"Please forgive me Charlie!", Sam wept into her lap while she stroked his hair softly. Charlie felt almost as bad for Sam as she did for herself. "I never meant for any of this to happen!" Charlie grabbed Sam's face in both hands and brought it up to meet hers. She had tears running down her face and Sam cringed when he saw them.
"I can't forgive you, Sam", Charlie whispered. Sam opened his eyes and looked at her with a mix of sorrow and resignation. "I can't forgive you because there's nothing to forgive. Sam, you have to stop blaming yourself for this", Charlie croaked through her tears. "There's no way you could have known Lucifer would come after me!" She wiped the tears from his cheeks with her thumbs and kissed his forehead, which made Sam break into quiet sobs. Charlie sighed, and shook his face lightly. "SAM!", Charlie said with a firm but not unkind tone. "STOP THIS NONSENSE RIGHT NOW!"
"OK, Charlie" Sam took several deep breaths with his eyes closed. When he opened his eyes, Sam smiled at her and she smiled back, grabbed him around the neck, and hugged him tight.
"I can't say that I'm gonna get over this overnight, Sam. Or if I ever will. Not completely anyway." Sam looked at her face and his heart broke. "I'm gonna have a long road, Sam. And so are you. I'm not gonna lie and say that I'm not gonna flinch when you touch me or turn away when you look at me." She grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly. "But I can't begin to heal knowing that you're shouldering all this blame by yourself!"
"Thank you, Charlie", Sam whispered. "I just don't understand why you would care so much about me after everything you went through." Sam sniffed and wiped his nose on the back of his hand. Charlie snorted and hid a smile in her hand. Sam looked at her, confused.
"Sam, your family!, Charlie said. "Why wouldn't I care about you?" She leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "If I weren't into girls, I would have had you the first time we met!" Sam's breath caught in his throat and he cleared it, looking away in embarrassment. "And who knows? Maybe I could be persuaded to turn Bi." She winked at him and Sam snorted. "See? We're not completely broken!", Charlie chuckled.
"Charlie, you're incorrigible!", Sam whispered. She was a strong woman, Sam thought. Stronger than anyone he'd ever known. He hoped she would make it through this trauma without too much lasting damage to her psyche. She had been through so much in her past, God knows she didn't need this too. But he had to start letting go of some of this guilt. He knew in his head that Lucifer was responsible for what happened to Charlie, but he wished that someone would explain that to his heart.
While Charlie and Sam were talking, Dean gathered Sam's clothing that were scattered around the room and put them on the bed. Then he went and grabbed Charlie's bag and handed it to Rowena, whispering something in her ear. Rowena nodded and walked over and knelt on Charlie's other side.
"Why don't we go and freshen up, Love?", Rowena asked softly. Sam stood up and backed away from her. He was afraid that he might scare her if he grabbed her to help her stand. Rowena and Dean helped her get to her feet and Charlie walked slowly toward the bathroom, clutching the sheet that was wrapped around her for dear life. Rowena followed her carrying the bag and closed the the door gently.
Sam flopped down on the bed, utterly defeated, with his elbows on his knees. He couldn't hold back the great heaving sobs as he buried his face in his hands. Dean and Cas sat down on either side of him and held him as he wept. Nobody said a word.
They just grieved with him.
Rowena turned on the shower and laid Charlie's clothes out on the counter, getting everything ready for her when she got out. Charlie stood in front of the mirror, staring at a woman she didn't recognize anymore. It was the same face, the same hair, everything was the same. Except for her eyes. Charlie wasn't sure just what that difference was. Her eyes just looked...off. Rowena placed a hand on Charlie's shoulder and she flinched. She looked over and saw Rowena's kind smile and dropped her eyes to the floor. Embarrassed by her reaction.
"I...I'm sorry, Rowena", Charlie croaked. The tears that were building made the words catch in her throat.
