Eye Of The Beholder
“Dude. Did you get it yet?” Dean's voice rumbles and vibrates all of Sam's body as he's held up nearly flush with the left side of Dean's face.
“Stop moving already!” Sam sighs, exasperated. “And quit blinking!”
“You try holding still when someone's poking your eye with their fingers.” Dean mutters and squints at Sam.
“Hey. You asked me to help. Now quit moving, blinking, and talking.” A loud sigh escapes the mouth near his feet and Sam can feel the warm air through his shoes.
“Gimme a second.” Dean mutters. He closes both eyes for a few seconds to water them, the left eye overflowing with an extra plump tear. Dean blinks rapidly to dislodge it by instinct so Sam leans back to let the long lashes flutter once again at face level. He'd already gotten a taste of them when Dean blinked right in front of his face as he leaned in the first time they tried this. Weirdest sensation he'd ever felt. Like a tightly packed row of pliable smooth tree saplings, sans bark, all pushing downwards at once, then back up again a split second later. It was jarring how strong they were when they were all working together to flick his face.
The hand holding Sam up towards Dean's face lowers him a little to give them both a pinch of space but still keeping close.
Sam has an idea and reaches forward with both hands once he's found his balance again, and grabs the extra tear in his hands before it trickles any further down the freckled cheek. Washing both tiny hands with it. Dean catches the movement and lowers his brows which nearly run into Sam's head from above.
“My dry fingers probably aren't helping.” He explains. The tear substance was different to water and probably better for this specific job.
Dean's large pupils dilate again before the left one winces shut. Aggravating the debris. “Gotcha.” He whispers and forces his left eye open again now that Sam's got his left hand up onto the eyebrow ridge, pinning the top lashes up to help Dean keep the eye open. “I can see it.” And with careful fingertips he pushes the lower lid down slowly. The eyelids twitch at the contact as the iris aims up and away from Sam to keep himself from watching the blurred figure and tracking the movements.
“Dammit, Dean!” Sam curses when the eyeball simply pulls the debris further away. “Look at me.” Sam orders and Dean's eyes snap to him again. That tingle shoots up his neck at the sudden move but dissipates soon enough. He chides it, 'Of course a human sees me.'
The green iris and pupil dilates and contracts a few times. “Good.” Sam says and re-wets his hand in the corner of Dean's watering eye before reaching for the sharp speck again. Blood vessels all over the eye had been red before, but now they're getting even more engorged with blood. Turning Dean's big eye pink. “Almost there.” Sam's fingers on his right hand pull the lower lid back down and he inches the debris back onto the visible surface of the eye. “It's a piece of glass.” He says and finds the sharp edge of it and pulls it free. Nearly cutting himself as well. He muses that this shard might even be sharper then his silver knife. Sam lets go of the upper lid and it shuts in front of him immediately, squinting hard and the whole face scrunches up around it.
“Owww.” Dean grumbles, his free hand fidgeting in mid air. Itching to dig at his eyes, rub them to fix the lashes. “That sucked.”
“Hang on.” Sam says from the half curled palm, wiping the glass shard onto Dean's pinky finger next to him. “Gotta make sure that was the only one.” He informs and Dean pulls Sam out from his face to see him clearer.
“You gotta be kidding me.” Dean says, nearly too loud for Sam who's still within inches of his face.
“Better safe then blind, Dean.” He shrugs. Sam leans to the other side to see that that eye looks relatively clean. “The other one bothering you at all?”
Dean blinks at Sam, brow furrowing. “Nah, pretty sure it was just the one.” He takes another steadying breath and brings Sam back up to his face again. Putting his most vulnerable body part within easy reach again. If Sam wanted to, he could easily blind Dean in seconds. But, Dean knows that Sam would never do that. Never hurt his big brother. Just like he would do anything for Sam. The trust runs deep between them and they'd never misuse it.
Dean rests the edge of his hand against his own chin to keep it as stable as possible for his little brother. Trust or no, one tiny accidental jerk of muscle, and Dean risks having a whole hand pushing against his eyeball.
His lashes flutter again and as Sam approaches, he watches Sam's figure go from clear to blurry again when he's too close to make out details. He can actually feel Sam's breaths with his eyelashes and the tiny hairs on his face. A realization that he never really felt that before, nearly makes him blink again. But that would just tick off the one guy that's got his back throughout these hunts, even down to the small parts. Makes sense that Sam would also be out of breath from finishing up this ghost hunt. Glad that his brother didn't get injured much, just some slight bruising that an ice pack can fix.
