In a life full of change and upset, moving schools six time since August shouldn't have been any more difficult than changing you socks, but this time, this year, Dean Winchester was having a difficult time with it. He had attended the "what is happening to my body" lecture four different times in his varied school career, so he understood, on a fundamental level, what was going on and accepted it as a part of growing up, as a means to an end of getting to where, who, he wanted to be---a hunter, like his dad. And you couldn't be a hunter when you were a child, you had to be a man, tall, well muscled and sharp. You couldn't be a thirteen year old child who was awkward and gangly and couldn't buy a beer, because if his dad was any indication, beer was definitely part of the package to being an adult.
He had never thought that this transition into manhood would be this difficult or embarrassing. He quit talking at the last school, he couldn't control the squeaking of his voice, nor could he tolerate the snickers from the immature girls or the boys who seemed to have become men over night and didn't seem to have an issue with the changing voice. Dean, unfortunately, wasn't as lucky as those guys.
And as if embarrassment wasn't enough, his father ordered for him to do more training every night, made a comment about how uncoordinated he was becoming, and how if he didn't ramp up the training he wouldn't be able to protect Sammy because he would spend more time tripping over his own rapidly growing feet, than shooting at a monster, and that little bit of time he spent regaining his balance could cost his little brother his life. So, all of today, he had a knot in his belly, a fear, that he wouldn't be good enough, fast enough, or strong enough to take care of his baby brother. And when that was gone, what would be left? What would he even be worth if he wasn't there to protect Sam?
"Can I sit here?" A strong girl's voice asked. Dean looked up from the book he had been pretending to read, in small schools like this one you better have a book to read—or pretend to read—when you don't eat lunch because you don't have the money, because your dad is too busy with the latest hunt to hustle money—when he's had to buy you four pairs of new shoes in six months because you keep outgrowing them—because if you didn't have a book to read at lunch you could sit there and watch everyone make fun of you, shoot you dirty looks, point and stare, or his favorite come up and flat out mock. So he borrowed one of the books from the library this morning before classes began and he had hoped that it made him look busy and not like an easy target.
"I guess." He said. She sat in front of him and put her lunch bag down and began to open it, and Dean hoped that his stomach wouldn't betray him and speak loudly when he saw her lunch as it sometimes did when he was hungry and watched other people eat.
"I know. You want a cookie?" She extended a cookie in his direction. He shook his head, unable to take someone else's lunch away from them, he knew what it felt like to be hungry and he didn't wish that on anyone else.
"No thank you." He said softly.
"Apple?" she asked and extended her apple to him. He smiled softly and shook his head no. She then proceeded to offer him every single thing that was in her lunch bag. He refused all politely and when she was finished, and starring angrily at the lunch on the table she finally said. "Then what do you want?"
He gave her confused eyes. "What do I want?" his voice cracked and he tried to not let the embarrassment color his face.
"Yeah. What do you want?"
"But you must want something."
"No. I don't want anything." Dean usually understood the people his age. Most to all were selfish and self gratifying, he had only run across a few that were genuinely nice people and were willing to do things for others just for the sake of doing them, but most girls that looked like her, pretty, good clothes, highlighted hair, and parents that allowed her to wear make-up in the eighth grade, weren't' usually the giving kind.
"Everyone wants something when they do something nice." Dean frowned, that was pretty much exactly what he had just been thinking about her.
"I didn't do anything nice for you." He said softly hoping that that would control his voice.
"You helped my little brother the other day on his way home from school. He told me about you."
Dean racked his brain trying to figure out what she was talking about. The other day he had kept the biggest kid in the third grade from beating the hell out of this small kid with huge glasses and asthma. The bigger boy thought it was funny that the little kid needed an inhaler, and had taken it from him and then proceeded to try and hurt the kid. Dean had rounded the corner just as the first kick was being landed on the smaller kid, and just as Sam yelled "Hey! Don't do that!" Dean had wailed on the bigger kid, sent him home crying and bleeding. When the bully was gone, Dean was able to return the inhaler to the be speckled kid. But really, all it had amounted to was that he was protecting his little brother, because Sam had been right there, and he knew that Sam wasn't ready, knew that he didn't have the skills yet at 8 to really effectively take down the bully, so he had stepped in. "The little kid who's in my brother Sammy's grade?"
"Yeah, that's my little brother Davy. That big kid has been giving Davy crap all year, and I have been trying, but well, a threat from a girl just doesn't go very far. So, I don't know you very well—at all actually. And you did something nice for my little brother, and I wanted to do something nice for you, and you haven't eaten lunch for two weeks, so I just thought that you might be hungry and that might be the way I could repay you." Dean tried to keep the embarrassed blush at bay.
"I didn't do it because I wanted a reward." He said a little angry that his needs were so clearly spelled out in front of the school, that everyone could see that he would 'work for food' so to speak.
"I know. But I think you deserve one." She said softly. "My little brother isn't exactly someone people treat well. And, well, you treated him kindly, and made sure he was all right. That's a big thing. Davy thinks you are super cool now."
Dean shrugged. "It was just the right thing."
"But no one else has ever done "the right thing" for Davy ever." Dean shrugged again.
"I think it does." She said and sighed. "I'm going to leave this lunch right here, and hope that you take it and accept it as a thank you, or else it is just going to rot. Because I'm not eating it." With that she got up and left him and went back to her friends who were at the table farthest away, and he looked back down at the lunch sitting in front of him. Cookies, apple, sandwich, and juice. He looked back at her, and she gave him a small smile before she turned and went back to talking with her friends. He looked at the meal again, and then slowly pulled the brown paper bag to himself, and he slowly ate the food, and it felt good in his stomach, and the thank you made his heart feel light.