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Devastation and Reform 11/15

March 27th, 2008 (07:19 pm)

 

A/N: I think things are probably going to have to get worse for these two before they get better. They're just so much fun to torture--it's really not my fault. Anyway, thank you to those who take the time to comment. And yes, last chapter I said Minnesota instead of Milwaukee. It's corrected now :)  Previous parts here.

-o-

Chapter Eleven

The cell was bleak and barren. Its contents were sparse and functional—a bed, a toilet, a sink. A pillow was placed neatly on a pile of starched white linens.

The walls were concrete and cold and there were bars just like any clichéd TV show he'd ever seen. He would have expected more from the FBI, but he was in a local holding facility, and he figured maybe Henricksen was trying to unnerve him with the theatrics of the lonely cell.

Dean didn't want to admit that maybe it was working.

He could put up with a lot, that much he was sure of, but he’d never felt so out of options as he did tonight.

Last time they went to prison, it was a favor, a repaying of old debts. It was a job. And, like any job, they'd been sure to leave themselves an exit, one which Dean had never doubted would work, despite how much Sam angsted about it.

It wasn't like Dean enjoyed prison, but there'd been people around, a chance to socialize. He'd had purpose.

This time, he'd already lived up to his purpose—to save Sam. Prison wasn't a means to an end. It was simply the end.

That was depressing as hell. Not to mention that without Sammy around, he had no one to keep up face for, no one to poke and prod. A brooding Sam never failed to inspire his own carefree spirit. Dean could handle anything if Sam were there.

Sam wasn't here.

He had to remind himself that that was a relief. No matter how lonely he felt, no matter how hopeless his situation, he'd given Sam a chance at life—quite literally. Nothing could make him wish his brother to be here with him, no matter how much better he'd feel, no matter how much happier Dean would be with Sam by his side. The only times Dean ever felt truly alive was with Sam, was in their banter, in their give and take. It was all Dean ever wanted.

It was the thing he'd miss most about the outside world.

But he knew Sam would never make it here. Sam would never be happy in a place like this. They'd barely spent three days in the jail in Arkansas and it had nearly broken his little brother to pieces. That wasn't a flaw in his brother, just a fact. Sam was strong and capable and more resilient than Dean ever gave him credit for. But the bars, the inmates, the knowledge that he would be forever branded as a criminal—that didn't sit well with Sam. It made him nervous, vulnerable, ashamed. It simply made him unhappy.

Sam would never be able to deal with the stigma. Sam was too busy trying to redeem himself, to prove to himself and the world that he wasn't evil, and being a convicted felon would only shatter whatever remained of Sam's fledging self-worth.

No, Sam needed his freedom, Dean was certain of that. He had guaranteed that.

Right now, that was Dean's only comfort.

Sam could find a niche, sure, working in the library or something. Sam's mind was complex enough to entertain itself no matter what situation Sam found himself in.

He sighed, pulling out the sheet and laying it over the bed. Throwing the pillow to the head of the bed, he sank into it.. It was thin and uncomfortable, and Dean could only imagine what it'd feel like spending the next fifty years on one of them.

He wished for some light, for some decoration, for something to do. Something to keep himself occupied. Something besides the thoughts of how lonely his life was about to become.

Then he thought of Sam, alone in a hospital bed, and just hoped it wasn't as bleak there.

-o-

The rest of the day passed in relative silence. Sam had no visitors, no one except the nurses who came around periodically and the doctor who did nothing more than glance at his chart during his rounds. Dr. Beason didn’t come back, which Sam was grateful for on one level, but he knew the reason for the doctor’s absence.

It was a psychological game. A tactic to increase Sam’s sense of isolation, to intensify his loneliness. He wanted Sam to feel abandoned, backed into a corner. No doubt the rest of the staff was under orders to maintain a detachment with Sam. Not so that he should suffer physically, but to make him more ready to deal with his so-called psychological issues.

On one level, it was working. Sam did feel alone and isolated. He was feeling desperate and more than a little anxious. However, loneliness and isolation were not new things for him. He’d spent most of his life feeling that way. Anxiety was practically part of his lifestyle.

