A/N: In this AU, Skin never happened, so Dean was never wanted by the cops in St. Louis. After the hell I'm going to put him through, it's the least I can do for him. Story title taken from Flannery O'Connor's story of the same name. 31 Chapters completed; will be posted every Monday and Friday, around noon.

Pairing this chapter: Dean/Nathan Beck (implied)

Warning: This story contains rough language, torture, violence, dub non con. I don't go into graphic detail, but there's enough to let you know what's going on.

Summary: Dean Winchester has been missing for four years. He's been a guest at Sweetbriar State Hospital for six months and now his past and present loved ones are coming for him. Dark AU, extreme Dean whump, Sam angst, hurt/comfort in later chapters.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. This is for entertainment only, not for profit.


Chapter 1 – green eyed boy in paradise

1911Exorcizamus 666 te, omnis 1967 immundus spiritus

The light inside the cell was dim, but he could still see. Any moment now the eyes in the walls would look inside. They'd see what he was doing, and then he'd be in trouble.

omnis 124satanica1979 potestas, omnis 0502 incursio1983

His hand shook and the black magic marker stuttered a little. His knees hurt. Even with the padding the floor was still rock hard, and he'd been down there for so long.

et omnis 666legio diabolica adjuramus1967 te

They called him John in this place. Sometimes it was "Hey, you" or more often, "Here, freak."

Ergo 124draco maledicte 1979

The words rattled around inside his head, loose, dried peas inside an empty glass jar; they came down his arm into his right hand down the marker, onto the floor, up the walls, big, bold, black letters.

infernalis 1911adversarii

All he had was just the words and the numbers, and it was hard to remember exactly how they were supposed to go, but he tried, he did his best. The inside of his head was all fuzzy and mushy and the bottom of his mouth tasted dry and metallic and nasty, like he'd been sucking on a handful of dirty nickels or something.

First time…

omnis 0502legio1983

…first time Dad sat me down and taught me this…

The memory actually made him smile as he knelt there. He ignored the way his fingers cramped up, ignored the sharp biting pain in both knees. What he really wanted was just out of reach. The words meant something. They reminded him. His eyes widened as it came to him, bursting apart behind his wide green eyes like a flower blossoming.

Dean.

1967congregatio et secta1911 diabolica

My name is Dean.

That made him grin, bright and fierce. He'd grinned like that one day at the real people, and they hadn't liked it. Not one bit. His left cheekbone ached with the memory of that wooden club they'd hit him with.

Dean, you sonsofbitches! My name is Dean ---

Despite the blood and the pain, he hadn't stopped grinning. Or yelling. He got it. He did. They were real. He wasn't. Hadn't felt real in a long long time.

It was Tuesday…no…no…Thursday…Thursday. Red day. Bad day. Half the time he couldn't tell if he was asleep or awake.

The whispering inside his head rose up, sharp and irritable, and that wasn't what he wanted. He hunched his shoulders against the noise and wrote even faster. Made the letters even bigger.

When his right hand cramped up so bad that his fingers hooked clawlike and useless Dean switched to his left.

His hair was way longer than he was used to; he couldn't remember the last time it had ever reached his shoulders. He had bangs now, but he didn't even bother to push them out of the way. He could still see. He didn't want to be distracted.

Didn't want to look up.

Need a haircut, Dean thought to himself. He chuckled to himself. The lines in his face relaxed, made him look younger. The muscles of his face felt numb, like he hadn't used them in a long time.

Gettin' about as shaggy as Sammy.

Sam. Oh God…Dean blinked at the sudden wetness around his eyes. A single tear hit the floor, smearing the top part of the letter A.

Didn't matter. He ran over the A several times with the marker, made it heavier, blacker. It was enough. It would have to be.

The corners of Dean's mouth trembled slightly, downwards, then up as his lips firmed up into a hard straight line. His gaze went hard and flat, and he inhaled, deeply, sharply. His left hand moved.

Ergo draco 1911maledicte 666 et omnis

Maybe if he wrote enough…maybe maybe maybe…

legio124diabolica1979 adjuramus1967 te

Maybe it would stop. Maybe it would all stop.

Thinking made his head hurt even more, so Dean lost himself in the motion of his left hand

cessa 0502decipere1983 humanas 1911creaturas

and he kept his head down even as part of the wall opened up and the eyes stared right at him and he knew he was screwed.


Calvin Grissom considered himself to be a practical man. He wasn't given to flights of fancy, but he knew trouble when he saw it.

