This story is also available at this location on The Archive of Our Own, where all my current stories and comments can be found. I am no longer updating this site.

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Sanguine

Sam has this dream now.

He comes back to the motel room. There is really only one motel room, no matter how it’s decorated; in his dream it is stripped down to its essence, the ur-room.

There are always two beds, but only one of them is ever slept-in.

He comes back to the motel room, and Dean is waiting for him, pacing. Sam starts, though part of him is unsurprised. Dean tilts his head and grins, shark-white. His T-shirt is tight across his chest, his biceps. “Not who you were expecting, Sammy?”

“Where is she?” Sam asks. The desire is hot in his veins, like an infection.

Then he sees the knife, resting on the untouched bed. The blood is clotted, black. Dean’s smile is triumphant.

“I need her,” Sam says, his voice shaking. He’s a hair, a mote of dust, away from holding up his hand and sending Dean smashing into the opposite wall.

Dean shakes his head. “You don’t need her,” he says, and like that he has the knife again. He raises his arm to the blade. His skin parts like water, like lines painted on a highway, and the blood runs bright.

“That won’t do a damn thing for me,” Sam spits out, angered beyond endurance. “You can’t do anything for me.”

But Dean just steps closer, shoves his bleeding arm under Sam’s nose. “Ten years,” he says, and Sam’s eyes are drawn unwillingly down. Dean’s blood looks just like Ruby’s. It smells exactly the same. “You think any human lasts ten years? What the fuck do you think that handprint’s holding in?”

And Sam’s got nothing to lose. He grabs Dean’s arm and pulls it to his mouth, suckling sloppy because he thinks maybe if he can freak Dean out enough he’ll win some invisible prize. But as soon as the blood hits his tongue he knows: Dean wasn’t jerking him around.

Dean’s blood is richer than Ruby’s, for all that he’s new. Winchester blood, maybe, with an extra kick. Sam is making little noises, both hands clutched around Dean’s arm as if Dean might escape otherwise. But Dean isn’t trying to escape. He’s putting his free hand on Sam’s shoulder, guiding him down to sit on the messy bed while Sam chases each fresh spurt.

“Easy now,” Dean says, running his fingers through Sam’s hair, more tender than he’s been in years unless Sam’s the one leaking blood. Sam’s shoulder presses into Dean’s chest, solid and comforting like Dean is again the mother-father-big brother of Sam’s youth. “Easy now,” Dean repeats, even more gently. “Plenty more where that came from.”

Sam wakes from this dream trembling and—well, ‘Heaven help him’ is an unlikely phrase at this point—hungry. Every few days it’s too much and he calls Ruby, even though Dean knows, in general if not in specifics, what Sam is doing and so Dean draws even tighter in on himself. If Dean folds himself up any further he might just disappear.

Sam meets Ruby in some other, actual motel room, some shadow on a cave wall, and he lets her bring the knife and he lets her kiss him. On occasion, when he’s finished, they do more.

He drinks Ruby’s blood. He wonders if that was why she chose the name; if so, that smacks of long-term planning and suggests that he will soon have to take measures to minimize the threat she poses. He drinks, and he grows in power, and he watches Dean retreat from him without moving a muscle.

He drinks Ruby’s blood, and if sometimes—to be honest, most times; maybe, by now, every time—he imagines other skin against his, it’s hardly an additional sin.

Suppose he were to experiment, while he was awake. Castiel couldn’t stop him, not any more. Dean—the question is: would Dean even try to stop him? At first Sam had told himself that he was afraid Dean wouldn’t, that Dean would reveal himself to be the glorious monster of Sam’s dream.

That was another lie.

Sam hasn’t pressed his knife to Dean’s skin—yet—because even though Dean will give him anything, one way or another, Sam’s still worrying that he might taste only hot metal. He’s not sure he could survive the disappointment.

Ruby says there’s a time coming when Sam won’t need to borrow strength from her. Sam can hardly wait.

He’s going to kill Lilith—fast, because there’s fun and then there’s stupid. And then he’s going to make all his other dreams come true.

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