Chapter 3 – The Breaking of Bonds

He knew he was close to losing it completely. He saw it in the way his jaw set, the way his fists clenched, the way he glared. Dean knew Sammy was at his breaking point, and soon his little brother wouldn't care enough to hold back. He looked to Anne who only looked back at him hopelessly. "Sam…Sammy look at me," Dean commanded, trying tough love for a change. "It's Sam, ok?" replied the youngest. His voice was bitter and tainted and Dean knew he had already lost. "Not Sammy," he said to Dean, "not kiddo," he said to Anne, "just Sam." With that he got up from his seat at the table and went outside, hoping the fresh air would cool his hot temper.

Dean sighed deeply and leaned back in his chair. The conversation had gone any way but well, but he didn't expect any less. His little brother wanted to stop fighting, and in this family, hunting was like breathing, you don't just quit. John had shut the boy down immediately and then when that didn't work he yelled and lectured and Dean couldn't blame Sam for wanting to get away. The things John had said to his youngest was enough to make his own blood boil with protectiveness, he hated to imagine what Annie felt. He glanced over at her slowly to see that she was clearly torn between going after Sam and letting him have his space. "Let him be, Annie," Dean urged, hoping that his sister would listen to him. He sighed in relief when she nodded. He knew it was only gonna get harder now, and truth be told he wasn't ready for it. Demons he could handle, but family matters were foreign territory.

"He's gonna run you know," she said it quietly, but Dean's gaze still shot to her when she did. "What? No, you don't know that!" he said with a scowl. His Sammy wouldn't ever run away…he wouldn't leave them. "Dean, he's not happy here. You can see that, he's getting closer to completely breaking under all the pressure and dicipline and he wants out. Sooner or later he'll find a way," she said gently and then got up to busy herself with the dishes. "He wouldn't leave Anne, this is where he belongs, and he know that," Dean said but his eyes were on the table when Annie turned to look at him. "Now you sound like dad," she said quietly and turned before Dean could look her in the eye.

It killed her to say it, but she could see it day by day. Sammy wasn't happy, except for when he was at school or at the library studying or even in those rare moments when the three of them were alone. Nowadays they all hunted together, each having a critical part to play. The three siblings didn't get much downtime with each other anymore. Maybe that was the problem, or at least she let herself believe that it could be. Deep down she knew, Sam would find a way out. It was just a matter of time now.


"Stanford?" she said breathlessly as the letter shook in her hands. She wanted so much just to tear the damn thing up, and then this could all have been a bad dream. She looked up at her little brother who wasn't so little anymore. He was eighteen but in her eyes, he was still six, asking for a way to tie his shoes so that he would remember. She could feel a sting in her eyes that she almost never allowed and blinked in rapid succession to get rid of it. Sam nodded with apprehension written in his features. She knew she should be happy for him, but somehow all she felt was the loss.

"Wow, so, are you going?" she asked with a slight tremor to her voice. She looked back the letter that held her little brother's shiny new future and knitted her eyebrows together. Dean would be crushed…and pissed. "Yeah…yeah I am. What do you think?" he asked as he shifted his weight to his other foot yet again. Anne lay on the bed on her stomach while Sam stood in front of her eagerly awaiting some much needed advice. He knew how much this must hurt her, he imagined she would be furious with him for doing this. The excitement outweighed the fear though and he stood there with light filled eyes. She sighed and looked up at him again, "I think you better find a way to tell Dean before you tell dad."

Sam cursed, and sat down on the bed next to her. "How mad do you think he'll be?" he asked watching her as she sat up and looked him in the eye. "He'll be pretty pissed Sam. I mean it's almost like this life isn't good enough for you, but it's ok for the rest of us," she offered simply. "That is not true! You know I don't feel that way at all," he said indignantly with an expression of disbelief on his face. "Take it easy kiddo, I just meant that's how Dean is gonna feel," she said with a small smile. Sam could get so emotional sometimes, normally it was fun to play with him, but right now…everything was slipping away.

