Chapter 1: Any Other Day
Today was a big day for Sam. It was the day of the big soccer tournament. He had been practicing for months with his teammates and Dean. They would practice for hours. Sam was so excited about it. What got Sam more excited was the both Dad and Dean was going to be there. They would be a regular family just this once. Sam wanted his dad to be so proud of him when they win and get that trophy. He got up that morning, to get his uniform ready. When he went into the kitchen he saw that Dean was already there holding a piece of paper.
"Hey, Dean," Sam said walking in the kitchen getting a bowl of cereal.
"Hey squirt," Dean said with no enthusiasm, he just continued looking at the paper.
Dean always hated breaking Sam's heart. And he knew if he told Sam what he was looking at, he would have to deal with the looks, tears and hurt on Sam's face.
"What'cha reading?" Sam asked, sitting down at the table across from Dean.
Dean shook his head. "Sorry, kiddo."
"What?"Sam put back down the spoon and looked at his brother. He knew by the look on Dean's face he wasn't going to like what he said next. "What is it?"
"Dad's not going to be at the game."
Just as Dean hated it, he knew it was coming. Sam's heart just broke. Dean knew he was more excited about their dad coming that the game itself. Tears began to swell up in Sam's eyes. Dean got up and slid his chair over to Sam so that he was right next to Sam. "Oh Sammy, please don't be hurt. Dad would come if he could. There was a job he had to deal with."
"Why doesn't Dad love me," Sam cried.
"Oh, Sammy," Dean grabbed his sobbing brother and hugged him. "Dad loves you. He loves both of us. Don't say that." Dean soothes his brother's tears. "Come on, you have a game to get ready for. He'd be there if he could, of course he would but there are people in danger and he needs to go to them. That doesn't mean that he doesn't love you or care about you. If he was a doctor or a firefighter or a police officer he'd have to leave too."
Dean lets go of Sam and sits him back in his chair.
"Stop crying," Dean says. "Listen, we are going to have fun. You're gonna kick that other team's ass and win that trophy, right."
A teary eyed Sam smiles at Dean. "Yeah. We're going to win."
"That's it. But you're not going to win if you keep crying like a girl."
A big grin came across Sam's face. He wiped his tears with the back of his sleeves. Dean gets up and moves the chair back to where it was. "Jerk."
Dean gasped and acted to be offended. "Such language, where did you learn such disrespect?"
"From my big brother," Sam laughed out.
"You got that right," Dean said proudly. "Come on; finish eating so that you can get ready."
Dean grabbed the note that their dad left and walked out of the kitchen. When he knew he was out of sight of Sam, Dean looked down at the note and read it again.
There is a job in the next state. I'll be gone for a few days. Take care of your brother.
Dean walked outside and pulled out his cell phone and called their dad.
"Dean, what is it?"
"Couldn't this have waited until after the tournament?"
"This is important."
"So is your son. Sammy is heartbroken. You promised you would be here."
"He'll get over it."
"Listen Dean; just tell Sam I'll see his next game."
"There is no other game. This is the last of the season. That's why he wanted you to come. If you knew you weren't coming why did you promise him then?"
"Watch your tone, son."
"Sorry dad, but you aren't here to see the look on his face."
"You shouldn't have promised him."
"We'll discuss this later."
Dean hung up the phone. He wanted so badly to throw it. He loved his dad more than the world, but he hated that he had to defend him all the time to Sam, who now believed that their dad didn't even love him. Now it's getting harder and harder to believe it himself. Dean calms himself down so that he doesn't worry Sam. Today they were going to have a good day. Sam was going to play his game and win. And his proud big brother will be right there with him when he does.
Dean walks back into the apartment and gets ready.
Sam and Dean left the apartment shortly after. They have to walk to the soccer field, so Sam carries his uniform in a bag. Dean has Sam's cleats across his shoulders, tied at the laces. They head in the direction of the field. Dean has always in protective mode when they walk anywhere. Sam is always right behind him. Sometimes Dean makes him hold his shirttail or his jacket when they are walking somewhere and there is a large crowd. But today, there aren't many people on the sidewalk so Sam doesn't have to hold on. But that doesn't mean that he's not on Dean's heels.
Sam excitement comes back in full force as they walk towards the field. Sam talks to Dean all the way to the field. Sam was talking so much Dean couldn't get a word in. Dean laughed to himself and shook his head. He loved his brother and he hated that their dad would hurt him, but he was happy that Sam wasn't let the fact that their dad wasn't going to be there bother him now.
