HIDDEN PAIN

DISCLAIMER

Supernatural belongs to the WB, which will soon be the CW. This is written for P.L. Winter's challenge of 'What if Sam didn't leave'. I use some lines from the original "Pilot". The only thing I own is the plot.

CHAPTER ONE: ULTIMATUM

Twenty-year old Sam Winchester stared in shock.

"I don't believe it," he said in amazement.

"This a good thing or a bad thing?" his older brother, twenty-four-year old Dean Winchester questioned.

"I got into Stanford," Sam reported excitedly. What? Stanford? Dang. Way to go, Sammy, the older brother thought. But there was just one problem.

"Dad'll never let you go," Dean reminded him.

"I don't care. I'll go anyways," Sam insisted. He doesn't get it. Dad's totally suffocating me. If I stay here, I'll snap! he screamed inwardly.

"Sammy," Dean reproached. I can't believe he'd actually go that far, he thought to himself.

"Dude, I'm twenty. It's Sam," Sam corrected.

"You'll always be 'Sammy' to me," Dean stated.

"Oh. Just---go clean a knife or somethin'," Sam sneered.

"Good comeback," Dean teased. Sam just glared. Then, he went upstairs to his room where he began packing. About an hour later, John Winchester came home.

"Where's your brother?" he asked.

"In his room," Dean answered.

"Why? What happened?" John asked sharply. Then, he closed his eyes. Reign it in, John. You're not mad at him, he chided himself. "Did he say anything to you?" he questioned more calmly. Dean understood that the new tone was his father's unspoken way of apologizing.

"He got an acceptance letter. To Stanford," Dean replied. John was torn in two. One part of him was proud of his youngest son. The kid had worked his butt off for his grades. But the other side---the hunter side---wanted to keep his youngest close. There was real evil out there. If Sammy left, John wouldn't be able to protect him.

"Well, he's not going. He can't leave the family," John said gruffly.

"It's not your decision to make, Dad," a new voice said. John and Dean turned and watched as Sam walked down the stairs, a duffel bag over his shoulders. "It's not your decision, Dad. It's mine," he continued.

"Sammy, you can't leave," John stated.

"And why not? It's a great opportunity," Sam pointed out.

"Because you have a responsibility," John reminded him. Sam bit back an irritated sigh. Not this again!

"To what? To you and your crusade? Dad, face it, if it weren't for pictures, I wouldn't even know what Mom looked like," he said. Dean looked away.

"You can't just leave. You can't just abandon us," John told him.

"'Abandon'? I'm not abandoning you, Dad! I just---I want to live my own life!" Sam shouted, finally losing his cool.

"Guys, come on. Just calm down," Dean told them. But it was too late. Sam and John had already gotten caught up in their own emotions.

"You have a life, Sammy! Hunting evil!" John shouted.

"No! That's your life!" Sam screamed. "I'm going, Dad. I'm going, and you can't stop me!" he continued angrily. With that, he headed towards the door.

"Sammy, you walk out that door, don't you come back!" John yelled. Dean's head swiveled sharply towards their father and Sam stopped mid-step.

"Dad, you don't mean that," the older boy said softly.

"Like heck I don't," their father responded. For a moment, Sam just stood where he was. Then, he sighed and nodded his head. Dean saw Sam's shoulders slump and then he turned around.

"Okay, Dad. I won't leave," he whispered. "Just uh---let me put my stuff away," he continued. Then, he headed back upstairs.

"Sammy," Dean said.

"Don't. Just...don't," Sam replied. Then, he walked upstairs.