Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean hates to eat alone.
Some people just looked mean.
The shape of their face. The set to their mouth. The way they walked through a grocery aisle or idled next to your car in traffic, there was always something about some people that made you want to look away before they noticed you looking.
Dean did just that as the old man he had been watching turned his head to look at the newest arrival that came in with a gust of winter through the diner doors. Shoving his fork back into his baked potato and avoiding the dried out pork chop for the time being, Dean chanced another look. They were the only two people seated at the diner’s counter. The rest of the place wasn’t that crowded but everyone that came in a pair or more were seated in the booths. Pretending to look out the window, he confirmed his own suspicions when he saw a gnarled old hand rap three times hard on the counter top to get the waitress’s attention.
This guy looked not only mean but maybe even cruel. Like kick a puppy if it got in his way kind of cruel.
"Nice leather." He felt the need to say. Mean looking or not, Dean hated to eat alone.
The old man seated next to him a few stools over eyed him warily before he spoke.
"All this damn rain makes my joints ache."
"No, uh, LEATHER." Dean tugged at his own jacket shoulder as a visual aid." Yours. It's nice. Looks old. From the war?"
The old guy turned to really get a good look at him this time.
"I've been in three wars kid,” he sat back with a toothpick. “You'll have to get more specific."
Dean nodded into his coffee and wondered why he had started this conversation in the first place.
"My Dad was in Vietnam." He attempted. Vets loved to hear that kind of stuff. "Marine Corps."
The old guy gave him another once over, his gaze lingering on Dean’s close cropped hair.
“You been over to Iraq?”
Dean shook his head. “No, sir."
He was answered with a non committal sound that he wasn’t quite sure how to read. Dean was either a tree hugging pansy for not having shot anyone out in some desert or this was one of those vets that was lucky to get old enough to have a strong dislike for any foreign conflict of any kind.
“Good.” The old man said. “No American lives are worth anything they got goin’ on over there.”
Dean had guessed this guy might be the latter and he was right. He was also smart enough to do nothing but nod in agreement to a statement like that made by a man that saw three tours in God knows where. So he did what he did fairly well. He changed the subject.
“You see the game last night?” Dean asked somewhat hopefully.
He had caught the last half and watched it alone, trying to keep himself quiet so he wouldn’t get a noise complaint from the next door motel occupants. With no one around to recount the details to he’d found he’d been thinking about it ever since.
The old guy nodded. “Bad call on the last foul but what do you expect from those New York refs—”
“Bad call?” Dean interrupted in disbelief. “I don’t know man, it was totally over the line, they had it on instant replay—“
“Ya know what they did before instant replay kid?”
Dean honestly had no idea.
“You made a judgment based on what ya saw.”
“That’s the way it should be.” The old guy finished.
"What do you do then?” The old man let the waitress fill his mug back up. “Drive a rig?”
Dean found himself shaking his head again. “No, sir.”
He hadn’t prepared himself for exactly what he was today. The usual bullshit that came to mind automatically wouldn’t come right out. Not for this guy. He wanted to somehow regale the guy with something that would make the set expression on his face change. Maybe even look at him kindly.
He laughed a little to himself.
Dean couldn’t think of a thing. For some reason all he could think of was his bizarre truth. It didn’t usually burn that bad when he had to remind himself what not to say. Not like it did tonight.
“I’m-I’m kinda between jobs at the moment.” Dean came as close to the truth as he could get without getting a weird look. He got one anyway.
“Jobs out there if yer willin’.”
“Yes, sir.” Dean agreed, accepting the casual accusation of being shiftless and unmotivated.
Deadbeat. Rolling stone. A drain on society. All that stuff a guy would be at his age if he was eating the cheapest thing on the menu at almost 2AM on a weekday. His food suddenly lost what it had of its appeal. Putting down his fork, he slid his plate away and pulled his coffee closer.
“It’ll be fine, you’ll see.”
“Yer job.” The old guy said, his lined face finally breaking into what was his smile. “You’ll find somethin’.”
Getting up, Dean pulled out his wallet and dropped a wrinkled ten on the counter.