eyes as brown but that was just a cop out. Really they were a vibrant hazel. A tint of green and a smattering of auburn resulting in an obscurely mesmerizing mixture. Quietly, Dean thanked God his brothers eyes weren't damaged. Even if he stayed blind for the rest of his life, he wouldn't be treated like a circus freak ogled and stared at. Milky white eyes, the topic of onlookers remorse or reproach. If for nothing else, Dean was glad Sam would be spared that degradation.
The younger Winchester was great at hiding things like secrets and identities, but his emotions always shown straight through his expressive eyes no matter how well he tried to hide them. Dean figured that was why all the girls melted around his brother without him having to try or even flash a convincing smile to make them turn to pudding. Sam had a natural charm that even he couldn't argue away. What really irked Dean was the fact that Sam didn't use it, he wasted it, and that alone was enough to cause a smack on the back of the head every now and again.
Sam always amazed his brother, those big, soulful eyes and a resounding innocence he held onto even though his life had, had very little. Now though, the windows to Sam's soul, as some called them, were simply lost and full of pain. They betrayed him, broadcasting loud and clear how he was feeling with out any filter what so ever. Dean doubted he even realized he was doing it. Sam no longer had that visual barometer to gage the world around him, his visual cues and stimulus robbed from him by some drunk hick in a button down polo shirt.
Unbridled rage made Dean's blood boil at the memory of the words that man had carelessly spewed after slipping awkwardly from his truck. "I think I hit a dear." What kind of person said that? Even if they were drunk? Who would be so far gone not to realize they'd just harmed another human being? Let alone pushed a car over a ledge? If it was the last thing Dean did, he would make that piece of shit pay for hurting his little brother. For blinding him. For taking one more thing from a kid who really didn't have anything good left to hold on to. That was a promise Dean had made to himself the moment they'd pulled away from that rest stop, Sam strapped to a gurney, fear lacing his brows as the blindness suffocated him. One final look out the window showed Dean a man being put in handcuffs, their eyes momentarily meeting, but it wouldn't be the last he saw of the Winchesters. That was a promise Dean made then and there and he would keep it at all costs.
Sam was as good as they came and that was one of many reasons this was so dam cruel. He didn't deserve it. He didn't deserve something else being thrust in his lap after everything he'd already endured.
Sam's strength and longevity was a great source of pride for Dean, feeling he had something to do with it. It was the pride of both a brother and a father that Dean wore like a badge. If nothing else in his life, he could say he'd had a hand in Sam's humanity. Even if he lacked it in many ways himself.
There was already so much pain and turmoil Sam had been through; his childhood, the drill sergeant upbringing their father subscribed to, never having an actual home or mother to soften the harsh blows of life, their life, being infected with demon blood, the constant thrumming in the back of his mind that evil lurked at the fringe of his being, cold oak, Dean's death and subsequent rebirth! Sam had enough for twelve lifetimes before some random accident took yet another thing from him. Dean really wasn't sure just how much more his sibling could take before he broke. Cracked like a fragile glass statue. The fact that he hadn't already was a God dammed miracle in its own right.
The silence overwhelmed Dean like a title wave, shoving the oxygen from his lungs and pressing him to the floor, he couldn't stand it anymore. His brother, the one that never seemed to shut up, the one that always wanted to express his feelings and push the proverbial (emotional) envelope, was unnaturally quite. Lost somewhere inside the recesses of his own head. There was no sign, what so ever, that the situation was going to change anytime soon so Dean decided he'd break the silence and speak up instead. Oh the irony he thought quietly.
"Sammy, you ok over there? I haven't heard you this quiet since before you could talk." Dean laughed, a memory tugging at the edge of his consciousness. "And even then you were anything but quiet. Mom, dad, and I didn't sleep for two months after you came home from the hospital. I was ready puncture my eardrums with a crayon." Dean's face lit up in a mischievous smirk. Mint green eye's sparkling with the recollection.
Sam shifted on his bed. He'd slide up against the pillows after the doctor had left and proceeded to stare off at a wall, speaking only when spoken to from that point on.
"Yeah, Dean." He stated, simply, pulling the pathetic lumpy wafe of a pillow up around his knotted shoulders. "My head hurts like a bitch, but I'm ok. Sam tugged at the tape concealing the intravenous medication feeding his hungry veins. "Just can't wait to get this dam I.V. out of my arm, itches like a fricken bitch."
Dean shook his head and grabbed the pamphlets off the ledge. He took a seat on the hard plastic chair sandwiched in between Sam's bed and the windowsill. "I wasn't talking about that Sammy, I mean, not entirely anyway. He shrugged. You told the doctor you wanted some time with me but you haven't said anything other than I'm fine in over an hour."
