RATING: pg 13
GENRE: gen, h/c
SPOILERS: season 7, nothing specific
CHARACTERS: dean, sam
A/N: written a billion years ago for the hoodie time holiday h/c comment fic meme. for the prompt: "Christmas and/or New Year's Eve + Dean in the psych ward. The reason for this can by anything – natural or supernatural, any time frame, although I would explode with love if it were set in s7, ft. clinically depressed Dean."
SUMMARY: they can't do this on their own anymore.
Why do they even bother with this stuff? The little colored lights. The decorations. The cheer. As if someone expects it’ll help lift their spirits, when the medication barely does anything for them. You almost feel like ripping it all down. Course, then they’d just strap you to a bed right along with the rest. Right along with…
Yeah. He’s been in there way too long.
These days you’ve come to expect the worst case scenario. You wait about five seconds, then kick open the locked bathroom door.
He’s pacing the tiles in his bare feet. Chewing viciously at his nails, blood pooling on the quicks of a couple fingers. It’s like he didn’t even notice you break the door in.
“Hey,” you say. He looks up at you in surprise. And just like that, his arms are hugging his stomach and he’s doubled over and your hands are grabbing hold of his tense biceps, saving him from falling to the floor.
“Shit, Sam. I think… I think I’m really sick,” he tells you, breathless.
When they’d told you which department he’s been admitted to, you feel like an idiot. At first you’d thought maybe they ran out of beds or something. Not that you aren’t acutely aware of Dean’s fragile grip on his own sanity, but he did seem sick. Normal sick. Like appendicitis sick. Not this. Not restraints, sedatives and mental status exams sick.
“What do you mean, psychosomatic?”
The ER stinks. A few feet away from you an orderly wearing felt antlers is mopping up a small river of vomit.
“Has your brother ever been diagnosed with a mental illness before?” the doctor asks, flicking away locks of brown hair hanging loose from a French braid. It looks like it’s been falling apart for a week, everyone here disheveled and sleep-deprived. It makes you feel like you’re dream-walking.
You think about all your Google searches and hours of reading and making mental checklists of all of his symptoms. But you’re pretty sure that doesn’t qualify you to make an official diagnosis. You shake your head.
She must pick up on something because she reaches for your elbow and gives it a little squeeze. “Sometimes people just don’t get help until they reach a breaking point. It’s not uncommon.”
“I tried to talk to him.”
“I bet that wasn’t easy. He seems like a really guarded person.”
“You have no idea, ” you sigh. She has a sympathetic smile, but she’s glancing over your shoulder now, scanning the halls like she’s got a million other places she needs to be.
She cuts to the chase: “Look, I can’t be sure yet, but there’s a good chance he’s suffering from something called psychotic major depression.”
You don’t need to listen to her explain it to you. You already know. You’ve already run through all the symptoms. The agitation, the sleeplessness, the decrease in appetite, the debilitating guilt. And now this. This sickness that’s apparently all in his head. It fits. His initials might as well be sewn into the glove.
Dean squeezes his eyes shut and turns his head the other way when he sees you. He’s limp in the restraints now, his muscles slack, indifferent. You imagine whatever they’re injecting into his IV has a lot to do with that. The red marks on his wrists glow under the fluorescent lights, reminding you how violently he’d been struggling against them just a few hours ago.
He’s sharing the room with a rough old man who’s singing “do do do do, do do do do,” like an old do-wop singer on a broken record, over and over. It’s ridiculous. Dean glares at him and you pull a chair up to the bed.
“I’ll talk to someone about taking these off,” you say, tugging lightly at the strap holding down his right arm. You chance sliding your thumb down his cold hand. He doesn’t seem to care. “I mean I don’t think they need to worry about…”
“We need to go,” Dean says. Jesus. He’s like a child. Only knows how to do anything one way.
“Not this time, man.”
“I’ll be okay,” he says and turns to look at you, eyes wide and desperate. “I swear it.”
You wish you could believe him. Untie him from this damn bed and get him the hell out of here, away from all these lunatics. This guy in the next bed who’s not really bringing anyone in the room closer to sanity with his fucking do do do do’s, his head bopping in perfect rhythm until the end of time itself. You want to believe Dean is nothing like any of these people. But that’s not true.
“Dean, we can’t handle this one on our own.”
“I’ve been handling it for six years,” he says, and from anyone else’s mouth it would sound bitter, but all you hear in Dean’s voice is disappointment in himself. “I can do it. I just… I messed it up. I dunno what happened.”
You’re so sick of Dean’s self-loathing.
“You didn’t mess anything up! Would you stop…”
That guy. That fucking do do do do. You can’t take it anymore.
“Shut up! Just shut the fuck up!” The words blast out of you like fire from a blowtorch. But the only one you seem to have burned is your brother. The relentless ditty starts up again as Dean sinks even deeper into the bed, presses his cheek hard against his shoulder and fights to hold back tears. Well, shit.
You lay a hand on his arm and he tugs weakly at the restraints and turns away from you again. You know he can’t stand being seen like this.
“Hey. I’m sorry. It’s okay.”
“I don’t… I don’t wanna feel like this, you know,” he tells you, so motionless it’s unsettling. “Feel like I can’t see anything… anything good.” He stares vacantly at your hands as they enclose one of his.
“Is there anything good left, Sam? Is there?”
“Yeah. There’s you.”