His childhood had been punctuated by periods of intense fear and loneliness. Ever since finding out monsters were real, Sam had felt betrayed and uncertain. Things were fine when his father and brother were near, but being left alone in motel rooms and in the backseat of the Impala had taken a toll on his young psyche. He’d waited by himself during too many dark nights. He’d seen his family come home bloody too many times. His father had given him weapons, incantations, salt to protect him, but what Sam had always wanted was normalcy. Normal people were safe. Normal people didn't have to worry that their Dad and brother might be killed hunting God-knew what. Normal children didn’t stay up at night learning Latin to perform exorcisms, and they were happier for it.

Sam may well have been one to say that ignorance was bliss. A bliss he’d been denied.

So if Dr. Beason thought isolating Sam would make him crack, the man was sorely mistaken, and Sam was more than a little proud of himself in that regard. He’d never turn on Dean, no matter how long they kept him alone or what drugs they gave him. There were some things Sam was sure of, and that was one of them.

That didn’t change the fact that his solitude was dangerous for Dean—not that Sam would crack, but that if Dean was being detained by the FBI, he’d need Sam to get him out. Sam wasn’t keen on the idea of breaking his brother out of police custody, and he was even less keen on breaking him out of prison. But he'd do it, without question. The ethics of it hardly fazed him. Dean was his family, his only family, and Sam’s morality knew no confusion on that point.

Escape--his and Dean's--was imperative. Sam just didn’t know how to go about it.

He still felt weak. Sitting up still strained him and left him feeling weary. Being upright made his head spin and his vision fade in and out, which was more than a little problematic.

So maybe it was a little soon to escape. Passing out on the floor beside his bed wouldn't do himself or Dean much good. But staying put would hardly fix things, either.

It was a conundrum, a delicate situation, and Sam felt like he should be able to figure a way out. He should be able to do something besides lie there like some kind of invalid.

His self-recriminations were cut short when the door opened.

Tensing, Sam tried to sit up a little, but settled for rolling his head in the direction of the door. With his aching body and his swimming head, it was about all he could manage. He was expecting Dr. Beason, so when he saw the amiable-looking doctor in the doorway he was surprised.

The man smiled at him, moving on light feet to the bed as he appraised Sam’s state. "Sam, how are you feeling now?"

Face scrunched up, Sam didn't really want to think about it. "Okay," he lied.

"I'm Dr. Leland," he said. "I believe we met earlier, however you were rather distressed at the time."

Sam smiled feebly. "Sorry," he said.

"It’s understandable," Dr. Leland said affably. "I understand your attack was quite traumatic."

Sam winced a little, trying not to think about it. He wasn’t sure how much the doctor knew, but he probably couldn’t know everything—at least not the whole homicidal puma spirit taking chunks out of him while he tried to defend misguided cops part.

He looked up with a sudden urgency. "How are the cops?"

Dr. Leland raised his eyebrows. "The cops?"

Sam swallowed back his concern nervously. He didn’t need to incriminate himself. "There were two of them. Attacked at the same time I was."

"You mean the cops hurt while trying to apprehend you and your brother?"

Sam’s smile was pathetic.

"I assume Dr. Beason informed you of the situation."

"That my brother’s been arrested and that I’m being held for psychiatric evaluation," Sam muttered.

Dr. Leland nodded. "They say your brother injured the cops in his escape—that you were caught in the crossfire."

Sam had heard some ridiculous lies—hell, he’d told some doozies in his day. But that one was about as pathetic as anything he’d heard. "What kind of crossfire can cause this?" Sam asked, nodding down at his gauzed body.

The doctor chewed his lip. "I was thinking the same thing," he said. "Your injuries—they’re consisting with an animal attack. Maybe a mountain lion. They also match the injuries on the cops that were admitted."

"How are they?"

"One is still in critical care—he hasn’t woken up yet. We’re not sure he will."

Sam waited.

The doctor lifted his gaze and met Sam’s steadily. "The other didn’t make it. He bled out."

Stomach bottoming out, Sam struggled to maintain his breathing. They’d seen people die before, they’d been too late, but cops? No wonder they were in so much trouble.

"They’ve told me that you and your brother are bad characters. Involved with some bad stuff."

"I know what they say," Sam said softly, his breath coming in gentle pants. "But we didn’t attack those cops. We tried to save them."

Impassively, the doctor studied him. "I don’t know how you could have," he admitted. "The wounds—they’re just—"

"Impossible," Sam finished for him.

With a rueful smile, the doctor shook his head. "You care to explain it to me?"

"I’m not sure you’d believe me if I did."

With a nod, the doctor grimaced. "I don’t suppose I would."

