Nixxie (nblaque_impala) wrote,

In The Dark (Part 1/4)

Title: In The Dark.
Beta: dualityforce
Pairing: Gen, but can be seen as Wincest if you're wearing goggles.
Summary: When Sam is abducted from the lone bar of a one-horse town, Dean is desperate to find him. Three weeks later Sam is found, and Dean begins to understand that finding his brother might not have been as hard as putting him back together is going to be; Sam has been kept alone and completely isolated from his senses, and there's no easy fix for that.

Damien Waters had always wanted to be a cop.

His mother had hated the idea, had spent many a year when he was a kid trying to convince him to be a teacher or a doctor, or basically anything that didn’t require throwing himself in the line of danger on a daily basis. He’d told her that she was being overprotective, and signed himself up anyway, convinced that nothing would ever make him regret his decision. Police officers were heroes, and Damien would wear his badge with pride.

That was until he first set foot inside of the basement of the seemingly ordinary 435 Sunhill Terrace, and very nearly lost his lunch.

He’d been an officer of the law for nearing five years by then, and in all of his years on the force, he’d never come so close to revisiting a meal on a case. Then again, he’d never before witnessed this level of depravity in a suspect before – not even the serial killer that had left his name next to the word ‘hero’ in the papers the year before.

Evan West was a whole new level of ‘psycho.’

The tip about him had originally come from a concerned neighbour, who’d seen West dragging what looked to be an ‘extremely intoxicated’ young man up the driveway of his house and through the front door and, for the third time in as many months, had never seen the young man leave. She’d failed to mention, until prompted, that the whole thing had happened nearly three weeks beforehand.

In the end, it was the missing person’s posters that had led to her finally picking up the phone.

It only took a matter of time for them to match the dates of the young man entering the house and the day that Sam Winchester had gone missing, and with Mrs Green’s eyewitness testimony and Martins' involvement in a still-unsolved murder case two years previous, it was only a few hours later that the warrant was dropped into their laps.

Ridiculously, Damien had been almost excited about the prospect of taking down another serial killer. It had been over a year since he’d arrested down the Red Moon Killer, and it seemed like people had already forgotten how successful he’d been – he wanted to make detective, and what better way to make people stand up and take notice of him than to solve another of Mission Falls’ biggest ever cases?

He kind of regretted it, now.

The basement was cold and dark, the windows boarded up with thick sheets of wood, and the stairs leading the way into the large area were almost rotten through completely, creaking ominously underfoot. The room itself was fairly nondescript; plain concrete walls and floor, a couple of shelves against one wall and a broken washing machine propped up in the far corner.

It was what was in the middle of the room that caught his attention.

For a long moment, he honestly couldn’t figure out what he was looking at. The distortion from his flashlight made things hard to distinguish, and he was halfway across the room before he realised that he was looking at three human bodies. More shocking than that were the thick, glass boxes that surrounded them – as if they were some kind of zoo exhibit or valuable art piece.

The boxes were roughly the size of a large dog crate, immaculately clean and glinting in a way that suggested that they’d been recently polished. Inside, the three bodies wore matching blindfolds and headphones, cut off completely from the world around them.

Behind him, Martins doubled over and lost his lunch in a neat little pile next to the bottom of the stairs.

Damien couldn’t really bring himself to be mad at the rookie – he had barely six months experience under his belt, and quite honestly, Damien should never have allowed him to come along in the first place.

“Martins,” He ordered quietly. “Go upstairs and radio for back-up. We’re gonna need paramedics here as soon as possible – can you bring them down when they get here? Great. Karl, I want you to figure out some way of getting some decent light down here. The rest of you, we need to get these things open. We can’t run the chance that one of them might still be alive.”

It took them longer than he’d have liked to finally find out a way to safely remove the lid of the box, and Damien could have happily lived without the sickening discovery of a removable hatch about halfway down – big enough for an arm to fit through, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know whether it was used to deliver food and water or for something else.

The first two were long past dead, and Waters wasn’t a mortician, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out that they’d been left in there to rot long before they’d finally croaked. Both of them were skeletal, bones scarily prominent through their skin, already in the beginning stages of decomposition. It was disgusting, and nearly enough to put Damien off of opening the third.

He didn’t go for the lid straight away. Instead, he found himself crouching down with a gloved hand pressed against the glass, searching the face of the young man inside. He recognised the high cheekbones and dark hair from a picture that had been shoved in his face just weeks earlier, and knew that they’d just found Dean Winchester’s missing brother.

