Because of R, and one late, silly night.
Based on true events and pieces of furniture. Names have been changed to protect the cursed.
Seeing the Light
K Hanna Korossy
Sam Winchester sat on the motel room bed with a grateful sigh. The swamp mud was washed off, scratches disinfected, his stomach finally full after Dean had taken pity on him and run out for food while he was in the shower. All he wanted to do now was curl up in bed and read.
He could feel his brother's amusement at the pleasure Sam took in sliding between clean sheets and flicking the bedside lamp on. It had taken him a while to start enjoying the small pleasures again, but his requirements for contentment had grown simple those last few months on the road: both of them safe and together, a successful job where no one died, and a bed and food after. A new Agatha Christie was just icing on the cake. Sam settled back into his pillow and opened the book.
The lamp beside him buzzed and flickered.
Great. Sam wrinkled his nose with disgust and reached for the switch to jiggle it, but even as he touched the thing, the light settled. Oh well. Sam opened the book again.
Another flicker, and the lamp went out.
Sam's attention sharpened and he glanced around the room at the other lamps, briefly meeting Dean's gaze as his brother also looked up. None of the other lights were flickering, nor was there any ozone smell or sounds that might indicate spectral activity. Just a cheap motel room lamp, then. Sam sighed, starting to swing his legs out of bed. He could switch out the bulb out of the lamp by the bathroom door that they weren't using and let management know the next day.
The light went back on, and stayed on.
Sam paused, frowning at it, and gave the shade a nudge with one finger. Not even a waver. Hmm. Short, maybe? He slid back under the covers again, reached for his book.
The light from the lamp began slowly and steadily to dim.
"Dude, would you stop messing with that lamp?"
Sam gave his brother an exasperated look. "I'm not messing with the lamp—it's got a short or something."
"Yeah, well, turn it off then. It's annoying."
Right, because the game of solitaire Dean was playing on the other bed required so much concentration. Sam gave up and turned the light off, stretching to get the one by Dean's bed instead.
The lamp at his shoulder sprang back on, flickered, steadied.
Sam snatched his hand back, staring at the light.
"Sam," came the low growl from the other bed.
"It's not me!" He stared at the light, daring it to do anything other than its current cheerful shining. It seemed to have better sense than that. There wasn't even a shimmer of disturbance.
Sam watched it suspiciously for a long minute before deciding it was safe. Considerably less contented, he sat back against the pillows and thumbed the Christie again.
And hung his head in despair as the light suddenly winked off, then began slowly to brighten.
He jumped as water suddenly flicked across his face. Sam glared up at his brother, now standing beside the bed, bottle in hand.
"What're you doing? I just took a shower, doofus."
"Holy water." Dean held up the bottle with a smug smile. "The lamp's possessed, Sam."
"The lamp isn't possessed," Sam hissed, "it's just got a short in it."
"Not like any short I've seen." Dean splashed it again, inevitably hitting Sam, too, and while he spluttered, his brother just gave him another self-satisfied look. "See, it's bubbling."
"That's 'cause it's hot, Dean. Give me that." He grabbed the bottle from his brother's hand.
Dean shrugged. "Just trying to help you out, bro."
"Well, you're not." Sam tossed the bottle onto the floor on his side of the room, and turned back again to stare at the lamp. Holy water or not, it seemed to have settled down now, the light again a pleasant and steady glow. Dean went back to his game muttering about ungrateful siblings. Sam watched the lamp a little longer before, satisfied, he grabbed his book again. Thankfully, Dean's stupid exorcism attempt hadn't ruined it.
Slowly, as if it thought he wouldn't notice, the lamp began to dim again.
Sam's mouth tightened. He determinedly ignored it and opened the book.
Halfway to darkness, the lamp reversed direction and started to brighten, then flicked on and off a few times.
Sam gritted his teeth.
A sprinkle of salt crystals fanned out across his page. He hadn't even noticed Dean rising again. As Sam looked up to tell him to cut it out, the next spray caught him in the face. And the eye.
Sam yelped at the burn, jumping out of bed.
"You okay?" Now Dean was sympathetic. "Sorry, Sammy—let me see."
But he dodged the hands reaching for him, heading for the bathroom to wash out the increasingly painful grit in his eye, only to stumble over an inconveniently placed dresser. Bruised toes added to his woes, Sam danced across the end of the room with one hand over his eye, the other reaching for his foot. The salt felt like acid.
"C'mon." A hand snagged his arm in a no-nonsense grip, dragging him into the bathroom. Dean shoved his head down toward the running faucet and probably would have tried to flush his eye out for him, too, if Sam hadn't irritably pushed him away.
"This is all your fault," he complained as he ran water over his eye, and sighed at the relief of diminishing pain.
"My fault?" Dean sounded surprised by the very notion. "Who's been playing with a possessed lamp?"
"It's not possessed," Sam ground out. "It's broken, all right?" He raised his head to glare at his brother, but didn't fight it when Dean pushed him back down. His brother's hand rested on the top of his head partly to make sure he stayed there but also partly in tacit apology. Sam swallowed another sigh. He never had managed to stay mad at Dean very long.
