Man is what he believes...

Anton Chekhov

The river's motion beckoned to him, calling, yearning for him to throw his life away in its burbling waters. And yet, Sam couldn't yield.

He had to be certain, certain that if he wanted to end it that his attempt would be successful. After all that had happened, after all that he had learned about his sorry self, the world deserved nothing less. He couldn't afford for some passer-by to come along and tug him from the bowels of the river at the last minute, but then, that would be just his luck.

No. If he were to die, then it should be by his own hand. Sam picked up the Glock that lay in his lap and whirled it around via the trigger guard, absently letting the nearby water's beauty entrance him. Why couldn't he come from something so pure, so gentle? But, no, his element was fire, just like the demon that would one day control him. I won't let it. For Dad's sake, for Dean's, for everything they fought for…died for…

Life, death, just weren't fair. Mary, his mother had died because of him, Dad had died because Sammy boy was so stupid he didn't even know the power he wielded, and Dean? Dean was cursed to try and ever watch over his brother's ass, even though it wasn't worth saving. At least, he had been, until tonight.

Sam shifted uneasily on the siding he'd precariously perched himself upon, and he stopped twirling the forty-five. Dean had had the thankless task of stopping his own brother from turning to the dark side. But was that even possible? Had fate already ordained Sam's future? To the younger Winchester, it looked like it more and more each day, each hour.

After all, his one remaining protector was gone now. How long would it take for him to succumb when the demon next came calling?

Sam rubbed a rough palm across the piece of German steel in his hand and felt its coldness -- coldness like the chill in his own heart. The chill that had resided there since he'd discovered the truth about his past. I can't live with this any longer – what I might become, what I will become if Azazel has his way…

What use was having such immense power if he couldn't use it for good? What was the point if all it brought was heartache, death…maybe even one day Armageddon?

Could he really risk becoming the devil's sidekick?

Sam didn't think so. Hell, he wasn't about to wait that long to find out. He wasn't going to see his most precious of gifts turn to evil, and there was only one foreseeable way to stop it.

The young hunter looked down at the weapon that rested squarely in his grasp. A weapon he had used so many times to save lives, and now he was going to use it to end one.

Dad, Dean, Mom…Jess…

Sam was sorry for the pain-filled deaths he had brought, each and every one of them. Sorry that they had tried to shield him, protect him, and all he had given back was a life of misery. Had he known all those long months, years ago, he would have ended it before and given what was left of the Winchester clan a chance at a real life.

Sam gingerly flicked off the Glock's safety catch and with a quick tug back on its barrel, cocked the weapon. It clicked satisfactorily and Sam swallowed, feeling his chest clench at what he was about to do.

"So sorry, Dean…" The words were whispered, remorseful, pained, and moisture began to fill Sam's eyes – not for himself, but for the others who had paid the price of shielding him.

The hunter nestled his gun in his mouth, letting the barrel rest on his lower lip. He closed his eyes, wishing there was someone left to say his farewells to.

Sam's forefinger closed on the trigger, muscles tensing as he pulled back on the sprung mechanism.

In the Kansas night, a sole gunshot's discharge echoed across the local river and then all was still; not even the muted sounds of nearby traffic broke the silence.