It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn

Summary- Tag for Dream A Little Dream of Me- Dean and Sam are trying to find Bela when an unexplained consequence pops up from the previous hunt. Hurt Sam, Protective Dean. Written by BlueEyeDemonLiz and Gidgetgal9 A big thanks goes to our beta- sendintheclowns- who also provided us with the prompt to write this!

-0-

Dean was on an adrenaline rush as they tore off after Bela. The bitch had stolen the colt right under their noses. She would pay once he found her.

He and Sam hadn't had any leads so they had decided to back track to Bela's apartment to see if they could find any clues to where she might be. Bobby on the other hand was scoping out the local gas stations on the way out of town.

Dean could tell that something was bothering Sam. He hoped that it wasn't something that Sam had witnessed under the influence of the dream root while in Dean's dream. That was something Dean didn't want to talk about but he decided that he needed to know.

"So Sam, why are you so quiet over there? What's on your mind?" Dean asked trying to sound nonchalant.

"Uh, I have a headache that's all." Now that Sam admitted it, Dean could see that the boy was a bit pale.

"Well college boy, if you took some Tylenol it might help. There's some in the glove box and there's a bottle of water under the seat." Sam gave an irritated look but took the drug.

It was late afternoon, and a bit early for them to stop but Dean was considering it. Sam looked like crap and if he was honest with himself, he was a bit beat. The dream root had definitely taken its toll on the both of them.

"Hey Sammy, why don't we find us a room and get some take out?" Dean noticed that his brother flinched as he spoke, as if in a trance.

"I'm okay, Dean. We need to get to Bela's apartment soon." Sam's voice was quiet and withdrawn.

The boy was definitely in pain, Dean could tell from his voice. Dean knew he needed to get Sam settled in a room so the boy could relax.

"Dude, you know that heading for Bela's apartment is grasping at straws. She's too smart to leave behind clues. It might be smarter to stop and plan things out- see if any of our contacts know anything. Besides, I'm starving." Dean smirked at his brother and could see that he was winning this argument as Sam weakly smiled back.

"Yeah, some research wouldn't hurt. Just be sure to get a room with wireless, okay?"

"Sure thing, Samantha!" Dean replied as he pulled off at the next exit, he was happy his research ploy had worked on his little brother.

-0-

Sam was relieved to stop. The Tylenol hadn't made a dent in his pounding head and on top of it Sam was feeling a bit nauseous. He hoped that the symptoms were caused by the recent stress of the hunt and not because he was coming down with something.

The motel that Dean had picked was a half way decent one on at least the outside. Sam watched as Dean approached with a room key and unlocked the trunk.

Sam opened his door and stood. He was immediately glad that he had the car to steady himself as he was hit with a wave of dizziness. Sam took a couple of calming breaths and slowly made his way to the trunk to get his bag.

As he approached Dean gave him a concerned look. "Dude, you're moving like you're eighty years old! I'll get your bag."

Sam rolled his eyes, and changed course towards the motel room. He leaned heavily on the door frame as Dean unlocked the door.

Dean plopped the bags down on the floor and then was off to the bath room. When he reappeared he had a glass of water in his hand.

Sam had sat down on the edge of one of the beds as his brother approached. Dean handed him the water.

"Drink it Sam, you're looking too pale. What's going on with you? And don't say you're fine, cause I'm not buying it." Dean said as he plopped down on the other bed.

Sam drank the cool liquid and had to admit it made him feel a little less shaky.

"Uh, my head is still hurting, and I'm a bit nauseous. I guess I'm coming down with something." Sam admitted to Dean. He hated Dean going into mother hen mode, but this wasn't something he could hide any longer.

"Ya think? You're dizzy too right? I saw you swaying when you got out of the car." Dean said as he took the glass from him and Sam nodded in defeat. There was no hiding physical ailments from his big brother.

"You want more water?" Dean asked as he rose from the bed.

"Nah, I think I'd just like to sleep for awhile." Sam said as he got up and started removing clothing.

"You do that, and I'll go and get me some grub and you some Sprite and crackers. I'll be back soon." Dean was already grabbing keys and heading to the door.

