When Doves Cry

Written by Gidgetgal9

Summary- AU tag to Mystery Spot with S5 spoilers. Sam refuses to listen to the trickster even after six months without Dean, he wants his brother back. The trickster takes matters into his own hands. Beta work by Princess_schez, Floralia and sendintheclowns. Written for the Sam Summer of Love- Live Journal Challenge.

JennyTork's prompt- When an angel dies close by, Sam hears its true voice. It's the last thing he ever hears.

A/N: I took liberties with the prompt that was left. We now know that the trickster is an angel and so while he doesn't die in this tag, Sam does hear his true voice.

I want thank Floralia,sendintheclowns, and Princess_schez for the support and beta work.

And of course I want to thanks the moderators and their hard work on this writing challenge- Faye Dartmouth, don'tknowmyname and sendintheclowns.

To the prompter- thanks for the wonderful prompt you gave me to work with- I hope you like it.

Why do we scream at each other?

This is what it sounds like

When Doves Cry

Lyrics by Prince

Dean woke up to Huey Lewis and the News, Back In Time, so lame. Yesterday's music had been way better, you couldn't beat Heat of the Moment for a wake up song. Luckily Dean had gotten up before the alarm, so it wasn't the first noise he had heard that morning.

He was in the middle of brushing his teeth when the horrid song started to play. Dean glanced over at his brother, expecting him to jerk awake, but that didn't happen. His brother was sleeping through the music.

The elder Winchester sighed. It didn't really shock him, yesterday had been way weird and if what Sam had said about living through that day more than once had a hint of truth, then yeah, the kid was probably exhausted.

The trickster was not a good enemy to have. Smart and nearly impossible to stop. This time Sam had been at the heart of the attack and Dean knew that meant his brother had been through the wringer.

It was amusing at first to see his brother acting so weird and in charge like, their father, but once he found out the reason for the take control Sam... well it wasn't funny anymore. Sam had taken on their father's personality to be able to function through the horror that was his repeated Tuesdays.

Sam continued to sleep as Back In Time stopped and Air Supply started up. Dean ran to the alarm clock and shut it off with a shudder. It bothered him that his dramatic attack on the clock hadn't caused Sam to even stir in his sleep. The kid hadn't moved at all.

That made Dean's skin tingle with unease. Sam never slept this sound unless he was drunk or ill. Moving to sit on the side of his little brother's bed, Dean shook Sam's shoulder lightly.

It filled Dean with relief when Sam immediately opened his eyes and flinched back a bit until his sleepy sibling's eyes focused and realized it was Dean. Dean then found himself with an armful of Sammy.

"Man, how many Tuesday's did you have, Sam?" Dean mumbled into Sam's shoulder.

Sam slowly pulled Dean back with a confused look bordering on panic. "What?"

Dean sighed and gave him a reassuring smile. "I just asked how many Tuesday's you had."

Instead of an answer Sam's face lit up in full blown panic. "Dean, I can't hear you."

Crap, crap, crap, became Dean's brief mantra until he pulled himself under control. He needed to stay calm for Sam.

" Are you sure Sam?" Dean mouthed out slowly.

"Can't hear anything Dean, total silence- like when the power goes off and everything is quiet," Sam rasped out.

Dean nodded and held out a finger, motioning for Sam to give him a second. Moving to shuffle around in the drawer of the bedside table he dug around until he was able to pull out some motel stationary and a pen.

Dean took a seat on his bed as Sam watched him. He clicked the pen and began to write.

Yesterday we faced off with the trickster in the parking lot and you got him to promise to send us to Wednesday instead of Tuesday, maybe this is one of his tricks? Did I miss something he said?

Dean handed the stationary to Sam and waited for his brother to read and reply. It only took a moment, and when Sam looked up he had moisture in his eyes threatening to fall.

"So that is all you remember, Dean?"

Dean felt helpless as he nodded in agreement.

Sam wiped his eyes and looked away before he spoke. "This is our second Wednesday, Dean. He sent us back and then we were packing up and you, well you were in the parking lot and..."

Sam stopped and took a shuddering breath before continuing; he still refused to give Dean eye contact, which freaked Dean out a bit. "Kale, he tried to rob you and the gun went off. I spent six months without you Dean. I spent that time hunting the trickster and anything evil I ran across, and last night I finally found him."

Dean snatched the stationary from Sam and started writing.

What happened with the trickster?

He handed it back to Sam, who was finally giving him eye contact. His little brother's shoulders were slumped and his face was void of much emotion. The kid had pushed that all down like any good Winchester would.

Sam read the note pad and sighed. "He was trying to teach me a lesson. It angered him that I wouldn't just let you go and accept fate. He said that we were each other's weakness and the bad guys knew it, and when I wouldn't listen to him he got really angry. He babbled on about this not being fun anymore and me not listening, and then he said that he would bring you back but I'd listen to him if it was the last thing I did."

Dean cursed under his breath. Sam had pushed the trickster to the limit and was now being punished.

Dean tapped on Sam's leg and motioned for the stationary. Sam passed it to him.

He's just playing a trick on you Sammy, it's his nature and we'll find him and make him fix it.

Dean gave Sam the note pad and watched as his brother read it and then shook his head with hysterical laugh. So not good.

Sam looked at Dean and gave him a small smile. "No trick this time Dean. He opened his mouth after saying I would listen to him and this piercing noise came out. It took me to my knees it was so loud. The glass around me began to break and fall and then, just as I was about to pass out, everything went silent. I watched as he shook his head at me, smirked and snapped his fingers only I didn't hear that.

I think he spoke in his true voice, or used it to scream, and it was too much for my human ears to take."

Dean stood up in anger and marched around the bed wanting to hit something so badly, but there wasn't time for that; he needed a plan. He finally settled back down next to his brother who was now chewing on his right thumb nail and watching him with a closed off expression.