This kid was trouble.

They'd brought him in from County one day, six months ago, and Grissom had to admit this one was a beauty. With his dark blond hair and wide green eyes he was easily the best looking human that had ever walked the grounds, patient or staff, male or female. He wasn't like the others, all blank eyed and slack jawed, or even wild-eyed and raving. There was a watchful, feral quality to this one that Grissom definitely didn't like. Patients like this pretty boy usually meant trouble. They were the sneaky ones, the ones who did everything they could not to take their meds. They usually needed to learn their place, needed to have it beaten into them, along with the drugs and whatever other 'treatment' was prescribed for them.

Ordinarily, Grissom enjoyed a challenge, but the kid, well, he was off limits. Had been from the moment Nathan Beck laid eyes on him.

Beck was the boss, the head orderly, and Grissom was very mindful of the fact that Beck could screw with him big time, as far as present and future employment went, make his time at Sweetbriar State Hospital a living hell on top of it.

Besides, Grissom liked his job. In particular, he liked the perks.

He leaned forward with the cell at his ear as he looked through the peephole again. John Doe 317 hunched his shoulders tightly and kept writing on the floor, furiously, his eyes gone to slits. There were gaps in the curtain of longish dark blond hair that hung around the kid's face. Grissom could tell by the tight line of that full, pretty mouth that the freak knew he was in deep shit. Good.

"Hey, Beck?" Grissom couldn't keep the grin out of his voice.

"Grissom," Beck huffed. Grissom could feel the man's irritation, heavy and blunt, through the phone lines. "You better have a damn good reason for calling me this late at night."

"Your pet boy's gone loco. That a good enough reason for you?"

"What?"

"He's writing stuff all over the walls and the floor." Grissom bent his knees slightly, peered upwards through the peephole. Damn. The writing went halfway up the walls, words and numbers and symbols that only a crazy person would know. "Probably lifted a marker or something from that dumbass social worker."

"Shit," Beck huffed. "Anybody go in yet?"

"Naw. Thought we'd call you first."

"Nobody makes a move on him until I get there. Son of a bitch…"

Grissom smirked. "Yeah, boss."


Beck strolled in thirty five minutes later. It always amazed Grissom how calm and unruffled he always looked, no matter what was going on. He wore jeans, an olive green t shirt, work boots, and that battered brown leather jacket of his.

He took a small glass bottle and a capped syringe out of his jacket pocket. Grissom and the six other orderlies waited as Beck uncapped the syringe, plunged the needle into the seal of the bottle and filled it up with amber liquid.

Beck pulled the syringe out, slipped the bottle back into his jacket pocket and capped the syringe again. "Okay. Let's go."


The lock clicked.

Regna1967 terrae, cantate124 Deo,
caeli 1979ad Orientem

Dean wrote even faster.

Psallite666 Domino
qui fertis1911 super caelum

He didn't have iron.

…eyes in the walls…

Didn't have salt.

Ecce dabit0502voci1983

They were going to come in. Any moment now…

Suae vocem1967 virtutis

They were coming in…

tribuite124 virtutem Deo1979.

They were in.

Dean dropped the marker on the floor. Both knees cracked as he stood up and staggered back against the wall. His left hip hurt, a bright flare of pain that made him stagger as his back thudded against the padding. His hip hurt all the time now, and he could barely remember a time when he could run and move without effort.

The real people were all around him now, eyes bright with excitement. They bared their teeth at him like hound dogs scenting a rabbit. He knew the rules. He was supposed to lie down on the floor. Lie down on the floor like a good little boy.

Fuck that. Dean grinned, wild and cheerful, as he lashed out with his right and tagged the one nearest him hard enough to make him stumble back.

"Christo." Something was supposed to happen when he said the word, but it didn't work. His head rocked back as he was struck in the face, and they closed in on him then.

"Son of a bitch, get off me, get the fuck off me --"

They could touch him, not the other way around. Those were the rules.

Dean kicked out, caught one of them in the shins hard enough to bring the man to his knees.

He was going to pay for this. Rabbits always did.

His left hip bitched a fit about the kick. He went off balance as an arm, thick and muscular, slid around his neck and pulled his head back. His knees buckled as he was hit in the back, right above his kidneys. He couldn't breathe as he was slammed face first into the floor. They piled on top of him and all he could do was snarl and spit like some cornered alley cat Animal Control had pinned to the ground and was about to haul away.