"What am I gonna tell him? How am I ever gonna be able to do this?" he asked sadly, as he took his letter from her and looked it over for the hundredth time that night. An overwhelming feeling filled his entire being and suddenly he wasn't so sure about this anymore. "It'll be ok, I mean I'll be here to keep him calm, you just have to do the talking," she encouraged, but Sam's expression was still one of despair. "Do you wanna tell him now? Get it over with?" she asked softly with a hand on his shoulder. He looked at her for a long moment before answering with a small 'yes'. She nodded and then headed out into the other room to fetch their older brother.

In what seemed like seconds later Dean entered the room with Annie behind him. Their father wasn't home so they didn't bother closing the door. "Dean, Sam has something he needs to tell you," said Anne as she took a seat on the bed next to Sam. "Do I need to be sitting down for this?" Dean joked, while watching the two of them curiously. "Yes," they said at the same time and at this point Dean was getting worried. He sat down slowly on the other bed and clasped his hands together while waiting for this earth shattering news. Anne looked to Sam and when the youngest didn't move she nudged him none too nicely. He took a deep breath then looked at Dean for a moment. "Sammy, you're kinda freaking me out dude. You want to tell me what's going on?" Dean asked and Sam could tell that he was on edge from the tone of his voice. He decided to get this over with and dived in, "Dean I got a scholarship to Stanford. It's a full ride, all expenses paid, and I've accepted." He let out the rest of his breath then held it again when Dean didn't answer.

Dean's breath caught in his throat and for a second he thought his very heart had stopped beating. He knew it hadn't when it slammed against his chest in panic. This was a joke, it had to be. He looked at Sammy, his Sammy, very carefully. There was no hidden light in his eyes, no hint of mischievous intent, and no impending smile. This was for real, Dean realized and he turned away from Sam's gaze. This couldn't happen. He didn't care what he had to do, but he would keep Sam here.

"Sammy, look, I know you want out of here, but this just can't happen. What do you think dad's gonna say huh?" he said angrily as he stood up and started pacing the room. He needed to walk, to run, run away from Sam. He realized a second later that maybe that was how Sam felt. "This isn't about dad Dean! It's about me! For once it's about me, and I'm doing this." His little brother's words seemed final, but Dean was far from finished with this conversation. "Sam, have you even thought about what this will mean? We won't be there to protect you dammit!" Dean cursed and let out a breath before starting again. "Sam, what if you get into trouble and we're too far away and there's no one to help you? What then?" he asked, trying to reason with the boy. "Dean I know the signs, I can stay out of trouble. I won't let hunting rule my life anymore. I'm an adult now, and I'm sorry, but you and dad can't keep me here anymore." The words stung, but Dean knew with a sickening dread that they were true. He could no longer keep his little brother here with them. This wouldn't be fixed with a few kind words and a pat on the back. Dean looked to Anne for support but was surprised to see resolve in her features. "Aren't you even gonna say anything?" he asked slightly betrayed by her silence. Anne sighed and stood up next to Sam facing Dean, "I told you this would happen. There's nothing Dean, nothing we can do," she said sadly while looking at Sam.

Dean felt the betrayal now, like a knife in the gut. "So that's it? You're just gonna leave and become Joe Collage?" Dean decided to try guilt now. Sam looked firm in his decision, but Dean felt sure he could change that.

1 hour later

"Why do we have to go through this again! I already told you!" Sam yelled from his position sitting backwards on a chair watching Dean pace the length of the room. Annie lay on her stomache on the bed watching the both of them with tired eyes "oh will you guys just give it a rest!" It tore her apart, as she was the middle child and therefore could side easily with each of them. They certainly counted on her to sway the vote before.

