A/N: Hello my dear readers. This short story is for VegasGranny. She gave me the general idea, and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy the short read. I do like to know your thoughts, please review. NC
Disclaimer:This story is not affiliated, associated, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Random Acts, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates. All donations have been paid directly to Random Acts, who do not own Supernatural or any of the characters in the stories.
The weather was chilly and windy as Sam left the store after doing a supply run. He pushed the cart toward the car he had taken from the bunker's garage since Dean was doing something on the Impala. He turned his collar up on his coat and zipped it tighter. Sam put his bags in the back seat before glancing around and decided to check the used bookstore for any new arrivals and go get the mail.
The Winchester brothers had been living in Lebanon, Kansas for nearly five months. It all started when their grandfather stumbled from the closet in a motel room trying to find their father. It was a tragic ending when a Knight of Hell demon followed him and ended up killing him, but not before he gave them a key to a bunker of the Men of Letters. He had been a member in his time and now he had passed it down to them.
The bunker was in Lebanon, Kansas below a power plant and was warded against just about anything supernatural. It was a treasure trove of information for them and they had barely scratched the surface of what was there. There was a large library, meeting room, restaurant size kitchen, gun range, bedrooms down several halls, storage rooms, bathrooms, and the last thing they had discovered was the garage that housed all kinds of vehicles from their grandfather's time. Dean thought he had died and gone to Heaven when he found it.
Sam wandered through the stacks of books seeing if he could find anything interesting to get. He glanced at the decorations that were hung around the room and sighed sadly thinking Christmas was about two weeks away. His holidays growing up were not memorable or rarely happy, but Dean had tried to do his best for him. When he was older, Sam understood better why they never really celebrated.
"Sam, hey!" a guy his age called to him when he stepped from the back and saw him. "Nice to see you again, Merry Christmas. You have plans for the holidays?"
"Hi Chip, how have you been?" Sam greeted him with a warm smile. He had met Chip on his first visit to the used bookstore and they became friends. "Same to you and not really. Dean and me don't really get into the holidays."
"Too bad. We had a couple of new shipments come in and I pulled some books you might be interested in. I found two on serial killers that I don't think you've read."
"Thanks, that's great."
"Hold on and I'll go get them." Chip disappeared into the back and Sam wandered to the checkout counter to wait. A few minutes later, he reappeared with five books stacked in his hands. "See if you'd like any of these."
"Okay." Sam picked up the first book and looked at it before opening the cover to read the summary on the jacket page. He did this four more times and pulled one book out that he did not want. "I'll take these four and thanks for keeping an eye out for books I might like."
"My pleasure. If you're around maybe we can grab a beer and shoot a few rounds of pool sometime soon if you're not busy."
"That would be nice, I'll give you a call."
"Great, and the total is fifteen dollars and sixty-three cents."
"Here you go," Sam replied handing him a twenty and waiting for the change. "I'll see you later Chip."
"Sounds good Sam. I'd keep an eye on the weather, they say a storm is building and may hit before Christmas."
"I'll keep that in mind, bye Chip." Sam took the bag and strolled back outside to head for the post office. They had a mailbox there under fake names so they could receive mail when ordering online. Sam had used it more than Dean to order things for the bunker since Lebanon was a small town and did not have large stores to choose from.
The postmaster looked up when the bell rang above the door. She smiled when she saw who it was and waited for Sam to stop at the counter.
"Hello, Samuel, haven't seen you in a while."
"Hi Maggie, yeah, just got back into town not long ago."
"Where's that good looking brother of yours?"
"Working on his car. He's got a love affair going on with her."
"Boys will be boys," Maggie laughed softly. "Let me get your mail."
"Thanks," Sam answered. Since they had started using the bunker as their home base, when they were out of town, they would have their mail held until they got back. "You can take the mail hold off; we're going to be around at least until the first of the year," he told Maggie when she came back with the mail."
"Alright, I'll pull it. Hope you have a good holiday Samuel."
"Same to you Maggie." Sam dropped the mail into his bag and headed outside to the car. He dropped into the seat and cranked the car to head back to the bunker.
Dean looked up when he heard the car slowly making its way back into the garage. He watched Sam get out and loop bags on his hands before butting the back door of the car closed. He seemed to be preoccupied and did not notice Dean staring at him. Once he was gone, Dean tried to decide whether he should go check on him or not. He knew Sam could get moody and quiet when he had something on his mind and had learned to let him be when he was like that.
