Season Two

Episode Seven: Shades of Gray

By Thru Terry's Eyes

Part One


Dean leaned back in the stiff, uncomfortable chair and closed his eyes. His head was splitting, his eyes burned, he was sick to his stomach, he couldn’t stop coughing, he was filthy and his clothes reeked of smoke. His face and arms were peppered with tiny cuts from flying glass and bits of debris, but after his third and violent refusal of assistance he had been left to his own devices as he waited, yet again, for someone to come tell him if Sam was gonna be okay. No matter how crappy he felt he was still doing better than Sam.

The emergency room wasn’t crowded at three am, but the few people and staff bustling about now cast him nervous looks and wisely gave him a wide berth.

Finally, he pushed to his feet, muscles protesting, the smell of himself just becoming too much for his stomach to deal with. He coughed into his hands, clearing his throat and wheezing. Moving slowly to the front desk he rolled his eyes when the young girl behind the desk flinched back at the sight of him. A far cry from the reaction he usually got from pretty girls.

“Listen,” he began hoarsely. “I’m gonna go to the men’s room and clean up a little, if the doctor comes out-"

“You’re Mr. Winstead, right?” she consulted a clipboard in front of her. Her face softened as looked at him “Are you sure you don’t want to have one of the doctors take a look at you?”

He shook his head, tired of the argument, coughing into his fist. “I’m fine. I just need to get some of this off of me.”

She nodded. “If the doctor comes before you get back, I’ll page you. You can hear the speakers in the bathroom.” She smiled uncertainly at him.

“I’ll just be a few minutes, thanks.” He would have smiled back but his face refused to cooperate.

* * * *

The bathroom was too bright and made his temples throb when the light hit his eyes which in turn made his nausea worse. He swore and turned off one bank of lights, preferring the semi-gloom.

Holding his fist against his mouth until he got himself under control, he finally leaned over the sink and studied his blood flecked face with disgust. His eyes were totally bloodshot, blinking felt like his lids were dragging over cardboard.

But he could still see.

It was just a simple salt and burn. This shouldn’t have happened. Sam shouldn’t be here.

Pulling off his burnt over shirt and the t-shirt underneath, he jerked the handle to the cold water and roughly started to scrub the dirt and blood from his arm’s and face.

* * * *

Earlier that evening

The coffin was under the floorboards of the old house, not really much more than a pine box.

Dean couldn’t get a good swing from his position and dropped down next to the box, swinging the pickaxe with enthusiasm, enjoying the crunch as the blade bit into the dry old wood.

Dean gagged as the coffin lid broke open, a thick, eye stinging odor billowing out of the box, so strong it was almost visible. He coughed helplessly, almost doubling over, pulling back from the rank smell, eyes watering. He stared into the casket in surprise.

What the…?

The withered corpse had a bizarre greenish glow that even he found creepy. He’d never seen anything like it in his not inconsiderable experience.

Across from him Sam also started coughing. “Holy crap!” he exclaimed, pawing at his eyes. “Man, that stings! Jeez, what the hell would make it glow like that?”

“Hell, who cares?!” Dean replied, unnerved by the eerie sight. “Let’s burn the mother and get outta here! Where’s the salt?”

Sam’s eyes were streaming and he couldn’t see a damned thing. He could smell gasoline and hear it as Dean poured it into the coffin. Rubbing roughly at his eyes, he made out the canister of salt on the floor to the side of his foot. He reached down to retrieve it, the burn in his eyes getting stronger as he got closer to the corpse. He shook out a large amount of salt over the body, as Dean pulled himself out of the hole.

Sam stepped back. Dean lit a match, pausing briefly as he always did for reasons he could not have explained, then flicked the flame into the makeshift grave, fascinated by the green hued flames as they danced upwards.

Dean turned away as the body was rapidly consumed, reaching for the bag of tools. There was an odd, crackling pop and he was thrown sideways by the force of the unexpected explosion of heat and fury from the body lying in its burning casket. A light brighter than the biggest road flare ever burst outward from the hole, turning the entire room a sick green-white.

