This is the angst story I started writing the same time I started Valentine, Texas, my 1876 western story. I just couldn't handle all the angst and had to step away for a time. It was actually quite refreshing not having the boys in so much pain. Check out my Valentine story for some good old-fashioned western action, some mystery and a touch of romance. Of course, whenever my Dean angst bunny popped into my head I would come on back and put down a few more angsty moments.

The story is set the summer before Sammy leaves for college and covers all the Winchesters' angst. We have Dean physical pain angst and all three experiencing emotional angst as they deal with Dean facing death and Sammy leaving. Whew! No wonder I had to get away for a while. I hope you enjoy. Remember, reviews fuel my angst bunny, and it's a hungry little critter. I think it is trying to devour me on this one! LOL

Chapter One - Betrayal

The roar of the Impala's engine cut through the late evening's quiet solitude as it pulled into the Winchester's yard and haphazardly screeched to a stop. Sam had arrived home just moments before from a late night study session at the library to find an empty house, but when he heard the commotion he ran out to the front porch to see his brother dismount from the beast and stagger towards the front door.

Sam had never before seen Dean intoxicated. Sure Dean and John both drank, sometimes to excess, but they both could hold their liquor and he had never witnessed either of them drunk to the point of losing their faculties. In their line of work it was a dangerous proposition to be less than fight worthy, you never knew when evil might rear its nasty head and need vanquishing.

"Dean are you drunk?" Sam asked in astonishment.

"One can only hope." Dean paused and cocked his head to the side as if he was listening to his inner voice before he continued, "Nope, don't think so. Hell, I sure gave it the old college try though." Dean gave a high wattage smile as he stumbled past his brother and entered the house. "Guess I better see what the old man has in the fridge. See if I can finish the job."

His feet tripped over the scatter rug at the front entrance and he almost landed face first on the floor, but he caught himself and proceeded to the kitchen leaving his dazed brother in his wake.

"Dean, what's up with you?" Sam followed him into the kitchen and quizzed him as his brother pulled out a long neck, popped the top and started guzzling the beer.

"What's up with me? Better question little brother, what's up with you? Huh? Got any new and exciting news ya wanna share? Planning any long trips? Takin' a vacation?" Dean's smile faltered as a sad, injured look twisted his features and his voice filled with a rumbling fury.

"Dean, what are you talking about? What's wrong with you?" Sam seemed genuinely confused by his brother's sudden hostility.

"Damn, what was that again?" Dean's fingers drummed on the counter, his gaze looking out into space before returning to lock eyes with his kid brother, "Oh yeah, you might wanna erase the message on the answering machine before Dad gets home, or is that how you were planning on telling him? Is that your style Sammy? Let a machine do your dirty work?"

A panicked look passed over Sam's face as he went to the answering machine, staring at the number of messages: one. He looked at his brother's sorry state and returned his gaze to the machine. His finger hesitated, his mind screaming this can't be happening, before hitting the play button:

'This message is for Sam Winchester. Congratulations on your new life at Stanford. I know you're going to enjoy the next four years and we couldn't be happier to know you will be joining us in the fall. All your acceptance forms have been filed and your off campus housing request has been approved and all the forms and documents have been forwarded on to you. If you need any further assistance please don't hesitate to call. We want to do everything possible to get your new life off on the right track.'

Sam pushed the delete button and took a deep breath, mustering all his courage, before he turned to face his brother.

"Dean, I'm sorry. I never wanted you to find out like this. Honestly, I was gonna tell you, I just didn't know how." Sam fumbled for the words to lessen the obvious pain his brother was in.

"So when were ya gonna tell me Sammy? Huh? Was I gonna find out when I came home and all your stuff was gone? Is that how you were gonna tell me?" Dean plopped down in their dad's chair staring at his beer bottle as if the label held the secrets of the universe.

"Dean, I'm sorry. But you know I don't belong here, you know I'm not like you and Dad."

"Yeah, you're right about that. You know what makes you stand out, Sammy Boy? You know what makes you special? You're a selfish bastard. Yep, that's it. You look out for yourself, no thought about Dad's needs, no concern for what Dad's spent his whole life doing." Dean's eyes were filled with bitter, absolute hatred, conveying the extent of the pain his words could barely scratch the surface of.

The contempt and resentment he felt for his brother were threatening to overcome his valiant attempts to control his emotions which were spiraling toward unknown territory. He had never in his life considered he could feel such disdain for his own brother, his own flesh and blood.

As devastated as Sam was by his brother's attack and the obvious pain he saw coursing through him, he was not about to back down from the words Dean had just hurled at him.

"Oh, you mean the hunting? You mean the refusal to even consider another way of life? He's got you so mind-washed you don't even consider you could have another life, do you Dean? Don't you get it? You could come with me, you could go to school, you could do something Dean. Don't you want a chance to be someone?"

Sam was pleading with his brother. Pleading for compassion and understanding of how he felt and what he needed, while at the same time pleading for his brother to consider his own possible alternatives.

"Yeah, Sammy I get it. Fighting evil, saving people, that's not good enough for you. Yeah, you've got bigger plans, you're gonna be somebody. Like Dad isn't good enough for you? Like Dad's not somebody?" Like I'm not somebody?

Dean looked as hurt as Sam had ever seen him, and he had seen him injured on more occasions then he could even begin to count. He had seen Dean suffer from every kind of physical pain one could possibly imagine and he had also witnessed fleeting glimpses of the hidden hurt his brother felt when Dad inadvertently disappointed him once more, with a thoughtless word or careless action; but never in all his years had he ever witnessed his brother in any pain that came close to the anguish that now bore through his green eyes and burned to the core of his being.

His brave, fearless, paladin of a brother appeared ready to crumble from the despair that was overcoming him. He reminded Sam of a stately pyramid in Egypt that withstood years of pounding storms before at long last suffering the last blistering wind that battered it down to the point where it was perilously close to collapsing unto itself in a heap of broken rock.

In the brief time Dean had been home he had morphed into a shattered man left standing alone in the desolate rubble of his life. Sam's gut tightened with the realization that he had caused the collapse of his hero.

Dean wavered before he composed himself and proceeded with his rant.

"You know Sammy, you're always so big about standing up to Dad. Well how's this standing up to Dad? Sneaking around behind his back, making your grand plans, planning your escape. You just gonna run away from your family? Run off and make another life?" Dean finished off his beer and got up to head to the fridge for another. He slammed the door as he popped the lid and started to down his solace.

"Dean, I don't want to run away from you. I don't want to lose you; you're my brother man, that won't ever change."

"Well Sammy, don't count on it. One thing I've learned is things do change, sometimes even when you don't want them to. Sometimes when you slam that door there's no going back." Dean coldly replied to his brother as he stood in the doorway cradling his beer. His eyes exposed the betrayal his heart felt at losing his brother to the outside world.

Sam's pain at seeing his brother's anguish tore at him like no other guilt could. He never wanted to hurt his brother like this. He loved his brother more than anyone in the world; the fact was his brother was his world. Dean had practically raised him, but he had to live his own life. He had to get away from Dad and this vendetta he had forced on his family. He just couldn't live like this any longer.

Dean finished off his beer and threw the bottle in the garbage before silently walking past his brother and heading up the stairs to his bedroom. He no longer staggered, but gently swayed side to side as he regained his bearings. Try as he may, his hunter instincts would not allow him to truly get drunk to the point he could really bury his pain. No, this pain would be there for a very long time, he might as well get used to this feeling, this deep burning betrayal.