Dean Winchester could not tolerate much on an empty stomach. Therefore, when the waitress at Helen’s Kitchen screwed up his order, he blew up.
“It’s not rocket science, sweetheart.” The young man’s irritation was difficult for the waitress to miss. “Every crappy diner lays out their tables the same way, starting at the kitchen. Tables one through six are yours,” he said through gritted teeth as he pointed to the tables. “We’re table five.” She looked hopelessly chastised by his rebuke. “I mean, come on. Do I look like a fruit, yogurt, and granola guy to you?” On the verge of tears, she shook her head taking the plate from his hand. “Good. My brother and I have been waiting for over a half hour for our food. Do I need to go out back and slaughter the pig, or maybe go to the kitchen and fry up the eggs and bacon myself? Or do you think you can do your job and go get our orders?” The waitress nodded and scurried back through the kitchen door. She only had the job for a couple of days; she could not afford a scene and risk losing it.
“You don’t have to be such a dick!” His tablemate reprimanded Dean in a harsh whisper.
“Whatever, Sam, I’m starving. How hard is it to get a couple eggs and some bacon?” Dean slumped back in his seat.
A moment later, the waitress reappeared with their orders. “Two eggs, extra bacon, two eggs and wheat toast.” Her voice was quiet and trembling as she placed the orders in front of the brothers.
“Finally, that wasn’t too hard, was it, Anne?” Dean asked as he looked at her nametag. Then, Sam and Dean looked at each other, and exchanged plates.
The waitress’s only reply was to tear their check from her pad. Dean raised a brow, and shook his coffee cup at her. “More coffee, too, ‘kay Annie?” She nodded and walked away, hiding her exasperation. She wasn’t surprised to find they didn’t leave much of a tip.
At the end of her shift, the waitress retired to her tiny studio in the Armada Apartments. Her body ached and she came to the realization that being a waitress and living on her own was harder than she thought it would be. She carefully hung her uniform in the meager bathroom, hoping she could get one more day’s wear from it. Then she crawled into bed, praying sleep would allow her to forget the entire day. Unfortunately, sleeping meant dreaming and dreaming meant being Buffy again.
This time her dreams took her to the beach at sunset. As the gentle breeze blew back her hair, Buffy felt strong arms wrap around her waist. She inclined her head to look up at Angel. “How did you find me?”
Angel tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and kissed her check. “If I was blind, I would see you.”
Buffy covered his hand with hers at her waist and closed her eyes. She embraced his arms tightly to her whispering, “Stay with me.”
Angel leaned closer to her ear. “Forever. That's the whole point. I'll never leave. Not even if you kill me.”
Buffy woke with a start and looked around her room to get her bearings. Ever since she was forced to kill Angel, her dreams would not let her forget her life as the slayer.
The two guys were back the next morning, but they made a point of not sitting in her section. Buffy caught the older one watching her and shaking his head. The next time she looked their way she noticed that they kept looking around, as if they were looking for someone or maybe another exit.
“I can’t get over the number of homeless people around here,” Sam said around a mouthful of food.
Dean nodded. “Yeah. Makes me grateful for what we got. It’s not much, but we always have a roof over our heads.”
“I guess, but don’t you think it’s weird, Dean? I’ve never these kinds of homeless people. They’re either really old or teens. There’s almost no one in between and no families.”
“Sam, I’m telling you, it’s because we’re in L.A.. Kids run away from home and get here thinking they’re gonna being the next big movie star. When that doesn’t happen, they have to get a real job or end up on the street. Look at the waitress we had yesterday. I bet she left Iowa planning to star on Dawson’s Creak or some shit. When that didn’t work out she got a waitressing job.” The brothers looked at her and Dean shook his head. “I mean it’s pretty obvious she hasn’t done this before.”
Later, as the Winchesters made their way back to their motel, an elderly homeless woman bumped into Dean. “Oh, hey, sorry about that, ma’am. Are you all right?”
“I’m no one,” she mumbled.
“Okay,” Dean replied, confused by her answer.
“Do you need something? Do you need some help?” Sam asked the woman.
She looked around blindly. “I’m no one,” she mumbled again and stumbled into an alleyway.
The brothers exchanged looks as the woman stumbled off. “All right, well, that was weird,” Dean admitted.
“The same thing happened to me yesterday,” Sam said sounding concerned as he looked around. “An old homeless guy said ‘I’m nobody’ when I asked him if he needed help.” Sam’s eyes followed in the direction the woman had gone. “Why would they say that?”
“You got me, kid. But, I remember hearing somewhere that most of the older homeless have some sort of mental illness.”
Sam looked at his brother with amusement. “Dean, that ‘somewhere’,” he made finger quotes for emphasis, “where you heard that was school. Maybe if you would have paid attention while you were there, Dad wouldn’t be making you get your G.E.D. this summer.”
Dean rolled his eyes shoved his brother and said, “Shut up, Sam.”