"Thanks Dean." Sam replied quietly as he finished stripping down to his boxers and t-shirt and then crawled into bed. It wasn't long before he was out.

-0-

Dean returned to the room with a burger and beer for himself and Sprite and crackers for Sam. He quietly entered the room and found Sam dead to the world, sprawled out on the bed.

Sam was laying on his stomach, with one leg sticking out from the covers. Dean smirked, poor kid never did quite fit on a motel bed. Dean gently put the wayward leg back on the bed and under the covers. Sam didn't even stir. The boy was really out of it.

Dean went over to small desk in the room and spread out his food. Once he was done, he hit the computer to email a few contacts about Bela and then settled in to watch some bad television. His brother hadn't moved the whole time so Dean decided that he would hit the hay too.

The clock display said 7:17am when Dean looked at it. He slowly sat up and was surprised to find that his brother was still asleep. Slowly rising from bed, Dean decided to make some coffee in the complimentary pot.

It was close to 8 am before Sam started to stir. Dean was on his third cup of coffee and checking leads on the internet when his little brother slowly sat up in bed.

Sam was rubbing his face and looked confused. He finally spoke. "Dean, when did the power go out?"

"It didn't." Dean replied smirking at his disoriented little brother. "Why would you think that?"

"Well, for one thing Dean, it's dark in here." Sam replied, rolling his eyes.

"Yeah, I didn't turn the lights on this morning 'cause I didn't want to disturb sleeping beauty." Dean watched as Sam's face went to one of confusion to one of fear.

"Um, Dean what time is it?"

"Little after 8 am bro. Are you okay?" Dean could see Sam becoming more tense.

"Is the sun up? Cause I can't see anything. but total darkness." Sam's voice was calm but his body language was anything but.

Dean stood and walked over to Sam. He noticed that his little brother was unable to track his movement and jumped a bit when Dean sat down on the edge of the bed.

"Sammy, is anything else wrong?" Dean had grabbed each of Sam's arms in a bid to show support to Sam but to also ground himself. His sibling flinched under his touch. This couldn't be happening.

Sam's tone became angry. "Uh, I can't see Dean, so I'm not really worried about anything else at the moment."

Dean was in shock over the venom coming out of his brother's mouth. Sam's comment wasn't just a sarcastic remark, it was full of anger.

Before letting himself act out in anger and hurt over his brother's tone, Dean reminded himself that Sam tended to get this way when he felt things were out of his control. Anger was Sam's way of masking his fear, something that little brother had learned from his older sibling. Dean knew his best course of action was to calm his little brother.

"Calm down Sam, other symptoms could be important in figuring out what's happening here. Does your head still hurt?" Dean tried to keep his tone calm even though he was ready to freak out. A blind scared Sammy was definitely pushing all of Dean's protective big brother buttons.

"Yeah, my head still hurts and I'm still a bit nauseous. What are we going to do Dean?"

Dean could hear the panic in Sam's voice and knew that it was up to him to keep Sam together.

"We're not going to freak out for starters. I'm going to help you get dressed and then we are going to find a local hospital." Dean had already gotten up and was grabbing Sam's clothes off the floor from the day before.

"But we can't Dean, we can't go. We're wanted!" Sam's voice was full of fear and it broke Dean's heart.

"Don't worry Sammy, we're in some podunk town, that maybe has a handful of cops. We won't get caught. Now get up and help me get you dressed." Dean could see Sam acceptance of his reasoning and slowly stood, swaying a bit.

"All right Sasquatch, let's see if we can get your jeans on without you taking us both out."

Helping his brother dress was a chore, taking Dean back to a time of wrangling a toddler Sammy into clothes, but at least Sam seemed calmer when they were done. He was even able to get Sam to drink a little bit of Sprite before they headed out to the Impala.

-0-

Waking up to total darkness had been one of the scariest moments in Sam's life and that was saying something considering his past.

He had been very glad that his brother had been there. Sam could tell that his brother was freaked out too, but was able to put that panic on the back burner in order to face what needed to be done.

