A/N: Thanks to Schelz (Fantasycatcher) for the beta. No, hun, you are still not fired. LOL Off to hide now.
Disclaimer: Nah, I own nothing! sheds a tear
S/N: Pre-series, so no spoilers.
August 1990, Oklahoma
"Sammy." Dean did not look up from the lettuce that he's chopping.
"What are you doing?" Sam asked.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"It looks to me like you are trying to cook." Sam smirked.
"Wow. You're a genius Sammy."
"Why don't you just make a sandwich or something?" Sam questioned, worried that Dean could actually burn the house down this time. His older brother had been known to have catastrophic accidents in the kitchen whenever he tried to play chef. Of course, Dean was also very creative with the ingredients that he used for cooking. Only Dean would mix M&M's with bread and then toasted them with cheese.
"We don't have any bread." Dean glanced at his baby brother with an unreadable look on his face.
"We could get some, and maybe we could also get some peanut butter and jelly. Eggs, biscuits..." Sam was clearly giving some serious thought to his shopping list.
"Why waste money Sam? We have tomatoes and lettuce and onions and potatoes. Maybe we could just have some soup. "
"They're all veggies!!"
"They're good for you." Dean tried to convince himself.
"I hate veggies. YOU hate veggies." Sam accused Dean.
"No, I don't. I just…don't eat them much."
"You cannot stand veggies, Dean. You make those funny faces every time there are veggies. Why do we even have these things here anyway? No one eats them."
"Mrs. Kretch gave it to us yesterday while you were at your friend Davy's house."
"Why?" Sam's favourite word reared its head.
"I don't know Sam. Look, why don't you just finish your homework and I'll call you when I'm done." Dean tried to sound as firm as his dad. Unfortunately, it did not deter his younger brother.
"Dean, do you remember the first time you tried to cook?"
Dean's ears suddenly changed into a deep flush of red.
"That was a disaster!"
"How was I supposed to know the smoke alarm was super sensitive?"
"You fell asleep!" Sam couldn't believe that Dean had forgotten that tiny fact.
"I just had my eyes closed for a second!" Dean defended himself.
"Long enough for you to trip up the smoke alarm." Sam argued.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Details, details."
"Come on, Dean. Can we just have sandwiches? Or Lucky Charms! We could have Lucky Charms. Dad's not here, he will never know." Dean knew his dad would never agree with him about feeding Sam Lucky Charms more than once a day.
"You finished the last Lucky Charms this morning, Sam." Dean's eyebrows came together in a frown.
"Oh. We could buy some more."
"Yeah. Maybe later. Come on Sam. Soup's good for you."
Dean was trying to distract Sam from the topic of shopping. Dad has gone longer than he expected, but not long enough that he had to call Bobby or Pastor Jim. The money he had left for the boys was long gone, and Dean had to find a way to feed both himself and Sam. He never thought that he'd be thankful to Mrs Kretch and her too-helpful behaviour of giving them her extra groceries.
"You said last week that all veggies are evil." His brother's voice cut into his thoughts.
"Don't quote me, Sammy. What I said last week is not valid this week"
"Sammy, just know that this week, veggies are all good. Now go on, do your homework."
"'Kay Dean." Sam reluctantly agreed before going off to do what Dean asked.
Dean felt his mouth twitch into a smile. Finally, he could concentrate on his soup. Now, what else could he drop into that boiling broth? Dean began rooting around the refrigerator, humming AC/DC's Back in Black to himself as he worked.
Dean let out a weary sigh. He was in the midst of cutting some overripe tomatoes and the juice kept making his hands slippery.
"It's not ready yet, Sam. Do not tell me you've finished all your homework in fifteen minutes?"
"Then finish it."
There was a heavy silence. Dean knew Sam was psyching himself up to ask a big question, one he somehow knew he wouldn't have an answer to. His next words confirmed what Dean had feared.
"Dean, are we poor?"
Dean's heart skipped a beat; he did not want Sam to know they could not get by. "What? No!"
"Then why can't we go shopping for food? We always buy food to eat. Even when Dad's not around he always left us money to buy food."
Dean's brains scrambled for something, anything, which could be sent to his mouth in response to Sam's probing questions. His mind latched to a programme that he saw on television last night.
"Do you remember last night's documentary about the homeless hungry kids? They're not even getting enough food, and here we are, wasting the food that we do have."
"Why not we send them Mrs. Kretch's food, and buy ourselves some new food?"
"And how are we going to do that, Sam? By the time the food reaches them, the food would have would have gone bad."
Sam's mouth snapped shut at Dean's reply, but his older brother knew it would be foolish to think that the interrogation was over. He returned his focus back to his cutting, his hands were getting more slippery by each cut. Dean wondered if the tomatoes were too ripe for cooking as it was past its texture and probably its flavour too. He opened his mouth to chase Sam away from the kitchen, but his younger brother beat him to it.
