Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. This is just fun!
"I See" Said The Blind Man
He hurt. Every part of his body ached, needing to move, but he could not. He tried to open his eyes, move his hand, shift a foot, anything to relieve the deep, painful ache. Nothing responded. It was as if his body had abandoned him, keeping him prisoner inside its painful walls.
NO! This was HIS body, he would do with it as he willed. A fist clenched by will alone, shaking with the effort.
"Dean?" It was a voice. Did he know it? Was it familiar? "Dean, you okay? Dean?" Panic was bleeding through the calm tones. He knew that voice, knew that tone. Knew it too well.
"Sammy," his own voice was quiet and rough, but it was enough. He heard Sam's quick exhale.
"Dude, you scared the shit out of me. How're you feeling?"
He tried to groan, but it was too much effort. Instead he concentrated on clenching and unclenching his hand. That helped alleviate the deep aching which permeated his body.
Dean wondered why his little brother couldn't just shut up for a few minutes. He hurt, that was why he was…where?
"Sam," he worked his mouth that felt like it had rusted shut years ago, "where?"
"Where? Where what Dean?"
Now what was the point of being a freakin' psychic if you couldn't read your own brother's mind once in a while? And as smart as Sam is, he couldn't figure it out on his own?
"Do you want to know where we are?"
Finally! Dean grunted in assent.
"In the hospital, Dean. That thing did a real number on you." No kidding! "You've been here a couple of days."
"Days!" Amazing how quickly rust was dissipated by shock. Dean forced his eyes open, but the room was still dark. "What kind of hospital is this?" he demanded, forcing his head to turn from side to side. There was no light anywhere.
"It's just the local hospital. Small town. Be nice, Dean. They probably saved your life. Again."
There it was, the unspoken accusation. As though he had spent the past year trying to die! Dean rolled his eyes, though he knew Sam would not be able to see him in the dark.
"Don't be like that, Dean. You know what I mean."
Yeah, he knew what Sam meant. Wait a minute – how did Sam see him roll his eyes? He lifted his hand slowly, held it before his face. He could not even see his fingers wiggle in front of his eyes. Hospitals were always so brightly lit, there must be something wrong.
"Generator?" he croaked.
"Generator?" Sam was quiet for a minute. "What are you talking about?"
"Why don't they have a generator?" His voice sounded strange even to his ears, it was so weak.
"They probably do. Why Dean? What do you have in mind?"
Dean shook his head. "Just lights. Need lights on."
Shit. Now Sam sounded scared. What now? "Huh?"
"Dean," he could hear Sam clearing his throat. Oh God, please don't let it be a chick-flick moment. "Dean, the lights are on."
That got his attention. What the hell was Sammy talking about? He tried to sit up, felt Sam's hands helping him, pushing pillows under his head.
"Dean, I'm going to get your doctor. Don't try to get up or anything, okay?" When Dean did not answer, Sam became more insistent. "Okay, Dean?"
He nodded dumbly.
"Okay. I'll be right back!"
Damn. Sam saw him nod. Maybe the lights were on. Dean listened acutely as his brother's footsteps left the room. It felt like an eternity before he heard those same footsteps return, but this time there was another set shadowing them.
"Mister Dolan? How are we feeling?" It was a woman's voice, all stiff and professional.
He could not repress the snarl that came over his face. How the hell did she think he was feeling?
"Dean," Sam's voice grated on his nerves.
"I thought your first name was Gregory?" Dean could hear the doctor flipping through some papers, probably on a clipboard.
"He goes by his middle name, Dean," Sam explained quickly. Nice save, dumb ass.
"Dean?" The doctor's voice was louder, more insistent.
"I don't think he can see," Sam whispered, as though Dean could not hear him.
"I could if you bothered to turn on the damn lights," he growled, not liking anything about this. The last two times he was in a hospital the prognosis was the same: terminal. He was starting to rank hospitals right up there with airplanes.
"Really?" He felt cold fingers under his chin, moving his head back and forth. "Odd," she murmured.
"What?" Sam asked before he could. Anxious Sammy, that's why you're gonna have an ulcer before we can find that damn demon. Ha. Damn demon. That was funny.