Sam was trying to take deep calming breaths as his brother drove him to the hospital. Having to go to the hospital was enough to send Sam into a panic, but throwing in the blindness made it tenfold.

The rumble of the Impala's engine that was normally a soothing sound, was now nerve racking. On top of that, he could feel every bump in the road and that was not helping his stomach.

He knew that it was common for other senses to become more sensitive if you lost one, but understanding that and experiencing it first hand was almost more than Sam could handle.

The only thing that was providing comfort to Sam at the moment was his brother. Dean had his right hand on Sam's left thigh as he drove. That touch was all that kept Sam from losing it, well that and Dean's reassuring voice talking nonstop.

"Well kiddo, we're here. It doesn't appear to be a large hospital but it is decent size. I parked pretty close, so hold on and I'll grab you and guide you to the Emergency Doors."

Sam could hear the loud squeak of the Impala's driver door opening and then closing. He still flinched when his passenger side door opened. Sam swallowed down his fear and reached out for his brother.

"Dean, you didn't park in the handicapped spot did you?" Sam could almost hear his brother's eye roll.

Dean huffed. "What kind of person do you take me for?"

"Uh, the kind that avoids my questions by asking another. " Sam smirked, it was good to get one up on his brother.

"Yeah whatever Francis. Let's get you inside, before people start to talk. You're hanging all over me doesn't do much for my manly image." Dean slid his arm tight around Sam's waist guiding him from the car.

"Yeah whatever you have to tell yourself Dean." Sam replied. He was just happy to have his brother this close, keeping him stable in more ways than one.

The walk to the front of the hospital happened without incident. Luckily the sidewalks and walk ways were clear.

Sam heard the ER doors slide open and was immediately assaulted with the antiseptic smells of the hospital. The smells were so strong that he felt a bit dizzy again and grabbed his brother to steady himself.

Dean's concerned voice pierced the dizzy fog Sam was caught up in. "Sammy, you okay?"

"Yeah Dean, just the stupid hospital smells made me a bit dizzy. I'm better now." Sam loosened his grip and felt his brother stop.

"I could get you a wheelchair."

"No Dean, I'm fine. Let's just find the front desk okay." Sam tugged on his brother to move forward.

"Alright, but you better not faint on me, or will both go down and that'll ruin any of my chances with the hot nurses here." His brother's banter was all Dean but his tone was still full of concern.

They walked a few more steps when Dean told Sam to stop. Sam reached forward and could feel the reception desk.

A female voice pulled Sam out of his musing over how tall the desk was.

"May I help you?" The voice was full of curiosity. Sam was sure that they made a weird pair. Sam leaning on his brother with no apparent illness or injuries.

Dean answered before Sam could find the words to reply. "Yeah, you could. My brother woke up this morning blind as a bat. We're a little freaked out because we're not sure what's going on."

"Oh, wow. I'll page Dr. Burns. She is our head neurologist on staff this morning. Why don't you and your brother find a seat in the waiting room. I'll bring over the admissions paper work as soon as I find Dr. Burns." The receptionist's tone was full of sympathy.

Dean sighed. "Thank you. Okay Sammy, we need to take about ten steps and then turn right."

Sam nodded and let his brother guide him to the waiting area.

"Dean, what names are we using?" Sam asked once they had sat down.

"Well, I meant to tell you this, but with the dream root and Bela, I haven't had a chance. Uh, Bobby made his nephews Dean and Sam Singer, part owners in his business and got us legit insurance cards. Shoot, which reminds me, we should call Bobby." Sam could hear Dean fishing his phone out of his pocket.

"Wow, that was nice of Bobby." Sam really didn't know what to say, he was really touched by the gesture.

"Yeah well, I guess we are the closest thing he has to family and vice versa. It was nice of him, but he grumbled something about needing to do something so that we could go to the hospital and not get arrested. Damn." Dean huffed out in frustration.

"What Dean?"

"Oh nothing, just can't get any reception on the phone in here. I'll have to call him later." Sam heard Dean put his phone away.

They sat in silence for what seemed like forever, but was probably just a few minutes. When Sam heard someone approach.

