The Eyes of March
Sam woke up, still blind, with a terrible itch on his arm. Scratching at it insanely, he tried to keep from waking Dean. They were still a couple of hours from Bobby's and Sam hated that he was, once again, the reason for a delay. As with the day before, he'd succumbed to carsickness after a few hours of driving, so they'd ended up stopping again.
Dean had done some more digging around, talking to Bobby and anyone else who might be able to help, while Sam lay stretched out on a lumpy bed with a cold facecloth over his eyes. However, while everyone pretty much agreed that Sam had been cursed in some way, no one had any answers, and the brothers were no closer to getting Sam's sight back now than they were before.
Bobby had them try a couple of cleansing rituals—the one involving nudity, Sam did refuse to try—but nothing worked. If it wasn't for his faith in Dean's sheer determination that they were going to fix this, Sam would have been ready to order himself a Seeing Eye dog. A small smile twisted his lips as he continued to scratch at his arm. He doubted any dog would be as protective, adept at keeping him from falling on his face, or annoying as hell as his brother.
Not that Sam would ever admit that to Dean.
"What are you doing?"
The sleep-hoarse voice from across the room had Sam wincing and dropping his hand. "Sorry. Didn't mean to wake you," he apologized, and tried to ignore the burning tingle in his skin and an almost frantic need to scratch it. "My arm itches," he finally admitted with a frustrated whine as he sat up and pressed his back against the headboard. This sucked. He heard the sound of shifting sheets from the other bed as his fingers crept back toward the irritation. "Can you—ah—take a look at it?" Oh, God, he hated this. His whole life he had rallied to be treated as an equal, to be seen as a capable adult by his two larger-than-life role models, and now, here he was reduced to having his brother pick out his clothes and check for rashes on his arms.
"Sure," Dean agreed easily, and moments later he was holding Sam's arm.
Although his brother's hands were dry and calloused, their warmth helped settle some of the nagging worry in Sam's heart.
Then Dean hissed, "What the hell?" and tightened his grip.
"What? What is it?" Panic slid into place as Sam tried to pull his arm away, but Dean didn't let him go. "What is it, Dean?"
"How long's it been itching?" Dean asked instead of answering.
Sam shook his head. "I dunno. Not long? When I woke up? Why? What's wrong, Dean? What do you see?"
"There's a… Well… You have a…" Dean seemed at a loss of how to explain it for a moment. He huffed out a poor excuse for a laugh. "You're not going to believe this, Sammy, but…uh…you have a rash—"
"A rash?" Sam managed to yank his arm back indignantly. "All that fuss for a rash? Geesh, Dean, I thought—"
"In the shape of a shamrock," Dean finished.
And that shut Sam up for a moment until finally he managed, "Huh?" and wondered if he looked as stupid as he felt. "Did you just say…?"
"Yeah, Sam. I did."
Dean's voice moved away from the bed, and Sam heard him rifling around for something. Then he was closer again, startling Sam when he took hold of his arm again.
"Easy. I just want to take a picture of it, send it to Bobby. Who knows? Maybe it means something."
"A shamrock?" Sam mused, happy to have something to focus on beyond being blind—even if it did suck—and he tried to scratch the itch again, frowning hard when Dean smacked his hand away.
"Don't scratch," big brother said.
Sam resisted the strong urge to stick his tongue out. He heard the sound of the camera phone click a picture, and then Dean was calling Bobby.
Sam listened, half-distracted and slowly going mad as he fought the urge to scratch. When he heard Dean move away, probably turning his back on Sam as he paced while he spoke with Bobby, Sam drove mercilessly at his arm with his fingers. Ahhh…that felt good—and then Dean was back and smacking his hand away.
"Stop it, I said," Dean growled.
"Bite me," was Sam's oh-so-grownup retort as he tried to shift away.
"Sam, no, seriously." Dean's hands pinned Sam's down. "You're gonna tear yourself to shit. Now stop it or I'll tape oven mitts on your hands again like I did when you were five and had chicken pox!"
"We don't own oven mitts," Sam growled, blushing. Even now, twenty years later, he could remember the humiliation, anger, and frustration.
"I'll buy some," Dean threatened, then let Sam go and finished his conversation with Bobby.
Sam had no idea what he'd done with the phone during their tussle and really didn't want to know.
"What'd Bobby say?" he asked after Dean hung up.
"Well…he thinks that with today being Saint Patrick's Day, it's no coincidence." Dean gently shoved Sam's legs aside and sat down on the bed. "He's got some things to check out but now he thinks, well, somehow we might have pissed off a leprechaun and it whammied you."
"A leprechaun? Do those things even exist?" Sam wondered, slouching down in the bed and sighing tiredly. "Have you been making fun of short people again?" Not that it was something Dean did, but Sam was pretty sure he hadn't come across one ever, and that was something he'd be sure to remember since the dang things terrified the crap out of him, so that left his brother.
"No," Dean started, sounding affronted.
Then something in the pause had Sam leaning up on his elbows. He really wished he could see his brother.
"Uh…actually. Nah." The bed jolted as Dean suddenly stood up. "It couldn't be." Carpet fibers scrunched as Dean paced. "No way."
Slowly sitting up the rest of the way, Sam swung his legs over the side of the bed and curled his fingers over the edges of the mattress to keep himself oriented. "No way, what?" He wasn't liking the sound of this.
"Okay, see there's this funny story." Dean didn't really sound very ha-ha funny.
Sam's brow furrowed as he tried to follow along.