Dean took the pad of paper back and began to write.

We need a plan. I'm going to call Bobby and get him researching tricksters and their powers. We're going to go to the hospital and have you checked out and see if there is actually an injury or if this is totally supernatural in nature. Then we are going to hunt his sorry ass down.

He handed the stationary back to Sam and waited. Sam read it and then gave him a small smile.

"I appreciate it, I really do Dean but I don't think it matters whether this is supernatural or not. My hearing is gone. As for finding anything useful on finding the trickster, I spent six months trying to find him or information about him and there really isn't much.. so that's a dead end. I would rather head to Bobby's and work on finding Bella, the Colt, or a way to get you out of the deal. I'm not gonna be much good doing anything else now."

Dean stood up and paced a minute. He wanted to shake and yell at Sam for giving up so easily on his hearing but damn it if that wasn't typical Sam, putting his big brother first. And not that Dean wouldn't be doing the same thing if the tables were turned, but that was beside the point.

Dean knew that saving him from the pit was a pipe dream and there was no way he was going to leave his brother behind helpless, because without his hearing that is exactly what Sam would be. He wouldn't be able to take care of himself or continue to be a hunter.

He was pulled from his musings by his brother's voice.

"Dean all your pacing is making my head spin. I'd like to leave this room and this town, it all makes me nauseous."

Dean stopped pacing and moved towards Sam, who sighed and held out the stationary for his brother to write on. Slumping on his own bed, Dean tore the top sheet off and started writing.

We can leave, but you got to humor me. I need to have you checked out by a doctor for my peace of mind so suck it up bitch. As for the other things... I can't research saving myself so I'll leave that to you and Bobby. As for the Colt and Bella, we'll keep the channels open but I'm going to find that trickster if it is the last thing I do and you can't stop me.

Dean held the writing tablet out to Sam who quickly read it and shrugged before answering.

"Fine, we'll stop at a hospital in another town. I'm warning you that you are wasting your time looking for the trickster. Six months, Dean, and nada, until he revealed himself to me."

Dean grabbed the stationary back and started scribbling.

Six months in Trickster time. He had you Sam, for all you know all of this happened in 24 hours our time and what you experienced was all in your head while you were asleep. Being a God, he can create his own worlds and bend time and control his world. Of course you didn't find him until he wanted, he held all the cards. It won't hurt for you to be checked out by a doctor and it won't hurt for me to check into The Trickster. Get dressed and grab your crap, we leave in ten.

Dean shoved the stationary back to Sam and watched as the kid read it and nodded. They both silently moved to grab their belongings. Sam kept his eyes on Dean, which kind of freaked Dean out, but if his younger brother had in his mind, spent six months thinking Dean was dead … he guessed he could understand the need to stay close.

That, and the deafness, had to really be freaking Sam out. Dean didn't know how he would react to something like that. So, if Sam wanted to stick close and be his shadow then he wouldn't complain.

-0-

Sam had shut down after leaving the motel room. He was going through the motions and letting Dean guide him. It was easier that way. His hearing was gone and it would do him no good to spend time grieving it's loss or hoping for it's return.

The trickster was a god. He took it from him and so it was gone. Sam had to keep his focus on saving Dean. With his hearing gone, it was going to be even more challenging than before. He refused to dwell on that because failure was not an option, not when it came to losing Dean.

Dean had taken Sam to the first large hospital he could find, which had been about two hours away from Broward County. Dean shoved a note to Sam explaining they were using construction workers as their cover and an explosion as the reason for the hearing loss.

Sam nodded and followed Dean into the hospital, letting his brother explain everything. They had to wait an hour to be seen, and Sam then put up with being poked and prodded but at least he didn't have to answer questions, his brother took care of all that.

They were told there would be a wait on the results of the tests so Dean took them to the hospital cafeteria where his hungry big brother ate a sad looking burger and Sam picked at a salad. Dean had let them stay quiet, after an encouraging note before heading to the cafeteria. Sam guessed if there was one good thing about being deaf it was that he didn't have to listen to his brother prattle on about the fact everything was going to be okay when it wasn't.

Dean finished his sandwich and motioned for them to head back upstairs. Sam followed.

The doctor explained the results to Dean and Sam knew by his brother's facial features it wasn't good news.

Sam was handed a pamphlet called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.

Letting out a sigh, he spoke; "Is my damage permanent?"

The doctor nodded. He then mouthed the word "Questions?"

"Are there other side effects?"

The doctor moved towards the pamphlet and pointed at a section titled tinnitus. Sam nodded.

It looked like all the information he needed on his condition was in this small brochure and he was sure what wasn't covered he could find on the internet. Sam did have one last question.

"Will this affect my speech? I've already had my brother motion to me to speak louder or quieter but will the actual speech deteriorate?"

The doctor moved away to the counter and grabbed a prescription pad. He quickly wrote something down and Sam hoped he'd be able to read it knowing how all doctors took pride in their unreadable scribble.

It may happen but it will be slowly over time. If you were a preteen with unestablished speech patterns then it would definitely deteriorate but your speech pattern is already set. Your volume might be an issue at times but I think you'll find that over time it won't be a problem unless you are tired or excited.

Sam was happy the doctor's writing was legible and the news on his voice wasn't as bad as he had feared.

Dean read the note over his shoulder and nodded. His brother then asked some more questions and soon Sam was being prodded out of the room and towards the elevator. They stopped at the pharmacy on the main floor and while Sam was curious as to what Dean would picking up for him, he decided it wasn't worth the effort to ask.

Sam just wanted to get back on the road and head towards Bobby's house. A place where he could relax and feel like he wasn't such a freak. It was weird being in public and letting his brother be his voice.

Bobby would be concerned but would give him space, and most importantly, he would help him research Dean's deal and how to break it.

