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Bond'll Never Be Broken, That Love'll Never Get Lost

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Five weeks.

It’s been five weeks since Dean went to Hell. It’s been five weeks since Sam couldn’t save his brother.

He’s angry. He’s just really fucking angry that he couldn’t fix it, he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t make it right. He’s angry at the world and he’s angry at God (if he even exists) and he’s angry at Lilith and he’s angry at himself and-

He’s been threatening demons, begging them to let him trade places with Dean. But he can’t, they won’t take him. He’s not enough, he’s never been enough. He was never good enough for Dad and he was never good enough for Dean and he was barely even good enough for Jess.

He’s covered in blood and guts and all kinds of various demonic grossnesses, so he decides he probably needs to shower.

God, he hates showering.

But he does it. He makes his way into the shitty motel bathroom and he strips off his shirt, tosses it into the main room, unbuckles his belt, unzips his jeans… until he’s standing there in just his boxers and his binder, his clothes in a heap just outside the bathroom door, and he stares at his stupid reflection in the mirror.

Why doesn’t he cut his hair? Dean always made fun of him for it, and Sam supposes he’s not wrong – it does make him look like a girl, and he hates that, he doesn’t want to be – but he’s attached to his long hair for some reason. It’s not like he’s gonna grow it out like it was before, but he likes it shoulder-length and kinda messy.

He doesn’t like thinking about Dean.

He doesn’t like a lot of things.

“Okay, time for the hard part,” he mutters to himself, turning around so he can’t see his reflection in the mirror and toeing the door closed, even though there’s no one else in the motel room, no one else even knows he’s there. He grips the bottom hem of his binder tightly, until his knuckles start turning white, and asks himself for about the thousandth time since he got the damn thing why it’s so hard for him to take it off. It’s not like he can’t put it on whenever he wants to.

He grits his teeth, squeezes his eyes shut, and yanks it up and over his head.

Oh, fuck. Fuck fucking- fuckfuckfuck. He’s immediately hit with a wave of dysphoria so bad it’s physically sickening. It makes his stomach roil and his head hurt and his blood roar in his ears. Goddammit, this is going to be really fun, isn’t it?

Just when he thinks he’s getting it under control, he moves, he feels them, and he automatically reaches up to adjust them and-

And then it’s a dysphoria attack, and he finds himself sinking to the floor, holding on to the door handle to keep himself grounded, binder still clenched in his left fist as he hyperventilates. When he comes back to himself enough to remember his surroundings, he forces himself to think. What did Dean used to say? Dean was always the one who helped him through these things. But Dean’s not here, so he’s gotta do it himself.

“It’s okay,” he whispers to himself. “It’s gonna be okay.” He takes a deep breath. “You’re okay, Sammy. Just stare at the wall or the ceiling. Don’t look down, don’t look in the mirror, it’s gonna be okay, Sammy. Don’t look down… don’t look in the mirror… you’re okay. It’s okay, Sammy. It’s okay. You got this. Just stand up.”

He takes another deep breath and drags himself to his feet with one hand on the door handle and one on the counter.

“Okay, good. Now just turn on the water. Good job, Sammy, you can do this.” He walks across the room, twists the handle to turn on the tap, sticks his hand under it. Once it gets warm, he grabs the little pin, pulls it up. The showerhead sputters and starts.

“Good job, Sammy,” he repeats quietly to himself. “It’s okay.” He puts his towel on the towel rack, sheds his boxers (carefully not looking down because good god), and steps under the spray. And then he stands there, like a block of ice, not moving for at least a minute, until finally water starts dripping into his face from his hair and he brushes it away and then he grabs his fruity body wash and starts vigorously scrubbing his entire body, still not looking away from this one stain on the tile wall.

He imagines he’s somewhere else, anywhere else, while he washes… that stuff. He pretends he’s doing something completely unrelated, and then when all the water runs clear again, he finally lets go.

He slumps against the wall, his ankle braced in one corner of the bathtub, his shoulder against the opposite wall, his arm outstretched to hold himself up. He lets his head fall forward and his tears are barely noticeable among the water streaming down from above him.

He’s so angry.

When he checks out of the motel, all the knuckles on his right hand are wrapped in white gauze, and there’s a chip in one of the tiles in the shower that wasn’t there when he checked in.