When they get to the field, they walk over to the restroom so that Sam can change into his uniform. Sam changes and gives Dean his regular clothes. Sam meets up with the rest of his teammates, and Dean takes a seat in the stands. Everything goes wonderfully. Dean cheers when Sam scores. Sam gets knocked down by another kid. Dean is at his feet and that the fence that lines the entire field. Sam is on his back for a few minutes, but to Dean it just way too long. Sam's team mate comes over and helps him up. Sam looks over at the fence because he knows he's going to see his brother scaling the fence if he doesn't let him know that he's fine. Dean is standing there and will not move even with the protests of security that was walking by. Dean kept his eyes on Sam until Sam looked at him. Sam looked over at Dean and shook his head. Dean's brow creased, and Sam nodded then went back to the game. Dean began to relax again, but didn't leave that spot on the fence. The rest of the game went with no more scares. Sam's team won the game. They got their trophy. Sam had the widest grin on his face. Dean couldn't help but laugh. He was so proud of his brother. After Sam received his trophy he ran straight to Dean to show him.
"Look at that," Dean said taking the trophy. "I guess we're going to have to put it on the dashboard of the Impala. Or maybe we can hang it from the rear view mirror."
Sam couldn't help but to laugh. Dean put his arm around Sam's shoulders and they walked towards the restrooms so that Sam could change back into his street clothes. After Sam changed he met up with Dean who was standing right outside the restroom.
"Hey," Sam said after he walks out of the bathroom stall.
"You ready?" Dean asked.
"Yeah," Sam replies excitedly, still full of adrenaline from the game.
They walked out of the park.
"You hungry, kiddo?" Dean asked. Sam nodded.
They headed for the diner that was close to the apartment they were staying. They've been there before for their meals, that the wait staff knew the two boys by name. Their favorite waitress was named Jo. She would always give them a little something extra when they came. Actually, Jo was crazy about the brothers. When they walked in the diner, Sam and Dean went to their same booth that they've gone to for the last few months. Jo walked over to them.
"Howdy, boys," Jo said pulling out her pad, like she didn't already know what they were going to order.
"Hi Ms. Jo" Sam said.
Oh Jo just loved these boys to death. And the youngest was just as sweet and polite. She just wanted to pick him up and just hug him and never let him go. The older one, she adored. She loved how he looked out for his brother. Even at such a young age, he did things she wished her brother and sister would do. She's met their dad a few times and there was just one thing that always bothered her. He had two wonderful, adorable sons and when she would see them all together, it was like the dad didn't really pay attention. She remembered one time, the youngest one- Sam- wanted his dad to show him something and the man had just completely ignored him. Sam looked so sad. And it wasn't like it was anything big, he just wanted his dad to notice him. But the sad look didn't last long. Big brother saw to that. He started doing something. She couldn't explain it. They weren't talking. Not a sound came from them. But within a few minutes, Sam was smiling. Almost laughing. And Dean was just smiling at his brother.
"So sweeties, what are you having today?" Jo asked.
"Well," Dean said. "The squirt here just won his soccer tournament."
"Congratulations," Jo said putting her hand on Sam's shoulder.
"Thanks," Sam said shyly putting his head down blushing.
"Which calls for celebration. How about two slices of pie with ice cream?"
Sam looked up at Dean nodding his head with great enthusiasm. Dean smiled. "Sounds good. We'll have that."
"Coming up," Jo said walking away from the boy's table.
She went to the counter. Pete, the fry cook walked over to her as she started cutting the pie.
"You can't keep doing this when they come in," Pete said.
"Doing what?" Jo asked slicing the second pie and putting it on the plate.
"You're not going to charge them again."
Jo didn't answer his question. She just held up the two plates in front of him. "These need a scoop of ice cream."
"You can't keep paying for those boys." Pete took the plates.
"It's my money," she said looking over at the brothers at the table. Dean's doing something that is making Sam laugh. It was just the sweetest thing she's ever seen. And if it means that she pays the meager $4 for their pie and ice cream so that she doesn't have to see the look on Sam's face again when Dean pulls out his wallet. She remembered what happening the first time the boys came in without their father.
They looked so hungry and Sam had ordered a grilled cheese and tomato soup. At first, Dean didn't think Jo noticed that he looked in his wallet when Sam ordered, but she did and knew when he didn't order anything for himself that he didn't have enough to pay for both himself and his brother. And that, Jo decided she had to do something. She could tell that Dean was too prideful to ask for help especially when it came to his brother, so what she did when she brought the food out she made sure it was double. Instead of being two sandwiches it was four. And the bowl of soup was a salad bowl. The expressions on their faces were just priceless.
"What the hell did you order?" Dean demanded of his brother, his tone more shocked than angry.
Sam's eyes were just as big as Dean's. "I didn't order this much. I swear."
"Eat up, boys." Jo said. Dean looked at her and she just winked at him and walked off.
"Eat, Sammy, I'll be right back," Dean said getting up. Sam took a sandwich and started eating.
Dean walked over to Jo, who was taking another customer's order. He tapped her on her arm to get her attention. When she finished taking the people's order, she faced Dean. He had a forlorn look on his face.
"What's wrong sweetie?" Jo asked innocently.
"Can I talk to you? In private," Dean said quietly.
"Sure, sweetie," Jo said and escorted him over to a table where there were no one around. Dean sat down in the seat that looked out the restaurant so that he could keep an eye on Sam.
"What is it?" Jo said sitting down across from Dean.
