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Sam wouldn't go as far as to say he’s lonely. But he is, really. Lonely. Because his brothers in hell. Burning. Because of him. Because he was stupid and careless and, by the time he realized what was happening, Jakes knife was lodged in his back and Dean was screaming his name and he didn’t know why.

This isn’t like the Tuesday’s upon Tuesday’s that still make Sam nearly have a panic attack every time Asia comes on the radio. There’s no trickster pulling the strings, this is all real, all consequences.

And, sure, there’s Bobby. So maybe Sam’s not entirely alone. But he isn’t dealing with Dean’s death any better than Sam is. On the outside, he may seem like it, but Sam knows Bobby, and Sam knows Bobby’s probably drinking away his sorrows as he speaks. And it’s not like they’ve talked at all since Dean. So, back to square one, Sam supposes.

But besides Bobby, there’s Ruby.

Sam knows he shouldn’t trust her. She saved his life, yeah, but she’s still a demon.

What he has in her isn’t trust. It certainly isn’t faith. He doesn’t know what it is anymore or why he’s got his tongue lapping at her bleeding wrist.

But it’s making him stronger. Powerful. He had next to no control of his powers before. But now. Now he can use them more than he ever could. There’s still work that can be done, and when Ruby doesn’t get back to him for weeks at a time, he can feel the exhaustion coursing through him, but it’s all fine and worth it when he gets another fix.

He remembers how pissed he was, and still is, at Azazel, for the blood. Yet, here he is, drinking as much as his somehow-still-human body can take. Whenever the power trips wear off, he’s mad at himself.

Sometimes, he gets mad at Dean, for not just letting him die, bleeding from his back into wet gravel. He wouldn’t be suffering in hell if he could just fucking let go.

Really, how can Sam blame him. Reverse the roles and he’d do the same, no questions asked.

The anger, red, hot, never really leaves him, always there, either in the background or right in front of his face where it’s impossible to ignore. But Ruby pets his hair when he’s busy poisoning himself further and the guilt of bad, wrong, shouldn’t, replaces everything else. She tugs his hair and laughs to herself at his sharp gasp.

The thing about Ruby, she’s good at getting what she wants. If she wants Sam to suffer without any blood, bordering on withdrawal symptoms, that’s what’ll happen. And Sam’s like a moth to a flame, falling for it every time.

He feels it, deep in his gut, the yearning for it. He doesn’t remember how he used to function without the blood flowing through him.

He’s not really sure he wants to.

Ruby’s right, and her lips are softer than the blood leaking from open wounds. Maybe that’s part of why he doesn’t hear the knocking for a solid minute.

She does, but keeps quiet, he needs to get stronger. The devil can’t free himself, after all.

Pulling away with blood all around his mouth and eyes lidded, Sam inhales deeply.

The knocking clicks and he realizes how insistent the person on the other end is. Ruby goes to answer, Sam following close behind like a dog eagerly following its owner after hearing the word ‘walk.’ With his puppy dog eyes, it isn’t much different.

She opens the door and the sight of Dean standing there, alive and not in fucking hell, is worth more than a double take.