Warning: Canon Divergence, Major Character Death, Jess Lives, Grief/Mourning, Angst

Summary: It was an easy decision to make and Sam didn't hesitate.

At first Sam hadn't noticed it happening. He'd been feeling it since he'd stepped out of the Impala, Dean saying goodbye with sad eyes and the unspoken knowledge that it was the last time they would see each other. Feeling it like the rolling darkness in the sky before a storm. It was thrumming and thick in his throat, just barely touching his awareness. The smell of fresh baked cookies and the sound of the shower running were soothing his raw nerves; made it easy to ignore that ominous feeling in the air.

The taste of chocolate on his tongue and the smell of Jess's perfume in his nose were trying to lull him like a lullaby. Then Jess's blood dripped down onto his skin and he opened his eyes to the sight of her pinned to the ceiling with a gash in her belly. His entire world exploded.

He saw it all. The future, their destiny -his and Dean's- unfurled before him and it was terrifying. Blood and torture, betrayal, and death, and evil. So much evil it soaked into everything, it painted their futures oozy black. The Demons and their plans would taint them. It would kill them; Jess, Dad, Dean, him, one way or another, no one would be spared. The ruthless mechanics of their future would beat them down until there was barely anything left of what made Sam and Dean Winchester.

They would lose everything.

Really, the decision was so very easy to make.

The power had always been there, Sam just hadn't realized until it was surging inside him like a hurricane. It was so rotten, tainted, but it would fix everything and that's all Sam cared about.

His love, for Jess and Dean and Dad, was so strong Sam was breathless with it. It pushed at the demonic power inside him until everything was tinted with fire and it was suffocating him. Sam reached up with hands and mind and grasped at Jess. He grabbed hold of her and didn't let go until he felt the hard unforgiving surface of the ceiling at his back, the jagged pain of being gutted, and the agony of being burned alive.

A straight trade. A death for a death. It would change their destiny and Sam didn't regret it one bit.

Jess was crumpled on the bed beneath him bleeding and burnt and staring up at him with terrified, grief stricken eyes. God, he loved her and she was alive and that's all that mattered.

Through the haze of pain and fire and dying Sam saw Dean. He was shocked and horrified surrounded by the blazing demon fire and trying frantically to think of a way to save his little brother. Sam met his brother's eyes in his last dying breaths. For the first time in years they connected in mind and soul and Sam knew everything would be okay.

Finally, he let himself go.

Staring up at his little brother burning up pinned to the ceiling, Dean was frozen in horror. Sam was dying and for the first time in his life there was nothing Dean could do. He wanted to die with him. So consumed by his fear and grief, he barely even registered his brother's girl curled up bleeding on the bed beneath Sam.

It should have been impossible, but Sam's beautiful hazel eyes met Dean's and their life long synchronization finally snapped back into place.

Go, Dean. It was a whisper in his mind and Dean understood. Run.

Tearing his eyes away from his brother burning alive on the ceiling, Dean lunged forward and dragged Jess off the bed. It was already on fire, like the rest of the room, and there was no time to waste. She was limp and shaking and weakly fighting his hold, but Dean lifted her into his arms like she weighed nothing and ran. Out of the room, out of the apartment, and into the street.

Dean didn't look back.