With a shrug, Dean turned back to his Baby to finish tuning her before heading back into the main part of the bunker. He took a different rachet and socket from the toolbox and leaned back into the engine bay. When Dean found the garage with all the vehicles, toolboxes, and other items, he knew this was a sign that they should be here. He had everything he needed to work on the vehicles and especially his Baby. He was a more hands on, physical type person where Sam was the bookworm and intellect, who would rather have his nose in a book or researching on his laptop.
Sam sat his bags on the counter in the kitchen and put away his purchases before turning to the last bag sitting there. He pulled the mail and books from the bag, sitting aside his books as he started going through the mail. He picked up a small box and turned it over in his hands, frowning slightly as he studied it. It was addressed to the 'Winchester Brothers' and had no return address. It was lightweight and he did not remember ordering anything online and was curious what it was and who sent it.
He pulled a knife out and cut the tape the package was wrapped in and discarded it. Inside was a normal white box with no writing on it. Sam ran the knife blade down the tape and pulled a flap back and was startled when a small cloud of reddish powder sprayed from the box into his face. He sucked in a quick breath and started coughing as he dropped the box and started wiping his face. Sam stumbled to the sink and ran water to splash on his face, trying to wash it away. He reached for a towel to dry his face as a strange feeling came over him that he could not describe. He looked around for a moment unsure of where he was or what had happened.
Sam's thoughts were suddenly flooded with ideas about the holidays. He looked around with a critic eye thinking about what could be done with the bunker. Sam started making a list of things to do before turning back to the kitchen with a great idea. He stepped into the library to grab his laptop to look up recipes for cookies, specifically Christmas cookies. He wanted to bake cookies for the holidays. Once he found what he wanted online, Sam pulled out bowls, flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, flavoring and baking sheets.
Dean walked into the foyer and stopped when an enticing aroma filled the air. He sniffed several times before slowly continuing toward the kitchen wondering what Sam was doing. Festive music was playing in the kitchen when he walked into the room and Sam was humming and singing along with it. He looked toward a radio that Sam must have brought in and then at Sam.
"Sammy," Dean called to him as he watched Sam spoon cookie dough onto a baking pan. He had flour on his face, clothes, counter top, and in his hair.
"Hey Dean," Sam said happily with a big smile on his face and a sparkle in his eyes. "Do you want to sample the cookies? There'll be a batch ready in two minutes."
"What's got into you?" Dean questioned knowing Sam was not one to cook.
"It's the holiday season Dean. We need to get ready for it. I have some great ideas for decorating the bunker and of course we need to get a tree and I need to shop for food to fix Christmas lunch." A timer went off behind Sam and he turned quickly to grab potholders and opened the oven door so he could pull out a sheet of baked cookies. He sat them on a towel on the counter to cool for a minute before taking them up. Once he had the next batch in the oven he turned back to Dean with a satisfied look on his face.
"Okay, enough. Have you been smoking some wacky weed, or did someone offer you some weird Kool aid and you drunk it?" Dean asked in a serious voice as he studied Sam closely. "What have I told you about…"
"What? No, that's crazy. I'm just happy and want to make this a great holiday for us." Sam turned and began to remove the hot cookies to a cooling rack and took the last one and offered it to Dean.
Something was not right with Sam, but Dean had no idea what it could be. He seemed okay this morning before he went into town and could not imagine what could have happened to him. Dean looked at the offered cookie Sam was holding out to him with an excited look on his face.
"Go on, try it and tell me what you think."
Dean huffed and took the warm cookie looking at it for a moment before taking a bite. He chewed thoughtfully for a moment and took another bite.
"Not bad Sammy. You might make a cook after all."
"I'm glad you like them. Do you want another?"
"Sure, why not," Dean shrugged and accepted another cookie. "I'm going to take a shower and get cleaned up."
"Alright. I have a couple more batches to cook."
Dean wandered from the kitchen deep in thought and headed for his room to get clean clothes before going to the bathroom to shower. He was going to watch Sam closely over the next few days see if there were any more changes in him. He wished there was someone he could call and talk to about him, but most of their close friends and family had been killed over the years in their fight against the supernatural. He thought about Bobby Singer, their second father, and wished he could talk to him about Sam's strange behavior.
After stripping out of his clothes, Dean started the water and adjusted the temperature to his liking before stepping under the hot spray. He let the water beat down on his head before wiping his hand across his face and turning to shampoo his hair and then washed his body. Once he rinsed, Dean shut the water off and grabbed a towel to dry his body and run over his wet hair. He dressed and hung up his wet towel before going back to his room for a moment to drop off his dirty clothes. He headed down the hall toward the main rooms to see if Sam was still baking. He still could not wrap his head around Sam cooking, especially baking.
