The fact that they were here because of some chick named Becky, made Dean a little upset. However, it was not until they stepped inside that his mood really dropped.
It was all fine, if you count their lives being on display fine, but when they stepped inside to see people dressed up as not only them but other things they faced. They almost died with yellow-eyes over there. Hell, one of them did die with yellow-eyes. It should’ve been you, Dean-o. Daddy Winchester should’ve walked out alive. Alastair’s voice stills haunts him every now and then. It’s something no one knows. Besides Alastair, the one dressed as the scarecrow, who had him in a nightmare for a week straight. Dean just couldn’t get it out of his head. He’d turn around after seeing it in a mirror, sure it had been there. He thought he went crazy.
He could feel Sam’s eyes on him now, but wouldn’t meet them. Wouldn’t or couldn’t, he wasn’t sure.
Maybe it was because of the room full of traumatic experiences in front of them.
Maybe it’s because Dean could barely keep the vomit rising in his throat, there.
Maybe because he could feel himself on the verge of a panic attack and couldn’t burden Sam with another one. Especially now.
Five minutes later he came to in another room. One with a stand for announcements. One with Chuck on the stands.
“And of course the hunt begins at 7. Thank you.”
”Dean? Dean!” His head turns to Sam shaking him at the bar. When did they head out of the room with Chuck? “Sam? What is it?” Sam. Sammy. Eyes shut tightly to escape the images of other hell-like experiences.
“There seems to be an actual ghost sighting. Were you not listening when those two, larpers? Went by. What's wrong man.” Sam sighs accordingly. This must not be bothering Sam as much as it is Dean.
“I was just,” he signaled with his hands out for an explanation but couldn’t find one. Not one that would be a good one anyways.
“Whatever, let’s go.” Sam hauls Dean up by his arm, clearly afraid of losing him to his own mind again.
“I can walk, you know. I’m not a fucking child” Dean swears as he pulls his hand out of his grip. Together they make their way over to the person behind the desk.
“Hey what’s with this building’s history?”
“Listen I know you are really into the game but I’m not playing. Go talk to that guy over there.” Dean slides money over the counter and the answer immediately changes.
“What do you wanna know?”
“The stuff they’re spouting, any truth to it?” Sam asks
“Oh yeah, we usually don’t like to share this to the public but you guys just love the ethnicity I guess.” Dean zones out as the guy drones on about the history. Soon enough, he’s not in the building at all but in hell, back on the rack.
“Come on Dean-o,” Alastair coo’s out to him. “You can end it. You can end your suffering. Just say yes, take my blade.” Dean thrashes on the rack, tied down and bloody. He lost his ability to talk in hell. Selective mutism, Sam told him later on. A coping mechanism used under extreme traumatic events. Hell will do that to you apparently.
“I can just get Sam, or even better, Daddy Winchester. I can get them over here. Oh I’ll be basking in so much fun.” Alastair hums as he exits the room. The rack room, specifically designed for Dean. If hell really does have seven floors, he’s on the eighth.
“Hey where’d you guys get that?” He tugs on the map that's clearly not a prop.
“Hey hey hey! Finders keepers.” They took the map anyway, despite the larper’s protests.
“Dude!” The one dressed as Dean calls out.
“This is real, Dean. At least a century old.” He nods in understanding. They’ll need to go dig up the old woman's body. Salt and burn the bitch.
Dean already knows what Sam is going to say before he says it. Something about ‘staying here before the fire triggers another episode’, it was just the one time.
But alas, Sam turns to him and give him a look before handing back the paper.
“If you guys won’t let us have the paper then come with us so we can use it. You want to win right?”
“Yea,” they share a look.“But we get to be Sam and Dean and we get the gift card.” They seemed overly happy with themselves.
“Well excuse us for a minute.” Sam drags Dean off to the side.
“Dude you gotta chill, it won’t happen again.”
“It better not Dean. I can t worry about you sulking in a corner playing mind ball with yourself if there’s other people in danger.” And with that Dean’s smile drops.
“Please!” The soul screams as Alastair drags it in.
“Well look here Dean-o,” his tongue clicks. “I got a mouse for us to enjoy.”
Still Dean struggles on the rack. Ripping and twisting at everything, every angle. Hoping one would come loose.
“Ah ah ah, boy. I’ll give you another deal. Either you torture this soul, or I do it. It’s a win-win for me.” But they both know that Dean wouldn’t. Not her soul for his. No way.
“Saddening boy, really hoping today would be the day.” But Alastair wastes no time before ripping into the soul.
