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). A few days after raiding the kitchen for supplies and Dean's encounter with Bigfoot a lurcher, Sam adjusts to being Obi-Wan's "student", Dean wants more than anything to find out more about the good Head Doctor, Sam encounters a certain Osborn, and reflects on just how far he'll go to save Dean's lost memories.
Author Notes: This third part was written 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 more for fun than to be an entry.
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(Peace of Mind)
"I can't do it," Sam Winchester said, frustrated.
He frowned down at the fork lying on the table between them: it sat there stubbornly, refusing to budge.
At least it wasn't a spoon.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was unruffled as usual. "You said you've done it once before, Bob. The ability is there, even if the control itself is not. It was worth a try, but getting to this point will take time. Have patience."
Sam nodded. It had been a long three days after he began his first round of meditations with Obi-Wan and while Obi-Wan kept saying he wasn't his teacher, that he couldn't be his teacher, he sure acted like it, coaching him with one-on-one sessions like this morning in the cafeteria. It wasn't just a whole lot of meditating, which was what Sam told Dean it was: it wasn't that he liked lying to Dean, but to be honest, his brother wasn't exactly a fan of this psychic business and telling him he was trying to actually learn telekinesis wouldn't make him a happy camper. Sam didn't know where Dean was in the crowded cafeteria, but knew he was there, and knew he was probably keeping an eye on him.
He seemed to be doing that a lot, especially after that night when he'd been taken by the doctors and experimented on.
Sam kept telling him he was fine. But the fact of the matter was he kept getting visions almost daily now and it was driving him up the wall. The meditation helped a lot, the visions hitting him during his sleep now instead of when he was awake. But it wasn't enough, Sam knew. He needed more control. If he was going to protect his brother and himself, he had to confront these weird powers and get them under control...even if a part of him was terrified doing that was doing exactly what Yellow-Eyes wanted. The other psychics he'd met, the violent ones, always had more control over their own "talents" than he had. They hadn't exactly turned into Boy Scouts.
The problem was he had no idea what other abilities he had. Each person he ran into seemed to have different ones and he knew he had those visions, and that one time with the telekinesis and who knew what others might be waiting for a chance to claw to the surface?
What if other ones started cropping up with Obi-Wan's help?
They could be dangerous. Or they could be the very thing that could help Dean remember all those missing months. It was a lot of ifs...the very thing Obi-Wan was insistent about not thinking about.
Sam could quiet his thoughts and shut everything out when he meditated. But meditating was a conscious effort for him and he couldn't do it all the time, not like Obi-Wan seemed able to. Sam didn't know if Obi-Wan was part of the pattern - he was too old to fit it, but for all he knew, he could be part of a previous generation of psychics, one of the ones who'd come out surprisingly normal. Or maybe, a niggling part of him thought, maybe he really was Obi-Wan. Sam had seen a lot of crazy things but movie characters coming to life was pretty out there, even for him. Still, whoever Obi-Wan was, he did know his stuff and so maybe in the end it didn't matter - all that mattered was he'd get what he needed from Obi-Wan and help Dean.
Across from him, Obi-Wan finished his breakfast, spearing a piece of pancake on his fork. "How's your friend?"
It took Sam a moment to realize who he was talking about. "Who, Huey?"
"Yes. I sensed he wasn't entirely happy with our sessions."
Sam's smile was a little sheepish. "He's adjusting. My abilities started popping up at a bad time, I guess."
"He means well," said Obi-Wan. "You're very lucky to have such a good friend."
It was times like this Sam wasn't sure if Obi-Wan knew who Dean really was and that was his roundabout way of saying it. Sam was used to lying and lying easily but he was also sitting across from the human lie detector - one who had one of the best poker faces he'd ever seen. If Obi-Wan knew, he didn't say anything. Breakfast wrapped up soon after, with Obi-Wan reminding him to meditate once more, telling him to focus on what visions he had, confront them and move on. Easier said than done, Sam thought.
He said yes anyway.
