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4thejourney
27 July 2011 @ 03:45 pm
I don't usually rant on here but I'm SO FREAKING UPSET! I just lost a lot of work on a story because stinking gmail wont let you retrieve discarded drafts. T_T I should've known better and been more careful but I'm so mad and sad and want to cry! :-(
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4thejourney
30 March 2011 @ 09:01 pm
"My Scars To Remind Me"

Fill for this prompt over here: http://community.livejournal.com/ohsam/148398.html  "Sam's visions and nightmares developed at a much earlier age. The more they progress, the harder it is for him to cope and keep his grip on reality. The headaches and lack of sleep eventually become too much and he turns to cutting to keep himself grounded. Cue awesome big brother Dean who does what he can by coaxing him through the hard times (I'd love a scene where Dean takes a knife from Sam's hand and mention of how he reacts to seeing fresh cuts on Sam's arm), but knows he ultimately can't make Sam stop and it could be something that they'll have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Major H/C.
"

Warnings: self-harm, mentions of suicidal thoughts, some language, angst, very slight possible spoiler for season 6, the development of Sam’s powers are not as in canon.

Word count: 4667

Thank you so, so much to
[info]paper_rose16  for her beta work. You were an awesome help!  :-)



I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut

My weakness is that I care too much
And my scars remind me that the past is real
I tear my heart open just to feel

"Scars"  Papa Roach



Sam was four when the visions started- four young years old when he first collapsed in a screaming mess on the kitchen floor, terrified of the strange creature with blazing eyes and gleaming fangs ripping his father to shreds. It was only the next day when he saw it again and Dean found him sobbing uncontrollably at the bottom of the flight of stairs leading up to their bedroom, bruised and bloody from only having made it half of the way down on his feet.  After that, John promptly packed them up and drove them to Pastor Jim's before meeting up with Caleb and going back to finish the hunt; he decided maybe back-up on this one wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Dean spent the whole time John was gone trying to calm his little brother, trying to assure him that the thing he’d seen wouldn’t get them, or Dad, or Caleb, or Pastor Jim.  Or Pastor Jim’s dog.  Or Cleo, the flighty old cat that always hid under Pastor Jim’s desk, never letting people near it and only coming out when Sammy would crawl under the chair and rest his chubby little hands on the worn carpet, waiting patiently for the furry white head to peak out so he could rub it and rub it until it finally would slink all the way out from his hiding place, letting Sammy cuddle up with it until they were both sound asleep in the nook under the desk, creating for each other their own little safety-zone full of the quiet rumbles of purrs and sniffles and soft breathing.

Eventually, Dean and John grew somewhat used to little Sammy's outbursts, though it never stopped ripping their hearts out whenever he’d wake in the middle of the night in desperate tears, or scream out from the back seat of the Impala as he clutched his head and rocked against the seat, his eyes seeing some horror he alone was privy to.  But they couldn’t ignore the fact that these episodes had saved their lives on more than one occasion.  They even took to asking him if he'd seen anything yet before John would head out on a hunt. Sammy, their own personal fortune teller; kinda came in handy.  

When he was ten things only got worse, and they quickly learned that this "gift" wasn't without an ever increasing price. The headaches he'd always get along with the visions had suddenly become much worse, so that he was hardly functional for hours afterward and he'd be forced to curl up trying his hardest not to let them hear any of the whimpers escaping his throat. And the nights were the worst, as he craved sleep like a drowning man did air, and feared it like a man on death row at midnight.  

Then, at fourteen it all got impossibly worse.  They were in Birmingham trying to track down a demon that had recently vacated its third host in as many weeks- all of them young boys about the same age as Sam, all of them only released by the demon after he’d used them to take out their own families.  John and Dean had left Sam in the car to keep watch over the front door of the mobile home they were searching.  It only took a few minutes before he saw a thin boy, even thinner than himself if that were even possible, making his way out the open front door with a very pleased-looking smirk on his face.  It only took a moment more for Sam to see that the boys eyes were black as pitch, and that he was going to be around the corner and gone before his Dad and brother even knew he'd left- and apparently the phone he’d been given to signal with had decided to crap out just like the street lamp the boy was passing under.  Scrambling out of the far side of the Impala, Sam could feel the fear threatening to choke him as he snuck along, crouching down to stay out of site, bottle of holy water in each trembling hand.  He had no idea what he was thinking to do, he only knew that he couldn't let him get away- couldn't give him the chance to hurt anyone else.  

