A/N: Sorry for the length of this chapter. I was considering posting it as two separate parts but thought t'hell with it! Here's the ending. Take it or leave it. Just be warned that I was never very good at endings. Tying loose ends is not my forte. I also just wanted to say... SEVEN YEARS and it's finally done! Took me long enough. And thanks to all of you readers! I'm really happy you actually take the time to read my work. It means more than you know.
NO NEED TO REMEMBER
Richard Brant mumbled grumpily to himself as he climbed down his stairs. He hadn't believed someone was knocking on his front door until he had heard it for the third time. He and his wife did not get many visitors, let alone those who arrived at 3AM in the morning.
When he opened the door he was surprised to find the person standing behind it. "Dr. Cass. What are you doing here?" He couldn't possibly fathom what kind of emergency had brought the young man to his house at such an absurd hour.
"Sam," the young man corrected. "Please, call me Sam." He glanced away for a moment, peering at the neighbour's house as if he was worried someone was watching. "I need a favour from you, Dr. Brant. It's extremely important."
"Now? What could possibly be so important that-"
"It's about Dean. I need to speak with him, and you're the only one who can help me do that."
The doctor furrowed his brow. "Of course, Sam. I'll discuss it with the board next week and see if I can set up an appointment. But couldn't this have waited until the morning?"
"No," Sam said curtly. "I have to speak with him as soon as possible. I was hoping we could go to Redgrove now, actually."
Dr. Cass chuckled, shaking his head. "It's good to see you're passionate about your research, but I'm afraid it's too early in the morning. We couldn't possibly go now. And besides, there are proper procedures that have to be taken. The board must approve a visitation first. Then we can set a date." He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, beginning to close the door. "We can talk about this tomorrow. Give me a call and-"
A large hand slammed the door, stopping it from closing any further. "I have to talk with him now," Sam growled.
"Are you insane?" Dr. Brant asked angrily. He did not appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night, and he certainly did not like being ordered about. "It's 3AM in the morning. I told you we can talk about this later."
"I'm sorry." Sam's voice returned to its normal tone. "I didn't mean to- Just… Please…" There was something akin to anguish in his voice. "He needs my help. I just want to talk with him. He's…" he hesitated. "He's my brother."
For a moment Dr. Brant thought he was lying, but the expression on the man's face did not seem to be part of an act. The only thing Richard Brant knew for sure was that Dr. Cass was not who he said he was.
"Who are you?" he enquired, surprised he was able to remain calm.
"Dean isn't crazy," Sam explained, avoiding the question. "He's just… confused."
"Is he in danger?"
There was no hint of doubt in Sam's tone as he answered, "Yes. He might be in a lot of danger."
Dr. Brant contemplated the situation for a moment. He knew he would be crazy to break into his own workplace to help a man he barely knew, but something was nudging at him to do exactly that. He didn't know where the feeling was coming from, but he felt himself nod his head. "Give me a moment."
He shut the door and then ran upstairs, changing in the darkness so as not to wake and worry his wife. He then went back downstairs and slipped into his shoes, draping a coat over his shoulders. When he reopened the door Sam turned to him with a hopeful expression on his face.
"Let's go," he said, stepping past the younger man and into the cold. He walked with stiff legs to the black car parked on the street he assumed belonged to Sam, getting in without a word.
Inside, Sam apologized. "I'm sorry again to ask this of you."
Dr. Brant didn't respond, and the two were quiet until they reached Redgrove Asylum. He assumed Sam wouldn't have answered any questions he posed anyway. As they pulled up to the building he was surprised to see police cars parked out front, their sirens flashing red and blue. "You stay here and I'll go see what's happening," he commanded as the car rolled to a stop. Exiting the vehicle, he made his way to a cluster of police officers and staff members standing about.
"Richard!" He saw Philip Coorman wave him over, the director of the facility. "Did someone call you? I thought I told George to let you sleep through this one."
Pulling the lapel of his coat closer, he squinted at the man as he reached the group. "What's going on?"
"Looks like your favourite patient pulled a Houdini act again. Only this time he succeeded."
"Yep. One of them rookie guards came on shift tonight and found his cell wide open. Found Kevin inside too. The way he explains it, he was on his rounds when the patient started having a seizure. When he opened the cell he was attacked. I guess the patient ran off."
"There's no security footage?"
