Title: Soul Stripped Bare
PG-13, themes, implied character death
angst, tragedy, supernatural, darkfic
Spoilers: up to 3x08 with projected spoilers till the end of season 3
Original Post Date: 11/04/2007
How do you move on? How do you forget someone when everything that you do reminds you of them?
the toy is ABC's etc, I'm just playing with it for a while kthx

She lays her soul out as plain as day and buries her face into his shoulder, her hands desperately clutching at his shirt for the sort of comfort that she craves but which he cannot offer.

It's quiet for days and no one dares to laugh or smile around her for weeks to come. She's not anywhere near alright, as much as she might say that she is.

Her pale arms are bare as she hangs her washing out slowly, one piece at a time, one piece at a time. It's a normal task for her, an everyday thing, but every time she folds a garment over the length of frayed twine it reminds her of the first time she did her washing here, with him, on the beach.

How do you move on? How do you forget someone when everything that you do reminds you of them?

Her fair skin burns under the sun and when her son hits her shoulder with a flailing limb, unknowing, it brings the sting of tears to her eyes instantly. Sun offers her some aloe for the pain and she takes it but stubbornly doesn't use it. It's a sort of self flagellation really – she's still feeling guilty about what happened and she's deliberately causing herself pain because of it.

There is too much pain in her heart for one soul to bear. The pain of a love unfulfilled and now lost weighs heavily on her mind and she pours herself into her child's life. When she begins to refuse to leave his side they forcibly take him away from her and tell her to go for a walk to clear out the cobwebs in her mind.

She refuses point blank to leave him alone for even five minutes and flies into a sudden rage of such emotion that her shrieks threaten to tear her throat apart and her voice cracks in an alarming fashion.

Eventually they give up and she takes her son gladly into her arms, tucking him up near her face so she can listen to him breathe. Her tears fall with every precious breath he takes.

She's as useless as a wind up doll. The only tasks she can perform are menial and even they become more of a struggle as each day passes. Breathing becomes harder and harder but everyone stops worrying about her – there's no point in it when they can't help her. She doesn't want them to help her, she doesn't need them to help her.

The only thing – the only person – that might have been able to pull her back is gone forever and she believes that it is because of her.

All her independence and sass leaves her, the spark of life in her eyes flickers and goes out like a dead bulb. The grief is slowly breaking her apart, breaking her down to a mere ghost of the woman she used to be. She sits alone and refuses all company, eating only when she remembers and tending to her son in an autonomous fashion reminiscent of a robot.

There is another supply drop and she eats peanut butter out of the jar until she's practically bursting with it. She wipes her sticky fingers on her jeans and stares at the half dozen empty jars for a long time before she pushes them aside, picks up her son and for the first time since it's happened, she goes to see him.

When she sinks to the ground at his feet, an unnatural silence falls and when she feels a hand touch her shoulder she closes her eyes hurriedly, overcome with emotion.

She knows that it's him.

His touch is so similar to the way she remembers it but there's something different in it too. She can feel the ebb and flow of life through the contact between them and there's a warm glow to her skin where he's touching her.

She opens her eyes. And in that moment, the clouds shift and drench the two of them in a bright light. Her eyes flood as she turns to see him standing behind her, smiling. He is silhouetted in light – just like an angel – and she can't help but laugh at the irony.

He was always seemed to be the darker of the two of them – his past history of substance abuse had left him with a dark shadow in his eyes, even when he smiled. Her shadows, in comparison, faded from her eyes a long time ago. And yet here he is, bathing her in a light that is enough to blind her.

She chokes on her tears and finally manages to speak.

"I'm sorry."

He continues to smile at her and reaches down to caress her cheek. The heat that emanates from his touch is enough to burn her skin but she feels only pleasant warmth as she leans into his hand and she knows beyond all doubt that he never blamed her in the first place.

She blinks her tears away and he wavers and disappears into the brightness of the sun but his presence leaves a lingering impression of warmth against her cheek.

She returns to camp still glowing.