"His pupils are responsive. I'd like to run some tests." She waited a moment. Dean refused to respond. This was not happening. He could not believe this was happening. "Okay, good. I'll write up the orders for the test. Since your, um, brother is awake I'll start working on getting him released after we find out what is going on with his vision."
Dean waited until her sharp steps left the room. He sighed. "Why do they always think we're gay? I really don't get it."
"Well, you are kinda butch," he could hear the teasing in Sam's voice.
"Don't. Just don't. I swear, I'll…" He'll what? That's a good question. How about more itching powder in your shorts, huh, Sammy? That would be good.
"What, Dean? I don't think I like the look on your face."
"Really? Well, that's too bad." He rolled his head to face his brother's voice. "Wish I could say the same."
The sharp inhale of breath was exactly what he was aiming for, but now that he got it he felt bad about it.
"Bitch," he said with a grin seeping into his face. "Sam, get me outta here."
"Dean, we can't just leave. We need to find out what's wrong with your vision." The worry in Sam's voice was so strong Dean imagined he could taste it. And it tasted bitter.
"I want out of here. I don't think there is anything they can do anyway."
He felt Sam lean in close, whisper in his ear, "You think this has to do with the spirit?"
Dean shrugged. "What else could it be?"
"Well, we're going to find out." Damn. Sam was sounding just like he did after Dean's heart attack. Would he never let that one go? Dean was the one who looked after Sam, not the other way around. He heard Sam's footsteps walking away.
"Where you going?" Dean did not like being left alone in the dark. At least on a hunt he was armed, he was pretty sure he was not even wearing underwear much less his 45.
"To talk to the doctor. I won't be long."
But he was a long time. Dean did not know how long, since he could not watch the clock, but it felt like forever. He found the remote that controlled the tv. They only had four channels and the most interesting thing on was a gardening show. Giving up on it as a means of distraction, Dean finally shut it off to just wait. Not exactly his strong suit. When Sam finally came back, there were lots of footsteps with his. They took him all over the hospital, running more tests than Dean bothered to count. By the time they were done, all he wanted was to crawl between a set of sheets and sleep for a week.
"Mister Dolan," it was his doctor's voice again, coming over his shoulder as Sam helped him into bed.
"No more," Dean replied, knowing he sounded almost as tired as he felt. "I'm done."
"I was just coming to tell you that we will be able to release you tomorrow, if you agree. Your brother has been most insistent."
Bless you, Sammy. "Yeah, whatever." He settled heavily on the bed, collapsing under his own weight.
"I am trying to get your test results before you leave," her short, clipped tones grated on Dean's already raw nerves.
"Sam? She has got to be good lookin', right? Because she sounds like a-"
"Thank you, doctor." Sam's voice rushed to cut off his sentence. He did not care. All he wanted was some sleep. He felt his eyes close and the bed became softer, more inviting.
He laid awake in his bed, wondering what time it was. Dean had no idea how long he had been asleep, but he did know that various nurses and doctors had woken him throughout the night. He could hear Sam's soft snores close by on his left, probably sleeping in one of those horrible visitors' chairs. He hated those. He had probably spent nearly half his life either in one of those or being watched from one. At least he felt more like himself this morning. All the aches and pains were gone. Apparently the bad one in his arm was from the damn I.V. He sat up to stretch a little, enjoying the feeling of movement.
Dean's reflexes were returning, he started at the sudden sound. The voice was soft, probably whispering so he would not wake Sam. Dean faced the voice. "Yes?' he whispered, also not wanting to disturb his brother.
"Sorry," the male voice continued to whisper, "I'm one of the staff doctors. My name is Brett Myers." Dean nodded. Hurry the hell up. "I have your test results."
Dean sat up. Now this might be interesting, then again, the whole thing could be something that last spirit did to him. Probably the latter, that never did show up in these hospital tests. He waited a moment before nodding again, making sure Sam was still snoring.
"Should I wake your brother?"
"No," Dean shook his head sharply. "Let him sleep. Won't make a difference anyway."
He heard the doctor sigh. Apparently it would NOT make a difference.
"Mister Dolan, we can not find anything wrong with your eyes."
He grinned. "That's good, right? So my sight will come back soon."
Another sigh. This was so not good.
"Unfortunately, I can't tell you that. This means either the problem is some type of brain damage, which is not showing up on the CT scan, or psychological."
Now, that was unacceptable. "Excuse me?"
