Bobby's eyes widened as he listened. "Nothing? You have no memories?" This was a lot worse than he had thought. How was he going to explain this to Sam?
"No... I'm sorry, I..." The door opened as Sam came through, holding a coffee cup in his hand. Dean stared at him, and his mouth slowly closed.
Dean glanced back at Bobby, but didn't say anymore. Bobby looked between the two boys. Dean won't talk with Sam in the room, he realized. "Sam, I need to talk to you outside." Sam just stood there, head tilted, until Bobby gave him a gentle shove in the right direction and followed him out.
"What's wrong, Bobby? What happened?"
"You were right. There's something wrong. Really wrong. He doesn't remember. Anything."
"What do you mean? He doesn't remember John dying?"
"No. Or anything else. He doesn't even know his own god damn name."
Sam let the information sink in before putting his head in his hands. "Oh my God... I can't believe it! What are we going to do?" He couldn't be alone, he couldn't be without his brother. Without his memories, was this Dean even the same person? He wouldn't remember taking care of Sam for all those years. He wouldn't even remember who Sam was!
"We need to tell a doctor,"
"Good idea. You go get one. I need I talk to Dean for a second..."
"Sam, wait," Bobby grabbed his arm as he turned to leave. "You can't... He won't talk to you."
"What? Why not?"
"I don't know, but he won't talk around you. It's just part of his... condition."
Sam shook his head. "No, he can't... Why would that be part of it? Why would he talk to you and not me?"
"I ain't a therapist, Sam," Bobby reminded him. "I can't tell you whats goin' on in that brain of his. But if I had to guess..." Bobby lowered his voice, just in case anyone was listening. "I'd say he was trying to repress those memories about John and you, and ended up repressing them all. The brains not as tricky to manipulate as you may think."
"So why won't he talk to me?" Sam asked, sadly, considering Dean's memory lapse.
Bobby sighed. "A part of his brain probably connects you to what happened. He's probably afraid of you, even if he doesn't know why." He knew that last part would be a painful blow to the younger Winchester, but he had to say it. Dean was scared of him, because of things he didn't understand. And as long as Sam was in the room, Dean wasn't going to cooperate.
Sam tensed up, and looked down at the ground. He had been waiting for Dean's reaction to him killing John. He had been waiting for Dean to yell at him, or thank him, or cry, even. And no matter which one it was, it would be okay, because he would know where they stood with each other. But now, he had no idea how Dean really felt about it.
Instead, his heroic big brother was scared of him?
"Just let me try, Bobby. Let me try."
Bobby looked skeptical, but he wasn't about to tell him whether or not he could talk to his brother. "Yeah, of course, Sam. Go ahead. I'll give you a minute."
Sam entered the room, slowly. He watched Dean's eyes follow him across the room as he approached the bed. "Hey, Dean." He sat down on the edge of the bed. Dean still did nothing but watch him. "You don't have to be scared of me, Dean. I'm not going to hurt you. I'd never hurt you."
Dean looked away towards the door. Sam remembered the way he had been frantically checking Sam for injury. He couldn't understand why he would do that, and yet not even talk to him. He took Dean's hand in his. "I know you're scared, Dean. I know you don't remember anything, and that must be terrifying. But I promise you, you're safe here." Dean met his eyes. "And I need you to start talking, okay? Cause you're my big brother, and I can't do this without you."
Dean's eyes widened at brother. He looked down at the sheets, thinking for a while. He didn't try to pull his hand back from Sam. After what felt like a lifetime of silence, Sam sighed and turned to leave. But as he did, Dean spoke. "I... I remember a fire."
Sam froze. He turned back around and gave Dean his full attention. "A... A fire?" Dean nodded. "Tell me about it."
"I was in a house... I remember running through the smoke, and everything was hot." Dean closed his eyes, thoughtfully, drawing a picture in his mind. The memory was broken and unclear. It seemed to skip back and forth, with no clear beginning and end. "I remember sitting outside, and some firemen... And I remember a... a baby."
"You carried him out of the house." Sam added, quietly.
Dean nodded, opening his eyes. "Yeah, I did. I brought him outside where it was safe. How did you know that?"