"Someone looped them. Looks like we're dealing with the same intruder as last time. Don't know how he got by the extra security we issued though…" the old man grumbled. "But don't worry about it, Rich. We'll find the patient. You go back to your wife and tell her I said hi."
Dr. Brant nodded, but he had a feeling he wasn't going to be sleeping in his warm bed tonight. When he was sitting in the passenger seat of the car again he explained to Sam what had happened. The man looked even more anxious than before. "What exactly is going on?" the doctor questioned.
"It wasn't the same person who looped the cameras," Sam said. "I was the one who did it the last time. Someone helped Dean break out tonight, but I don't think they did it as a favour."
Dr. Brant frowned. "What do you mean?"
Sam turned to him, his voice level but urgent, as if he was used to dealing with situations that put him under a lot of pressure. "Do you know anyone who might have it out for Dean? Anyone he's pissed off recently?"
Dr. Brant didn't have to think for long. "Jerry. He's one of the security guards here. He was fired a few days ago after a confrontation with Dean."
"Do you know where he lives?"
"On a lot just out of town. But what do you think-"
Sam didn't let the doctor finish his sentence before he peeled out of the parking lot and onto the road. It seemed like only minutes before they reached the house, though it should have taken them more than half an hour. Sam had sped all the way. If it wasn't so early in the morning he probably would have received a speeding ticket.
Sam wasted no time in exiting the car and leaping onto the porch of the two-storey house. He didn't even knock, trying the handle and then breaking the door down with his shoulder. Dr. Brant followed him, calling his name. He was sure Jerry wouldn't appreciate the violent intrusion, but there was no way to stop him. By the time the doctor made it into the house, Sam was already coming down the staircase leading to the second floor. "There's no one up there," he stated, moving towards the basement.
The stairs were rickety, and as they climbed down the steps an unfinished basement was revealed, lit by a single lightbulb. A chair stood in the far corner, duct tape lining its legs and arms in bands that looked like they had been cut with a knife or scissors. Sam crouched by the chair, looking at something. As the doctor peered over his shoulder, he realized there were bloodstains on the concrete floor.
"He was here," Sam said, his voice shaking. "My brother was here."
The house was empty, but Sam was sure that his brother had been here. The chair in the basement made that pretty clear. Dean had been strapped to it at one point or another. The blood on the floor was fresh, which means he had been here recently. As he stepped onto the front porch again, followed by the doctor, Sam looked around. It was a large property, and that meant Jerry could have brought Dean to a multitude of places. He would have suggested that the two split up to search, but he didn't want the doctor stumbling upon a situation he couldn't handle.
"Let's look around back," he said, deciding they had to start somewhere. Dr. Brant nodded, following him as he broke off into a jog around the porch. The back lot was dark, cast in shadow from the trees that surrounded it. Sam cursed, scanning the area but seeing no trace of a human being. "Where are you?" he said beneath his breath.
A gunshot rang through the night, coming from inside the huddle of trees to their left. Sam raced after it, not caring whether the doctor was behind him or not. His heart was thudding in his chest as he bolted into the trees, dread threatening to slow him down, for he feared that he was too late. Branches and twigs scratched at his face, but he barely acknowledged them, even when one sliced his cheek. There was an opening in the trees ahead and he threw himself towards it, entering a clearing several meters in diameter. He came to a halt, his eyes darting around to register if there was any immediate danger present. He wasn't clear on Jerry's appearance or the reason why he had abducted Dean. He only knew that if the man had hurt his brother, he was going to die.
It was difficult to see everything clearly, as there were only the stars and the moon to light the area, but Sam saw the gaping hole in the ground. A mound of fresh dirt and a shovel lay next to it, and his heart sank as he realized it was a grave. "No," he choked out. He knew he would find Dean in that hole. He didn't want to look upon his brother's lifeless body, but he forced himself to drag his feet forward. One, two, three… Just a few more feet. As he neared the edge, he allowed his shaking legs to collapse and he pulled himself forward for the last few feet on his hands and knees. He took a deep breath before he peered over the edge.
Dean was lying on his back at the bottom of the grave, partially buried in dirt. His face was covered in bruises, dark blood streaming from his lips. Sam partially registered that Jerry was sprawled over his brother's legs, unmoving. He stared at his brother's face, willing his eyes to open. "Dean," he said quietly, unable to raise his voice any louder, the word struggling to pass his knotted throat.