"You remember two nights ago—?"
"The last night I could still see?" Sam clarified.
"Uh, yeah, that'd be the one." Dean gave a nervous little chuckle. "Well something funny, or maybe now, not so funny happened when I was out."
"Dean," Sam fought to remember that night, "you didn't go out anywhere. We pulled into town, gassed up the car, and got a room." It was true, they were both exhausted and called it an early night.
"Okay, so 'out' was the wrong term. Sue me, Sammy," Dean snarked. "When I was getting gas then."
Sam felt a headache coming on. He scratched lightly at his arm, then dropped it when he swore he could feel his brother's glare. "Go on," he sighed.
"There was this chick working the cash register and she was pretty flirty. Okay, that's a lie, she was coming on so strong I got a hickey waiting for change."
Sam grimaced at the image. "And?" he prompted, wondering what this had to do with anything.
"And, well, I told her in no uncertain terms, no. Actually I think my words were something like, 'not if I was a dying man and you were the cure.'" Dean blew out a heavy huff as if it killed him to admit the next part. "And, well, the thing is, Sammy, she was…well…really…very…short."
Sam was dumbstruck for a moment. Dean had stopped pacing somewhere across the room, and Sam just knew he was watching him, waiting for Sam's reaction.
"So," Sam tried to choose his words carefully, "what you are telling me, is that I am blind because you said no to a slutty short person, who was in reality a leprechaun?"
"Yeah. Uh. Pretty much?" Dean sounded uncertain.
Sam started to laugh. He couldn't help it. It was absolutely ludicrous—and this was their lives.
"Sam? Sammy? You okay?"
"Am I okay?" Sam was laughing so hard, tears burned his sightless eyes. "Am I okay? Sure, Dean, I am just perfectly fine. Absolutely freaking fine. Dude, did you ever hear of taking one for the team?"
"Shut up, Sam."
Sam couldn't help it, he was still laughing, half doubled over, his body shaking. "What a time to have standards."
"I mean, c'mon, bro, I've see—"
"Enough, Sam!" Dean practically roared.
Sam dropped it. It did take him a moment or two to calm down though, and when he did, he was horrified to realize he was still shaking. And his arm still itched. "Dean?" His head was really beginning to hurt.
"I suddenly—" Sam swallowed hard, dizzy. He tightened his grip on the edge of the bed as nausea pooled in the pit of his stomach. "—don't feel so good…"
He offered his best sickly smile and then promptly lost consciousness.
"You'd better really be awake this time."
Dean's growly, worried, voice was the first thing Sam heard when he opened his eyes.
He was lying on a bed, and wondered for a moment if he'd actually fallen off or if Dean caught him in time. Looking at the worry on his brother's face, Sam had no doubt about it: Dean would never let him fall.
Sam's eyes burned and he offered a wide smile as he swallowed hard and forced the words past the lump in his throat. "You look like shit." He emphasized "look" and waited for his brother's comprehension.
It didn't take long.
And then Dean was grinning like an idiot, and chick flick moments be damned, grabbed Sam and pulled him into a tight hug. "Damn it, Sammy, damn it!"
Sam held on like a desperate man, choking back sobs of sheer relief. "Yeah." He licked his lips and snorted a laugh against his brother's shoulder. "Pretty much."
"You scared the shit out of me when you collapsed like that," Dean admitted, letting Sam go and sitting beside him on the bed.
Hazel-green eyes searched Sam's face, their intensity making Sam blush, but he didn't turn away, drinking in as much the sight of his brother as his brother was drinking in of him. "Sorry," he finally said, stifling a yawn and startled to realize how tired he was.
Dean frowned in concern. "You okay?"
"Just tired," Sam admitted. "Guess getting my sight back took a lot out of me.
"Don't even joke about that," Dean growled, then glanced around the room. "Let's get the hell out of here." He stood and started to gather the few things that had been unpacked. "You can sleep on the drive."
Sam watched his brother for a moment, just watched him, a satisfied look on his face. "I wonder why she reversed the spell," he mused aloud.
"Don't know, don't care," Dean admitted, checking under the beds to make sure they hadn't missed anything. "Maybe we got too far from her. Maybe it was just to teach me a lesson. Who knows?"
Frowning, Sam stood up, grabbed his bag and was very pleased to pick out his own clothes. He did glance down, even more pleased to see he was wearing exactly what Dean said he was. "Teach you a lesson? What lesson?"
Dean shrugged as he shouldered his own duffel and the weapons bag. "Who knows? Do I look like a leprechaun whisperer to you? And if you do answer that question, the weapons will ride shotgun and you can take the trunk!"
Sam laughed as he quickly dressed, then followed his brother out of the room and to the Impala. And God, wasn't she a sight for sore eyes? And didn't this March morning look especially bright and shiny? The colors made him smile, and he was looking forward to finishing the drive to Bobby's. He was just as anxious to get to the junkyard as Dean was, but for some downtime now instead of a "fix." They'd do a quick shave and scrub when they stopped for something to eat. "You know what really sucks, though?"
Dean had the trunk open and glanced at him, a wary look on his face. "What?"
Sam looked down at his arm. Dean was right, he did have a shamrock-shaped rash. He started to scratch. "It still itches."
And didn't stop scratching until Dean pulled up in front of a dollar store and disappeared inside…
Four hours later, Bobby was staring at the brothers in shock.
Dean was grinning.
Sam had oven mitts duct taped on his hands.
"Idjits," Bobby grumbled, but let them in his house anyway.
It was going to be a long day.