The three weeks he’d spent in that box hadn’t been kind to him. He was nearly as skeletal as his two companions, skin far paler than Damien remembered it being in the pictures, and his hair was limp and stringy. Recalling the desperate look on Dean’s face, Damien found himself hoping for a miracle. The other two men had been missed, there was no doubt about it, but the ache in his heart told him that finding Sam cold and lifeless might just break something in him. He’d never seen another human look as desperate as Dean Winchester had, shoving a picture of his younger brother into Damien’s hands and insisting that he do something, and he refused to be the person to sit the man down and tell him that it’d all come too little, too late.


He glanced up, taking in the understanding face of Karl Thraxton. The two of them had been in the same class at the academy – had been best friends ever since, and he knew that the look on his friend’s face was pity.

“Come on,” He ordered gruffly. “Let’s get this thing off.”

It took three of them to lift the last lid free, and Damien felt the ache in the pit of his stomach grow when there was no movement from the box’s occupant. Still, he had to know for sure. He hunched awkwardly over the top of the box, stretching down to press two trembling fingers against the young man’s throat.

Sam screamed.

Dean remembered, like it was yesterday, the day he’d proudly informed his eight-year-old little brother that being scared of the thing in the closet was stupid, because Winchesters were invincible.

He’d been twelve, then, still a child himself, and certainly young enough to believe his own lies. He wondered if now – fourteen years later – he was only just beginning to recognise that lie for what it was: the delusions of a scared little boy who refused to accept the fact that, one day, his father might not come home. That, some day, he might lose his brother for good.

Winchesters were just as vulnerable as the next person, and it was a truth that Dean had denied right up until the moment that his brother had disappeared from a crappy little dive bar in a one horse town.

The bitterly ironic part was that they hadn’t even been working a case.

It was supposed to be a little bit of fun. Drag Sammy out to a bar, have a few drinks, maybe hustle a little pool or pick up a set of smoking hot twins. Nothing complicated. Something to lighten things up a little bit, give his brother a break from whatever it was weighing on his mind. The kid had been on a downward spiral ever since Jessica, and Dean had just wanted them to forget everything for one night and act like normal brothers – drink a little too much and have a few laughs.

Instead, he got up to go to the bathroom and returned to a spilled beer, a few barely-there drops of blood, and a bartender who couldn’t remember ever seeing his little brother.

It was Dean’s worst nightmare come true.

The next three weeks had been the worst three weeks of his life. He wasn’t ashamed to say that he’d panicked more than a little. It had barely been four hours since Sam had disappeared before he was shoving his picture in a police officer’s face and demanding that they do something. It was another twenty-four hours after that before he was doing the same thing all over again, this time being asked to fill out forms and give a description.

And then nothing.

Dean had looked far and wide for the smallest hints of where his brother might be. Chasing lead after ridiculous lead and turning up nothing other than a tall, dark-haired college student that had run away with his professor, and a short kid by the name of David that looked nothing like Sam, but had gone missing a few weeks beforehand. He left his father enough voicemails that he filled up his inbox, and when they went unheard, he rang everyone he could think of – Bobby, Jim, Caleb, Josh. Hell, even a few contacts from his father’s journal that he’d never so much as heard of before.

Still nothing.

He was running on little more than adrenaline and desperation, surviving on fast food and coffee whenever he could stomach it, and a few hours of sleep whenever he couldn’t keep his eyes open. He refused to give up, but even he was starting to wonder if there was even the smallest chance that his brother was still alive.

That was when he’d gotten the phone call.

He’d barely let the female police officer on the other end of the line get out the words, ‘we’ve found your brother’ before he was demanding a location from her, keys already in hand. He had flipped the phone shut as soon as he’d gotten it, not wanting to listen to her try and explain whatever kind of condition Sam was in. The fact that he was in a hospital and not a morgue was all Dean needed to know, and he’d pressed the accelerator to the floor and made it there in record time.

Officer Damien Walter had met him at the front desk, dark bags under his eyes and hands white-knuckled around two coffee cups. He handed one to Dean as soon as he was close enough, and nodded to the plastic chairs of the waiting room.

Dean shook his head. “Let me see him.”

“In a moment,” The officer promised, nodding to the chairs again. “But I can’t let you in there before I explain a few things to you, first. It’s important.”

Dean scowled, but obediently allowed himself to sink into a chair, gazing up at the older man expectantly. “Well? Can you just spit it out, already? I want to see my brother.”

“I understand that, and I’m going to make this as fast as possible, I swear. But there’s a few things you need to understand before you go in there. The man who had Sam was a very… twisted individual, and you need to be made aware of the consequences of his actions. Your brother is very sick.”

Dean heart sunk into his stomach, the relief he’d felt only moments ago fading in light of the grim set of the officer’s face.

“Will he survive?”

