October
by Famira Damaris

Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. The writing is my own, the characters and settings aren't.

Summary: Written for Damned (LJ RPG). Stuck in a horrific mental institute that changes by night, Sam is taken for experimentation and must deal with the results. He seeks help in unexpected places.

Author Notes: This first part was written a year ago for this writing event we had in this panfandom livejournal game I'm a part of, called Damned. The premise is basically your character wakes up and suddenly finds themself in a seemingly normal mental institute...only it's not and changes to a survival-horror setting each night. Oktoberfest involved taking any characters in Landels and writing a 2000-5000 word fic. This was my entry last year.

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October
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(Outside Help)

It felt like his head was going to split apart.

Sam wasn't sure how long he'd been lying on the table, when those doctors had left, or if they were even going to come back. The thought alone made him shiver, and not just from the piercing headaches that made the room swim before him, or the chilly air of the lab. All he knew was that something felt off in his head and that the headaches were getting progressively worse. He wasn't aware of sliding off the table. The next thing he knew, Sam found himself sitting on the cold tiles of the floor, cradling his head and having the sinking feeling that even if he did close his eyes, that wouldn't stop him from seeing. It never worked before. Right now wasn't any different.

The first vision was just a flash.

He caught a confused glimpse of fire, felt the pure heat of it bathe him, and then he was punched back into the present, sitting huddled on the floor.

His visions were of the future; the Demon-related.

So what was this supposed to mean -

Sam gasped as another vision came at him, the floor seeming to smear away and suddenly it wasn't just the fire, he was there, standing in the hall as Sam's room glowed orange, tongues of flame crackling at the door-frame, wondering why Daddy ran off and where was Mommy? He couldn't move. There was a feeling in his tummy that something bad was happening. Daddy suddenly ran out of the room and shoved his baby brother into his arms, the first time he'd ever held Sammy cause they said he wasn't old enough.

"Take your brother outside as fast you can! Now, Dean! Go!"

Sam clutched at his head. The piercing headache had died down to something a bit more tolerable, but it only gave him time to breathe, and wonder just why he was seeing all this. It didn't make sense. What he saw? He already knew about, at least from piecing together what Dad and Dean told him. He'd just seen that night from Dean's point of view, but it was over, done for. It wasn't the future because it was already twenty odd years too late. And why was he now seeing these visions from a person's eyes? Before he was just a bystander, one who couldn't do anything more than watch, and follow the action. Like some kind of messed up movie, except no one involved was an actor and someone almost always died. This time was different; it felt real, happening right now and not like he was some bystander, but really there, seeing and feeling everything probably even better than Dean himself remembered.

The doctors did something to him.

How he didn't know. But they obviously knew a few things about psychics that he didn't and now he was finding out the hard way the after-effects. He just wanted them to stop; seeing into Dean's head (even as a kid) felt wrong, like he was invading his brother's privacy. Like digging up old, salted and burned skeletons in the closet.

"Sam?"

Sam struggled to his feet, wobbling, and grabbed at the table for support before he pitched over and brained himself on something. Headaches and or not, he was more than a little relieved. The voice was distant, muffled, but he knew his brother's voice anywhere. "Dean! I'm in here!"

He was still trying to keep his feet under him when Dean busted in with his typical grace, the doors slamming open as he came in looking absolutely pissed. He was holding the flashlight way too hard like he was waiting for an excuse to club someone over the head with it and then beat them to a bloody pulp for good measure. It wasn't really that hard to figure out why. His brother wouldn't admit it, but he'd been on edge ever since they ended up in Landels and kept watching him like he'd disappear if he looked away. Considering what happened, Sam supposed that maybe he had a point after all. Dean rushed over to Sam:

"You okay?" Dean demanded. "What'd they do?"

Sam wasn't really sure what to say. What, that they did something to his abilities (powers he didn't even understand fully), and he was seeing the past instead of the future? Dean already had a hard enough time getting used to the future part the first time around as it was. "They said they knew about my powers," he said. He didn't have to fake being dead tired. "Can we just get outta here? My head's killing me."

Dean went a silent for a second. Sam could practically see him chewing over the fact he hadn't gotten a straight answer. "Okay, yeah. Sure."

He reached out to help Sam up and support him, seeing that he probably wouldn't be able to walk steadily on his own just yet. At his touch, Sam stiffened. The headaches he felt before? Were nothing like the one that hit him full force. Sam staggered, nearly bringing Dean down with him as he lost control of legs that suddenly weren't his and then the world around him melted away again as if it was made of wax.

