Title: Esau Have I Hated
Genre: Angst
Length: ~2,000 words
Warnings: Some swearing, non-graphic sex (canon Sam/Ruby, only in passing), violence on par with the show.
Summary: The architecture of an addiction exposed.

A/N: This is a response to a prompt on the h/c challenge over on ohsam . The prompt was "The first time Sam drinks Ruby's blood." I had originally intended to write a standard one-shot about the first time Sam drank Ruby's blood, but it sort of evolved into something a bit more complex. I tried to find a beta, but no luck, so any and all mistakes are mine alone. Feedback is always welcome and appreciated. :)

The first time Sam gets a taste of demon blood he is six months old – too small and simple to have any say in the matter. He can't know how this moment will change the course of his life, the pain and betrayal it will rain down on his family. All he knows is that there is a dark shadow over his crib, a glint of light, and a hot, metallic taste blossoming on his tongue.

Little Sammy's heart pounds when he tastes it, tiny legs kicking and perfect little fingers curling into fists. Heat rushes through him and he gurgles, happy, awake, euphoric.

He hears his mother's voice. There is light and heat and a smell that burns the inside of his nose, but Sammy doesn't cry when his brother carries him out into the cold night.

There is fire in his blood, keeping him warm.

When Sam is ten, he watches an exorcism for the first time.

The demon hisses at them through its stolen ruby lips, spitting and screaming and tearing at them with its words. Sam hangs back behind his brother and fights the urge to grab Dean's hand. John is reciting the Latin in perfect cadence, his face impassive as the demon squirms.

When it's over the poor waitress is dead and Sam feels like crying. Dean always tells him that they're heroes. They save people and stop the bad things from killing. But this was ugly, and brutal, and the girl is slumped dead inside the devil's trap. Sam can't see anything heroic here.

While John and Dean wipe the place down and pack up their supplies, Sam steps over the meticulously drawn lines on the floor and approaches the dead girl. He wonders about her – who she was, who will miss her now that she is gone. Blood has dribbled from her nose and eyes and dripped a gory pattern on her pink top.

Sam can smell it this close – the familiar tang of copper and something else. Something spicy and rotten and instinctive. His guts roil, part revulsion and part attraction. His heart pounds like he's been running and a cold sweat rolls down between his shoulders. He's reaching out a hesitant hand to touch her blood before he can even think about it.

"Sammy," Dean says, pulling him back, "Don't, okay? She's gone. You can't help her now."

Sam is quiet for the ride out of state, hands clenching and unclenching in his lap. He rests his forehead against the backseat window and watches the inky trees blur by. Dean keeps darting glances at him from the front seat. Dean thinks Sam is upset because the girl died. He's right, but it's not grief that makes his fingers shake and his eyes tear up.

It'll take more than a decade before he can look back and recognize this as the first time he knew there was poison inside him.

Sam is twenty-three when he's possessed by the demon they call Meg.

When she pushes her way into his brain there is searing pain and an overwhelming, animalistic terror. He struggles and screams in his own mind, horrified at the things he can see her doing with his hands, his body. She revels in his despair, her amusement and dark lust twining through his memories like a snake through the grass.

Sometimes it's dark and silent where he is. Other times she shows him what she's doing. The sounds are too loud, the colors too bright, the sensations excruciating. Through it all, despite the pain and hopelessness and fear, there is the rush of her blood. His blood. Their blood. It pulses through his body like lightning, crackling through his flesh and bones. It's hot, painful, and so full of unbridled power that Sam almost believes he can escape his own skull, fly like a bird back to his brother and explode like the sun, obliterating all the darkness in this world.

When he comes to days later, slumped on the floor of Bobby's house, Dean punches him in the jaw. Sam pants for air and gapes at him uselessly. The whole world washes out like an old photograph. The colors dim, the focus goes grainy, and every ounce of strength in his body bleeds out of him like water. He feels like he can't breathe. He wobbles when he stands and his head aches like he's just come off a three day bender.

"Who the hell knows that that bitch did to you while she had you," Dean tells him. "I doubt she bothered to eat or drink much. You'll feel better once we get some food and water in you."

Sam doesn't feel better, not for weeks. And even then, something inside him twists and hungers for the hot rush of something he can't name.

Sam is twenty-four when Dean dies.

The agony he feels swallows everything else and leaves him an empty, wrecked, shell of a person. He used to be a brother. Now he's nothing.

Everything slips away, and he lets it.

Sam is still twenty-four when he fucks Ruby for the first time, though he feels decades older, bent over under the weight of unbearable grief and anger.

They've been hunting, and they're both bloody and bruised and breathing hard. Sam revels in the pain and the adrenaline of near-death. He feels alive for a while, and then the icy numbness and despair creep back like the tide.

He's not ready for it to go. He wants to hurt. He wants to feel.

So he pushes Ruby down on the stained motel bed and kisses her like she's air and he's suffocating. They pull and scratch at each other, bite and shove and bruise. It's ungentle and desperate. Sam is so far gone by the time Ruby presses her bleeding wrist to his lips that all he registers is the fiery rush of power and pleasure. It's like every orgasm he's ever had is rushing back through his body in a wave. It's the most alive he's felt since Dean died. The most alive he's felt, ever.

He feels like he's been asleep all his life and is finally, finally, awake.

All of the light bulbs in the motel explode at once and Ruby's breathless voice drifts out of the sudden darkness like a promise.

