By Tidia, June 2006
At the last stop, Dean had assessed
the lack of funds in his wallet. After buying a package of Peanut
M&M’s, Twizzlers, a bag of chips, beef jerky for sustenance and
some drinks, he had ten dollars remaining. The Impala’s gas tank would
laugh at the paltry amount.
Dean looked over at Sam, who had
fallen asleep in an uncomfortable position. Making up his mind, he
pulled over at the next motel. With a quick prod, Sammy awoke.
“What?” Sam said, chewing the sleep
out of his mouth.
“Go check us in,” Dean replied,
pointing the front office of the motel.
Sam wiped a hand down his face.
In a few moments, Dean followed Sam
to the first floor corner room. He placed the bags down on the bed
closest to the door. “Sammy, I’m going out for a bit.” Dean announced.
“Stay here and rest up.”
Sam shrugged, providing his own
explanation for Dean’s destination. “You’re going to the bar to play
The older Winchester nodded. “Yeah,
pool, we need the money-just stay put.”
“Yeah, I don’t feel like a night of
beer and smoke.” Sam said as he flopped on the bed, reaching for the
remote control on the nightstand.
“Sammy,” Dean grinned, as the
channels whizzed by on the television, “Beer and smoke are magic words.”
Sam groaned at his brother’s
Sam vaguely recollected Dean coming
back in the room later that night, although it was probably more like
early morning. But, he had been too tired to acknowledge his brother’s
arrival. When Sam cracked his eyes open and noted the 7a.m. time, Dean
was still sleeping in the other bed, curled on his side with a blanket
covering his body.
As much as Sam wanted to linger in
bed, nature was urgently calling. He got to his feet, and promptly went
to the bathroom. More fully aware as he exited, he saw the rolled up
cash haphazardly thrown on top of the television. Sam piled it
together, and then started counting.
“Holy, Mother of . . .Dean-a thousand
dollars?” Sam exclaimed, counting the money again. “You must have had
some hot streak . . .Dean?” Sam whispered, wincing as he remembered
that Dean had come in late and would probably not be too receptive to a
voice at full volume.
Sam glanced at his brother, hoping he
would still be sleeping. Dean had shifted, and now lay mostly on his
back. He grunted a greeting and closed his eyes again. Sam smiled,
looking forward to hearing the whole story from Dean when he was fully
awake. The light expression, however, shifted quickly when Sam noticed
Dean’s hands. The fingers seemed swollen and the knuckles were bruised
with fresh scabs. Sam walked closer, noticing flecks of blood on the
side of the bed where Dean had his hands laying moments before.
“Dean!” Sam grabbed one of his
Dean ripped the hand away, rebelling
against having his personal space invaded. He bolted upright in bed,
blinking to bring some wetness into his dry eyes. “What!”
“Your hands,” Sam said, and then
noticed that Dean’s torso had new bruises too. “What the hell happened?”
Dean looked at his hands, quickly
dismissing them and hunkered back down into the still warm bed. “I got
us some money Sammy, nothing happened.”
“Dean, you were fine before you left.
. .” Sam tried to gage the injuries he had seen.
“I tripped-okay.” Dean said, talking
into the pillow which muffled his reply.
“Tripped, okay, anything broken?” Sam
said, looking at Dean’s chest and wondering about his brother’s ribs.
Sighing, Dean knew he was not going
to be allowed to fall back to sleep. He pulled the blankets away, and
pressed on his left side. “No,” he said. He moved to the other side,
but the palpation there resulted in a sharp wince. “Maybe that one is
“You’re cracked.” Sam retorted. He
crossed to Dean’s duffle bag and dug out an ace bandage to wrap up the
“It was $1200, but here…” Dean said,
fumbling for the brown paper bag on the nightstand and holding it out
to his brother.
Sam cocked his head to one side,
wondering what was in the sack. Dean shook the bag once more and Sam
grabbed it, peeking inside before pulling out the gift. “An iPod? You
got me an iPod?”
“Yeah, I did.” Dean shrugged his
shoulders, and under his brother’s scrutiny turned and placed his feet
on the floor. Still Sam stared at him. “What?” Dean stood up, gesturing
for Sam to hand over the gift. “Give it back. I thought you wanted to
download your shitty music- but whatever.”
Sam studied the MP3 player again.
“This is the expensive one.” Knowing that it went for at least five
hundred dollars. “$200?”
“Caliente,” Dean grinned, happy that
he had, in fact, made a great deal.
“It’s stolen?” Sam looked at the
iPod, still in the box, as if it was sullied.
Dean shook his head. His brother was
taking all the fun out of the gift. “I paid for it in cash and there is
even a warranty.” Dean pointed to the part on the box that said ‘ninety
“Dean, thanks,” Sam replied, then
looked his brother up and down. “But I didn’t need it - especially if…a
fight club? What would Dad say?”
Dean snorted. “Dad is the one who had
me do it in the first place.”
“What?” Sam said, shocked that their
father would set his son in harm’s way. Sam curtailed the thought,
since their father had always done that.
“Look,” Dean moved his neck side to
side, working out the kinks. “It’s a solution to a problem and we’ll be
in the black for awhile.”
Sam held up the bandages to wrap
around his brother’s torso. He finished quickly, and put an extra
closure on the end, just in case. “Promise me you won’t do it again.”
“Sam, it’s easy money. . .” Dean
picked up his shirt from the end of the bed, where he had dropped it
the night before.
“Jesus, Dean, for what - a pound of
flesh?” Sam raised his voice, then brought it down again. “No…pool
hustling is better than that.”
“Fine, Sammy, I won’t do it again.”
Dean replied, placating his brother for the time being. Dean knew that
when funds got low, he would do it again, so that Sam would never have
to. He wanted Sam to keep some sort of innocence, away from the magic
of beer, pool and fighting for money.
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