AN: This is a rewrite I've been meaning to do for a very long time. I was never happy with the way the original fic turned out but hadn't really considered picking it up again to give it a touch up, or in this case a drastic rewrite. I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters from Supernatural

Failure to Convince

"Wha' the..." the words slipped from Dean's slack lips before his eyes had even opened. Dust fell into his mouth and he felt his throat itch a second before his lungs protested in a fit of coughing. Blood pounded in Dean's head, behind his eyes; awakening pain receptors across his entire body. Forcing himself to draw slow even breaths the hunter fought to open his eyes and figure out what happened.

He stared in confusion at the ceiling above him, or what was left of it. Rotting beams hung jaggedly around the mouth of a hole, one that he had created. The memories flooded his addled brain in no particular order; the throbbing in the back of his skull making it hard to focus.

Vaguely he remembered entering the house with his EMF. As if the thought had summoned it, Dean heard the crackle and whine of his homemade device. The warning shot adrenaline through Dean's veins, for the moment pushing aside the pain. Gritting his teeth Dean forced himself into a sitting position, finding his right hand still clung to his favorite sawed off.

Breathing slowly, Dean searched his surroundings with green eyes that were fighting to keep focus. The EMF screeched louder and Dean caught a flash through the corner of one eye. Raising the shotgun, the hunter saw the image solidify into a woman seconds before he blasted it with a round of rock salt.

Dean forced himself to his feet, feeding off the adrenaline to get his body moving though his muscles trembled in protest. He stumbled up the stairs and pushed his way through the backdoor, only stopping when he reached the Impala parked behind the house.

"Damn..." he muttered sliding down beside the front tire, head falling into his hands as the pounding over took all thought. Drawing slow even breaths, Dean rubbed at his temples willing the pain to recede again so he could actually think.

Dean's cell went off in his pocket and he reached for it on instinct, bringing it to his ear without looking at the ID. "Yeah?" he growled.

"Did you find anything? " Sam's voice asked a half second later.

The memories flooded back again, this time with a little more order. They'd been drawn to this quiet Midwestern town by the reports of haunting. One of those simple hunts that they could clean up over a weekend; as close to a 'vacation' as he and Sam ever got. He'd left his brother at the local library to try and dig up reports of deaths attached to this house or property. The eyewitness accounts of the ghosts had varied drastically, as they normally did with scared civilians.

Dean had headed for the house, searching with his own eyes and tools for the usual signs. No one in town had been killed yet because of the spirit and they both knew there was a possibility that it was all a hoax, started as a joke. Dean hated dealing with those; they could cause just as much damage as a real haunting, as he and Sam had seen in Texas. Problem was, no one ever considered how dangerous their 'games' might be.

"Dean?" his brother spoke his name, sounding a little concerned.

"Yeah," he said forcing himself to focus. "We're dealing with a real spirit." Dean tilted his head back against the fender, feeling the cold metal against the back of his neck. "It's a woman," he continued, "you find anything that fits?"

"Marian Talbet," Sam began. "She died back in '73, an apparent suicide though the police always had a suspicion that her husband Peter was involved. But they were never able to prove it."

"Why'd she wait so long?" Dean asked massaging his forehead as the ache continued to grow.

"Not sure, but I think it's got something to do with Peter moving out last year," Sam theorized.

"What?" Dean asked in confusion. "Why would she wait? She could have had her revenge years ago." It just wasn't adding up.

"I think she was afraid of him," his brother offered and Dean could hear papers shuffling. "Some of the police reports I was able to dig up make me think she might have been a battered woman."

Dean bit back on a sigh; none of that really mattered now. "Where's she buried?"

"Local cemetery," Sam replied, "are you alright?" he asked after a moment of silence.

"I'm fine," he growled, forcing his eyes to open and willing them to focus. "I'll pick you up in ten," he said shutting the phone before his little brother could press him harder.

He only gave himself a moment before trying to get to his feet. His knees threatened to buckle more than once but leaning heavily against his baby, Dean made it to a vertical position. Blackness swam before his eyes in nauseating clouds that took forever to fade away. Dean swallowed thickly as his mouth watered against the wave of sickness. For a second he felt hot and cold. Perspiration stood out across his forehead, which he was sure had drained of all color.

