Title: In this form in which I am not (nor are you)
Spoilers: speculations on 7x17 after Misha's last tweets.
Summary: They think he must have been a scholar of some kind before; they say he's knowledgeable, that he holds secrets in his head about the world and all of its creatures. But he thinks that as long as he doesn't even know who he is all the rest is pretty useless.
Author's note: Misha tweeted this a couple of days ago. My TL exploded (and it was beautiful) and this is what came out of a very stimulating exchange with triedunture. As always a huge thank you to my bb darkforetold for the beta work. She is awesome and even Misha knows it.
Finally, the title is from Pablo Neruda's Sonnet XVII. It is beautiful, you should read it.
(I'm using this fic as part of my 10iloveyou prompt table. Specifically the Broken prompt.)
The room is quiet at this hour; the entire ward is.
Three in the morning and he's the only one awake, more alert even than the nurses pacing down the corridor.
He wants to sleep so badly, really does, but abandoning himself to oblivion brings forth demons and please, not again.
* * *
Morning comes and it's raining. He doesn't really care for good weather but he wishes that everything could stop being so wet.
He's inside, wrapped up in his robe, tea cup in his hands and it's all so strange and unexplainable; to feel soaked to the bone, water drip-drip-dripping through his marrow, washing down days that are no more even when he's warm and cozy in his room.
He can't make sense of this feeling; this horrible sensation that no matter what he does he will never be dry again.
* * *
When the sun is out, his days pass in between walks in the garden and talks to other patients. They may or may not be listening to his words but he doesn't care, for all he really says sounds strange and foreign to his own ears.
Legends and prophecies and long lost heroes come to life around him, captivating his imagination; his thoughts sail away to unknown harbors and he hopes they will come back with something similar to memory.
He can make up in his mind labyrinths and castles, paths moving deep into space, beautifully woven in the texture of time. He doesn't have to ask a question that the answer comes out of his own volition, from the dark recess of his being.
They think he must have been a scholar of some kind before; they say he's knowledgeable, that he holds secrets in his head about the world and all of its creatures. But he thinks that as long as he doesn't even know who he is all the rest is pretty useless.
* * *
Every evening he stands there; by the third window from the right, up on the second floor in the patient lounge, for half an hour or sometimes more (if they let him.)
The window has the best view of the main entrance to the facility and he likes to look at it, hoping for nothing in particular.
He looks out for birds and small animals coming out of the woods, trying their luck approaching humans in search for more food. There are times when he's tempted to sneak into the kitchens and steal something just for them, but he always thinks twice. It wouldn't do them very good, to offer food so easily; they could start depending on him, looking for him when in need and asking for help more often then not.
So he just admires them from afar, watching them co-exist and unknowingly fulfilling their duty as distractions.
Too often it all feels like waiting, but since he doesn't know for what he can ignore the feeling a bit longer.
* * *
What he can't ignore is the way his chest constricts and his hands feel numb and trembling when he tries to catch his breath, waking up from another nightmare in a mess of limbs and sweaty sheets.
They call it panic attack and he's had them since day one.
He hugs his knees and tries to calm himself, whispering nonsense in the air.
The dreams change sometimes, always the same but ever different: flames everywhere, lapping at his limbs as he descends down a never ending hole, looking for something (someone) he can't ever remember the shape of when he blinks awake. Either that, or it's just flying; through space and time, up the shores of the Baltic Sea and over the roofs of what he just knows is ancient Babylon.
They may change from time to time, but they always end the same.
He falls. Falls like the Earth itself is waiting for him with its mouth wide open and he can't do anything but scream; a name escapes his lips every time but his consciousness keeps it hidden, never to be remembered.
He falls and yet, when he wakes up, it seems to him like taking the very first breath of his existence, breaking up the slimy surface of stinking water.
* * *
Other people see him waiting every day, but they stopped asking him for what when it was clear he didn't have an answer to that question.
He remembers the first days here and how it felt to be alone, really alone with no name or identity, with no clue of what he was. He remembers waking up in the darkest night and crying; it felt like he'd never done that in his entire life, tears a novelty to his senses; all the desperation and loss he couldn't put a name on sinking deeper on his shoulders.
