Glass Half Empty
Summary: Sam and Dean run across a ghost who just won't let them have any fun... Season one - Post Shadow.
It's been a pleasure and thank you for the kind reviews. Hope y'all enjoyed the story.
"Sam!" Dean turned just in time to see his brother land on the ground, apparently taken out by the mastodon tusk. He supposed, if you were going to get knocked out, it should at least be by something that awesome.
Dean started to kneel at his brother's side, but heard the crunch of glass behind him and quickly swiveled to face the more pressing danger. He couldn't see out of one eye, and swiped a hand across it to clear his vision. A piece of glass had apparently opened a gash in his scalp and it had decided to pour blood down that side of his face.
The possessed woman was still on the other side of the large room weaving her way through the display cases. Dean looked down and frantically began searching amongst the glass for the little hatchet pin Sam had found.
"This is a dry town now," Carry called. "I've seen to that. You will have to go elsewhere to find your filthy liquor, although I will see to that, too, soon enough."
Dean groaned, still searching for the pin. What he wouldn't do for some filthy liquor right now. That was part of what was pissing him off, though. He liked a beer now and then, but he had rules about any serious drinking. Their lives were too dangerous. The possibility of being caught unawares, of being taken out just because he wasn't on the ball was too high. Their dad had always had a barely-controlled problem, and when he'd fallen off the wagon, Dean was the one who'd had to take up the slack. Since the fire, Sam had had a couple of bouts of fall-down-drunk time. Even then, Dean had been careful. One of them had to be on point.
"Lady," Dean said loudly, "it's no wonder your first husband was a drunk. You're enough to send any man straight to the nearest bar."
The woman let out an ear-piercing screech and Dean turned in time to see some sort of obsolete farm tool that he couldn't even name flying at his head. It crashed into the shelf behind him and fell to the floor. "Good call, Dean. Piss off a woman in a room full of sharp objects."
"He was a useless man," she screamed. "He died and left me with nothing just because he couldn't get his head out of a bottle!"
Despite the odds of his being skewered by agricultural equipment, Dean had to stall her until he could find the brooch hiding in all the glass on the floor. "Lady, you were stone-sober, but that didn't stop you from leaving your second husband in the lurch," he shot back. "You abandoned him."
Dean expected another tool to fly at him, but the woman's eyes narrowed. "The cause was more important. I found my calling and had to go. David had to be left behind for it to happen."
Where had Dean heard that kind of logic before? Sam and Dad had done a whole lot of yelling, years' worth, and Dean certainly hadn't been left out of it or come out unscathed. Sam had found his calling. Education, a job, safety, normal. Hunting and the people who made it their life had to be left behind. Sam had abandoned him for the call of the sweet life.
"Don't pretend you don't understand," Carry snapped.
"Oh, I get it all right," he nearly snarled.
"How many times have you done the same thing?"
"Me?" Dean asked, drawn up short. Sam, yeah, but what was she talking about?
"How many women have you left behind for your cause? How many friends?" she demanded. "How many people you care about have you abandoned because there is important work that has to be done?"
Faces, dozens of them, flashed before his eyes. Cassie, first, but then others, some he'd liked, some that he'd more than liked, that it could have turned into more, not that he'd ever know because he'd left. How many almost-friends in how many places had he given a handshake and then driven off, never to look back?
Dean could feel his temper getting the better of him. He wasn't trying to keep people from getting liquored up. He was keeping them from getting killed. It was important. "You bossed your husband around until he divorced you from across the country," he shouted.
"You bossed your brother around until he moved across the country."
Crap. Dean hated arguing with smart ghosts. He especially hated it when they were right. He knew how much blame fell on his shoulders for Sam taking off. His brother hadn't left him because they were both under Dad's thumb. He'd ditched Dean because when it came down to it, Dean did what their father told him to do. The job had to be done. His father was a good man, a brave man, and he loved him. Dean was willing to make sacrifices to make sure his father had the backup he needed. Dean had his calling and he'd parted ways with Sam to follow it.
Dean swiped a hand across his eyes again to clear the still oozing blood from his vision. He looked down at his unconscious brother. Maybe he and Sam weren't so different after all. There was a reason they hadn't talked for years while Sam was at Stanford. They'd both been willing to abandon the other to do what they thought was necessary.
Dean didn't know if that was still true. The thought of leaving Sam… Or of Sam leaving…
Dean saw the hatchet pin. It was peeking out from beneath the shelf next to the tusk. He dragged it out using his foot and pulled the small canister of salt from his pocket. He popped the top off and unceremoniously dumped it all over the pin.
Carry started making her way toward him again. The ghost knew something was up and Dean had to duck as a shelf full of Mason jars flew toward him, crashing into the wall behind him. A display of hatpins was next, flying at him like daggers, just missing him by inches. He tried to shield Sam as best he could while more random object flew at him. A harmonica smacked him in the nose and he had to blink away the stars as he knelt and fumbled in his brother's pockets to find the tin of lighter fluid he'd been carrying. Dean thumbed off the stopper and shot a stream out, quickly dousing the salt and pin. Moments later the little pile was burning, and Dean turned warily in the ghost's direction.