Slumped against the wall where he had been tossed by the blast, deafened and stunned, arms instinctively covering his head, he was dimly aware of Sam yelling over the ringing in his ears and the sting of numerous cuts peppering his exposed skin. He could smell smoke and hear the crackle of flames.

“Sam!” He rolled to a crouching position and squinted against the waning green glow and the rising flames that were eating at the old wood of the floor. “SAM!”

“Here!” Sam croaked and Dean saw him then, lying on his side, coughing, his arm over his eyes. Dean was horrified to see Sam’s jacket was burning. He stumbled over to Sam and roughly rolled him over, beating out the flames. Luckily Sam’s multiple layers of clothing protected him from any serious damage.

“We gotta get outta here!” Dean exclaimed, trying to drag Sam to his feet and pull him to the door, kicking the tool bag ahead of him and off the porch.

Sam tried to help and between the two of them they managed to stagger through the heavy smoke and out the door where they literally fell down the steps and into the dark yard, ending up tangled together on the cold ground.

Dean groaned, coughing, laying there for a moment before pulling himself free of Sam’s legs. He looked back at the blazing building, the flames sporting a greenish tinge. “What the hell was on that body?”

Behind him Sam was still coughing, rubbing at his burning, watery eyes, his face smudged with soot and trickles of blood. He groaned and swore. “Agh…my eyes…”

Dean turned back and squinted at Sam's hunched form in the shifting light. He pulled himself closer and clasped Sam’s arm. “Sam, you okay?” he demanded, trying to see in the flickering shadows. “Sam…what is it? What’s wrong?” Dean’s already thudding heart began to race.

“I was looking right at it when it blew up….”

“Sam, for God’s sake…what?!” Dean forced Sam’s hands away from his face and caught his chin in his hand, his breath stopping as Sam’s face was turned toward the unsteady light from the flames.

The skin of Sam’s face was red and scorched looking, especially around his scrunched closed eyes. The tears that ran freely down his face left bloody tracks in their wake.

“Open your eyes!” Dean barked.

“I can’t!” he cried. He did his best but Dean finally used his own fingers to pry Sam lids open, unable to stop the sound he made as he got a good look at the milky clouds that covered Sam’s normally dark, blue- green irises, swimming in pools of watery blood. Aw, shit!!!

Sam cried out, clapping his hands back over his eyes. “Dean…I can’t see! God, it hurts!!!”

Dean grabbed him and hauled Sam to his feet. “C’mon! It’ll be okay, but we gotta get you some help!” He pulled Sam along to the car and pushed him into the passenger side.

He knew they had no saline in the first aid kit so he jerked up a half-drunk bottle of water and used it to soak one of the motel towels they were always stealing and throwing into the back seat to use as rags or bandages as the occasion warranted.

“Look at me!” he ordered, pulling Sam’s head back and pouring the rest of the water into his eyes. Sam yelled and tried to pull away but Dean’s fingers were locked into Sam’s hair like iron. “Hold still!” Dean snarled. He pressed the wet towel over Sam’s eyes. “Hold that there!” he helped Sam pull his legs into the car.

Moaning, Sam complied, leaning forward, water dripping on the legs of his jeans.

Dean slammed the passenger door and ran to his side, leaping under the wheel and had the engine going before the door had shut.

The ride to hospital in town was a nightmare. Dean’s own eyes were burning and watering, making it difficult to see and he was starting to feel sick, he knew whatever the hell had been on that body was affecting him but compared to Sam, who was twisting in pain, rocking back and forth with the wet towel gripped to his face, making soft sounds of pain, his own discomfort was nothing.

“I’m gonna be sick, Dean...” Sam groaned.

Dean pulled over while Sam vomited helplessly, almost overcome himself, trying not to listen or see, helped Sam back into the car and gunned it forward.