His shoulders, full of tiny little scars from those first weeks when he made a habit of waking up shaking in a corner, rocking back and forth and trailing fingertips on the planes of his back, as far as he could reach.
Red stains over white, bright cotton; nails digging deeper and deeper, drawing blood in search for something he knows was supposed to be there and yet cannot remember what it was.
* * *
One thing he's glad for is that his hair is back to a decent length.
He hated it short and shaggy, shaved so he didn't even feel the need to scrub it clean in the shower.
They told him it was necessary; apparently he wouldn't stop pulling at it and drawing blood from his scalp when he felt more hopeless than usual. It was bad, they said, he had to make an effort and behave.
So he promised and waited patiently for it to grow back and now that his fingers can slip through it again he irrationally wishes for someone else's hand to pull his head back and look him in the eyes.
Whatever he was before, he knows he must have loved something very much, to the point of never wanting it out of his sight.
He thinks it must have been green or something like it, for green soothes him and is one of the colors he remembers best from his multitude of dreams.
* * *
He has been here for months. He doesn't know how many exactly because he wasn't really there in those first weeks to keep count.
He knows that it was autumn when he woke up here and that Christmas has since passed and the cover of snow took up the landscape all around the building.
He knows that spring is not so far by now, a couple of months and all those fields will bloom again, the flowers and leaves coming back to calm his mind and keep him company in his endless wait.
* * *
When he passes someone on his way to the gates he hears them thanking God for such a beautiful day.
He doesn't want to be rude, but he smiles bitterly nonetheless.
He may not know his name, but he knows that God doesn't give a shit anyway.
* * *
Weeks pass and he grows tired and restless in his room.
He walks the length of it barefoot back and forth, hour after hour and day after day.
They ask him what's the matter, has he taken his meds yet?
He nods and doesn't really lie. He took his meds, he just didn't swallow them.
It's something he's been trying out in the last month. They made him useless in the mind and his mind is already wrecked enough with no help from chemicals.
So he takes one step and then another, three and four and back again. The room is small and it's all it takes from wall to wall.
He doesn't know what's happening but he feels that something will, eventually.
This new routine takes up the best part of his afternoon by now, but he never forgets to stop himself to continue into the eventing.
In the evening he has to wait.
* * *
It all comes to an end one morning.
The time's not right and he's not even close to the windows but it doesn't matter. It all ends and begins and it's fine this way, as long as it does.
Holed up in his room he reads book after book, anything he can find in the library plus something the female nurses lent him with shy smiles and blushing cheeks.
He hears voices in the corridor and snippets of broken conversations that just give him the idea that there must be new people here somewhere. They seem to look for informations, enquiring about the place and how recovery really works.
He doesn't really want to move from the warm cocoon of his small little cage but he feels somewhat compelled to and who is he to fight it anyway. It's not like he has something better to do than translate what he's reading into a hundred languages his mind knows from somewhere.
He stands up and walks out the door, still rolling dead words and conjugations around his tongue when suddenly there's nothing but the world spinning, surprise rooting him to the spot and keeping him from falling down.
(down to the never ending hole, where flames await and there's a body with its arms raised to the skies, waiting for him, screaming his name over and over through his bleeding mouth and he's shouting—)
* * *
It's a whisper, strangled and corrupted, so much coated in disbelief and hurt that it makes him afraid to raise his head and face it.
But he does, he can't help it, and when his eyes shot up the world starts moving again, but on a different axes.
The man looking at him is beautiful in his wonder, mouth open and eyes so wide they might pop out and let the green spill to the floor. Trembling, he is trembling, and he seems to not be able to trust himself in motion he's so still; his fists are coiled in power, every fiber of that body ready to fight off disappointment.
He (Cas—Cas. It's too short, that can't be right, can it? Yes, yes it can,) takes a breath and stares so hard into this man searching and not knowing who he is; except that suddenly he does, he knows and the only thing he can really think about, when everything is motionless and all is spinning in his head in a whirl of images and sounds and smells and waves of feeling, is that maybe he will have to wait no longer.He steels himself for truth and steps forward.