"Oh, pish-posh!", Rowena said waving away the apology. "You have nothing to be sorry for, Love! If what happened to you, ever happened to me, I'd be a complete basket case!" Rowena smiled at her again and handed her a towel. "Take a shower, Dear. You'll feel better." Charlie stepped into the shower and let the hot water hit her face. It was scalding hot, but it was better than feeling Lucifer's hands all over her body. She grabbed a wash cloth and the soap and scrubbed at her body , trying to wash away the pain. But, no matter how much she scrubbed, the pain never seemed to ebb. She scrubbed harder until her skin was red and raw. The tears poured down her face, washed away by the hot water. She leaned against the back of the shower and sank down to the tiled floor of the stall. She brought her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them and wept silently with her head on her knees.
"Are you alright, Love?", Rowena asked, concerned. She had been in the shower for a while without making a sound. "Can I get you anything?" She was greeted by only silence. "Charlie?" Rowena slowly crept toward the shower, fearful at what she might find. She pulled the curtain back a few inches and peeked inside. When she didn't see Charlie standing there, she panicked, wrenching back the curtain. When she looked down, Rowena saw Charlie huddled on the floor. "Charlie!" Rowena yell whispered. She shut off the water and knelt down in front of the crying woman. Charlie flinched when Rowena touched her shoulder. "It's OK, dear! It's me, Rowena! Are you alright?" Charlie slowly raised her head, looked into Rowena's eyes, and burst into tears. She grabbed Rowena around the waist, gripping her dress tightly. "Oh, my sweet girl", Rowen whispered. "I've got you." Rowena's heart broke for the young woman who shared her fiery red hair. "Let's get you off this wet floor, hmm?"
"OK", Charlie croaked. Rowena lifted her up onto her feet, led her out of the shower, and wrapped a towel around her. Rowena sat Charlie on the toilet and started towel drying her hair. "Do...do you think Sam will be OK?", Charlie whispered in a small voice. Rowena sighed and knelt down next to her again.
"Oh, he'll be fine!", Rowena said. "You know how men are! They think they have to take all the hurt and blame on themselves. They think that we ladies are too fragile to handle it on our own." Rowena stroked Charlie's cheek and smiled. "Neither one of you need to shoulder this pain on your own! We are here to help you!" Charlie just nodded. She was afraid of what might come pouring out if she opened her mouth.
Sam was fully dressed and sitting at the small table when the bathroom door creaked open and Charlie walked out with her arms wrapped around her middle. Sam jumped to his feet and Charlie gasped and took a step backwards, running into Rowena, who was standing behind her. Charlie spun around quickly to face whatever was there with her fists raised up in front of her. When she saw that it was just Rowena, her eyes got wide and she threw her hands over her mouth in horror at what she was about to do.
"OH GOD! ROWENA! I'M SO SORRY!" Rowena grabbed Charlie's hands and pulled them away from her mouth.
"Now what did I tell you before, dear?", Rowena murmured. "You have nothing to be sorry for." Sam walked slowly toward the two red heads with his head down.
"It's my fault", Sam whispered. "I scared her. I'm so sorry Charlie."
"YOU KNOW WHAT?", Charlie barked in frustration. "IF I HEAR ANOTHER 'I'M SORRY', I THINK I'M GONNA PUKE! STOP SAYING THAT, SAM!"
"NO!", Charlie screamed in his face. "STOP TAKING ALL THE BLAME AND PAIN, SAM! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I WON'T!" Charlie was screaming at Sam hysterically while she sobbed. "LUCIFER IS TO BLAME FOR THIS! NOT YOU!" Sam grabbed her and hugged her close while Charlie struggled to get out of his grip. "LET ME GO, SAM! I'M NOT DONE BEING MAD AT YOU! YOU THINK IT'S YOUR JOB TO TAKE ALL THE PAIN AND GUILT ON YOUR SHOULDERS TO PROTECT ME! WELL, DON'T!" The more she struggled, the firmer his hold on her got. "DON'T!" Sam shushed her, stroking her back as she wailed. "Don't..." Charlie stopped struggling and just went limp in his arms. Her soft sobs were muffled by her face pressed into his chest. The three other people in the room just stood around them, not making a sound.
Dean was not an expert in psychology, but he thought that, eventually, Charlie and Sam were gonna be OK.