“Hang on, Sam!” He said, “Just hang on.”

* * * *

Another twenty minutes oozed by after he returned from the men’s room. He’d left his scorched shirt in the trash and wore only the dark gray tee that had been underneath. His jeans were still dirty and he still smelled of smoke but it wasn’t as bad now. His face and arms stung from the multitude of tiny cuts but they were no big deal. He’d washed out his eyes and that had helped a lot, they were still very bloodshot but the sting had lessened considerably. The pounding in his head, however, was almost overwhelming, but he refused to acknowledge it. He took uneasy sips of a coke he had gotten from the machine, trying to settle his stomach.

Shifting impatiently, he squinted at the newspaper left in pieces on the chair next to him, a local rag, called the Riverside Daily News. Even worried and exhausted he shook his head. Where the hell did people get the names for their towns? He knew for a fact the closest thing to a river within a hundred miles was the stream of water from the old leaking water tower they’d seen at the edge of town.

Despite himself, one headline caught his eye and he turned the paper so he could read it better.

“Sudden upsurge in violence puzzles police and city officials—"

“Mr. Winstead?” A soft voice beside him jerked Dean to his feet.

“Yeah, how’s my brother? Can I see him? Is he okay?” The words tumbled from his mouth unchecked and the woman watching him smiled tolerantly and held up her hand.

“Hello, Mr. Winstead, I’m Dr. Curtis. I just finished examining your brother—"

“Please,” Dean broke in, “Can I see him? I need to see him.”

Dr. Curtis paused as she started to speak, but then nodded in the face of Dean’s obvious agitation. “Were you caught in this explosion too? Has anyone had a look at you?”

Dean shook his head impatiently; mistake. “I’m fine, I just need to see Sam!”

She nodded. “Of course, we can talk in the exam room. He’s right down here.” She moved down the hall with Dean hot on her heels.

Dean took a breath as he followed her into the dimly lit exam room. A nurse was taking some notes, talking softly to Sam, patting him on the arm.

As she looked up and moved aside, Dean stopped and bit his lip, his mouth going dry. Sam was lying on the exam bed, partially raised up, bare-chested with a light blanket pulled over him. An IV ran to one arm and he was hooked to some kind of monitor. His face was turned toward Dean, his eyes and upper face covered with gauze bandages, large pads over his eyes visible under the wrappings. The skin Dean could see of his face and chest was blotched red and white and dotted with butterfly closures and antiseptic.

Guilt washed over him a flood. This was so his fault…

“Can my brother come in now?” Sam was saying in a hoarse, slightly slurred voice. The mark of a good pain killer.

That released Dean from his freeze and he immediately crossed the room and touched Sam’s arm.

“I’m right here, Sam. Sorry, they wouldn’t let me in before. I tried.”

Sam laughed softly, ending in a grimacing cough. “Yeah, I heard.” He visibly relaxed now that Dean was with him. His hand fell on Dean’s arm and tightened. “Are…you okay?”

Dean forced a laugh. “Dude, I’m always okay." Even under bandages, Dean could recognize Sam’s searching stare and it was worse bandaged than the puppy dog eyes were uncovered.

“I’m not…kidding, Dean,” he replied as sharply as he could under the circumstances.

“Sam, I’m fine, really. Not a scratch. What about you, man?” Dean turned back to Dr. Curtis who waited with surprising patience. “So what’s the story? He’s gonna be okay, right?” he gestured across his own eyes.

“It’s a chemical flash burn. I’d say phosphorus based, although it’s different from the ones I’ve seen before. He couldn’t tell us what happened in any real detail, he said it happened too fast. The burns on his skin are superficial and should heal without any problems. His eyes are another matter, we explained the situation to Sam. His corneas were burned.”

Dean looked horrified and turned to stare at Sam who lay still facing the ceiling, his hand still clasped on Dean’s arm.

“Burned? But, they’ll heal right?” he tried to keep his voice even.