Dean's vision cleared a moment later as he breathed heavily through his nose. Shifting his left hand on the hood of the Impala, Dean absently noticed the sweaty hand print that quickly faded away. He knew it wasn't good that he'd lost consciousness. Even for just a moment that was nothing to sneeze at; but his head was beginning to feel a little clearer, the longer he stood in the fresh air.

He took a moment running trembling fingers through his short hair, searching for any obvious signs of injury. The fingers of his right hand came into contact with a hard lump and he pulled away quickly; relieved to see there was no blood on his fingers. The rest of Dean's body ached to varying degrees; but over the percussion solo drumming in his skull he couldn't pinpoint anything serious.

Keeping a steadying hand on the hood of the Impala, Dean walked around to the driver's side door and pulled it open. He slipped inside quickly tucking his shotgun beneath the seat. The sudden change in elevation caused his vision to swim again; Dean willed it to clear, not about to leave his Impala behind. When the moment had passed he started the engine but didn't immediately put it into drive. Dean wanted to be sure he wasn't going to black out again.

With a quick glance at his watch, Dean knew Sammy would be waiting for him, no doubt getting more and more worried with every minute that ticked by. It wasn't a far drive to the library—with a town this small, nothing was far away—but Dean took his slow just to be safe.

His foot fell a little harder on the accelerator when he turned down the street with the public library, knowing Sam would be watching for him outside the building. Sure enough Dean squinted through the windshield to see Sam stand up from where he'd been sitting on the broad cement stairs.

Dean glanced at himself for the first time in the review mirror, seeing pale features and glassy eyes staring back at him. He swore silently forcing himself to sit straighter, look more alert. But he knew it wouldn't be enough, so he reached across the seat quickly for the pair of sunglasses he kept in the glove box. Moving proved to be a mistake; his vision blacked almost immediately.

"Dean?"

The older Winchester heard his brother's voice as Sam pulled opened the door and tired to nod in acknowledgement but couldn't tell if his head even moved.

"What the hell happened?" Sam asked his voice raising an octave with his panic.

"I'm alright," he managed to push out, surprised to find himself in a sitting position, Sam practically kneeling on the bench beside him.

"Like hell you are," his brother returned immediately, hands on either side of Dean's head, pealing back his lids.

Dean knocked the hands aside. "Lay off will you!"

"Tell me what happened," Sam demanded, his voice causing the pain in Dean's head to ratchet up a couple of levels.

He sank down against the leather letting his head fall back on the edge of the bench seat. "I had a run in with our ghost," he explained simply.

"Run in?" Sam scoffed, "it looks like she threw you around."

"Floor gave way," Dean corrected without considering the consequences.

"And you drove?"

Dean shut his eyes, willing the sudden wave of nausea to pass. "Dude, relax," he just barely managed to say.

"You drove with a concussion," Sam fumed with disbelief.

"Did not," he returned on reflex, denying in his own mind that the words sounded slurred.

Sam's fingers pressed against the side of his neck. "Colt .45, bowie knife, silver bullets, crossbow and shotgun," Sam listed, "repeat those back to me," he said flatly.

Dean recognized the list for what it was; a test of his short term memory. Something dad had done more than once to check for concussion. Why could he remember that, but not the five items Sam had said?

The older Winchester cracked an eye to regard his brother, frustrated when he found two of him. Dean shifted quickly, too quickly, as he pushed off his brother. Once again blackness swam over his vision, his face feeling suddenly cold as the blood drained away and his stomach clenched in warning. Dean just barely had time to get the door opened before his lunch made a painful and unwelcome reappearance.

Sweat sprung up on the back of his neck, making him shiver despite the fact that he also felt too warm. He could hear the buzz of Sammy's worry over the pounding of his heart painfully in his ears. Dean wanted to reassure his brother that it was nothing to worry about, but he couldn't seem to catch his breath.

When the retching finally stopped Dean moved to push himself up, but found Sam's strong arms wrapped around his chest and waist carefully pulling him back into his car. "What the hell were you thinking?" Sam was saying as the rush of blood eased up.

"I'm fine Sam," he heard the words leave his mouth, though he didn't remember saying them.

"You're an idiot," Sam returned immediately.

Dean's body rested limply against his brother, Sam's hands and arms feeling cool where they connected with Dean's skin. "Just a little food poisoning," he attempted with what he hoped was a confident smirk.

Sam wasn't the least bit convinced. "You're going to try and blame this on bad mayo?" he asked incredulously as he pulled Dean onto the passenger's side of the car.