-0-

The ride to Bobby's was weird and tension filled. Dean played his music loudly knowing it wouldn't bother his brother but it felt wrong not being able to annoy Sam.

His little brother was tight as a bow, and staring straight ahead. Dean figured the kid was deep in thought and his head was probably not a good place to be stuck in with his new problem. Dean felt clueless as to how to help Sam. Joking and talking, were out especially while he was driving, and that was very frustrating.

Dean hated talking things out but not being able to talk made him almost wish he had done it more before this … this thing happened. The fact that he couldn't bring himself to name the problem made him realize that talking about it would be hard.

Things only got weirder when they stopped for gas. Dean assumed that Sam would want to stay in the car while he gassed the car and got snacks like normal but the kid's eyes filled briefly with panic when Dean motioned that he'd be right back.

Sam quickly scrambled out of the car, leaning against the bumper as Dean put gas in the car and then he was his shadow as Dean made his way into the store. In fact at times Dean felt Sam fisting the tail of his jacket. It felt awkward but he was willing to suffer through his little brother's clinginess after all that had happened.

He quickly grabbed his normal stash of candy and pop and then motioned at Sam to grab what he wanted. Sam shook his head in dismissal of any food but Dean bought the kid some Sprite. With all the intense emotions that the kid had been facing recently, it was a good bet his stomach was uneasy.

They both got into the car as soon as the items were paid for with his latest credit card. Once inside Dean handed Sam the Sprite and his little brother took it reluctantly, but did open it and take a swig.

While Sam was busy with his drink Dean pulled out his cell and started a text.

So, the Peter Pan shadow act that you have going on there, is it because of the unsettling quiet or because of too many Tuesdays?

He hit send and smiled as Sam jerked when his phone started vibrating in his pocket. Dean was quite proud of himself for thinking of the unlimited text plan they had. It would definitely be easier than keeping up with a pad of paper.

Sam looked at his phone and gave his brother a confused look before reading the text. His brother sighed and then replied. "I... I guess probably both."

Dean nodded and started his next text.

I get it. I do and I really wish we could talk about this but things suck right now. I was thinking though, that to pass the time for the next few hours maybe you could fill me in on what you experienced overall at Broward County during the Tuesdays and anything that was interesting that happened during the six months that followed? You went on hunts, yeah? How did you hunt the trickster?

He hit send and Sam waited for his phone to vibrate and then read the text.

"I'm not sure that you'll get anything out of hearing about the Tuesdays. I did hunt during that six months of looking for the trickster but I'm not even sure that's real you know?"

Dean gave Sam a big smile and started typing on the phone.

It might not be real or maybe it's like what could have happened. I think maybe we should talk about the hunts and write them down so that we could warn hunters just in case. Bobby could call people especially with the type of details you have and I'd like to hear it even if it turns out to not be real.

Sam nodded as he read the text. "Okay, I'll give you the run down. I guess it won't hurt to check them out in the future in case they were solid hunts."

Dean gave Sam a thumbs up as he put his phone away and started the car.

As Dean listened to Sam's recount of the hunts he had handled solo, it reminded Dean of the time he had hunted alone while Sam was in Stanford, and particularly all the times he recounted those hunts to a silent grieving Sam after the Stanford fire.

During that time, Sam would get so quiet and stuck in his head, so to get his mind off Jess, Dean would ramble on and on about all his solo hunts. He hoped that by having Sam recount his own solo hunts, it would keep the kids mind off the quiet and craziness he had just faced.

As the hour passed, Sam even talked a bit about the crazy Tuesdays and some of the more impossible ways that Dean had died. It made Dean smile but when he saw the grief on his brother's face his smile dropped and his anger built towards the trickster.

Sam had finished his drink and given a good overview when he finally stopped and turned to Dean with a small smile on his face.

"Thanks Dean."

Dean raised his eyebrow and spoke. "For what Sammy?" The words were spoken slowly and Sam seemed to get what was said.

"Getting me out of my head for a bit. I was letting myself get too wrapped up and, well, it was good to not think about it for awhile. But, I think I'm out of stories for now and I'd like to rest, but before I do, should we call Bobby? Give him a heads up?"

Sam was worrying his lower lip between his teeth and Dean knew that he wanted Bobby to know about his deafness and did not want to have to tell him in person.

"Want", Dean pointed to himself, "to call?" Dean mimicked calling.

Sam nodded. "I don't want to text him."

Dean mouthed, okay, and dug his phone out.

Bobby was on speed dial so after a quick hit to the phone it was ringing in his ear. He could feel Sam staring at him but he was too busy keeping his eyes on the road to give Sam too much notice. Dean knew the kid was probably worried at how Bobby would take the news.

After the second ring, Bobby picked up.

"Dean, what's up? You find Bella yet?"

"Hey Bobby, uh, no, we hit a dead end on that so we stopped to check out a Mystery Spot in Broward County."

"A what?"

Dean sighed. "A stupid tourist trap that attracted our friend the trickster."

"Crap, thought he was dead."

"Yeah, about that, not so much. Seems he thought it would be funny to take a professor that got his rocks off disproving things like Mystery Spots, and sent him into a worm hole."

Bobby sent off a low whistle. "Wow, that is … well weird but sounds like him."

"So the disappearance brought us there and he made us right off the bat. Thought it would be fun to toy with Sam. He somehow knew about my deal and decided he needed to teach Sam to let me go."

Bobby blew out a breath. "I'm afraid to ask how he did this."

"It wasn't pretty. Basically, Sam relieved the same day over and over again a la Groundhog Day, and at the end of each day, I died. No matter what the Sammy did I died. It took him a hundred or so Tuesdays to finally realize it was the trickster and he confronted him with a stake. I remember that Tuesday, and boy was Sam scary. That demi-god backed down and we proceeded to Wednesday."