The sound of the doctor's feet shuffling said it all, but the damn man had to talk anyway. "The brain is an amazing organ." Dean groaned, leaning back into his pillows. "Sometimes when there is a great stress in our lives, or when we suffer a severe physical trauma, the brain will attempt to protect us from that event occurring again by making it impossible. It could be that your brain has decided that the best way to keep you safe is by taking your sight."
He shook his head. This was not making any sense. His brain was trying to protect him? "Bullshit. Get out."
"So what do we do about it, Doctor?"
Goddammit. When did Sammy wake up? His face was getting hot; it was probably turning red too.
"I would suggest consulting a psychologist. I've written down the name of one who has an excellent reputation and, uh, very reasonable rates for people without a large income." Dean directed a stony glare at Myers' voice. "Dean, you can leave after you've eaten breakfast. We have to make sure your stomach can tolerate food."
"I ate last night," he snapped.
"Sorry," the sharp snap of a notebook being closed, "hospital rules. I'll go ahead and start the paperwork, though."
"Thank you, Doctor Myers. We do appreciate it."
Shut up, Sam.
What the hell? That had to be the biggest load of crap ever. Even those so-called psychics, the ones you find at carnivals and renaissance festivals, had better stories than that garbage.
"What?" Dean was still glaring in the direction of Myers' footsteps.
"Maybe…" his voice trailed off.
"Oh. Hell. No." Dean turned to face his brother's voice. He felt the bed shift as Sam moved to sit next to him.
"But Dean, if it is psychological…"
"It's not!" He could NOT believe this! "Whose side are you on, anyway? And when did you wake up?"
"About the time he said there was nothing wrong with your eyes."
Perfect. You always did have great timing, Sammy. Damn it.
"It's got to be that spirit. We need to figure out what happened."
The bed shifted again. Sam was squirming.
"What?" He put that tone in his voice on purpose, the one he used when Sammy was little and refused to practice like Dad said.
"I already did." Sam sounded sheepish. This was going to piss him off, he was sure of it.
"And?" Don't mess with me Sammy. I'm not in the mood.
"Her husband was extremely abusive so she killed him."
"We knew that!" He was close to losing it now.
"Dean, there is absolutely nothing in the local history that matches what happened to you. No one in this area has ever mysteriously lost their vision like you did." A pause. "I can't explain it."
"Don't shrug, Sam. I can't see it."
"Sorry." He could hear genuine repentance in Sam's voice. It did not help.
"You must have missed something. When we get back to the hotel, you're going to have to read everything we have on her to me."
"Dean." It was that patient Sammy voice. The one that made Dean want to reach out and slug someone. "I've been over it and over it. There is nothing there."
"So we'll go over it again," he growled. The squeak of a cart being pushed silenced the conversation.
"Here you are, Mister Dolan," a chipper voice said as his rolling tray was pushed in front of him, over the bed. "Enjoy!"
Dean sniffed. "Fake eggs and toast. Oh well." He slid his hands along the tray until they made contact with the plate. There was a cover over it. He lifted the cover and set it aside. He fumbled with the plastic wrapped spork.
"That's pretty impressive," Sam's voice said as the plastic wrapped mess was taken out of his hands. He heard it ripped open and a plastic spork was pressed into his hand.
"What? Not being able to open that damn thing?" He experimentally prodded his food with the spork. When he thought he had some egg on it, he lifted it.
"No. Being able to tell what was for breakfast."
Dean sniffed. That one he would not comment on. He had his mouth open far longer than necessary, but it seemed to work. The sporkful of egg made it. He was not quite so successful with his second attempt, but by the time he had finished the egg he felt pretty confident. He decided to just cram the entire piece of toast in his mouth. Screw the butter.
He wiped his hands on his hospital gown. "Done. Now, where are my clothes?"
"Just a minute." The bed shifted again as Sam stood up. "Um, you aren't going to want any help, are you?"
Oh. Hell. No. "Just give me the damn clothes, Sammy. And wait outside."
After numerous tussles with clothes that never seemed so stubborn before, Dean was dressed and ready to go. A wheelchair was brought in and Sam was a little too helpful in getting him into it.
"One more thing, before I let you go Mister Dolan." When the hell did that doctor come in, anyway? This not-being-able-to-see thing sucked. "I would recommend that you wear sunglasses. As often as possible."
