Once upon a time I promised MysteryMadchen that I would write a blind!Sam fic. I had plans to write another fic before this one, but I had this idea and I just went with it. I hope everyone enjoys it. :)
Takes place in season 2, sometime between Hunted and Born Under a Bad Sign.
There was nothing remarkable about Carlos, Minnesota, Dean thought, except maybe the fact that just outside of town there was a strip club called Lookers. Which, okay, was a little bit strange for a town with a population of 702. Talk about getting your priorities straight – the town didn't even have any place to get groceries other than the gas station/bait shop which happened to be just down the street from the strip joint. Dean was hungry though, and they were passing by, so he and Sam stopped at a cafe called Herby's.
Herby wasn't around, apparently, because the only employees working at the time were two teenage girls wearing way too much makeup and way too many piercings. Still, Dean was going to tip their waitress generously. If not because she was an excellent server, then because she was wearing a really great, low cut top. Also, her name tag said Trixie. Dean told Sam that Trixie had a future working at Lookers, and Sam called Dean a pervert.
The cafe served breakfast all day, and Dean ordered a breakfast sampler, which included a little bit of everything. Sam had a ham and cheese omelet. They finished off the meal with coffee and Dean sat back in the booth contentedly as he studied the small restaurant. Other than Sam and Dean, there were only three other customers in the cafe: a middle aged couple sitting at the other end of the dining area who were just a little bit too lovey-dovey for Dean's liking, and an older woman with white, curly hair and a cat on her sweater who couldn't seem to keep her eyes off Sam.
"Looks like you got a new girlfriend, Sammy." Dean teased.
Sam shot him an unimpressed look, but lowered his head anyway in an attempt to hide from the woman's gaze. Dean smiled at her and waved.
As they walked through the parking lot to the Impala, Dean patted his full stomach and yawned. "You wanna drive?" He asked his brother. "I'm gonna try and take a nap so we don't have to stop later."
Sam held his hand out for the keys without a word and they jangled as he took them and walked around to the driver's door. They didn't have anywhere to be, exactly, but the thought of getting a hotel and turning in for the night made Dean feel restless. He wanted to put as many miles between them and their latest hunt as possible. A demon in North Dakota left a bad taste in Dean's mouth when it knew a bit more about Sam than what Dean was comfortable with. They exorcised it and sent it back to hell, but Dean felt better and better the more miles he put between Sam and that memory.
They hadn't been driving for ten miles when the car came to an abrupt, screeching halt in the middle of the road. Dean wasn't quite asleep yet, but wasn't fully awake either – drifting somewhere in between, fantasizing about the girls at Lookers. The sudden stop jolted him awake though, and he was immediately on the defensive, looking for any sign of danger.
"Shit, Sam, what the hell?" Dean demanded once he decided there was no immediate threat to their lives. He twisted in his seat and looked over his shoulder, relieved to see no other cars on the road.
"What are you trying to do, get us killed?"
"Dean." Sam repeated, and his voice held a tone of fear that Dean picked up on immediately. Now that he was looking, Dean noticed that Sam hadn't moved a muscle since stopping the car. He remained bolt upright, fingers tight around the wheel and gaze locked on to the road ahead. Dean followed Sam's stare, but only saw empty asphalt in front of them. Nothing to warrant the unexpected stop.
"I can't see."
Dean was so taken aback by Sam's declaration that he almost laughed. "What do you mean you can't see?"
"What the hell do you think I mean?" Sam was getting snippy now, anger fueled by fear, and Dean blinked in surprise. Sam had to be playing some stupid joke, right? People don't just spontaneously go blind, do they? Sam's face, though, was telling a different story. Panic painted his features, contorting every expression into a worried frown. He was scared.
"Uh." Dean said dumbly, but for whatever reason, he couldn't bring himself to believe it. He reached out and brought his hand quickly to Sam's face, stopping just inches before actually slapping Sam on the forehead. Sam narrowed his eyes at the small burst of air but didn't flinch away from the movement. Dean snapped his fingers in front of Sam's eyes, and Sam frowned and brought his arm up to swat at Dean's hand.
I"m serious, Dean." Sam snapped.
