Title: Memories of Madness
Disclaimer: Don't own them, just playing.
Warnings: Mild bathroom humor
A/N: This chapter was originally going to be just the Epilogue, but it was so much more fun to give you guys a small cliff hanger. So, here's the resolution to this story. Enjoy.
Shifting the gear into park, Dean turned to his brother who was slumped against the window in the passenger seat. Leaning over, he gently peeled back the field bandage he had hastily applied at the cemetery. He closed his eyes briefly in relief that the bleeding appeared to have slowed to a gentle seepage.
"Sam, I need you to wake up for me, buddy," he prodded gently. For the first time since their arrival in this town, he cursed their accommodations. There was no way he was getting Sam inside unnoticed if he had to carry him. The blood on his jacket and the bandage on his head were bad enough. "Sam," he said a bit more sharply, then, when that gained no response, "Zeke? I could use some help here."
The flash of blue light was followed by his brother straightening slowly in the other seat.
"About time," Dean sniped. "I've been calling you since Sam got hurt."
The look Ezekiel turned on him was not amused, but then Dean wasn't feeling much like laughing at the moment either.
"I told you before, Dean, I cannot keep doing this. It is taking nearly everything I have to heal the damage wrought by the Trials. When I must heal other wounds as well, it weakens me. I was unable to answer your call earlier because I was too busy keeping your brother alive." Turning stiffly, the angel looked out the windshield toward the front entrance of the hotel.
"How is he?" Dean asked hesitantly.
"Alive," Ezekiel replied, not looking at him. "I assume you need my assistance to get him inside."
"I'd rather have him awake enough to do it himself, but, yeah, you'll do in a pinch," Dean said, feeling a bit surly at the angel's lecture.
"I have placed your brother in a deep sleep where he will regain the energy needed to heal better," Ezekiel explained, climbing out of the car and beginning to walk stiffly toward the entrance. Dean scrambled out of his side, and quickly caught up with him.
"I have mended the worst of the damage to his head, but the remainder as well as 2 cracked ribs will have to heal naturally," the angel continued. "I do not have enough energy left to finish what I am working on and take care of that, too."
"It's just as well," Dean muttered. "Sam's woken up one too many times certain he should have multiple injuries only to find nothing. He's getting suspicious." He hated his brother hurting at all, but he knew there was no help for it.
"I can keep his suspicions from growing," Ezekiel reassured. "But you are right that this will help in that regard."
The rest of the trip to their room was made in silence, and once he made it to the far bed, Ezekiel lowered Sam's body down gently and looked at Dean one final time. "I must return to my work before all is undone. You must strive to take better care of your brother, Dean, at least until I am finished here."
With that, he retreated and Sam returned to his former unconscious self. Dean growled at the implication that he wasn't doing his job very well, but the angel wasn't around to yell at anymore, so he simply sighed and went to fetch the first aid kit and several wet washcloths so that he could patch his little brother up.
Placing the kit on the stand between the beds, he put his hands on his hips and surveyed Sam's limp form. "Least he could have done is taken care of the blood," he grumbled, before sitting on the edge of the bed and rolling his brother onto his side so he could see his head. "Come on, Sasquatch. Let's get all that pretty fur of yours cleaned up."
Sam groaned as he slowly returned to consciousness. He was certain that if he opened his eyes right now, he'd find dozens of tiny miners clinging to his scalp repeatedly driving mining picks into his skull. Or maybe his brother's favorite drummer had chosen his head to practice on.
He sensed movement nearby and felt someone sit on the bed next to him. He should probably do something about that. Dean would kick his butt for allowing someone to get this close to him while he was sleeping, but he couldn't think around the pain and couldn't bring himself to care. Except…
Dean! The thought of his brother made his eyes fly open, which he promptly realized was a mistake. The sudden influx of light into his sluggish irises made the pain flare white hot. He barely felt someone turning him and shoving a trash can under his face before he was upchucking. The fire in his head pulsed in time with the heaves making him wish for someone to just chop his head off and be done with it.
When the retching slowed down and finally stopped, he felt a cool cloth wash gently over his face. Then something cold was draped over his head, bringing with it a little relief.
"Here, Sammy," a voice said from beside him, and he nearly groaned again, this time in relief as he recognized his big brother's voice. "Doc figured you'd be in too much pain to keep down pills, so he gave me a shot with some of the good stuff. You'll feel better soon." Sam felt a pinch and prick in his hip, and a few minutes later, warmth seemed to steal through him, dimming the pain and allowing him to flow back into darkness.
Sometime later, Sam swam his way to the surface once more and slowly began to take stock of himself before he opened his eyes. The pain was still there in his head and upper back, but it was much more manageable than before. At least he didn't feel like he was going to die if he moved.