"Sam you can't go! That's it!" Dean yelled back as he finally stopped pacing. "You are such a controlling freak! You just don't want me to go away because then you won't be able to boss me around!" Sam replied with angry eyes. Anne rolled her eyes as she laid her head down, "you guys are unbelievable! Seriously!" Sam sighed and dropped his head down to rest on his hands. "No Sam I just don't want you to leave," Dean said quietly while looking down at his baby brother with sad eyes. Sam looked up wide eyed at Dean and studied him for a moment. "Dean I'm not leaving because of you, or Anne or dad," he started but his brother cut him off, "oh sure you're not. You just keep telling yourself that Sammy." Annie groaned, "will you let him talk!" she yelled, her frustration getting the better of her. "You know you're one to talk! You're not really helping you know!" Dean yelled back accusingly. "Oh so automatically I'm supposed to be on your side?" she said with a glare. Sam sighed as the two of them went at it again about taking sides.

Another hour later

"It's not my fault she liked me more!" Sam yelled getting up in Dean's face. "Dude she didn't like you, she felt sorry for you!" Dean retorted getting that much closer to Sam. Anne then shoved her way in between them with her own argument. "What about me! What about Chris Hargrove! Huh? You sure didn't seem to care messing up that relationship! You know you guys aren't the only ones with dating problems!" she screamed from her place in between them "That was not our fault, all he did was feel you up in the backseat of the Impala, and I'm sorry but my car is not a make out spot!" Dean argued. "Really then why is that the only thing you do there?" Annie replied with a smug look on her face. "This isn't about that!" he cried and the argument from three years ago resurfaced. Sam shook his head with a pitiful expression on his face, this was gonna take a while.

Yet another hour later

"I can't believe just like that, it's over," Anne despaired from her place on the floor at the foot of the bed. "This is really it?" she asked sadly looking up at Sammy, her Sammy. Her Sammy who was leaving them. Sam nodded slowly, his eyes blank and distant. "No come on, this isn't it. I mean it's not like we're not gonna check in every day, and see each other all the time," Dean offered, but as he looked at Sam and then down at Annie, he knew it would be a long time before everything went back to normal.

"Look guys, I'm really scared here. I mean, I'm gonna do this, but…I'm still scared," Sam said and when Dean and Annie looked in his eyes they thought they could see a glimpse of his soul. "Hey kiddo, it's all gonna be fine. You know that right?" Annie replied as she stood up and faced her two brothers. "Yeah man, we'll help you move and stick around for a week or two to make sure you're settled. And then we'll call everyday and come pick you up for the holidays. It's gonna be great," Dean said and he tried so desperately to sound convincing, but he knew that his web of lies was too thin to hold the truth.

Sam looked at Dean with a hope filled expression and prayed that he was right. A thought hit him then and his heart sank back down, "what about dad?" he asked. Anne and Dean exchanged glances before looking back at Sam with guarded expressions. Sam already knew the truth of course, dad would be furious. His shoulders slumped and he barely managed to get out his next sentence, "ok let's go tell him now."

Who knows how much time later

Sam Winchester was finished with the life he had lived for eighteen years. He was through with his father's condescending tone, and his angry glares. He was through with the orders that were issued so carelessly, without any regard for his own feelings. He was through with the petty argument his father made that meant nothing to him. He was done with the guilt trips and the mocking words of hatred that were still spewing from his father's mouth. He was through with it all, but that didn't mean that it was done with him.

"You're really that heartless that you would leave us here, in the middle of our hunt? What's gonna happen when we turn up dead and it's all your fault because you couldn't stick around long enough huh?" John yelled, his temper taking hold and knocking any sense of paternal instinct out of his soul. "Dad!" Anne scolded, for all the good it did. "You know, I thought you got it. I thought you understood why we were doing this. You're mother's killer is out there still, who knows how many more people it's gonna kill. You're just gonna walk away and let it?" their father continued. Sam squeezed his eyes shut before replying coldly, "dad we're no closer to finding this thing than we were ten years ago! I am done with you're stupid crusade! We shouldn't have been brought up this way anyway! What would mom say if she could see us now, huh?" he yelled, but as soon as the words came out he regretted them. John paused before fisting Sam's shirt and slamming the youngest Winchester into the wall. All the air was knocked out of Sam's lungs as he struggled to come to terms with what had just happened. John never laid a hand on his kids, and they had been dure that he never would.. "Dad! Dad let him go!" Annie yelled as she tried to pry John's hands off of Sam. "Dean help me!" she urged, but Dean stood stoic.

