I did that annoying thing where I put loads of smaller boxes inside one big box and you're getting really mad but you don't know that the ring is in the smallest box and I can't wait to see your face.

Bobby's house was full to bursting, and Dean couldn't help smiling at the chaos surrounding him. Every nook and cranny was filled with laughter and smiles. It was nice, having everyone together like this. He and Sammy had done without for so long, only really having each other for most of their childhood. But now all his friends and those they had gathered as family were all under one roof.

Benny and Andrea were sitting on the couch near the Christmas tree, carefully not drinking anything with alcohol because she was five months pregnant. Jo and Ellen were in the kitchen making more of their "special recipe" eggnog. Garth and Ash were boisterously discussing the merits of... something about pumpkins and Tesla coils. Dean wasn't sure he wanted to get in the middle of that strange conversation. Bobby was supervising Charlie sort the presents. Sammy and Jess, visiting from California, were squished on an armchair nearby, whispering sweet nothings to each other as Rumsfeld—who obviously thought he was still a small puppy or, rather, didn't care how big he was—sprawled in their laps for Sam's never-ending love. Dean couldn't help the sappy smile that stuck to his face—it was their first Christmas together, and they really were rather adorable. Cas, though—

"Hello, Dean." Strong arms wrapped around his waist. "You look happy."

"'Cause I am," Dean replied, shifting back so he could turn his head to press a quick kiss to Cas' scratchy cheek. Underneath the dusty books from Bobby's library, pine from the Christmas tree, and eggnog from sipping on all day, Cas smelled faintly like wintermint gum. "I have all my favorite people in one room."

Cas hummed. Dean could feel the grin pressed against his neck. "I hope I'm your most favorite."

"Of course you are."

Ellen and Jo came into the room. Bobby whistled for attention, the shrill sound piercing above all the din. Once everyone's attention was on him, he grumped out, "Dunno 'bout you idjits, but I'm ready to open presents."

Everyone gathered around so Charlie and Bobby could hand out everyone's piles. Dean sat next to Benny on the couch, Cas leaning against his legs on the floor. When Charlie, grinning like the cat that got the cream and the canary, pushed a giant box that was half as tall as she was in front of him, Cas turned with furrowed brow to Dean.

"You gotta open that one last."

Dean could tell that Cas did not want to wait to open it until last. But, Cas knew when to pick his battles. He huffed and settled back against Dean's legs. Dean couldn't see his face, but he could tell that Cas was curious and eyeing the box between his other presents.

Then again, Dean was kind of nervous about Cas opening the box. He knew it would probably tick Cas off, but... what was the point if Cas couldn't take Dean's ornery nature?

Finally, Cas eagerly pushed away his other presents and sat up on his knees to reach the top of the box. Dean couldn't hide his glee as Cas opened the first box to reveal another wrapped box in the same Santa wrapping paper. When Cas turned to glare at him, Dean just looked away and whistled innocently.

The others, knowing what was happening, set their gifts aside to watch Cas unwrap his present. Garth was kind enough to put the opened boxes and unwanted wrapping paper out of the way.

After the fourth box, Cas growled out, "Dean—"

"Just keep opening it."

Box after box after box after box—one for each year they'd known each other—nestled inside one another like large, square Russian dolls.

Once Cas got to the shoebox, Cas grumbled, "It better not be a pencil or stick of honey again."

Dean laughed at that, threading his fingers through Cas' soft hair. "You've got an undergraduate to go."

That got him a confused look, bright blue eyes searching his for another hint. Dean mimed zipping his lips. Again, Cas huffed and went back to tearing off wrapping paper—this time reindeers with Santa hats on them—off the next box.

Then, finally, four boxes later, Cas came to a little black box. The whole room stilled, not even the crinkle of wrapping paper disturbing the moment.


"You gonna open it or what? Seems kinda silly to go through opening fourteen boxes and not open the last one."

Cas ran his fingers over the velvet box again before snapping open the lid to reveal a simple onyx band. Dean bit his lips. It was suddenly very, very quiet in Bobby's house as they all waited for Cas to respond.

A rustle of paper was Dean's only warning before he had a lapful of Cas. Somewhere in the mix of bruising kisses were murmured "you're a jerk"s and "I love you"s and "yes"s. Dean laughed, pulling him close. Then Cas pulled back, looking down at him with a thoughtful, furrowed expression.

"Fifteen boxes."


"One for every year we've known each other."

Dean grinned unashamedly. "Yup."

Sam laughed from across the room. "You're such a sap, Dean."

Cas silenced his rebuke with a kiss, and Dean couldn't find it in himself to be annoyed.