What makes Imprisonment
Disclaimer: As always, I still don't own either SPN or BTVS.
A/N: Many thanks to all who have read and reviewed- I really appreciate all your feedback, and I'm glad that you're enjoying this story still! :)
For a long time, maybe hours, after he woke up, Sam sat on the edge of his bed, staring out the window. His father was asleep across the hall- Sam could hear him breathing heavily, one breath where there should be three. He wasn't afraid, exactly, to go back to sleep, but he was sure that if he tried it, before the dream root was gone completely, that he'd fall back into the same place as before. And whatever place that was, it wasn't somewhere that he could find his sister.
Whatever he'd met in the dreamscape, it hadn't been any real part of Faith- but Bobby and John had agreed (and, wonder of wonders, they'd actually agreed on something) with Sam when he said it was the Slayer part of her. Best case scenario, it was protecting her as she slept. Worst case, there was nothing else left in there but Slayer, and Faith was gone.
Sam refused to accept it- he couldn't. Faith couldn't be gone. She wouldn't leave him. She'd promised him, more than once, that she would always be around. Maybe it wasn't fair to hold her to it, because she was a Slayer and a Hunter and there was no way that she could make that promise, but he felt betrayed all the same. Hurt, like she had a choice in the matter.
He shivered, thinking of her lying alone in the hospital and of the vast empty space inside her dreams. She hated being alone. She hated sitting still even more. She'd hated it for as long as Sam had known her, always twitching and itching to move and be where the action was. Is, dammit, because she's not dead. Not yet.
He wasn't sure what else they could do, or even if there was anything else that they could try. Bobby had already scoured all his books for everything they had on Slayers and anything he could find about prolonged sleep or comas. But Faith's coma wasn't mystical- she'd been choked by something supernatural, sure, but the lack of oxygen to her brain was what had caused her injuries.
There was nothing else they could try, not when the dream-root had failed. A séance, maybe, but even if they reached her, that wouldn't help her wake up. Sam was afraid to ask, in case they did try only to find out that the Reaper had already taken her away. If she'd already crossed over there was nothing anyone could do- not even Faith herself.
He finally moved, long after his limbs grew heavy and stiff, to check his phone after it lit up with a text- it was late at night, sure, but Dean wouldn't care about that. His brother's text was short and to the point.Closing in on the new girl. Watchers here.
Being careful. Sam knew without asking that Dean had sent the same message to them all- his father's phone beeped, too, across the hall, though John didn't wake. The dream-root had been a bust and maybe there was nothing left to save, but the new girl… she might be able to tell them what they needed to hunt, instead.
Dean listened as the three demons talked around him- they were planning a break-in to the hospital, arguing about how to get in and how to subdue the Watchers without anyone getting hurt.
Doyle and Lorne were alright, for demons and for seers, but Dean would listen to Angel, he thought. Angel was the one who knew him and Angel was the one that Dean trusted to watch his back- even if Angel-who-talks was a much different beast to the Sparky he'd met months previously. The Hunter was pretty sure that Angel was used to getting his own way and he was reminded strongly of his father. It was probably a good thing that the vampire had waited until they were in L.A. to have his snap back to reality, all things considered.
It was good, seeing him talk. Better still, seeing him fight and argue and cast grumpy looks at the clothes he was wearing. Dean almost wanted to laugh- if he thought the jeans (regular blue denim) and the shirt (blue and black plaid) were bad, wait 'til he saw the boots. It was good- Faith had been right. All they had to do was wait and he came back to himself.
They were planning to send Angel in- or, Angel was arguing that he should be the one to go in, while Doyle and Lorne distracted the Watchers and Dean waited in the car. Dean recognized the protective vibe that Angel was sending out- it was the same one that had been following him for months, ripping creatures limb from limb on his behalf. But Angel should have known better- there was no way that Dean was sitting on the sidelines for something like this. No way. And yeah, he trusted the guy, but he was still a vampire and the girl was still a Slayer. Dean had spent too much time keeping Angel safe to even consider sending him into the hospital alone. And of course Doyle and Lorne were no better.
