[Cas, I am not Lucifer. Calm the fuck down and just listen. Come on, stop fighting, it’s me, Cas...]
Sam leaves Dean with a desperate, struggling Castiel and goes to find Meg, followed down the hall by Dean’s grunted assurances that he has it “under control, Sammy, just go.” Half an hour later, Sam bursts through the door to find Castiel sitting on the bed and Dean crouched against the wall, staring at his hands.
“He just stopped, man,” Dean says without glancing up. “He was Linda Blair one second and then just, I don’t know. Gone. He stopped struggling, said, ‘It’s fine.’ and sat down. He hasn’t moved for...” He checks his watch. “Ten minutes.”
Sam turns from Dean to Castiel. He tries to examine the angel from the doorway, though he has no idea what to signs to look for. Even offline like this, Cas doesn’t seem human. He’s staring at nothing, but his gaze isn’t empty. It’s like he can still read the universe in every dust mote that floats by his eyes – even if none of it registers. Sam nods. “You think it’s gonna stick?”
“Yeah.” Dean stands up, wincing as his knees crack. They’ve been doing that a lot lately, but Sam isn’t going to be the one to mention it. “Yeah, I do.”
A knock on the doorframe makes them both jump, and Meg leans in. “Visiting hours are up, boys. And I have such a fun plan. How do you think ‘Nurse Masters’ sounds?”
[Dean, you have to hold his hands down or he’s gonna claw his eyes out.]
“Well, it’s the best idea we got. Let’s move, Sam.”
The door closes behind them, the click of the latch taunting and too quiet as they walk down the hall. Dean leads the way, a few steps ahead of Sam and Meg, and Sam wonders if it’s so that they can’t see his face. Doesn’t matter. Sam knows everything he needs to from the way Dean’s hands stay carefully relaxed, how Dean won’t let them clench into fists.
[Just fucking go, Sam. He's not going to hurt me. Get her. Now.]
Meg heads off to find the hospital director, and Dean takes Sam to the registration desk, which faces a tiny seating area. Sam wishes he were less familiar with the way hospital waiting rooms look, the way the lights always sound like static. The same metallic taste clogs the air.
He can’t help but flinch as the woman behind the desk looks him up and down with narrowed eyes. She’s obviously just bored and tired, and they’re another item on her to-do list, but Sam is a little freaked out by scrubs so soon after electroshock with a demon. He’s trying to keep his breathing quiet and steady under the frantic buzzing in his ears – maybe he has physical damage that Cas couldn’t fix – and it takes him a minute to catch on to the conversation between Dean and the nurse.
“Look, I’m checking my brother out, and someone else is checking in.” Dean’s voice is low and sharp in a way that he almost never uses with women, and she glares right back at him. “The doctor’ll explain, just give me the paperwork.”
The girl shoves over a clipboard. “Not my fault you want to commit someone in the middle of the night.” She slaps a pen on top of the papers and turns away.
[He’ll be fine here, boys. He’s got me. I’ll make sure he goes to art therapy.]
Dean’s fidgeting again. Sam doesn’t look up, but he hears it. There’s a light tapping coming from the seat next to him – a shoe, or a pen, or fingernails – as Sam writes some vaguely insurance-like information on the form. He’s not worried about making it too accurate, since the nurse obviously isn’t looking closely, and Meg has promised to forge anything that Cas will need later.
He looks back at the top of the form, the few little boxes he hesitated to fill without Dean’s input. He’s not sure why.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sam sees Dean’s head snap up, catches the shadows shifting over his face as he frowns. “Put 35.”
Sam nods and writes it in. “Height? Weight?”
“I don’t fucking know, Sam... 6 feet, and... 170, I guess.”
One more blank space. “Name?”
[Please, brother, it hurts. Please. Stop.]
“Just write...” Dean clenches his jaw, jerks in his seat as if he wants to stand or hit something or just leave. Sam doesn’t like how well he understands the impulse. “Fuck, does it matter?”
“We have to write something, Dean. I just thought you’d want...”
“You thought I’d want to, what, name him? He’s not my dog, Sam. Jesus,” Dean mutters. He scrubs a hand over his face, ring glinting with a sickly splash of fluorescent light. “It doesn’t make a difference, okay? Cas... Cas Novak. Write that, and let’s go.”
[It’s not real, Cas. Okay? It’s in your head. He’s not real. Feel this? This is real. Right now. I’m real. Cas...]
Dean leaves Sam with the clipboard and strides out of the waiting room, footsteps echoing as he gets further down the hallway.
Sam stares at the paper, at the flicker of the lights and the chipped floor, at his still-shaking hand holding the pen.
Name: Castiel Winchester