"I can't afford that meal. Is there some work around here that I can do? I don't know why Sammy ordered something so big, but I can't pay for all that food," Dean admitted quietly.
It just about broke Jo's heart. She put her hand on Dean's and waited until he was looking at her. Here was a boy that couldn't be much older than fifteen and he is willing to work so that he could have food for his brother.
"Sweetie, don't worry about the meal, okay." Jo stated. "That meal is the lunch special. It's only $3.50."
Dean gave her a suspicious look. He wasn't buying it. Something wasn't right. Jo could see that he didn't believe her so she took it another route.
"Dean, I saw you look in your wallet." Dean blushed and put his head down. "Look at me," Jo said in a soothing voice. Dean looked up at her. "I saw what you did. And I know what you were doing. It was a very selfless act. That's why I gave you two so much food. I will not have you starving so your brother can eat. And I don't think Sam wants that too."
Dean looked at her with amazement. Dean always prided himself in covering up his feelings. How she got through that he doesn't know.
"So," she continued. "why don't you go back and join your brother and eat. Okay."
Dean nodded and got up from the table.
"Oh Dean," Jo stopped him when he was right next to her. "If ever you get in a tight spot again and you two need something to eat, I want you to come here. You understand."
Dean smiled and nodded again. He walked back over to the table with his brother. At the same time Sam was holding out a grilled cheese sandwich for Dean. He took it and they finished their meal.
Jo was pulled out of her thoughts when Pete came back with the two dessert dishes filled with ice cream. Jo looked at how much ice cream was in the dish and looked at Pete. It was double scooped instead of the one that she asked for. She looked at Pete and smiled.
"Shut up," Pete snarled.
"And to think I always thought of you as a hard ass," Jo smiled.
"I'm not as cruel as people make me out to be," Pete confessed. Jo cupped the side of Pete's face and took the dishes from him and walked the pie and ice cream to her two favorite customers.
The look on both their faces was enough payment for the whole staff. But Jo loved to see their looks more.
They stayed for about an hour, than when Sam looked like he was getting sleepy.
"Hey, runt," Dean said. Lightly kicking Sam's foot underneath the table.
"Yeah," Sam said sleepily.
Dean smiled. "Come on, squirt, let's go home so you can take a nap."
"I'm not a baby, Dean," Sam said yawning afterward.
"No, you may not be a baby, but you are tired," Dean got up and grabbed Sam's trophy and clothes. He held out his other hand to now get his sleepy brother out of the booth.
Sam dragged himself out of the booth and grabbed hold of Dean's sleeve. He leaned his head against Dean's arm.
"Come on, sleeping beauty, let's get you to bed."
Dean and Sam walked to the door to leave, but not before saying goodbye to Jo. She walked over to the door. She could tell that Sam was sleepy they way he was clinging to his brother.
"So will I see you two for breakfast?" Jo asked.
Dean looked down at Sam. Sam slowly nodded against Dean's arm. Dean smiled and looked back at Jo.
"Yeah, I guess so. Thank you so much." Dean said. He began to walk out the door when Sam stopped instantly. Dean looked at Sam. Sam was alert again. He walked over to Jo and gave her a hug. It surprised both Jo and Dean.
"Thank you very much, Ms. Jo," Sam said muffled in her apron.
"You're welcome, Sam."
"Sammy," Sam said looking up at her.
She couldn't help the warm feeling that came over her, when Sam wanted her to call him by his nickname that only Dean called him. She hugged him tighter and kissed the top of his head. He let go and walked back over to Dean. They both walked out of the restaurant. To Jo that meant a lot since she had not heard anyone else call him that but Dean. Jo just stood there with tears in her eyes. She so loved those boys.
Jo saw Sam and Dean walking back to the apartments that were across the way. Like she's done so many times before, she watched them until they turned the corner. As they turned the corner, she began going back to work. She started to clean up the table where Sam and Dean were eating when her wonderful feeling turned to dread. There was an explosion. It was so massive she was knocked off her feet. All the windows in the restaurant were blown out. She sat up from the floor and looked around. It looked like World War III in the place. Tables had been knocked onto their sides, chair lay broken and scattered, and condiments that had been set out for customers were obliterated. After the dust settled she felt a hand on her arm. It braced her as she stood. She turned to look and sees Pete.
"You okay," he asked. There was a small cut at his hairline leaking blood but otherwise the fry cook looked uninjured.
Not trusting her voice, Jo just nodded. Pete released his hand from her and watched as she stepped out one of the diner's broken plate-glass windows. When she got out there, it looked much worse. She started walking towards the apartments, not really knowing why, just her legs where taking her there. She was about to cross the street when her heart just sank in her stomach. There was something shining through the dust and debris. She walked over to it. The closer she got the more fear and dread filled her body. When she got to the object and bent down to pick it up, her biggest fears and worries became a cruel reality. She was holding Sam's soccer trophy in her hand. Tears streaming from her eyes. Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! "SAM! DEAN!"