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Sam watched as Dean paced the length of the room impatiently, hands on his hips. Dean was the kind of guy who jumped from being annoyingly lazy to annoyingly restless, and Sam wished sometimes he would just choose one and stick with it for once.
Dean had come knocking as soon as nightshift began, popping up in front of his door just as Sam was about to go looking for him. Just like they agreed, he hadn't let him in until he'd checked to make sure he wasn't one of those shapeshifters, shining his flashlight into his brother's eyes and letting him do the same before letting him step over the salt line he'd left just inside the door. Sam hadn't really been able to explain that to his roommate. Maybe he could just chalk it up as being a weird quirk and let it slide. After all, they were in a mental institute and you had to expect a little crazy.
Now Dean was pacing up and down Sam's small room as if he was caged. He whipped around suddenly, his body language screaming confrontational. Sam was sure he was still making a big deal about Obi-Wan and he tensed, ready to argue again with Dean about it if he wanted to start it all up again; he was surprised when what came out of Dean's mouth had nothing to do with his lessons.
"We gotta find Martin Landel's office."
Sam watched Dean, frowning. "We still don't know what he is, Dean."
"We'll find out there," Dean insisted. "It's one thing to hunt small fry like this back on the road, but we've got something big on our hands now. I wanna know what the hell he is."
Sam couldn't argue with Dean there, but they couldn't just go charging in either. "He could be a demon."
"You don't sound very sure."
"It's 'cause I'm not," Dean admitted. He faced Sam and Sam saw he wasn't happy at all. "Hate to preach to the choir, but I'm missin' about several months of hunting, according to you. What if I knew somethin' and it's gone now?"
It was the most open Dean ever had been to Sam about the gaps in his memory. Sam didn't say anything at first, a pit settling in his stomach. He missed the Dean he knew, but he'd be lying if he said watching the Dean in front of him now wrestling with admitting his weakness - something that wasn't even his fault - didn't bother him.
"We're working on that," Sam said gently, trying to be reassuring. "There's probably a way to reverse it. We just haven't found it yet, that's all. We have to be patient."
Dean stopped pacing, his back to his brother.
"Dude, seriously, cut it out."
"Cut what out?"
Dean turned on Sam, voice suddenly too level.
"This whole walkin' on egg-shells crap. There's a good chance whatever they did to me is permanent. I'm a big boy, Sam."
"What do you want me to say, then?" Sam was on his feet without thinking, mouth thinned into a line, towering over his older brother.
Dean wasn't in his face - yet. "I get why you're all buddy-buddy with Obi-Wan. You wanna learn to control those powers, okay, fine. Awesome. But you better be doing it for the right reasons."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I don't think my memory can be recovered is what I'm sayin'," Dean said. "If you're gonna control your abilities to protect yourself, then I'm behind you all the way. But I don't want you wastin' your time on me, y'hear? What's gone is gone."
And in that way only Dean could, he changed the subject out of nowhere before Sam could argue back. It used to drive Sam crazy when he did that and it still did, even here and now.
"We'll have to find his office, first. I'm not saying we break in from the get go, but if the Head Doctor's a demon, we could pick up some traces of sulfur or something outside the door."
Sam was sorely tempted to bulldoze right over that and insist Dean not try to avoid the subject by pulling that BS again; no matter what Dean said, he didn't plan to stop trying to find a way to help him. Dean might be missing several important months, but he could still be pig-headed and so damn frustrating even without them. That hadn't changed. But Sam wasn't a kid anymore himself, and it wasn't like he'd just jump at what Dean told him to do, like when they were little. He'd learned maybe he couldn't change Dean's mind once it was set on something, not unless you liked butting heads with a brick wall, but there were other ways around him being a stubborn jerk. It meant going behind his back. Dean might not want to be helped, but Sam was going to help him anyway.
He just wouldn't tell him.
"Okay," Sam said instead. "I'll look into it. It's possible some of the patients might've seen his office."
"One of the nurses has gotta know something."
"Dean, I don't think there's a point trying to get their numbers."
Dean broke into an achingly familiar lop-sided grin. "Who said anything about their numbers?"