What the hell for? "Why, Doc?" Dean shifted in the stupid wheelchair. He hated these things too.
"Since your brain is not processing information from your eyes, it would be very easy for you to do something that you normally would never do which could really damage your eyes. Like stare into the sun or a very bright light. It is possible that you could see some light coming from those sources and be tempted to do so, but it would be a very bad idea. If you wear sunglasses, that is far less likely to happen."
"Thank you again, Doctor Myers." Shut up, Sam. "We appreciate everything you've done." Like Hell.
"Here, Dean." Sam's hand was reaching inside his jacket.
He batted it away, allowing the justified anger to rise. "Get off! I can do it!" He reached in for his sunglasses and put them on. "There. Everyone happy?" He knew how he sounded, ungrateful and sarcastic, but he could not have cared less.
A friggin' nurse waited with him outside the hospital while Sam pulled the car, HIS car, around. The purr of his Impala practically made his mouth water. The nurse's hand kept him from leaping to his feet as his car approached. He heard the driver's side door slam.
"Are you friggin' kidding me?" he growled, allowing Sam to direct him inside the passenger seat. The sunglasses were starting to bug him. Usually he only wore them when he was hungover or just dead tired during the day and needed to sleep in the car. He fiddled with them.
"Keep those on."
"Shut up," he snapped. "Dude, I am not two. And if I were, you wouldn't even be here!"
"Sorry," Sam mumbled. Dean almost felt sorry for what he said. Almost.
"Still have the hotel room?"
"No. We'll have to check into a new place."
More out of habit than anything, Dean turned to face his brother. "Why?" Silence. Just the purr of the motor. "Sam? Why?"
A deep, pained sigh. Shit. Here we go – chick-flick moment.
"After they told me you were being admitted, I went back, loaded all our stuff in the car and checked out. There didn't seem to be any point in having a motel room no one was sleeping in."
Dean could feel his face scrunch. "And why wouldn't you be sleeping in it?"
Silence. Again. Shit.
Still silent. Definite chick-flick crap.
"Forget it," Dean turned away to roll down his window. He hung one arm outside the window, enjoying the feel of the air coursing over his hand. Scents rampaged through the car from outside. He breathed deep, taking them all in.
"Huh?" Must have caught Sam off-guard with that one. "Uh, yeah. I think it is."
"Something is blooming."
"Wildflowers," Sam answered immediately. Apparently he was trying to keep up now. "I have a motel all picked out. There is a bar nearby, in walking distance. After you're settled in, I'm going to have to go out for a few hours."
Without me? Bullshit.
"Oh, really? And where do you think you're going?" Without me?
"Dean, um, we're a little low on funds right now. I figure we have enough for one room for the night, dinner and maybe a few beers."
Dean sighed. Time to hustle some more money. "What happened to the money I gave you?"
Sam was strangely silent.
"Sam? I know you're there. You're driving."
Sam cleared his throat. "Needed it."
What the hell for, Sammy? Oh, I suppose it was for me? You're trying to tell me you used it to bribe those doctors into doing the tests faster. Oh, crap. I so don't wanna hear this.
"Nevermind," he snapped. He considered his options. "I suppose I could still hustle some poker. You'll have to read the cards for me, and try to keep a straight face." He frowned. Sam had never been that good at keeping a straight face, that was why he sucked at poker. "Or maybe I can get some waitress to do it for a cut."
"What?" Sam sounded agitated. What was wrong with him? "Dean. You just got out of the hospital where you were unconscious for TWO days. You woke up blind. And now you expect to go out and hustle poker?"
"Yeah. And?" Come on, Sam. What else should I do? Sit around twiddling my thumbs, listening to crappy tv and waiting for you to come back?
"Give me a minute. I'm speechless." Same old Sammy.
Dean chuckled. "I think we could play off their sympathy, too. Just a second, I'm working on it." He leaned back, playing with the air currents outside his window. Sam's breathing sounded labored, but he decided it was probably nothing.
"You can write the cards on my neck."
"I can what?!"
Dean rolled his head to face his brother's voice. "With your finger, or something sharp like a pencil. Write what I'm holding on the back of my neck. That way I'll know what I have."
"You want me to bluff every hand?" Shit, even Sam wasn't this thick.
