Note: Follows Supernatural 5.01. My AU take. Don't own, don't sue.

The gulf between them after Dean finished speaking was practically sparking with unrelieved tension. The cold look on Dean's face, and his words echoing in the loud silence made the space between them a physical barrier. Sam opened his mouth to say something, (anything!), shut it, tried once more then gave up. What could he say? Dean was right.

Dean was right about everything. He had been all along. And Sam? Well, Sam had ended the world. Enough said.

Sam stared in heartbreak at his brother's cold face. The protector from his childhood ('Tell me who it was, Sam. I'll tear his lungs out!') was gone, replaced by a hunter. The phone message echoed in Sam's head once more, Dean telling him he was done with Sam, and that his brother was something to hunt.

As Sam just tried to take it in, Dean just shook his head sharply, and yanked open the car door and got in.

Sam gaped once more, grappling with the change. He couldn't handle it right now. He just couldn't. Before he realized what he was doing, he'd turned on his heel on the dark street, and walked hurriedly off down the street, away from Dean's accusatory look. Dimly, he heard the Impala start up and head off in the opposite direction.

Walking blindly, he moved through the dark streets until he was shaking so hard, he couldn't move anymore. Shaking, he leaned blankly against a wall, and slowly slid down it, burying his face in his hands. What had he done?

He'd ended the world. Not much to guess about that. And that was enough to tip the balance away from him with his brother. No more grace. No absolution. Nothing remained. No unconditional love. Sam had found the one thing that could break that relationship.

He laughed unsteadily. Talk about the condition that nobody else could fulfill. He laughed again, slightly tinged with hysteria.

Other hunters would hunt him now. He had become something to be eradicated. Dean would protect him, because he was his brother. Because he had to. Not because he believed in Sam's inherent goodness. Not anymore. Dean was an honorable man, and would be there for Sam, but he wouldn't trust him. Not ever again.

Sam couldn't stand that. It would be worse than Dean being in Hell, or dead. The depth of despair hit him like a physical blow once more.

Bobby had told him that he could come to him. But Bobby was seriously injured. He couldn't deal with the burden that was Sam right now, much less protect himself.

The angels? Well, they tolerated him just because he was Dean's brother. He'd received the sigil carved on his ribs because otherwise he'd lead the demons and angels straight to Dean.

Other hunters? Don't make him laugh. They'd kill him on sight.

Death would be an out, but where was he destined? No place but downstairs, that was for sure. After Dean's description (and just the remembered thought of Dean's sacrifice made him swallow hard) had convinced him that he didn't want to go there. Not like he'd have a choice, but he could put it off for awhile.

Lucifer? He could go to him, Sam supposed. Ruby was right, he'd get rewards. But essentially, deep down, Sam couldn't stomach that either.

He could keep hunting, and atone for his sins. But frankly, Sam was tired. And that left one option. Once he'd thought about, oddly enough, and considered. It was the one thing he could do for his brother that would actually leave Dean free to clean up his mess.

A memory of Dean standing there, silent, as Bobby had told Sam that he sickened him, and that he should lose his number, came to mind. Sure Bobby was possessed, but neither Dean nor Sam had realized it at the time. And Dean had stood there quietly, tacitly agreeing.

Well, that did it. That was the clincher. Sam could give his brother what he wanted. Dean could be free of his screw-up of a little brother. And talk about a screw-up. They didn't come much bigger than ending the world.

In many ways, the thought of giving his brother his freedom from Sam was freeing. He had a plan now. He'd take himself out of the equation and leave the fight to those capable of winning it, and not figuratively shooting themselves in foot by starting the apocalypse.

Taking a deep breath, Sam made the hardest call of his life – to Dean. And to his relief, Dean didn't pick up. At the beep, Sam left a brief message.

"Hey, Dean. I've been thinking about what you said, and you're right. No big surprise. You've been right all along. And for what it's worth, I'm sorry. I know I'm a monster, and I know I'm a liability as well as a danger. So I'm doing the only thing I know how to do to fix this. I'm taking myself out of play. I'm sorry to leave you to clean up my mess once again, but you and Cas will fix this, I'm sure of it. And it will be easier with me out of the way. Dean . . ." Sam's voice broke. "I am so sorry."

Disconnecting, Sam dropped the phone and ground it with his heel, looking at it with regret. No going back now. Removing his wallet and money clip, he looked at them both for a moment, then pulled the wad of cash from the clip. The cash he rammed back into his pocket, and the clip he dropped next to his ruined phone. Then purposefully, he began walking down the street, shredding and tossing the contents of his wallet into various dumpsters.

The emergency contact card, gone. Credit cards, gone. Pictures, a pause, then they went too. All the bits and pieces of his life that he'd saved, gone. Followed by the worn wallet itself.

Weapons followed shortly as well.

Now, anonymous, Sam shoved his hands into his jacket pockets, and walked purposefully down the dark street, away from the one 'home' he'd ever known, away from the fight, and to the one place he knew he could always tell the truth and be safe.