"Thank God."

"Well you'd think that was a good thing, only this time, I got killed by an armed robber in the motel parking lot, and Sam got no do over. Kid spent six months trying to find the trickster to beg him to bring me back. He finally found him and in anger the trickster sent Sammy back to that Wednesday with me, only because Sam wouldn't listen to him he spoke or screamed in such away it shattered Sam's hearing. Kid's deaf."

"Shit!"

Dean pulled the phone from his ear due to the elder hunter's volume and he caught Sam giving him a small smile.

Bobby was quiet for a moment and then spoke.

"So did you have Sam checked out?"

"Yeah, for all the good it did. His hearing isn't just magically gone, it is medically gone. The doctor called it Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, the damage is done, and we can only hope he doesn't suffer from other side effects."

"Huh, so what is the plan?"

"We're heading your way. Sam wants to be there since he can't hunt in his condition and would like to at least be able to research my deal. So get ready for a bitchy and moody Sammy."

"Oh joy, and you Dean?"

"I want to find the son-of-a-bitch and get him to reverse this. He can heal Sam, and that has to be done before I ... leave."

Bobby snorted. "Oh goody, this is all going to be such fun. Alright, get your asses here and I'll pull the books that might help us."

"Thanks Bobby."

"Yeah, just uh tell Sam... well tell him it will be alright."

Dean sighed. "I'll text him when I can. It is too hard to try to talk right now."

Bobby groaned. "Crap, I'm gonna have to text now. Alright, just get here."

The phone went dead and Dean crammed it back into his pocket as he gave Sam a grin a thumbs up.

Sam shook his head in playful disgust and settled down in his seat to sleep.

-0-

Sam hadn't thought he'd be able to really sleep with the ever present silence but the vibrations of the car he grew up in had a calming effect and it lulled him to sleep.

The drive from Broward County, Florida, was a long one but both Sam and Dean wanted to get to Bobby's as quickly as possible. They took turns driving, instead stopped only to eat and stretch. Sam only drove in the light traffic because missing his hearing made it nerve racking.

Dean seemed to get Sam's unease and let him sleep most of the way to Bobby's. They were only a few hours out when Sam found himself nodding off again.

Sam was learning one of the worst parts of not hearing was waking up, especially to his brother shaking him, the motion without his brother's voice left him on edge and jumpy.

He felt himself flinch and jump back from his brother's touch before he realized that he was safe in the Impala. Once he gained his composure he found his brother staring at him with a guilty expression mouthing, I'm sorry.

Sam gave him a small smile and then took a look at his surroundings. He realized that they were at Bobby's place. In fact, the elder hunter was at the top of the stairs looking at them with an expression of unease.

Sam gave him a little wave trying to make the hunter feel like he was approachable, but in reality he was just wanted to go to their guest room and hide. Once he was out of the car, he felt himself embraced in an awkward hug.

It was weird, he wanted to say something to Bobby that was reassuring, about his condition being temporary, but first of all he didn't believe things would be fine. Second of all, all talking did was lead to others wanting to reply and that was a whole new level of awkwardness, so he contented himself to a quick hello before he headed inside, leaving Dean to deal with Bobby.

Once inside he headed to the room he normally shared with his brother and plopped down on the twin bed that was 'his'. Sam knew that he wasn't being polite and that he should at least spend a little time with Bobby but the last few days had been spent dealing with doctors, strangers and his brother, all the while trying to keep from freaking out about his deafness. Then there was the fact that he really had felt weird letting Dean out of his sight because of his tangle with the trickster up until getting to Bobby's house. This was the first time he had felt like he could let his brother out of his sight without an irrational fear of losing Dean. It was the first time he was comfortable being alone.

Crashing for a moment was what Sam needed, to be alone and to pull himself together before he faced another minute of his new existence.

-0-

Dean grabbed his and Sammy's gear and handed Sam's bag to Bobby.

"Kid can't carry his own bag?" Bobby half halfheartedly grumbled.

Dean sighed as he shut the trunk to the Impala. "I'm just glad I lost my shadow for a bit."

Bobby nodded. "That bad, huh?"

"Let's just say, I need a drink," Dean replied as he followed the elder hunter into the house.

Dean decided to drop their bags by the front door and followed Bobby into his study where he knew his request for a drink would be met with some hard stuff.

Without comment Bobby plopped down at his desk chair and pulled a bottle out of one of the drawers, quickly filling two glasses that followed the bottle out of the drawer.

The elder hunter handed a glass to Dean and made a mock salute before taking a long drink out of his own glass. Dean followed suit, relishing the burn as it went down his throat.

The two men sat in silence drinking for a bit until Bobby decided to break the silence with a question.

"You gotta game plan?"

Dean snorted. "Nope, and I'm assuming you haven't found anything of use since we last talked?"

Bobby quickly swiped his face in frustration with his left hand. "Nada. If it was a spell or curse, maybe, but a Demi-God taking someone's hearing... that I could find nothing on."

Dean took another long drink. "Yeah well, I think it was his true voice or something like that that did it from what Sam said. You know, like it was too much to bear to hear."

Bobby nodded. "Yeah well, the voices of the supernatural are powerful. Sirens and banshees lead to a person's death, so it would make sense that a trickster's true voice would be powerful enough to cause deafness."

"I'm thinking I need to find a way to summon him and to ask him to fix Sam. Then I'll kill him nice and slow." Dean gritted out.

Bobby chuckled. "Yeah, cause that worked so well before."

Dean stood up and began to pace. "Okay, I just need this fixed. I can't leave Sam deaf and defenseless."

Bobby sighed. "We've faced pretty bad things before and so I think maybe we can find a way to fix this. Now, is there anything else I need to know?"

"Sam is pretty touchy right now, so just be patient."