The soul that Dean swears he can still hear, if he tries hard enough.
“Dude! This is what I was talking about.” Sam shoved his shoulder against Dean’s.
“Come on Bobby and Rufus! What’s taking so long!” They’re on their way out of the building toward the graveyard.
“Dean!” Snaps Sam.
“Just fuck off why don’t you.” Dean mumbles as a reply before moving past him.
“Y-you guys are actually digging up a body.” The tall one stutters.
“Yea, what, not real enough for you?” Dean mocks them subtly. (Clearly not that subtly) Just as he was about to pour in salt though, she comes up behind Dean.
“Dean move!” Sam shout to no avail and Dean is thrown across the cemetery and into a huge gravestone.
Everything moves slower after the hit and Dean starts to believe he has a concussion from the gravestone. It all lines up except that fact when he looks around all he can see is red.
Dean was in the graveyard though, maybe two seconds before. So where was he now? And where was Sam?
“No!” Sam yells at his brother, racing forward to finish the burning. The larper’s have run away. Turned coward at a simple ghost figure. Sam watched as the old lady went up in flames before carrying Dean back into the building. The larper’s follow them inside.
“Help me put him on the couch.” Sam directs them.
“Oh man.” The tall one sighs, “will he be alright?” Sam shakes his head unknowing the answer. But just as he opens his mouth to speak again, a scream rings out from upstairs.
“Stay here!” He runs up the stairs to find a half scalped, hook man on the floor. Dead. Shit. He races back down the stairs to tell everyone.
“Everyone get in that room right now. And stay there.” There’s already closing remarks so getting the rest of people in there isn’t really a problem. with the help of the short larper, he carries Dean in last. He tells Chuck the plan before lining the doors with salt.
“Well I guess I have more announcements then.” Chuck chuckles dryly.
“Come on Dean. Come on.”
Red. Red and.. the rack. Great.
“Oh come on, Dean-o! You didn’t really think you got off of this rack did you?” The laugh quickly turns into a dark chuckle.
“This might be my best form of torture yet!” The knife is picked up, Dean knows cause he memorized the sound. Every. Sound. And one does not simply forget.
“Fun fun fun fun.” The sing-song voice floats over his own screams.
“Come on. Come on.” Sam stops shaking his brother's shoulders to look around the room. There’s a job that needs to be done. And he can’t stay here to help Dean. Not this time.
“Is there a doctor in this room?” He shouts quickly. All heads turn to meet him. No one says anything. Awesome.
“Fuck it” he mutters before taking out his phone and calling the only angel he knows that’s in love with his brother.
“Yes Castiel thank god.” His hand goes up in a pray like motion before continuing.
“For what? Have you found him?”
“No, no. I need your help. I mean- Dean. Dean needs your help. And quickly.”
“Where are you?” Castiel breathes into the phone and Sam doesn‘t hesitate with the answer.
“I’m here” He’s here. Thank god.
“Where's Dean and what’s wrong?” But the angel is already by his brother's side before Sam can answer him.
“I, I have to take care of something. Can you help him or not?” Sam wouldn’t leave Dean unless absolutely necessary, at least that’s what he tells himself.
“It might take time, but yes. Deans in a particularly dark and private part of his memories. It will be difficult to get him out.” Great.
And Sam flies out of the door with a plan.
Chuck comes over to see what’s wrong with Dean. And who the fuck just appeared out of no where.
“What, uh, what’s wrong?” But Cas isn’t looking at him. In fact he’s very concentrated on Dean.
“Castiel?” He asks trying to get the angels attention.
“Uhh, what, what’s wrong with Dean?”
“He seems to be stuck.”
“Stuck? Like in his own mind?” He almost laughs, leaving it to Dean to be in a coma-like position.
“Yes. That seems to be the issue. I’ll have to go into his mind to get him out.” Now there’s a bad idea. Dean doesn’t like anyone in his mind. Much less an angel he barely trusts.
“Oh. I’ll, um, leave you to it.” And Chuck walks away.
“I am very sorry Dean.” Cas whispers lightly before touching his hand to Dean’s temple and falling to the floor.
“It’s okay you got this.” Sam whispers to her. Sam had left the two larper’s who helped them earlier, to get out of the building. The girl who originally played the ghost who they were supposed to be hunting, was their only real chance now.
“Boys! Get in here now. Right now.” Without looking, he knows the boys have appeared. The room cools down and he grips his weapon tightly.
Castiel wakes up in a red, smoky room . On the far side lay a rack with chains. On the other, well it wasn’t popsicles.