And the questioning had resumed. Dean suppressed a long-suffering sigh. "Yeah?"
"You are cooking because Dad forgot to leave us enough money, aren't you?"
Once again, Dean was caught with his pants down. Damn, but his baby brother was smart. Dean had to come up with a reasonable explanation before Sam found out the extent of their sorry situation. "Sammy, I just don't want this food to go to waste, that's all."
"You're not lying to me, are you?" Sam stared at Dean, trying to imitate his elder brother during those times that Dean had glared the truth out of him.
Apparently, Sam had a long way to go before he could be as intimidating as Dean. "Sam, why are you asking me all these questions?"
"The kids at school laugh at me when I told them where we buy our clothes." Sam blurted out.
"What's wrong with The Salvation Army and Goodwill?"
"They say that's where poor people buy their clothes."
Dean squashed a spurt of anger that had risen up from Sam's despondent tone and his woeful face. He took out his frustration out on the tomato. More juice spilled out and coated his fingers. Dean took a deep breath, and hastened to soothe his brother.
"Well, what do they know about shopping and clothes? They are only seven."
"I'm seven too!" Sam was indignant.
"Well, there you are. You don't know anything about clothes either. I'll have you know, Sam, that second-hand clothes are very in right now."
"In where Dean?" Sam scrunched up his face, trying to understand what Dean was telling him.
"I mean heaps of people buy second-hand clothes."
"Yup. Remember that time we went to The Salvation Army and we got you a very cool jacket from Abercrombie and Fitch?"
"Who's Abercumb and Fitch?"
"It's a very famous fashion brand."
"What's a brand?"
"Never mind. All you gotta know is...crap! My finger!"
Dean hadn't been paying attention to what he was doing and had accidentally sliced his finger with the knife that he was using to cut the tomatoes. Blood flowed incessantly from the cut as Dean groaned. His dad was going to tell him off for allowing his attention to wander and injure himself.
"I'm sorry! Should I get the first-aid kit?" Sam's large eyes snapped from Dean's bloody finger and back to meet Dean's emerald ones.
"No need, Sam, it's just a small...Sam?" Sam disappeared up the stairs before Dean could even finish his sentence. Dean settled into a chair and tried to stem the bleeding as the cut throbbed painfully. A minute passed and he could hear Sam's feet cluttering down the stairs. Sam came through the door with the first-aid kit a moment later.
"Here, Dean. Do you need a bandage? Or the antiseptic? Or ..."
"Sammy! I'm fine! Look, I just need a band-aid, that's all."
"You sure, Dean? It looks serious."
"I'm sure Sam."
"I'm really really sorry."
"Oh for god's sake…" Dean rolled his eyes at the apology. Only his brother would think that this was his fault. Sam's blue-green eyes filled with tears and some of it had spilled down his cheeks.
"Are… you… angry… at… me, Dean?" Sam's lips were quivering.
"No Sam. Look, it's better already."
"Can I put a band-aid on it?"
"Sure Sammy, if you stop leaking." Dean used his thumb to wipe away the tear falling from Sam's eye.
"'Kay. Superman or Batman?"
Dean thought it was pointless to argue and pointed to the Batman band-aid. As Sam wrapped it around his finger, Dean heard a knock on the door.
Dean's head snapped towards the door. "Sam..."
"Dean, did you hear something?" Sam's head followed the direction of his brother's.
"Yeah. Someone's knocking on the door. Be quiet, Sam."
"It might not be dad."
Dean picked up a baseball bat that had been been placed near the door and crept slowly towards the door. The knocking continued. "Shhhhh…."
He motioned with his hands that Sam should hide behind the sofa until Dean declared it was safe to come out. Sam shook his head, but relented when Dean glared at him. As soon as Sam was safely hidden, Dean carefully turned the knob, holding his breath.
Fortunately it was John. Dean let out his breath and opened the door fully to let his father in. As his father passed him, Dean scrutinized John covertly. His father appeared none the worse for wear, but it was obvious that he was tired. Exhaustion settled heavily around him.
John turned around and tossed a weary smile to his eldest. His smile turned sharply into a frown, however, when he spotted the Superman band-aid on his son's left index finger.
"What's wrong with your finger, Dean?" John asked as he examined the band aid wrapped around his son's finger.
"He cut himself, Dad." Sam's voiced piped in as he came out from his hiding place. Dean glowered at him to shut up, but Sam didn't notice it. Or rather, his baby brother was doing a good job of pretending not to notice his glare.
"How many times do I have to tell you to be careful when using weapons?"
"It's my fault, Dad. Dean was trying to cook, and I distracted him and he cut himself so I took out the first-aid kit but we don't need any bandage just a band-aid and I put it on Dean and I said I was sorry and I really am and please don't punish Dean! …Or me." Sam rambled on, eager to relinquish his brother from any blame while trying not to get himself punished either.
