Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for aired episodes only)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean shares some advice and some soap with someone who needs both.
Despite how he lived and all things considered, Dean hated a mess.
He eyed himself in the gas station bathroom mirror. It was steaming up a little bit with the hot water he had left running. The condensation dripping down its surface and pooling on its lower beveled edge. Was it possible to inherit your father's military sense of order? He wondered sometimes.
The bathroom door opened and shut with another late nighter looking for a few moments that weren't narrated by the radio and the sight of headlights.
Dean tapped his plastic Bic razor against the sink edge and carefully drew it up along the line of shaving cream up under his jaw. He had gotten water all over the front of his white T shirt, leaving it with that strange translucency. The rest of it was flecked with axel grease, all along side a black hand print smeared down to his stomach. Dean shook his head to himself. Wearing the color white was just plain stupid. Especially if you are under the hood of an oil leaking gas eater like his.
It was criminal how low he'd let the tires go down before airing them up again. That's all they needed, a blow out doing 130 mph down an eight lane highway. And it was way past due for an oil change. Christ, even the windows were caked up with so much dust he thought they might have taken all of Nevada with them on the back windshield alone. The guy at the urinal behind him flushed and moved to the only other sink beside him. He had that worn in fatigue that Dean knew all too well. Crinkled jeans. A more than two day worn flannel, shadows under his eyes and an ingrained scent of nicotine. This guy was without a doubt the driver of that 18 wheeler Dean saw pull in while he was seeing to the car.
The trucker glanced over sideways while the faucet ran water over his hands.
Dean nodded to him as he shaved in a silent acknowledgment and greeting.
"A couple full blown bears just down on 84 east bound to Motor City." The trucker grunted as he tore off a length of the sandpaper like paper towel. "Been givin' out tickets like God damn Christmas cards."
State Troopers. Dean felt his eyebrow twitch up. "They got to fill a quota or they don't get those new shiny name tags."
The trucker barked a laugh and took his leave out the swinging door.
Dean started on the other side of his face while considering the implications of what the truck driver had left him with. It happened a lot. These unasked exchanges of highway information. Passed from driver to driver, in certain words and code that you picked up easily enough once they spotted you as one of their own. Someone that lives on the big roads. Never wake and sleep in the same state. Someone that shaves in a rest stop sink. All that rolling stone bullshit. And their kind's biggest bane? The law men. They were all well and good for people that just borrowed the asphalt to go see grandma, or take that family trip to see the Grand Canyon ... but not for him.
State police in particular liked the sight of the Impala. They could barely resist flashing their lights when they spotted him. Hell, they'd turn them on even if he was hovering right at the speed limit. Dean sighed, turning his face from side to side to inspect his work.
It would only be a matter of time until one of these stops would end up with one curious cop who wanted to take a closer look into that trunk of his. He was more than half in wonder that it hadn't happened one hundred times already. But thanks to trucker dude, now Dean could avoid chance one hundred and one. There was something to be said for staying off the state roads and burning gas and time out in the country lanes. Actually, if anyone had ever asked him, he would even admit he preferred it.
He splashed scalding hot water on his face, washing away what was left of the foam, and pulled out a folded clean bandana from his back pocket to pat his stinging skin dry. The door creaked open on its two way hinge and Dean looked up into the mirror to see Sam. Changed the oil already. He was getting quicker at car work or Dean was getting slower at shaving.
"We're all set." Sam wiped a hand under his eye leaving a black streak. "You almost done in here?"
Dean rinsed off his razor and stashed it back into the little leather bag he kept things like that in. There were two more plastic shaves in the opened packet. He paused and then pulled one out. He held it up.
"What?" Sam asked looking at the proffered dark blue razor.
"You could use a shave yourself." Dean said.
He watched Sam's face predictably slide away from questioning and right on into that expression of easy disdain that was never very far away.
Dean studied his brother. His hair had gotten a lot longer since they'd been on the road. Not that Dean cared much himself, whenever his got long enough to grab he parked in front of some old barber shop and paid some old eager veteran to almost shave it all off again. But Sam had never been that efficient about his vanity. Even though you had to make some concessions in the life they lived, Dean had more than half expected Sam not to come back into it as easily as he had.
"I don't know, keep up appearances." Dean grinned a little, already knowing what response that would invoke from his younger brother.
"For who?" Sam grumbled as he pumped bright green liquid soap into his greasy hands.
It hadn't even been a week after they left California that Sam had fallen back into the step of wearing what you owned more than a few times before it saw any laundry detergent. Less than another week later and Sam even stopped asking if they'd be in a bed or their car seats for the night. And now, almost a year gone by and there was something else Sam had let go of too. Something beyond the concession and heading right down into something else. Maybe he was getting too used to only seeing the back country roads and forgetting about the highways all together.
"Hey, I have to look at you all damn day." Dean reasoned. "And you grow a beard like a dog with mange."
Sam ignored him while he scrubbed engine oil from off the backs of his hands.
Dean shrugged. "I'm going to top her off so we can get goin'."
He placed the small travel sized can of shaving cream and the fresh new razor on the sink. Sam looked at it and back up at him. The fine line of annoyance between his brows faded and the look that was always beneath, the real one, surfaced again. Weary. Tired. Young.
"Take your time," Dean patted him once firm on the shoulder. "I'll be waiting outside."
Sam sighed and picked up the shaving cream.
Dean let the door swing shut behind him and walked out into the fresh summer night. It was just cooling down from the heat of the day, the cement still baked and smelling like the sun. All the stars were out without a cloud in the deep purple of the sky. The sweet breeze felt more than good on his freshly shaved face.
One of these days, he'd know just the right thing to say to someone.
Until then, he'd just loan them his plastic Bic.