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Glancing around, Sam tried to look for someone who might know something. The courtyard filled up fast but built as it was, it didn't look like it, a large pond dividing it into a large horse-shoe that left plenty of space for patients to mill about (although there was only so far you could even go with the staff stationed around like guards). The hunter wandered around down the path, keeping an eye out without looking like he was scoping the place out, just like Dad taught him, and while there wasn't a lot of things he wasn't happy with Dad about, even dead several months as he was, teaching him how to keep an eye out without looking like he was keeping an eye out wasn't one of them. Sam paused for a fraction of a second before joining another patient looking close to his age.
The man turned to reveal a terrible scar covering the right side of his face. One eye had that filmy white look to it that told Sam he was blind on that side. Was this an injury from Landels or from before? The problem was they - so far - hadn't been able to tell how long this place had been in operation, so answering questions like that was still out of their hands for the time being. Sam felt badly for the guy, even if he'd seen injuries like that and worse in the past, and probably would see more in the future.
"Mind if I join you?" Sam asked.
The man shrugged. "Go ahead."
Friendly guy. Sam sat down on the bench next to him, following his gaze. His companion was watching a blond man in the distance like a hawk, his eyebrows drawn together in a deep frown as he stared at him with an intensity that was almost a little scary. Sam reminded himself to search out the second guy later. Obviously there was some kind of history between them - that or some serious bad blood, which would make things pretty awkward - and either way, if he was going to talk to both of them, he'd need to talk to them separately.
"Steve Bartek," he started. "I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions...?"
The scarred patient finally tore his eyes away from trying to burn holes in the man near the pond. "Harry Osborn." He didn't quite smile, but he did hold out his hand, which was a good sign. Sam shook it. "You new?"
Why did everyone keep assuming that? "Yeah," he said, "More or less."
"So what can I do for you?"
"I was wondering if you knew anything about this place. Where stuff is, rooms to avoid are," Sam said. "Anything would help, really."
Harry's blind eye was expressionless, faded. The ghastly scar covering his face looked like it hurt, the flesh knitted and rising in painful ridges - but Harry smiled then, the expression creasing the scars, and for a second, Sam could see the man he used to be before all of this. He used to smile a lot, laugh-lines crinkling around his eyes as one corner of his mouth - the unscarred side - quirked up in an easy-going, roguish grin. Harry had been handsome once.
"I'd love to help," Harry said. His eyes strayed toward the blond man in the distance, still smiling. "But I just need a little favor first..."
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"What's with the salt?"
Sam exchanged looks with Dean, who'd just let Max in through the door after she passed the flashlight test. True to form, she noticed the salt line right off the bat, her dark eyes flicking down to it almost immediately and then looking back at the two Winchesters with a raised eyebrow. Dean had told him a little bit about what she claimed to be and while Sam wasn't sure yet about her being some government-created, genetically altered chimera (he hadn't ever prescribed much to that kinda Area 51 conspiracy theory), he did know she was expertly trained, which was really all that mattered right now. Sam remained half-sitting on the desk's edge, Dean fixing on one of his easy, maybe-I'm-shittin'-you smirks as the girl stepped over the line.
"It keeps ghosts out," he said, grinning. "And demons."
Max only shook her head. "The guys I meet..."
"Did you find it?" Sam asked.
Max handed over a small bundle wrapped in a piece of torn bed sheet. "I don't like it, Sam. It was hard enough getting this, but giving it to a stranger?"
Sam had lifted a corner of the sheet scrap to confirm what was inside as Max spoke. A small scalpel gleamed at him, shining silver and pristine. He had no idea how many people it cut open, how much blood and guts it'd seen: the doctors obviously kept their equipment spotless and this one was no different. He didn't ask how Max got it.
"Thanks. Harry said he wanted this if he was gonna help us."
Sam's smile wasn't particularly revealing. "Just a little something on the side. It's kinda personal, that's all."