Carry was standing in the middle of the room, looking around her, a ferocious frown on her brow. "What have you done?" she demanded.
Dean couldn't help a smirk. "Lady, Prohibition's just been repealed." He felt his ears pop, like there had been a change in air pressure, and the possessed woman fell to the floor unconscious.
Dean slumped back against the nearest display case, all of his aches and pains suddenly returning with a vengeance. He sighed. "I need a drink."
Dean broke into a doctor's office on the way back to the motel. Sam's wrist was a mess and there was no way he could take care of it without proper supplies. Unfortunately, he'd had to take care of stitching his own head back together first. He couldn't patch Sam up if he was still bleeding everywhere and couldn't see out of one eye.
Sam sat on his bed, patiently waiting as Dean finished bandaging his wrist. Dean moved on to disinfecting his billions of nicks and cuts and Sam sighed but allowed it. He was still a little woozy, and they both knew he probably couldn't manage the job.
"How's the head?" Dean asked.
"I got hit by a harmonica."
Sam scowled. "I got hit by a tusk."
Dean paused and then chuckled. "Ok, I'll give you that one. You win."
"It's not funny," Sam said petulantly.
"How is that not funny? Funny and awesome."
"S'not awesome," Sam muttered. He dropped his head and Dean immediately grunted in disapproval. Sam dutifully turned his face back up and allowed Dean to continue to disinfect the cuts. The claw marks from the daeva were still angry and red, and Dean was careful to go over them as well. He would see to his own after Sam had been taken care of. He knew he'd torn a few stitches out during the standoff in the house. He'd had to work too hard to keep the possessed woman back. He was getting really tired of re-doing those. If his dad hadn't ditched him again, he would've let him redo them. His dad's stitching had always been better than Dean's.
Dean clenched his teeth angrily and Sam hissed as Dean pressed a little too hard at one of the cuts. "Sorry," he quickly said, and waited for Sam's murmur of forgiveness.
Too dangerous. Their dad said it was too dangerous. Sam had nearly had his hand hacked off, they both had concussions caused by everything from a beer mug to a tusk, and they were both bleeding enough that it looked like a serial killer had used their room to dismember a body, their second room, since the first looked like an ax murderer had gotten loose in it.
"Dean?" The uncertainty in his brother's voice brought Dean quickly back into focus.
"I don't care if it is dangerous. I don't think we should've let dad leave."
Apparently, working on the injuries from the daevas had brought Sam to the same line of thought. Dean let his hands fall away from Sam and sat back on the other bed. He let out a slow breath. "Doesn't matter now, Sammy. He's gone and we won't find him until he wants to be found."
"That's not the point," Sam shot back.
Dean frowned, nonplussed by his brother's tone. "Then what is the point?"
"I want you to agree that we shouldn't have let him go."
"I doesn't matter," Dean said again. "It's a moot point." Their father had to know more than they did. He had to, or he wouldn't have just ditched them. Again.
Sam stood up angrily and started to move away, but he began to sway and Dean quickly stood to steady him. Sam shook his hand away impatiently. "You never listen," Sam bit out.
"You think I don't listen?" Dean said a little too loudly. "Why do you think I let Dad go?"
Sam turned at that, once again uncertain. "What?"
"Dude, you'd just told me I was gonna have to let you go, because it was...," Dean waved his hand vaguely, "what you wanted... or good for you or whatever." Sam's eyes narrowed at that, so Dean quickly continued. "That's why I let him go. It's because I listened to you, man. I trusted him to know what he was talking about."
Sam pursed his lips, the wheels visibly turning. He wasn't happy, but he couldn't really argue with Dean for listening to him.
"I always listen." Dean felt a smirk coming on at Sam's skeptical expression. "I do. I listen. Sometimes, I just think you're full of crap."
Sam snorted and shook his head. It apparently left him lightheaded and he sat down heavily on the bed. Dean sat down on his own more gingerly, protecting his side as well as all his other aches and bruises from more jostling.
"I think Dad was full of crap," Sam said quietly.
Dean met his eyes. "Maybe."
His acquiescence seemed to pacify Sam and he nodded. "We never did get you that drink."
"Sad, but true."
Sam frowned. "We've been banned from the bar and I'm pretty sure they're never gonna let us in the Walgreen's again."
Dean laughed at that and stood up, already digging in his pockets. "You got any change?"
Sam pulled a few coins out with his good hand and passed them over. "Where you going?"
"Coke machine." Dean shrugged. "Kinda off the booze tonight anyway. Go figure."
Sam huffed. "Probably a good idea anyway, with the concussion and all."
"Probably." Dean grinned and pulled the door open. "Dude, a tusk. That's awesome."
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed a little lighthearted season one romp. Now, honest to goodness, I'm gonna go work on the sequel to Loose the Hounds. Really. Unless something else comes up.