Title: Hidden Truths

Author: Snarkymuch

Rating: T

Genre: Hurt/Comfort

Pairing(s)/Character(s): Sam, Dean

Warnings: Past sexual abuse

Spoilers: Season Seven

Summary: Set after the phone call with Dean in Season 7 episode 14 when Dean asks Sam what in the world the clowns did to him. Sam has a secret he's never told anyone, and when he sees a clown at Plucky's, his world begins to spiral out of control.

Hidden Truths

Clicking the phone closed, Sam tosses it onto the bed and then walks over to the table and grabs the bottle of whiskey, taking a sip. It burns, but he welcomes the feeling. It gives him something else to think about other than his conversation with Dean.

'What in the world did they do to you?' Dean's words echo in his mind.

He takes another long pull from the bottle, just wanting to forget exactly that. It's something that he's never told another human being and something that he never will as long as he can help it.

Knowing he has to do his job, Sam grabs his coat. He's going to Plucky's. The closer he gets, the more his heart pounds in his chest. His breathing quickens, and he struggles to keep from shaking. He gets as far as the parking lot before his stomach rebels, and he has to go dashing to the bushes to puke. He heaves until he has nothing left.

Pushing himself up to stand, he looks at the creeptastic building. It's just like he remembered, clowns adorning every available surface, the colors bright and sharp. It assaults his senses. This is his personal hell; nothing could be worse than remembering what had happened to him here.

He takes a deep breath, clenching and unclenching his fists. His rational mind knows that nothing inside there can hurt him now—he's not that eight year old boy anymore—but it's like he's frozen, unable to take the simple steps inside.

The sound of the doors opening catches his attention. He looks over and sees a clown stepping out through the main doors. He's got a lighter in one hand and pack of Marlboro's in the other. It makes Sam's muscles tense, and he steps back instinctively.

The overweight clown pauses when he sees Sam, looking him up and down. Sam knows he must look nearly as bad as he feels. The staring eyes of the clown make him want to crawl out of his skin. He brings a shaky hand up and wipes the sweat from his brow. The clown's face tightens in concern, causing lines to break in his makeup, and he walks toward Sam.

"Hey, buddy, you all right?" he asks, tilting his head to the side.

Sam nods, putting up his hands. "Yeah, I'm fine," he says, taking a step back and nearly tripping over the curb. He just wants to get away as quickly as possible without drawing any more attention to himself.

"You can't be here if you've been drinking," the clown says, pointing to the sign. "This is a family joint."

"Sorry," Sam says with a wave. "I'm just leaving."

The clown eyes him suspiciously and then walks off toward the corner of the building. When he gets there, he lights his cigarette, but his eyes never leave Sam.

Sam doesn't look back as he begins to run from the building. It's like he can feel everything his younger self once felt all over again, and it makes him want to curl up and cry just like he did back then.

When he gets back to the motel, he locks the door and begins to pace the old, threadbare carpet. He wrings his hands. The memories have never felt so real before, and he doesn't know what to do. And then it hits him. He needs to find a way to ground himself. Maybe the same tricks he uses on his hallucinations of Lucifer will work here. He rubs at the scar on his hand, pressing hard against it. Nothing happens. It doesn't work, so he digs his nail in. The little bit of pain momentarily makes him feel better.

Suddenly, a key rattles in the door handle, and Sam's gaze snaps to it. He's sure it's Dean and his body goes rigid. He has no idea what he's going to tell him.

Dean is looking down as he steps in and doesn't see Sam straight away. He tosses a bag of what looks like takeout on the table, and when he does look up, his eyes go wide.

"What are you doing here? Why aren't you down at Plucky's?"

Sam licks at his lips, his hands fidgeting at his sides. He frowns. "I was … I mean I went down there, but my stomach started acting up so I came back."

Dean raises a brow. "Are you sure it was your stomach and not your clown thing again?"

Sam shook his head. "No, it's really my stomach. If you don't believe me, go look. I hurled all over their bushes."

Dean's nose crinkled. "Eww."

"Yeah, I think we should probably avoid the diner on the corner."

Dean shrugged. "You go right ahead, but I love their burgers, so I'll take my chances."

Sam shifts his weight from foot to foot. "I hate to put more work on you, but is there any chance you could go down to Plucky's for me? I'm afraid if I go down there I'll end up puking all over some kid."

"You're really feeling that sick?" Dean walks over to him and presses his palm against Sam's forehead. "Not hot," he says, stepping back.

Sam cringes back. He hates lying to Dean, but there isn't any other choice. Even if he wanted to tell him, he's not sure he would be able to find the words to do it in.

"Fever or not, I can't stay out of the bathroom. There's no way I can go out like this."

Dean frowns and then nods. "Okay, stay here and get some rest. I'll head down to clown central and see what I can dig up."

He pats Sam on the shoulder and then grabs his coat, heading back out the door.

"Thanks, man," Sam says.

"No problem. Get some rest."

It takes two more days before the clown case is tied up, all of which Sam spends guiltily in and out of the bathroom pretending to be sick while his mind torments him. It's been circling around the same thoughts, the same memories, forcing him to relive them again and again in horrific detail.

"You sure you're okay to travel?" Dean asks, tossing his bag in the trunk.

Sam nods. "Yeah. I'm good."

"Good, let's hit the road then."

Sam watches the passing scenery, try to stay focused on the present. The memories are back, though, ghosting through his mind, taunting him, and the harder he tries to push them away, the harder they push back. He can almost feel hands on him again, tugging and pulling at his clothes.