He was aware of Dean's frantic "Sam!", but it was from far away and growing further still...

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For his first job flying totally solo, this wasn't going as well as he'd hoped it would.

Maybe it had to do with the fact Dean wasn't dealing with the standard ghost that was perfectly happy haunting a few houses or killing a few unlucky bastards. Those he could handle. Just plug 'em with salt, burn the remains and the sucker was gone for good. No, this thing had to be something else. The profile of it wasn't like anything he'd seen before till now, probably 'cause he hadn't ever heard of a spirit running around friggen sodomizing its victims...who all happened to be men and seemingly selected at random. Dean wasn't sure if Dad knew about all this beforehand or if this was some kinda test, but he wasn't gonna back out just 'cause this spirit was way out of the ballpark for what he counted as normal.

Still, test or not, he was gonna be pretty damn careful. Getting butt-raped by some ghost with a fetish for that crap wasn't exactly his idea of a good time.

The things you did for this job.

Strolling over to the Impala, Dean tossed the folder with the clippings onto the side seat. He'd taken the liberty of cutting out what he needed from the library - it wasn't like anyone would miss them - and he'd skimmed through enough to get a better idea what he was going up against. It looked like it was a popobawa, some kind of spirit (or djinn - the stories didn't agree) that was from Tazmania or something. It was the only thing he'd found that matched the kind of ass-invader calling card that was popping up all over Ackley, Iowa. Not only that, but as far as he could tell, there was no real way to predict who would be the next victim or even how many had even been hit. Young, old, it didn't seem to matter so long as you had a set of balls and didn't believe in the popobawa - which didn't exactly narrow anything down. And not everyone who was a victim was gonna go out and report getting violated, either.

Dean wasn't nervous. He felt he could do this, knew he could 'cause he'd done it hundreds of times with Dad - only Dad wasn't here now to back him up. It was just him, the car, and the fact that his first solo gig was hunting a popobawa.

Hunting down an undead sodomist wasn't very awesome in his book. It'd be one of those things he'd probably never ever tell Sam, just on principle.

Huh, weird. Driving around Ackley and scoping out the victims' houses, Dean found himself randomly thinking about Sam. He'd been out of touch with his kid brother after Sam decided it was more important to go to college rather than do the right thing and respect Dad's wishes. And, y'know, the whole hunt evil thing. Dean hadn't really talked to him much after that. What was there to say, I think you made a dumb mistake 'cause higher education's for people who don't know better and maybe Dad's right? Yeah, that'd sit well.

Anyway, right now Sam was probably doing whatever it was college kids did, and pretending to have a normal life with the rest of them. Whatever. Dean pushed thoughts of Sam away and focused on the now. And frowned. It took a while to realize just what was wrong with this picture: now that Dad wasn't here, it was way too quiet in the Impala. Nothin' good on the radio and - unbelievable - Dad hadn't left any cassette tapes or anything in the glove compartment. Are you serious? Okay, so he got Dad was hardcore about hunting, but you'd think the man would've at least have something for the road, seeing as driving and more driving got boring after a while between jobs. All this silence? Startin' to get on his nerves. Now that the Impala was his, really his, Dean promised himself that he was gonna fix this next chance he got.

After he proved to himself he could hunt without backup.

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- Another brief flash of the room, shot through with a view of wide open road, and then the lab was gone -

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Dean never had problems lying, scamming, or cheating to get a job done.

But it was always when he faced whatever went bump in the night, what really did hide in your closet and under your bed, that he felt...weird. Parts of his body would feel oddly cold, his stomach heavy, empty in a way that just didn't feel right. Disconnected. He guessed it was possible he was actually scared. People got scared. Just 'cause he grew up with this stuff didn't mean he couldn't be one of those people. But he'd always thought that when you got scared, you froze or panicked or did something just as useless. Dean didn't panic. He knew how things were; they were a lot more simple than people who had stuff to lose, the normal people that a certain someone pretended to be - all Dean had to do was hunt down these sons of bitches and that was it. So logically he knew there wasn't really anything to be worried about, since there wasn't the same things at stake here. No mortages, nothin'.

But his body still reacted with fear sometimes during hunts, even when his mind was already going on autopilot.

Dean knew he was running a huge risk doing exactly what the popobawa wanted and sleeping indoors in a bed, but he wasn't going to be able to track this thing down unless he tempted the bastard out. And he was pretty sure he felt scared, judging from that annoying, faintly uncomfortable pit in his stomach, even though he was a hell lot more well-armed than the men before him who got attacked and that pit wouldn't stop him from wasting this spirit/djinn/whatever it was.