"We're going to do great things together, Sam."

Sam is twenty five when Dean, back from the dead and pissed as hell, locks him in the panic room.

He spends days sweating, screaming, and puking, certain that he's going to die. There is a black hole in the center of his chest, sucking up all of his air. His limbs feel like they belong to someone else. He can't make them work right. He hallucinates – his mother, Jess, a younger version of himself.

Dean.

Dean mocks him, spits on him, rips into him with angry words. Sam huddles next to the cot, too weak to climb back onto it. This is the worst of it, he tells himself.

But it's not.

The worst of it comes two days later when he knocks Bobby unconscious, beats his brother bloody, and unleashes hell on earth.

Now Dean looks at him like he's a stranger. Shame and self-loathing squeeze his heart in a vicious fist. His heartbeat stutters like Morse code, what have I done, what have I done?

He's horrified by his actions, the ways in which he's allowed himself to be used. He's spent his entire life trying to save the fucking world, but if he lives to be a thousand years old he'll never be able to redeem himself for this.

From the way Dean is looking at him these days, Sam's not the only one thinking it.

How did he let himself turn into this monster? He lies awake every night, gut clenching with shameful want, trying to answer questions he can't bear to ask in the light.

Sam is two days shy of twenty six when he finally understands how it all fits together.

They're in Detroit in the warehouse district. Dean is bleeding from a head wound and Sam is pretty sure his arm is broken. The demon they've trapped is pacing the devil's trap, watching Sam with dark eyes.

"We worked the longcon on you, boy," it laughs.

Sam's chest aches as the demon lays it all out, from Azazel giving him his first taste of blood, to Meg, to Ruby (and he can't help it - he still feels a bitter sting of betrayal when he hears her name, grief for a person that never existed).

"Azazel and Meg, they played their parts," the demon chortles, zeroing right in on that hurt, "But Ruby… Oh, she was a master. Wormed her way right into you, didn't she? But don't feel bad, Sammy. By the time she got to you we'd already made sure you were primed and hungry for it. All she had to do was offer, and two decades of planning guaranteed you'd take the bait. They set up the dominos and she knocked 'em down."

"You son of a bitch," Dean growls, pulling Ruby's knife from his belt.

"Aw, Dean," The demon says, voice thick with false sympathy, "Didn't you know Sammy's been our puppet all along? Or did you just assume that your brother came up with the idea of drinking demon blood all on his own?"

Sam's chest is tightening, his knees shaking. Reality seems to be wavering around him like a heat mirage. He feels a sense of disconnect, the feeling he gets when he's dreaming and almost awake enough to know it.

His whole life. They've been poisoning him his whole life.This addiction has wrecked him, tainted him, turned him into a fucking freak and destroyed the trust his brother once had in him. They've toyed with his life, his soul, for their own dark motives. They've put a dark pit inside him that he can't ever cut out and they did it on purpose. They planned it, for decades.

"You performed beautifully," the demon tells him, bowing a little in his direction. "Such a good little pup. Fell right in line and justbeggedfor it, didn't you"

"Shut up," Sam says, breath hitching. He's horrified to feel tears welling in the corners of his eyes. "Shut up."

"The truth hurts, Sammy boy," the demon shrugs. "At least you can take comfort in the fact that you never stood a chance. We planted this seed when you were still pissing in diapers. So just enjoy the ride, guilt free. I'd be happy to spare a few pints if you'll- "

The rest of what it was going to say dies in a wet gurgle as Dean drives the knife into its throat, twisting viciously. Blood spurts over the hilt and Dean's hand, splattering onto the dirty floor. Light sparks under the possessed man's skin and the body goes limp.

The spicy smell of blood permeates the air and Sam's heart thunders with horror and want. It's too much, too much, and he can't breathe.

He needs to get away.

Dean turns to look at him, face stricken and hands gleaming red.

Sam runs.

Dean finds him in an alley, sobbing breathlessly into his knees and pulling at his hair. He flinches when his brother rests a hand on his shoulder, bracing for the sticky scent of blood.

"It's okay, I washed up," Dean says quietly, and a spike of humiliation drives through Sam. "Sam…"

Sam shakes his head, pulling in great heaving breaths that do nothing to ease the crushing feeling in his chest.

Dean sits beside him, the leather of his jacket creaking as he wraps an arm around Sam's shoulders and pulls him in. He uses his free hand to gently pull Sam's fingers from his hair, folding them in against Sam's chest.

"I'm sorry," Sam sobs, grabbing desperately at Dean's hand. "I'm sorry."

"Jesus, Sam," Dean breathes, wrapping his fingers around Sam's and squeezing. "I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry. I didn't know. I didn't protect you, and when everything came apart I blamedyou."

He sounds wrecked, as overwhelmed as Sam.

Sam wants to say more, to comfort or to be comforted, but a hundred terrible questions well up in his throat and choke him. What else have they done to him? How else have they changed him? Is he even real, or did the real Sammy die the moment that blood hit his infant lips?

Will he always be like this?

He buries his face in Dean's shoulder, mute and aching.

"I'll make it right, Sammy, I swear," Dean says.

It's a lie, Sam knows. There's no way to fix this.

But Dean will try. For the first time in a long time, Dean will try.

And Sam, who learned long ago to find hope where he can, is comforted.

~fin~