A/N: I'm thinking about turning this into a really long fic, maybe like 20k or so - let me know if that would be well received! Reviews and the like are always awesome.


Chapter One

Oh, yeah. You'll do just fine.

He watches the man from the shadows. His suit is obviously expensive and well-tailored, since it does a decent job of making the fat idiot look presentable. The man is in his forties, with a red face and little piggy eyes. He walks around the city with a sense of ownership. Dean laughs at him under his breath. People never stop trying to own things. Well, he's no exception. Soon he's going to own that lovely money the man is carrying.

The man passes him. Correction: he attempts to pass him. Dean shoots a hand out from the alley, pulls the man inside and places a firm hand over his mouth, elbow of the same arm on his chest, pinning him to the wall, all in one smooth movement. This ain't his first rodeo, son.

"Hello," says Dean, his voice low and rough and quiet and threatening. The man stares up at him in wet, sloppy fear, blatantly terrified, unconsciously covering his genitals with his hands. Dean smiles at the man. Monster. He knows the type. Big shot lawyer or banker or something, stealing from the poor and the rich alike. In a way, Dean fancies himself as a sort of vigilante, scaring these fuckers straight. Of course, he needs a reward.

"I don't want to hurt you," he says, unsure on whether it's true, "but I have a gun and I'm sorry, tubby, but I could outrun and outfight you. So be a doll and give me all your money."

The man doesn't move, just shakes in the cold. Dean sighs and gets his gun out from where it's tucked into the small of his back, under the waistband of his jeans. "Come on," he urges, growing bored. The man whimpers and immediately starts moving, extracting his wallet from his inside pocket. Dean puts away the gun to take it from him, stealing his watch in the process. One handed, he looks inside the wallet: around three hundred dollars. Eh. Could do worse.

"Thanks. Now, I assume your ID is in here too." He waves the wallet in the man's face. "I'll be checking up on you." The man makes a noise again, a small moan under the sweat of Dean's hand. Dean wishes he'd worn gloves; he hates touching the guy skin-on-skin. Disgusting.

He removes his hand and the man gasps for breath, doubling over unnecessarily. Dean kicks the guy out into the street and starts the other way, wiping his hands on his jeans, tucking the wallet into his back pocket. Three hundred dollars was hardly worth his effort, but the wallet's one of those brands, Ralph Lauren or Gucci or something. Bobby'll know where to get a few hundred more for it.

Dean wraps his arms around himself, his bravado and harsh demeanour wearing off fast. He just wants to get back home as soon as possible. If it were up to him, he'd never leave. But the fates are bitches, and they need money.

The sky is clear of all clouds. It's a beautiful spring day, and New York City is practically glowing with energy. Dean laughs a little to himself as he remembers the day they'd moved here. Poor and desperate, he'd known the only things he was good at that could get money quickly were hustling and threatening. They couldn't have stayed in Lawrence, of course, seeing as everyone there knew who he was, and he'd scammed half of them already anyway. So he'd pandered to the clichés, hoping that the ass crack of New York really did harbour jaunty criminals and Wall Street really was the chessboard of the greedy. It's all working out for him so far.

After about twenty minutes of walking, he reaches their apartment. He knocks three times in quick succession on the weak door, waits two seconds, and does it again. Ellen opens the door with a "hey" and he steps inside.

Dean takes off his jacket and kicks off his boots. Ellen stands over him, watching again. "Any change?" he mutters to her, as usual. She says no again.

Picking his way around the endless sleeping bags and medical books on the floor, Dean goes to the only bedroom. He stands outside the door, taking a few deep breaths, banishing the man he has to be for money and summoning the one he has to be for Sam.

It's always so dark in there. The bed takes up most of the room, and the chairs take up the rest. Dean takes his place on the one closest to the head.

"Sammy," he whispers, pressing his hand to his brother's forehead. "Wake up, Sammy."

Sam stirs, turning his head and opening his eyes. They remain glazed for a few moments before focusing on Dean. "Hey," he says.

"Hey," Dean replies.

"Get your hand off me, man. I swear, you're turning soft." There is a thin layer of humour in his voice, growing thinner each day.

Dean laughs as he takes his hand back. "Hey, you're the one in bed all day, princess."

"How you doing?" Sam asks, sitting up and reaching for the glass of water by the bed.

"Good," Dean replies, holding his hand under the glass as Sam drinks. "Three hundred, maybe a couple more." He takes the glass and puts it back on the side. "We're so close, Sammy."

"Dean–"

"Two more weeks. A month, tops."

Sam looks at him, pleading with his eyes. "We're not talking about this again, Sam," Dean tells him, finality in his tone.

Sam ignores it. "I don't want you doing this for me. It's not right. It's not fair."

"Yeah, well, this whole thing is goddamn unfair, if you hadn't noticed," Dean shoots back, glaring slightly. He stands up and sorts out Sam's sheets, just for something to do. Sam is silent, thinking of an argument that he hasn't used twenty times already. They have this conversation damn near every day. But there's one point he's been hesitant to make. Seeing as he started coughing up blood yesterday, he figures it's now or never.

"Dad would have hated it," he says quietly, looking up into Dean's face.

Dean freezes, hands in the sheets. He stands up straight and turns to Sam. His face is stony, expressionless, but his eyes are screaming. Sam swallows thickly, feeling it rake down his throat to the pit of his stomach.

"Don't."

It's one word, but it ends all conversation. Dean continues clearing Sam up. Sam stays quiet until Dean leaves a few minutes later, then coughs up everything he was holding in for his brother's sake.


Later that night, when everyone is asleep, Dean lies in his sleeping bag, staring at the ceiling, arms behind his head. Recently he's been having a sort of identity crisis. It's never been a secret that he's a tad aggressive, but it worries him how much he seems to enjoy his "work". It's almost like he needs it, if only to release his stress and fear and anger.

He glances at the clock. 1:45a.m. No, not here, he can't think properly here.

Slowly he climbs out of his sleeping bag, careful to make as little noise as possible. Ellen, Jo, and Benny are asleep on the floor, with Jo's snores practically sending shockwaves through the entire apartment. Dean picks his jacket up from off the hook and pulls on his shoes. He grabs a six-pack from the fridge, pockets his keys, and shuts the door behind him as he leaves.

When they first came to the city, Dean hated it. He hated being away from home and everything he knew. He hated the anonymity and missed the sense of unity that Lawrence had. The first night in their new home, he'd done what he's doing now: snuck out to the roof. It's the only thing that he truly likes about this freaking place. From the roof he can see the whole city, and sure, it's pretty as hell. He dragged an old lawn chair up here his second or third time. Give a man a few beers and a view like that and he can forget most of his problems for a couple moments.

Dean cracks open his first beer, throwing the cap into the street below. He's twenty stories up, so he shouldn't hear it hit the ground, but he does. Must be imagining things. Crazy son of a bitch. He stretches out his legs in front of him, propping them up on the foot of raised concrete that marks the roof's perimeter.

It would be a lie if he said he'd never thought about jumping off the goddamn thing. But he stays for Sam.

Of course, if Sam goes away there'd be nothing stopping him. Hell, there'd be something encouraging him.

For now, he just drinks beer and breathes and looks at the stars.