"No." It was that patient Sam voice again. "I meant why do you think you have to do this?"
"What other options do we have? You got a fresh credit card I don't know about?"
"No. I'll just go out and get the money we need."
Just like that? Right, Sammy. And I'm the freakin' Queen of England.
"You gonna get a job or something?" Dean could not hold back his laughter.
"No." You sure are saying that a lot, Sam. "I'm going to hustle pool."
"Sam. Get real."
"What? It's the way we were raised."
"Yeah, but I'm good at it." He did not need to look into a mirror to know he was smirking.
"Maybe so, but that's what I'm doing."
He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "Sam…"
"No. Dean. No. That's final."
Final. Final? "Excuse me?"
"We are not discussing this Dean."
"You are not going alone. If you really want to do this, fine. But I am going with you." You prick.
"What for?" Now Sam was sounding agitated. Good.
"You need someone to get your back." Duh. I don't have to see to kick some ass.
Sam was quiet the whole way to the motel. He left Dean in the car while he checked them in. Dean allowed himself to be steered into the room. While Sam got their things out of the car, he stumbled around the room, exploring.
"What?" His foot hit something and he tumbled over, falling to the floor.
He felt Sam helping him up and tried to shake away the helpful hands. "You should have waited until I got back. I was only gone for a minute."
"Dude. I am not an infant!" He shoved Sam's hands off his arms.
"Fine!" Sam's huffing was clearly audible in the small room.
Dean rubbed a hand down his face. This was not going well. "Look, Sam. It's not that I don't appreciate the sentiment," but I don't, "but I need to be able to get around on my own. Okay?"
"Whatever." Was Sam snarling at him?
"So when are we going?"
"Going where?" Oh God. Was Sam going to start this again?
"To try hustling pool."
There was that huffing again. Now what? Didn't I agree to this already? "After we eat, I guess."
Dean shrugged. He reached out to find what he had tripped over. It was one of those motel room tables that usually looked one step away from the dumpster. He made his way around it, feeling along the wall until he ran into a chest of drawers. The sharp intake of air he heard told him that Sam was watching his every move. He tried to keep his face blank, not to scowl, as he felt along the furniture. His fingers found a doorframe.
"Door or bathroom?"
Dean opened the door and explored everything inside. It was so much like so many motel bathrooms he was certain he could navigate it with his eyes shut. Or blind and open. Whatever. He came out, feeling along the wall until he reached another door.
Dean nodded. He kept to the wall until he reached the beds again. "Which one do you want?" he asked.
"Doesn't matter. You pick."
He could feel the snarl coming over his face and let it. "This one," he said, kicking the bed closest to the door. At least if he had to get up during the night, he would not wake Sammy by stumbling into the other bed. Dean found his way to the far wall. He turned, set his back against it and started to walk directly across the room.
"Dude, what are you doing?"
Dean paused and held up a hand. "Counting. Be quiet." He continued until he ran into the far wall and the bathroom doorframe. With a nod, Dean felt along the walls until he reached the front door. He put his back against it and did the same thing across the width of the room. Then he stood for a moment, doing calculations in his head.
"Okay. Got it." Dean turned around, walked back to the front door, stopping just short of running into it. He reached out and tapped it softly. Next he walked toward the bathroom door. He reached out to tap it too, but the door was still open and his hand passed through empty air. He frowned, waving his hand around until it connected with the doorjamb. Perfect.
"Where you sitting, dude? At the table or on your bed?"
Dean nodded and walked straight over to the table. He felt around until he found an empty chair, pulled it out, and sat down. "Okay, here's what you'll have to do. When we get there, I want you to walk me to a table near the pool tables, then take me to the bathroom, show me where the stalls are," he stopped suddenly. "No, forget that. I'll hold it until we get back. Just walk me through the place to a spot near the tables, then to the tables and back. That way I'll know exactly how to find you."
Sam did not answer right away. He wondered if his little brother was thinking of just sneaking out, ditching him here.
"Dean? Where the hell did you learn to do that?"
"What?" Do what?
"To navigate the hotel room like that?"
"Dude, I have to get around in the dark all the time. Just one of those things about being me." He grinned. The truth was he had watched every Discovery and Learning Channel special on blindness and tried to adapt their techniques for hunting, with varying degrees of success. He heard Sam groan and knew his brother had assumed he was talking about sneaking out of various girls' rooms in the night. That was fine; his rep was still intact.