"Yeah, well I expect that, he was already pretty tightly strung with your deal, so this isn't gonna help anything."

Dean nodded. "Look, seems Sam is getting himself some down time and I'd like to be able to have some alone time myself. I think I might go to town for a couple of drinks if you don't mind."

Bobby motioned for him to leave. "Yeah, go do what you need to, I've evidently got some research to do."

Dean gave Bobby a grateful smile and headed out of the room, looking forward to a little time to regroup.

-0-

Part Two

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold? (A world that's so cold)

Lyrics from

When Doves Cry by Prince

Sam hadn't been asleep long. He hadn't really been physically tired, it was more of a mental fatigue he was facing. Being alone had had it's appeal but after an hour he was ready to leave the sanctuary of his room. The silence he now faced seemed worse when he was alone.

Sam made his way downstairs and was struck at how he missed the creaking of the stairs and how normally he would know what room to go to find Bobby and Dean because of their voices. Without sound, he would have to make his way around the house until he found them.

At the bottom of the stairs he felt his phone vibrate and he took it out to read the text that was from Bobby.

I'm in library, and your brother went to town for a bit.

Sam took a long calming breath, trying to steam the panic building in him. His brother was out in the world alone and unprotected. It made Sam sick to think of what could happen. He knew he wasn't being rational but after what he had endured, it was hard to be rational.

Sam made his way into Bobby's library and sat down in a chair in front of the elder hunter. He tried another calming breath but found he was losing his control.

Bobby gave him a concerned look and then started texting on his phone. Within moments Sam had a text from him.

What's wrong kid?

"How long has Dean been gone? Why did he leave alone? I- I need to find him, please Bobby, can I borrow a vehicle to look for him?" Sam stammered the words out and then moved to get up.

Bobby's right hand grabbed his left wrist and shook him. The elder hunter then gave Sam a motion to wait and started texting again.

Calm down Sam. Running to town when he might be on his way back is stupid. Use your phone to text him to see if he is coming home.

Sam read the text and felt himself relax a bit. In his panic he had forgot about his phone. He sat back down and began a text to his brother.

Dean, where are you? Are you coming home soon? If not, where can I meet you?

Sam hit send and then stared at his phone willing an answer from it. Within a few minutes, Sam was finally able to breathe easier when he received his answer.

I'm getting into my car right now, I'll be there in twenty. Promise.

Sam felt his body relax as relief pored through him. He texted Dean back.

Okay, thanks.

Sam was about to put his phone away when he received another text, this one from Bobby.

If you're hungry, I've got stuff to make sandwiches in the kitchen. Otherwise, I figured you might want to do some reading. I borrowed three books on demons and their deals from a hunting buddy of mine, and they are stacked on the desk in front of you. Anything else you might need?

Sam looked up at Bobby and gave him a grateful smile. "Uh, thanks Bobby. I'm not hungry so I think I'll just read for a bit, okay?"

Bobby nodded and stood up. He pointed to the kitchen and then rubbed his hand over his belly to show he was hungry. It was really weird seeing Bobby act things out like in charades for him, but he appreciated it.

"Cool, yeah go grab something to eat. Hey, could you tell Dean to come to the library when he gets in."

Bobby nodded and mouthed. "Okay."

With a smile he headed out of the room.

Sam stood and moved to sit behind the desk. Bobby always kept notebooks on the desk for notes and Sam was hoping the books that Bobby's friend left would have stuff in them that was worthy of note taking.

Opening the first book on the stack, Sam was hit first with a whiff of dust that made his nose tingle, but thankfully he was able to keep from sneezing. It was a pretty ancient tome, and he hoped it would have some answers.

Reading ancient writings always took a lot of concentration and so for the first time ever, he was appreciating the total silence his deafness had provided. It helped him to become lost in the book, in a way he never had before.

Having a hunter's instinct, it was never really smart to lose oneself in a book, you always had to be aware of your surroundings, especially when reading in an unfamiliar place like a public library. But with his deafness he had no way to be alert with all his senses.

If he had been in public that would have freaked him out but in the safety of Bobby's house, he could take the risk and let himself get lost in a book. Now even the old habits of being alert could be ignored because there was no way to do so.

His immersion lasted about ten minutes when a weird ringing started a low assault on his ears. It reminded him of the buzzing he felt the few times Dean dragged him to rock concerts and they had sat up front, or after discharging a weapon during a hunt. It wasn't quite the same though.

One of the differences was, well, it was harder to ignore. When his ears were ringing as part of other sounds it was annoying, but without other sounds to distract him it became even more irritating. Sam just hoped that it would go away soon.

He considered putting the book aside and joining Bobby in the kitchen for some food but the thought of the awkward silence he would face with the elder hunter kept him from getting up. Sam looked back down at the book and decided he would read as much as he could until Dean showed up and then he would take a break for some food.

Determined to not let the ringing stop him, Sam started up again and at first he was able to muddle through but as time went on, the ringing became more wearing and louder. It finally got to a point where it was getting a bit painful.

Thoughts of getting Bobby, and asking for pain relievers crossed his mind but he knew that Dean would be here soon and so he waited for the comfort that only his brother could truly provide. Just a few more minutes became his mantra.

-0-

An hour away had felt glorious until he got the panicked text from Sam and now Dean felt guilty. He had wanted just a few minutes to regroup but he'd forgotten how freaked Sam got when he wasn't in sight.

Damn the stupid trickster. It was bad enough it had taken his little brother's confidence and left him a clingy mess, but he had also left the kid defenseless. Dean was determined to get Sam's hearing back and he just hoped that with it, Sam would become less clingy.

Dean pulled up to Bobby's house and quickly strolled inside. Once inside the front door, Dean heard Bobby yell that Sam was in the library.

