"This here is one of our long-term patients," Dr. Robson said, gesturing towards where two patients were talking animatedly. The tall one saw them coming and seemed to cut the conversation short and if it weren't for the other guy's face, you wouldn't be able to tell they were talking about something they shouldn't have been. However, the other guy wandered off looking very smug and was bouncing in his walk with barely contained excitement.
"Sam," said Dr. Robson, "What did you tell him?" Sam at least had the decency to look sorry for whatever he'd done, which was more than most people in this place could manage, staff not included.
"I told him I'd exorcise him," he mumbled. Dr. Robson frowned and shook his head, "I know he's not really possessed, he's nothing like a possessed person, but he saw me do it for someone else and won't stop bugging me about it,"
"You're not helping him, you know," said Dr. Robson and Sam nodded like a child being told off. "Anyway, this here is Laura Bigsby and she's asked if she can observe you for the day, would you mind that?" Sam looked at Laura with a surprisingly sharp eye and then smiled.
"No, that's fine. What's it for, college paper?" Laura nodded and held up her clipboard for show, Sam grinned at her, "I remember them, never had to come somewhere like this, though," Sam's attention went right back to Dr. Robson. "Is my brother coming today?"
"No, Sam, your brother's dead, you know that," Sam smiled and laughed to himself.
"Oh yeah," he said as if remembering an old joke.
"Your cousin is coming, though, as usual," Dr. Robson looked between Sam and Laura, "Right, I think I can leave you two now, can't I?" they both nodded, "Laura, you know what to do if you need help, but Sam should be fine, he's not violent,"
"Any more," Sam added with a laugh. Dr. Robson glanced at him, then smiled at Laura and left. As soon as he was gone, Sam leaned down and spoke quietly in Laura's ear, "My brother isn't really dead, you know, the body they found was a shapeshifter's. Dean killed it," Laura didn't really know what to say to that so she changed the subject.
"What would you usually do now, if someone wasn't watching you?"
"I watch TV when we're allowed but daytime TV sucks. I quite like painting, do you want to see some of my paintings?" Laura said that she did so Sam lead her down the corridor to his room.
"Hey Mick!" he said to a guy lying on one of the two beds in the room, reading.
"Hey," replied Mick, without looking up from the book. Sam knelt down next the bed Mick wasn't lying on and pulled out a pile of paper from under it, his paintings. Laura sat on the bed as Sam spread out his paintings. The first five were all very similar, the page was painted completely black except for two bright yellow eyes in the centre.
"These are the first ones I painted when I got here," he looked up to Laura to check that she was looking, "They're of the Demon," he said, completely earnest.
"The Demon?" said Laura, because what else are you going to say?
"Yeah, that son-of-a-bitch killed my mom when I was six months old and then my girlfriend when I was twenty-two and has been after me ever since." Mick snorted from behind his book, "You can shut up," said Sam, staring intensely at Mick, "You spent a whole day with your thumb up your ass so your thoughts didn't fall out," Mick's grip on the book tightened but his voice was steady when he replied.
"Yeah, but this is you on a good day."
"Still, bet you're going to touch every single page of that book before you can put it down." Mick pretended not to hear Sam so Sam turned back towards Laura and his paintings with the same enthusiasm as before, as though nothing had interrupted him. He pushed the black ones to one side and spread out three new ones that were mostly just red, orange and yellow. "These ones are just fire, nothing really interesting," he quickly moved on, skipping past a majority of the paintings that had obviously once been of something but had since been painted and scribbled over so the original picture couldn't be made out.
"What happened here?" asked Laura.
"I get visions, visions of people dying and I used to go and stop it happening but then I came here and they wouldn't let me go and the people would die. So, I painted the visions but then I'd get angry when they wouldn't let me go and I couldn't look at the paintings any more because I knew that someone had just died like that, see what I mean?"
"Umm, no, not really." Sam was being so truthful, Laura could only reciprocate.
"Well, I get visions, either through nightmares or when I'm awake with a big headache and everything. They checked my head, but it's nothing physical, it's all in my mind," he laughed, "So, I always see someone die in my visions and it's always something to do with the Demon or the other children like me and when-"
"Wait, other children like you?"