He spotted Dean frowning at him over Max's head, clearly wondering why he wasn't telling her the truth. Sam didn't react. He thought Max was uncommonly capable, but he also didn't want her getting mixed up in what they were planning, especially if the Head Doctor really ended up being a demon. It was pretty much the same thing as that time with Ronald Reznik...but then again, Dean didn't remember that anymore, not after Landels and for him, it didn't exist, Reznik and the bank and the ugly mess that came from it never happened. Yet another thing he'd have to fill him in on. Sam was finding out every day more and more he'd have to fill him in on; it was growing out to be a depressingly long list.
Max wasn't fooled and she crossed her arms, plopping down stubbornly in a chair. "Personal my ass."
Sam just shrugged. "Sorry. You know how it is."
"No, I don't."
"Thanks a ton again, Max," Dean butted in, sitting down in the other free chair. "I owe you one."
"Don't be surprised if I call you out on that."
Dean held up his hands. "Hey, I'm a consenting adult. Ready to roll when you are."
"Your brother," Max said to Sam, "is unbelievable. I'd hate to see him on a good day."
Sam was straight-faced. "This is a good day."
Max gave Dean a hard, good-natured slug on the shoulder. "Yeah, well, I'm a consenting adult too and if I want a favor like that, I'll say. Otherwise keep on dreaming, pal, and keep it in your pants."
Wincing, Dean rubbed at his shoulder ruefully. "Sure thing."
"It's been fun, but I got other places I gotta be. You're not the only people I've got to risk being killed over. I'll catch you boys on the flip side."
Max got to her feet, rolling up with that eerily liquid way of moving she had sometimes. Sam might not be sure if she was a chimera, but she did remind him of a very big, very capable cat sometimes: he'd seen the way she practically jumped the wall the other night and while he hadn't seen her take down that thing in the cafeteria with his own eyes, Dean had filled him in enough to give him a pretty good impression. Max pretty much took down the monster with her bare hands. At least they knew she wasn't a hunter, otherwise she would've recognized the salt line if she was. All Sam needed to know was she liked Dean, despite their bickering, and she'd also saved his life that night - he probably would've ended up a red smear on the floor if it hadn't been for her. That was good enough for Sam.
It didn't mean he trusted her enough to go spilling everything to her, though.
Dean closed the door after Max, making sure he didn't disturb the salt line. He turned to Sam, watching as his brother concealed the scalpel in his desk.
"Classy," he said. "You've got a way with chicks, Sammy. No wonder she's not into you."
Sam remained twisted in an awkward angle as he began working out the bottom of the drawer, wiggling the wood slat back and forth until he could pull it out and slide the bundled scalpel inside. "Not everyone trolls around trying to get laid," he said. "Anyway, you're the one who wanted us to start looking into the Head Doctor's office. This'll help."
"You think Harry will pull through? I mean, you talked to the guy what, once? And now you think it's a good idea to start giving some guy you don't even know weapons? Weapons, I might add, we could really, really use ourselves?"
Sam closed the drawer. "He'll pull through," he said.
"The Force tell you that?"
Sam ignored the jibe. "It's a hunch."
"Max'll be pissed if you're wrong."
"I don't think I'll be wrong."
Sam hadn't seen the future for a long time. His visions, when they came, came in his dreams and they were of the past, sometimes of things he wished to hell he could change. All he had left were gut feelings. Obi-Wan had said it was natural, and that he should follow such feelings so long as he didn't follow them blindly. His gut now told him that while he probably didn't want to know what Harry was going to do with the scalpel, he did believe he would help them in the end. He'd come through.
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Sam spread out the maps over the top of Dean's bed. There were pages and pages of them, each detailing out certain areas, what was in them, what creatures had been encountered near there so far, warning spots like the Sun Room (which they already knew) and the Chapel (which they hadn't). Sam resisted the urge to tell Dean "I told you so", although it was probably pretty obvious from his expression - Harry had definitely pulled through, having all of the maps ready when they made the exchange with the scalpel in the patient library. Harry's good eye had glittered at the blade and he'd palmed it away with open satisfaction, a small weight seeming to lift off his shoulders.
"Here," Harry had said. "I've copied everything I've got. You can probably find this stuff in the 'clubs' you've probably seen posting on the bulletin board, but I've also added some stuff me and my...friend have found out on our own."