There was no reaction.
Sam let his head hang from his shoulders as a shuddering breath escaped his lips. He clutched the side of the grave, his fingers digging into the ground, soft dirt filling the spaces beneath his nails. He could feel his entire body shaking, his vision blurring as he didn't try to fight back the regret and sorrow and anger that were overpowering his senses. He felt like he couldn't breathe. It felt like his entire body had stopped working.
"You got here quicker than I thought you would." The voice was all gravel, the words almost undistinguishable, but Sam recognized it. Lifting his head, he saw Dean staring up at him from the bottom of the grave. "You gonna get me out of here or what?" his brother asked, and Sam couldn't help but beam as he nodded his head. He sat up on his knees, quickly wiping the tears from his face before Dean could see them, and then scrambled down into the grave.
Richard Brant had heard stories from hundreds of people, each tragic or joyful or bizarre in their own right. It was his job, his career, to listen to the innermost thoughts of strangers. He knew about events that no one else knew about. He could describe to you the way Jake Loren had imagined killing his wife. He could tell you how Jenny and Jill Tory had both been beaten as children by their foster parents. He could explain that Buzz Mangro hated his name, and that even though he weighed more than three-hundred pounds his dream was to become a professional ballet dancer. He was let into people's lives, given detailed information about their hopes and fears, their greatest achievements and their lowest points, but he was only a listener. An outsider. His job was to observe and to analyze. All of his patients remained strangers, because that was how he separated their lives from his. He had always accepted that. He had always played his part well.
But sometimes it was hard to stay in the lines. He had agreed to help Sam, willing to put his career on the line, because he had stepped out of his role. For a moment he thought he had become more than a listener. But watching the two brothers now reminded him of listening to one of the hundreds of stories told in his office. He was here, his shoulders damp with rain and his shoes caked in mud, but he felt as if he was looking in on someone else's memory. The two brothers were so focused on each other that the doctor had been completely forgotten. He was still just an outsider as Sam shoved Jerry's corpse away and crouched down to speak with his brother. "How bad are you hurt?" he heard Sam ask.
"A couple of broken ribs," Dean replied, his voice hoarse. "My shoulder's dislocated. A lot of bruises. I think I have a pretty bad concussion too."
Sam quickly inspected his brother from head to toe, pushing away mounds of dirt where he could. "I'm going to try to lift you out of here, okay? It's going to hurt." Dr. Brant had the sudden thought that these men had done this many times before; taken care of one another. He looked at the brothers now and his mind did what it had done best for 22 years. It analyzed their body movements, their words and tones, and it returned a glaring conclusion. All these two men had in this world were each other.
"Dr. Brant?" Sam called up, shaking the doctor from his thoughts. He squared his shoudlers as he gave the younger man his full attention. "I need you to call 911, and then help me lift Dean out of here, all right?"
He nodded his head, already reaching for his cell phone. As he waited for an operator, he couldn't help but wonder what that must be like. What it must be like to rely on someone to that extent; to have someone you trusted in so completely.
"I think we need to get the hell out of here," Dean grunted as he tried to sit up. Sam gave him a disapproving glance.
"You had major surgery less than 48 hours ago and you're already planning your escape?"
Dean scowled from the hospital bed, falling back onto the sheets with an irritated sigh. "Pretty soon they're going to come in here and drag me back to that mental facility. If they thought I was crazy then, they're definitely going to think it now after all of those hits to the head I got. A screw or two had to have been knocked loose in there."
Sam chuckled. "Don't worry. You're not expected to be sent back until after the hospital's cleared you, which means you still have a week or two. I'll get you out of here before then."
"Well just be careful about it," his brother warned. "You're only allowed in here because the doc vouched for you. Don't blow your cover while you're trying to bust me out." He looked up at the ceiling, but Sam knew he wasn't seeing the white paint. He was mulling something over in his mind. "I still don't completely understand what happened. Why did they wait so long to possess Jerry?"
"Ghosts don't usually like to possess human bodies because it's a hell of a lot of trouble for them," Sam explained, naturally switching into fact mode. "Gaining entry into the body is the easy part, but getting out is tough. The only way they can be released is if the person dies or if their body is severely weakened so that they can transfer to another being. I guess that's what happened in your case."
