Sorry this and the last chapter are so short. And SO sorry it took me sooooo long to get them up.

Don't own these characters.

John sat with his back against the wall and his baby boy asleep on his chest. He watched the doctor examine Sam's injuries. He checked the dressings carefully. Sam didn't stir, and John wondered whether it was because his son was still too out of it or if it was because the doctor was so careful. He could see in the doctor's eyes that he had his own baggage. The man had seen horrible things in his time, of that John was sure.

There was a certain look a man has when they've seen things most people can't dream up in their worst nightmares.

Steve looked up toward John, about to say something, but he stopped as he looked at Sam. Startled, John looked down and found his son was awake. Sam stared at the doctor with the same quiet, creepy expression he'd worn when he'd woken up earlier. The look in his eyes make John's skin crawl. He didn't want to think that his son was so far gone that no one was home upstairs, but the picture looked bleak.

"Sam?" John whispered cautiously. Sam's eyes didn't leave the doctor. He didn't so much as blink in John's direction.

John gently eased himself out from underneath his son and laid him down flat on the bed. Sam's stare drifted toward the ceiling and stayed there. John tried again.

"Sammy, say something, please." John tried not to let himself sound desperate, but he failed.

Sam continued to stare at the ceiling. There was no trace of recognition in his face as John spoke.

"You said he drank the Ensure?" The doctor didn't take his eyes from Sam as he asked the question.

"Yes," John said softly. "He became very insistent on drinking it, in fact. Do you think that's a good sign?"

The doctor shrugged and looked away. John cringed. He knew the doctor didn't hold out any hope for his son. He could see it in the doctor's demeanor. Part of him hated the doctor for giving up hope on his son. Part of him couldn't blame the man. If Sammy weren't his boy, he would have written him off the moment he saw him. The thought made his stomach turn.

Steve cleared his throat and seemed to try to choose his words very carefully.

"I'm not a shrink, John, but I've seen this before," he looked hesitant to continue. "There are just some things that the mind can't handle. It shuts off.

"The fact that he drank is good, but it doesn't give me any confidence that his mind is with us. The body knows what it needs to survive, and that will drive behavior. Much like a kitten instinctively knows where it needs to go for milk."

"That's bullshit!"

John and the doctor both startled and turned toward the doorway where an irate Dean stood with his fists balled at his sides.

"He's fine. He'll be fine," Dean said with a shaky voice.

Dean's eyes met John's and John could see that he didn't completely believe his own words. Dean took a deep breath as if to say something else, then seemed to think better of it as he turned and stormed down the hall. Moments later, John heard the front door slam shut.

"We'll give it time, John," the doctor said sympathetically. "I hope to God I'm wrong, but you might want to think about finding a long term care facility. I know of a few. I can give you some names."

John held his hand up, silently begging the doctor to stop. He found it hard to stand, so he sunk down into the chair next to Sam's bed.

"I'll be back in the morning," Steve said quietly. He put a comforting hand on John's shoulder as he passed by.

John closed his eyes for a moment before he looked back at Sam. His son was still staring at the ceiling. He knew the doctor was right. Sam was gone.

Dean kicked at the rocks in the salvage yard as he put as much distance between himself and the house as he could. He felt like a belligerent little kid, but he didn't care. He knew they were right. He knew Sam wasn't right the moment he'd looked into his eyes. He'd tried so hard to tell himself that Sam would snap out of it. The truth was, he didn't see his little brother when he looked at the broken figure on that bed.

"Oh God, Sammy," Dean cried at the ground. "I'm so sorry, little brother. I'm so sorry."

Sam could vaguely hear voices disturbing his quiet. It was maddening. Why couldn't they leave him alone? He had finally found the warm, sweet embrace of the darkness again. He had lost it for awhile, and it had scared him. He didn't want to lose it again. He tried to shut everything else out. He didn't want anything to tear him away from his darkness. It was his. It wrapped around him like a warm embrace.


Unlike the other voices, this one wasn't the least bit familiar, but it sounded close. Much closer than the other voices.

"Leave! This is my space! You can't have it!" Sam had no idea where his rant was directed. He didn't think he even said it out loud, but the voice heard it.

"You need to snap out of it, Sam," The voice continued. It sounded even closer than before, and Sam started to panic. "I need my soldier in good fighting form. This slobbery catatonic mess just won't do."

Startled, Sam looked around. The voice was invading his space. It wasn't off in the distance like the other voices. It was right here inside his head.

Finally Sam saw him. The figure that belonged to the voice. The man smiled as he looked at Sam and suddenly he was much closer. Right in Sam's face. Sam gasped as he looked at the man's eyes. There was something strange about them…

"That's it, Sam. Come on. You're stronger than this, kid."

The man's smile never left his face. He had a cat-ate-the-canary smile that drove Sam nuts. He finally realized what was strange about the man's eyes. They were yellow.