He clenches his fists and takes a breath. It catches Dean's attention, who turns and looks at him quizzically. "You gonna be sick again?" he asks, already pulling the car over to a stop.

Sam shakes his head. "Nah, I'm all right."

Dean studies him for a moment for then nods, pulling the car back onto the road.

As soon as they reach the next motel, Sam makes a beeline for the shower. He feels dirty and wants nothing more than to stand in the hottest water he can find and wash away the hands that keep touching him.

The water feels good against him, and he relaxes a little. He's not sure how long he's in there but eventually there is a knock at the door. Sighing, he steps out of the shower, shouting, "Hang on a sec."

He towels off and throws on a pair of his loose fitting sweats. "It's open," he calls.

The door opens, and the cool air brushes against his skin, making him shiver.

Dean steps in. "You know you've been in here for almost an hour."

He shrugs. He really hadn't noticed.

"Sorry, I'm done now. It's all yours." He steps by Dean and out of the too small room.

Sam takes a seat on the edge of one of the beds. He grabs his duffel and digs through, looking for a shirt. He finds one and puts it on.

When he looks up again, Dean is leaning against the bathroom doorway, watching him.

"There's something off about you."

Sam's brows pinch together, and he shrugs. "I'm fine, Dean, really."

"It's the clown thing, isn't it?"

"Drop it, Dean."

"You weren't really sick, were you?"

Sam looks at Dean, clenching his jaw. "Leave it alone," he warns.

The warning seems to do nothing but egg Dean on.

Dean pushes himself up from the wall and walks over to the bed across from Sam's, taking a seat.

He stares at Sam like he can see straight through him. Maybe he can.

Dean's expression softens. "What happened to you?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"Don't lie. You're bad it. I'm your brother, remember?"

"And I'm asking you, Dean, as my brother, please, let this go." Sam pushes himself up from the bed and begins pacing the room.

"Sorry, I can't do that, man, not this time," Dean stands, sticking his hands in his pockets, watching Sam pace the floor.

Sam's hands are shaking, and he clenches his hands into fists, digging the nails into his skin to feel the pain. The pain keeps him grounded, keeps him from getting lost in the memories.

"Sammy, what aren't you telling me? Does this really have to do with some stupid clown?"

Even the word 'clown' sends a shiver down Sam's spine. He squeezes his fist tighter, feeling the muscles strain under the force. The nails cut deeper, and he can feel the dampness of what can only be blood collecting on his palm.

"Sammy?" Dean ask softly, approaching him slowly like he's afraid he might cower back.

Sam looks up and meets his gaze. "You really wanna know?" Sam challenges him.

Dean's brows pinch together, and he nods. "Yeah, I do."

Sam licks his lips and looks out the window before his gaze falls back to Dean. "He touched me, all right?" It comes out flat and without emotion.

Dean stops dead in his tracks; his mouth falls open and then closes again. He stares at Sam, his face twisted in confusion. Sam wishes he could take back what he said, but it's too late now. The cat's out of the bag. Now the world knows, now Dean knows, just how weak he is.

"Who … what?" Dean asks, his face contorting into something Sam assumes is disgust; Sam can't blame him for it. He let this happen to him.

The rest of the words seem to tumble out of his mouth before he can stop them. "You and Dad were on a hunt. I was sick so you told me to—"

"Stay back. I remember. We left you at a Plucky's for the day."

"Yeah but you didn't come back until late. They started closing and then …"

Sam struggles to find the words to finish, but he can't.

"Please, Sammy." Dean expression softens. "I need to know."

"One of the workers, a clown, came out and started talking to me. I tried to get away from him, but he was too strong. He grabbed me and took me back inside."

Sam closes his eyes and waits for the reprimand. He knows he didn't try hard enough to stop the attack. He was a trained hunter.

Dean took another step closer to him. "Jesus, Sammy. Did he …" Dean paused, swallowing hard. "Did he hurt you?"

Sam's gaze fell to the floor. It was enough to give Dean the answer he needed.

"I'm sorry, Dean. I should have used my training, but I was so scared. I let you down."

"Don't you dare apologize! This is not your fault," Dean takes a step toward Sam. "Why didn't you tell us, Sammy?"

"I thought you'd be mad." Sam has tears in his eyes now, and he it makes him feel even weaker.

Dean suddenly turns and charges into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. The water comes on a moment later. Dean's rejected him just like he knew he would. He wishes he could take it all back, but it's too late now.

Sam's chest aches, and he just wants to curl up and die. He fists his hair in his hands and stumbles back until his back hits the wall and then slides down it, curling up in a ball.

A sob breaks from his chest, and he rests his head on his knees. He can feel the unwanted touches on his body again, just like that day, moving over arms and neck. He can't take the feeling of his skin crawling and so he starts scratching at himself, digging at the ghosts. He claws mindlessly until he begins to draw blood.

Then suddenly there are hands on him, grabbing his wrists and pulling them down. His too broken to struggle, too tired. He lets the hands pull him forward and against a solid chest. There are soothing words being whispered against his hair as strong arms wrap around him and hold him tight.

"It's okay, Sammy," Dean says, "I've got you. It's okay. It's okay."

Dean begins to rock him gently, and Sam chokes out a sob. "I tried so hard, Dean."

"I know you did, buddy. I know," Dean says, rubbing his hand over his back. "Shhh, it's gonna be okay now. I've got you. Let me take care of you."

AN: Feedback is love! I am very nervous about this and would love to know what you think.