"I gotta take a leak. Bathroom?" Lorne pointed toward the exit door,
"Out the door on your left, sugar." He nodded his thanks and brushed past the demon as he climbed out of the booth and proceeded to cross the room quickly. The bathroom was cleaner than he'd expected- Lorne ran a tight ship, it seemed. Back in the hall, and no longer underground, there was reception on his phone again. It was late- more than late enough to check in with his family. He dialed loudly, obviously, and straight through to his father's voicemail. It was too late to check in- John wouldn't appreciate the wake-up, especially when he had no news.
But it was enough to give Angel no reason to follow him when he made his way up the stairs and out the door. Lorne hadn't noticed when Dean had lifted the keys from his jacket pocket- the Seer was far too trusting, in the Hunter's opinion. Or maybe Lorne had known what he was planning and had let him get away with it? Either way, he locked the door behind himself, hoping that he'd earn an extra minute or two. All he needed to do was get to the hospital first.
Seriously, how long had Angel been traveling with him, and he hadn't seen this coming? Dean grinned, sitting into the Impala and starting her up, heading back to the institution. Clearly the vampire wasn't playing with a full deck, just yet.
The hospital was only minutes away, at least the way Dean drove. He took a second to compose himself before driving straight up to the gates, manned by an armed guard, even at this hour. He supposed there were some dangerous crazies housed here- criminals and murderers and the like. The thought just made his blood boil.
The guard let him pass without question. Dean was young, still, to pass as F.B.I, but it was dark and late and the guard was a pretty decent guy. Not everyone automatically saw the bad in people. Besides, it's wasn't like many people actually wanted to get into the mental hospital. Dean just drove on in, parking in one of the reserved spaces by the front door, carefully positioning the passenger door so that the guard at the gates couldn't see it- he was at least trying to plan for success, though he was only intending to scout the place.
Across the street, behind the high fence, he could see the Watcher's car still parked. It was too dark and far away to confirm that they were still in it, but the car, at least, was there.
There were two guards at the check-in desk (glorified reception, as far as Dean was concerned).
"Evening, boys." He flashed the badge early, grinning as if to say there was nothing strange about dropping by the facility at such a late hour. "I'm Agent Bonham. I need to talk to whoever's in charge tonight." He made sure to smile and grin and push his jacket back just enough that they'd see his standard-issue firearm and holster. The gun and badge were usually enough to convince most people that he was legit, even if he was too young and not in the suit-and-tie Fed uniform.
Neither of them questioned it- Lefty just nodded, handed over a sign-in sheet and led him past the security point, through the locked doors and up the stairs.
"The deputy director is on call here tonight- usually he wouldn't be, but some of the staff are off sick." Lefty, who introduced himself as Bo, led the way down a brightly lit corridor to the deputy director's office. "This is it." He knocked and waited for the voice inside to call them in. Bo opened the door and ushered Dean inside- clearly, Righty had called ahead, because the man was expecting him.
"You can go, Bo. I'll see the Agent out when we're finished." Despite the late hour, the man was fresh-faced and bright-eyed. Bo nodded to them both and closed the door behind him. "What can I do for you, Agent Bonham?"
"Please, call me John." The man's eyebrow quirked but he didn't say anything. Dean just shrugged, knowingly. "Blame my mother, sir." They shook hands and the doctor- Crawford, according to the nameplate- gestured for Dean to take a seat. The office was small and the walls were lined with bookcases and filing cabinets. They were separated only by a cheap, metal desk.
"Well, John, what can I do for you? It's not everyday that the F.B.I send someone along in the dead of night." Dean nodded, agreeing.
"It's not a usual situation, sir. We have some intel that says a patient of yours is going to be busted out of here soon. You know anything about that?" Crawford looked surprised, frowning deeply. Concerned, even.
"That's not possible, Agent. Our security is impeccable. Where did this information come from?" Despite the denial, he looked worried. Worried would work for Dean.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that, sir, but…" Dean swallowed, nervously, "the patient in question is a young woman. We weren't given a name, but she's been here for a long time. From what I understand, she had a very traumatic childhood and it's possible that the person who inflicted that trauma is interested in… revisiting it." Dean didn't know any details, but he could only hope that the description would narrow his search. He sure as hell didn't have the Watcher's information.
