A Side of Fries
Sam only thinks he's worried about Dean - that Dean'll get into a fight or mouth off to the principal or something like that. Kid should know better; Dean's not about to make things tougher for himself, not when he's so close to getting Dad to agree that a diploma is just one more useless piece of paper for a hunter. Besides, what Sam's really worried about is that he'll be all on his own at the middle school, just over a mile from the high school, and he's got to be the new kid again.
Dean pulls a five from his wallet and stuffs it into Sam's front pocket. "Get yourself something nice, on me," he says, grinning as Sam rolls his eyes. Still, Sam's answering punch is softer than it needed to be, turns into one hand on his arm in thanks, and they're both smiling as they peel apart. It's nice to know someone's looking out for you, even if that someone's a snot-nosed kid with hair falling in his eyes.
It's midterms week here at this new school, so all the teachers are kind of letting him slide without coming out and saying he could fuck around all he wanted as long as he stayed quiet. He pokes around the library until some wannabe Giles starts reshelving books right around him. This place is so lame that there's just a couple of halls of square little classrooms, no special spaces set aside for home ec, auto shop, or chemistry labs. He wanders until he finds the cafeteria. He's had worse places to hole up for a while.
Of course, it would have been good to remember that he gave away the bulk of the Winchester piggy bank this morning. All he's got in his pocket is a crumpled single and a couple of coins. Doesn't matter, really, not while he's got the moneymaking grin.
The plate of fries is just perfect, crisp and hot, covered in stripes of ketchup and sprinkled with salt and pepper. He's lost in the potato zone, totally blissed out, scooping up more and licking his fingers clean after every bite, and sort of vaguely thinking about what it would be like to be in the driver's seat of the car, one hand loosely curled around the warm steering wheel, the other spinning the volume up high while Zep poured from the speakers and out the open window, his hair pushed every which way by the speeding wind, and the thrum of the engine tipping his whole body into a state of controlled vibration.
It's going to happen, one of these days. He takes the last fry on the plate for a test drive, scooping up as much salt and pepper as he can before plunging it into a red puddle and then lifting it to his mouth.
Sam walks up to him, heavy backpack already weighing down his shoulders, and Dean stays parked on the bench. He squints up at Sam until Sam moves to block the sunlight, and Dean can look clearly at his baby brother, just starting to lose his baby fat, to outgrow the way he says everything with his face before his mouth can get to it.
Sam smiles at him and reaches out a finger to swipe at Dean's face. "Nice one," he says, and smears the ketchup he found on Dean's cheek onto the sleeve of Dean's faded T-shirt. "You never change, Dean."
His voice breaks a little on the last word and they stare at each other, wondering if they really heard that crack. Dean laughs and stands, and then grabs the kid for a hug by way of a world-class noogie. Sammy laughs and keeps moving forward.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.