Suddenly though, the boy stopped and without turning around called in an amused voice, "Whatcha doin' back there, boy?  Daddy leave his little baby behind to hide?" Looking back over his shoulder the boy (demon, Sam thought, panicked) eyed him in a way Sam couldn't quite decipher, but only knew made him very uncomfortable as those dark eyes traveled slowly over his shaking body.  "Ya know," it continued, "this bag of bones is sorta beginning to bore me.  Maybe you and I should get a little more acquainted, hmm?" the smirk on his face only getting bigger.  

And that's when it happened.  Out of nowhere, an anger like he'd never felt before boiled up so hotly through Sam that it frightened him almost as much as the demon had mere moments before.  But it also drowned that same fear 'til it was all but forgotten and without even really knowing what he was doing, Sam strode forward and threw out his hands toward the demon, his only thoughts being hate, and rage, and kill.  And just like that, the boy in front of him began to choke up smoke like a clogged chimney until it billowed from his mouth, burning its way through the cracks in the asphalt. John and Dean had run out of the house just in time to see the last of the blackness vomited out as the boy collapsed to his knees, staring up at Sam as if he were in a trance.   

The three Winchesters stood frozen in complete shock before John ran to his youngest, followed closely by Dean.  "Sammy...?" John started. He looked over at where the other boy was still sitting confused, and back to Sammy again, this time with a look that made Sam want to duck his head and hide.  "Sam, how- what just happened?"  But Sam had no answer, only questions flying a million miles a second through his head.  "We need to go. We'll talk back at the room," John said with a gruffness that made Sam cringe.  His Dad was all business again, grabbing Sam's shoulder and shoving him into the Impala as Dean ran over to check on the boy.  But the boy was up and gone, disappearing around the street corner, and Dean figured as long as he was healthy physically- all the other boys had been- there really wasn't much else they could do for the poor kid anyway.

The drive to the motel was quiet and strained, the silence only broken once they were back in their room safe behind the salt lines.  John stood staring at Sam with an almost sad expression on his face, but all he said was, "Well?"  And all Sammy could do was sink down onto the smelly, lumpy mattress and wish he could wake up and start the day over again. On top of the icy coldness now running through his veins, and the utter and complete confusion threatening to embarrass him by forcing out the tears hiding in his eyes, he had developed the granddaddy of all headaches, and he didn't know if he'd be in possession of his stomach contents for a whole lot longer.  

But Dean seemed to be having an entirely different reaction to the recent events than either of the other two Winchesters.  He sat down on the bed across from him and an amazed grin spread across his face.  "Whoa, Sammy! Dude, that was awesome!"  And Sam just stared back at him because this? This was anything but awesome.

After that, John focused mainly on searching for hunts involving demons. This new power of Sam’s could be very useful, he said, and they couldn’t just ignore it.  Of course they'd tried to figure it out, what exactly was happening to him- they'd tried way back when the visions had first started, too. But there were never any answers.  And the not knowing - that was the hardest - if Sam could at least just know...  These days, though, it seemed he couldn’t even be sure of what he knew.  He had spent so many days and long, terrifying nights trapped somewhere between the world of his mind and the world where his Dad and brother were his only constants, that he sometimes wasn’t even sure if the food Dean forced him to eat, or the random motel rooms with the dripping AC’s, or the sleazy waitress ogling Dean at the truck-stop were real- if his own reflection standing in front of him was real.  Maybe if he just slept for awhile, he sometimes thought. Maybe if he could just lie down and be lost to the world for just a few hours without the nightmares, without the headaches, things would seem clearer, less like he was seeing the world through muddy water.  But that sought after peace never came.

