Author Notes: Part 1 of senses!verse: Dean steps out for coffee.

x-x-x-x

Sonofabitch. He was only gone like five minutes.

Dean drops his cup of decaf to the floor and runs back to the end of the corridor as if his life depended on it. And in a way it does. Sam's screams have a peculiar way of ripping his damn heart out.

"Hey… it's okay… I'm here now. Dean's here…"

He gathers Sam in his arms, raising him up from the bed so his head lolls sideways and comes to rest against Dean's chest. Smoothens his silken hair back from his brimming, terrified eyes and waits for the wheezing to subside, rubbing his back in long firm strokes until it does.

"You're okay Sammy," he says almost absent-mindedly, looking up once to glare at the new girl in the powder blue scrubs.

The orderly looks appropriately spooked. "I-I don't know what happened! I was just getting him ready for the night and…"

Dean knows exactly what she'd done. Switched off all the lights and lowered the bed from its upright sitting position back down so Sam would be left flat on his back, unable to look away from… from the last thing that he should be looking at.

"You're supposed to switch that on first."

She turns, struggling to follow Dean's line of sight. "What?"

"That."

There is a little red switch by the corner of the bedside table, right behind the button that rings for help. Slowly she reaches out for it, exhales and then pulls it up. Nothing happens.

She frowns and narrows her eyes at Dean like maybe he needs to be institutionalized as well.

"Look up," he whispers without looking away from Sam's face, and so she does.

It's a tiny digital projector rig aimed upwards, creating a beautiful kaleidoscopic show of lights and shadows on the ceiling… flickering stars, twin suns and crescent moons, a whole bunch of goofy animals – cats and dogs, bunnies and toads and dolphins. Birds… lots of birds.

"Always put that on before you lay him out, so he is never looking up at the blank ceiling at any time. You got that?"

She forcefully tears her eyes away from the hypnotic display overhead and nods a quick assent to the man. "I'm sorry, I didn't know…"

"Don't worry about it. Johann should've told you before he left."

Dean kisses the top of Sam's head then gently starts to lower him back to the bed. Sam tenses up, counter-holding as rigidly as his weakened body would let him. But his hands don't move, lying still beside him on the bed, helpless and forgotten.

"Sleepy-time Sammy. Hey, trust me alright? It's gonna be okay…"

How long it takes for Dean to get through, he doesn't really know. But he never forces Sam against his will, least whatever's left of it. He just talks, and keeps talking, mostly utter nonsense about bleach blondes and cookie dough until the resistance melts away and Sam goes whereever his brother takes him.

Dean adjusts the pillows under Sam's head and tucks the blankets around his shoulders with utmost care. Sam's eyes stay open for a few more minutes chasing the dogs chasing the cats or maybe something else, Dean wishes he knew but he doesn't. The orderly leaves and he sinks into his chair once again with his arms crossed. He waits.

It's been three months and twelve days and Bobby is starting to lose hope. But Dean believes with all his heart that Sam is still in there, somewhere, buried deep in the darkness of fucking catatonia or whatever the doctors were calling it this month.

Sleepy-time? Dean smirks to himself thinking how Sam would bite his head off for spewing shit like that. Dean would give anything to hear that whiny bitch voice again.

"You got me out of my hell, little brother." He whispers, wishing Sam could hear him somehow.

"I'll get you out of yours. I promise."

x-x-x-x-x

(TBC)