"They used me like a rag doll," Dean protested. "If you hadn't found me when you did, I probably would have died."
Sam swallowed tightly, not wanting to think of that ending scenario. He continued to clarify, hoping to distract himself from the thought. "Most of the time the ghost isn't even strong enough to appear in the person's dreams, let alone control them. I guess the fact that you had two very pissed off spirits inside of you allowed them to control your actions every once in a while."
"Whatever. They got what they wanted. They got their justice." Dean bit his lip, clearly not having let the mistreatment go. "Though I really wish they hadn't used me to get it. I mean, I'm all for the revenge against murdering psycho bastard sons of bitches, but there are easier routes."
Sam gave a half-smile. "I'm just glad it's over."
"Yeah, well… Thanks Sammy."
He looked down, not used to gaining legit praise from his brother. "Just be thankful you won't have to spend another day in Redgrove."
"Yeah, thank god. I couldn't stand another day in that loony-bin. The food was awful, and the company even worse." Sam couldn't laugh at Dean's joke. His mind kept slipping back to the moment he had seen him at the bottom of that grave. He had thought his brother was dead and he had felt… so lost.
"And Sam?" He raised his eyes, Dean staring at him gravely. "Don't ever let me forget you again."
Dr. Brant was tasting his wife's famous spaghetti sauce, his arm around her waist as she laughed by the stove, when there was a knock on the door. He excused himself, giving her a kiss on the cheek, as he wondered who it could possibly be. As he swung open the front door, he was prepared to tell whatever Jehovah Witness or Girl Scout waited for him on the other side to go away.
"Dean?" he asked, shocked to see the man on his doorstep. "What- What are you doing here?" Dean grinned, the bruises on his face having faded to a ripe green and yellow.
"Who is it, honey?" his wife called from the kitchen.
"Just a friend!" he replied, too flustered to come up with another explanation. He lowered his voice as he addressed Dean. "You disappeared from the hospital. The police are searching for you-"
"I know, I know," Dean stopped him, not seeming very unnerved by the information. "It's no big deal. In some states they think I'm dead."
Dr. Brant frowned at the strange comment, but stood aside as Dean entered the house. The man looked around the foyer, clearly noting everything it held. "Nice place you got here, doc."
"Thank you. Can we go and talk in the parlor?" He led Dean into the sitting room, closing the french doors behind them. Dean seated himself in a large armchair by the fireplace and Dr. Brant took the matching seat across from him.
"Feels like another session," Dean joked, and the doctor couldn't deny the statement. He crossed his hands on his lap.
"Would you mind telling me why you're here? It's a risk for you, isn't it?"
Dean smiled briefly. "I wanted to thank you. I know that you helped Sam, and without that I probably wouldn't be alive right now. I figured I owe it to you to clear some things up."
"Clear things up?"
"Jerry didn't kill himself" he said bluntly. He then quickly raised his hands, palms forward. "And neither did I."
It wasn't what Dr. Brant had expected Dean to say. In fact, he hadn't asked the brothers for any explanations or specifics because he had thought the less he was involved the better. He had only lied to the authorities when he had to, ensuring that Sam's true identity had not been revealed. He told them how a conversation with Jerry had led him to believe that the former guard had wanted to hurt Dean. How he had asked Dr. Cass to come along with him to confront the man when he had discovered that Dean was missing. How they had heard a gunshot and found Jerry's dead body after he had killed himself. But now Dean had captured his curiosity. "There was someone else there that night?" he asked. "Someone who helped you?"
Dean smiled. "Help is a strong word, doc, but yes, there were others there."
Others? Why had Dean not mentioned this to the police?
"You're wondering why I didn't mention it to the police," Dean stated, like he had read his mind. The younger man shifted in his chair, as if the explanation he was about to give made him uncomfortable. "Doc, I'm going to tell you something you probably won't believe. In fact, you might want to throw me back in the loony-bin yourself for it, but that's okay. I think you'll come to your senses eventually."
Richard Brant looked at the man cautiously. "What is it?"
Inhaling deeply, Dean let the air rush out with his words. "Jerry shot himself, but only because he was possessed."
Anyone else may have reacted with shock or disbelief, maybe a laugh or two, but Dr. Brant had heard enough during his career to remain calm and open his mind to the possibility that Dean truly believed what he was saying. "Possessed," he repeated, if only to make sure he had heard correctly.