Sam was fifteen the first time.  Just fifteen and scared and angry and tired; just so, so tired.  Everything was wrong.  Everything had spun out of control. If it ever was under control.  He felt like his life had been ripped from his hands and was now being directed by a capricious puppeteer who took pleasure in the twisted mess he’d made of it.  Life had become a cruel and confusing maze of pain, fear, and illusion.  And as he stood there in that tiny bathroom staring back at his faded reflection in the dirty mirror, he did the only thing he could think of to prove to himself that he really was still there, that this, at least, right here and now was real and under his control.  He laid the shiny new blade he’d stolen from Dean’s shaving kit against the inside of his bicep and pressed down, slowly, experimenting with the pressure and angle. The sharp sting of pain and the lazy little stream of red beginning its sluggish course down to his elbow excited him far more than he knew it probably should.  In fact, he was pretty certain this whole thing was so massively screwed up that even his freakish brain should know to listen to the shouting in the back of his mind that sounded vaguely like Dean’s voice telling him to stop, just stop, this is so wrong.  But the thing was, once he could feel the blood dripping down from his arm into the sink, the residual burning ache left behind by his own hand, he was transfixed, and all he could think about was, Can I get myself to do that again?  The sensation of power that washed over him from knowing that he had caused that, he had made that little stripe of life sprout up to give himself proof that he was still there, not somewhere lost in a dream, was almost overwhelming.  Because this he could control.  He would deal with his torment by carving it out like a surgeon removes a cancerous tumour.  And so he cut again, masking the pain of the things he couldn’t change with the pain of what he could.

~*~*~*~

It had been nearly two years since he first sought refuge in a blade, and during that time he’d managed to successfully keep it hidden.  Had somehow avoided any hunting injuries serious enough to require his father or brother’s ministrations, had always washed up the bathroom and cleaned the razors, always covered up in his oversized hoodies.  With practice he had learned to control exactly how deeply he cut, how much blood he released; to block out any rational thought of what he was doing, because as long as the blood was there, then he was still there, as long as there was the pain he caused, then there wasn’t the pain he couldn’t stop.    

Sam was mapping out the spot for a second cut just above where the first was slowly draining his body when he heard Dean at the bathroom door saying something about they were out of his “pansy-assed coffee.”  (And how in shit did he not hear him come in?)  Starting in surprise, he promptly proceeded to knock over the bottle of peroxide and send the open first aid kit clattering into the toilet. “Crap!” he hissed.

“Sam? You OK in there?”  

Frantically burying the sticky blade under a pile of kleenex in the trash with one hand and trying to get his sleeve pulled down with the other, his heart nearly stopped when Dean stuck his head through the door.  

“Sam?  Dude, you’re bleeding- what the...? Sammy?” Shock and confusion sounded in Dean’s voice. Striding forward, he grabbed Sam’s wrist, yanking his sleeve farther up ‘til Sam could hear him gasp- hear because he couldn't stand to look up and see the horror, the betrayal, the anger that must be in those eyes now looking appalled upon his shame.  “Sam, look at me.”

And Sam had no other choice.  But the devastation, the dismay he saw when he forced his eyes up, cut him deeper than any blade ever could. There was pleading and disbelief there, too, begging Sam to tell him that what he was seeing wasn’t true, that he’s mistaken- there’s another explanation, there has to be.  Twisting his arm free of Dean’s grasp he pushed past him into the bedroom.

“It’s not a big deal, Dean.” Trying to sound as casual as he could.  

“Not a- IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL?!”  Dean shouted incredulously.  Did Sam honestly believe that, or was he just trying to brush it off the way they always brushed shit off?  Sweeping it under the rug where it would remain hidden until the pile presented a tripping hazard- and this was a pretty freaking big pile! Dean wasn’t sure which was worse.  

“Dean, you can’t tell Dad.  Promise me you won’t tell,” he begged.  

“Why not, Sam? If it’s not a big deal then why not, huh?  Why can’t I tell the whole freakin’ town! Tell me Sam, if the fact that my little brother’s hacking the shit out of himself is so innocent and harmless, then why hide it, huh, Sam? Tell me!”  

Sam dropped his head, suddenly seeming very interested in the mildew stains in the carpet.  Dean instantly felt a little bad about his reaction, but he was furious and scared and more than a little hurt that Sam hadn’t trusted him enough to let him help with whatever was so bad he thought self-mutilation was a legitimate answer.  But before he got a chance to say anything more, Sam was at the door.