"But I can promise you," Sam said, looking earnest. "My brother’s innocent. And I need to find a way to help him."

The doctor sighed a little. "You ready to get out of here?" he asked.

Sam swallowed, suspicious. "Where am I going?"

"We’re going to transfer you to a regular room while we continue to monitor your injuries."

"What about the psych hold?"

Dr. Leland raised his eyebrows and glanced down at the chart and the notations there. "You need to stay for your injuries anyway. I’m sure Dr. Beason will be back to talk to you some more. Once he makes more formal assessments, he’ll recommend a course of action to take for that part of your treatment."

Sam studied the man, trying to gauge him. He was genuine enough, though a bit devoid of personality. He lacked the vindictive nature of Dr. Beason and he certainly lacked the intent. No, this guy, Sam figured, just wanted to keep his patients alive and well.

That was good enough for Sam. That meant he could probe the guy for information—anything he needed to figure out just how much crap he was in and just how hard it would be to get out of it. "What kind of...treatment are we talking about here?"

Putting down the chart, the older man looked at him critically. "You're in a mess of trouble, son," he said. "I'm not sure I know what they want to keep you on, but I know the orders come from some place far higher up than this hospital. I know it's your brother who's in custody, but I get the sense you're not far from their radar. They seem to think you're just as much involved as he is--how come you're not in handcuffs, I don't know."

He'd known the news wouldn't be good, but he couldn't control how much it unnerved him. Dean arrested by the FBI. Sam embroiled in some psychological evaluation, undoubtedly to glean more damning information about his brother. And no way out. No allies. Nothing he could do.

But how? Why? Why wasn't Sam in cuffs? Why had Dean gotten caught at all?

The minute his mind posed the question, he knew the answer. Dean had turned himself in, offered himself for Sam, which was the only reason Sam had any semblance of freedom whatsoever. They were screwed over, and it was Sam's fault, and he didn't know what to do.

The doctor smiled gently. "Right now, you need to focus on getting better," he said. "I'm not sure you really realize just how much your body has been through. You're going to be laid up for quite some time. I don't foresee releasing you from this ward any time soon—with your lacerations in the state they were, you're going to be prone to infection. Your shoulder will need follow up care. All in all, you need rest and quiet. I'll be sure Dr. Beason is aware of my diagnosis."

Sam's eyes flashed up hopefully as he understood the doctor's words. A tentative smile teased his lips in gratitude. Figuring out how to get Dean and himself out of this mess was hard enough as it was--a respite from Dr. Beason would be a definite advantage. "Thank you."

"It's not for long," Dr. Leland said. "But I think you've got more than enough to think about with some shrink on a mission pestering you."

There were no words for Sam to say, no other way to express his gratitude.

"Now, rest up," the doctor advised. "You need to focus on your recovery now. We'll sort the rest out later."

Sam nodded absently as the doctor left his room. The door shut behind him, and Sam was alone again.

-o-

The nurse that helped transfer him to a regular room was middle aged and friendly, and she got him in a new pair of scrubs that were not quite as revealing as his others. "No sense flashing everyone now, is there?" she said with a wink.

Sam just smiled at her patiently and conceded himself to her ministrations.

"Well, now," she said. "Dr. Leland will be in to look at you in a bit. And, I believe it says that…Dr. Beason will be in to see you shortly. So you rest up."

Nodding, Sam feigned obedience until she left him in the room.

A wave of lassitude swept over him, and he felt the urge to sleep creep up on him with a force that surprised him.

Not yet. Not now.

He blocked the urge, focusing his mind instead. He had some time now—but not much, and he knew it. In the meantime, he needed a plan. The doctor was giving him some leniency, guaranteeing him some solitude, and Sam was grateful. He was pretty sure Dr. Leland hadn't given it to him for him to break out with. But that was the only thing he could do. He couldn't risk Dr. Beason coming back sooner rather than later. Because when that did happen, his chance to escape, his chance to help Dean would disappear.

No, he needed to get out of here—quickly and quietly and now. He spared no thought for reason, for rationality on that point. His need to flee was strong, overwhelming even the weakness of his body.

He glanced at the equipment around him—he was connected to so many things, so many leads and monitors that would protest any change in his status. He was pretty sure that disconnecting them without disabling them would send a team running his way.

Deftly, he searched and flicked the sound to off on as many machines as he could find. Satisfied, he then turned to his own body, to begin disentangling himself from the leads.