John finally let Sam go, and then…he let Sam go. "Fine Sam, go, leave, but don't you even think about coming back if you do." The words sliced through the room and silence reigned. Dean looked at his father with an expression of disbelief. No, not an ultimatum, he couldn't do this. He had stood quiet letting John yell and scream at Sam, hoping it would convince him to stay, but now, now John was driving him away forever. "Dad no," was all he could say as his gazed passed to Sammy. He wasn't blind, he saw the tears gathering in those green eyes, but he couldn't register them right now. John remained seated at the table not looking at any of them. Annie's shoulders shook from the impending answer. And then it came. "Goodbye dad," Sammy said and then turned and violently shoved the door open and stormed out.

Annie watched her brother as he went then looked accusingly back at her dad. "Are you happy now? You probably just drove him away forever!" she yelled and then turned on her brother, "go after him!" Dean started as she yelled her command and then obeyed without question. "I'm gonna pack his things," Anne told him before he could leave.

He didn't have to go far, for Sam had only gotten around the corner before he collapsed from grief and betrayal. His shoulders shook as he quietly sobbed into his arms. Hi knees were pulled tight to his chest and his arms rested on them. He didn't make a sound as Dean came to sit down with beside him. A hot rage and a sting of hurt burned through him and he recoiled at Dean's touch. "Don't," he said firmly though it was muffled by his arms. "Sammy man, come one, it's gonna be alright," Dean said with a smile he had to force onto his face. Sam looked up at him then with eyes that didn't look like his Sammy's. They were cold and calculating and there was a hint of hurt in them that Dean had never seen before.

"Why didn't you defend me?" he asked, suddenly broken with the memory of Dean just standing there. Before Dean could utter a reply Sam continued in a hurt and even more tainted voice, "you've always been there, but not tonight. You just stood there, you let me believe that you had my back. You just wanted dad to talk me out of it didn't you? That's why you didn't say anything! Didn't do anything! He shoved me against a wall and you didn't do anything! You said we could do this Dean! You said it would be fine, that you'd be there…you lied to me." He was defeated and his shoulders slumped as he titled his head back against the cold cement wall.

Dean felt like he could cry, he felt the sting of tears, but wouldn't allow them to grow and fall. Sam was right, he had hoped. God, how he had hoped that his father would somehow make Sam stay. But deep down he knew that his brother had already resolved himself to leaving. Now what had come of it? He thought as he looked at Sam. There were tear streaks on his face, and hurt in his eyes. I did that, he thought sadly and with an ache that threatened to shatter him. He couldn't take that he had hurt his baby brother like this, but what could be done? This couldn't possibly be rectified now. The damage was done, and Sam was left broken in its wake.

"Anne's getting your stuff. I'll drive you to Stanford tonight," he said in a somewhat shaky voice. "No, there's a bus that's leaving for California around midnight. I already have a ticket." Sam was hard now. His eyes were hard and still not looking at Dean. His jaw was set, his fists were clenched and Dean knew for sure now…he had lost him. "Oh," he said, because he had to say something. The silence was deafening to both of them but neither would speak. The truth was they didn't know what to say and all of their energy had been sucked out by the night's events.

"I got your stuff, you guys ready?" Anne asked as she appeared in front of them. Sam looked up at her grateful for the distraction and quickly stood. He took his bags from her and began to walk to the Impala. "So it's gonna be a long trip to Cali, hope we got some good tunes," she said in a high voice. Dean could tell she was trying to lighten the mood, but he had to dampen her spirits as Sam remained silent. "Actually Annie, we're just gonna drop him off at the bus stop," he informed her as they walked a couple of paces behind Sam. "What?" she asked in a disappointed tone of voice. She looked to Sam but he wouldn't look back at her. When they reached the car Sam threw his nags in the back and slid into the passenger seat. Anne took a deep breath and prepared herself for a quiet ride. She slipped in beside Sam while Dean got in the driver's side. They all felt an overwhelming sadness as the realization that this would be their last time in the Impala together for a long time hit.