"I don't know!" Sam threw his arms up in an exasperated motion, nearly smacking Dean upside the head.
"Okay, okay." Dean said, putting his hands up in a defensive gesture that Sam couldn't see. "We'll go to a hospital, huh? Get you checked out."
"Yeah." Sam answered, blinking furiously. His hands still clenched the steering wheel, his knuckles white from the force of the grip.
They sat in silence for a beat, and Dean was glad that the road was so empty. It would look strange to a passer-by to find a car parked right in the middle of the road. Finally, Dean said, "You want me to drive?"
Sam swung his arm in the general direction of Dean, intending to smack him across the chest but hitting him in the face instead.
"Ow. Jesus." Dean brought a hand up to rub at his nose, then hurried around to the driver's side of the car. When Dean pulled the door open, Sam turned and ran his hands across the top of the door, using it as a support to help him stand. He felt his way around the Impala, never taking his hands off the black metal, then pulled open the passenger door and sat down inside with a humph. The whole ordeal took longer than Dean would have liked, and he watched Sam with wide eyes before climbing in the car after him. Sam flinched at the sound of the Impala's door slamming shut.
"I saw a sign for a hospital next town over." Dean informed Sam, but Sam was busy rubbing at his eyes and didn't seem to hear him.
"Unfortunately I can't find anything wrong with your eyes, Sam."
They were sitting in an optometry room at the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria. Sam hadn't regained his vision, and Dean was just starting to take in the seriousness of their situation. A part of him, he realized, had been expecting the doctor to laugh and give them a perfectly reasonable explanation. For the first time, it was really dawning on Dean that something was actually wrong with Sam. The doctor looked puzzled, but not at all surprised to have a patient with sudden, unexplained blindness.
"Well that's a good thing, isn't it?" Dean asked.
The doctor shook his head. "If there's nothing physically wrong, then there's nothing I can do to help." He frowned. "You can go see a specialist in the cities if you'd like, but I think it's just another strange case."
"What do you mean, another?" Dean pressed.
"Third one this month." The doctor answered. "One other case of blindness and a little girl who just suddenly went deaf. We haven't been able to find a cause."
"Well do you have people looking into it?"
"Yes, of course. We had the water tested, looked for possible causes in the patients' homes, even had the CDC investigating."
"And you found nothing." Sam concluded. Dean and the doctor both looked to Sam, who had been quiet until that point. His head was tilted downward so it appeared he was looking at his lap, but Dean understood with sick realization that he wasn't actually looking at anything. His forehead was wrinkled though, eyebrows pinched, and Dean knew he was thinking. Probably thinking the same thing Dean was – this was a case.
"I'm sorry." The doctor confirmed. He gave Dean packets and brochures with information on blindness and phone numbers for help, along with a long white cane with a black handle and red tip.
Dean gave Sam the cane but he refused to use it, insisting instead on keeping in contact with Dean's arm until they were back at the Impala.
In the car, Sam was quiet for a long time as Dean searched for a hotel. Dean kept shooting his brother anxious glances, waiting for him to say something, but Sam barely even moved. Dean finally settled on an AmericInn just a few miles outside of town in the direction of Carlos. They were going to have to do some investigating, and Carlos was a good place to start. It was the only town they had stopped in for a couple hundred miles, and right after leaving, Sam had lost his vision.
The man behind the desk at the AmericInn was frustratingly slow as he ran Dean's fake credit card and set him up with a room. Dean couldn't help tapping his finger on the counter impatiently and throwing worried looks over his shoulder to where he had left Sam waiting in the car. Once he finally had the room key, Dean didn't bother with the cane in the back seat. Instead, he stood close enough to Sam that their shoulders maintained constant contact as they walked. He didn't want to insist on guiding Sam because he knew Sam's stubbornness wouldn't allow that to happen, but Sam reached up and rested his fingertips on Dean's forearm anyway. They took slow, careful steps and didn't talk except for when they reached the sidewalk and Dean warned Sam of the small step up.
