There was one thing that his father had always taught Dean without even noticing it. By example, by being who he was. It was possibly the most important lesson that John would ever pass along to his son and one that Dean kept close to his heart.
Face your fears.
Dean knew the risks he was taking by removing the bandages prematurely; two weeks, the doctor had said only four days ago. Dean guessed that almost one week would have to do.
As soon as there was nothing but one more layer of gauze around his head, Dean could already see the brightness of the hospital lights. Dean wished those lights were out.
If he hadn't been racing against the clock, in a hurry to do what needed doing before his dad returned; if his leg wasn't broken and would allow him to roam around the walls, looking for the off switch; if that thing wasn't there, waiting for Dean to come out of the dark and face it...
Then again, if life were easy, he wouldn't be Dean Winchester.
So, Dean did his best to ignore the bright lights that he knew would hurt like a bitch on his eyes and forced his trembling fingers to peel off the last parcel of protection that stood between his eyes and the world.
As soon as Dean forced his sluggish eyelids open, he felt the jolt of pain that started at the surface of his eyes and went all the way though his brain.
He was glad his father had already disconnected the monitor. He was sure his heart was racing like a horse by now. He could hear it beating wildly inside his ears.
Everything was fuzzy, still wrapped in a veil of white even though there was nothing else standing between Dean's eyes and the room. He blinked the tears away, pushing his sight to give him more details about his surroundings. Everything was unfocused and foggy.
Dean could see his broken leg, peeking out from under the white covers of the bed, grey cast making it look like twice its usual size; the room was fairly empty, except for the scarce medical equipment near his bed and one plastic chair, pushed against the wall near the door. There was a blue painting on the wall, but Dean couldn't even venture a guess on what was on it.
On the opposite wall, to Dean's right, there was a window, thankfully closed. Through the tiny slits between the binds, Dean could see the intensity of the sunlight outside. It was probably noon or something. He was glad it had stopped raining.
The monster was leaning against the corner of that wall. It was big, its furry head almost hitting the eight feet tall ceiling.
"You should hide," it advised, sibilant words escaping a hole in the middle of it's face that Dean assumed to be it's mouth.
Dean pushed himself up, sweat breaking anew on his face. Too weak to do it alone, he used both his hands to drag his broken leg out of the bed. By the time Dean managed to sit on the edge of the bed, there were black spots exploding in his line of sight and he could taste blood in his mouth.
He wasn't giving up just yet, though. He just needed a minute to catch his breath.
"Daddy is gone... what are you going to do, cry baby?"
Dean hopped up, ignoring the way the whole room jumped with him and kept on spinning even when Dean's feet hit the floor.
The linoleum was cold against his bare foot, the other protected by a sort of shoe-shaped plaster. Dean ventured a step forward.
He was closer now, more details coming to light. Dean could see the size of the thing's teeth, the foul breath that came out of its mouth, the length of its talons. It was like nothing Dean had ever seen before, an odd mixture of wendigo, werewolf and that thing from Aliens.
"Come closer... you look tasty," it said, snapping its sharp teeth at Dean.
Pure rage bubbled inside Dean's chest. He was done with being menaced and played with. This thing had managed to shatter whatever trust Dean had struggled to earn with his father after the Shtriga attack on Sam; it had managed to force Dean to hurt his little brother; and it seemed hell bent on proving that Dean was nothing but a scared little kid.
Without really thinking what he was doing or what the hell two bare fists were going to achieve against such a powerful monster, Dean surged forward, screaming at the top of lungs for that thing to go away.
Time seemed to slow down. He couldn't be sure if it was an illusion caused by his failing eyes, but Dean thought he saw a moment of panic in the monster's black eyes seconds before Dean moved. In the back of his mind, Dean could hear the sound of his father's voice, demanding to know what the hell Dean was doing up, and Sam's gasp of surprise.
Dean's attention, however, was on the thing in front of him. The closer Dean got, the smaller the monster looked; less solid, like Dean's proximity was hollowing it out.
Dean kept on moving, ignoring the proximity of his fast approaching father, ignoring the black spots in his vision that grew larger and larger, ignoring the pain his leg that had picked that exact moment to make itself noticed.
The monster had no more nauseating words to share with Dean, no more superiority or advantage now that it had been chased away from the dark. It made Dean smirk, tasting victory already.
The moment Dean reached the wall, the monster vanished in a cloud of dust, dissolved into non-existence and reduced to a pile of dirt on the corner of the cold floor.
After that, Dean was more than happy to pass out, knowing that the presence behind him was his father and that he would surely catch him.
"Ice cream?" Dean ventured, feeling the cold package in his hands.
"Chocolate," Sam added with a smile that could be heard in his voice. He gabbed Dean's free hand to place a spoon there. "We're sharing," he added, in case Dean hadn't realized that yet from the size of the bucket in his lap.
Dean smiled, digging in. "I vote this ithe/i best medicine ever, dad," he voiced around a mouth full of delicious cream. "If you ask me, we'd fight nothing but thought-forms from now on."
John smiled, watching his two sons pig themselves on the large bucket he had brought home.
After a busted night of trying to hunt a skinwalker that hadn't actually existed, except for in the mind of the people who'd seen it, John had started to come up with a theory of his own on what type of monster he was actually hunting.
Arriving at the motel only to feel the impact of his oldest body on the hood of the Impala had distracted him from the hunt... until the moment John had returned to his son's hospital room and had seen Dean rush head-on at an empty wall.
Thought-forms were nasty things to hunt because they could only be beaten by those who actually saw them. The green dust on the floor was the only clue John had been missing about the fact that it was truly a thought-form that had been prowling that town.
The other nasty thing about those creatures was the fact that everyone saw them as a different thing, usually the scariest monster that they could imagine. It was all about fear, because their fear was the one thing that the thought-form was after. It fed on it, fear made it stronger and all the more scarier; an endless cycle that usually ended with the person dead.
There weren't many who would face a thought-form like Dean had. Even without knowing what it was that he was fighting, Dean had advanced without fear. And, even thought the possibilities of what might've happened to his kid filled John with dread, he was insanely proud of Dean's bravery. Even if the cost had turned out too high.
There was no cure needed after being in touch with a thought-form; there certainly wasn't need for ice cream after beating one of those things.
But his kids had missed Halloween and it did wonders to John's heart to see his sons so happy and behaving like the kids that they still were.
Tomorrow it would be another day and time to return to reality.
Tomorrow he would tell Dean that his eyes had been forever damaged and that his sight was never coming back.
AN: Ah! This was an interested experience, just writing with no idea where the story was going and just keep on turning the scary up. I had fun. I hope you guys had fun too :)
Beta work was done by the awesome Jackfan2. As always, any remaining mistakes are mine.