Dr. Curtis gave him a small smile. “It’s not unlike what happens to people who damage their eyes by staring at the sun for too long. Up to a point their eyes can recover, but if the damage is too great…”

“So what are you saying?” Dean demanded. “Sam’s gonna be blind?! Like hell!” As though he could control it by saying the words. Dean sank down on the edge of Sam’s bed, his legs suddenly weak. “Just cut to the chase, for God’s sake.”

“Dean, s’okay…" Sam broke in softly.

“That’s not what I’m saying, Mr. Winstead,” Dr. Curtis replied gently. “We don’t know what he was burned with for sure, and we can only assess the damage up to a point. We need to give his eyes time to recover, get a better idea of what kind of damage was actually done. It’s a flash burn, chances are he’ll recover without problems, but I wouldn’t be doing you a service by not being honest.” She picked up the clipboard the nurse had been writing on.

“We’ve given Sam a hefty antibiotic, treated the burns and given him something for the pain and nausea he’s experiencing. We’d like to keep him overnight for observation, see how he’s doing tomorrow. His treatment requires drops and ointment in his eyes every few hours, and rest. He needs to stay out of bright lights. I’ll arrange for his admittance and a room—"

“Dean…” Sam pulled at Dean’s arm “Dean, I do’ wanna stay here…” He floundered clumsily on the bed.

Dean pressed a hand against his chest and pushed him back. “Sam, it’s okay, calm down, it’s just one night, I’ll stay with you. It’ll be okay--"

Sam huffed out an unhappy sigh, released Dean’s arm and turned toward the wall, sinking back into the bed.

Dr. Curtis smiled sympathetically. “The nurse will be back in a minute and get him ready to move to a room. It shouldn’t be long.”

Dean waited until the door closed behind her and then kicked a stool over by Sam’s bed and sank into it. He reached out and laid a hand on Sam’s arm. “Sam…” he began, stopped, jaw muscles working. He cleared his throat and tried again. “God, Sam, I’m so sorry.” He rubbed a hand over his own eyes, scrubbing it through his raggedly cut hair.

Sam’s head rolled back toward Dean. “Whafor?” He raised one hand to the bandages but Dean caught it and moved it away.

“For this…I should have waited…figured out what that stuff was. This didn’t have to happen-"

Dean ducked his head, voice faltering, as realization that Sammy could be blinded for life sank in with a bang. …because of him.

“Crap, Dean…” Even drowsy with drugs Sam still managed to sound disgusted. “S’not your fault, dude. Shit happens. Jus’ happens…some…times…” Slowly, Sam’s head drifted to the side and his breathing even out. The fingers Dean still held in his hand, relaxed and slipped through his grip to fall softly on the bed.

Dean sighed and reached out to brush Sam’s slightly singed hair out of his face. He leaned forward on his elbows, resting his aching head on a forearm, fingers of one hand stroking Sam’s hair gently and sat like that until the nurse came to take Sam to his room.



* * * *

Dean jerked when the door to Sam’s room opened and the lights flicked on overhead, the stab of light sending fresh pulses of pain through his head. The nurse who entered with a tray, paused when she heard Dean groan and lean forward with his hands over his eyes.

“Are you alright?” She asked, concerned, setting her tray down on the table by Sam’s bed.

“Yeah…” Dean ground out, rubbing his neck. “Headache I can’t shake…” He pushed wearily to his feet, blinking. The clock on the wall read 6 am.

“Let me take care of your brother and I’ll see if I can get you something for your head.” She smiled and turned back to Sam, who was starting to stir, moaning softly.

Dean rubbed his forehead, grimacing. “Thanks, but I’m more concerned about Sam than me. What are you gonna do?”

“I need to change the dressing and put the drops in his eyes. You need to watch what I do and I’ll explain, you’ll need to help him with this when he’s released.” She reached out and gave Sam’s shoulder a gentle shake.

“Sam? Wake up for me…”

Sam jerked up with a gasp, hand flying to his face. “No--Dean!”