Dean quickly made his way into the library, and what he found there made his stomach turn. Sam was behind Bobby's desk, rocking in his chair, his hands covering his ears.

Dean found himself cursing to himself. Tinnitus had been mentioned as a side effect for the type of hearing loss Sam suffered. The elder Winchester had hoped that his little brother wouldn't have to face that obstacle but it looked like he was wrong.

He needed to get Sam medicated, but first he needed to let Sam know he was here. Moving slowly to the chair Sam was sitting in, Dean gently laid his right hand on Sam's left shoulder; the kid flinched but looked up at his big brother, tears of pain falling down his face.

Dean normally would have told his brother to sit tight but this was anything but a normal situation for him or Sam, so instead he gently pulled Sam from his seat. Using Sam's left elbow, he carefully guided his brother to the front door where their duffel bags still sat.

He briefly let go of Sam as he dug inside his own duffel until he found the white paper bag that contained Sam's prescription of Valium. Dean had decided to fill it so if they were hit with the worse case scenario, they were prepared. Once he had the bag in hand he once again grabbed his little brother's left elbow and started guiding him to the kitchen.

Before he reached the kitchen, he started yelling instructions for Bobby. "Need a glass of water like now, Bobby."

He was relieved to find a glass shoved in his face as he got his brother to sit down at the kitchen table. Dean put the glass on the table as he dug the pill bottle out and then he shook two blue pills out. Sam still had his ears covered and was a little out of it, so Dean pried Sam's right hand away and put the pills in it, motioning for Sam to take them. Once Sam had them in his mouth Dean handed him the glass of water to wash them down with.

Once Sam had drunk the liquid and placed the glass back down on the table, Dean put the pill bottle into Sam's eye sight and pointed at the directions. His little brother read them and nodded.

Both he and Sam had had enough experience with pain killers to know how long it would take for them to help with the pain. His little brother was a lightweight when it came to pills so he knew they had about fifteen to twenty minutes to get Sam situated before the kid passed out.

He could feel Bobby hovering in the background and felt bad leaving him out of the loop but he had a little brother to get comfortable.

"Bobby, let me get Sam settled on the couch and I'll explain."

"Okay," was the quiet response.

Dean moved to put a hand under Sam's right arm and helped the kid to his feet. They moved back towards the living room to the couch there. He knew a bed would be more comfortable but with as clingy as Sam had been as of late, he felt his little brother would rest better near him.

Once he had Sam laid out on the couch with a throw over him, Dean grabbed one of the chairs in the room and put it next to the couch. He took one of Sam's hands and held it.

Sam took his hand in a tight grip and Dean knew his brother was still in pain but as the minutes ticked by, his little brother's eyes started to droop and his hand became lax in Dean's. Once he was sure Sam was down for the count, he let go and moved back to the kitchen where he had left a befuddled Bobby.

Dean entered the kitchen and took the beer that was being offered by the elder hunter. The two men sat down at the table and Dean let out a low sigh.

Bobby took a drink from his beer and then spoke. "Something up with Sam besides the deafness? He have a migraine?"

Dean shook his head no. "Unfortunately, Noise-Induced Hearing Loss can cause tinnitus and it can be painful. Of course with the Winchester luck, I knew that we needed to be prepared so I had the doctor write me a prescription for Valium in case we faced that."

"Man, that sucks balls. I could tell the kid was in pain … is this a permanent thing?"

Dean took a long swig of his beer before answering. "In a normal world yes, but you forget I'm gonna get Sam fixed, so that doesn't have to be a problem."

Bobby groaned. "Okay then, you need to head to the library. I pulled about ten books we need to go through to see if we can find a summoning spell to track this thing. Might as well do it while we don't have babysitting duties."

"Yeah, well, let's do this thing."

-0-

Ruby's inner Sammy scanner was going off big time. The kid was in some sort of big trouble. He'd been off her radar for a few days and that had her worried, and then all the a sudden he was back online only things weren't right. Not at all. It hadn't taken her long to figure out where her boy was heading, but she did need a reason to visit so she could at least talk to Sam and Dean.

They needed her help whether they wanted it or not.

As she got closer to the Singer House of Trash and Supernatural, she could finally feel Sam and it was definitely not right. His ears were damaged, and once she got to the house she could tell it was by something pretty powerful. Something that had masked itself, but she could tell it wasn't something she wanted to deal with in person; maybe she could get Dean to do her dirty work.

She reluctantly pulled out her cell and dialed her least favorite Winchester's number.

"Ruby, I don't have time for your shit."

"Nice to hear your voice too, Dean. But this isn't a social call; I think I can help Sam."

"How the hell do you know about what happened to Sam?"

"Call it woman's intuition, but I have my ways."

"I'd like to hang up now. We're handling things just fine."

"Short bus, just take one minute and listen. You need to find what did this and …."

"Working on it bitch so yeah, we don't need you unless you have a phone directory for tricksters."

"Book no, but summoning spell, yes. Meet me outside if you want it."

The line went dead and Ruby waited ten feet from the front door, hoping that Dean would take the bait.

A trickster certainly wouldn't give her the time of day but maybe Dean could offer him something to appease him, so that he would return Sam's hearing. Otherwise she would have to use a more demonic approach, one that she was sure Sam and Dean would fight her tooth and nail on.

The front door swung open and a very disgruntled Dean appeared, stalking his way towards her and stopped just a few feet away.

"You have two minutes, so spill."

Ruby sighed and pulled out a sheet of paper offering it to Dean. "This is a summoning spell. It will summon anything as long as you have a name for it and the blood of someone it touched. Tricksters are not pleasant to deal with but they have been known to make deals if they are entertained by the idea."

"Fine, and thanks," Dean grumbled as he took the paper.

"Welcome, and try to stay out of trouble okay? I can't help you if The Trickster turns you into a gerbil."

