Landslide – Cave In 3
Disclaimer: See chapter One for disclaimers and warnings…
Chapter Four: Visions, dreams and disillusionment
'Huh? Oh sorry Sammy, just a bad dream,' Dean tried to calm himself down and to workout what was happening all at once when another strange face appeared confusing him even more, 'who are you all?'
'Dean calm down, you're safe we got you out,' John said, waking up when he heard Dean's plaintive cry he struggled to get out of his own bed but soon replaced Jim at Dean's bedside, 'me and Sam got you out.'
'No, no who are you?' Dean stared wildly around the room, 'it's all a trick.'
'Dean?' Sam touched Dean's shoulder making the older boy turn to look at him, 'no trick Dean, I promise.'
'No Sammy they got to you too, they got you too.' Dean felt like crying, his entire body ached, his stomach cramped and head was thumping from a little hammer going wild in his brain. 'Did they hurt you Sammy?'
'No, no Dean no one hurt me … We got you away from the cave, you're safe now.' Sam said twisting awkwardly he winced when his back protested, 'we safe now.'
'You, you're hurt Sammy,' Dean said instantly falling into familiar habits, 'show me Sammy.'
'Dean!' Sam almost whined but submitted to his brother's mother-hen tendencies.
'Where did you get that bruise Sam?' Dean demanded as he ran his fingers over the large bruise covering most of his little brothers back, marring the surgical and other scars with a sickening black and purple painful mask.
'Bruise?' John and Jim asked in unison.
'From his fall the other day when he went walking without his brace,' Micah answered all of them after hearing the fuss, 'would it be okay if I give the boys a quick check over in private?'
'I should stay Doc,' John said his angry glare silencing any protest from the young medic.
'Please dad, it's okay,' Sam said putting his hand on top of his fathers, 'it's okay really.'
John opened his mouth to argue but swallowed deeply and reluctantly agreed to leave with Jim, 'We'll just be next door boys.'
'Thanks dad,' Sam said but Dean kept his gaze fixed on the damage done to his brother's back and tried to block out the monsters the Nuinine had planted to mess with his head. Somehow, he was going to save Sam and get them out of the cave.
'So the trap is set?' the Nuinine asked appearing in front of Payne like a spectre ready to haunt him.
'Yes madam it has worked brilliantly,' the crazed man replied, 'we will soon have both boys here for you, you can trust me.'
'You hear that Rick?' The Nuinine turned to her current oldest child, 'you will have two brothers soon.'
'Yeah it's wonderful mother,' Rick said smiling up at the creature, yeah wonderful I'll have that snot nosed brat to do what I want with and I'll have Deano right where I want him too. 'It's gonna be great mom.'
Micah sat down on the edge of John's now empty bed and stared at the two brothers in silence for a few minutes trying to find the right way to talk to them, especially the more volatile Dean.
'What is it Micah?' Sam asked finally breaking the silence between the three of them, 'is there something wrong you wanna tell us about?'
'No, no nothing like that Sam,' Micah said astounded at the maturity and insight the thirteen year old exhibited. 'How are you feeling Dean?'
'M'fine,' Dean mumbled keeping his gaze fixed firmly on Sam's back, 'it's Sam who should be looked at.'
'Yep I will and I have treated him for his bruise before so you don't have to worry, it is better than it was when he first hurt himself.'
'How did he … you, how did you hurt yourself like that Sam?' Dean asked touching Sam's shoulder to get him to turn around so that they could look at each other as well as talk easily, 'what happened?'
'Nuthin'' Sam mumbled a faint blush appeared on his paler than pale face, 'I – I went looking for you and fell over.'
'The truth now Sam,' Dean said his eyes narrowing as he stared down at him, 'what happened really?'
'He ahh did go looking for you Dean, just that he left his chair and brace behind and snuck out without anyone knowing and headed up the mountain.' Micah said as he watched them as tried to gauge their reactions, 'he made it almost to the top when I think he got too tired and sore and slipped falling down the mountainside until he collided with the tree.'
'Sam is that true?' Dean asked still not sure who this young and so-called doctor is but Sam seemed to trust and to like him, 'Sammy?'