Fifteen minutes later they stood there, silent and broken and very much apart. Sam shifted his weight to his other foot again as he watched for his bus. Dean checked his watch for the millionth time and Annie began to hum lightly to herself. Pretty soon her humming turned into singing and Sam closed his eyes as he made out the words. "Goodbye to you, goodbye to everything I thought I knew. You were the one I loved, the one thing that I tried to hold on to." She didn't even realize it until both her brothers gave her strange looks. "What? It seemed appropriate," she said simply and watched as Sam went back to staring at the ground and Dean checked his watch again.

"Ok enough of this. Why don't we just get our goodbyes over with now?" she asked while spreading her arms and then letting them fall to her sides again. Sam shifted again uncomfortably while Dean found something very interesting with the bench. "Guys come on, Sam we're not gonna see you for a while, and Dean you'll regret it later if you don't," she reasoned and when they still didn't move, she threw her hands up in the air, "fine I'll go first."

She then walked right in front of Sam and took him by the forearms. She held him there an arms length away, and took a deep breath. "Now you know us Winchesters aren't great with the emotional show your true feelings bullshit, so I'm gonna make this quick. I love you. I will always and have always loved you, and I understand why you have to do this. I just hope that you won't forget about the rest of the trio while you're away, cause we sure won't forget about you. So there, there's your lovely tear filled chick flick moment, and that's all you're getting!" she laughed through her tears and Sam couldn't help but smile. It hit him all at once, he was saying goodbye to his family. He was leaving them. Tears he couldn't stop fell from tired eyes and he pulled her close to him. The embrace was tight and powerful and Anne nearly broke from the emotion of it. "I'll miss you kiddo," she whispered and Sam sniffled and whispered back into her soft brown hair, "I'll miss you too Annie."

She sighed long and deep before pulling away and allowing Dean his turn. Sam looked to him to make the first move and with Anne all emotional he figured he better. He moved closer so that he was right in front of Sam and said "no matter where you go, or what you do, you'll always be my Sammy." It was unexpected to say the least and the power of those words made Sam tear up again. He tried his best to breathe in and out but god help him, Dean had stolen his breath away. "I'll miss you too," he got out before Dean grabbed him and pulled him close. It was a quick hug, a slip of the moment kind of thing but Sam latched onto it and dedicated it instantly to memory. "Take care of yourself ok?" he said with a strange and unfamiliar glint to his eyes. Sam dared to think that tears were gathering in big brother's eyes, but he blinked and they were gone. He nodded and then started when he heard the bus pull up. This was it, in a few minutes he would be gone. It all suddenly felt too real for him and he grabbed onto Anne and Dean as hard as he could for as long as he could. People began boarding the bus and quickly Sam whispered into Dean's ear "don't call me, please."

He pulled away and got on the bus as quickly as he could. He knew Dean would understand. He would understand that if he called, Sam would break again and want to come home, and he couldn't do that. He had to go and live a new life, one that he made for himself, and for him to do that he couldn't hear Dean's voice for a good long while. He would have said it to both of them, but Anne would surely break down if he did. Dean was strong, he could stay away. Sam looked out the window as the bus pulled out and thought once again, please don't call me, Dean. I won't be able to live without you if you call.

End scene. Dum dum dum. Anyway sorry it took so long guys, life has borrowed me for a while but now I'm back. So tell me what you think, I love hearing from you guys, you're all so nice. If you have any suggestions or anything, just let me know. The next chapter will be the pilot again, but it will be just like the first one with Mary's death. It's the same material, only Anne will be there. I'm gonna work her into every episode, so that's what's to come! Please review! Thanks!