"Gerbil, my ass." Dean replied in a huff as he walked away.

Ruby wanted to ask about a gerbil in his ass but refrained before the hunter's tolerance for her collapsed completely. She just hoped as she walked away that the moron could help his brother because they were running out of time as it was.

-0-

Bobby looked at the ritual again. It was pretty straight forward and they had everything they needed - well except for Sam's blood but that wouldn't be hard to get. It was hard to imagine something so simple would work on a creature as powerful as the trickster but sometimes the simple things in life worked the best.

Dean was pacing as Bobby finished reading over the ritual and counting the items needed. The elder Winchester was the most worrisome part of this whole mess. If he smarted off to the trickster they might all be screwed.

"Dean, you sure summoning this god- like creature is such a good idea?"

Dean glared at Bobby. "Do you have any other ideas as to how to help Sam?"

Bobby sighed. "No, I get this is our best chance, I just want you to keep a cool head or this could end badly for all of us."

Dean seemed to deflate with Bobby's statement. "I know, I'll beg on bended knee if it'll help Sam. I can't leave him here on earth helpless and in pain."

Bobby wanted to say that was exactly what was going to happen even if Sam got his hearing back. With Dean gone, it would be like tearing Sam's heart out and leaving him here to wither away. It was better to keep his opinion to himself though, it wasn't going to change matters by stating the obvious and if Bobby was truthful with himself, he was just like Sam, not willing to give up on Dean going to hell, not while he had a breath left in him.

Bobby was pulled from his thoughts by a groan coming from the other room. Dean was out of the library in a flash heading to his brother's side.

Bobby made a detour into the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water before checking on the two brothers. Sam was sitting up on the couch, his color was looking better than it had before. Bobby nodded at the kid and handed Sam a glass of water.

Dean had sat down in a chair next to the couch and was texting his brother, while Sam drank his water pretty much in one gulp before setting it down.

"Thanks, Bobby, I needed that, my mouth was pretty dry."

Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, staring at it intently before looking back up at his brother and Bobby.

"You need my blood to summon the trickster? I don't think that is a good idea Dean."

Bobby noted that besides the hesitancy in Sam's voice, the kid's body had become tense, which told him that Sam was not up for another go with the trickster and Bobby couldn't blame him on that one.

Dean didn't seem surprised by Sam's response but was already texting his argument. It was at this moment that Bobby really got just how frustrating this all had to be. Things were not good, Lilith was out gunning for them and Sam had to rely on text messages to communicate. Bobby could understand Dean's fear.

Sam was definitely vulnerable and helpless, so much so it really made some sense as to why Ruby had showed up. It didn't explain her game plan but if she needed Sam then she needed Sam whole.

Sam was reading the latest text with a concerned look.

"Dean, I guess there is no talking you out of this, huh? Can you at least promise me to be on your very best behavior?"

Dean was nodding and gave Sam a thumbs up, which made his younger brother roll his eyes.

The elder brother then looked at Bobby with a serious expression before speaking. "Could you get the dagger and bowl for Sam's blood?"

"Yeah, but you need to get the first aid kit too if we're doing this" Bobby grumbled back.

He watched as Dean motioned to Sam they would be right back and Sam nodded, lying back down on the couch, the Valium evidently still having residue effect.

"So Dean, what did you say to Sam to get him to give in?" Bobby asked as he handed the first aid kit to Dean.

"I told him this was our best bet, and that he was doing it even if I had to hold him down and take his blood against his will."

"Huh, and that worked? I figured he'd fight you." Bobby responded as he followed Dean out of the library.

"Oh, but you gotta know Sammy, he is still under the effects of the Valium so he isn't quite up to fighting level. I can usually bully him when he's out of it."

"Kid has always been a light weight with the heavy stuff. Let's get this dumb ass plan of yours over with." Bobby grumbled out.

Dean chuckled. "That's the spirit."

-0-

Dean approached his brother, who struggled to sit up. He held out his hands in a placating manner, trying to convey to Sam that he could stay put. The kid seemed to get it and melted back into the cushions of the couch.

Sam had laid both arms across his chest and Dean took his brother's right hand, the one that was closest to him, and held it in his own right hand while his other pushed Sam's sleeve out of the way. Once he had the arm where he wanted, he laid it in his lap while he took an alcoholic wipe from Bobby who was hovering beside him.

Dean moved to clean his brother's forearm, and once it was clean he gave his brother a glance. Sam had his eyes closed and was trying to keep his breathing steady. It sucked that he couldn't talk his brother through the process.

He almost had Sam open his eyes, but decided that if his brother wanted to disconnect from the process he would let him and communicate with his brother through touch.

Bobby handed him the dagger that had just been cleaned. Dean took it and then squeezed Sam's right hand as a warning as to what was going to happen. He then quickly made a deep cut. The stupid ritual called for quite a bit of blood. The only upside of the whole thing was that Sam was still feeling the effects of the Valium so the pain level would be muted. His little brother did suck in a quick breath but otherwise remained still, breathing deeply as Dean squeezed the wound to collect blood.

Bobby was holding the bowl as Dean coaxed the blood out. Once both of them agreed on the amount, Dean moved to put pressure on the wound.

Dean was pulled from his task by Bobby's voice. "Gonna stitch it?"

"Probably should." Dean kept the pressure on the wound but used his other hand to tap Sam's cheek.

Sam slowly opened his eyes; his gaze was glassy from the mix of drugs and blood loss. Dean mimicked sewing with a thread and his brother nodded before closing his eyes again.

Bobby pulled a side table over with all the supplies Dean needed to sew his brother up, and then moved out of the way.

"I'm gonna take the blood and mix everything up so we're ready to do the ritual." Bobby murmured as Dean took the threaded needle from its spot on the table.

