Title: Good Deeds
Author's Notes: Inspired by the 'Feed the Homeless' clip on Break (dot) com
Warning: this may become part of a series...
Hopeful, cloudy eyes looked up at the group of cars stopped at the red light before him. He pushed to his feet, slowly, layers of grime and dust falling from his tattered clothes. He turned and bent, picking up an equally battered, army-issued camouflage guard cap. Then, visibly drawing a strengthening breath, he approached the cars.
Dean watched the old beggar pick his way through the cars, searching for a single sympathetic soul to afford him some coins. His knuckles shifted forward over the steering wheel with every dejected step the man took. No one even looked at him, even validated the beggar's existence. The man was alone, an unfortunate soul adrift in a city of thousands.
And Dean knew exactly how that felt.
Beside him, Sam bent forward and started plucking change from the floorboards.
Because Sam knew how it felt too.
Dean watched as the light turned green and all the cars inched forward, bit by bit, jockeying for precious inches that would get them to their destinations no faster. The beggar hobbled back to the curb, set down his hat, and slowly lowered himself to the ground, not a penny richer for his troubles. The sun glinted off his eyes and graying beard as he turned sightless eyes to the horizon.
Pulling in a deep breath, Dean grabbed his cell phone. They were sitting in the parking lot of a McDonalds, taking a few moments to scarf down breakfast before hitting the road. The Impala- God bless her- usually required two hands to steer and Dean was well past the age of being hand-fed.
"Who you calling?" Sam asked, glancing over at Dean before dropping the door to the glove compartment.
"Information." Dean held the phone to his ear and listened to the ringing.
Dean glanced at the street sign hanging over the intersection and asked the operator for a connection to the McDonald's on 9th street.
Sam stopped gathering change and look at him, leaning back. "What are you doing?"
"My good deed for the day. Now shut up."
Sam closed his fist around the change and waited.
When the teenager on the other end of the line picked up, Dean cleared his throat and straightened, squinting into the morning sun. "Yeah, this is Sergeant Fry with the Milwaukee Police Department. Listen, I've got a man undercover across the street from you and he's just pulled an all-nighter on a stake-out. I need you to take him a cup of coffee and a sandwich so he doesn't starve to death out there." The teenager's voice rose in excitement, instantly agreeing to the task. "Now don't talk to him," Dean said. "Just set it down on the curb next to him and walk away. This bust is a very big deal, kid. Don't screw it up. Great, thanks."
As he ended the call, Sam piled the coins in his lap and clapped, slowly and loudly.
Dean glanced at him, shrugging as he pocketed the phone. "It's no big deal, Sam. Just helping out the guy."
Sam turned away, smiling. "No big deal."
"Don't do that. Don't get all girly and shit. It's not enough." Dean raked a hand over his head and stared at the beggar's huddled form. "Not nearly enough."
"It's something, Dean. It'll mean something to him."
Dean squirmed, still uncomfortable with the look of hero-worship in Sam's eyes even after all these years. "Yeah, well, it's gotta work first."
Sam kept quiet at that, and the car lapsed into a comfortable silence. The smooth and steady sounds of breathing rasped between them, the smell of deep fried meat and syrup weighed heavily in the air. Dean watched the homeless man sit on the sidewalk, noticed the slump of his shoulders, the length of his scraggly hair. The man was old, probably smelled badly, probably unhealthy and maybe a little crazy. From the looks of it, he had been living on the streets for some time now, weathered like the city's statuary.
But what separated Dean and Sam from that man? They were also homeless, by all formal definitions of the word, and yet they were considerably better off. It wasn't that they had money, either, because they didn't. It couldn't be willpower alone, because who would want to live on the streets? So what was it, what were they doing right that the poor old beggar was doing wrong?
Movement at the side door caught his attention and Dean watched as a young man, dressed in the standard McDonald's uniform and visor, stepped outside, coffee cup and paper sack in hand.
The kid waited at the curb until traffic stopped, then jogged across the lanes. Once at the other side, he hopped up onto the curb and approached the beggar slowly. Stopping five feet away, he bent over and set the cup and bag on the ground, then turned and darted back across the intersection just before the light turned green.
The old man, who had been watching the kid warily, turned toward the abandoned food. He looked at the McDonalds, then back at the food. Then he grabbed it.
Dean risked glancing at Sam and saw the shit-eating grin on his younger brother's face. Before Dean could look away, Sam met his gaze and the pride in those pale green eyes blossomed. "It worked."
Dean nodded and started the car, hoping to disguise his embarrassment. "Just breakfast."
The Impala rumbled to life and the radio blasted an up-beat song through the speakers at their feet. Sam reached over and turned down the volume. "You impersonated an officer, you know."
Dean shrugged and checked the rear view mirror. "What's one more felony to the list?"
"Yeah," Sam smiled as the car moved in reverse. "No big deal."