Something seemed to click for Crawford, though, and he paled, his dark skin turning almost grey.
"There were two men here yesterday, asking about one of my patients. They said they were reporters, following the story of what happened to her." The man stood quickly, turning to the filing cabinet behind him and rooting around for a moment before pulling out a thick file.
"These men, what did they want to know?"
"They asked about her treatment, about how she is now." He swallowed hard, sitting down again and clenching his hands around the file. "They wanted to know how likely it was that she'd ever be released."
Dean let that settle, just for a second, before pushing forward.
"Anything you can tell me about them? Or better yet, have you got the security footage from your meeting?" The director shook his head slowly, thinking hard.
"Two white guys, late forties. One of them was British, I think, or Irish maybe. I'll have Bo get the footage." He made a call to the desk, requesting the information with terse tones. He was definitely worried- it was heartening, a little at least, to see that the man actually cared for his patients.
"Which patient is it?" She must have been one of Crawford's own, because he thumbed through her file with familiar ease.
"Her name is Dana. She's almost seventeen, now, but she's been here for more than five years." He found whatever he'd been looking for and handed it to Dean. Her intake sheet, dated five years previously.
She'd been admitted following her imprisonment and torture at the hands of a madman who had killed her family. In front of her, it seemed. Dean blinked back his shock, though some of it must have shone through onto his face as the director's expression softened.
"You're new, aren't you? I wish I could say that these cases get easier but… it's better if they don't." Dean just nodded dumbly, swallowing hard himself, almost overwhelmed.
Monsters he could understand, but people? People were just plain crazy.
"Can we… could we check on her? I know your security is good but I think… I'd feel better if I could see her with my own eyes." He let his worry color his voice and Crawford nodded, snatching up her file and his keys and gesturing for Dean to exit the office ahead of him. He carried a radio on his belt, Dean noticed, and a pager in his coat pocket. His facility I.D. hung on the outside of the same pocket and Dean watched closely as the man entered his security PIN at the entrance to the residential wing.
There were three floors of single rooms, each one manned by a security guard and a nurse for the night shift. Crawford talked in low tones as they walked, explaining the facility and the treatments they offered. The dangerous prisoners, with much higher security levels, were housed in a separate wing, to the back of the building. Dean nodded and asked questions here and there, but was mostly content to just follow the older man, taking note of the layout as they went.
Finally, after what seemed like an endless maze of hallways and locked doors, Crawford stopped outside 3.16. The room inside was dimly lit by a blue light on the ceiling and the door had a small window set in it at eye-level. Crawford glanced in first before moving aside to let Dean see.
"She's recently started sleeping during the day, so I expect she's awake now." She was lying on the bed, but Dean could see that she was, indeed, awake. Awake and strapped down, so she couldn't move anyway.
"Why the straps?" Crawford sighed, seemingly sad.
"She hurts herself, sometimes. We have to use the straps to keep her safe." He didn't sound like he agreed with the practice, which gained him a few more points in Dean's book.
"Would it be possible to speak with her? If we have those pictures, she might be able to give us a positive I.D." The man who'd hurt her had never been found, but Dean was confident that there would be no harm in showing her the photographs of two Watchers- there was no way for her to know who they were. Crawford had never let them near her.
The doctor was reluctant, though, to expose her to the possibility and Dean could only agree. All the same, Crawford retreated to the nurse's station to call down to Bo, leaving Dean alone at the door.
He watched the man walk away before turning back to the window. Only years of training and experience as a Hunter stopped him from jumping a mile (though he definitely jumped; no question, and maybe even squealed a little) as he looked up to see the girl staring at him through the glass.
She was a Slayer, after all- no bonds could hold her. Perhaps he shouldn't have been surprised. Her eyes were intent, staring directly at him and her dark hair fell around her face, blocking his view of the rest of the room.