Sam's eyebrows creased, causing his forehead to wrinkle. He heaved a large, worn sigh. "What is there to say Dean, I mean, really? He waved his free hand in the air. "I can't see. Could be permanent, could be temporary, or it could be somewhere in-between." Sam's words were increasing in validity. "I can't hunt, can't drive…He shed a harsh laugh, hell I can't even find my way out of a paper bag, let alone this dam room. What the fuck am I supposed to say? It sucks? Well dude, yeah," *another smirk* "it defiantly sucks! Looking forward to my big brother leading me around like a Pomeranian, shopping for me, picking out my dam underwear?"
Sam took a ragged breath, "People staring at the blind guy as I walk around with a white cane. Practically wearing a neon sign broadcasting HANDICAPPED across my forehead really doesn't make me feel very happy, Dean. Would it, you?"
Typical Sammy, Dean thought, trying to digest his brothers frustrated words. Tight as a clam if something really bothered him, but once the invitation was given, it was an all out flood. Diarrhea of the mouth as he'd pointed out several times to his younger sibling. And that was exactly what Dean was waiting for. What he needed to hear. What, he knew, Sammy needed to do for himself. As well as something for Dean to be reassured his brother was in there, somewhere. That he hadn't just shut down and turned in on himself like he did when Jessica died.
It was a comfort and a punch to the gut to hear Sam's frustration and anger finally boil to the surface. To irrevocably comprehend how he was really dealing with the prospect of terminal blindness.
"The doctor said you could get all your vision back, Sammy. I don't think we should give up just yet, you know? I mean, come on dude, it hasn't even been twenty four hours. You could wake up tomorrow and be just fine."
"And if I'm not, Dean, then what?" Sam asked his voice harsh and drawn. Dean shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, man. But we'll figure it out like we always do. By the seat of our pants." A guarded smirk. "I'll search this entire planet for an answer, supernatural or not. There's got to be somebody out there that can help you and the one good thing about being a Winchester is that we have the connections to find them."
Sam bit his lip and wiped his hand over his face. "Never give up, is that it? When did you become the eternal optimist?"
Dean paused for a moment choosing his words carefully. With a breath of hot, frustrated air he replied. "When a dammed angel pulled me out of hell and my little brother went blind." He swallowed the bile resting at the back of his throat as the word lingered there. Blind
"Did you give up on me Sammy when the doctors gave me a month to live? Because I distinctly remember signing myself out of the hospital to die in peace and finding you glued to your computer screen. With no sleep, I might add, looking for a way to save me and you know what? You did. Do you think for one second that I wouldn't do the same for you? I get, I can be a selfish ass, but come on Sam you're the only family I have left. Hell, Sammy, you and Bobby are the only two people on this planet I really care about. You're my brother, Man, I went to hell to save your skinny ass for god's sake. This is a cake walk. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you even if I don't just come out and spill it like some melodramatic chick. And we'll find something to fix this. I promise."
Sam smiled, the first real smile Dean had seen since this whole ordeal had begun. "You are such a drama queen, Dean, what the hell happened to you in Hell anyway. Your like an after school special. Now who's being a girl?"
Dean glared at Sam and hurled the brochures at him. Sam jumped at the onslaught and glared. The surprise evident on his face.
"Jerk." He bellowed.
"Bitch." Dean finished, a small, relieved smile spreading across his face.
And that was that, the giant purple elephant in the room had been drawn and quartered. The tension, uncertainty, and embarrassment replaced by slight relief and a much needed subject change. A push past the unknown into what could be controlled in the here and now.
"So what are you going to do about the car? Don't tell me the cops have it, Dean, b'cuz that could cause some unneeded attention? What about the stuff in the trunk, don't you think you should go take care of that? I won't flat line while your gone, scouts honor." Sam put his free hand on his chest mocking a two fingered salute.
Dean shook his head then realized it was lost on his baby brother. "Called Bobby while you were in Radiology. He should be here before midnight. Had a hunt up in Washington so he's pretty close. He's got a hunter friend over here that owns a repair shop, names Jake. One call from Bobby and it was all being taken care of. The guys fixing it as we speak. I guess Bobby saved his ass a while back and Jack owed him one…or ten." Dean smirked. "I spoke to the guy and he said the damage isn't that bad, should be fixed by tomorrow if he can get his hands on the right parts."