“Well if I’m so disgusting then I guess I’ll just-”
        
“Sam, I didn’t say you were- Sam!” he called as Sam disappeared out the door, heading across the parking lot and running from view into the woods out back of their motel.  But even as Dean chased after him, he knew he’d never catch up to him if Sammy didn’t want him to.  Holy crap the kid was like a freaking race horse!  Thinking instead it would be better to wait for Sammy to come back on his own accord (maybe then he’d feel less like Dean was on the attack), he decided to take a page from Sammy’s book and do a little research before he confronted him again, hoping earnestly that Sam wouldn’t do anything stupid before coming back.  

He spent hours online researching anything he could find on the topic of self-harm and quickly saw that the lectures he’d been planning on giving Sam when he got back were apparently not the right way to go at all. Neither probably was the initial response he’d already given.  Well, shit. Beginning to panic that it was now well past dark and Sam still hadn’t returned, Dean dug out his phone and hit speed dial.  Getting no answer, he slammed the phone shut and was about ready to go back out to look for him when the door opened and Sam somewhat self-consciously cautiously slipped in, cell in hand.

“Hey, I was just outside,” he said, trying to smile. “I’m sorry I ran off like that.”

“Why?” Dean's quiet voice revealing the helplessness he felt. "Is it 'cause you don't want to hunt?"  Sam felt guilty for causing his brother this pain but didn’t know how to answer, how to explain it to Dean in a way that would make him understand.  “So this’s why you always wear long sleeves even in the summer,” Dean said more to himself than Sam, “Why you wouldn’t go to that pool party Lesly Burgins invited you to even though you couldn’t quit talking about the girl.  And I always just thought it was ‘cause of your skinny ass arms," he said, forcing a grin and trying to ease some of the tension between the two.  He knew Sam was never going to confide in him if he felt pressured.  He instantly regretted his words though when a thought struck him. What if- “Sam, this...this isn’t because,” he paused clearing his throat nervously; this was so out of his realm of comfortable topics.  “Does this have anything to do with...body image?”  

“What?!” Sam actually laughed, one of his high, voice cracking laughs that Dean was so fond of teasing him over.  “Dean,” he started, the smile quickly leaving his face when he saw how desperate for answers Dean was. “No, I promise it has nothing to do with my ‘scrawny ass.’  Dean, I, uh...Look, man, I know this is wrong and stupid and messed up, believe me I know. It’s just, I- I feel like I need this.  I try to not do it sometimes; I try everything I can possibly think of to not let myself.  But nothing works for long.  It’s like I need to do it to...to feel like...like I can have some control over my own life, over what happens to me, ya know?”

And, no, Dean really didn’t know, but he was going to try his best to because what he did know was that Sammy needed him; this is his brother, hurting, and he'd be damned if he was going to let him go it alone and not do everything in his power to try and help make this right.  

“And when I feel the,” Sam hesitates, fidgeting with the frayed threads at the knees of his jeans, “the cuts, at least then I can feel something other than the headaches and shit that goes with them. Can think of something other than when will the next damn daydream from hell strike."  He laughed nervously, “Or something, I don’t know...” he drifted off, his eyes darting up to Dean’s face trying to judge his reaction.

Dean knew that Sam was looking for any sign that he might lose it again, waiting anxiously for a response.  Walking slowly over and sitting on the end of the bed, shoulder bumping Sam’s, Dean carefully chose the words he wanted to say. “Sam, you know I’m always here for you, right?  I know I kind of blew my top earlier but, well I gotta admit I was shocked.  And I’m scared for you, Sam,” he said, trying to hold back the tears that were stinging his eyes.  “But I would never turn my back on you, Sam, and I’m not gonna judge you.  So whenever you need to talk, I’ll always listen," he finished, hoping he had at least come close to saying the right things.  

“You been reading up on the internet?"  

Dean looked up alarmed, worried that Sam had taken his words the wrong way, had felt like he was being patronized, but when he saw the teasing look in his brother's eyes he grinned, relaxing enough to cuff the back of that shaggy mop.  “All right, smarty pants.  And, dude, I totally rehearsed that speech, too," he sighed, the chuckle he got from Sam beginning to melt the knot that had been building in his gut from the moment he opened that bathroom door.

