Lydia had worked with schizophrenic patients before. She'd had patients with multiple personality disorder before. She'd even had one other patient who had both.
Her newest patient, Sam Winchester, had several mental disorders. He was schizophrenic - suffering from hallucinations, delusions and regular bouts of insomnia. He also had three distinct personalities. Three was a rather low number. Ten was the average, or so the research said. At first she thought he might have four, until she realized that only one of the three regularly suffered hallucinations. He'd see himself in Hell. Other times he'd see the Devil talking to him. This wasn't too unusual in and of itself. Schizophrenics with religious psychosis often thought they were seeing demons or angels or any number of things. The difference was that Sam didn't just see the Devil. Sometimes he was convinced he was the Devil.
His 'Lucifer' personality was the rarest one at first. Lydia first met him when she was doing her final rounds of the night before heading home. She walked by Sam's room and noticed his bed was empty.
He wasn't doing a late-night exercise routine like his 'soulless' persona liked to do - that personality was an insomniac, who insisted he didn't need to sleep. He was also, strangely, the most lucid of Sam's personalities. The night Lydia found Sam standing by the window, she knew instantly that what she was seeing was new.
Sam's entire posture was different. The way he stood, the way he moved when he turned towards her was strange - far too graceful for someone Sam's size. When he spoke it gave her goosebumps. His voice was soft, but there was something about his words that unsettled her.
He looked at her with what she could only describe as a mixture of regality and disdain.
"Lydia. Sam's told me so much about you." Sam said, taking a step towards her.
"My name is Dr. Besson" Lydia said, "Who am I speaking with?"
"My name is Lucifer." Sam said, smiling.
Lydia raised an eyebrow, but couldn't think of a response beyond, "Nice to meet you." She talked to Sam for a few more minutes, though she couldn't later recall what they talked about. Afterwards, she left for the night, scribbling more notes into Sam's file once she got to her car.
She didn't see 'Lucifer' again for nearly two weeks. After Sam's main personality had what appeared to be a particularly bad series of hallucinations involving his brother, Dean, he fell into an exhausted sleep. Less than two minutes later, he sat up and smiled at Lydia saying, "Hello, again."
Lydia swallowed and asked, "Who am I speaking with?"
Sam chuckled and said, "You know who I am."
Lydia nodded, "So this is when you take over? After Sam hallucinates?"
"Is that what you think is happening?" Sam cocked his head to the side, "Well, I suppose that explanation works just as well." He stood up and walked, barefoot, over to the window.
"Why are you here?" Lydia asked. Sam's face twitched for just a moment, but it was enough to make Lydia take an involuntary step back.
"I'm here, because being wrongly imprisoned is both cruel and intensely boring. I like it here." Sam's lips curved ever so slightly into a frown, and he added, "Sam finally remembered that I have rights to this body too. He agreed, after all. He said 'yes.' I just had to remind him...over and over." Sam sighed, "Unfortunately, I can't stay too long. He can barely contain me for an hour these days." Sam shook his head, "Pity he hasn't been taking his vitamins."
"We give you a multi-vitamin every day." Lydia paused for a moment, adding, "Actually, overall you're in excellent condition physically." Sam laughed, loudly, and Lydia had the weird suspicion he was laughing at her. "I'd like to talk to Sam." she said.
Sam nodded, "Right. To you I'm what...a defense mechanism of some sort?" He smirked, "That's pretty funny."
"It's not funny at all. Sam's health is a serious matter." Lydia said, but she found it hard to meet Sam's eyes. There was an intensity there - a wicked intelligence that made it hard to focus.
Sam shook his head, "Don't worry. Sam will be back soon enough. I don't want to cause any..." he lifted his hands and turned them back and forth, looking for something, "...complications." He smiled at her again, adding, "Tell me about your plan to make Sam all better."
Lydia was surprised by the question, "There are several therapies we're going to try, and a few different medications. You haven't responded well to anything so far, but it's still early."
"Sam's body chemistry is unique. He was made for me." Sam said.
"What do you mean by that?" Lydia asked.
"He's my true vessel. When properly...fed he can contain me indefinitely." Sam answered.
"You're complaining about the food?" Lydia asked, "It's some of the best - for a hospital, we have..."