Dean quickly stepped up and caught Sam’s arm. “I’m right here, Sam. It’s okay, it’s okay. She just wants to fix your bandages, show me how to put in the drops and stuff.”

Sam allowed Dean to push him back, breathing slowing. “O-okay, he murmured, hand brushing absently at his chest.

“How you feelin'?” Dean asked.

Sam shrugged. “Head hurts. My eyes...” his voice was still raw. He cleared his throat, leaning his head back. “Thirsty…”

Dean grabbed the insulated mug of water and held the straw to Sam’s lips. “Here you go.” He waited while Sam drank several swallows.

“Just lie still Sam and this won’t take long.” The nurse, her nametag read Julie, began to unwrap the bandages on his eyes until only the pads were left. The skin around his eyes was still red and raw looking. “I have some drops for the pain in your eyes. I’m going to turn the lights down so they won’t bother you so much, so don’t worry if the room seems dim.” Julie flipped all the lights off except a small one over the bed.

Dean looked down as Sam’s hand felt across the bed until it encountered Dean’s, fingers curling through his. Instead of pulling away he tightened his grip. “S’okay, Sammy,” he said softly.

“I’m gonna take the pads off now, you ready?”

His fingers jerked in Dean’s grip. He swallowed and nodded. “Go ahead.”

Dean watched intently as Julie slowly removed the pads from Sam’s eyes, grimacing at the red, swollen flesh.

“Don’t try and open them yet,” she said, gently wiping his eyes with a saline soaked cotton ball. “Can you open them now?”

His eyelids twitched as he tried to lift them, she carefully helped him and after a moment he could open them a crack, but snapped them shut again with a soft cry, his hands coming up instinctively to block the light. “Burns-" he hissed.

“Give yourself a second to adjust to the light. Try again.”

Tears ran from the corners of his eyes as he blinked against even the small but still intrusive, amount of light in the room, but he managed to open them a bit more and keep them open. It hurt like hell but he felt a small thrill of relief as he dimly made out dark and light areas. It was like watching terrible black and white TV but at least it was something other than the blackness he’d been expecting. He turned his head and made out shifting blackness around a slightly lighter form that he associated with the death grip on his hand.


Dean released the breath he’d been holding and sucked in a fresh one, breaking into a smile. “Yeah, it’s me Sam.” His voice caught. “Whadaya see, man?”

“Dark, its all shadows, but I can kind of make out light areas.” He closed his eyes again, covering them with one hand. “Makes me kind of dizzy.”

Julie smiled at Dean’s look. “Some of that is from the medicine, if you’ve ever had your eyes dilated it’s a little like that. Makes it hard to focus. The doctor will be in for rounds shortly. I’m going to put these drops and ointment in your eyes. I’m not going to rewrap them, just tape them lightly in place but you need to leave the pads alone, okay? They’ll help block the light.”

Sam nodded and lay back as still as he could while she ran a line of ointment along his lids and followed with three drops from a small bottle. It stung at first but then a blissful numbness overcame it. She laid fresh pads on his eyes and taped them in place, checked his IV and patted his shoulder again.

“There, all done. That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”

Sam moved his mouth in a slight smile.

“I’ll get you something for your headache,” Julie said to Dean as she picked up her tray and left the room.

“Thanks,” Dean replied.

“What’s wrong with your head?” Sam murmured.

“Nothin’, it’s just a headache. I think from whatever the hell was all over that body.” He settled back into the chair next to Sam’s bed. “How you feel, otherwise?”

Sam’s shoulders moved in a slight shrug. “Head hurts. Kinda sick to my stomach, but not so bad overall.” He sighed. “I wanta leave.”

“We will, dude. We will. Let’s just let the doc have a look at you. Besides breakfast’ll be here soon, never turn down a free meal.”

Sam made a face. “You can have it. I’m not sure I could find my mouth right now, even if I was hungry.”

Dean laughed.