Someone's knee jammed into the side of his head, hard against his ear, pressed the side of his face down into the padding so hard Dean's jaws ached and it felt like his damn neck was gonna crack.

Dean caught a glimpse of battered brown leather out of the corner of his eye, and the man wearing the jacket was tall, dark and imposing, older, but not by much, with light stubble and piercing eyes. The dude winked at him as he uncapped the syringe in his hand.

Dean blinked. Dad? Please, no ---

A sharp needle prick in the side of his neck nearly took his breath away. Dean gulped in air, forced it down past the pain. He growled out loud, angrily, because he knew what that meant, knew it was over.

The drug spread through him like an oil slick on water, a wave of heavy warmth, thick and fast-moving, that flooded his muscles, loosened them up to the point where he couldn't move anymore. All Dean could do was breathe, as everything turned dark around him, his arms and legs limp and useless at his sides as they pulled the straightjacket around him, buckled him in nice and snug and tight.

He was in the dream again, and it was always the same: fast flashes of color (bright blue and neon yellow) smells (beer, cigarette smoke, cooked food), and sounds (Motel's down the road, 'm tired, Dean) then the air got cooler, darker, and at the end there was always a huge blinding flash of light that growled.

Sammy was always the last thing Dean thought of as he turned towards the glare, and then the light came crashing down on him just like it always did and broke him into little pieces.


"John?"

Go away.

It was peaceful, bobbing just underneath the surface of all that dark water.

Something hard slammed into the side of his bare foot. It didn't hurt; he was too numb for that, but it jolted him. He grunted, blinking, as he came awake.

"Better answer me when I'm talking to you, boy. John?"

One name was as good as another.

The ache in his head was low and heavy, a dull throb right behind his eyes that flared a little every time he took a breath. Couldn't move his arms and he didn't even have to see to know things had gotten worse; he could recognize the feel of a straightjacket with his eyes closed.

That was bad enough, but it was the tone of Beck's voice that really bothered John. Beck had the uncanny ability to sound perfectly calm, even though he was totally pissed off.

Like now.

John opened his eyes. Slowly. He glanced up at Beck's face, then, just as quickly, dropped his gaze and stared at his toes. It was the safest place to look. He was on the floor now, sitting with his back against a wall. Judging from that now familiar ache in his neck and the weakness in his muscles he knew he'd been dosed.

One look around and John knew he was fucked.

Black writing all over the floors and the walls. Big block letters, and numbers.

Dean, John thought. Damn you...

Beck crossed his arms in front of him as he leaned against the padded wall. "You mind telling me why you marked up my walls, John?"

"It wasn't me." John shook his head in quick, spastic jerks. "No…no…no…it wasn't me."

Beck knelt beside him, clasped his hands in front of him. "If I wasn't you, then who was it, huh? Was it Dean?"

John stared at the floor.

He startled as Beck thumped him hard on the forehead. "You think I don't know what's going on inside that fucked up head of yours? Think I don't know who else is in there? I know who Dean is. He came out and talked to us one time after we gave you the needle. Kid's got a damn smart mouth."

Beck reached out, cupped John's chin with his hand, lifted the boy's head up so that they looked at each other, eye to eye. John blinked rapidly. It was uncomfortable for him; patients almost never looked staff in the eyes, and Beck knew it.

But the kid knew better than to jerk his head away.

Beck slid his hand inside his shirt pocket. He pulled out a brown plastic medicine bottle filled with red pills, raised it up so John could see it. Beck rattled the bottle from side to side.

"Please," John whispered roughly. "I need my pills."

"They make you feel good, don't they?" Beck cocked his head to one side. He slipped the bottle back into his pocket, nodded with satisfaction as John's shoulders sagged.

"Please," John breathed.

"Let me see if I'm understanding this," Beck sighed heavily. "You marked up my walls and my floor, dragged me away from home in the middle of the night, caused all this trouble, and now you think things are gonna go on like before?" Beck shook his head. "These walls belong to me. Just like you do. You've been a good boy so far. I just think you need a reminder. We're gonna get back to basics for the next few days."

Beck shrugged as he pulled his hand away. "Give you a fresh start, a second chance. You remember the white bees, John? Remember how they got inside your head, under your skin? Remember how they made you feel?"

"No…please…no," John slurred. "…s-sorry, 'm sorry…"

"I know you are, baby." Beck leaned in, brushed his lips against that full, bruised mouth. "But I still have to teach you a lesson."

