Title: Silence

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Supernatural

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Not my boys!

Written for my own SPN comment meme.
Prompt:  Deaf Sam watching Dean sneeze. This can be gen, slash, whatever. He can have a sneezekink or not. I'm just interested to see what it's like from the point of view of a person who can't actually hear a sneeze. Engage your other senses, writerly folks! Go! :D



For one brief moment after Sam woke, he was terrified Dean had left. Then he remembered the reason for the silence. He remembered the siren’s shrill shrieks—the last sound he would ever hear—which still sounded in his ears when his blood was pumping fast. And though it had been months, he still woke every single morning thinking it would be different.


Sam threw the covers off, no surprised to find the bed otherwise empty. Dean had stopped watching over him in his sleep after Sam stopped thrashing about in the middle of the night, screaming and freaking out about not being about to hear his own screams.


After a long, hot shower, Sam followed the smell of bacon to the kitchen. Dean at the stove turned and flashed him a grin. Sam nodded good morning but frowned the second Dean’s back was turned. Bacon was a comfort food for his older brother. If he were cooking bacon, something had to be wrong. Maybe he’d just gotten news that someone had died—though who, Sam didn’t know; they’d lost everyone already. Maybe there was suspicious activity on the news and Dean was bummed to not be able to go out and investigate; giving up the hunt because deaf hunters didn’t last very long and Dean always worked best when someone watched his back was still hard on both of them. Or maybe Dean was sick. He did look a little tired, with faint dark circles under his eyes. He was wearing Sam’s Stanford hoodie—something he only did when desperately cold or when he wanted to feel closer to his brother. And his nose sported a line across the bridge, like he’d been rubbing and pushing the end of his nose up a lot. It was a faint line, one you usually just saw on people who had allergies. But it was definitely there now.


As Sam watched, Dean’s hand came up in front of him. He turned his back to Sam and suddenly rocked in place, bending forward and then back again. He waited a few minutes before dropping his hand.


Sam walked over and placed his hand on Dean’s shoulder. Dean jumped a mile then looked embarrassed. ‘You sick?’Sam signed, pointing to Dean and then grimacing with discomfort as appropriate for the sign.


Dean stared at him like he was crazy, then shook his head and casually splayed his fingers of one hand, touching the thumb to his chest twice in the sign for ‘Fine.’


But Dean definitely didn’t look fine. Sam tried again. ‘Allergies?’


Sam wasn’t really surprised when that didn’t register. It wasn’t a very common word between them and there’d never been any reason for Dean to learn it. Dean hadn’t memorized every ASL dictionary the way Sam had after the incident, trying to convince himself that things would be normal again for him and this was just like suddenly waking up to find you speak another language. The sign for ‘allergies’ looked vaguely like a sneeze, but apparently Dean hadn’t caught on. Or didn’t want to. So Sam pointed straight at his brother, nodded his head, put two fingers lightly under his own nose, and then blatantly signed ‘Sneeze’.


Dean looked offended, almost angry in fact. His mouth formed the words “Shut up.” And he signed ‘Fine’ again. But his nostrils flared twice and Sam was pretty sure those were sharp sniffs. Dean always sniffled when he was sick, not wanting to bother stopping to get or use tissues. Dean slid a spatula under each piece of bacon, bubbling in its own oil, and lifted it onto a plate covered in a paper towel. He plopped the plate down on the table. “Eat your breakfast.”


The bacon smelled so good, Sam did not hesitate to obey. The first taste was bliss; the second taste was just as good. He ate while reading the paper and drinking orange juice. Buttered toast arrived in front of him after a while, and he devoured that as well. Every so often he snuck a glance at Dean. Dean ate a bit, too, but mostly scrubbed his nose with the front of his hand or the back of his hand or just his thumb and forefinger, as if rubbing away an incoming sneeze.


Of course Dean was sick. This pretense, this lying, was absurd and unnecessary but so very like Dean Winchester. Sam knew how much he hated being weak. Even now that they weren’t out in the field, Dean always wanted to be the strong older brother, as if Sammy were permanently injured and required constant care-giving. It was just Sam’s hearing; he had four perfectly good other senses to fall back on. Five, if you counted the occasional flashes of insight or telekinesis left over from Yellow Eyes.


It wasn’t really that surprising Dean was sick. It was starting to get cold out, so people at the gym where he worked were starting to flock indoors, trading jogs around their neighborhoods for the treadmill or biking around the lake for stationary bikes. Dean had been putting in overtime to make ends meet, what with the cabin purchase and renting a new car until Dean could fix the Impala. The beating she had suffered was second only to Sam’s disability. Dean looked run down, working all day and some nights and then trying to run a household on top of that. Sam had resented it for a while, Dean treating him as good as an invalid. But that was just Dean. Dean didn’t feel good about himself unless he was saving someone or protecting his little brother. And, after giving up the former, he had to focus on the latter. And maybe Dean resented Sam a bit for that as well.