* * * *

Sam had been released despite Dr. Curtis' desire to keep him for another day, but after admitting that there really wasn’t anything they could do at the hospital for Sam that Dean wasn’t capable of doing other than just observe him, he was adamant that he be released.

Dean agreed to set up an appointment at the hospital clinic for Sam to be checked in a couple of days and that if anything changed he would bring Sam back immediately. He made sure he understood Sam’s treatment schedule and what to watch for.

Sam had been awarded a pair of wraparound sunglasses and a free ride in a wheelchair down to the Impala. Sliding into the leather seats was almost like going home, even if he couldn’t see it. He could feel it and he could smell it and a part of him finally understood what it was about the car that meant so much to Dean.

Dean settled in the driver’s side and glanced at Sam who was resting his head on a bunched up jacket pressed against the window. “You okay?”

“Fine,” Sam replied. “Let’s go.”

A new sensation manifested itself on the drive back to the motel as Sam discovered that sleeping in a car was one thing, but, for him at least, riding in it with his eyes closed but aware of the movement produced car sickness with a vengeance. By the time they reached the motel, he was so dizzy and sick he almost couldn’t keep his feet as Dean helped him out of the car.

“Man, what’s wrong?” Dean asked anxiously, as Sam clutched at him, knees almost buckling.

“I gotta lie down,” Sam groaned. “I gotta stop moving or I’m gonna be sick-"

"Well, hang on for just minute-" Dean managed to maneuver Sam towards the door of their room, fumble the key into the lock and get the door open in a minimum of time. He got Sam over to the bed and down with relief.

Sam rolled to his side and pulled his legs up, hands over his face, moaning softly.

Feeling a little helpless, Dean knelt down next to the bed. “Are you in pain? Can I do anything? Getcha anything?”

Sam moved his head in a tiny negative. “I just wanta lie still for a while. I’m okay. Really.”

“Okay,” Dean replied reluctantly. He pushed himself up and back onto the other bed. He glanced at his watch. “I gotta put drops and stuff in your eyes in an hour, man. Get some rest. If you need anything let me know. I’ll be right here.”

Sam made a soft sound Dean took as assent and lay still, save his breathing.

Glancing around, Dean spotted the remote for the TV. He was desperately tired and his muscles ached from the collision with the wall yesterday. Maybe he could just rest for a bit and quietly watch some TV, then help Sam with his meds.

He toed off his sneakers and scooted up to the headboard, stuffing the two pillows behind him. He quickly set the alarm on his watch, just in case, and flipped on the TV, annoyed to discover the only channel was the local station, currently running midday news.

He lay his head back and gazed at the screen for a few minutes before his eyes started to drift closed, his brain absorbing the last few sentences the newscaster spoke before shutting down completely.

“Local authorities are still looking into the sudden increases of domestic violence in the last few weeks, cases of road rage and crime have also been on the rise recently…”

* * * *

Sam found waking up without being able to open your eyes a strange experience indeed. Dean had faithfully administered the prescribed medication exactly on time throughout the remainder of the day. He had tried to be gentle but there was no getting around it, it hurt and that was all there was to it until the drops took affect. If Sam moved his head too much, pain would spear him behind his eyes and he would become nauseous.

Sam had managed a few bites of the meal Dean had brought in then had fallen back asleep. He had noticed, each time the pads had come off, the light had been less irritating but when he tried to look at his surroundings it was still nothing but shifting light and dark without detail. Especially around Dean, whom he could identify because he was the only thing in the room that moved and the darkness followed in his wake, hovering around him like a bizarre after image. Most odd was the small red dots he could see drifting in the morass of blackness.

He lay quietly for a few minutes, able to tell it was time for his drops, because his eyes burned. The sticky sensation of the ointment was annoying in its own right and he was tired of having his eyelids pried apart by Dean’s willing, but ,despite his best efforts, rough , fingers.

Experimentally, he slowly pushed himself upright, pleased when he didn’t immediately want to throw up. Giving himself time to acclimate, he listened intently, stunned at how quickly his other senses had stepped in to take up the slack left by his eyes.