They sat up all night just talking, Dean saying something when he felt Sammy needed to hear some reassurance or encouragement, but most of the time he just stayed quiet and let Sam talk.  As long as Sam was feeling safe enough to be this open with him, Dean wasn’t going to risk saying the wrong thing and making Sam clam up; he would shut up and be the best damn listener there ever was.  He listened as Sam told about the first time, how he’d just not wanted to feel like a prisoner in his own life anymore, wanted something to take away the helplessness, his mind off the constant fear and dread, the pain that dogged his every day now.  
                           
John was gone to Caleb’s for supplies and wouldn’t be back for a couple days, which Dean was glad for.  He would try to find a way to somehow get Sammy to talk to him or to let Dean tell him without breaking his trust, though he knew it wouldn’t be easy.  But above all his desperate hope was that eventually Sam would be able to overcome this, that he could help him to no longer feel the need for escape through the means of a blade.  

And a few times over the following years, Dean thought maybe he’d done just that.  Like the time Sam had gotten an infection in one of the cuts and he'd had to spend a week in the hospital on oxygen because the infection had weakened his lungs.  For a short time after that Dean had even dared to let himself hope that maybe that would be the end of it, that would be just the scare Sam needed to get him to stop.  That hope only lasted until three days later when he came back to the hotel with their supper to a guilty looking Sam and found the single small drop of red where Sam had likely missed it hidden on the tile by the trash can in the bathroom.

During the time Sam was at Stanford, Dean nearly lost his mind worrying about it, not being able to see for his own eyes what shape Sam was in. Sam told him later that Jess had known about his method of dealing.  “Kind of hard to hide the scars when, uh, you know...” he’d said with an embarrassed smile.  After her death Dean was surprised that the cutting actually seemed to lessen, when he’d feared it would only get worse.  He wondered about it until one day when they were sitting at a deserted intersection in the middle of nowhere Nebraska Sam looked over and told him, “She was so innocent.”  Dean waited for something more for what seemed like forever until Sam once more broke the silence.  “It just feels like dealing...with her dea-” he swallowed hard as though his throat were hardly working, “that way would be, I don’t know, disrespecting her I guess- I mean, she’d be really pissed,” and Dean thought he actually saw the faintest traces of a smile as Sam turned to look out his window.  

After their dad died, however, their dad who still didn’t know just how his baby boy was making it through each day- and Dean wondered if maybe that was part of why Sam felt so guilty after John’s death- it got really bad, so bad Dean was terrified for his little brother, afraid Sam might accidentally cut too deep or in so many places that he’d just loose too much blood and his little brother would be lost to him forever.  He’d finally mentioned something to Sam one night after he found an unusually large amount of blood stained paper toweling half hidden in the trash can.  
Sam’s response did little to assuage his fears.  Scrubbing a shaky hand over his tired face (He shouldn’t have to look so tired, Dean anguished) his voice was barely above a whisper.  “It scares me sometimes.  And sometimes, what scares me most is when it doesn’t scare me. Sometimes- sometimes I think I wouldn’t care if I cut too deep, or the wrong places,” and it was the slow tears finding their way down his baby brother’s too old face, the defeated look in those clouded hazel eyes, that Dean could feel tearing his heart in pieces, threatening to kill.  But the brokenness of Dean’s heart didn’t kill him, just as the cleaving of Sam’s flesh still left him alive, a macabre picture of a life spent enduring- an army of two, passing the years in a continual battle to survive.  

And there were times where for awhile Sam could beat it, when he would be able to resist the urge, sometimes for weeks, before he could no longer fight it and would once again succumb to the temptation, every day a struggle to see which side of him would win.

~*~*~*~

Sam had been back for a year and a half.  Dean’s brother Sam had been back for just over a week.  They’d stopped for the night rather than driving straight through to Bobby’s after finishing their first hunt back together and all Dean could think of as he got back with their supper and a 6-pack was a shower, long and hot, to maybe feel like he was something slightly human again.  Apparently Sam had had the same thought.  He was just pulling one of his old ratty sweatshirts over his still damp hair as Dean walked into the room.  And that's when he saw them- not the old scars that mottled his skin from all the times before, but fresh ones, raw ones just crusted over and newer ones still wet and oozing plasma.  