Sam smiled coldly, "The food's fine. You can't give Sam what he needs. Don't worry. I'll take care of it."
Lydia shook her head, "If you need me to change the menu -"
Sam's face darkened, "Nothing you give him will ever satisfy him. Stop trying to placate me. It's irritating." He turned his back to her and looked out the window.
After several minutes of silence, Lydia left.
Later that night, Sam seized. Violently enough that they sedated him afterwards. He woke up screaming.
When Lydia found him the next morning, he was whispering to himself - the same phrase, over and over. "They're coming."
"Who's coming, Sam?" she asked him, but he didn't answer. She wasn't sure he could hear her.
She was surprised to find Sam sitting at his table and eating later that night. She sat near him, balanced on the windowsill, and asked, "Are you feeling better?"
Sam didn't look up from his food. He was cutting his chicken methodically - into nearly identically sized slivers of meat. He answered, "I'm fine." and continued eating.
She tried to think of a way to phrase her question that wouldn't set Sam off.
"He smelled sulfur. That's why he was screaming."
"Humans possessed by demons - when they disappear they leave behind traces of sulfur. He thinks there are demons here."
Lydia nodded, "There are no demons here."
Sam put down his fork and looked up at her, "Are you sure about that Dr. Besson?"
In the morning, Lydia moved to open Sam's door, but froze when she heard voices.
"It's alright child." Sam said, "You've done well, and I'm not angry, but next time...don't come alone."
"Of course." came a woman's voice, "Forgive me father, please. I won't fail you again."
"I know you won't." Sam answered.
Lydia opened the door, but Sam was alone in the room, standing in front of the bed. He brought his thumb to his lips, and Lydia thought for a moment she saw him wipe away a drop of blood. "Good morning, Sam." she said.
"Good morning, Lydia." Sam answered.
"It's Dr. Besson. Who were you talking to, Sam? I thought I heard -"
"Must have been another personality of mine." Sam smirked. He walked over to the chair by the table and sat down.
Lydia shook her head, "It was a woman's voice."
"That was my daughter."
"You have a daughter?"
Sam laughed, "I have legions."
Lydia tilted her head to the side, confused. Her eyes fell on the windowsill and she noticed a yellow smudge. She walked closer and ran her finger over the yellow dust. She turned back towards Sam, and found him staring at her.
"It's sulfur." he said, nodding.
Lydia swallowed, "Where did you get sulfur?"
"When my children will themselves from place to place they leave behind the ashes of Hell." Sam answered.
For the tenth time in as many days, Lydia found herself at a complete loss of words. She wiped the yellow dust against the inside of her lab-coat pocket, determined to examine it later and make sure that it was in fact sulfur. Then she'd find out how Sam had gotten out of his room and into the med supplies. Some of their medications contained sulfur, that was the only explanation.
"I'll be sticking around longer this time, Lydia."
She looked up at Sam and found his eyes cold and cruel. "Why?"
Sam rolled his shoulders back languorously. "Because I can."
True to his word, 'Lucifer' stayed in control for the entire day. Lydia, who'd been watching Sam through the window in his door for the last hour, saw the exact moment Sam returned. He was standing by the window and suddenly collapsed.
Lydia opened Sam's door and went quickly to his side, worried he might start seizing. He was curled in on himself - all six and a half feet of him - and he was shaking. She put her hand on his shoulder, gently, and tried to get his attention.
When Sam noticed her, he shoved himself away as quickly as he could. He pressed himself into the corner of the room, and drew his knees up against his chest. There were wet streaks on his face, and his eyes were bloodshot and terrified.
"Sam. It's okay."
He shook his head violently. "No, it's really not." Another tear ran down his cheek and he added, whispering, "It's in me. I can feel it."
"What's in you?"
"The blood." He covered his face with his hands, took a deep breath and lowered his hands again, saying, "I'm dangerous. You need to leave. Make sure nobody else comes in. It isn't safe."
"Sam. You've been a model patient. There's no need for that."
Sam's hand curled into a fist and he punched the linoleum floor so hard, Lydia flinched.
"You don't understand." Sam squeezed his eyes shut, "You - you need to restrain me. Please."
Lydia reached her hand out and placed her palm over Sam's fist. His skin felt hot to the touch. "You're not dangerous, Sam. No matter what you think." She reached her hand up slowly to his forehead, "You do feel like you have a fever though."