Nearly a week passed before Buffy saw them again. ‘Anne’ had been demoted to the dinner shift. Since the breakfast rush was the diner’s busiest time, the manager decided she would be better off in the evening, when she would have less of a chance of angering the regulars.
They sat in a different section, taking a booth near the door, but ‘lucky’ for her, it was her section, again. She almost begged to switch tables with Desiree, when the younger guy caught her eye and smiled. She smiled back before she could stop herself, and then approached them to take their order.
As cheerfully as she could she asked, “What can I get you this evening?”
“Double bacon cheeseburger with fries,” the older one answered, as he replaced the menu in its holder attempting to hide his cringe at seeing her again.
“I’ll have the grilled chicken and mashed potatoes,” the younger one replied.
“And to drink?”
The younger one looked hopefully to the other one, “Strawberry shake?”
With a shake of the head, he was denied. “No, cokes have free refills, Sam.”
“Okay,” Sam sighed.
The waitress surprised them by not only getting the orders right, but bringing their food relatively quickly. She smirked at the older one, “You didn’t even have to go out back and slaughter your own cow.”
The comment made Sam smile smugly at his brother. “Yeah, looks like you finally got the hang of being a waitress.” Dean remarked covering his fries with ketchup.
At the end of the meal, Buffy returned to the table and placed a small strawberry shake in front of the younger one. The older one gave her a wary look. “What?” she asked with a shrug. “He ate all his green beans and we just have to throw away the extra if we make too big of a shake.” She shrugged, “Last shake I made was just way too big.” Sam was beaming as he tore the wrapper off the straw.
The waitress looked to the older one, “Can I get you anything else?”
Dean shook his head, but then looked at her in hope. “You have any pie?”
Buffy nodded. “Apple and peach. But I’m not guaranteeing there are actual apples or peaches in either one.”
Dean grinned at her honesty. “Okay, Annie, I’ll risk the apple.”
A moment later, she set a warm slice of apple pie à la mode in front of him, earning a completely surprised smile in return. “Wow, someone’s really working for a tip.”
Buffy bit her lip before saying anything that would threaten the promised tip; she simply tore the check from her pad and left it on the table.
Buffy walked up to the next table where a young couple was sitting. They were too into each other to notice Anne so she cleared her throat. “You guys ready?”
With his eyes not leaving the girl next to him, the guy answered, “Yeah. I think we're good. Um …'Anne'.”
Anne took out her pad and pen. “What'll you have?”
Dumping a handful of change onto the table the guy asked, “What can we get with this?”
His girlfriend smiled at Anne, “Can we get cake?”
Before the waitress could answer the guy shook his head, “Lily, we gotta eat healthy. We can't have cake.” He turned back to Anne. “Can we get pie?”
“We've got a peach pie, and that should be just enough to cover it,” she answered as she wrote up their order.
A moment later, Anne delivered a slice of pie and two forks to the couple. “Here you are. Peach pie or at least a decent imitation of a peach.”
Lily squinted at Anne when she set the pie in front of them. “Hey, do I know you?”
Buffy looked down, “I don't think so.”
Lily tilted her head in consideration. “Really? Where're you from?”
“Uh, no where. Here’s the check,” Buffy replied hurriedly tearing the check from her pad.
As the Winchesters left the diner, a curvaceous Hispanic girl approached them and handed Dean a flyer. “Come to a rave tonight?” she asked with a flirty tilt of her head.
Sam scoffed but Dean’s eye roamed all over the girl. “You going?”
“Course I am, baby.” She pouted her heavily glossed lip.
Dean stuffed the flyer in his back pocket. “Then so am I, beautiful.”
She smiled brightly. “Cool. Tell them Rosalita invited you, ‘kay baby?”
“Sure thing, Rosalita. I’ll see you later.”
After walking half a block and Dean turning to check out Rosalita four more times, Sam mocked him, “Since when do you go to raves?”
“Since girls like that are going to be there, Sammy.” Dean, again, looked back at Rosalita in her too small top and too tight shorts. Sam sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Hey, Anne,” Sam waved to the waitress as he passed her in the passageway before coming to a surprised halt. “Anne?” The waitress kept walking. “Anne?”
Blinking a few times, Buffy stopped. “Oh, hi.”
“You live in this dump, too?” Sam asked.
She looked around, nodded, and gave him half shrug. “Yeah, I guess.”
“You just get off work?” Sam asked as he fell in walking next to her.
She rubbed her neck, “Yep.”
“You shouldn’t walk home alone. It’s pretty dangerous around here,” Sam warned her.
“Thanks, but I can handle myself,” she said quietly walking toward her studio apartment.
Sam studied her a moment, knowing that the girl had no idea how truly dangerous the area was. “Hey, I could walk you back at night, if you want.”
She smiled half heartedly, and was about to say something in return, when they were interrupted by Dean turning the corner.
He had his arm draped around the shoulders of the curvaceous, bubbly, Rosalita. He was speaking quietly into her ear causing her to giggle. “Hey, Sammy!” Dean spoke loudly when he noticed his brother, “what’s going on?” His eyes flashed to the waitress and back to his brother.