'Yeah kindof,' Sam mumbled, 'I – I tripped not slipped,' he added with a rueful grin.
'Sam!' Dean said with a surprised chuckle.
'M'fine, so now you gotta let Micah have a look at your leg Dean,' Sam said looking up at his brother with his best weapon, the kicked puppy dog look.
'Ahh man Sammy that aint fair!' Dean grumbled as he glanced over at the stranger sitting opposite them, 'alright doc do whatcha gotta do.'
Micah sat watching the boys sleeping for a while longer, the medical exam took longer than expected and drained the teenager of his fast waning reserves of energy. Sam had already fallen asleep in a pattern that Micah was getting used to; each time Sam expended psychic energy as well as physical he suffered from bouts of extreme exhaustion to sudden deep sleeping.
'Doc?' John whispered from the doorway where he had been standing for the last few minutes listening intently to the conversations between his sons and their doctor. He hated eavesdropping but when he thought about it, he was their father and that gave him the right to do whatever he wants when it came to his kids' health and safety. That was his justification anyway.
'John?' Micah blinked and looked up at the man standing in the doorway.
'How are they?'
'Sleeping for now,' Micah said as he motioned John into the bedroom, 'lie down and I'll give you the once over as well.'
'I'm fine Doc.' John grumbled, 'just wanna know bout mah boys.'
'Sam just needs his rest, he's over done it the last few days and it's catching up with him. Dean … Dean he's another story. Borderline malnutrition, I'd have to do tests to see if there's any permanent damage though. He has severe bruising and seems to have quite a few half healed abrasions and injuries consistent with a beating … John? John do you want me to go on?' Micah asked as he watched the hunter pale even more, 'put your head between your knees and breath deeply, you're going into shock.'
'Damn it Doc, can't ya just give me a shot or something?' John grumbled as he let his head drop between his knees, 'this is stupid.'
'Just humour me and breath,' Micah said resting his fingers lightly on the back of John's neck frowning when he felt the heat coming from him, 'okay so when were you going to tell me that you've gotten yourself a fever?'
'Okay is that on the Winchester coat of arms? M'fine?' Micah scoffed as he helped John sit back in his bed and looked at his patient with concern.
'Dunno whatcha talking about Doc.' John grumbled without any heat in his voice.
'Yeah okay, well I'm getting my revenge!' Micah said with a small wicked smile as he pulled out a needle and loaded it, 'just a fever reducer and pain relief … honest!'
'Yeah right Doctor Death.' John said through gritted teeth as he watched the needle slide into his skin.
'What the big tough John Winchester hunter extraordinaire is afraid of a little needle?' Caleb said laughing, 'grubs up.'
'Yuck it up runt, haven't done some great pranks for a while.' John said motioning for Caleb to lower his voice a little as he glanced over at the boys, 'they look so peaceful, don't either of you dare tell em I said that.'
'Lips are sealed John,' Micah said as he repacked his med kit.
'Mine might take some time,' Caleb said and then he turned and bolted before John could exact any revenge.
'Mmmph, no, no please no more…' Dean screamed as he started to thrash about in the bed, 'leave me alone you're not my mother!'
'Dean?' Sam asked sleepily, without opening his eyes he reached out and wrapped his arms around Dean, resting his head on his brother's thin chest. Dean instantly calmed down and fell back asleep; wrapping his arms instinctively around Sam finding solace with the only person, he could clearly remember.
'Just what are you telling us Doc?' Caleb asked his anger building at the sheer ridiculous nature of their problems. Not only was Dean hurt physically the she-bitch played with his head and that is not cool, he might act tough and grown up but Dean is still only seventeen years old, still a kid with a lot of living ahead of him.
'Dean has no real memory of anyone here except for Sam,' Micah explained, 'whatever the creature and I use the term loosely, whatever she did to him has affected him mentally and emotionally. The only face he recognises is Sam and I think that is in same way because Sam was able to "visit" him that and the fact that they wanted to use his brother as a bargaining chip and as a way to control him.'
'What the fuck did they do to our boy?' Rufus demanded, 'what? Those two belong to all of us, they might not be blood but we're all family here.'