Sam stared at her and started laughing, bitterly. "A fever. No. It's the blood. Why don't you go ahead and run my vitals right now. I'm sure it'll be fascinating."
"We can do that. I'll go get you some ibuprofen and be back in a minute. Okay?"
Sam didn't answer. He was staring at his right hand - flexing his fingers in the oddest way.
"I'm a monster, you know." Sam said when Lydia came back with the ibuprofen and thermometer.
"You're not a monster, Sam. You're sick." Lydia said, and placed the thermometer under Sam's tongue, carefully. "We're going to help you get better."
Sam trembled and stared at Lydia with glassy eyes.
The thermometer beeped and Lydia looked at the readout. "102." She sat back on her heels. "You'll be okay, but you're gonna need to take these." She handed him two pills and a small cup of water. "You need to get enough fluids too, okay?"
Sam muttered, "I think I've had enough fluids today."
"You wouldn't eat or drink anything for lunch, and you said we should come back later with dinner."
Lydia sat down across from Sam and watched him take the ibuprofen. "It will get better Sam. I promise."
It got worse.
Lydia wasn't there for any of it, but what she heard the next morning was disturbing.
Sam had been screaming during the night. One name, over and over. Two orderlies, Jacob and Michael, went in to calm him down and sedate him. Jacob quit that same night, less than an hour later. The other one, Michael, filled her in.
"He doesn't need a doctor, he needs a priest." Michael said again, angrily.
"What do you mean?"
"He's got the devil in him." Michael snarled. "I don't care what you think, but I'm telling you what I saw...it wasn't natural." He turned to the monitors on the far wall of the office and pointed, saying, "See for yourself." Then he stood up, and walked out.
After Lydia had watched the recording for the fifth time in a row, she sat back in her chair and tried to figure out what she was seeing. Her left knee had started twitching, nervously, and she clamped her hand down on top of it, trying to calm down. There had to have been some kind of mistake. Some kind of accident, or glitch. She couldn't possibly be seeing what she thought she was seeing.
She pressed 'play' again, and stared at the monitor.
The cameras recorded activity in the hallway, not in the patients' rooms, but this particular camera was positioned so she could see just a little bit of Sam's room when the door was opened.
She saw Jacob and Michael open the door and go in to Sam's room. They turned on the lights, but seconds later the light flickered and then went out. Less than a minute after that, Jacob was thrown out of the room - like he'd been tossed by a giant hand. He slammed into the wall and crumpled to the floor. Michael ran out to see if Jacob was okay, and then Sam's door slammed shut.
From what Michael had told her, the lights in Sam's old room hadn't just gone out, they'd shattered. So had the window. Michael also insisted that Sam had thrown Jacob out into the hallway - just by looking at him.
Lydia folded her hands together and bit down on her knuckle.
The morning after, Sam had been deep asleep. While he slept, they moved him - bed and all - into another room.
His new room was at the end of the same hall. Lydia opened the door quietly.
Sam was awake, but he didn't respond to Lydia.
She pulled the chair next to Sam's bed and sat down, looking at him. "What happened to your brother?" She asked.
There was no answer. For four minutes, Lydia sat and waited. She was about to repeat the question, when Sam said, "He's in Hell."
"Why would you think that?"
"Because that's where he is." Sam was staring at the ceiling. "We've both been there before, it's nothing new, it's just...if I don't get him out, he won't...he won't be my brother anymore."
"You think you can get him out?"
Sam shook his head, "No. Doesn't mean I won't keep trying though."
"You and your brother were both presumed dead more than once. You were also accused of a murderous crime spree a few years ago. What do you remember about that?"
"That wasn't us. Those were leviathans that looked like us. They did it to force us into hiding."
"Leviathans, like...from the Bible?"
Sam's gaze was fixed on the ceiling. His mouth was open but he was completely still. Lydia watched him, and for nearly a minute, couldn't even see him breathing.
Sam's eyes closed, and when they opened again he sat up and asked, "Do you believe in the Bible, Lydia?"
Lydia swallowed, "No."
Sam cocked his head and frowned, "Why not?"
It was odd, being so afraid of only one of her patient's personalities. Sam didn't scare her, not even after Michael's story, but when this persona took over, he was terrifying. "Because it was written by man. Because it's filled with contradictions, and because it scared me when I was a girl."