Sam looked like he was going to cry, and Dean suddenly felt terrible for not speaking to him before. He didn't mean to stay silent around him, but for whatever reason he got a terrible feeling in his gut whenever he was around the kid. It was like some deep down part of his brain was trying to warn him about Sam, even if he couldn't remember why.
"Because it was me."
"I was the baby, Dean. You carried me out."
"But why -"
"That was our house, when we were little. It... there was a fire when you were four. I wasn't even a year old yet. You're... you're my brother, Dean."
Dean looked down at his hands and Sam was afraid he was going to stop talking, again. "I'm sorry... I just don't remember." Dean's head hurt a lot, and not just from his physical injury. When he originally woke up, he couldn't remember where he was, or why he was there. There was a young boy on his bed, and a man sleeping in the corner, neither of them he recognized. He was scared, but he thought that after a little while, it would start coming back to him.
When he awoke again, still blank, he knew something was wrong. He tried to focus on the two people in his room, hoping he could bring back some memories. The older man brought back nothing. As far as he knew, he had never met him. But he didn't seem dangerous or hostile.
But the boy... He was different. He felt a whole array of emotions he couldn't understand when he looked at him. Part of him felt an intense protectiveness towards him. Another part felt fear. Whatever the deal was with the kid, he knew to keep his eye on him.
He didn't talk for a while, partly because he was just that tired, and partly because he had nothing to stay. And when that boy started asking him questions, well, he was a little scared.
But this kid... His brother? He couldn't be. That would explain the protectiveness, but not the fear. Yet he had no reason to not believe him. He had no other option but to take his word. It wasn't like he could ask anybody else. Except that man... "Where's... where's the other guy?"
"Bobby?" Sam looked a little hurt that he asked, but he called for him, anyway. Bobby came in, smiling softly at the two of them. "He, uh, wanted you."
"Sorry, I was just... I'm trying to piece everything together. How, uh, how do I know you?"
"Don't be sorry, Dean," Bobby pulled his chair over to the bed and sat down. "I'm a family friend. I'm lookin' after you and your brother."
"Oh... What about my—our—parents?"
It was quiet for a moment, which basically answered his question, but still, Bobby said, "They've both passed away."
It struck Sam in that moment that John was dead. All of Dean's issues had overshadowed his own. He wondered how he was going to tell Dean what he had done. It was one thing to have Dean see it himself. He didn't have to actually speak the words aloud. But now, Dean didn't remember. And if he never remembered again, Sam would have to come clean.
If... Sam didn't want to consider the fact that Dean may not get his memories back. He didn't know a lot about memory loss, but he knew that sometimes they came back, and sometimes they don't. He'd have to do some more research.
"Oh," Dean felt a pang of longing for two people he couldn't even picture in his head.
"Look, Dean, I should talk to one of your doctors. They can tell us more." Dean nodded, and Bobby, with a sideways glance at Sam, left.
For a while, they both sat in silence. Sam sat on the chair rather than the bed, sensing Dean's hesitance toward him. His brother just didn't seem like his big brother anymore. He seemed smaller, and anxious. He spoke too quietly, and with no humor. He's going to get better, Sam told himself. Once he gets out of this hospital, and gets his memories back, it'll be like normal.
"Hey, Sam," Dean sat up on the bed, wincing slightly as he did. He held onto his side, realizing he didn't even know what the injury was from. "So, uh, you're my brother, right? And we're... We're close, right?"
"Yeah," Sam sat up in his chair.
"Could you, like, tell me about me? I mean... What am I like?"
Sam tried not to look surprised. Well, of course he wanted to know about himself and there was no one better to tell him then Sam. "Well... Where do I start? You're, uh, you're 15. You never stop talking. You pretend to be full of yourself, but you're really just a good guy." Sam smiled. "And you're a great big brother. You always have been."
"That's good, at least," Dean laughed slightly. "So what do I... do?"
"Uh... you... hunt." Sam said, awkwardly. Dean have him an odd look, so he continued. "And you like to read, although you won't admit it. You're really good with cars, and mechanical stuff."
Dean nodded, and asked no more. Sam was at least grateful for the little bit of time Dean had been willing to talk.
Bobby had mostly told the doctors the truth about what happened to Dean. The only difference between the truth and his story was that in his story, John ran out and drove off. He had already called a hunter who owed him big time to take care of the scene.