Sam had taken the papers, folding them neatly and sticking them in his own journal. "Thanks, I appreciate it. You've been a big help."
Harry turned to go. He turned back and Sam could only see the scarred side of his face, afternoon light filtering in through the bookshelves and making the scars look less pronounced than before.
"Good luck, Steve," he said a little stiffly. "If I find anything else, I'll come to you."
Now Sam went through the information Harry gave him with Dean. Dean rifled through the maps, shuffling them as if he was going through a deck of cards, eyes scanning them for anything they could use as Sam did the same. They'd already dismissed the first floor, which seemed to be mostly focused on the patients, and it was the area they'd seen the most of so far. He'd done his homework, Dean grudgingly admitted to Sam, and that was all he'd say, focusing on the maps more than was really necessary and not making any real eye contact with him. Sam knew his brother too well. He had a bad habit of making an effort to look someone right in the eyes when he was bothered by something and yet he wouldn't be making real eye-contact.
It was difficult to explain. The difference was subtle - most people couldn't spot it. But Sam could always tell when Dean distanced himself and didn't so much as look at you but past you. He was doing it right now.
"How about this?" Sam asked, more to break up the silence than anything else. "Second floor seems to be devoted to the staff. And we know there's a third floor just from seeing the building from the outside, even if no one's been up there yet."
Dean just grunted. "Uh huh."
"Okay, what about the basement?" Sam reached down, pushing away the maps to reveal the basement one. It was only slightly more detailed than the non-existent third story one. "There's two doors to the north and south no one's been able to account for yet. But it's ear-marked extremely dangerous."
"Let's check that out last," said Dean. "If Martin's playing normal during the day, he might have an office in the actual facility to broadcast, not holed up underground."
Sam began collecting the papers. "Second floor then?"
He took the maps from Dean, tearing out pages from his own journal and taking the time to painstakingly copy them so they wouldn't be banking on just the originals. His brother restlessly moved about the room, fidgeting with the lamp, repositioning his chair, sitting down only to stand back up again and generally annoying the hell out of Sam. He did his best to ignore it. Dean just wanted to get some answers - that or kill something evil, but it was one thing to do that armed to the teeth from the Impala's arsenal, it was another to do it with practically no weapons and no real idea what you were even up against. Eventually Dean flopped down on his back on the bed, arms crossed behind his head, gazing up at the ceiling.
Sam snuck a sidelong glance at him. Even small things, like the way he kept ticking his foot trying to let off some energy, got to him, reminded him Dean was changed. He wasn't the same man Sam knew, the one who'd promised to kill him if things went south - Sam didn't sense that same weight on his shoulders, not in the way he carried himself in Landels or the way he talked about certain things. Dean claimed he didn't remember anything aside from the car accident. So did that mean he forgot what Dad told him in the hospital? Hell, why hadn't he even asked about the Impala? The day he stopped caring about that damn car was the day Sam knew he should get worried and now he was getting plenty worried, even if he couldn't afford to show it to his brother.
Dean was distracted. Sam didn't need to be Obi-Wan Kenobi to see that or figure out why.
It was hard, knowing time was missing in your life. Sam had personal experience there: he'd been possessed by a demon once and while the thing made sure he was awake and kicking for the gruesome parts in order to torture him, there were definitely other spots he wasn't aware of. He'd only been missing a week then too. It wasn't close to what it'd feel like missing months. Sam tore his eyes away from Dean. He hadn't told Obi-Wan about why he wanted to control his powers - not yet, anyway. He would have to eventually. But if there was a way to jump-start Dean's memories, Sam had a feeling it was pretty high-level stuff, stuff Obi-Wan might not even know how to do or, if he did, he might not want to pass it on.
Sam liked Obi-Wan. Really, he did. But this was his brother they were talking about here and he was determined to learn how to help Dean no matter what he said, no matter what his "teacher" said.
If Obi-Wan knew and didn't want to show Sam, tough. He'd have to pass it on one way or another.