continued for ashley. i don't know where this is leading, though, so there's your warning. everything from the first bit also applies to this bit.

It didn't start like that. No, seriously, it's true. There was never a conscious decision tied to any of these things. He'll defend that statement to the end, even when (especially when) he knows he's driving Dean crazy.

It's not like he sat down once with a hunting knife and decided it would be a good idea to press it against his arm.

no, dean, I just need a band-aid, okay?
because the first time, it's true. a band-aid is all he needs, it's a stupid little cut on his shoulder from where his hand slipped off the whetstone, but dean still goes all mother-hen and clicks his teeth.
sure thing, sammy.
the nickname makes his teeth ache. he isn't sammy anymore. sammy didn't know about the world of monsters (and there are so many more than could ever fit in the closet in his bedroom. the logistics of this used to frighten him, even before he knew the meaning of the word logistics.
the familiar litany returns his mind to its normal place; he is unhappy with what he knows of the world, but content to keep seeking out something that will finally make him feel better.

after a while, the accidents stop being accidents, and dean stops asking him about it. the little white lines turn into little white lies, but no one really notices.
and sam smiles, because that's pretty much what he was asking for, you know?

It's not like he chose to run on empty, all day every day, until he collapsed in a sad little heap.

you gotta eat, sammy.
there's that name again and it has him feeling sick, even more that the three bites of mac 'n cheese did.
sorry, dean.
he pushes away from the table, feels the knobs of his spine push against the wood of the chair. he's ashamed of his body, now. it wasn't always like this- dad was usually good at bringing in food and money, sam knew it wasn't his fault. he'd just lost track this time. he'd been gone on that hunt for so long, anyway. they had more important things to worry about than the last meal. there were too many times in their family history when dean had gone hungry so sam would have dinner. this wasn't going to be a repeat of those times. and besides, he didn't mind the way being hungry made him feel. it sharpened his mind.
I guess I'm just getting sick or something. sorry.
yeah. well. the corner of dean's mouth quirks up. you know where the medicine's at. m'going out, you call me if you start feeling worse.
of course. yeah.

after a little while, dad gets back and there's more than enough to eat because the job paid pretty well. at first he eats like he used to, but he misses the dizziness of hunger, the pain at the back of his throat. he doesn't understand why, but he smiles anyway when he presses fingers against bones.

It's not like he wanted this for them. He never wanted to be taken care of.

Well, no.

That's a lie.

Everyone wants to be taken care of. He was just sick to death of the way his family showed love and concern:

- the rumble of s'okay, Sammy with a pair of tweezers embedded in his back, bullet half-in and half-out-

- the slosh of alcohol, the birthday burn down the back of his throat-

- the initials carved into the door of the Impala-

Perhaps he just doesn't function this way. He toys with the whole 'switched at birth' idea, but lets it slide because it's stupid.