"I found Dr. Burns. She is finishing up with a patient and will be out to see you soon. In the meantime, if you could fill these out, that would be great." Sam could feel the receptionist reach across him handing Dean the paperwork.

"Thanks." Dean replied as he took the paper work.

Sam heard the girl walk away and then his brother sighed. "You had to go blind just so I'd have to spend my morning filling out stupid paper work."

Sam grinned. "My mission for the day is accomplished, I annoyed my big brother." Sam was happy that Dean was keeping things light. It was keeping him sane.

Dean finished the paper work and returned it and still no doctor. The wait was beginning to wear on Sam. He was relieved to hear another set of footsteps heading their direction.

"Sam Singer?" A female voice called out as she approached.

Sam nodded in her direction.

Dean spoke up. "Yeah, I'm Dean Singer and this is my brother Sam."

"Hello, I'm Dr. Burns. I understand that you reported at the front desk that Sam can't see?" The voice was sympathetic but it was hard to read people without sight, Sam was learning.

"I woke up to complete darkness." Sam was surprised by the raw emotion that he heard in his own voice.

"I see. Have you suffered any head trauma recently?" The doctor's voice had a curious note to it.

"No Ma'am. Not recently." Sam replied quietly.

He felt Dean shuffling in the chair next to him. "Well, you see Sam here is a bit of a dare devil and loves ride in motor cross events and has had quite a few spills over the years, but nothing real recent."

Sam could hear the doctor scribbling something down. He was just glad that Dean was able to think on his toes and give a plausible story to Sam's past injuries.

"Well Sam, I think that the best thing to do is to examine you and run some tests. I brought a wheelchair, so we can head back to the exam rooms with no trouble."

"Can my brother go with me?" Sam hated the child like sound to his voice, but damn it he needed Dean right now.

"He may have to step out for some of the tests, but yes he can come back to the exam room with you."

"Thank you." Was all Sam could muster vocally to the doctor.

Sam felt Dean pat his shoulder and then reach to help him stand. "Alright Sasquatch let's get you into the wheelchair. No popping wheelies though."

Sam let his brother guide him into the chair and with a deep sigh felt himself being propelled forward. He took a calming breath and tried to get his emotions under control.

-0-

Dean was very happy that the doctor was allowing him to accompany Sam. At this point, he needed to be near Sam as much as his brother needed him. It was frustrating to have Sammy this weak and vulnerable with no idea as to why it had happened.

Dr. Burns was being very accommodating and understanding of the scary situation that his brother was in. Dean had been on edge when they first entered the exam room but relaxed a little as he watched her with Sam.

She explained everything that she was about to do in detail before touching Sam. His younger brother still flinched at the invading touch but was able to keep calm. Dean wasn't sure that he would have been as calm.

The idea of total darkness was a scary one and something that he wished that he could magically make go away for Sam. Sam had been through enough.

The other thought that kept leaping into Dean's head was that he was leaving Sam soon, and how could he leave his brother in this state? So vulnerable and open to attack. He pushed that thought away and tried to concentrate on getting Sam better.

Dean was allowed to be with Sam for everything but the scans of Sam's head. It was hard to leave Sam for even that small amount of time but he was reassured by the capable hands Sam seemed to be in.

Once the exam and tests were done, the doctor had admitted Sam into a room. She had told them that as soon as she knew something that she would be back.

"So kiddo, you want me to turn the TV on?" Dean asked once Sam was settled in bed.

"Nah, not really in the TV watching mood." Sam's voice was quiet and small.

"'Kay, but do you mind if I sit on the edge of your bed? The chair they have in here for visitors looks like a torture device." Dean hoped that Sam would let him sit with him. Touch and contact had seemed to keep Sam grounded before and Dean wanted to continue that support.

Sam rolled his eyes. "Sure man."

As Dean sat down he could see the tension leave his brother's body. They sat in silence for a bit until a cute blond nurse entered the room.

"Hi Sam, my name is Linda and I have some lunch for you." Dean gave the nurse a smile as she expertly moved the patient tray over to Sam and plopped the lunch tray on top.