The pain decreased to tolerable levels, and the hand finally let him up, giving him a final conciliatory pat. Still, they both winced at the sight of Sam's red eye as he examined it in the mirror. Shooting Dean a half-heartedly irritated look, Sam patted his face dry and went back out into the room. The steadily lit, flicker-free room.
Yeah, and it had better stay that way, too. Sam shot the lamp a nasty look, challenging it to act up again, and snatched Agatha up so sharply that the cover half-tore. Sam ignored the damage, his brother, and the world at large, determinedly sinking down on the bed to read.
The light began to grow even brighter.
Sam growled low in his throat, a warning even Dean at his densest knew to heed. The lamp froze. For about five seconds. Then it started dimming again.
"I found a good exorcism in Dad's journal," Dean offered helpfully from the other bed.
Sam's jaw would probably snap soon from the pressure. "It. Is. Not. Possessed."
"Right, it just doesn't like you. What is it with you and possessed light fixtures, anyway?"
Agatha hit the floor with a thump. "Dean, it's an electrical malfunction. They happen. Normal people call an electrician, or the front desk. Normal people don't automatically assume their light is evil and out to get them."
"Okay, did I miss the part about what 'normal' has to do with us and our line of work?" Dean asked.
Sam's eyes narrowed. "Sometimes a flickering light is just a flickering light, Dean."
"Yeah, but most of the time it's a sign things are going to start flying across the room at us."
He stared at his brother, wondering if they'd been on the road too long. "You're crazy."
"Hey, at least I'm not driving the furniture crazy."
Sam made a strangled sound and slid out of bed, scooping Agatha up on the way.
"Where're you going?" Dean gave him a concerned look.
"I'm going to go read in the bathroom. You and the possessed lamp have fun out here by yourselves. Just don't make too big a mess—you remember the TV in Peoria?"
"Dude, all it showed was televangelist shows. Tell me that wasn't freaky."
"Let me know when you're done chanting at the furniture." Sam stomped into the bathroom, surveyed the white-tiled room unhappily, then stomped back out again for the blankets and pillows off his bed. Dean opened his mouth to say something as Sam passed, but the glower he got shut him up. That was a good thing. Housekeeping would have enough to do the next day without cleaning up blood, too.
Which reminded him. Sam stopped short at the door, turned around.
"Oh, also? If any of my stuff catches fire again like in Austin, I'm burying your tape collection in a series of unmarked graves between here and Wisconsin."
Dean cast him an uncertain look. Sam smiled coldly at him, and went on into the bathroom, shutting the door none-too-gently behind.
Lined with blankets and pillows, the bathtub was only marginally uncomfortable. But he was tired, and Sam got through only two chapters before his eyes started sinking shut. He glanced up at the door speculatively. There hadn't been a sound from the other room in all the time he'd been in there, and it was hard to know if that was a good or bad sign.
Curiosity finally won out. Sam dragged his stiffening body up over the lip of the tub, rubbed a crick out of his neck, and cracked the door open to a softly lit, quiet room.
Dean was sprawled face down on his bed, and, for one heart-stopping moment, Sam wondered inanely if the lamp had been evil, after all. Considering a possessed lamp had indeed nearly choked the life out of Sam once, he really should have been at least a little more open to the possibility. Sam took a few stiff steps closer to his brother's bed, jarring to a stop as Dean made a sound in his sleep and turned his head to the other side.
Sleep. Safe from the somewhat sinister motel room lights.
Sam either had been on the road too long, or with Dean too much. He was willing to bet it was the latter.
He crept the rest of the way to the beds, trailing bedding. The only light on in the room was the freestanding lamp by the door, and it shone without any signs of spectral activity or bad wiring. Sam gave it a glance, then his sleeping brother again, and finally turned to his bed.
Where a single light bulb lay in silent sacrifice, a sprig of hyssop neatly draped over it.
Sam laughed softly, giving the other bed a fond look. Definitely been with Dean too long.
He threw the light bulb into the trash, made up the bed again, and climbed under the covers. The light by the door could just stay on all night as far as he cared; they spent enough time in the darkness as it was.
Dean breathed quietly in his sleep. Sam watched him a minute, wondering what scrapes and bruises his brother had gotten yanking Sam out of the way in the swamp and getting sideswiped himself. Dean had come out of the bathroom fully clothed, probably on purpose. He protected Sam in more ways than one.
Sam chewed on his lip, then surrendered with a sigh and slipped back out of bed. Grabbing a few supplies out of their bag, he crouched by the wastebasket and sprinkled the light bulb with water, salt, and oil, murmuring a few words over it. Then he moved to the lamp by the bed and repeated the same ritual. The supplies went back into the bag, and Sam finally crawled back into bed, shaking his head at his own foolishness. But he felt oddly better. It didn't take long to drift off to sleep.
And behind him, eyes shut and breathing slowly, Dean grinned.