"Yes, we all had our mothers killed when we were six months old by the Demon. Always in a fire, pinned to the ceiling over the kid's crib. We've all got some special mind power, like telekinesis or the power of suggestion, mine's visions, mostly." Sam didn't wait to see if Laura had understood before continuing. "Before I came here, me and my brother, we always tried to stop the vision from coming true but obviously now I'm here I can't just wander out and it makes me angry. I try to tell my brother in time-"
"Your dead brother?"
"Yeah, it's not like I have another one. I try to tell him in time to do something but he's almost always too late. Anyway, I don't like sending him on his own, he could get himself killed!"
"You're worried about your dead brother getting himself killed?" The smile Sam fixed Laura with was very different from the ones she'd been treated to up until then. Until that smile, they'd all been like a five-year-old, blithely carrying on, not really in touch with his surroundings or very capable analysing what was going on. The smile he had now was somehow different, it was like a veil of insanity had been pulled up and underneath was a perfectly nice young man who knew exactly what he was doing and what was going on.
"Well, when you put it like that, you make me sound mad!" Mick snorted but quickly turned it into a coughing fit.
"Oh my God!" said Laura, pulling out one of Sam's paintings, it was of a person completely covered in blood. It was a horrible mix of childish style and horrific subject, "What happened?"
"I was told to paint the worst thing I've ever seen and that was it, that's my brother. The Demon found us by possessing our dad and had us pinned up against the wall when it started ripping Dean apart form the inside,"
"Is that how he died?"
"Oh no, that's how my dad died," Laura stared at him, trying to work out how that made sense,
"The possession killed your dad?"
"Oh nothing like that, no. Dean was almost dead when Dad made a deal with the Demon and traded his life for Dean's," Sam said as though it was obvious. Laura just nodded. "I painted this one too, because I couldn't decide," he pulled out a painting of a girl with blonde hair on fire and bleeding from a gash in her stomach. "That's how my girlfriend died, burning on the ceiling,"
"I thought that was how your mom died,"
"It was, that's how the Demon kills,"
"Unless it's trying to kill you brother?"
"Yeah, I think that was more of a revenge kill than a meaningful kill because Dean had killed some of the Demon's children,"
"The Demon has children?"
"Shouldn't you be taking notes?" said Sam, looking at the clipboard lying untouched in Laura's lap.
"Oh yeah," Laura laughed and began frantically scribbling down what Sam had told her, "Thanks," she looked back up at Sam, "So, a demon can have children?"
"If you're asking how a demon procreates, I have no idea, all I know is that the Demon has children and they were coming after my family so Dean killed them, which made the Demon angry,"
"Hey, Sam?" the three occupants of the room looked towards the doorway where a messy-haired woman was standing, "Ted's looking for you,"
"Maria? Since when do you do what Ted wants?"
"God told me to find you," Sam rolled his eyes, "He said Ted was getting on his nerves,"
"Well, I'm a little busy here,"
"God'll be so angry if you don't come!" said Maria, tears threatening to roll down her cheeks.
"All right! I'll come, just don't throw a tantrum," Sam stood up and Laura followed suit, "You don't mind, do you?" he asked her.
"Oh no, go ahead." So they followed Maria out and down the corridor, ducking into a side room once to let another patient pass, who was apparently very prone to violent outbursts and was due to have one soon.
Ted turned out to be the guy Sam had promised to exorcise and God turned out to be some patient with a passing resemblance to Jesus Christ.
While he was talking to Ted, Laura got a glimpse of the dangerous man Sam could be if he got angry enough. It hadn't occurred to her quite how tall he was until he was using his height to intimidate Ted (who was apparently getting a little overenthusiastic). It also struck Laura how strong Sam was, he had muscles under all those layers. She was almost scared of him until he turned around with his well-meaning and apologetic smile and then it was hard to imagine him doing any harm.
They went back to finish looking over his paintings. Frankly, Laura thought that having to watch the kind of things that happened in Sam's 'visions' would turn anyone mad. But then, were they a cause of his madness or a symptom? That was always a difficult question.
