I'm super proud of myself for updating twice over the weekend :) Hopefully you guys will be too! Please tell me what you think!

Jess was the answer to everything.

The second he met her, he saw his life playing out in front of him, like a brick road being laid out on a dusty path. It was easy, really. With every kiss, every touch, every whisper, every smile, another step to his life with her would unlock. He'd look for a ring, she'd say yes, he'd finish law school, she'd finish med school, and they'd settle down, have some kids, be the family he always wanted but never got. His past life would be forgotten. She would never know. Dean and John would go on however they wanted to while Sam took the hopes and dreams he created as a kid and made them reality.

And just like that, everything had gone up into flames, burning away harshly.

Including Jess.

She's smiling that smile that drove him crazy, bright and happy. Her eyes are dark, with that slight mischief he always found in them. Her honey colored hair is spilling over her shoulder, long and glossy, or maybe it's just the sun reflecting in the glass of the frame concealing her picture. That's all that's left of her: pictures, memories. Just like his mother. Both taken from him by the same flames, the same power.

"What girl doesn't like roses?"

"It's not that I don't like them. I just think they're overrated. You know… corny and just… lame."

Too bad they are the only thing he could find. He can almost see her eyebrows rising, that playful smile working on her lips. He looks toward the rumbling Impala, where Dean's waiting for him, sitting awkwardly in the driver's seat. Time to go. With a shake of his head, the flowers drop limply from his hands, and he turns and walks away.

It's easy to walk away once you've lost everything. Just a couple of steps forward, and you're far away, everything's over. It had been easy to leave his dad behind, to not listen to his brother. With every step he had taken toward Stanford, he had grown more and more confident that it would work, that he wouldn't come back. But Dean was right; his secrets weren't the kind that he could just tuck away. He could try to change the path a thousand times, but it would always be the same destination.

Sam always hated how obsessed his dad was with getting the thing that took his mother, but now he has a new perspective. He understands the anger, the thirst for vengeance. It burns within him, burns like the flames that had licked Jess clean. It's all he can think about as he drives over countless state lines with Dean, once again thrust into a life he never wanted.

Jess was the answer to everything. She was his escape, his shelter, his hopes, but once again, he was forced to forget those hopes. His life was too complicated. His childhood had spelled out what was waiting for him, but he had tried to scramble it up, and ended up drowning in a bowl of steaming alphabet soup. His wishes had caused him to risk too much, put people's lives in danger.

Hoping is pointless, he knows that now. Once a hunter, always a hunter.

And he's set on killing this demon, even if he dies doing it.