'Well said Rufus,' Jim said giving the large man a grin as he passed the bottle of whiskey to him, 'something to flavour the coffee with, I have a feeling it's going to be a long night.'
'Now I didn't get everything out of Dean, but from what I can understand this creature is called a Nuinine, originally from France, she takes children, mainly boys, drains them of their life and enslaves their souls, calling them her children. The ones she desires the most become her prized kids, and the most tortured. Dean described the torture of one called Ricky, I think he was the one who …'
'He was the little bastard that hurt Sam,' Bobby intoned, the look in his eyes matching his intent sounding in the tone of his voice.
'He's one under the Nuinine now,' Micah continued, 'apparently she was using Sam against Dean as one of her favourite tools, telling him that she would bring Sam to him, so that they could be together. The brainwashing for the lack of a better word was intensive and quite prolonged.'
'Sam mentioned a pervert attacking Dean,' Caleb said unabashedly, he had no regrets in listening to the conversations around him.
'Payne,' Micah said simply and that was enough for all of the hunters in the room to understand who he was naming.
'So what now?' Jim asked, 'what do we do to help Dean remember us and that we're not a threat to him?'
'Most of all to be supportive to him and Sam, to let them have space and time but also to use memories as prompts for him. Nothing major just small cues that Dean can pick up on himself. I think that the biggest help will be allowing him time to heal and to remember on his own.'
'What about Sam? Do you think that he'll?'
'He'll be fine but don't be surprised that he takes on the role of Dean's protector for a while.' Micah said with a small smile, something that the teen had already started to do.
'What about John?' Bobby asked, knowing that someone had to put voice to the question. To the elephant in the room so to speak.
'Yeah what about John?' A gravelly, tired and pain-filled voice sounded from the doorway, 'don't mind me fellas I was just getting a drink.'
'How much have you heard and how much do we have to catch you up on John?' Jim asked choosing to ignore the intentional barb at them.
Slowly lowering himself into the chair vacated by the preacher John took a minute to look at each of the men seated around the table before glancing back at Jim, 'not a lot but I can figure most of it out. You're worried that I might do something to wreck the boys' recoveries.'
'No, not at all,' Jim said placing a steaming cup of coffee in front of the angry and worried father, 'we were talking about Dean's inability to remember anyone except for Sam.'
'Yeah I guessed something like that had happened.'
'We believe it was the Nuinine as part of her torture and treatment of Dean. To make him forget everything and everyone so that he would stay with her and become her son.' Micah explained quickly.
'So what do you suggest Doc?' John asked between sips of his coffee, 'how come I didn't get any of the special flavouring?' he added with a frown and stared pointedly at the bottle of whiskey on the table.
'Doctor's orders,' Micah replied, 'you're on strong meds John you don't need to end up comatose yourself.'
'Fine,' came the succinct but barely audible reply.
'Dean is going to need a lot of time to heal and to regain not only his memory but trust in all of us, at the moment he probably feels very alone and very, very confused.'
'We need to head back to Blue Earth,' Jim said breaking the sudden silence as they all considered the doctor's words, 'it is peaceful there, closer and well warded.'
'I'd suggest my place but the Preacher is right,' Bobby said, 'Blue Earth is closer, and the less travelling for the three of ya means less of a headache for the rest of us.' He added glaring over at John, 'unless someone has a better idea?'
With the help of Micah and Sam, Dean limped out to the waiting impala, he winced at the bright early morning sunlight and wanted to turn around and head back to the relative darkness of their motel room.
'You okay there Dean?' Micah asked noticing the visible flinching and squinting of the younger man.
'Sun's too bright,' Dean ground out, 'not used to it.'
'Ahh damn sorry I should've thought about that,' Micah said, quickly he pulled out a pair of dark sunglasses from his jacket pocket and handed them over, 'they're my Ray Bans and nice and dark should help.'
'Thanks Doc,' Dean mumbled feeling the immediate relief when he put them on.
'Look good Dean.' Sam said smiling happily, he had his brother back and their dad was still with them, as far as he was concerned it was a win, win situation. 'You look like a movie star or something.'
Just as they reached the rear passenger door Dean stopped and reached out to run his fingers along the sleek black vehicle, 'hey girl good to see ya again,' he whispered before getting in and missing the exchanged looks of relief by the others.