Blinking his eyes open, he realized the room was mostly dark, only a line of light from the bathroom giving any illumination. Even as he felt grateful for that, his eyes were sweeping the room for his brother. He found Dean sitting in the chair at the table near the foot of his bed, head cradled in his arms, obviously asleep.
Other than the whole sleeping in a chair bit, his brother looked like he was okay, so Sam let his eyes close for a moment longer as he decided what to do next. The pressure from his bladder told him a visit to the bathroom was next on the agenda, so he carefully rolled himself onto his side and maneuvered himself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. Once up, he had to hold himself still, eyes clenched tightly shut as the room tilted and swirled and spikes of fire shot through his head and upper back.
"Sammy?" Dean's voice came, scratchy with sleep. And then his brother was there beside him, hand on his shoulder and knee. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Bathroom, Dean," Sam said tiredly. "Unless you want to bring it to me."
"I think we might have an empty water bottle around here somewhere," Dean started, but Sam's eyes shot open in mortification and he grabbed his brother's wrist.
"Joking, Dean," he growled, cheeks coloring. "I was joking. I can make it to the bathroom."
"Man, you are such a prude," Dean said with a grin, standing and helping lever his younger brother to his feet. "How's your head?"
"Remember that Metallica concert we went to last month?" Dean winced in sympathy as Sam nodded.
"Least you're not puking your guts up this time," Dean observed, letting go of his brother as they reached the bathroom. "Call if you need me."
Sam shakily finished his business, then stared at himself in the mirror, squinting in the harsh light. He looked gaunt and pale, a white bandage wrapped around his head. Following the bandage with his fingers, he felt a large pad in the back over what was obviously the source of his pain. Dimly he remembered the ghost slamming him against the mausoleum over and over and he grimaced.
Running some water in the sink, he washed his hands, then wet a washcloth to run over his face, scrubbing at the gunk in his eyes and at the corners of his mouth. He felt much steadier after doing that and opened the door to find his brother leaning against the wall opposite, waiting for him.
"I'm fine, Dean," he said, moving slowly into the room under his own power this time. He walked back to his bed and slumped down to the edge, then straightened with a gasp as his ribs protested.
"Yeah, you're just fine," his brother murmured and Sam found a hand with a couple pills in them and another with a bottle of water thrust at him. He thought about arguing, but just took the pills and the water and tossed them back before laying gingerly back on the bed.
"You've got several cracked ribs along with a concussion. Probably going to be hurting for a while." He grimaced in agreement and closed his eyes against the light of the lamp Dean had turned on while he'd been in the bathroom. He felt the bunched covers jerked out from under his body and then laid gently on top of him once more. He smiled his appreciation without opening his eyes.
"You're lucky you're so hard headed. That cut on the back of your skull isn't nearly as bad as it could have been, although it was a pain to fight all of that stupid hair of yours just to get it cleaned up. I almost shaved you bald." Sam directed a glare at his grinning brother before closing his eyes once more.
"How long have I been out?" he asked after a moment. He heard his brother moving about the room, and then darkness fell once more as the lamp clicked off.
" 'Bout 24 hours, give or take," Dean admitted as he climbed into the other bed. "You've been in and out but not really lucid 'til now. Doc even came by to check you over. Guess he didn't trust my ability to take care of you. Lot of that going around lately."
Sam was puzzled by the bitter tone in Dean's voice, but the medicine was starting to kick in and he was getting drowsy.
"You okay?" he asked, that question being the one thing he needed to know before he drifted back to sleep.
He expected a smart comeback, but all Dean said was, "Yeah, I'm fine, Sam. Go back to sleep. We'll see how you're feeling in the morning and then maybe we can finally head for home."
" 'Kay," Sam responded, his voice slurring with sleep, and he allowed himself to be pulled under once more.
"But I don't wanna."
"Whining like a 5 year old isn't gonna get the job done any faster, Sammy."
"You were well enough to snap at me for trying to help you this morning."
"You do it."
"I did it last time. It's your turn."
"I'll play you for it. Rock-paper-scissors."
"No way, Dude. That game is rigged. Just get in there and get it over with. It's probably safe."
"Yeah, your confidence is overwhelming."
"What's the matter? You chicken? Scared 'ol Moaning Marty will come back and bite you in the butt?"
"If you didn't think it was at least a possibility, we wouldn't be here," Sam said glumly.
"You were the one who insisted we make sure before we left," Dean replied firmly, stamping down even a glimmer of the humor he fought to keep from his face.
Both brothers stood in the bathroom where Marty Foster had died, staring at the toilet that had taken Dean a little more than 2 days previously. Sam gave a huff from beside him, and Dean barely kept from grinning in triumph as he realized his brother had given in.
"Fine," he said, stomping into the stall and closing the door.