Sam flinched at the sound of the tray being set down. But managed a weak smile. "Thanks."

"You're welcome Sam. I heard that you are having a bit of trouble with your vision. Would you like me to help you with your lunch or would you rather have your guest help you?" Dean could tell that the nurse had fallen for the innocent puppy dog eye syndrome and was ready to do anything to make his brother comfortable.

"Uh, this is my brother Dean, and I think it would be okay for him to help me. But thanks Linda." Sam's voice held a bit more confidence and Dean was proud of Sam.

Later he would have to tell Sam what an exceptionally beauty Linda was and that he had blown a wonderful opportunity.

Linda smile. "Alright Sam, but if you need anything just buzz me. Nice to meet you Dean." She gave Dean a bright smile.

"Nice to meet you Linda, and thank you." Dean gave her his patented Winchester smile and was happy to see the woman nod and blush as she left.

-0-

Sam could smell the food before Dean started opening lids and he was already making him nauseous.

"Well, Sammy it doesn't look to bad." Was Dean's retort as he looked at the food.

"You eat it then. It smells horrible." Sam replied.

"Well, I'm nabbing your ham sandwich, but the rest is just yucky. Wanna bite of the sandwich?" Sam could hear his brother reaching for said sandwich.

Sam shook his head no.

Dean sighed. "Well you need to keep your strength up. How about some orange juice? It even has a lid and straw so no mess."

Before Sam could respond, Dean had grabbed his right hand and shoved the Styrofoam cup in his hand. Sam knew that arguing was useless so he felt for the straw with his left hand and slowly brought it to his mouth.

The liquid felt good on his dry mouth and he drank it all with no complaints. Once he was done he felt around for the tray in front of him and sat the empty cup down.

"Good boy." Dean replied, mouth evidently stuffed with sandwich from the muffled sound.

"I'm not a dog Dean." Sam huffed back.

"Yeah, well sometimes I wish you were, dogs at least listen." Dean shot back.

Before Sam could reply there was a sharp knock at his door that made Sam jump. The compensating senses thing was wearing on his patience. He hated jumping at every unexpected noise or touch.

Dean must have picked up on Sam's rattled state because he spoke up before Sam could even find the words.

"Come in."

"Hi Sam, it's Dr. Burns. We got your initial tests back." Sam could hear her approaching his bed.

Sam was afraid to ask, but the need to know won out. "Did you find anything?"

"My initial thoughts were that you might be suffering temporary blindness from head trauma, which is common but we have found no evidence of head trauma. I'm hoping that when the other tests come back, we will have some idea of what is going on." Sam could hear the frustration in her voice and he shared it.

Dean was shuffling around next to him. "So doc, if this blindness is not caused by head trauma and you can't find any damage, what do you think is going on?"

"Well, there are cases of psychosomatic blindness caused by mental trauma, but I really don't think that Sam is suffering from any mental issues. So basically, for now I would like for Sam to put some thought into anything that might have happened recently that could be a factor. It might help is in our search for the cause." Sam could tell that the doctor was baffled from her tone.

Sam was at a loss and was now afraid that something supernatural was at play here.

He cleared his voice and spoke to the doctor. "I'll give it some thought, thanks doctor."

Dean shuffled again and his tone was dismissive. "Yeah, thanks doc."

"I'll be back as soon as I have more news." And with that Sam could hear her exiting the room.

Dean laid a hand on Sam's thigh. "So dude, what do you think? Anything happen while you were in my head tripping on dream root that could've triggered a mental trauma causing this psycho whatever blindness?"

"No Dean, I just fought with Jeremy." It was then that Sam realized that the answer was right in front of him. He had suffered head trauma at Jeremy's hands.

-0-

TBC

A/N: A big thanks goes out to our beta - sendintheclowns! Her advice and support is always appreciated!

Gidgetgal's A/N: I just wanted to say that it has been a blast getting to write with the wonderful BlueEyedDemonLiz and I hope that we get to write together again. She is an awesome writer and a joy to work with!

Thanks for reading and we would love to hear what you think of this tag to Dream A Little Dream of Me!