Supernatural isn't mine! Sam and Dean (unfortunately!) aren't mine! This was just an idea I picked up and ran with! It was the nurse in me worried about the effects of Dean's drinking!

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When Reality Hits

Dean was lying on the motel room bed, watching TV. He took another swig from the bottle of Jack Daniels he had sitting next to him on the stand between the beds. The alcohol left a slight cool burn as it slid down his throat. The alcohol-induced haze he felt was good. Comforting. It was what he wanted. It was his goal every time he took another sip. Everything felt a little bit better when the alcohol coursed through him. It didn't matter what kind it was. While beer was his first choice, hard liquor came up close behind. The buzz hit faster and lasted longer.

Yes, everything was more tolerable when he was drinking. Fighting monsters every day? Take a drink. Get ripped apart by Hell Hounds and die? Another drink makes the memory fade. Tortured in Hell? Drink. Tortured others in Hell and forced to remember the sick and twisted pleasure from it? Drink drink and drink. Sam using demon powers and sleeping with demons? While that pales in comparison to his own deeds, a few more drinks make those fade away. End of the world? Too drunk to care!

He had gone to the liquor store the same time Sam had left to do research for their next job. Dean knew Sam would be gone for hours and recent events and revelations had made Dean decide he really just did not want to think about anything anymore for at least one night.

So he drank.

He turned to look at the stand and was startled to see that he had finished two bottles of Jack Daniels and was well into the third. He had been watching a marathon of "I Dream of Jeanie" on the TV and hadn't been paying attention as he drank. He had also been too depressed to eat.

"Probably shou' stop," he mumbled in a drunken slur to himself. "Fuck. Sammy's gonna be pissed…"

He decided to get up and clean up the evidence. Sam hadn't said anything really about his drinking yet, but Dean was pretty sure he had noticed. He also didn't want the lecture he knew would come if Sam had seen how much he had drank. And he had drank a lot, even for Dean!

He sat up, but too quickly. The room began spinning and Dean felt his stomach lurch. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard, trying to keep the sickness down. He really did have too much. He wasn't sure when Sam would be back, but he wasn't sure how he was going to hide this from him. He opened his eyes and tried to stand, but it felt like the room had turned into a tilt-a-whirl and he couldn't get his balance. Suddenly, the room went dark and Dean collapsed to the floor.

***

Sam walked back to the motel from the local library. He had found a few bits of information for their next hunt, but nothing earth shattering. Not that Dean would care. Anything to keep him busy was enough for him. Ever since he had started talking about his time in Hell, Sam had noticed a change in Dean. It wasn't always apparent. Most of the time Dean acted like nothing had ever happened. But then there were the other times. The nightmares. The drinking. The subtle changes in his hunting. The way he talked about the future. The new uncertainty of their work. Sam knew Dean well enough to see the changes and could see the toll it was taking. But it almost didn't matter because Dean would just brush it off or tell him to shut up.

Sam stopped at a fast food place and picked up some burgers and fries for dinner before returning to the motel. He knew that Dean would be hungry by now and would want food. And if Sam didn't bring back something Dean would get cranky.

He heard the TV when he got to the door. He unlocked the door and went in.

"Dean! I'm back! I got us some food!" Sam called out. He saw the TV was on and the bed was rumpled, obviously from where Dean had been sitting.

Then he saw the empty bottles. The two large empty Jack Daniels bottles and the third bottle almost completely empty.

"What the hell?" Sam stared in shock. Dean had been drinking more, yes, but never that much!

"Dean!" Sam called out again. He felt a knot of anxiety tighten in his stomach when he got no response. "DEAN!"

He dropped the bag and went to the other side of the bed. And then he saw him.

Dean was lying in a crumpled heap in between the two beds. There was a pile of vomit next to his mouth. He was deathly pale and barely breathing. Sam rushed over to him.

"DEAN! DEAN! WAKE UP!" Sam screamed.

He shook him as hard as he could and even slapped him across the face, desperate for a response. Dean moaned slightly, but nothing else. Sam fumbled in his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed 911.

"I need an ambulance! NOW!"