The walls of the room were painted a sickening shade of brown, and Dean almost commented on it before he remembered the situation and bit his tongue just in time. This was going to take some getting used to. Sam found his way to one of the beds and sat as Dean brought in their things. After a few quick trips, everything was situated and Dean sat down on the remaining bed and just looked at Sam for a moment. It felt wrong, though, like he was invading Sam's privacy. He wanted to talk about it – okay, maybe not wanted to exactly, but he knew they should. As much as his brain screamed at him to just say something already, Dean didn't have the slightest clue of where to start. Finally, he settled on just grabbing two beers from the cooler. He twisted the cap off of Sam's beer before holding it out to him. When Sam didn't reach out for the bottle, Dean kicked himself mentally and tapped the bottom of it against Sam's shoulder. Sam reached up instinctively and took it. His fingers ran over the brown glass, tracing the top of the bottle where Dean had removed the cap. He frowned.
"I can open my own beer, Dean." Sam grumbled.
"Yeah, I know you can."
Sam set the bottle down without taking a drink, and Dean sighed. It was a barely audible sound, but Sam's frown deepened.
"Sorry to be such a burden." Sam said, venom in his voice.
"I didn't say anything." Dean answered. He wasn't surprised at Sam's hostility. Sam was scared. He was scared, too, but that didn't mean he had to put up with Sam's bitchy attitude.
"You didn't have to." Sam retorted. "I can hear all your little sighs and groans. Christ, Dean, I can practically hear you rolling your eyes at me. I know you don't want to babysit me. Trust me, I don't like it any more than you do."
"Don't put words in my mouth." Dean snapped. He felt a little bad for how angry he was getting, but he had been taking care of Sam his whole life. This was no different. It was new and confusing and unknown, and maybe Dean didn't have a clue what to do, but helping Sam had never been the issue. Sam knew this, of course. Dean was sure that his brother was just looking for an argument as a way to vent his frustration. Better to get angry than appear weak. It was a defense mechanism that their father had subconsciously drilled into them their entire lives.
"You don't want my help right now?" Dean continued. "Fine. But I'm not going anywhere. When you get over your little temper tantrum, I'll be here and we can figure this out together." Maybe Dean was being unfair. Surely going blind was a good enough excuse to have a bad mood, but Sam's stubbornness wasn't helping anything, and Dean didn't plan on letting Sam sulk.
Sam scowled and reached for the beer he had placed on the counter. In his haste, though, he ended up just knocking the bottle over, and the beer spilled over the side of the counter and onto the floor. Sam cursed and buried his face in his hands. Dean moved to Sam's bed and sat next to his brother. When his arm brushed against Sam's, Sam flinched, but didn't raise his head from his hands.
"Sammy." Dean said softly. Sam didn't respond. "Come on, Sam. Hey. You heard the doctor. Something weird is going on here. This is a case. We can fix this."
Sam straightened and turned his head in Dean's general direction. His eyes remained mostly closed though, and Dean thought Sam probably didn't even notice. When you can't see, you don't really worry too much about weather your eyes are opened or closed. Still, Dean took Sam's attention as a good sign, and he nudged his arm lightly.
"In the mean time, we can get you some bad-ass sunglasses. Or maybe something like Cyclops from X-Men."
Sam smirked a little at that. It was forced, Dean could tell, but it was a step in the right direction.
"See?" Dean said, standing from Sam's bed and grabbing another beer. "Everything will be alright." He handed Sam the beer and smiled as Sam twisted off the top and took a drink. "For now though, we should get some sleep. Not much we can do tonight. We'll head back to Carlos first thing in the morning."
Sam took another drink from his bottle as he considered Dean's words. "Don't know how much help I'll be." He said after a bit.
"Are you kidding?" Dean asked playfully. "If we run into any trouble you can whack someone over the head with that walking stick of yours."
Sam snorted. "Shut up. God you're such a jerk."
Dean chuckled and took a drink from his own beer. "Bitch." He answered affectionately.
Whatever this was, whatever had happened to Sam, Dean was going to fix it.
Alrighty! I have this story pretty much done already, so updates will be quick. However, I'm very busy this weekend and I'm going to be out of town, so I wont be able to post the next chapter until Sunday. It will be up Sunday, I promise!