"Yeah, sounds good, this won't take long."

Dean hummed as he sewed up Sam's arm. It was unfortunately familiar territory and it never got easy. Sam seemed to have zoned out on him and he was thankful of that, the drugs seemed to have really calmed his little brother down.

He was glad Sammy was getting a break. If things went well, then Sam wouldn't have to face another tinnitus episode before he got his hearing back. Watching Sam rocking back and forth in pain earlier in the day had torn Dean up. It left him with such a helpless feeling, much like the many times Sam had suffered through visions with Dean helpless to stop them.

It took ten neat stitches to get Sam sewed up, and once he was done he patted Sam's shoulder. The kid didn't respond. Dean smiled at his sleeping sibling and then began to gather up his mess.

Once he had the first aid kit repacked and the trash thrown away, he joined Bobby in the library.

"We ready?" Dean asked as he entered the room.

"Yep. Just have to say the magic words," Bobby said as he moved away from the desk. The ornate bowl sat in the middle of the desk surrounded by chalked-out drawings and candles.

Dean wanted to take a shot of whiskey for some liquid courage but thought better of it. He needed to be at his sharpest in dealing with the demi-god. He moved behind the desk and spoke the simple phrase to summon the trickster.

"Ego voco vos trickster."

Dean and Bobby waited with baited breath but nothing happened. Then a voice from the living room where Sam was crashed called out to them.

"Hey, you two knuckle heads, you used his blood to summon me so of course I was summoned to Sam. Duh..."

Dean swallowed down the anger he was feeling and moved to the living room, hoping that his little brother was still out while a befuddled Bobby followed close behind.

Once in the room with the demented god-like creature, Dean tried to find the words to express what he wanted without pissing said creature off.

"Awful quiet there Deano. What, cat got your tongue? Not that a tongue is much use in communicating with Sam at that moment." The Trickster's voice was playful but Dean could see tension in his body.

"Yeah, about that. What the hell? I mean, what exactly did Sam do to you?" Dean spat out, unable to keep his anger in any longer.

Bobby's eyes went wide, and Dean realized that he was blowing things once again because of his anger.

He felt like he'd probably ruined things when he heard the trickster sigh.

"You know, that was an accident. Dean, he's your brother; you gotta know just how stubborn the kid is. He pushed me to my limit and I just lost it. Not proud of that but I did, and I needed to cool off before correcting this little problem."

Dean felt the anger leave him. "You were planning on fixing Sam?"

"Yep, you just beat me to the punch. I thought if I cooled down a bit and he had a minute to think about something other than … you and your deal, he might gain some perspective."

Dean laughed at that. "Are you kidding? Have you met Sam? He had me bring him here so he could research while he was out of the hunting game. In fact, Sam was so hard at it I think it cause a tinnitus episode."

"Ah, sounds like him. Well, I guess my little game was all for naught."

That statement made Dean's anger flair all over again. He had to take a deep calming breath to keep himself from jumping the little twit. With Sam's hearing loss in the balance, he knew he had to reel in his emotions.

Dean had to at least get a dig in though. "That was a lame attempt."

"Yeah well, my plans don't always work out. I'll give Sam here his hearing back and then I'll get out of your way. I've got red-heads to see and dick-wads to mess with."

Dean nodded and once the trickster seemed to have his permission, he moved to place two fingers on Sam's forehead and then pulled away.

In a sing-song voice the trickster spoke. "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey. C'mon Sleeping Beauty let's see those peepers."

Sam jerked and opened his eyes. The moment his gaze hit the trickster he curled into a protective ball.

Dean could tell that his brother's actions shocked the god-like creature because the trickster immediately raised his hands in a placating manner.

"Whoa there kiddo, I'm not gonna hurt you. In fact I just fixed your hearing."

Sam took a shuddering breath and looked around until his eyes locked with Dean's, and then he seemed to relax.

Dean gave him a small smile.

The Trickster moved closer to Sam and spoke. "Can you hear me now?"

Sam looked at him puzzled, the humor lost on him. "Yeah, uh I can. So we're good?"

The trickster nodded. "Yeah, I call a truce. I'm sorry things got out of hand. I didn't mean to lose my temper like that. I still say that you and Dean are each other's biggest weaknesses and the bad guys are always going prey on that, but it's your choice to stay together and fight. Good luck and all that."

"Later Gators!"

With a snap of his fingers, the trickster was gone.

Dean moved over and placed his right hand on Sam's left shoulder and gave it a squeezed. His little brother gave him a watery smile.

Bobby cleared his throat. "Um, I'm gonna clean up our ritual mess and make something to eat. Glad things are back to normal and I hope you idgits learned not to tangle with the likes of him ever again."

Dean chuckled. "Yeah, thanks Bobby."

Once Bobby was gone he moved to sit down next to Sam on the couch.

"How you feeling Sam?"

Sam sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Uh, well still a bit spacey from the Valium but I'm good. Really good."

Dean nodded. "Sorry about the knife wound but yeah, I'm glad you are you again. Though it was funny watching Bobby texting like a teen."

Sam chuckled a bit. "Yeah, well glad I was worth some laughs."

"Always are, bitch."

"Whatever, jerk."

"So Sam, wanna talk about the last few days?" Dean asked tentatively.

It wasn't their nature to talk things out but the last few days had been hell.

Sam shook his head. "Nah, I think I just need some time. I promise to try and not stalk you as much now I have my hearing back."

"Aww, that's fine Sammy, I understand not being able to stay away from someone as awesome as me."

Sam rolled his eyes. "See, I didn't miss hearing the bragging. I'm starved lets go eat."

Dean gave his brother a little shove and smiled as he followed his little brother to the kitchen. Things had been fixed for the moment and he would savor that. With Lilith out there, and hell looming in the distance, he'd take all the victories he could.

End