The day passed more or less uneventfully from then on, Laura got a lot of information for her paper and Sam seemed pleased to have someone to talk to. Someone new, that wouldn't be quite so dismissive of his thoughts as all the other patients were. Finally came the visiting hours and Sam was practically bouncing with excitement.
Sam's face brightened when his visitor arrived, a good looking man in his early-to-mid-thirties, wearing a shirt and tie like he'd just got back from the office.
"Dean!" Sam called and waved, as if he couldn't be seen sitting there in plain view.
"Hey, Sammy, how are you?" said the man as he sat down.
"I've had a good day today." Sam motioned Laura over, "This is Laura, she's writing a paper for college."
"Nice to meet you," said the man as they shook hands, "Name's Ben but you can call me Dean," he said with a smile, "Pull up a seat."
"No, really, I shouldn't, this is time for you and him."
"Nonsense, we've pretty much run out of things to talk about, there's only so much that happens in a mental institute you know." So they ended up talking mostly about Laura for the whole half hour. Both Sam and Ben seemed perfectly happy to have her there and were very kind and listened to everything she had to say (which wasn't at all what her paper was about but heck, she could work this in somehow).
When time was up, Sam's mood took a noticeable downturn.
"Dean, don't go, you don't have to go." Ben sighed,
"Yes I do, Sam, I can't stay here."
"Break me out, break me out and we can get back on the road, you never liked staying in one place." Ben looked pained to be having to deal with Sam like this, like he hated having to tell Sam the truth.
"No, Dean never liked staying in one place, I'm not your brother, Sammy," Sam stood up abruptly, anger written plain on his face. Laura backed off and the staff waiting at the edge of the room looked ready to step in.
"Why do you always do that? Why? I play along with everyone else because they don't know any better but you do, Dean! You're not dead! My brother is not dead!" Ben leant forward and put a hand over Sam's, where it gripped the edge of the table so hard the knuckles were white.
"Sam, you have to calm down." Sam just stared at Ben's hand on his, still plainly seething. "Sammy, look at me." Sam looked up, "You have to calm down, you'll never get out of here if you keep having these temper tantrums." Sam's face crumpled as the anger died and turned to despair.
"Why did he leave me here?" Ben looked surprised at Sam's words but quickly recovered.
"He didn't have a choice."
"You're not Dean," said Sam as the tears coursed down his face, "Dean left me, left me here. He stopped loving me, didn't he?"
"No, that never happened, that's not it at all."
"Then why did he leave me?"
"He died, Sam, he had to."
"He didn't die! He never died," but Sam's protests sounded weak, "Dean wouldn't die, he wouldn't leave me," Ben gave Sam a quick hug, after which Sam stared at him. "You're not Dean," he said with more certainty than ever. Dr. Robson then appeared on the scene and spoke quietly with Sam before leading him away.
"So," said Ben, looking at Laura, "Want to ask me anything for your paper?"
"Yes," said Laura, though she wasn't sure how she was going to fit it into her paper. She could worry about that later, "What happened to his brother?"
"Car crash. It killed his brother and father, he was driving."
"So he thinks it's his fault?"
"Oh no, it was the Demon's fault,"
"Where did he get all these ideas of demons from?"
"We don't really know, what with all the moving around they did when he was young they kinda stayed off the grid. His dad packed them up and took them off after his mom died and once Sam and Dean were out of school they disappeared completely. I didn't even know he was still alive until he turned up on my doorstep one day calling me Dean, asking me where I'd been and why hadn't I called him. Did some research and it turned out that Dean had been dead for a year.
"I committed him after that, he wasn't exactly a good influence on the kids. But I still find myself back here every day. He's got a good heart. I've got a room ready for him when he gets better. He just needs to learn to keep his emotions under control."
"And stop having delusions?" Laura added.
"Oh yeah," Ben's laugh reminded Laura of Sam's laugh earlier that day when he'd been told Dean was dead. "That too."
"Just one last question before you go."
"Why do you think he's so focussed on Dean? I mean, his dad died too."
"Huh, well, it was his brother he went on a road trip with to get away from it all after Jess died, they were pretty close. I suppose Dean was just an awesome brother."
Hope you enjoyed.