"…no, please…" He kept saying it, even though he knew nothing he could say was going to stop this. "Dean screwed everything up, no, it wasn't me, it wasn't my fault, no, please…"

Beck stepped back as Grissom and three others moved in and dragged John to his feet.

"No, it wasn't me…"

He was dragged down the hallway and thrown onto the gurney before he even realized it, shaking, scared and pleading as they stripped the straightjacket off him and strapped him down. All he could move was his mouth. All he could say was useless words, over and over again.

"…it was Dean, it wasn't me…"

"John, it's okay. It's gonna be all right." Doctor Barnes was there. Glare from the overhead lights glinted off those round glasses of his as he leaned over John and made soothing noises that they both knew were lies.

Barnes pulled down the waistband of John's light blue scrub pants. The air in the room was cool against his bare skin. John's nostrils flared as he caught the scent of alcohol, felt moist cotton pressed against his hip.

"No. No! It wasn't…I didn't…"

"Ssssh, John." Dr. Barnes pressed his hand flat against John's forehead. "Everything's fine."

Lying bastard. It wasn't fine, not fucking now it wasn't, and the pain of the needle prick was lost in the numbness that spread through his body.

"…no…noooo…"

"It's okay, John. It's all right…"

The taste of the rubber mouthpiece was slick and bitter, like he was tasting everyone who'd ever worn the damn thing before him. John gagged as his tongue was pushed down hard against the bottom of his mouth. He flinched at the surprisingly gentle touch of the electrodes at both his temples.

"Calm down. John. Can you do that for me? Calm down…"

Then the switch banged open, loud and hollow.

The white bees swarmed into him, burrowed underneath his freckled skin. They filled his head up, made his back arch, as his heels drummed madly against the table, and he couldn't even scream.


John came out of the white slowly, one breath at a time. His jaws ached. His head hurt. He lay on his back on the floor, in another cell, and this one was lit by a bright white light set in a metal cage up in the ceiling.

The better to see you with, my dear.

He needed his pills. Just one. That was all. A red one, or maybe even a blue one. Something to tide him over for the next eight hours. Something to stop that awful shaking at his core. His feet were ice cold. Freezing. At least his hands were warm inside the straightjacket. He laid there, felt his muscles shiver and tremble. The light made his head ache even more, so he closed his eyes, kept them squeezed shut. He couldn't even stretch his legs out. He was hobbled.

Maybe he didn't remember exactly how he got here, but he remembered what came before. It was like he was watching it all happen to someone else.

Family. He had a family out there, somewhere. But if they really loved him, they would have come for him, wouldn't they? They wouldn't have left him here for so long. Maybe he could have gotten out if he wanted to, could have started talking months ago, but that wouldn't have been right. Talking meant questions would be asked, and he'd have to answer those questions. You don't call attention to family. You never do that.

We do what we do, and we shut the hell up about it.

He'd thought about leaving on his own at first. Thought about playing the game, playing along. That was the plan at first. Beck would have let him off the leash a little bit more. He could have started nosing around the place. Poked at the weak spots. Found a way to the outside.

But then they started giving him the reds, and suddenly none of that outside stuff seemed to matter anymore. He needed those pills. He wanted them. They made Dean shut the hell up, and John got what he wanted, so long as he was Beck's good little pet. Living here wasn't so bad until…until…

Dean fucked everything up. Stupid bastard.

John tried to roll over on his side, and it took several tries before he found himself on his back. His muscles were blown; they tingled with the memory of the shock. His nerve endings stuttered and jerked. He laid there for a moment, and he kept his eyes closed.

Again. He lifted his right shoulder off the floor.

He moved slowly. Coordination and reflexes were all screwed up. His leg muscles trembled and quivered uncontrollably, but he got there, right where he wanted to be, on his side now, with his back to the light, and even with his feet so freezing cold he could barely feel his toes, this wasn't so bad.

John blew out a breath and relaxed.

Names didn't matter. He knew who he really was, what name really mattered.

Gabriel, he thought to himself as he curled up as much as he could and squeezed his eyes shut even tighter. 'm name's Gabriel Bender.


A/N: The first exorcism is the Rituale Romanum. The second one is the exorcism Dean used in "Crossroads Blues."

These are the numbers from Dean's fractured mind:

666 – Satan

1911 – Colt 1911

1967 – the Impala

1241979 – Dean's birthdate

05021983 – Sam's birthdate

Next chapter to be posted on Friday.