Disclaimer: Supernatural ain't mine.

Warnings: Vague spoilers for Season 4. Talk of addiction.

A/N: This addresses the mindset of Sam in season 4.

Whenever Sam's addiction to demon blood is mentioned, they seem to be awfully quick to say that it's because Sam wanted to be powerful. I can understand, and agree to a certain extend, Sam wanting power, but I don't think it's that simple.

Read, enjoy, review! :)

He has lost to demons, leaving you ragged and gasping and alone. He'll never know, not now, but this is when the world stopped turning. You wish it was gravity that was gone, so you could be carried away from here and die on your last breath, suffocating and bones snapping under pressure- a bearable pain; a shorter one.

It's like listening to clocks. For months, Sam is stopped, still enough to hear it.

Hear the pumping of his heartbeat throb against his skull, hearing the chug-chug-chug of alcohol as it's swallowed, imagining the always going scream of his brother, dying but not ever.

It's easy to sink into listening to the rhythm of timekeepers ticking along.

The thrumming of misery is overbearing. Loud and thick and needy, enveloping a person into its clutches and this is almost what Sam thinks people must mean when they say "down in the dumps," except it's more than that.

Because Sam has failed and now he gets to spend the rest of his life knowing regret.

Is he a fool?

He had the chance to do good. For once in his life, he was going to save Dean- not help, not share, not watch as Dean did it all. But honest to god save his brother, the only one worthwhile.

He has demons commandeering his fate, pooling along his blood and smoking away into nights and scurrying away with his brother's soul in hand. He thinks he had the power to blow them away, to mark himself as defender of souls and watch demons die under his hand.

Ruby swears he has this in him, that this is the way he can be and still carry on. To dig deep into himself, into a well he thought best covered, and pull out salvation. Twist the twisted, churn his blood, and watch evil intent become justice.

She had, just hours ago, lied to her kind and stabbed kin in the face, only to grab on to Sam and stare him down with disappointment.

As she saw what he had become and as she had her own regret for that, she told him what he could do, what his blood could do, and he now understands.

He shifts the sting of alcohol to the sting of blood, grimacing all the while, and steels himself, because he has purpose now.

It burns. As if, up until now, the world was blank nothing. And then you awaken, through your mouth, down your throat, and your whole body is filled with this. Because it's like the breaking down of molecules, one by one, and it's searing into every vein of this [you]. You transcend being, for a moment sliding out of mind and you're losing your mind, and then you sink into the layer of corporeality that pulls you, grounded.

You take a breath and open your eyes.

Sam is coming into himself. As the liquid of red falls, slicing down his throat, he gets stronger.

Soaring higher and stretching longer, he is darker and he is ready.

He believes that the beast inside of him has always been like this and so he is not afraid to take ahold of it and use it. This pounding, rampaging monster of fury pumps through his blood and has been there since demon tainted him. So he tells himself it's control he is gaining and it's true.

He comes back to you.

Dean is there, standing, unscarred, alive; safe.

For a second, Sam can forget about rising death tolls and threats and revenge. For just a second, he can lean in and hold on to the brother he should have fought harder for.

But then it is back to war, because it started long ago and Sam is it. He is a player, a part of a plan, and he cannot forget what that's done to him.

As Dean turns away, ducking into shadows and startling awake, a scream carressing along his tongue, Sam remembers failure and weakness and why he ever does anything.

He's lost so much and he knows if anyone is to give it all away the next time, it will be him. Dean is already damaged and weak and scared and Sam helped bring Dean to this point.

Besides, Sam is strong, Sam is fostering darkness, and it seems obvious enough that he will bear Dean, take in these shadows, as a part of an already growing promise.

Because this is really what it all adds up to- he promised Dean, in actuality and implication. But the true depth of what Sam will do goes unspoken, as walls are built to keep Dean safe (apart).

He is watchful, haunted by Hell and wary of you. He knows of madness and of torture, he knows the gull of secrets and believes this is where you bring him.

He sees where you are and not how you came, so he watches a war without context.

Unravelling deceits and impiety and lacking the reasons, he sees you as turning. He thinks you will become worse than some, perhaps he fears your likeness to him- as it is, he's lost and tainted (by Hell, by what is foretold and forced upon him) and out of place.

You wish to block out his shadow for a while longer, but he is pushing walls.

Because there is war and the enemy is evil, Sam finds himself asking, "What is mercy?"

The enemy of my enemy, and victims piling up; laying with Ruby, threading himself between vessels and their demons- that is his mercy. Because without the embrace of black eyed beauties and a meter of red, he would be drowning in war's innocent bloodshed.

Sam is good.

He may not glisten in purity nor hold Heaven's honor, but he pushes aside the throng of wrong to see what is necessary. Struggles of past revealed and later still, the fear of whispered wickedness have pushed him along and he fights against it. Even as he refuses to turn from a blackened destiny, he knows the results.

To not do this would be to become a burden. He's a mistake in progress and damnation is pulling him down with every growth of demonic power in his veins.

Because mankind is dying, in one way or another as they are crowded to Hell and pain by smoke, Sam cannot doubt. The qualms of any of them cannot come before saving the world (not by Bobby, or angel, or even Dean), not when it is all piling up on Sam and he, alone, must make the decision.

Through mourning and sinking and fighting and fear, you do not waver. You push and pull aside adversary for the better. Because you know there is an endgame and you can make it a good one with just the slightest bit of ruby red help.

He needs this.