Sam tapped the table, wanting to get Dean’s attention. Listening to himself in his head when he tried to talk still freaked him out a little. And he knew he spoke a little louder than was necessary. But sometimes it was necessary. “Dean?”


Dean’s head snapped up at once. Then line across his nose was more pronounced. His nostrils flared again. He looked startled, fixing his gaze on Sam’s hands.


‘You fix car today?’ Sam signed.


With determination in his eyes, Dean nodded. He merely signed back ‘Today’ but his mouth formed the words “Today is the day.” He got up and left his dishes in the sink. He gripped the counter tightly, hunched over. He rocked for a moment then snapped forward. Sam quickly looked back down at the newspaper and, out of the corner of his eye, saw Dean glance over his shoulder. It was like he didn’t mind sneezing when he thought Sam wasn’t watching. Sam couldn’t hear the sneeze after all. Dean thought he was getting away clean and free.


Dean left the last two strips of bacon for Sam before heading out to his tool shed.  Sam, who had already had plenty, ate them just so they wouldn’t go to waste. He cleaned the kitchen and tidied the living room. The guns that hung over the fireplace weren’t just for display. The salt superglued to the baseboards wasn’t just for decoration. The Winchester boys had once been targets, and they weren’t stupid enough to think they could just walk away from that.


Sam considered the laundry, hovering in front of the linen cabinet with its slowly diminishing contents. Then he changed his mind and grabbed a box of tissues instead. He popped into the bedroom and peered out of the window. Dean had the Impala’s hood up, engine exposed. And he had a wrench in his hand. But he watched Dean set the wrench down and pull a bandana from his back pocket. He bunched it up and swiped repeatedly at his nose, the end moving to the side one way and then the other. He froze in place, eyes closing. Then Dean pitched forward helplessly, burying his nose in the bandana in the process.


Sam’s grip on the tissue box tightened. Standing outside, shivering, pretending he wanted to work on his baby even though he was sick. Dean was so stupid sometimes. He was going to get worse if he didn’t get warm and get some rest.


Heading out of the house, Sam held the tissue box behind his back. Dean was tucking his bandana into his back pocket and looked up, surprised to see Sam. They nodded to each other.


‘Why you here?’ Dean signed, the broken English of signing syntax making the words easier to sign.


Sam had one hand free. He pointed at Dean. ‘You.’ Then he once again signed ‘Sneeze’, two fingers under his nose, bobbing his head forward in an imitation.


Dean narrowed his eyes. ‘I fine.’


Sam shook his head. ‘Sneeze.’


‘I fine.’


Sam shook his head again. ‘Sneeze.’


‘I FINE!’ he signed emphatically, teeth clenched, practically stabbing his thumb into his breastbone then slamming his hand down on the car afterward.


Sam was sure the sound must have been loud, and Dean winced a little. But Sam couldn’t hear it.


Dean tensed and turned away, cupping both hands to his face. Sam saw the limp bandana poking out of the back pocket of his jeans. He saw Dean’s shoulders rise and head droop, saw Dean snap forward. Dean took a step forward, the sneeze apparently that strong. Then he swiped at his nose and his whole body relaxed, so weak it seemed he couldn’t even hold himself up. He swayed and Sam moved close, wrapping his free arm around Dean to steady him.


Sam produced the tissue box and Dean scowled at it. “Sneezy,” Sam whispered, hoping it was a whisper, and tenderly kissed the faint line across Dean’s nose.


Dean pulled back, nose wrinkling and nostrils flaring wildly at the touch. He held a hand up, inches in front of his face. His face scrunched and jaw dropped, mouth slack and frowning slightly. His shoulders rose and he pitched forward again with a sneeze that gripped his entire body.


He grimaced and wiped his palm on the leg of his jeans. Sam took advantage of the distraction. With one gripping tightly on the collar of Dean’s shirt, he pulled the man close, too close for Dean to sign much of anything but close enough to cuddle the man, affection coming through on a universal level. Nothing really needed to be said anyway.


He felt Dean’s body shake with a cold shiver then snuggle closer, into Sam’s large, warm body. He felt Dean’s body tense and rise as he sniffed. He felt Dean’s body jerk violently into his. The sneeze sprayed cool and wet and powerful into Sam’s chest and Dean’s hands formed fists, gathering the sides of Sam’s shirt and holding him close. Sam rubbed a hand up and down Dean’s back, pressed his head against the side of Dean’s. Dean tensed again and shook in his arms with another sneeze. Sam felt it against him and winced in sympathy. Poor sneezy Dean.


He knew Dean was just going to keep sneezing until he blew his nose. And the tissues were right there, in his other hand. But Sam just couldn’t stop hugging Dean. And Dean, clinging so tightly to Sam, nuzzling and wiping his nose into Sam’s shirt, didn’t seem to want anything different either. When Dean sneezed again, Sam felt the light spray on his neck, above the color of his shirt, and repressed a shiver as he kissed the top of Dean’s head.