This must’ve been a time in hell. And Castiel doesn’t want to stay long. For the moments he had pulled Dean out of hell would be enough for eternity.
“Dean?” He calls out tentatively. But no reply. Since there is nothing to search, Cas heads for the door. It seemed like it was locked but gave way after the first tug. The memory transforms.
Next, Cas is in what seems to be in Bobby’s house. A memory Dean walks into the house carrying a body. Sam’s body. Placing it on the table, he turns to face Bobby.
“Fix him.” Castiel tries to get Dean's attention, to no avail. It just seems to be a memory.
“Boy if I could, I would.” Was the older man's reply. This was before hell. Sam’s first death, Castiel realizes. Dean storms out of the door and Cas follows him. But instead of being in Bobby’s front yard, he’s in a new memory. Again.
This time, Dean’s younger. Much younger. John had come home drunk last night. And Dean was only 6. The only thing that had been drilled into his head at this point was to protect Sammy. He knew what came next, Cas had already visited this memory. And he didn’t wait before flying out of the door. He couldn’t watch that memory again, Dean wouldn’t want him too.
“Run!” Sam yells to the young-not-so-good-actress. The boys had figured out that she had not been the mean old woman and went to attack. Blood thirsty mother fuckers. Sam had attacked them relentlessly but there’s too many.
And his only hope rested in the larper’s ability to burn the three little boy’s bones.
The next memory had to be the night of the fire. Castiel stood off to the side and watched as John handed Sam to his big brother and ran.
He followed 4 year old Dean to his front years. Tears pricked the little boy's eyes. Castiel hated to see him sad. But in a memory there was nothing he could do. Nothing anyone could do. He continued to watch the scene unfold until there was a tug on his arm.
He glanced down to watch nothing pull him into another part of Dean’s mind. And when his eyes opened back up, he could see Dean sitting down in front of him.
“Dean?” He asked.
“Castiel,” a smile plays on the edge of his lips. This Dean is glowing with a vibrant white light. This is Dean’s soul.
“I’ve been waiting to wake up, you know? I traveled through my own memories for a bit. But there’s only so much a guy like me can handle.”
“Dean, I am sorry to intrude on you like this, but we need you out there, in the real world.” A sigh escapes his lips. Castiel looks him over. There are cuts forming his arms and torso that seem to be spilling the light that is the human soul. The real words don’t spill, I need you out there. They won’t ever spill.
“What is happening to me?” Dean asks when the light spills onto the carpet below.
“I suppose your soul is dying. Your time in hell and all hell-like experiences must be like cuts to it.”
“There is no experience like Hell Cas. None at all.” Dean chuckles dryly, ignoring the part about his soul dying. Cas guesses it’s because he already knew that much.
“I know. And I apologize for it.” He looks down at his own body, glowing with the essence of his soul. There are so many things that Cas wishes he could change in Dean's life. If only he wasn’t so keen on following the word of his ‘lord’.
“Why can’t I wake up?”
“I.. I don’t know. I just came in here to fetch you.” To wake Dean up himself.
“Why does everyone out there like to make fun of what we’ve been through?” He asks quietly.
This must be the first time Cas has ever seen him this raw. This open. This weak.
“They think it’s just make believe Dean. They aren’t making fun of you or your brother. I want you to know that.” Their eyes don’t lock. This moment isn’t special.
“Then why do I get this crushing feeling?” His voice almost cracks and he doesn’t dare look up.
“I believe it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD.”
“And what about Sam? Does he get this?” Sam, Dean’s only concern.
“No.” The answer is short and clipped.
“Then let’s wake me up.” Dean stands up now but still Does not meet his eyes.
Okay, Cas nods before touching his temple again.
Sam watched as the boys burned up, seconds away from scalping him. Thank god, he thinks to himself.
Sam takes his time going back downstairs again. He doesn’t want to face Dean.
But when he opens the door to the big room, it’s nearly empty. Just Dean and Cas talking quietly to the side.
“What did you see in there?” Dean asks quietly as Sam approaches.
“I went through what I think was memories.”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
“Why would I tell anyone without your consent?” Cas with his stupid confusion, cocks his head to the side.
“Guys.” Sam clears his throat. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Of course, Sam. Goodbye Dean.” Castiel says before flying away, leaving but a whooshing sound behind. Dean notices how tired Sam is, the bags heavy under his eyes. And Sam must notice the same.
“Let’s get some sleep before hitting the road okay?”
“Yeah, Dean.” Sam smiles at his brother, still acting like his older brother. “Okay.”