Having a haunted mirror shatter so closely could have been deadly for Sam. But luckily, he'd been on Dean's other shoulder at the time. The only casualty was Dean's sight for a hot minute. Dean was relieved that was the last of the ghost. Finally laid to rest after years of spooking teenagers in this stereotypical haunted house. Grateful that it hadn't killed anyone yet, but it had certainly been working up to it.
Sam gathers up more of the already spilled tear from Dean's lower lid on his hands and goes back to lifting up the upper one again. “Ok, now, very slowly, look to my left, which is your right.” Dean does so and like with every single person, it's not one smooth sweeping motion. The eyes will always have that quick microscopic jump from one spot to the next one over, looking from one location to the other during the larger sweeping gaze. Eyes want to focus on things, and trailing your sight along means dozens of potential things your eyes look at instead of all in a line. Even in a room devoid of things, eyes are trained to dart along. It helps speed up the time it takes for the pupil and iris to focus.
The sweep to the right goes smoothly, with Sam humming in approval. Then Dean sweeps his gaze to the left at Sam's instruction. Sam picked out another microscopic piece of glass that was hugging the cornea and flicked it away behind himself. Dean might never have felt it before it did considerable damage. A constant irritant, cutting away until it's dislodged. It's a good thing eyes usually get rid of things on their own, but, when dealing with glass fragments, it's best not to risk it. “That's good, Dean. Now, look up, high as you can.”
Dean felt tiny fingers lacing between his lower lashes. “And down. No, keep your eyelid open Dean.” He chided as the upper one threatened to shut on him. Dean over exaggerated opening his eye over-wide and Sam lost his grip on the top of the eyelid to grab at the lashes themselves.
“Gah, fuck, Sam?” Dean squinted at the blur as it righted itself again.
Sam grumbled something too low for Dean to hear, despite being less then inches away from his ear. Sam glared at the Green eyeball in front of him. The deep black chasm leading inside. The green iris moving instinctively in and out as large as Sam's fist at places. Trying in vain to focus and adjusting to Sam's silhouetted form, and the filtering sunlight behind Sam's back.
“They're dry, Sam.” Dean whined and pulled Sam away to blink hard a few times. Shaking his head in front of Sam who startled at the fast movements that were so damned close that he felt the air current shift with it. “Ok. Round two.” Dean muttered and leaned forward again with both eyes wide open and ready. The faith he had in Sam was not unfounded as his brother firmed his jaw in determination.
Sam put his left hand onto the bridge of Dean's nose and the right went back to work, this time moving the long lashes to and fro and finding one last bit of debris which wasn't glass, just a bit of dust. Dean was told to look all around again and it all moved smoothly. “All clear.” Sam gave a thumbs up which was totally lost on Dean even though it was an inch away from the pupil.
“Awesome.” Dean sighed in relief. The breath rippling Sam's pants around his ankles. Dean pulled Sam back from his face, sure that he'd probably had enough facetime to last a lifetime. The green eyes closed and stayed closed while his eyes moved around behind the upper lids. Double checking if he felt any new irritants.
Sam watched the movement, mesmerized by the slight bulge of the iris as it darted around, and wiped his tear stained hands off on his pants. Dusting his clothes off next while Dean kept him in a loose fist while his eyes were closed. Dean didn't want to risk tilting his hand too far one way or the other while he couldn't see.
Finally Dean opened his eyes up again and looked hard at Sam, taking in his appearance. “Are you good?” He asked. After so much done to his eyes, they burned and refused to see clearly at the moment. He smirked and brought up his free hand, index finger wigging in front of Sam's face, eclipsing the head behind the large pad. “You got anything in your eye?”
Sam pushed the finger with both hands as it kept on wiggling and circling closer. “I'll let you know!” Sam called out, gripping the nail and pulling it down with all his might. Knowing that the only reason it bent down was because Dean made it.
Dean pulled back and grinned. “Hey. Thanks, Odysseus.”
Dean snorted. “Figures you would know the name of the blinded cyclops in The Odyssey.” He brought a finger in to ruffle Sam's hair.
“Hey!” Sam shoved the finger away again. “Who brought it up in the first place?”
