warm me up and breathe me.
The contact has Dean staggered; muscles tensing, voice hitching, tongue tied and quiet. Jimmy’s arm wrap around him as a semblance of a hug; fitted around Dean as if he had the blue prints on how-to handle Dean’s crumbled body, and it was comforting. It was warm and tender, and for the few precious moments it lasted, he found he wanted to—so selfishly, so utterly forbidden—to lean into it and just breathe it in before it was gone.
Just a second. A second to pretend, to belong.
If he had chased it, what would have happened? What would the damage be; the cost of his folly?
Jimmy grounds him with the clasp of his hands and Dean can’t think. All he sees is the all-too easy brush of dismissal Jimmy gives in light of his words. Jimmy doesn’t believe a word of it—-He can see by the dimming of his eyes; a loss of light behind usually too bright eyes. There is guilt and pain and above their decisions the heavy loom of self-blame; the smoke of a fire that has long ago burned all there is to burn, and still the smoke pervades.
What’s he supposed to say now? Thanks, seems disrespectful. It isn’t there—the words, they aren’t there. They ran and left him in abandon, sitting in a dimly lit room with the voice of a man, and the grip of his hands, and these too-good praises. Too good for Dean, too—too much to hear that he is thought of so highly.
He could crack a joke. He could bat at Jimmy’s trial of humor, and it’s there, but it’s lost in the wake of other things.
Dean’s mouth is cotton. His eyes cast to the furrow of Jimmy’s brow; the blue of his eyes, and it’s so soft, and curious, and drenched in a wisp of things he can’t explain; the way his voice rumbles out with a somber timbre. “And you don’t? You don’t—-” He halts, already regretting what he was stupidly going to ask. “Think the same.” Of yourself. He don’t believe what he’s done matters. He don’t believe at all.
They don’t believe at all.
“Think the same?” he repeats, confused. His brows furrow and his head tilts as he wonders if his words hadn’t come out as if he truly believes what he’s said in regards to Dean Winchester. He is a good man. Jimmy believes it. He’s made his mistakes but they all have. Some held higher costs than others, but he wasn’t one to compare losses. Though upon revision of Dean’s words, Jimmy realizes he had meant in terms of himself. If he thinks the same of himself.
His lips press together and Jimmy’s hands drop their contact. His arms wind up hanging limply by his sides and for once, he feels awkward, unsure what to do with them and resisting the urge to cross them over his chest protectively. He knows how body language can be read and he doesn’t want Dean to believe he’s hiding anything. Jimmy’s throat flexes as he swallows and his eyes dart away when he begins speaking.
“Our situations are different, Dean. So are our losses. I volunteered to have my life disrupted. You didn’t.” His gaze flickers back towards Dean and before he knows it, his arms were layering across his chest, hands holding each other at the elbow as Jimmy considers whether to explain further or to leave it at that.
Jimmy didn’t need comfort. He knew what he had done. All he needed was to learn to live it it, with his decision to ruin his own happiness. Dean may have been obvious in his self-destruction, but Jimmy was silent in it. Unnoticeable until people took a better look.
“It’s different. You didn’t ask for this. You didn’t deserve this.”
The loss of contact does make Dean reconsider what he’s said. He’s always had a bad habit of letting his mouth run wild and free; often saying brash and insensitive things. Words that cut like the jagged edge of a knife and heal as wounds.
By the look in Jimmy’s eyes—the sweep of confusion, the defensive cross of his arms—he’s lost it, and the wrongness of it make his fingers flex, twitch where they lay in unrest.
He could get away with it more as a young boy, but no longer. Even then, there were consequences, and they taught him a very important lesson: he hurts and he ruins.
And Jimmy’s right, they’re situations are different, as are there losses, but that doesn’t make the loss any less painful, or meaningless. True, Dean didn’t ask for a lot of these things. He sure as hell didn’t ask for death and bad luck to follow behind him and his brother, or Christ, his family, like a weight and shadow; seeing and taking and breathing in everything he’s loved, that was good, that could have been, and crush it into bloody little pieces because Dean is an omen; the foreshadowing of a bad demise, and everything he’s touched and cared for has died one way or another. Snatched, frisked, dissipated into bitter trails of gray ash.
There are times where he’ll look at his hands and wonder what he’s made of. If the blood in his veins is tainted, somehow, or not blood at all. Maybe he’s just caked mud and dirt and that’s keeping him together, and if he were anything less—less a disease and more a cure—then he could be make right all the people he’s breathed his poison into, take back it and loosen the noose around their neck.
Dean looks at his hands and searches where he ever went wrong. Why the angels want him so very, very much, and how they cannot see that he’s not the one. How they cannot see that this was not meant for him and Sam and Jimmy and everyone who’s been caught in the crossfire.
He saves people because who else is going too? Who else can and will without breaking underneath the weight of it? If he stops, half the world dies. If he doesn’t, they all die.
”Just because you chose it doesn’t mean you deserve it. That’s just fucked up. It's not right. You can’t sit here and tell me only one of us can bear the weight of it, cause you know what? Just because it’s different doesn’t change the fact we’ve both been screwed and had our chains yanked around.”
Dean’s not mad at Jimmy. He’s mad because he might just be making it worse than making it better, but he can’t stop running his mouth just as much as he can’t prevent how Jimmy chooses to suffer in silence: with no one to hear or see or look around. He doesn’t dare reach out and grip his shoulder to make him get it, though his fingers itch too. Not in an effort to comfort exactly, but out of instinct. That desire to absolve, to soothe and worry away. Or brush Jimmy’s thigh as if that’ll tell him, but he has no right to do that. So his voice goes soft and defiant and disbelieving for all that he’s trying to say.
”Cause if you asked for it… if you really asked… it wouldn’t be you. If you knew what would of happened. To your family. I don’t believe you would have chosen that. Any of it. You care so much about them you’d rather let them go—-” And I couldn’t, and I didn’t and I still can’t and if I had, if I had just let him go—-“ and live without you than have them suffer or die. Cause they’re your family, and that’s…
“That’s real. Worth more than the ‘greater good.’ It’s the only reason worth fighting for.”