A/N: It turns out that I wanted to know a lot more about Sam's summer-of-doom, so I decided to add a bit to the story. Hope you like!

NB. Just a note that this story strays a bit from canon (but then again, we've never really been given a definitive answer to where exactly Sam went when he died, so I decided to make up my own answer for the purposes of this story).

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After Wyoming, Sam starts to accept her. He doesn't trust her, not yet, but the blood draws him inward, leashing him closer with each day that passes. Every so often, however, in spite the pull her blood has on him, he disappears without trace or tale, vanishing in the dead of night or during a bright summer day, sometimes not returning for close to a week. She thinks that he is visiting his brother, buried in a clandestine grave somewhere under the blazing summer sun, but he never tells her where he is going and she never asks. Their alliance is tenuous at best, brittle and still easily broken, and she does not want to strain it. So she allows him his privacy, is there when he needs her but no more.

It's rare that they sleep together, but it does happen, usually when Sam is drunk, because even with his reluctant promise to sober up, he still slips occasionally, falls into the black hole that is his grief. Alcohol has become his crutch, the thing that he turns to when he just can't deal anymore. At the days pass though, and the weeks grow into months, he starts to turn to her instead, using the rush that the blood gives him to mask the pain, to change the guilt into a righteous anger.

Slowly, they start to work together more and more. She guides him towards hunts and on occasion acts as backup. She saves his life a couple more times, building his trust in her. And she trains him, teaching him to use the powers he was given as a babe.

Every once in a while, a certain look comes into his eyes and she knows that he is wavering in the choices he has made, that doubt has crept into his mind once again, stealing past the bulwark that is his brother's death, worming its way through the grief and guilt and fury that are Sam's constant companions, and she knows that the next day he will refuse the blood she offers him. In retaliation, as punishment, she reminds him that every demon he sends back to hell with an exorcism is one more demon that can torture Dean, that every time he uses the knife, another person is dead because of him. And she reminds him that she can make him strong enough to kill. The first time, it is three days before he caves and presses his mouth to her wrist. The next time, it is only a few hours.

One night, as they lie on opposite sides of the motel room bed, Sam having shunned her touch, depriving himself for once of the punishment she knows she is for him, she asks a question to which she already knows the answer, wanting to find out just what he will trust her with, just how far he is willing to let her in.

"Do you remember it?" she says carefully.

"Remember what?"

She remains quiet, waiting for Sam to admit to her what he has admitted to nobody, letting the silence speak for itself.

There's a long pause. But then his voice finally parts the darkness like a knife through butter.

"A bit of it. Sometimes."

She waits for him to say more, but instead he rolls over and out of bed, apparently done with the conversation. So she sits up, blankets pooling around her waist, and catches hold of his arm.

"You never told Dean, did you?"

Sam stiffens, his whole body becoming tense and drawn, like a rubber band that is about to snap. The next second, he has wrenched his arm out of her grasp and her nails have torn into his skin, leaving a row of shallow red gouges etched into the underside of his wrist like a brand.

"Why didn't you tell him?" she presses.

"Why do you even care?" he snaps back. "And for that matter, how do you even know where I went?"

She lifts an eyebrow at him, allows a smirk to creep onto her face, tilting the corners of her mouth slyly upwards. "Come on, Sam. You've had demon blood in you since you were six months old. Somehow I didn't really think they'd have welcomed you at the pearly gates with open arms."

Even in the darkness, she can see a mixture of emotions flash across Sam's face, but he quickly suppresses them all. Next moment, he has disappeared silently into the adjoining bathroom, shutting the door tightly behind him, and she is alone.

It's a long time before the door opens again, casting a narrow ribbon of florescent light onto the mattress where she sits cross-legged, silently waiting. She looks up at the shadowed figure that emerges, follows it the length of the room as Sam crosses to his duffel bag that is draped across a lone chair, and watches as he bends down to rummage inside.

She makes her voice soft for her second attempt. "So why didn't you tell Dean?"

Sam stops for a moment, his arm still buried half-way in his duffel, his hair falling forward hiding his eyes from the meager light that permeates the motel room. "Because he would've asked me what it was like," he says finally.

"So?"

Sam's eyes flick fleetingly up to hers. "So I didn't want to scare him."

She watches him drop the bag onto the floor and settle down in the chair, obviously not intending to sleep again that night. "I've been there too," she says quietly, her voice soothing and persuasive. "You can tell me."

Sam doesn't reply, but when she opens her eyes the next morning, he is lying in bed beside her and doesn't object as she leans over him and begins to whisper into his ear about the many horrors of hell.

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Thanks for reading, everyone. Reviews are loved. :)