A short piece on the thought of Sam's demon blood and Dean grappling to understand what it means for the two of them.

This takes place somewhere between seasons two and three, to keep the plot focus on Sam's blood and the Yellow-Eyed Demon.

For SantaGod, the lovely gal who helped me fall in love with this show all over again, if not the thought of this pairing in full.

There were times when Dean wondered just how strong he was, how far he was willing to test his own body and mind. A trial by fire, by the heat that seared through his bones, bring it on. Pain, the cutting and biting of claws and fangs that tried to snatch him and hurl him into the shadows, into the cloying mess of blackness that had become his life; it was nothing he couldn't handle with a little rock salt and quick movement of his knife.

There seemed to be nothing he couldn't handle, nothing otherworldly that tempted him into the forbidden expanse of limbo-still easiness, that sharp word of weakness that had tried so hard to tempt him from a world without the battle-call of the maelstrom he thrived off of.

Nothing aside from inevitability, nothing aside from what drew him to the miraculously innocent light of his baby brother.

Baby brother. There was and ever would be reasons why this was so wrong, why the subtle but very-there pulse of his brother's neck as he placed his nose in the crook between his shoulder and jawline was worthy of him writhing and simmering in the lowest depths of the Hell he had always been brought up to fear. A litany of reasons, reasons that held no sway over him as their lips met, mouths hungry with circumstantial yearning and a seeming lifetime of want, of a need that pushed far deeper than any hint of taboo, of that uncharted area of what they stood for, what they had become, what could threaten them.

What they were was what the world needed them to be, saviors from the monsters, hunters of the horrific, malicious damned. What they were to one another was very much the same thing Dean realized, epiphany dawning on him when Sam's eyes were filtered with sepia-shadow, coloring his eyes with the brushes of contentment: hunters and saviors, hunting down the facets and corners of each other that served as a source of constant peril to their souls, turning what was wretched into something that could glimmer, something that could breathe and live by steady, even breaths instead of screams and frantic, mournful cries.

Sometimes he talked, words spilling from his lips from somewhere deep within that broke free from the bonds of silence, up-surging in a great, violent purge, cathartic to the point where his throat tingled afterwards, burning as if he had ingested a goblet of slick, black-fire. Sometimes he retreated into himself, his guilt a palpable truth that made his hands shake when he rested them against Sam's shoulders, every thrust reminding him of how low he had sunk, how ensconced with sin he had become, lust and everything vile and wrong emulating over his frame for acting out on this capitulation of his morals. How weak was he to surrender to this, how weak was he to immerse himself in this too-wrong too-right movement of bodies, of the sweet undulation of hips and the sounds that slipped from Sam's lips before, during, and after. How twisted was he that this was the connection he sought, this nearness that made him feel alive, his blood on fire and heart ablaze, a pounding resounding in his head again and again, a ricochet that drowned out the perpetual bullet-fire, the ceaseless race that had become his life. A race to the finish, a race to salvation, a race to some unknown and bitter end that would steal his life before he became an old man, dying fighting, blood-smeared and screaming into unavoidable doom. Warped beyond what he could describe, his reflection a mixture of brittle segments and nuances that made him avert the mirror altogether, knowing full well what was painted across his expression, his eyes all-revealing.

He wanted to understand, wanted to know what was beneath his brother's skin, that stretch of warm gold that was his flesh, all lean muscles and pumping valves that proclaimed he had done something right by keeping the boy alive. He wanted to know how the blood that sang against his ear in a post-coital mess of limbs and sweat equated to some plan that churned his stomach to think about, the resonant and firm final command of his father blistering against his skin, telling him that if it came to that, if it came to such means, he was to be the one to kill his baby brother.

Kill him how? A shot through the heart, blood spattering over his face and eyes, coloring his sights with the indelible imprint of carmine? With blades, slashing and hacking until there was nothing left, until there was no more beauty? His hands, it would be his hands clenching around his brother's windpipe until there was a snap, a fluttering of confused eyelids and stammering words against Sam's lips, his hands carving out the never-to-be-seen epitaph, thrown into this webbed and endless world of a hunter.

It had to be him if it came to that. He wouldn't let anyone get their hands on his brother.