Dean sat fidgeting at his table, fingering his beer. The clink of balls made his hands itch. He wanted to hold a pool cue, flash his smile and do some serious hustling. Okay, not serious hustling. Just hustling. It was fun. He rubbed sweaty palms on his jeans, anxious about how Sam was doing.
"Hey, cutie," a smooth female voice was close by. He felt something brush up against his arm. Really close by.
"Hey," he replied with a grin, trying to aim it at the voice.
"Need another?" she asked.
"Not sure," Dean admitted. "Do me a favor?"
"Depends," she was leaning against his arm, speaking into his ear. "What is it?"
"Look over at those pool tables and tell me what the tall guy with shaggy brown hair is doing."
"Why? Can't you look for yourself?" She shifted against his arm.
Dean could not help the smile broadening on his face. If he weren't so concerned about Sam…That's right. This was about Sam. "Afraid not, darling. Kinda, um, can't see right now." Ouch, that hurt to say.
"For real?" Her body stiffened and she pulled away. He sighed, he had wondered how she would react.
"Yes, for real. Please, can you just tell me what my brother is doing over there? Please?" What, did he have to beg now? Jesus, this really sucked. When they got back to the motel, Sam had to read all that research on the spirit to him. They must have missed something the first time. There had to be a reason for this.
He felt her lean against him again, but this time she was not leaning down to talk to him. It felt more like she was stretching up to look over him. He could smell flowery perfume mixed with beer. He was starting to wonder what he had asked her to do for him and why it had not been sneaking off to a secluded corner…
"I don't see a guy with shaggy brown hair. Oh, but you know what? I think I saw four or five guys go out back a couple of minutes ago."
Alarm bells went off in his head. "Out back? Where is that?" His hand shot out and made contact with her shoulder. Dean was on his feet so fast his chair clattered to the floor behind him. "Take me. Now!"
She gave a gasp as she backed away. Dean held on tight. "Come on, it's my brother!" He shook her shoulder.
"Okay, okay." She turned around. Dean readjusted his grip to hold her shoulder and walk behind her. Too bad Sam was so tall, this was actually a pretty nice way to be led around. "Here's the back door."
"Open it," with his free hand, Dean automatically reached for his 45. But Sam never did give it back to him. "Damn it."
"What?" She froze.
"Nothing. Come on, let's go." He gave her a little shove. The door creaked as it opened and he could hear several male voices.
"We need to teach punks like you about hustling in our place."
Oh, shit, Sam. You sure can pick 'em. "Sam?"
"Go back inside, Dean. I can handle this." Sam sounded gruff, winded.
"Yeah, sounds like you're doing great so far." He squeezed the waitress' shoulder. "How many?" he asked her in a low voice.
"Um, not counting the guy pinned against the wall, five."
"Five, huh? You're slipping, Sammy." He gave her a shove toward the door, releasing her shoulder. He waited until he heard the door close. He stood listening, trying to pinpoint each individual by their breathing.
"And who do you think you are?"
"Well, and this is just a guess, mind you, but I'd say I'm the brother of the guy who just kicked your ass at pool." He flashed his best superior smile, the one designed to provoke a fight. Heavy footsteps came toward him.
"Don't! Leave him alone!" Shut the hell up, Sammy. "He's blind, he can't see you!"
Dean let his arms hang loose at his sides, wondering when this guy was going to make his move.
"Blind, huh?" There was a sneer in this voice.
Dean's grin broadened. "As a bat. Bet you can't even take down a blind guy."
"No, seriously," the smile dropped, leaving no trace it had ever been there, "want to bet on it?"
"Dean!" Shut. Up.
The guy laughed. "And what are we going to bet?"
"I take you; you and your cronies release my brother and give him the money he won."
"And when I win?"
Dean chuckled. "Well, I seriously doubt that will happen. But if it does, we give you back your money and clear out of town by morning. What do you say?" He bounced on the balls of his feet a couple of times, anxious for it to start.
"No, Dean!" The sound of Sam's struggles only served to piss him off even more.
"Well?" Dean demanded, readying himself for the first blow.
