Chapter 1 - Broken Promises

January 29th, 1979

Mary Winchester thought about broken promises.

When she'd found out that she was pregnant she had made a lot of promises; to her unborn child...and to herself.

The promises had begun many years before that as she struggled under the pressure of life as a hunter. First, the promise that one day she would live a different life, where ghosts and demons weren't discussed over the dinner table and salt was just for seasoning the food. Her longing was for a life without the constant fear; a longing which she had once confided in a virtual stranger just days before the destruction of the life she had always known. But with that tragedy had come the realization of that first promise. In the wake of her parents' deaths, she'd gratefully settled into life as Mary Winchester, wife, leaving behind Mary Campbell, hunter, with unwavering resolve. She never regretted it. But Mary wasn't a fool, she had carved hidden protection symbols in thresholds of their home, found ways to integrate protections in how the house was decorated. Little things that John would never recognize as strange, but allowed Mary to protect this precious reality that she had built herself.

Her next promise was that that other life was gone forever. And now she was beginning to see that perhaps that promise was one she would not be able to keep. Could not keep.

Looking down into the face of her sleeping child, one tiny fist curled against his cheek, she fought a sob that threatened to break from her lips. It seemed that so many of the promises that she had whispered to him as he grew inside of her had been little but lies and self deception.

I will keep you safe. Safety was fleeting and could be torn away without warning. No matter how well meaning, how heartfelt, that promise had been, she was now faced with the reality that it had been naught but words.

Angels are watching over you. That one perhaps had had more truth to it, but not in the way she had meant. She'd really believed. Perhaps it was how she'd grown up, knowing that every kind of evil had some truth at the bottom of it, but she'd found herself with an unwavering belief in angels. Surely there had to be a real opposing force to all that negative. She'd seen for herself that the angels might not be the opposition she'd envisioned them to be.

You'll never know what's out there. A bitter laugh welled up her throat. Dean, her Dean, would learn it all, would be more of a hunter than she had ever been.

Roused by his mother's involuntary outburst, Dean's eyes blinked open suddenly, sleepy and wayward. He focused on nothing as he made little murmurs that should have made Mary smile, tiny fingers working at the air reflexively. Instead she wanted to cry. This infant, her son, so new to the world and yet, as she looked down into those hazel eyes, she found herself seeing instead a young man's world weary, broken gaze. Those eyes meeting her own, full of prayer and hope and promise behind the pain. "You are going to save my brother." It was faith and belief, as if he'd known her forever and knew she would not let him down.

"You have to save my brother."