A/N: I wrote this one shot for a prompt (which can be found at the end of the story) from Eru at ask-winchester on Tumblr (if you have a Tumblr, go follow her - she's the best RPer ever). It's full of angst and brothers feels … I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: If I owned Supernatural, these stories would definitely be more popular than they are. Their unpopularity is proof of the continued absence of Supernatural from my possession.

5 Signs That Something Was Wrong With Dean

The first sign that something was wrong with Dean could be seen on a run of the mill werewolf hunt in Dayton. Dean had a clear, easy shot on the werewolf's head and he missed it completely. It wasn't that big a deal. The case just took a little longer was a little harder to close than it would have been otherwise. Still, Dean missing a shot? There was something strange about that – something not right.

But Sam didn't realize that. He thought it was just a fluke … Dean had something in his eye or had stumbled at the last second. It wasn't a big deal, he thought. And so, he did not recognize the first sign.

The second sign that something was wrong with Dean could be seen on the drive to Allentown, Pennsylvania to check out a potential cursed hairbrush. Dean was driving and he nearly caused an accident three different times, almost went off the road four, and missed their exit. He was driving erratically and extremely dangerously.

But Sam didn't really care, for two reasons. One, Dean had always been a reckless driver. Two, the two of them were having a fight and Sam just assumed that Dean was doing this to piss him off even more. It's just Dean being a jerk, he thought. And so, he did not recognize the second sign.

The third sign that something was wrong with Dean could be seen in a bar in Houston. Sam watched Dean approach a girl sitting at the bar who was not nearly as attractive as his usual type. Sam watched with interest as Dean flirted with her in his usual charming way while the girl was clearly thrilled to finally get some attention. And afterwards, when Sam made a comment about how Dean was straying from his practice of only hitting on "perfect 10s", he laughed at the confused face Dean made.

But Sam didn't think anything of that face. Sam believed that Dean was being nice to the girl sitting all by herself. He's just being kind, he thought. And so, he did not recognize the third sign.

The fourth sign that something was wrong with Dean could be seen in their motel room in Oregon. Dean and Sam were in town to investigate four suspicious deaths and when Sam looked to Dean for their first move, Dean looked back at him enigmatically and told Sam that he take the lead on this hunt, if he wanted to. Dean was giving up control.

But Sam didn't notice how uncharacteristic this was. He was too busy being excited that Dean finally trusted him enough to let him lead. He's believes in me, he thought. And so, he did not recognize the fourth sign.

Three weeks later, Sam was dead. And surprisingly enough, it wasn't the inhabitants of heaven, hell, or purgatory that got him in the end. It was a run of the mill gas station robbery. He died saving the lives of the two other people that were in the convenience store at the time – the gas station owner and Dean. And that was where the fifth sign could be found. While Sam was fighting, Dean was standing stock still, a confused and frightened look on his face. If Sam had seen him, he would finally have realized that something was wrong.

But Sam didn't notice. And it didn't really matter if he had noticed or not. He was dead. Where he was, it didn't matter anymore. And so, the fifth sign went unnoticed as well.

When Sam woke up six months later, alive and whole again, the first thing he felt was the need to find his brother. After all, that's what they did, right? When one of them woke up after being dead, the first thing he did was let the other know he was alright.

So he called Dean's phone. It was disconnected.

So was his second phone.

And his third phone.

And his fourth phone.

And so was Dad's old phone.

Sam couldn't get in contact with Dean. And all of his research turned up nothing on any cases solved by one of Dean's aliases. He even tried calling Garth, and after proving that he was really alive again, he asked Garth if he'd heard anything from Dean. But he hadn't.

Sam decided to hunt again. He'd go after the cases that Dean tended to go after and hopefully they'd meet up along the way. Honestly, he didn't really have another plan.

Two months after Sam woke up, he was in Upper New York State. He was walking down the street of a residential neighborhood, enjoying the good weather when he stopped suddenly in his tracks. Had he just seen-

He turned around quickly and walked back down the street, back to what had made him stop. It was a black 67 Impala. No, it was the black 67 Impala. It was Dean's. He was sure of it. The only thing that he wasn't sure of was what it was doing here and why there was a random kid washing it. Since when did Dean let others wash his car?