The doctor examined Dean for a while, alone, and eventually called the other two back in. She explained Dean's condition appeared to be a type of amnesia. "It's called Psychogenic Amnesia. You might also hear it as Functional Amnesia or Dissociative Amnesia." Doctor Hills handed Bobby a pamphlet, who immediately handed it to Sam. "It's characterized by abnormal memory functioning in the absence of structural brain damage or neurobiological causes. It usually occurs after severe stress or psychological trauma on the brain. According to what you told me, Mr. Singer, it seems like this is definitely the case."
"So, what? It's like a form of PTSD?" Sam asked, looking up from his pamphlet. "I thought only soldiers got that."
Doctor Hills shook her head. "Unfortunately, no. It's common after any sort of major stressful event, or events, like abuse or assault."
"How long?" Dean asked, quietly. All eyes in the room turned to him. "How long before I... remember, again?"
Doctor Hills smiled at him, sadly. "It depends. It could be just a few days—in some cases it lasts only hours. But in most cases it lasts over a month. It's impossible to tell beforehand."
Soon after the visit with the Doctor Hills, another doctor came in to clear Dean to go home. They checked him out, physically, and prescribed him medication. The man spoke to Bobby outside, filling him in on Dean's condition, and explaining what to do once they leave the hospital.
Dean stayed quiet on the trip home, and Bobby quietly played music to fill the silence.
Sam sat in the back with Dean, but busied himself with the pamphlet. He felt a lot better after reading it. Most people do, in fact, get their memory back. Sometimes in no time at all. So finally, the future was looking bright for Dean. Or, at least, brighter.
Dean stared out the window as they drove, hoping that he would start to recognize something. But nothing brought back any memories or any feelings. It wasn't until they actually got to the house, that he felt something.
The house looked like any other house—unfamiliar and foreign. And yet at the same time, he felt drawn to it. The car came to a halt, and everyone climbed out. "Seem familiar?" Sam asked, hesitantly.
Dean shrugged. "Kind of. This where we live?"
"For a while, now. Come on, we'll show you inside."
Walking through the front door was surprisingly anticlimactic. It didn't bring the rush of emotions and partial memories as he thought it would. It just seemed like a house to him. Dean could tell that Sam seemed disappointed by this.
Bobby was satisfied when they walked in that his hunter friend had done his job. The body was gone, the blood covered up. Dean didn't seem to notice anything off, and Sam seemed to be able to ignore it.
They showed him the living room and the library. Dean brushed his fingers over the binds of the old books. Dust collected on his fingertips, and still, nothing came back to him.
Sam led him up the stairs to the bedrooms. As Dean placed his hand on the railing, he felt something akin to a static shock emit through his hand. He closed his eyes and he could imagine the stair case in his mind, and in a different light. He could feel his feet dragging across the wood to the next step, even though he stood completely still.
He strained his brain to remember. He tries to focus on the stairs and his feet and the feel on his fingers on the railing. On his other hand, he could feel something else—something wet and sticky. Blood.
"Dean?" Sam's worried voice knocked the memory out of his grasp. He reached for it again, but it was gone. He opened his eyes. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little dizzy."
"Do you want to stop?"
"No, no. At least let me see my room."
They took their time getting up the stairs. Dean couldn't get that memory back. It was like trying to catch a glimpse at something that had long passed the horizon. He knew it was there, but he couldn't see it.
They made it to the bedroom. The bed was made, but otherwise it was kind of a mess. Clothes were thrown haphazardly around the room. The drawers were all slightly open, revealing little more than some books and underwear. A duffel bag lied in a bundle in the corner. "So this is me."
"Yeah. You decorated yourself," Sam laughed. "So, does it, uh, ring any bells?"
Dean looked around again, but nothing happened. "No. No bells, sorry."
"That's okay. Like Doctor Hills said, it could be a month before you remember anything. There's no rush."
Although Sam honestly felt like there was a rush. He wanted to speed up the process as much as possible, but he knew better than to interfere. Mostly.
They both stood there, awkwardly, for a moment. Finally, Sam said, "Bobby's ordering out. Pizza, of course. If you wanted to just hang out here for a while, maybe try and remember something, you can. We'll be downstairs."
"Is that what I would do?"