Dean pulled a hand slowly down his face, wiping the sweat from his eyes. "Tasted kind of funny," he defended.

"Dad would so kick your ass if he were here," Sam pointed out as he got in behind the wheel.

That was a truth Dean couldn't deny. John never took head injuries lightly, they were among the few injuries that just about always warranted an ER visit. "'M alright Sammy…" he said once again slouching on the bench. "Just a headache."

"I don't care," Sam said and Dean could almost hear the shake of his head. "I'm taking you to the ER, why didn't you tell me when I called?" he demanded angrily.

Dean drew a calming breath and opened his eyes. "You worry too much," he told his brother bluntly.

The look Sam shot him was one of utter disbelief; Dean also thought he might have seen a flash of hurt but couldn't be sure. "You actually expect me not to worry when you get hurt?" he asked back voice low, controlled.

"I'm not dying every time I get a little banged up," he said after a moment, forcing himself to sit a little straighter as though that alone could prove it.

Sam sighed audibly gripping the wheel of the Impala tighter. "I never said you were," he bit out. "But I would have come and met you if you'd just told me about the attack."

"Didn't need you worrying…" he muttered under his breath.

"Well great job on that Dean!" Sam all but roared.

Dean winced at the flare of pain that caused. "What's eating you?" he demanded back, only vaguely aware of how stupid that question actually was.

"You worry about me all the time," Sam shot back immediately, "Why is that okay? But I can't be worried about you?"

"It's my job to look after you."

Sam offered Dean an unimpressed look as they pulled into the local clinic. "In case you hadn't noticed, I don't need to be protected. I can take care of myself."

Dean would have shook his head if he didn't already know it would cause the world to spin and his stomach to lurch. "Old habits die hard," he muttered pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Stubborn jerk," the words were barely above a whisper as Sam got out of the car but Dean heard them all the same.

"Annoying bitch," Dean returned as his brother pulled open the passenger's door.

Dean swallowed his pride and let Sam help him out of the Impala; his legs shook, not wanting to take his weight immediately and his vision blurred, fading grey around the edges.

"You still with me?" his brother asked worriedly.

"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled, "let's get this over with."

Sam led him inside the clinic and they were met almost immediately by the receptionist. Dean wasn't even given the chance to speak as Sam explained without hesitation what had happened to his older brother, Mark Stevens. Dean tried to remember what Sammy said, knowing he might be quizzed for the information later. He managed to offer the receptionist a half smile before she led them into one of the exam rooms.

Dean sat patiently on the exam table as an old man walked in a few minutes later. He answered his questions and submitted to the examination, but only because Sam had taken up residence by the door and he knew that was his only way out. An x-ray, later Dr. Landry informed them that Dean had in fact suffered a concussion and should probably be admitted for observations overnight.

Dean was about to decline when his brother stepped forward. "That's alright doctor, I know the drill. I'll keep an eye on him."

---SPN---

"Go away…" Dean groaned as a persistent hand shook his shoulder.

"C'mon Dean, I need you to open your eyes." Sam encouraged in a low voice.

"'M trying to sleep," he pointed out, eyelids fluttering despite his best efforts.

Sam was sitting on the edge of his bed watching Dean with a worried expression; his hand shifted from Dean's shoulder to his sternum. "You know where you are?" his brother asked.

"'Nother crappy hotel?" Dean guessed, blurry vision proving him true.

"That one was easy," Sam admitted. "Do you know what day it is?"

"April…" he trailed off for a moment, actually dredging up the memory. "Fourth," he answered finally.

"Good," there was obvious relief in Sam's voice. "One more, what alias did we use yesterday?"

The name floated to the surface almost immediately. "Stevens," he winced, the longer he was awake the more his body and brain began to ache.

"Alright," Sam nodded in relief, his hand moving to leave.

Dean caught hold of his brother's wrist, not willing to let go just yet. "Why?" he asked, brain already starting to fall back into sleep.

"Why what, Dean?" Sam asked softly, settling again on the bed his palm lying flat over Dean's heart.

"Why'd you bring me back here?" Dean lifted heavy lids forcing the words passed tired lips.

Sam smiled a little but it was genuine. "I'm not ready to see you in a hospital bed again."

Dean gripped his brother's wrist in a silent thanks as he slipped back into sleep.

Thanks for Reading!

Morganeth Taren'drel