A/N: I got this idea when I decided to tape my own hand up. I'm very, very odd.

A Single Hand

It was typical, really, that the one thing that stopped him hunting wasn't a huge, traumatic, accident that left him three limbs short of a whole body. Not that he really wanted to be three limbs short of a whole body, but it would be less frustrating if his injury was something more dramatic and obvious. You couldn't even tell what was wrong by sight unless you were looking closely.

You'd think, in this gig, you'd get a nice big scar from the one injury that put you out of action, but no, there wasn't a mark. Sometimes he wished he hadn't dived out of the way of that creature's claws, he would have, what, lost an eye? You could keep hunting with one eye, you just had to be more careful.

No, a hand had stopped Dean Winchester hunting. One hand. The most annoying thing was that it could have been prevented, if just one decision had changed he would be fine right now. It wasn't even one of those life-or-death decisions, it was one of those shall-we-go-to-the-hospital-or-shall-we-wait-and-see decisions. By the time they'd waited and seen, it was too late. And it's not like you can say "hang on, could we just go back a day or two to when my hand actually fucking worked and check into a hospital?" which had pretty much been his first coherent thought when he'd woken up that morning and his hand had refused to do anything he'd asked of it.

First coherent thought. That had come an hour or so after he'd actually woken up. A hour filled with panic and pleading with Sam for him to do something, just fucking do something and make it better! Because yeah, the hand had been giving him twinges, but there are twinges and then there's no movement whatsoever.

So yeah, hospital had been Sam's plan, which was fine and dandy until they'd ended up with the most judgemental doctor to ever walk the Earth. He said it out loud, he said it with his eyes, he said it with his body language "Why didn't you come sooner?" he said it in so many ways Dean would have clocked him one. That was, you know, if his best clocking hand had been moving and if the other hand hadn't gone on some temporary strike where all it would seem to do was hold his other arm at the wrist.

Nerves, that's what it was, something about nerves. Dean knew all the terminology now. He knew more about motor neurones than he'd ever wanted to and now he was just bored of it. Bored of having that useless appendage flapping around on the end of his arm.

Not quite useless, Sam always reminded him, he could just about hold a mug now. He'd been four last time that had been something to celebrate. And it wasn't like, "hey, stick a mug in this hand and we're laughing", it was more of "stick a mug in this hand and concentrate on keeping it stuck or else you're going to stain the carpet there, buddy". It was annoying and it was boring and it was frustrating. But he did have something to work towards. If he managed to drink while, say, writing with his other hand, Sam would let him take the Impala out.

He'd almost broken down and cried the moment he realised that his car-driving days were pretty much over. Sam wasn't going to let him out when he couldn't grip the gear stick because it would have to have been his right hand that got busted up wouldn't it? And while he'd learnt to do most things pretty well with both hands (all part of being prepared) there were just some things that you needed a right hand to do. Like driving, and writing.

God, writing. He never told anyone, but first time he'd tried writing he really had broken down and cried. He was reduced to a six-year-old's handwriting and seeing it there, that illegible even though he'd spent almost a minute on the one sentence, it really rammed home just how useless he was now.

Weirdest thing was learning to wipe his ass with his other hand. Odd, the things you notice when you've only got one working hand.

Picking up chicks was a whole new ball game now. As soon as they found out, pity came off them in waves and it took months before that stopped being a complete turn off. The things he used to be able to do with that hand, they would have loved him for it. Still, it wasn't all bad, in fact, it was sex that had made him realise that perhaps his nerves weren't as permanently damaged as he'd been lead to believe.

He loved that woman, couldn't remember her name but a part of him still loved her. It wasn't every woman that would turn to you right in the middle of the act and say I thought you couldn't use your hand? Dean's reply had got stuck in his throat as he'd realised that he'd been gripping this woman's arm. Muscles moving, fingers curving around her arm and holding tight enough that she could feel it.

The excitement had made him a lot more enthusiastic than he'd been in a long time.

Sam had laughed for about ten minutes straight when Dean came running in waving his hand, looking so God damn happy while he told the story.

It had been a while since then, though, and progress was coming along excruciatingly slowly. He still couldn't really pick things up, just hold them and any kind of dexterous movement was out of the question. Somehow, though, he still went to pick things up with his right hand. It had been, what, a year? And he still hadn't got used to it. Absolutely ridiculous.

Sam was all calm about it. He'd read books and gone on Internet forums, Internet forums, the geek. He was all about how these were normal reactions and how it could take a while to get used to it and how Dean shouldn't push himself too far. When was the last time 'Dean' and 'normal reaction' were mentioned in the same sentence? Heck, in the same paragraph? Dean did not get normal reactions, he dealt with it and got over it and just carried on.

Except that, you know, his hand didn't work. It always seemed to come back to that.

Next thing you know Sam would be insisting that they settle down. Because it would be easier for Dean now that he was... less able (disabled was a word you wouldn't want to say within a mile of Dean). Screw that, it might be easier for his hand, but it would be hell for his mind. He just couldn't stay in one place.

Anyway, hustling was still a main source of income. Dean did lose games more often, but the games he did win were far more lucrative. Seems people put more money down when they're playing against someone who can barely use their hand. Actually, when Dean got full use of his hand back, he might just go on pretending that he hadn't in those few circumstances.

That's when he got full use of his hand back, not if. Sam was all about not getting his hopes up and having realistic expectations. He could be such a mood killer sometimes.

Having said that, Sam was really... well, not to get too mushy and at the risk of sounding clich├ęd, he wouldn't have got this far without Sam.

The End.

Heh, anyone else seeing the LotR connections in that last line? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!