[ her heart drops, landing with a low thud in the base of her stomach.
[ she looks at him the way no one has ever looked at him before. he can’t even put a name to it, put his finger on the emotion it evokes from him. he swallows hard, keeping his gaze away from her. he’s laid out raw for him to see, all his scars bare on the road map of his body, and she’s already planning her route all the way through. it’s anxiety-inducing and unsettling as hell, and it takes everything he has in him not to shut her out and turn away. ]
[ and then she asks the how, and sam feels himself take a sharp breath in before he can stop it. it’s the root of it all— the beginning of the end, what dean did, what they both became in its wake. ]
[ he doesn’t want her to see this part of him— the wounded, scarred, and broken part of him that he tries so hard to hide from everyone, even dean. he hates it, how ripped apart he is that no matter how much of a front he puts up he will always be ruined inside, and someone who can figure out which buttons to press or which seam to rip and tear him right open and everything will spill right out. ]
[ sam is afraid— sam is so very afraid. ]
[ he closes his eyes— steadies himself, because he’s already started. he might as well go all the way. if not him, dean will brandish his trip to hell like a trophy, because even if the scars are long and deep and awful, dean will never apologize for it because sam is alive for it, and in dean’s eyes it will always be worth it. it will always be worth the four months sam spent alone, on top of the six months gabriel put him through— those six months dean has no memory of— those six months he has forever suffered with alone. ]
Hell. He went to Hell.
[ his voice cracks once, then twice, barely anything above a whisper, because if he says it any louder he’s afraid she’ll see everything else. sam shakes his head hard, a jerking motion, like he’s trying to shake the blood off, all that blood he’s bathed himself in. ]
Everything— it’s all my fault.
[ she has no idea— she has no fucking idea who she’s talking to. she has no idea about the people he killed, no idea about the fbi’s most wanted and the fact that he’s been legally dead about three times. she has no idea how dangerous and lethal and angry he is. she has no idea about any of it, and she’s still looking at him like that. if she knew— if she knew everything— she’d never look at him like that again. ]
[ his knuckles are entirely transparent when she tries to tug the shirt out of his hands, a shield against everything trying to tear him apart, and he doesn’t loosen his fingers until he turns and catches her eyes. gentle, calm. he has no idea what she can see on his face, in his eyes. he balls his hands into fists, looks where she’s asking about next. ]
[ but his mind’s too muddled to remember. he has so many and they’ve all blended together over the years. scars are a part of the job, it’s who he is. he might have a pretty face but push up the bottom of his shirt and there is so much more to the story. ]
I don’t remember. I—
so it was real; & a very likely possibility for some choice loved ones who sins outweighed their righteous tendencies.
her mind couldn’t possibly even begin to fathom the horrors of the damned place itself ——-
but base knowledge was enough; & coupled with tales from old books & experienced minds,
she could definitely manage to piece together a small portion of the picture.
& the view was dreadful.
the guilt carried with him like a twisted knife, impaling his spirit & dragging him down where he couldn’t even gasp for breath.
death was such a tricky topic ——— an occurrence that all too often reversed it’s effects & left you speechless. nothing was for certain anymore;
& perhaps that scared her more than anything.
fault lies wherever the holder sees fit ; & there’s no changing his mind once he’s dead set on self-blaming.
but her eyebrows furrow at his choked-out confession, another ache to add to a heart that breaks with every story he offers.
she refrains from asking more; & instead her hand skims across his bare chest, finding a home against his neck.
her thumb caresses his collar bone before moving up to sweep over the hollow of his cheek. ]
it’s not your fault, sam.
dean did what he did because he loves you.
[ i’d do the same thing. ]
[ & she would —— for her father. for chris. because even the mere thought of losing him brought an unease to her stomach; a filthy twist that nearly made her tremble.
he’s stolid in his resolve to stay guarded, to relent from showing her any further beneath his ravaged surface. but she’s not one to give up so easily.
hands tremble as they move from his chest & his face to grip the bottom rim of her shirt. her gaze never breaks his, & there’s a fearful determination behind misty eyes as she pulls her top over her head to reveal an entire new pallet of damaged skin.
the scars aren’t plentiful, they aren’t deep, but they’re there, & they’re u g l y.
only three total; a could-be fatal one up the length of her forearm from isaac, a couple nasty ones on her back from the kanima, & the prize winner on her stomach, dragging from her ribs diagonally to meet her hipbone ——- a lovely gift from erica.
she’s been marked; & they destroy her, even though they shouldn’t.
arms cross tight over her middle, a hypocritical action, really, but she can hardly stand the drifting of his gaze once she’s revealed herself. ]
[ her voice betrays the hammering in her chest with it’s calm resolve, & she never once allows her eyes to drift from his. she’s shaking in her own skin; but if this is the way to get him to trust her,
she’d do it again.
& again, & again, & a million times over until he could understand that he isn’t as alone as he likes to think he is. ]