“Hey Mister, spare some change?” Dean called out in hopefully voice holding out his baseball cap. The man walked by him without a glance and Dean heaved a sigh. He had been late coming out of school (stupid teacher keeping him after class to talk about his homework) and lost his normal spot near the train station. Now he was standing at the corner of Nowhere and Main Street begging for money. It hadn’t been a good afternoon; lots of pennies and a few silver coins. The lone dollar bill had been pocketed right away. Bitter experience had taught him to hide any bills on his person otherwise someone else bigger, stronger and more desperate than him would steal the money.
“Spare money change Sir?” Dean called out to a well dressed business man. The man’s gold bracelet could feed him and Sammy for a month and Dean could only dream of owning a warm jacket like that. His thin jacket came from Goodwill like the rest of their clothing and shoes.
“Get a job,” the man replied with a sneer has he walked by.
Do you think I want to be out here begging for money because my asshole of a Dad took off on a hunt leaving Sammy and me with no money and barely any food for the rest week? Dean raged at the man in his mind. I bet you’ve never gone to bed hungry because you made sure your brother ate instead of you.
“Spare some change Ma’am?” Dean called to a woman has she walked by. She stopped, fumbled around her in purse and dumped some money into his cap before hurrying away.
“Thanks lady!” Dean called out spying lots of silver coins and quickly pocketing a dollar bill and half the silver coins.
Two hours and half hours later, Dean called it a night and quickly counted his money; Twelve dollars and sixty three cents. Just enough money to buy a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a gallon of milk, juice, spaghetti sauce, some badly needed tooth paste, pasta noodles and some apples for Sammy.
At least he wouldn’t go to bed hungry tonight.
Sam and Dean were walking to their hotel after a successful night of hustling pool. Stupid freshmen, Sam thought to himself with a smirk. Dean had wiped the floor with them and walked out of the bar with two and fifty hundred dollars in his pocket. He had to give the kids credit, they hadn’t been pissed that Dean had fleeced them out of their money; they had been awed by his brother’s skills with a pool stick.
Sam realized that Dean was lagging a feet behind and looked over his shoulder and frowned. Dean was talking to street kid and handing over some crumpled bills. The boy gave Dean a grateful smile before darting off into the night.
“You shouldn’t do that, you know. The kid is probably going to spend the money on booze or drugs,” Sam berated Dean when he finally caught up him.
“Or maybe he has a younger sister at home and there’s nothing to eat because mom took off for the weekend with her new boyfriend,” Dean replied shoving his hands in his pockets and walking ahead of Sam. “I’ve been in that situation and it’s not a nice place to be.”
“What? What the hell do you mean by that Dean?’ Sam demanded grabbing Dean’s arm forcing him to stop on the sidewalk.
“Let it go Sam,” Dean warned shaking Sam’s hand off, wishing he hadn’t opened his mouth. He knew that Sam was going to pick at it like a dog with bone. “It was a long time ago.”
“Damn it Dean, I’m not some little kid who needs to be kept in the dark,” Sam snapped back grabbing Dean’s arm again and forcing Dean to look at him. “What do you mean?”
“What the Hell do you want me to tell you Sam?” Dean hissed at his younger brother. “Dad would take off on a hunt and leave us with barely any food or money for the week. So how do you think we got by? I would spend my afternoons begging for money so we could eat.”
“I didn’t know,” Sam replied in a stricken voice letting go of Dean’s arm has the images of years gone by flashed in his mind; the skimpy breakfasts, lunches and suppers while Dad was away. Dean always making sure he had a bigger portion of food or eating anything that was put in front of him. Dean always drinking water to trick an empty stomach into thinking it was full. “I didn’t know, I never had a clue.”
“You were just a kid Sam,” Dean said in a tired voice rubbing his face. He didn’t mention that several men had tried to pick him up. He tried it once and only once, because the fridge was empty and the money was too tempting. Dean spent the rest of the night in the bathroom puking his guts up and brushing his teeth and gargling over and over again to get the taste out of his mouth.
“You were a kid as well Dean,” Sam shot back in a heated voice. “Why didn’t you say something to Dad?”
“Oh right. Like the late great John Winchester would listen to his kids,” Dean said bitterly kicking an empty soda can down the sidewalk. “You know damn well that the only thing that mattered was the hunt for old yellow eyes and everything else was a distant after thought, including us.” Any leads, rumors or whispers about the YED would cause John to drop everything and to hell with the consequences.
“I know,” Sam replied with a sigh, thinking about their childhood. Always moving, never having a place to call home, the endless training to make them better soldiers in John’s futile war, being left alone for days on end, the countless schools. Their childhood had been a litany of broken promises and empty dreams. No wonder he had clung so tightly to the Stanford dream and the normal life it had offered until it came crashing down.
“Sam, it was long time ago,” Dean replied with a shrug of his shoulders. “Once I started hustling pool and doing odd jobs, I never went back to begging but I never forgot that I use to be one of those kids.”