"Humans are full of contradictions." Sam said, "You're a messy bundle of warring impulses. Torn from one desire to the next...never fully sated, and excruciatingly aware of your own short-comings."
"What are your short-comings?" Lydia asked.
Sam laughed, "Excellent question." He swung his legs over the opposite side of the bed, and stood, walking towards the window. This room had a slightly different layout, and the window was on the far wall, away from the bed. "I underestimated Sam, the first time around. He freed me, and then he imprisoned me again."
"Imprisoned you where?"
"My cage. He tossed me back in, along with my brother." Sam smirked, "Of course, he didn't know how to lock the door properly. How could he?" Sam touched his finger to the glass of the window.
Lydia could have sworn the glass fogged up from his touch. She stood up and walked closer to him, "So you got out?"
"Well, not exactly." He gestured at his chest, "This...this is just some of me. Sam's still not quite strong enough to hold all of me again. He will be soon though - very soon...and after that, there's just one lock to pick." He turned to look at her, and added, "It won't be any trouble."
Sam smiled, "Then I'm free."
It was 3 AM when Lydia woke up in a cold sweat. She didn't remember going to bed. She didn't remember going home. The last thing she remembered was talking to Sam by a frost-covered window.
She got out of bed, got dressed as quickly as she could, and drove to the hospital.
The two new orderlies on duty in Sam's wing were asleep on the floor. They wouldn't wake up when Lydia shook them. She went to Sam's door and pushed on the handle, her hand shaking.
The door wouldn't budge. It only locked from the outside, but she couldn't get it open. She peered through the window in the door and saw Sam's bed was empty. There were noises from inside the room. Muffled voices. She thought she could hear two women and a man other than Sam.
She struggled with the door some more, gave up and ran down the hall, out of the wing, and into the nearest security office. The guard was awake, at least, though he seemed completely unaware of the two sleeping orderlies on the floor of the hallway. She asked him to come with her, and they ran back to Sam's room.
Three doors from Sam's room, the guard collapsed. Lydia didn't even try to wake him up. A chill ran down her spine as she heard the click of a door unlocking.
Sam's door swung open.
Lydia forced herself to walk the last few feet to the open door and go in, even though her entire body was telling her to flee.
Sam was sitting on the bed, waiting for her. His mouth was covered with blood, and she could smell copper in the air.
She should have been terrified. She should have turned and run for her life. She should have left...but all she could do was walk closer to Sam and fall to her knees.
He was beautiful. She'd never seen anything as magnificent as Sam before in her entire life, and she would do anything, anything if only he would let her stay. Tears started running down her face at just the thought of leaving.
"Shh." Sam said. He lifted her chin with his red fingertips and smiled at her beatifically. "It's okay, Lydia. You can stay. You can help me. You want to help me, don't you?"
Lydia tried to speak, but she couldn't, so instead she nodded furiously and thought Yes, god yes, more than anything.
Sam took her arms gently and lifted her to her feet so she was at eye-level with him. "You're the key, Lydia. You can help me break the lock. Will you do that for me?"
The shadows in the room came alive. They flowed through the air, like black smoke and surrounded Lydia. She felt like a thousand hands were touching her, covering her eyes, her mouth, her nose. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't see, she couldn't move. Then Sam was kissing her. It felt like fire, like life, like everything all at once - it felt like touching God.
What have you to give, Lydia?
Do you give yourself to me, wholly? Will you serve me and only me?
When Lydia could think again she felt different. She opened her eyes and saw Lucifer.
He was even more radiant than before, his eyes shining, and his wings unfurled - light coalesced into perfect form. He moved toward the window, turned and held his hand out to her.
She walked to him, took his hand, and looked at the glass. She could see her reflection. Her black hair framing her face, and her cold, white, glowing eyes.
Sam turned her towards him, and tucked her hair behind her ears. "You're my first, Lydia. The first of a new breed. You gave yourself to me, and you set me free." He held his palm against the glass of the window and it shattered, along with the wall. They walked through the rubble and dust and outside into the night.
"What will you do now?" she asked.
"Everything. But first, I'm going to free my brother."
As they walked, the Earth itself opened behind them, and Hell screamed.