"Hey!" he called out to the kid. "This your car?"

"Oh, no," the kid replied. "I wish, but no. It belongs to the guy that lives here."

That pulled Sam right out of his calm and collected chain of thought and questioning. "It- it WHAT?!"

The kid looked at him like he'd gone mad. "It belongs to the guy who lives in that house up there," he said very slowly and clearly, pointing at the ranch style house on the property. "I'm just washing it for him!" he called out to Sam as Sam sprinted towards the house.

When he got to the front door, he pushed the door bell insistently. Dean was living in a house?! He'd gone domestic?! Sam finally really understood the fury Dean had felt when he'd found out that Sam hadn't looked for him while he was in Purgatory. He finally understood why Dean had been so angry that he'd given up hunting.

Sam had been betrayed by so many people. He'd been abandoned by so many.

But not by Dean.

Never by Dean.

Until now.

He rang the doorbell again, impatient. He began to pound on the door, not caring that he was behaving recklessly considering that the person inside the house was a hunter.

Finally, the door opened and there was Dean. Dean was there. But he didn't do anything. He just stood there. He didn't freak out because Sam was alive again; he didn't pull his little brother into a hug. He just stood.

And because Sam was so stunned that Dean had absolutely no reaction to the fact that Sam was alive again, he didn't move or say anything either.

Dean finally broke the silence. "Hello?" he said in a questioning voice.

Hello? Hello?! What the hell was Dean playing at? "Dean-" Sam started, his voice full of confusion.

Confusion that turned to horror as he saw his brother's face turn towards him. And that's when he realized that the whole time he'd been standing there, Dean hadn't been looking at him. Sure, he'd been looking near him, but not directly at him. It wasn't until Dean was actually looking in the right direction that Sam realized that something was wrong here besides his own hurt feelings.

"Sammy?" Dean asked, his face full of hope as he reached out in the general direction of Sam.

And everything finally fell into place for Sam.

The easy shots Dean had missed, the way his driving had become absolutely terrible, the fact that his taste in women had become a whole lot less discriminating. The cases he had given to Sam, the loss of confidence Sam had seen in Dean's face, the way he had always been turning on more lights and complaining about the darkness. The fact that he had left the hunting life and become domestic. The fact that he let someone else wash the Impala. The way he just stood there after opening the door. And the way he reached out uncertainly to where Sam was standing. It all made sense now.

Dean had gone blind.

Choking back tears, Sam moved towards Dean's trembling hand, his own voice trembling. "Yeah. It's me. Hey, Dean. I came back … again."

Dean laughed quietly as he felt for Sam's shoulder and then grasped it. "Yeah, you did, didn't you? Are- are you ok? I mean … did you come back ok? The same?"

The same? Ok? He felt as though he'd just lost his brother. "No, I'm not the same. Neither of us are, I guess."

Dean flinched almost imperceptibly and his grip tightened on Sam's shoulder, as if he was trying to steady himself.

"Yeah. I guess you could say that." Dean whispered.

Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder, squeezed it, and then brought the older man into a hug. And they gripped each other as if it would keep them from shattering.

Finally pulling away from the hug, Dean backed into the house and invited Sam in. Sam watched heartbrokenly as he saw how hesitantly his brother walked.

Already, he missed the swagger that Dean used to walk with.

Already, he missed the confidence and slight arrogance that Dean used to approach all situations with.

Already, he missed the big brother who was able to protect him.

Dean turned around hesitantly, his eyes slipping right past Sam, trying to make sure he was still there. All of a sudden Dean was the one who needed comforting, protecting, help. Looking at his brother, Sam realized what he missed the most already. He missed Dean looking straight into his eyes and seeing all the words that could never have been spoken. Those words of encouragement and love and sometimes, of protection and help. He'd never had to speak them before. Had never been able to. He didn't even know if he could.

"Sammy?" Dean's uncertainty broke his heart and he realized he had to say them. Dean had always been there for him – now it was his turn to be there for his older brother.

"I'm here, Dean. I'm right here."

A/N: The prompt was, Dean is blind. This is what I came up with. I'll be posting a different answer to that prompt next week (or sometime a little later ...). It will be from Dean's point of view. Hope you enjoyed this! Please review!