Assuming it even showed up tonight.

It didn't help Dean was bored out of his mind waiting night after night for the popobawa to decide it wanted a piece of his ass. At least when Dad was here, he had the option of someone to talk to. He didn't remember this much waiting, sitting with his thumbs up his butt, and doing jack when he'd been road tripping with Dad.

He took a sniff of the bed he was lying on and made a face. It smelled vaguely like old people. Great.

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- Sam's headache ebbed, only to spike. Then -

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Whatever the stories said about popobawas, they seriously didn't do the godawful smell of the bastards justice.

Dean's eyes watered as the stench hit him like a solid smack in the face. He couldn't begin to describe it. No words came to mind 'cause when it hit you, your mind just went completely blank instead of trying to process just how fuckin' bad it was. If he could smell anything after this, he was gonna be very surprised.

The popobawa had come just like the stories said it would - some scratching on the roof followed by the smell - and then it tried to press down on him while he pretended he was sleeping. And found itself getting a faceful of rock salt...which proved about as useful as shooting it with spitballs. Dean rolled off the bed as it reflexively brought an arm down at him, demolishing the mattress and turning the frame into a pile of splinters. He tossed the shotgun to the side as he went for the knife he'd dipped in lamb's blood, unsheathing it with a smooth motion. The popobawa was pretty damn big in all the wrong places once he got a good look at the damn thing. Dean tried not to look down, but he couldn't help it even as he circled for more space in the cramped motel room. And he had to say that smell or not, the popobawa was packing.

It was like a friggen weapon of mass destruction or something, and, even worse, it was standin' tall like it was aimed at him and ready to plunder his ass if it only got the chance.

He was probably going to be glad he was half-blinded by the involuntary tears to begin with, 'cause that was pretty nasty even by his standards.

Despite how bloated it was, the popobawa was surprisingly agile for its size. It was moving just fast enough to keep him on his toes, forcing him to keep moving. Dean had thought things were going pretty well (aside from the smell) up to the point he actually tried stabbing the bastard. The knife plunged into its chest right up to the hilt. He gave the blade a twist.

Only the popobawa didn't die.

Judging by the first sound he'd gotten out of it - a pained, shrill squeal - he'd hurt the son of the bitch, but it wasn't dying.

Dean had just about a surprised second to register this before the popobawa swung at him. He didn't duck fast enough: he hit the wall behind him hard, white bursts winking in and out before his eyes. Dean shook his head, the room spinning for a second. For a creature that was basically just a walking mountain of fat and one hell of a hard-on, it could deck you like nobody's business. One side of his face felt almost entirely numb; it was gonna hurt like a bitch later assuming that wasn't the only part of him hurtin' after all this was over.

Slithering out from under the popobawa, Dean made a mad scramble for the dresser across the room. He'd just wrapped his fingers around the hilt of the second knife he'd left there, his JIC - Just In Case - when he suddenly found himself sliding backwards across the crappy motel carpet.

Twisting around, Dean tried to kick out at the popobawa but it had too tight a grip on his ankle, dragging him closer. And closer to the real danger here, which was way, way bigger when you were almost under the damn thing's jewels.

Dean reacted on instinct. The knife flashed out; slicing through the popoboawa, it met some resistance, the blade dragging through its flesh and cutting clean through. Something heavy and wet landed on his chest as he jerked the knife free, the popobawa making a strangled grunt, its blood spraying out all over the hunter underneath it. It went down like a sack of intestines and lay there, nice and dead-like and just how he liked it even though he was pretty sure he hadn't hit any vital organs.

Sitting up, Dean wiped the blood from his face with his free hand, heart still thundering in his chest. He glanced over at the popobawa: the corpse was starting to wither in on itself like a deflating balloon. The smell, however, wasn't going anywhere fast; his stomach was still trippin' over itself trying to decide if he was gonna hurl or what.

Damn, why was it still smelling in here? His nose wrinkled. It was getting worse, not better.

Dean made the mistake of looking down at what was now in his lap -

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- And Sam was back in the present, no longer holding the bloodied knife, and with his hands instead clutching at his brother.

"C'mon Sammy, snap out of it."

