You know the disclaimer bit.
Nothing ever changed. That was the worst part. No, the worst part was the knowledge that he was capable of making things change, and he still didn't. He just breathed in the stale pointlessness every day until it slowly choked him. He didn't even feel desperate any more.
When he finally decided to just end it, all he felt was vaguely glad that at last something was going to be different. For ever. He lay down in the bottom of the worn bathtub and never felt the smallest desire to get up again. And it was a different Thomas Warren that stuck around.
Sam stretched and tried to rub at least some of the weariness from his face with his hands. Almost three days of hitch hiking had not been kind to his aching muscles, but under the bone- tiredness he felt a strange new surge of energy. He waved goodbye to his last ride- a banker named Fiona- and walked towards the center of town. The autumn sun bathing Palo Alto brought out the colors on the sidewalks and warmed his sore back as he ambled along. He looked around and the thought struck him that he was going to live here for years. Longer than he had ever lived anywhere in his life. Funny that the change would be to stop changing.
Passing a sidewalk café, he dug up the last few dollars from his pocket. They'd be enough for a badly needed cup of coffee.
He'd stood alone under the fluorescent lights of the bus station and the woman in the ticket office told him he was lucky. There was a bus going to L.A. that night, and he'd be able to catch another one to Palo Alto from there. He thanked her, took out his wallet and then froze stiff, holding it in his hand. He knew there were only a few dollars in there. Other than that, the wallet held an impressive selection of fake credit cards and ID's courtesy of John Winchester. He could buy his ticket to freedom under the highly respectable names of Michael Sage, Milo Warner or Terry Brown. Without another word he turned around, walked out of the station and dumped the whole array of cards in the bin. He could already feel old habits and instincts trying to pull him back. It would be so easy to carry his father's lifestyle away with him. Just the thought made him feel sick.
Maybe that was why he hadn't called Dean. Wouldn't call Dean.
He decided to forgo the coffee and walked towards campus, fidgeting with the one ID he'd kept. The one with his real name on it.
John found it that day. Thomas Warren.
The obit had been so secretive, so subtly worded, that it hadn't even registered as a suicide on his first round of research. Not until he'd spent almost three days buried in files, going over every piece of paper again and again, did it finally click. At last he could salt'n'burn and get the hell out of here. Leave this mess behind. A part of him could even believe, that Sammy would be in the back seat as they drove away victorious. That defeating the spirit would somehow make everything right, make him not have told his boy to leave forever. That winning the battle would make everything worth it ... this time around. It was a believe that had followed him for 18 years. By now, it was part of him.
Triumphantly, his finger landed on Warren's name in the cemetery registry. The bastard was gonna burn.
Dean watched his father dig, leaning on his own shovel and holding the flashlight trained on the grave. The shovel's wooden handle felt familiar in his palm, worn and slightly splintered. He breathed in the vague scent of gasoline and moist dirt being upturned, and it brought a strange comfort. Sammy had been right.
Dean was part of it all: the world of hunting. The lifestyle, the patterns, the instincts were all ingrained in him to the point of second nature. Scratch that, just nature. Dean was the one that had been mistaken. He'd thought he was part of something else too.
He went to take his turn with the shovel, the handle of his gun pressing against his back as he jumped into the hole his father had dug. So much for wishful thinking.
Sam hadn't salted the windows. He couldn't bring himself to do that any more than to use those credit cards. But now he couldn't stop staring at the clean white window sill in the half dark. It wasn't that he was afraid, though. It was the emptiness of it that kept him up. He pulled out his phone for what must have been the hundredth time and scrolled down to Dean without dialing. He sat there in the dark for a while, the light from the cell phone casting a bluish glow on the room around him.
And what it illuminated was normal. It looked like a place you could let your guard down. Start something new.
As Dean watched Warren's corpse burst into flames, Sam took a deap breath. It was the gulp you take when you finally clear the waves you thought would drown you. And then he put the phone down.
A.N. Huh, an entire chapter with no dialog... I didn't think that was possible :) But then again: who of the Winchesters would have felt like talking?
Anyway, thanks so much for reading this story, and BIG HUG if you took the time to review :) I do apologize for the sporadic updating, it's not done out of lack of caring or respect just you know... life gets in the way (stupid life...) But I do promise not to be this bad again, and yes I think I can actually keep that promise... : ) It will be a while until I post something new but I am working on it and I'll definitely be a regular in the reading part :) See u around.
P.S Phew, that was an angstfest wasn't it? Next time 'round I promise there'll be at least one joke :)