Carefully, Sam gripped his IV, slipping it from his vein slowly and evenly. The sensation made him wince, but soon the tip was extracted, and he dropped it gratefully to the side.

He was more than slightly thankful that he'd been upgraded to a regular room, which meant that the hospital gown he'd been forced to endure in ICU had been replaced by a nondescript white undershirt and thin cotton pants. He'd have to change into real clothes once he broke out, but at least he'd be covered enough to make his escape without mooning the entire world behind him, thanks to his nurse’s benevolence.

Now that he was disconnected from the machines, he'd have to move—quickly. Undoubtedly the nurses would soon notice his lack of life signs on their own monitors.

Tiredly, he slung himself to the side, nearly flinging himself off the bed. It was a graceless maneuver, but his limbs were weary, and he just needed to move any way he could. He hit the ground on all fours, and ripples of pain erupted through his upper body. Tears burned his eyes and he held in a cough. He definitely should have thought about that before he did it.

There was no time for that now.

Groping blindly, he reached under his bed, looking for the package of clothes he knew had to be under there. His fingers touched plastic and he gripped it, already rolling to his feet.

It was a little like moving underwater, only more painful, slower. He reached the door and paused, taking two deep breaths. Now was not the time for weakness. He had to think like Dean, be like Dean.

He pushed the door open, standing surprisingly erect. Holding the bag discreetly at his side, he ducked down the hall away from the nurse’s station, keeping his head bent forward so his bangs obscured his face.

Moving as fast his body would let him, he could feel his heart thumping in his chest, enhancing the pain that tingled through his injuries. The floor tiles blurred and the world was buzzing. Keep moving, keep moving.

A voice pricked his consciousness—a voice he recognized. Cold and sterile and vindictive. Dr. Beason.

Quelling his panic, he picked up his pace, eyes roaming desperately for an out—

There.

A door with a red exit sign over it.

Stairs.

Without a look around, he plunged through the door, letting it swing shut behind him, closing him off from the day-to-day activity of the floor. Alone, he collapsed against the wall, his breath coming in short, sharp spurts. His fingers felt numb, and he readjusted the bag in his sweaty hands.

It was too much. He couldn't do it. He didn't know how to do it.

He was on the floor before he knew his knees had started bending at all. Dropping his head to his knees, he couldn't stop the exhausted tears from falling.

He hurt. He hurt so badly, and he was just so tired. And he didn't know where his brother was. He didn't know what he was doing. He didn't know how to find Dean.

Find Dean. The words echoed in his mind, the only thing he could make sense of right now. He wouldn't find Dean sitting and crying in a hospital stairwell, that much was certain. Sucking in a breath, he forced himself to calm. He had to move.

Stiffly, he opened the bag, pulling out his shoes. If he was going to get very far, he'd need to keep his feet covered. Getting his shoes on, though, was easier said than done. His chest grated with the movement, and his shoulder refused to help at all. It was a slow process, a hard one, but soon his shoes were on. He thought about changing into his other clothes--at least his jeans, anyway, which may have survived some of the attack--but he wanted to clear the hospital sooner rather than later.

Now he had to move.

-o-

Somewhere between his moping and his worrying and after completing the greatest hits of Metallica in a gentle hum, Dean had fallen asleep, still curled atop the covers of the meager bed. It wasn't exactly comfortable and he didn't exactly feel secure, but a lifetime of hunting taught him to sleep when and where he could, no matter what. Exhaustion was a weakness, not an asset, and whenever he could curtail it, it was his duty to do so.

Not that he had much he could do here, especially with Sam still in the hospital. His options were thinking or sleeping, and sleeping seemed to be more productive, anyway. Sitting around and contemplating his impending doom, thinking about Sam alone in the hospital—none of it sounded appealing. Brooding was more Sam's style; sleep was more his, especially if there were things to kill, beer to drink, and girls to flirt with in la la land.

Even if there wasn't, it would help him be prepared for whatever tomorrow would bring. Not that he had much thought of escape, but he still didn't trust Henricksen and Sam was still caught somewhere in the middle of their back and forth. He needed to be alert, to make sure he gave the feds what they wanted, while making sure that nothing--nothing--incriminated Sam or anyone else for that matter.

So sleep it was.

His dreams were vivid but pointless, and usually left him content, if confused, and usually gave him something to smile over in his showers in the morning.