"Dean!" The pitch of Sam's voice told him all he needed to know, there was a fist coming his way. A lifetime of fighting had heightened his reflexes beyond what most people expected. He could almost see the fist whizzing through the air, aimed at his face. He deflected it easily. Another fist, another deflection. Dean could not help himself, he grinned. This was going to be easier than he thought. After playing with the guy for a little bit, he moved in, delivering some blows of his own. He backed the guy down with some body blows and then a severe uppercut knocked him out. He hoped.
"Sam? Is he out?" No answer. "Sam!" He heard the thrashing ahead and to his left. Dean leapt at it, throwing all his weight into the first person he made contact with. "Sam!" There was a muffled response to his cries, from his right. Dean threw blow after blow, lashing out wildly, trying to get to Sam.
"Dean!" His hand was still in the air, ready to strike another blow. It still came down, but open this time to grasp a shoulder.
"Yeah, it's me. We got them. Come on," Sam's hands were helping him straighten up. "Big step here," he stumbled over a prone body as Sam led him back toward the door.
"Wait," Dean stopped.
"What? What is it?" Sam's hand that was still on his elbow tightened.
"What about the money? Did you get it?" There was a chuckle. "Did I say something funny? You did win, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, I won. Just a minute. And this time, don't move, okay?" Sam let go. He could hear his brother move off and some grunting and the thumps of unconscious bodies being moved. Then Sam's shuffling feet came back and there was a hand on his elbow again.
"So you got it?"
"Yeah, I got it."
Sam sighed. "Four hundred."
Dean stopped short. "Four hundred! On one game? Dude, no wonder they wanted to kick your ass! Are you crazy?"
The pressure on his elbow increased. "Come on, Dean. We'll work on my hustling skills later, okay?"
Sam paid their beer tab, leaving a generous tip for Dean's waitress, and drove them back to the motel. Sam was still quiet when he tended to the cuts and bruises on Dean's face. When Sam did not even turn on the television, but just sat on his bed breathing, was when Dean reached his breaking point with the silent treatment.
"Sam? You pissed?"
There was a heavy sigh. Oh, crap. "It's my fault, isn't it?"
"Of course it is! You gotta finesse your mark, work up to the big money."
Another sigh. "No, not that." Shit. Now what? He waited, wondering if they were headed for territory already claimed by Oprah or Springer. "The doctor said that your blindness could be psychological, caused by undue stress or trauma." Shit – it was Oprah.
"He never said undue," Dean interjected, not liking where this conversation was headed.
"I should never have made you promise. But Dean, I needed to know that-"
"Shut up." I mean it, Sammy. You really need to shut up now. "Anything that doesn't suck on tv right now?"
"Dean, I am not turning on the tv and we are discussing this. Right now."
Dean let out a suffering sigh. "Bitch."
"Stop trying to change the subject. You know, you just proved that you can take care of yourself, and me, blind. So, even blind, I'm going to hold you to that promise."
Sam's smarmy face irritated the fire out of Dean. He glared back, restraining nothing. "Oh, really?" What more could he say? Plenty! "You rotten little brat! I spend my whole life looking after you, taking care of you, and what happens? You get so scared you might go darkside you trick me into promising to kill you? What? So you won't have to worry about it anymore?" He was standing now, glowering at his brother. It felt good to finally get all this off his chest, and the shocked look on Sammy's face made it all worth it. "You're as much of an ass as Dad! How dare you make me keep that promise!" His finger was visciously stabbing in Sam's face, making Sam lean back out of the way, his eyes wide. "You know, I might just take a page out of Gordon's book after all. How would you like that, huh? Kill you now? Would you like that!" He pressed a hand on Sam's chest, knocking him over backwards onto the floor.
From his prone position on the floor, Sam looked up and laughed at him.
"What the hell is so funny?"
"Apparently it wasn't the spirit after all, Dean." Sam stood up, rubbing his back and chuckling.
"What wasn't?" he snarled, still not seeing the humor in anything, especially his life right now.
Sam was grinning from ear to ear. "Looks like you have your sight back. Must have been psychological after all." Sam was gloating and beaming at the same time.
Dean froze. One hand reached up to pull away the sunglasses. His eyes roved the room, taking in the tacky wallpaper, worn furniture and antiquated bedspreads. Shit. He was never going to live this one down.