Dean looked away, dismissive. “Only saw the film in class. Odysseus's wife was hot.” And winked back down at Sam before wincing because it was the exact wrong eye to wink with.
“Get some tape and close it shut so it has a chance to heal. There's still a whole bunch of crap in the air here.” Sam said and pushed against Dean's thumb that was keeping him in the loose fist. Once it was gone, Sam slid down to wrist as Dean moved over to a less mirror-shard-riddled table. Using his other arm to sweep away the thick layer of dust and debris before Sam jumped down onto it.
“Sure.” Dean said and took another look around the place. The dilapidated house looked terrible, even without the ghost there that nearly turned vengeful spirit. It might have been the last place he'd seen if Sam hadn't warned him about the ghost's image appearing in the mirror. Dean had to admit, he probably could have moved a bit further away before smashing the mirror, but, he had to act fast. Ridiculously grateful that Sam wasn't injured, and that this dump was soon to be in their rear view mirror.
He found some tape in what constituted the 'junk drawer' in the kitchen, and pulled it out until he found a clearer section of it to use. Coming back to Sam who was keeping lookout. Giving the all clear hand signal that they worked out between them.
An odd thought came to Dean. “Hey, Sammy.”
“Hmm?” Sam looked up as Dean got down to his knees in front of the end table to be more at Sam's level.
“What's it like?”
“Gonna have to be more specific then that.” Sam held out his hands helplessly.
“I mean. Touching a giant eyeball. What is that even like?” He asked even as he closed the injured one and placed the tape over top the lid. It went diagonally from over the bridge of his nose to his cheek and stuck fast.
“Uh, wet.” Sam shrugged and saw the unimpressed expression on Dean's now winking face. He waved his hands around. “I dunno, like, the surface has this gelatinous feel to it. Like... half melted jello. There was some give to it, which makes sense since our eyes aren't solid things. They're filled with thick liquid, like gel. Your blood vessels are all inflamed so they're like, soft tree roots to me. Or I dunno, tentacles.”
Dean looked disgusted. “Sorry I asked.”
Sam went on. “Eyelashes are so thin but they're pretty strong by themselves. Yours are longer then most. People would probably write stories about them.” He chuckled at the annoyed huff. “But, there was one thing that was disturbing. I could tell that wasn't the first time your eye had crap in it.” his hands waving around in front of him. “There's a gouge missing from near the inner part but it's usually under the lower lid. Probably why I never noticed it before.”
“Ah yeah, you probably don't remember, do you?” at Sam's frown he continued. “We were kids, so I never blamed you. We were both roughhousing. Your fingernails were sharp when you were four.” he said and smirked at the memory. “I think you were going for my nose and missed. It didn't really hurt, but uh, yeah. No worries.”
Sam looked shocked and guilty. The gouge was barely noticeable but that had to have hurt. Dean waved off his concern, and headed back to the place where he'd dumped his supplies. “Dean!” He shouted at the retreating form. “I'm sorry!”
Dean chuckled. “Dude. You saved my eye today. That glass shard would have kept on cutting if you hadn't gotten it out. It kept on slipping down in whenever I tried to grab it. Making it worse. So don't apologize to me for something that happened ages ago. I'm grateful for your help.” He knelt down next to the table again. Wink/blinking at him. “Now let's get out of here.” Offering up his hand in front of Sam's feet.
Sam looked like he wanted to say more but saw how grateful Dean really was for his help and forgave himself for the accident that happened when they were just kids. He climbed up, using Dean's half raised thumb to help balance as Dean lifted him up to his rightful spot. Putting him on the same shoulder as the injured eye.
“You gotta be my seeing eye borrower.” Dean quipped and hefted the bag up to the other shoulder.
“Don't worry, Dean. Eeeyyyeee got your back!” Sam drew out the horrible pun and pat the neck next to him.
Dean's chuckle vibrated his body sitting against his neck as he left the building behind, heading back towards the Impala. “Everyone knows, chicks dig eye patches. We should get some grub back at that restaurant. I think the waitress was eyeing me up.”
“Eye! Eye!” Sam agreed, laughing and clutching onto the shirt collar to keep him stable.
“They eyes have it.” Dean's laugh echoed around the Impala as they drove back to town, making as many eye puns as possible all the way there.
Their lives were strange, but it's all in the eye of the beholder.