He could hear Dean breathing in the next bed, smell the fact that they both needed a shower, nothing so special there, but he could also hear the soft rustle of cloth as Dean shifted ever so slightly in his sleep and he was pretty sure the sound he heard in the wall was the soft scritch of a mouse.

It was interesting, definitely, but not the way he wanted to spend the rest of his life experiencing things.

He very slowly got to his feet, using the wall for support. He forgot the pads on his eyes but felt them as they dropped away. Managing to get his eyes open a crack he looked at the floor to try to make sure he didn’t fall over anything.

He frowned. On one hand his vision was definitely clearer, but everything was darker or lighter tones of gray, like grainy black and white film. He remembered the bedspreads being a red color with blue and yellow swirls. He could see the differences in the pattern but it was bereft of any color at all. More startling was the fact that it took three tries before he could get his hands on the spread at all to bring it up to his face. What the hell was that all about?

He dropped the spread and tried to take a step but somehow the floor wasn’t where it looked like it was and he shifted his weight to the other leg too soon, falling forward with a dull thump to his hands and knees.

Dean was instantly awake and beside him almost before his brain registered the sound of Sam falling. “What the hell! Sam what are you doing? Are you alright?” Dean grabbed Sam and helped him back onto the bed.

“I’m fine, Dean!” Sam said, annoyed. “I was just going into the bathroom-“ he grimaced and held his head, his headache back to vibrant life.

“You shoulda woke me up, man! You can’t even see where you’re going! Are you sure you’re okay?” Dean sat opposite him, leaning forward.

“I’m fine,” Sam repeated but with less irritation. “I can see better today, I’m having trouble judging distance, like my depth perception is off.” He blinked at Dean. “I misjudged my step is all.”

“You can see better?” Dean asked anxiously. “Really? That’s great!”

“Yeah, but nothing has any color, it’s all black and white. Or gray.” Sam gently rubbed his eyelids.

Dean frowned. “No color? Whadaya mean no color? Like black and white? Sam-”

Sam shrugged, ”More like different shades of gray, everything is still so dark, but I can kinda make out the shapes and stuff.”

“Do you wanta go back to the doctor’s? Check it out?”

Sam shook his head slightly. “No, let’s see if it clears up on its own. It’s probably just a side effect.”

Dean opened his mouth to comment, starting as his watch alarm went off. “Dude, we gotta do your eyes.” He got up and went into the bathroom.

Sam lifted his face and watched Dean, very blurry, but he could definitely tell it was Dean this time, move into the next room. Puzzled and slightly disconcerted by the shadows that swirled around Dean’s form as he moved. Everywhere he moved they expanded and contracted around him, draped themselves over him and danced around him when he stood still.

Sam was staring at him when Dean returned with the drops, ointment, saline and a wet, warm washcloth to bathe Sam’s eyes with before medicating him again.

“This won’t take long,” Dean began, stopping as he noticed Sam frowning at him. “What?” He watched as Sam stretched out a hand and brushed it against Dean’s arm.

To Sam, his fingers sank into the blackness that was wrapped around Dean’s arm. It actually dissolved away from his touch. Even though he felt nothing, he pulled his hand away. The shadow returned, slithering up Dean’s arm and vanishing around his neck where the major darkness that hovered around Dean seemed to be congregating.

Dean looked down at his arm and turned it this way and that. “Sam? What the hell’s with you?”

Sam scrunched up his eyes and opened them as widely as he could, ending in a squint.

Undulating around Dean, the shifting shadows lifted themselves over him, joining together into a large mass and then separating into smaller shapes that fell over Dean like a black shawl, only to rise and melt together again in a slow motion frenzy of excited movement. Here and there, always moving, red glowing dots appeared in pairs, winking in and out of existence like a faulty Christmas tree light, going out here, only to reappear there. Blinking.

Like eyes.



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