Damien smiled for the first time. “Actually, according to the nurses, he’s doing pretty well at the moment. All things considered. From what we can make out, West drugged your brother at the bar the evening he went missing, and loaded him into his car to take him home. He told his neighbours that he was letting a drunk friend crash at his house for the night, but one of them was suspicious that she’d never seem him leave – when she recognised your brother’s face from the missing posters, she gave us a call.”

Dean nodded, silently urging the police officer to continue.

“It seems that your brother was being kept in a state of sensory deprivation for the duration of his captivity, Dean. When we found him, he was in a glass box, wearing a blindfold and earmuffs. From what we can tell, he’s more than likely been in there for the entirety of the three weeks that he was missing. Judging from the fact that he’s still alive, it’s a good guess that he was given just enough food and water to sustain him… physically, there’s no reason that he shouldn’t recover.”

Dean sighed, running a hand through his hair. “You’re worried about his… mental state?”

“It’s a valid concern.” Damien nodded. “He’s been completely cut off from all of his senses for nearly a month. When I checked for a pulse on scene, he had a panic attack and passed out. Unfortunately, he had much the same reaction to the doctors here. They’re keeping him sedated for now.”

Dean thought he should be freaking out.

Hell, he should be demanding that someone tell him where they were keeping the monster that had done this to his brother, maybe even waving his gun around like a crazy person. Instead, he just felt tired and strangely empty, as if someone had sucked all of the fear and adrenaline right out of him.

“Okay,” he said quietly. “That’s okay. We can work through this, it’s… gonna be hard. But we can. Can you just take me to him, please?”

Damien nodded, and Dean followed after him like a puppy kicked into obedience.

The lights in Sam’s hospital room were almost all off, the machines next to his bed all on mute, and the twenty-two year old looked more vulnerable than Dean had ever seen him.

The doctor had explained that the bandages over his eyes and the earplugs in his ears were there for his own protection – by removing them straight away and not giving him the opportunity to adjust, they’d more than likely cause some kind of psychotic break, if not cause physical damage to the isolated organs.

It was a terrifying thought.

He knew that he should phone the others, let them know that he’d found Sam and that it was alright to stop looking, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave his brother’s side. Not when he was still and silent and completely defenceless, so cut off from the rest of the world that he’d never even see an attack coming. Dean finally had his brother back. He wasn’t about to risk that.

Instead, he gently squeezed the limp hand gripped between his own, trailed the fingers of his other hand down the inside of the younger man’s forearm. There was an old, faded bruise there, surrounding a tiny pinprick that Dean knew must have come from a needle – probably how the guy had gotten the drugs into his system at the bar, and didn’t that make him feel more than a little guilty.

He never should have left Sam by himself.

“The doctor thinks you’re going to be okay.” He announced conversationally into the silent room. Sam didn’t so much as flicker, but talking made the older hunter feel at least a little bit better – like he was doing something about this whole situation, rather than just sitting on his ass. “It’ll take some time to get you back to normal, but that’s alright. We wanted a vacation anyways, right? So we’ll find an apartment somewhere, hole up until you’re back to fighting fit, and we’ll be back on the road before you know it. I bet that sounds pretty great right how, hey? Hunting things, saving people… trying not to get kidnapped by a crazy guy with a fetish for glass boxes and blindfolds.”

He forced a laugh, ignoring the sting of tears in his eyes.

He’d been informed that it wouldn’t be long before the sedatives began to wear off. The doctors were at somewhat of a loss as to what was the ‘ethical’ procedure, under the circumstances. Keeping Sam blind and deaf meant that there was no way to explain that he was safe, or to help him understand why there was needles in his arms or a tube delivering much-needed food to his stomach. On the other hand, the chances were that even if they took out the earplugs to try and explain, Sam wouldn’t understand what was he was being told.

It had been a few hours before they’d decided that letting Sam think he was still in that box was the lesser of two evils for the time being. It was going to take time for the to start reintroducing his senses to him, one-by-one, and the doctor (Mullins, Dean thought he’d said his name was, but he’d had more important things to think about at the time) had informed him that even then it was likely that Sam would become confused and overwhelmed at first.

The look on his face when he’d said it suggested that he wasn’t holding onto much in the way of hope that they’d ever get Sam back to normal. Dean knew better. He’d heard all of the warnings about this kind of torture – how some people only lasted a couple of days before going crazy, some just barely managing to last a week. It didn’t matter.

Sam was the strongest person that Dean knew. If anyone was going to get past this, it was going to be him. And Dean was going to be right there with him.
Tags: challenge: comment fic, fandom: supernatural, fic: in the dark, genre: cuddly gen, rating: pg-13, theme: bigbrother!dean, theme: hospitilized!sam, theme: hurt!sam, warning: schmoop
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