John examined the cut on Dean's hand. It was a superficial cut, and John eased on his worry. He placed the band-aid back to its place, and turned to face his youngest. He watched Sam fidget under his stare, and relented.
"Ease up, Sam. You're not in trouble, and neither is Dean." John patted Sam's head as he walked further into the living room.
"How did the hunt go Dad?" Dean tried to deflect his father's attention away from his injury, thankful that he didn't have to suffer through a lecture.
"Standard poltergeist hunt, Dean. Sorry, I got delayed on the way home. I'm fine."
"What's a pol'geist, Dad?" Sam was intrigued.
"Sam, go and finish your homework." Dean said.
"Can I finish it later, Dean? I wanna help you cook."
"What are you cooking, Dean?" John frowned. Hadn't he left enough money and groceries for them when he left?
"Soup. OH NO! The soup!" Dean rushed into the kitchen, followed by John and Sam.
"It's all dried out!" Dean griped.
John could see the disappointment on his older son's face. "Hmmm. I don't think the soup can be saved Dean. What do you say I take you boys out for pizza instead?"
"Yes! Pizza!" Sam was ecstatic.
"Go and get ready, Sam. We'll be out in ten minutes." John instructed his youngest.
"Ok, Dad. Dean?"
"You go ahead, Sam. I'll finish cleaning up the kitchen before we head out." Dean wanted Sam out of earshot.
John turned to Dean as soon as Sam was out of sight. He felt guilt eating up his insides. It was clear that he hadn't left enough money for the boys and Dean was trying to keep both of them fed. John wondered where Dean had gotten the ingredients for the soup. He would have to question his eldest later on the way to dinner.
John nodded to the mess in the kitchen. "You can clean this up when we get home, Dean."
Dean was worried about going out to eat. He was more aware of his family's fragile finances than John had initially thought.
"Dad, are you sure you wanna go for pizza? There is still some food left here for us to make something."
"Don't worry about it Dean. I took my pay from the garage before coming back home. We could have some pizza and then go to the supermarket after that to stock up."
"Okay, Dad." Dean was relieved.
Sam appeared by the kitchen door with Dean's jacket in hand. "Dad! I'm ready! Can we go now?"
"Yes, Sam. C'mon Dean. Let's go."
February 2005, en route to Dallas City, Illinois
"C'mon, Sam. Let's go." Dean beckoned to his brother to hurry up.
Sam sighed as he tried to catch up with his brother. "Dean, wait up."
"Time's a-wasting, Sam. We gotta get that poltergeist tonight or those kids won't see tomorrow. Freaking kids. When will they ever learn not to go into a haunted house?"
"Don't tell me you've never done anything for a dare?"
"Well, I'm different. I'm more prepared. What did you get from the mart while I was filling up?" Dean quizzed as he turned the ignition.
"Lucky Charms. Soda. Sandwiches. Soup."
Dean turned from staring at his windshield to face his brother.
"Soup? Why are you buying soup? Are you sick?"
"Can't I just buy soup because I feel like it and not for any other reason?"
Dean pondered the question. "No, not really."
Sam shrugged. "Yeah, well. Do you remember the time when you tried to cook soup when you were like about eleven?"
That was random. Dean tried to cast his mind back to almost fifteen years ago. It took a few moments, but his memory bank finally located the incident that Sam was talking about. His mouth curled up into a grin.
"Oh, yeah. The dried-out soup incident."
Sam smiled back to his brother, dimples showing. "It was pretty funny."
"It was to you. The old lady should have given us some canned food."
"I think she thought to give that so Dad could cook for us. I don't think she expected you to cook instead."
"And this has something to do with you buying soup?" Dean could never understand how Sam's mind worked. He eased the Impala back onto the highway.
"Remember you were grousing about the salad I was eating this afternoon? It reminded me of that time when you said that vegetables were evil, and yet you were trying to make me eat them."
Dean shrugged his shoulders. "And as I recalled, you didn't eat them. We went out for pizza when Dad came back home later that night."
"You also tried to give me some fashion advice." Sam's voice revealed barely suppressed laughter, although his mind was clearly not focusing on the present.
"Obviously, you didn't follow them even til now." Dean ribbed at his taller sibling, hoping to illicit a reaction.
Sam's faraway look sharpened to look at his brother. "I also remembered you cutting your finger while trying to cook."
"It was just a small cut, Sammy. And you were the one crying about it."
Dean nodded, sparing his brother with a glance before smirking. "You were bawling like a baby. And I was the one injured. You were such a girl then, Sammy. Still am"
A/N: There you go, my very first fiv, although not my first fic posting. Feedback is much, much, extremely appreciated! Thanks for reading!