Rating: PG - wee!chesters - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean wasn't allowed to hitch hike.
"Why do we gotta walk?"
"Coz dad said not to hitch."
"Why can't we hitch?"
Because the old guys that stopped for two kids like them were usually creepy weirdo’s that asked you strange questions. The questions Dean could handle, the long looks that made him feel like he needed to wash his hands he could tolerate. But leave it to one guy messing it all up by using the child locks and skipping the promised street corner Dean had requested and that all came to an end. One hour and two rest stops later, his father had caught up with them and that brought a crashing halt to that little time saver Dean had gotten to liking.
He still didn’t understand why he couldn’t hitch. Dean had had it all under control. As soon as the car stopped he knew just how hard he was going to hit the man right between the eyes and then climb right over him and out the window. He was almost thirteen years old. If his dad was that worried than he should just let him take along one of the guns whenever he went out anyway.
"Because dad said we can't."
So that had put an end to conveniently using the nation’s highways filled with perfectly willing weird old men. Now Dean had to walk the tedious distances between exits if he wanted to go to anything that closely resembled a town.
"What about a bus?" Sam wondered aloud from behind him.
"Do you see any buses around here Sammy?" Dean asked irritably over his shoulder. It annoyed him even more that he knew Sam was actually looking around the miles of flat farmland for one.
“Yuck.” Sam said.
Dean stopped, his eyes trained down on the brittle yellow overgrown grass that grew alongside the freeway. They should have been farther off the side, closer or down in the run off ditch in case any state police went by but Dean wasn’t feeling up to being all that elusive.
Shielding his eyes from the sun, he looked at what had caused his eight year old brother to pause. Sam came up to stand beside him, but hung just far enough back so his older sibling would block most of the sight.
“Wh-what is it?” Sam asked from under his faded blue sweatshirt that he’d pulled up over his nose and mouth.
Dean resisted covering his mouth the same way.
“A deer. I think.”
Amongst the buzz of flies, Dean couldn’t really make out what exactly the animal might have once been. All it was now was a mass of torn and rotted meat, mangled with white bone protruding from its wrecked form at odd angles. It was strangely flattened down the middle, the tire tread that had gone right through it leaving most of it just a dark smear across the sun cracked asphalt. They had been walking upwind so Dean hadn’t gotten a whiff of it until now.
There was nothing that smelled quite like death.
Nothing else quite looked like it either.
Every other animal and insect took advantage of what lost a fight with the speeding tons of metal that swooshed by every few seconds, making Dean’s jacket blow around his frame and toss his hair into his eyes. It was half eaten in places, the gray meaty parts squirming with maggots.
Dean swallowed and stepped away from it.
“Is- is it dead?”
He sighed and used his elbow to shove Sam away from his side.
He felt Sam’s hand latch onto the back of his jacket as they widely circumvented the death zone. With another sigh he looked up at the neon green highway sign that neatly stated just how many miles more they had to go to find a supermarket. It wasn’t really his dad’s fault. They had gotten there in the middle of the night and there was really no way of knowing that the local grocery they’d passed was all boarded up.
The gas station had done them well for a few days, but there were only so many cans of coke and packets of sunflower seeds Dean could handle before—
Dean turned, startled at the appearance of a car he hadn’t heard slow down and idle behind them. It hadn’t actually stopped, and neither had they. Dean kept walking and watched its front tire run through the messy groove of the rotten remains they had just passed.
“What does he want?” Sam asked quietly.
Dean’s gaze flickered down at the license plate that made this man from about four states away. He also knew that anyone going the speed they were going wouldn’t have seen them walking here in time to slow down off the shoulder like this guy had.
That meant he had seen them going the other way and had turned around.
“You kids need a ride?”
His father’s words rang through his head as if the old man was standing right there and yelling them into his ear. But his dad wasn’t here and what his dad never found out wouldn’t hurt him.
He wondered if the guy had even noticed the decimated carcass he had just rolled his shiny nice car over. The closer he got he realized it was a really nice ride. One of those sleek Japanese models with leather seats and dashboard. Probably perfectly clean inside, with none of that trash that started building up when you’d been on the road for a while.
The hand holding onto the back of his jacket stopped him short.
“Dean,” Sam whispered tersely. “Dad said no?”
Dean had never attempted to hitch with his brother in tow. He wasn’t sure how it would be any different. Sam knew when and how to listen. But he was a lot smaller and he couldn’t run as fast as Dean could.
The passenger side window came down with an electric buzz when the man saw they had stopped.
“Where you boys headed?”
Dean watched the man look him up and down. The jeans ripped at the knee, the threadbare T-shirt, the dusty sneakers and the empty backpack. He knew what he looked like but that was exactly why these people ever stopped their cars at all. He looked like some kid drifting the streets. Dean knew because he saw those kids all the time. They were usually a little older than he was, but every now and then he saw a few that looked about his age.
He knew as much as they did too. No one stopped out of pure charity so you could dirty up their nice clean car. But all you had to do was play along and just talk until they got you to where you wanted to go. And then? Then you just bailed. It was easy. It was more than easy, it was simple.
“You boys hungry?”
Shifting in place, Dean suddenly felt unsure. That was exactly what the guy with the child locks had said. He quickly regained his confidence. He could still get out even if the man tried to use those stupid locks, and it would save Dean about what was left of his sneakers just trying to get them something for dinner.
He looked back uncertainly at Sam. Sam was standing almost directly behind him. His eyes were narrowed and he was regarding the smiling driver with about as much distrust as he could fit on his face.
Dean agreed with his father on one point, hitching was a bad idea. For Sam anyway.
“Sam? Why don’t you go on back? I’m gonna catch a ride and I’ll walk back—“
Startled, Dean stepped back in surprise at his younger brother’s sudden vehemence.
“Sammy, I’m just gonna—“
“NO! NO! NO! NO!” Sam shouted at the car and the man, his face turning red with each repetition of the word.
Dean looked back up in frustration as the driver’s smile faded at the sight and sound of his brother’s outburst. The window rolled back up and the tires spun in the guts of the putrefied animal under it. The car was backing up away from them, fast and steady.
“W-Wait!” Dean held up his arms like he was waving down his fleeting rescue. “Wait! Stop—aGh!“
Something came down hard and painful onto his head.
Pulling it away, Dean yanked Sam’s own empty backpack out of his hands. The metal zippers had smacked painfully across his eyes and cheek. Sam’s small but heavy rock collection had got him right in the mouth.
Unable to immediately express just exactly what he wanted, Dean spit down into the dusty grass and roughly shoved the pack into his brother’s arms.
“Nice goin’ Sam,” Dean growled down at him. “I coulda gotta ride all the way! I coulda been back before dark!”
The edge of Sam’s explosive anger was gone, replaced by wavering relief as he watched the shiny car pull back out into the intermittent traffic.
With a small exasperated whine, Dean watched his source of transport swiftly vanish up ahead into the distance. A distance he was now once again doomed to walk for the next several hours. He felt his hands clench. He felt his eyes get hot but he blinked it back angrily, breathing in and out until he didn’t feel it anymore.
A hand tugged on his jacket again.
Dean started walking.
They were going to get back real late. Sam would do that weird thing he got when he was too tired. Instead of sleeping he’d be up half the night keeping Dean awake too.
Maybe if they were lucky they’d be back before 9PM and not miss Dad’s call. If they missed his call then Dean would really get it.
With a sharp grunt of penned in anger, Dean kicked at a rock as hard as he could, hearing it skitter clear across the highway and ping up against the far off guardrail. Maybe they’d even make it before the stupid grocery store even closed up for the night.
And that was only if they were lucky.