Title: Life and Death in the Cereal Aisle
Summary: In which Dexter has a debate over the virtues of All Bran, Sam wants Lucky Charms and Dean sees a monster in the grocery store.
Disclaimer: The Winchesters and the Morgans are not mine. I'm just playing.
Notes: Thank you to gestaltrose for the beta and catching my mistakes on such short notice.
Life and Death in the Cereal Aisle
Dexter hadn't wanted to come. He didn't see why they couldn't have just gone hunting closer to home rather than spending two days in a car, pretending to be excited and having a good time. But Harry had just told him, "That's what families do, son. They go on family vacations together."
"We've had family vacations before." Dexter remembered trips to the beach where he got sand in uncomfortable places and he'd smiled until his teeth ached for photographs and being forced to sit with Deb when she threw up on him on the roller coaster.
"Those were day trips, Dexter. Sometimes it's expected that a man wants to get away from home for a few days. Most people want to be able to think about something other than their lives and their jobs when they are have time off."
Which was how he ended up in the cereal aisle at the Louisville grocery, a half-hour drive from the cabin that Harry was borrowing from a co-worker for the week.
He heard them before he saw them. It would have been hard not to. "Deeean, can I have Lucky Charms?" It was the high pitched sound of a young boy and Dexter's teeth gritted. It was rather annoying.
"We'll see, twerp." The two rounded the corner. The older couldn't have been more than 10, maybe 11, and he had his hands full with a struggling kid who was trying to run ahead.
"I am not a twerp." He stamped on foot down hard on his brother's, Dean's, instep, but there wasn't enough weight behind it to even make the boy flinch.
Eyes clicked into place as Dexter glanced up momentarily, fully intending to turn back to the Musilux and All Bran. Everything stops for a second and Dexter has the distinct impression that the kid's looking right into him and seeing just what isn't there.
"Sam." The voice is a command, an order, and the little kid stops his tantrum immediately as Dean steps in front of him and the kid takes refuge behind his brother. They stay like that for maybe a few seconds, maybe a few minutes, just watching each other. Dexter isn't sure. It feels like a long time.
An older man comes up into the aisle, he's got a beard on his face and a beaten denim jacket over his shoulders. The kid glances at him. That look isn't saying 'what do I do?', not like most kids would be. It's saying 'can I?' and the shift in his stance makes him suddenly seem dangerous even if Dexter is a good foot taller.
Dexter feels rather than sees Harry come up from the other side to stand at his right.
The man in the denim turns. "Take Sam out to the car, Dean." His voice tastes like Kansas cornbread, something the Dexter hasn't heard outside of television.
The kid straightens and nods. "Yessir." He grabs the little one's hand and walks out, still watching even as he moves.
Beard and denim shakes his head, rueful, casual. "Sorry about that. I should be teaching my boys more manners." But he isn't sorry at all. Most people don't listen to their kids, but this fellow here isn't most people. He's searching Dexter's eyes for whatever it is Dean saw.
Dexter doesn't say anything, even though he knows he should and Harry answers for him, nodding, just as casual, which is to say, not at all. "That's alright. Boys will be boys, won't they Dexter?"
"Yeah, it's fine."
And they both turn back towards the cereal.
"Having some trouble making up your mind, Dexter?"
The tension's still there, but it's not as thick, not as heavy. "Yeah, Dad. I'm not sure what Deb would like." Because good brothers are supposed to be concerned about their sisters. He hears the footsteps walking away.
Which is when Deb comes up behind them. "What the hell was that, bro?" Dexter just shrugs in reply. "And why are you looking at the All Bran?" She grabs a box of Rice Crispies off the shelf and shoves it in the basket.
When they pay and leave the grocery, he can feel the kid's eyes on him all the way to the car.