This one was a doosy.

It was a werewolf hunt, a nasty one (weren't they all), and they were rescuing an unusually buxom blonde from the clutches of despair.

He'd just managed to kill a werewolf, seduce the girl back into his motel room (where Sam was conveniently not around--maybe even his brother was scoring some action of his own, because this was Dean's dream and dreaming about a whiny Sam was kind of the last thing he wanted to do on the best of days) when an all too familiar voice cut him off.

"Winchester."

It wasn't Sam, who was usually the buzz kill to his dreams. No, this voice was not quite as pleasant (did he really just admit that?), not quite as distinctive--no, this was...

"Winchester."

Henricksen?

Dean opened his eyes and found himself back in his cell, a blurry figure standing over him.

"Get up," Henricksen ordered.

"Good to see you, too," Dean quipped, looking up at him through bleary eyes.

"Get up." The words were harsher this time, more terse.

Dean grimaced, rolling over onto his back. "Dude, you should consider sleeping at night like normal people do."

Henricksen's patience snapped and he grabbed Dean roughly by his shirt, hauling him to his feet. "Shut your mouth," he seethed.

"Whoa, what's your problem?" Dean asked, trying to steady himself.

"Who's working with you?"

"I told you," Dean said. "It's just me and Sam. No one else."

Henricksen's movement was faster than Dean anticipated and the agent pushed Dean back, slamming him hard into the wall. "I'm done with the games," he said, his arm firmly against Dean's throat. "Who are you working with?"

Confusion took hold of Dean as he tried to fight down the tendrils of fear. Something had changed.

"You're here. Sam's in the hospital," Henricksen ground out. "So tell me who just killed a seventeen-year-old girl who got a flat tire on the south side of town. Mauled to death."

The news hit Dean hard, but it didn't really surprise him. It was only a matter of time before the puma struck again; the thing had to be more bloodthirsty than ever after Sam and Dean had restarted the ritual.

"So either you or your brother have mastered the art of being two places at once, or you have someone else working with you."

"Or try none of the above," Dean snapped, keeping his body tense in Henricksen's grasp. "I told you, Sam and I were trying to help, not looking to kill people."

Henricksen laughed humorlessly. "I'm out of patience with you, Dean. I want answers, and I want answers now or all bets are off the table."

Dean's throat tightened involuntarily, and panic flared through him. He struggled to keep his face impassive. He had done this all for Sam, every last sacrifice, and this fed couldn't take that from him. He wouldn't let him. "What exactly are you saying here?" Dean asked, tentative and quiet.

Henricksen released him slowly, backing away slightly and eyeing Dean distrustfully. But Dean could see it in his eyes. Henricksen knew he'd hit a weak point, and Dean had no means of denying it. "I can't protect little brother for you if you're not going to cooperate. The deal for his freedom rests only on closing this case. If there are still murders happening out there, then the case is far from closed and I'll take Sammy down right along with you."

Pure anger surged through Dean. There was no way he'd let Henricksen pull the rug out from under him. "You seem to know me so well," he seethed. "Then think about it. If there was someone else out there, some other accomplice that somehow you missed in all your stellar investigating, then you'd have to know I'd never put his safety above Sam's. Not in a heartbeat. If there was someone else, I'd roll on him for Sam's sake. Unfortunately for the both of us, there isn't anyone. I'm telling you the truth."

Henricksen listened with restrained frustration. Yet, beneath that, Dean could see that the agent knew Dean was right. He knew it, but he clearly wasn’t about to accept it.

"Think long and hard," Henricksen said, stepping to the door. "Next time I come back here, it’ll be for answers. If I don’t get what I want from you willingly, I’ll find another way to do it. That’s a promise."

Dean didn’t even have a sarcastic reply for the agent as he stepped back through the door, shutting it behind him.

"Get some rest, Dean," he recommended, a sarcastic smirk crossing his face. "You’ll need it."

Wearily, Dean melted back into his bed. Eyes closed, he leaned his head back against a wall. Henricksen wanted the truth, answers, and Dean would be more than happy to provide them if the man would believe them. The problem was, the agent seemed like more of the seeing-is-believing type, and unless Dean could conjure a ghost right there in the cell, he was probably pretty screwed.

Opening his eyes, he looked around at the dim, blank room.

Scratch that, he was very screwed. And if he didn’t come up with a plan fast, Sam would be too.

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