“Nothin’,” Sam answered, “just ran into Anne. Making sure she gets in okay.”
Dean nodded at the waitress who barely met his eyes before looking at the ground again. “That’s my man,” Dean said with a slap on Sam’s arm as he led his girl passed them. “I’m heading to the rave with Rosalita. You sure you don’t want to go?”
“Yeah, Dean, I’m positive.”
Dean looked at Buffy. “How about you, Annie the waitress? You want to go to a rave? We can wait for you, if you want.”
“Uh, no. Thanks anyway,” Buffy replied quietly.
“Suit yourselves. Don’t wait up!” he called over his shoulder. Rosalita giggled again and wrapped her arm tightly around Dean’s waist.
Buffy looked over at Sam, “This is me, so, uh, thanks.” She nodded slightly and pulled her door closed. Sam stared at her door for a moment wondering why she looked so depressed.
“Hey, Lily!” Rosalita yelled as she and Dean approached a crowd outside a warehouse. “I thought you and Rickie didn’t have the cash for this.” The girls exchanged a brief hug, then Rosalita grabbed Dean’s arm.
“We didn’t,” Lily said, “but then Rickie donated blood at that clinic Javi told us about.”
“Cool, I can’t go back there for a few more days, so I worked out a deal with the guy running this. Lily, this is Dean.”
“Hi Lily,” Dean nodded as he was introduced.
“Hey, Dean. Rickie and Javi are around here somewhere,” Lily replied with a smile. “Rosa looks like you and Javi were able to get a good crowd for tonight.”
Rosalita looked at the group of people milling around the area and nodded. “Yeah, I hope that Charlie guy remembers to pay us for this.”
Dean was about to ask what she was talking about when a man approached them. “Good evening, kids,” he said as he handed them each a flyer. “My name is Ken. I’m with Family Home. We’re a group that helps kids like you.”
Instantly suspicious, Dean asked, “Like us?”
“Yes, like you. Kids that grew up too fast. Kids without a home. We can help you get back on track.”
“Don’t worry about us, Padre,” Rosalita giggled. “We’re on our own kinda track.”
Ken nodded in resignation. “Well if you need anything, a warm meal, a place to stay, please remember the Family Home. We’re a safe haven in a neighborhood like this.” Lily watched in interest as Ken walked over to another group of kids and handed them some of his flyers.
The techno music was definitely not something Dean enjoyed, he contemplating taking a gun to the many speakers or even stabbing himself in the ears. In addition, his father had taught him better than to take any pills that he was offered. However, Rosalita’s tiny outfit and the way she would grind against him, Dean found himself having a good time. After what seemed like hours, they met up with Javier and Rickie. They both seemed a little high and very happy.
Noticing her boyfriend’s condition Lily was concerned. “You didn’t spend all our money did you?”
Rickie swayed. “No, baby, I still got some left.” He held out his hand containing a few crumpled bills.
When Lily grabbed the money, Dean saw the tattoos they each had. “How much did the tat set you back?”
Lily and Rickie beamed as they put their fore arms together so their tattoos would form a heart with each other’s names inside. “Doesn’t matter. It was totally worth it. Right, baby?”
Lily kissed Rickie’s cheek. “Right. Whatta ya think, Dean?” Holding her arm next to Rickie’s so Dean could see how the tattoos formed hearts with their names inside.
“That’s nice. Nice and permanent.”
“Well, yeah, that’s the idea.” Rickie kissed Lily then. “We’re forever.”
“Yeah, I get you all the good hook ups,” Javier chimed in. “Tats, food, place to stay some E. Whatever you need, Javi’s the man!” Javier swayed unsteadily as he made his declaration. Subsequently, he leaned in to get his sister’s attention, “Did you get the money from Charlie?” Rosalita smiled and gave him a couple of bills. “Cool. I thought we might have to eat at the shelter.”
Rosalita shook her head. “No way, Javi! This should be enough money for a couple days.”
Javier seemed to swerve in place. “Who’s this guy?” he asked finally acknowledging Dean.
Javier leaned close and squinted at Dean. “You with my sister?”
“I’m with Rosa.”
“Cool. That’s cool.”
Rosa giggled at her intoxicated brother and then turned to Dean. “You going to stay with me or are you going back to your place?”
“What do you think?” Dean replied with an obvious leer to which Rosalita responded by pulling him down for a kiss.
In the darkened alley, just behind an abandoned tire store, two men stepped from the shadows. Four elderly homeless men followed them. “Go,” one of the men said shoving the vagrants. “You are no one.”
“I am no one,” the vagrants repeated.
The two men morphed into teenagers and walked towards the crowd of young people leaving the rave. “Hey, wanna go to an epic after party?”
The inebriated Javier looked at his sister currently attached to Dean then at Rickie and Lily. “Sure, man.”
“Cool. Come with us.”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.