Dean leaned forward in his chair, clasping his hands together as his elbows rested on his knees. He stared at the doctor very seriously and Dr. Brant found himself strangely wanting to hear what he had to say. "I know you've probably dealt with a lot of patients. Have any of them ever mentioned the supernatural? Ghosts, demons, monsters… anything like that?"
Dr. Brant thought back. He recalled a small child he had tried to help in the year 1989 who had told him about a monster in her basement that had eaten her cat. He had heard similar stories from children before but this little girl had been different. She had been terrified and a few weeks later she had gone missing herself. The police had never found her.
Then there had been the inmate on death row. He'd told the doctor that he wasn't guilty of the crime he had been sentenced for; that it had been someone who only looked like him. He had called it his doppelganger. An obvious lie, but his three little girls and a homeless man had attested that he had been playing in the park with his kids when his wife had been murdered. The security camera in his apartment had said otherwise, however.
Dr. Brant recalled feeling unnerved by these cases. He remembered that after handling both, he had switched to another job, sometimes miles away. They had left him feeling… unclear. He refocused on Dean, realizing that the man had been watching him carefully as he had recollected the past. "They bothered you, didn't they?" he asked quietly. The doctor nodded his head slowly. "You wondered if what they were saying was real. If those things they described actually existed. Maybe you even saw it yourself."
Tommy, his little brother, on the day he had committed suicide. Tommy had always been a happy kid, so Dr. Brant had never understood why he had stepped in front of that car. People explained it by saying his brother had a loose screw; that he had been crazy. It was the reason Richard Brant had become a psychiatrist. He had wanted to make sure that nothing like that happened to another person again. But Tommy's eyes had been all wrong that day. Richard could still clearly see his little brother looking back at him, grinning like a fool, his eyes black. Completely black, like empty pits in his face. And then he had stepped down from the curb and walked straight into oncoming traffic, smiling all the way.
Dr. Brant stopped a shiver from running down his spine. He had not recalled that memory in decades. He had locked it away when he was young, telling himself it was not what he had actually seen.
"I thought so," Dean said, something almost like sympathy in his voice. He leaned back in his chair. "Sometimes people aren't all that crazy, doc." He was shaking his head from side to side. "Sometimes they aren't lying."
"Are you telling me that-" He was having trouble speaking. "That these things… That they… actually exist?"
"They're as real as you and me, doc. Some are harmless, but the majority of them aren't out to do good. They're what landed me in the psych ward. They're what killed Jerry. And those two weren't even bad by my standards. Just… revengeful and a little inconsiderate."
Dr. Brant shook his head, looking at his hands in his lap. "This is crazy," he said to himself.
Dean laughed. "Nice choice of words. I know that's what it sounds like. But you've seen it yourself, and you have the ability to do something about it."
The doctor looked up at him. "What can I possibly do?"
Dean frowned. "Learn to look closer. When a patient tells you a story that sounds crazy maybe try to believe them. You know the truth now. You can stop it from hurting more people."
Dr. Brant couldn't help but analyze the expression on Dean's face. The man was, angry, sad, resentful, determined. He was all of these things in one, plus more, but the doctor realized now that Dean was far too complicated for him to even begin to try to understand. But he did grasp one thing. "Is that what you and your brother do?" he asked. "Do you save people?"
Dean smirked, that perfect, overconfident mask claiming his features again. "We do what we can."
He nodded once. "I think I understand."
"I hope I haven't spoiled your night," Dean said as he stood. "I'd stick around to answer more of your questions, but my brother and I have a case down in New Mexico." He reached into his pocket and took out a scrap of paper. "Here's my cell number. Feel free to call if you need any…" He shrugged. "Help."
Dr. Brant took the paper, staring down at the ten digits. "I will," he promised.
"Then maybe I'll see you later, doc." The man raised a hand in farewell as he walked backwards, towards the doors. "I can show myself out."
As he disappeared through the doorway, Richard Brant clutched the paper he held in his hand, staring at the empty entrance. He had the strange sensation that his world had shifted, though he supposed it had done so more than twenty years ago. It had just taken him this long to acknowledge it. He hoped he would never have to use the number Dean had given him, but he felt a little comfort knowing he had it. Just incase.
For fear that Dean really wasn't crazy.