Dazed, Sam shook his head, reaching up and rubbing at his eyes as he realized that he was no longer...well, no longer Dean. Or, to be technically correct, past-Dean. Present-Dean was now currently on his knees next to him and bending over, the overhead lights of the experimentation room flickering and buzzing overhead, casting him in partial shadow. Sam could just barely make out his brother's face as he sat there for a moment and got used to be being himself all over again.

"You back?" Dean asked. "Another one of your, uh, vision things?"

"Yeah. More or less," Sam said, breathless. He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell Dean all about the details just yet. But despite everything, despite what the Landels doctors did to him, and how weak he felt, he couldn't help the beginnings of a grin. For all the crap Dean gave him sometimes (okay, most of the time), at least he wasn't the one to end up with popobawa dick all over his lap.

Dean scowled down at him suspiciously as he hauled him to his feet. "What're you all grinnin' about? Don't tell me you're cracking up on me after I went through all the trouble finding you..."

Sam's head still ached, but he managed to shoot a shaky smirk at his brother. "Popobawa."

Dean didn't even miss a step. "What." It was a statement, not a question: Dean knew exactly what he was talking about. "How do you - y'know what, not even gonna ask. What is it with you and your Sylvia Browne channeling?" he muttered under his breath. "So not in the mood for this."

"Thanks," said Sam. He was glad to see Dean too.

His brother made sure he could walk before herding him out the door into the hall. Sam swayed on rubbery legs, but managed to keep them from spilling out under him, leaning heavily on Dean. The trip back was quiet, a lot more quiet than usual when you traveled with Dean - he usually commented on every inane thing under the sun just because he could - and Sam guessed that he just plain didn't feel like talking. Not when he'd just found out that his little brother had been taken and...well, Sam didn't think it'd be a good idea to fill in the blanks with all the gory details. Yet. Sam didn't have any names, faces, only an inkling on motive, and no idea where the doctors went after they did their business.

So basically they had nothing.

All he had was that maybe the staff here had already done something to Dean's memory and now he was next. The thought pushed away any amusement he felt at the popobawa (even though it wasn't even that funny to begin with). Seeing Dean and yet it wasn't the Dean he knew, and knowing that he could end up like...it wasn't something he wanted to think about it, but it was a real possibility here. Sam knew he had to help his brother regain his memories, bring him up to speed so he could have the brother he knew so well back and not this Dean-but-not with him.

This Dean was just as protective, but there was still something different about him to Sam, something small but there in how he acted, said things in a certain way, that was like deja vu, only all the time whenever he was around Dean. He didn't look at him or carry himself how Sam remembered. It was little things, really, but they added up until you looked around one day and realized that it wasn't just the obvious, big missing memories that bugged you, but the really small stuff that got to you in the end. It bothered him more than he was willing to admit to Dean, and now was only just willing to admit to himself.

Dean was his brother; he always would be, memories or not, but Sam would be lying if he said he didn't want the old Dean back.

Sam wasn't sure if he might be more resistant to the mind-wipe - or whatever it was - than Dean, but if there was any time he actually needed his abilities, it was now.

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The problem was he had no idea where or who to turn to about this mind stuff. Dean used to act like Sam should just somehow know, but the fact was this was as weird to him as it was to his brother. These visions? That time with the telekinesis? They just happened, whether he was ready or not. He didn't like it, but he could deal with being some kind of freak psychic. But that still didn't mean he understood this mind stuff any better than his brother. It wasn't like there was a manual for this.

Sam needed help.

So he went to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Can't believe I'm doing this was Sam's first thought. He might have been buried studying for law, but even he knew who Obi-Wan was...and while Dean might have geeked out over this, Sam wasn't so amused. For all he knew, this young man sitting across from him, with his hands clasped on the table, simply believed he was Obi-Wan and this was all a waste of time. Still, it couldn't hurt to ask and he hadn't anything to lose by just asking. Anyway, it was surprising what you could get just by asking and asking nicely.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi?" Sam asked.

The young man nodded. He had a way of just looking at you that Sam had to like, even if the question of whether he really was Obi-Wan was still up in the air. Many people when they talked looked at other things, were distracted, and frequently broke eye contact. Obi-Wan just looked right at you. And maybe right through, because Sam felt like he could see his doubts even as he sat down at the table across from Obi-Wan, ignoring the tray of food he'd brought with him.

"And I take it you're Bob? Bob Dylan?" Obi-Wan asked.

"Yeah," said Sam. He winced mentally. He'd been hanging around with Dean way too much; he was lucky Obi-Wan wasn't reacting at all to the alias. "Obi-Wan, I need your help."