Sam's eye's flew wide open, a quizzical expression flooding his face. "Your letting somebody else work on your car, Dean? Are you sure I was the only one in the Impala when it went over, cuz it sounds like you might have a head injury too."
"Don't be a dick, Sammy, I wasn't gonn'a work on the car while you were in here. Besides Bobby said he handle it and I trust him."
There was a rattle outside and a girl in peach scrubs and a blue apron knocked on the door. "Dinner for Sam Singer?" Her voice was soft, smooth, almost feathery Sam thought to himself.
"Come on in" Dean shouted his smile big and boisterous. The girl, in her late teens, with dark auburn hair tied in a velvet clip took a tray off the cart she was pushing and placed it on the side table connected to Sam's bed. Then proceeded to pull it over his lap. "Is there anything else I can get for you?" She asked timidly. Sam shook his head and put his hand on the table searching it for the contents. "No thanks I think I got it from here." With a quiet smile she was gone.
"She was hot, dude, wish you could have seen her." Sam rolled his eyes as his fingers searched the tray. "Dean, she sounded like she was about sixteen. You'd be in jail. We really do need to work on you deciphering porn from reality. You have a problem. I'm thinking counseling might be your only hope."
Dean smiled, "nah she's thirty at least." He joked knowing full well Sam didn't buy it for a second. "So Sammy." Dean snatched a piece of bread off Sam's dinner plate just as Sam's hand had located it and shoved it in his mouth. "How hungry are you anyway."
Sam could hear his brothers jowls slapping together as he consumed the starch. He could hear the food squishing as his brother spoke. "Not really all that much, Sam made a disgusted face, "guess it's good I have you to eat it for me huh, Dean?" Sam's remark was laced with brotherly distaste and lined with humor. Under his breath he continued. "Ya big pig."
Dean shoved Sam's arm and grabbed another piece of bread out of his hands. "I'm not a pig, Sammy, you're just anorexic. Although, Dean shrugged, this whole blindness thing could work in my favor if you can't get to your food before I can. I'm going to be eating like a champ for the next couple of weeks."
"It's SAM Dean, how many times do I have to tell you that before you get it?"
This time it was Dean that rolled his eye's. "You can tell me as much as you want, little brother, but if I feel like calling ya, Sammy, I will. I'm the oldest, by birth right that ball's in my court."
Sam sighed and located a plastic cup of some sort at the edge of his plate. It was cool to the touch and flexibly ridged, but other then that, Sam was baffled.
"What the hell is this? He asked gripping the weirdly shaped object.
Dean wrinkled his nose. "Some kind of Jell'O, I think." He jiggled it under Sam's grasp. "Or toxic waste, can't really tell at the moment. It's blue." Dean's brows furrowed. Who eats blue Jell'O?"
Sam shoved it towards his brothers voice. "You, ya pig. Have a blast." Dean smirked once again, grabbed the plastic cup, and landed in the recliner still resting in the corner of the room. "Uuummm, he mocked taking a giant bite, "just like gramma used to make."
Sam sneered and continued to search the plate. Dean shoved more Jell'O in his mouth and spoke with portions of blue slime oozing from his lips. "Mashed potatoes at three, Chicken at ten, and a nice large helping of, Dean's lips curdled, broccoli at your six. Your forks on the right side of the tray and your soda's in a cup with a lid and straw on the left."
"I smell something sweet Dean what are you forgetting?"
Rolling his eyes he conceded. "There's brownie up above the plate, but if you loved me, and considering I haven't had anything but rotgut coffee from a thirty year old vending machine, I'd think you'd give it to me. I did go to Hell for you after all the least you could do is surrender your brownie."
Closing his eyes momentarily to keep in the laughter Sam reached the brownie and tossed it in the direction of Dean's food filled responses. He heard his brother scramble to his feet and the squeaking of rubber souls as they came to a halt.
"Sneaky little brother, very sneaky, but I'm to good for that. Next time try something a little," Dean shoved the hole brownie in his mouth, "mooore or'ig'on'all." He finished a brazen smile decorating his stubbled face. There were remnants of brown sugary globs clinging to his lips.
"Dean one of these day's I'm going to teach you how to eat with your mouth closed, if it's the last thing I do." Both brothers laughed and spent the next few minutes delighting in their own self contained humor and harmless needling.
A/n: Sorry this has taken me soooooooo long to get out, my husband lost his job and we've been back pedaling ever since. I tried make this update longer to compensate. I am so grateful for the reviews and hope that you will stick with me and this story until the end. Whenever that may be. Thanks for reading and I'll talk to you soon. Next chapter Bobby and some hints to what's laying in wait.