Sam climbed in next to his brother and immediately went to sit in his usual spot keeping distance between them.
'Whatcha doing Sammy?' Dean asked with a confused look on his face, 'what don't ya wanna be near me anymore?'
'Huh? Oh Dean I'm sorry just guess I'm used to sitting here when we have to share the backseat,' Sam said as he quickly moved to sit closer.
'Thanks Sammy,' Dean said immediately feeling better with the close contact, 'I ahh appreciate it.'
'I don't mind,' Sam said happily snuggling closer, 'been a while since we sat like this in the car, you usually sit shotgun with dad if you're not driving.'
'Oh okay,' Dean glanced at the man sitting in the shotgun spot, 'dad?'
'Yeah kiddo?' John turned stiffly and smiled at the two boys, 'you two okay back there?'
'Yeah you okay with Uncle Bobby driving the impala?' Sam asked when he noticed Dean stiffen and look away, 'it just looked weird seeing ya sit there that's all.'
'Yeah well weird is the word for it and if your Uncle Bobby even scratches her…'
'Yeah, yeah pull yer head in Winchester or yer'll be riding in the trunk.' Bobby chimed in, 'you boys right to go?'
'Yessir,' Sam said with a happy sigh, 'we're fine back here.'
Dean closed his eyes and rested his hot forehead on the cool glass window; it felt good having Sam snuggled next to him, feeling real and solid. It felt good be back in the impala even if it was in the backseat. Home, feels like home the thought helped ease his stress levels slightly and he had to admit to himself that he was not as uncomfortable as he thought he would be with them.
He could still hear her voice calling him, begging him to return to her, that he was her son and no one else's but he pushed it to the back of his mind instead he concentrated on feeling Sam's warmth and solidness next to him. It felt so right and so good, memories of car trips as two little boys came unbidden, of playing with their plastic soldiers and cars as they travelled across the countryside with their dad.
Dean shifted slightly, moving until he could rest his head on Sam's and so he could tuck a protective arm around his little brother, he let himself drift off to sleep, memories of their childhood spent in the backseat still playing in his mind.
John glanced back and watched his sons sleeping, huddled together on the backseat, they finally looked peaceful, that pang of jealousy was still there jabbing at his logic and emotions and it took a lot to push it back and lock it away. This was not the time to let himself wallow in jealousy of the closeness of his boys; hell, if he was honest he was the one who made sure that they were closer than normal. They only had each other to rely on when he wasn't there, this was his own doing but it still hurt like hell that Dean couldn't even look at him without flinching.
After hours of driving and taking breaks, the small convoy of cars pulled into the driveway of the parsonage at Pastor Jim Murphy's church in Blue Earth Minnesota. Sam and Dean both stirred when the impala came to a stop and simultaneously yawned and blinked owlishly.
'We here?' Sam asked between yawns.
'Sure am,' Bobby said with a wink at Sam, 'how you doing Dean?'
'M'fine,' Dean mumbled as he stared around and tried to remember the place, 'where are we?'
'Pastor Jim's place in Blue Earth,' Sam said pressing up against his brother's side to help him limp slowly towards the house, 'we've spent a lot of time here over the years.'
'We have?' Dean frowned and then winced as he heard her laugh in his mind, 'damn it.'
'You okay Dean?'
'Yeah I'm fine Sam,' Dean answered a little sharper than he intended but his head was ready to explode, 'sorry just …'
'It's okay Dean,' Sam said giving his brother a fully dimpled smile, 'don't worry bout it.'
Just as they started up the steps towards the kitchen door, pain spiked in Dean's head and gasping in pain he stumbled, his bad leg collided with the wooden step, and he suddenly toppling backwards taking Sam with him.
'Dean!' Sam cried out, losing his breath when his still bruised back hit the hard ground.
Dean whimpered and then pushed away from Sam as images of Payne reaching down at him filled his mind. Snarling he swiped at the pervert's hand and tried to crawl backwards out of his reach. He was right, this was all her doing, and he wasn't really with Sam. It was all a trick and he was still in that cave at the mercy of Payne.