Dean laughed and leaned against the sinks to wait. He didn't really think Marty Foster was still around or he'd never have let Sam go in there. Still, he had to keep his little brother in his place somehow and what better way was there than by making him do the dirty work.
"Sammy?" he called, hearing some disturbing sounds coming from the stall. "You okay in there?"
He moved closer still when he heard his brother grunt, but then skipped backwards in horror and disgust.
"Oh, Dude! Please tell me you found something dead in there, 'cause no way that smell came from you."
Sam's laugh echoed around the large bathroom. "You were the one who wanted to visit that chili dog stand."
"Oh man." Dean gagged, as he backed toward door. "I'm gonna go find Doc. You can meet me there when you're done." Opening the door, he paused before going out and called back, "Get it out of your system, Sammy, 'cause you are NOT getting in my Baby until you do."
-Flashback, Anoka State Hospital, Room 107, two years previously—
"You aren't ready, Sam." Doctor Mike Johnson eyed the young man in front of him, making no effort to hide the worry and dismay on his face.
"I'm as ready as I'm gonna be, Doc," Sam said, stubbornness firming his jaw and darkening his eyes. "I'm grateful for all you've done for me, I really am, but I'm not going to figure things out by hiding in here."
Mike watched his patient move around the room, stuffing a few items into a bag taken from the trash can. He didn't own much, even after more than three months at the hospital. The doctor had gotten him a couple sets of clothing and some toiletries to leave with, although he intended to do his best to talk him out of this.
"Just give it a couple more weeks. We can…"
"No," Sam's voice was hard, determined, and Mike sighed. He was scared of what would happen to this angry young man, so full of bitterness and despair. He had a feeling that if he let him walk out that door, Sam would be dead within the month.
"I could keep you here, you know…refuse to sign the paperwork." Considering what he had learned about Sam, he didn't think it would work, but he had to try.
Sam looked down and smirked a bit before reaching into his pocket and pulling something out. "Sorry, Doc, but I don't really think you can," he said, beginning to walk by the doctor but stopping and pressing whatever it was into Mike's hand.
Mike looked down to see Sam's ankle bracelet in his palm. Before he could ask how the young man had gotten it off, the door closed softly and with finality behind him.
Whirling, he went through the door and looked down the hallway. Sam was shrugging on his dark brown jacket and was making no effort to hide from the nurses and orderlies as he walked down the corridor. Still, under the confidence was a vulnerability and sadness that made the doctor's heart ache.
Bowing his head, he made his way back to his office where he placed a call to security with instructions not to stop the tall young man. Seeing him leave was hard since this one had found a place in his heart. But sink or swim, it was time to let Sam go.
Doctor Johnson stood in the covered walkway that connected the buildings of the mental institution where, just moments before, he had bid Sam and Dean good-bye. Looking through the large picture windows that faced the central courtyard, he watched as the two young men made their way down the sidewalk toward the main administration building. Dean leaned over and said something to his younger brother to which Sam responded with a laugh and a shove.
Dean pantomimed falling, wind milling his arms dramatically and Sam laughed again. Mike felt a surge of satisfaction fill him as he watched the happy interaction between the brothers. There was a spring in Sam's step that spoke of hope and contentment. It was so different from the last time he had watched the young man walk away that it almost took his breath away, and Mike knew the reason was walking right next to him.
Smiling, he turned to go back inside to his office and the endless paperwork there. He had no doubt that Sam would be all right now, as long as his brother was there beside him.
A/N – And so we come to the end of this adventure. I'm hoping you ejoyed it as much as I did. Here are a few facts you might find interesting.
Though not intended as a crossover in any way, this story was partially inspired by Moaning Myrtle and the Vanishing Cabinet in J.K. Rowling's books. My nod of thanks to her genius.
The location – Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center - is a real place and is considered a hotspot for supernatural activity. The tunnels under the old facility are real as are stories of encounters with ghosts there. I discovered this place entirely by accident as I had decided to put Sucrocorp headquarters in Minneapolis and was looking for a mental hospital nearby where Sam might have conceivably been taken. The reports of hauntings at the hospital were entirely a bonus though the timing and setting of my story prevented me from making full use of them.
I did take some liberties on the layout, staffing, etc. for the hospital as I could not get any information on anything other than the exterior of the buildings.
My thanks to TVRacer who helped with the location of the police station in Chicago where Dean would have been taken after being arrested in front of Sears Tower.
Forest Hill Cemetery and the cemetery on the grounds of the mental hospital are both real places with some fascinating history.
The Pocket Alien Foil protection kit was taken from a real article in an online tabloid. They actually were selling it for $250. I laughed so hard after reading it that I couldn't help but include it in the story for your enjoyment as well.
My thanks to all who took the time to read and comment on this story. You guys are great!