But what about his soul? What if he had already tainted Sam's spirit by acting out on what was mutual and very much wanted by the both of them, but had managed to curse them nonetheless? He should have fought harder if that was the case, fought harder for his control, seeking an end to reckless implications and any form of intimation it gave them when their hands met, eyes igniting with far more than locked gazes should have fostered.

There was life, there was death. There was Heaven - so Sam proclaimed when he said that he prayed every day for them, for a peace that had yet to reveal itself and the angels that were never at his bedside - and there was for certain Hell. There was no rebirth, no spirit-world; only wisdom-drunk Reapers that pursued those marked, only Demons and their too-quick smiles and black, colorless gazes, seeking to snatch his brother away from him, converting and convincing him that it would be so easy to come to their side, to just come and join them where there was no pain, where giving in was sweet and without consequence.

Choice. Sam had a choice, free-will, the ability to reason and to see through to the haunting face beneath the water, clarity his affirmation that he wouldn't say yes, there was nothing he could do about the stain on his blood, but that didn't mean that he would let it govern him.

Or so Dean told himself, the consolation a mantra and as close to a prayer as his mind would allow him to make.

'Don't take him from me,' he whispered fervently against his brother's lips, capturing Sam's mouth with his teeth. 'Don't stop being you,' he all-but screamed against his brother's back, his face pressed into the dip of the middle of his spinal cord. 'Don't stop trying to make me understand you, no matter what I say.'

Sam's hands wound themselves in his hair, pulling him on top of him for a kiss, chests heaving and breaths tasting of the night air and the persistent tang of alcohol. They lashed against each other with energy unspent, on tongues that fought to find words, Sam's hands against his neck and his hands wandering everywhere, searching for something to hold onto, for something to cling to that reminded him that they were here, where there was no such thing as fading when they came together like this.

This was his answer, the silent and very-real solidity of Sam's words afterwards, sometimes in the morning or in the middle of their coupling, words of eloquence and disjointed phrases that dripped away from being damned and cursed: that Sam was fighting to understand too, that there was no such thing as an easy-way out.

And above all, that he was flesh and bone beneath Dean's hands, thumping and thrumming with his life's blood that dictated a way outside of a self-fulfilling prophecy that they were both fighting against, fighting until every fiber wove to the song of battle that they answered and adhered to with the rising, gold-crisp dawn, car doors slamming and cassettes blaring from the stereo.

There was promise with the both of them, something that made looking in the mirror a little easier afterwards, revulsion and self-disgust dismissed and banished for those bullshitters who were too busy wrapped up in their own problems to contribute to the world. There was focus for the two of them, some sort of illumination that made the hunts easier, that made spilling blood far more enjoyable than it should have been.

It was because they swore an oath to one another, without words and the phrases that tangled Dean's mouth trying to form outside of fatigue's truth and an inebriated high, a promise that they would keep fighting and fight together, despite what supernatural forces and everything all-too inhuman tried to push them into.

Sam's smile and laughter made him strong, those traits that he was still able to share and reveal with him, the world harsh and unforgiving but not without leaving something for the little guy, for the little brother that in a perfect world, had a dog, a wife, a good college degree, and a baby on the way.

But in this world, a world shadow-washed with something dark and beyond his understanding, a world where sharpening his blade and sleeping with a gun was his form of normal, they had one another, something wholly wonderful and pure, despite how darkly-mired it could become.

It was just a matter of understanding that truth, clinging to it until his hands shook, swallowing it even when his throat and body rejected it, that they would be alright, that they would push through this, push each other and find a way past mental impasses and stalemates that made the air between them stagnant and ill-charged.

And that was what made someone strong: a never-ending fight, the inability to give up and lay on the ground even when the entire world pressed you to the smelly soil and asked you to bend, to kneel, to give in.

He wasn't planning on shunting his courage to the side anytime soon. That made him strong, battle-ready, prepared to take on the world with what he sought to protect at his side.

It might have been his imagination, but he was beginning to understand the pulse beneath his brother's skin a little better now, a song now instead of some murmur in a foreign tongue, a melody that vibrated against his touch, came to life when he placed his mouth against the skin.

That meant that victory was very near; after all, he could taste it against his lips.

"...Your time will come if you wait for it, if you wait for it

It's hard, believe me, I've tried

But I won't wait much longer 'cause these walls they're crashing down..."