Setting the bags on the table, trying to act oblivious to what he’d just seen, Dean was suddenly struck with the crushing sensation that he couldn’t do this again.  All the feelings from before that he’d forced himself to ignore came rushing in and he was suddenly out the door and in the Impala before he even knew he was moving.  He drove without knowing where until just as the sun was cresting the horizon, he found himself pulling up again to their still open door.  He sat for a moment listening to the slow tick of the cooling engine, building his courage to face the little brother who he could never save.  Panic hit him as he entered the room finding it vacant one giant baby brother, until he saw the light under the bathroom door; the panic was replaced with a sick resignation.  Pushing open the door, Dean knelt on the cold tile in front of Sam’s hunched and shivering form, reaching slowly to gently pry the blade from his bloodied fingers.  “Sam, look at me?” he pled, silently praying he hadn’t messed things up as badly as he feared.  He couldn’t hide his relief when weary eyes looked up to meet his own.  “Hey, man, sorry I ran out like that.  Come on, let’s get you cleaned up, then we can talk.”  Sam’s resulting snort was well worth the suggested chick-flick moment.

Sitting on the carpet, backs leaning up against Dean’s bed, Dean broke the silence, “Ya know, maybe we should both grow beards.”  Sam’s eyebrows shot up as he wondered for a moment if Dean was actually half serious, before a dimpled smile slowly spread across his face, brightening the room more than the sunlight streaming through the window ever could.  

“Thanks, Dean.  Maybe we should.”

End
 
 
4thejourney
26 March 2011 @ 03:37 pm
I've been trying to figure out how to add a header image to my journal, and someone was even kind enough to send me a link to help, but for the life of me, I still can't figure it out! I guess perhaps I'm hopelessly technologically illiterate. :-P  Anyway, if anyone would be so awesome as to offer any help, I would be ever so extremely grateful. :-)  Pretty please? <3<3<3
 
 
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4thejourney
03 March 2011 @ 06:35 pm

I was tagged by beckalooby
 

The Rules
:

1. People who have been tagged must write the answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new, original question.

2. Tag eight (tried, it wouldn't work for some reason on some profiles) people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

I tag:

mikiya2200
sastiel
si_star_x
captainlon
peggy_shultz
tversan
paper_rose16
sistabro


1. Make a list of 5 things that you can see without getting up.
My coffee mug
Poinsettia plant
Mini Christmas tree I still haven't put away!
By brothers' sports gear
Space heater 

2. How do you style your hair?
Smooth over the top when it's still wet, then let it air dry; occasionally I'll brush it once it's dry but usually just comb it with my fingers or it goes limp and lanky.  Go to bed with it in a bun so that it will have some texture and body the next day.

3. What are you wearing now?
Denim skirt and shirt sleeve plaid blouse, pink fuzzy slippers :-)

4. What's your occupation?
Nanny

5. What do you hear right now?
Hey Rosetta's "We Made A Pact"

6. Who was the last person you hugged?
My aunt

7. What is/was for dinner?
chili and crackers

8. What did you do today?
Slept late, wasn't feeling well, caught up on office work, made cookies, got on lj

9. Dog person or cat person?
Can be both, but depends on the individual animal

10. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

Elizabeth

11. What was the last thing that you bought?
bottled ice tea

12. If you could afford to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

LOL, I like what was here before: "Hmm... Vancover to the SPN set, yes please!"

13. Favourite band/musician?
3 Doors Down

14. Favourite book?

Lord of the Rings

15. What are you doing this weekend?
writing and house work and hanging out with my sis

16. If you could play any musical instrument, which one would you play?
cello

17. How are you?
antsy, but happy, though a bit under the weather

18. What are you doing tomorrow?

working and hopefully writing

19. What are you looking forward to the most?
Of things that I know are about to happen (not just may someday), getting my first fic sent to be beta-ed, hopefully tomorrow. :-)

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