Sam frowned. "Well, no. You'd be the first one down there, picking the movie and complaining about how long it takes to deliver pizza. But I figured... "
"No, no, you're right. I'll look through my stuff. Try and connect some of it with a memory, or something."
"Good idea," Sam smiled, but that quickly disappeared as his eyes fell on the duffel. "You know what, that's actually mine. Sorry." He went to the corner and picked it up. "Like I said, we'll be downstairs." Dean watched Sam walk away, closing the door behind him.
Dean sighed. He had his first time of alone time since, well, since as long as he could remember. He felt relieved, like he could finally breathe. Maybe now he could think clearly.
But all this thinking only brought tears to his eyes. He was in pain, still, and he didn't even know why. Bobby and Sam had only told him he had been in an altercation, but gave no specifics. And in top of it, he couldn't even remember his own damn name. He just had to trust it actually was Dean.
Everything was entirely too overwhelming. He rubbed his eyes with his hands, soaking up the tears with his shirt sleeve. After a few moments of standing in the center of the room, trying to calm himself, he finally made his way over to the dresser.
He picked through some of the clothing, but nothing felt like his. He looked at the books, but didn't recognize any of the names.
After checking around the rest of the room, he finally just lied down on the bed. There was something familiar about the way the mattress sank in. He pressed his palm against the sheets. He closed his eyes.
He couldn't see anything, but he could feel his whole body being weighed down, pressed into the bed. He couldn't move his hands or legs. His chest felt heavy. He felt something over his mouth. Finally, he opened his eyes, expecting to come out of his memory, but was surprised when he saw two dark eyes staring down at him.
There was a man over him, one that he didn't recognize. Not that that was surprising. He was filled with an all consuming fear. He fought against the man fruitlessly. He could see his lips moving, like he was speaking, but it sounded as if he was far away.
Dean wanted nothing more than to wake up from this memory. He knew that's what it had to be. He tried to pinch himself, like waking up from a dream, but still he was there. He tried to call out, but no noise left his mouth.
The man finally let go of him with one hand, but within an instant he had taken out a knife. He said something else Dean couldn't understand, and then shoved the blade into his shoulder.
Dean bolted upwards, practically falling flat on his face the moment he was vertical. He held his sides, breathing heavily. He was awake. He felt his shoulder, where the man had stabbed him, and sure enough, there was a scar. Whatever the altercation was, that the others didn't want to tell him about, it happened here, with that man.
He caught his breath and went downstairs. Bobby and Sam were sitting in front of the TV, pizza in hand. Dean wanted to ask about the man, but something kept him quiet. "Hey, Dean. Pizza's in the kitchen." Sam greeted him as he entered the room.
"Thanks." Dean made his way to the other room. He wasn't really hungry, not anymore, but he knew he should eat something, so he grabbed a slice. As he walked back through the room, he noticed a knife laying on the floor. He stopped and stared for a few moments before picking it up. He simply placed it back on the counter before going back out.
They ate for half an hour in front of the TV, and when they were done Sam said he had something to show him.
Sam led him out to the back, into the garage. Dean followed hesitantly. As he entered, he saw a plastic blue tarp covering something big. "I thought this might help... You love this thing." Sam grinned as he pulled the tarp off and revealed a car.
It was old-fashioned. Black and shiny. It had obviously been taken care of over the years. "This is mine?"
"Yeah," Sam replied quietly. Dean had missed the car since they had been at Bobby's. But John had driven it over here, and it wasn't like he drove it away. So it was only fitting that Dean get it. "It's a '67 Chevrolet Impala. It was dad's, and now it's yours."
Dean slid his palm over it, and although it hadn't been turned on in a while, it felt warm. Touching it was comforting. He shut his eyes, and he could see a little boy in the backseat. Shaggy brown hair and a goofy grin. He was holding a plastic toy plane in one hand, and grabbing at Dean with the other. A name rang through his head, quirt at first. He could feel it at the tip of his tongue. If he could only get it out...
Sam's head darted in his direction. Dean hadn't called him that since he lost his memory. He stared at his brother, who was standing next to the car, his hand on the hood, his eyes closed, and a slight smile on his lips.
"I remember you." Dean opened his eyes and looked to Sam. "You playing with a toy plane. We were sitting in the backseat."
Sam smiled. "That must have happened a million times."
"Yeah. But it's a memory. It's a start."