Sam was standing at the card catalog looking through the drawers. He did not look up from his search as Dean entered the room and looked his way.
"What ya doing Sammy?" Dean questioned.
"I remember reading something on one of these cards when I was looking through them and I'm trying to find it," Sam mumbled as he flipped quickly through the cards. He suddenly stopped and pulled a card out before shutting the drawer and headed down the hall to where all the storage rooms were located.
"Hey, where are you going?" Dean called to him as he disappeared around the corner. He followed Sam down several halls as he looked for a specific room. He did not say anything else to him as followed at a short distance, giving Sam his space.
"Found it," Sam whispered when he stopped in front of a door and tried to open it. When he found it locked, Sam felt around in his pockets for his lock pick kit and made quick work of it and let the door swing open. He felt around on the wall and found the light switch to flip it on flooding the room with blinding light.
Dean tried to peer around Sam's tall frame to see what was inside and stepped closer when Sam took a few steps into the room. He was surprised to see boxes stacked on racks with names on the outside. When he looked closer, he saw they were labeled with holiday names. He watched Sam move down the rows of racks until he found what he wanted. He pulled a box from the rack and blew the dust off before prying it open to look inside.
"What you got there Sammy?" Dean asked.
"Decorations," Sam replied looking around and seeing a cart to stack the boxes on. He removed several more boxes before pushing the cart toward the door making Dean move out of the way as he wheeled them out of the room and down the hall heading back to the library.
Dean trailed along behind Sam not sure where all this holiday cheer came from all of a sudden. Growing up had not been a normal time for them and they rarely celebrated any of the holidays with their father. There were the occasional times they spent with Bobby who tried to give them some sense of normal for the holidays. Other than that, a holiday was just another day for them. Dean had to grow up way to quickly and was never given the chance to be a kid, so holidays did not have the same meaning to him as it did to Sam. He had tried to give Sam some semblance of a normal life until he read their Dad's journal and Dean told him about what he really did when he was gone, leaving them in motel rooms for days and weeks at a time. That night changed everything for Sam, and he lost his innocence and childlike wonder.
"Wow! This is great! I know where to use all of this…" Sam gushed as he opened each box he had sat on the library table to look inside. He started pulling out all kinds of Christmas decorations and placed them on the table. He did not acknowledge Dean, his concentration totally on his huge find as excitement built up inside of him.
Dean stood nearby and watched as Sam trembled with delight and excitement at his finds. He was like a kid again and Dean could picture that five year old bouncing around him in the back seat as he tried to see all the Christmas lights around them as they passed through the town their Dad had a hunt in. Sammy was so wide eyed and full of wonder back then and it made him sad to think about all that he had missed growing up the way they did. He would let Sam have his strange behavior and play along to make him happy for the time being. He could not take that away from him.
"I'm going to go fix us some dinner," Dean offered seeing Sam was not listening to him. "I'll let you know when it's ready, gotta come up for air sometime Sammy," he mumbled more to himself before heading on to the kitchen to see what they had for the meal.
The following morning had Dean waking up from a bad dream and felt tired as he lay there trying to decide if he wanted to get up or lay there a little longer. He had dreamed Sam was chasing him with a rope of garland trying to lasso him. He wiped a hand down his face and pushed up from his bed to head for the bathroom. When he had gone to bed last night, Sam was still up and had started decorating the main parts of the bunker. He had told him to not stay up too late and left him to it.
He wandered to the bathroom and used it before washing his face and hands, not noticing the new towels hanging in there with Santa Claus on them. After going back to the bedroom for sweats, Dean headed to the kitchen to start coffee and get himself woke up. He went through the map room not noticing that it had been transformed into a Christmas scene and on into the library and was almost to the kitchen when what he was seeing finally registered in his brain.
Dean turned around slowly and let his eyes roam over the rooms with a look of surprise. There was garland wrapped around the top of the banisters of the steps that twinkled with small lights, and on every bookcase and flat surfaces were some sort of Christmas decoration. He moved slowly as his brain processed the scene while trying to not let it overwhelm him. It looked like something had thrown up a Christmas theme in the bunker. Dean had no idea how Sam could have done all this unless he stayed up all night. He did not mind a few decorations, but this was going overboard with it. Maybe it was because they never had this growing up and he was trying to make up for it. He squinted his eyes closed and turned to the kitchen once again hoping coffee might soften the blow of it all.
Much to his distaste, Dean found the kitchen had not been spared the onslaught of decorations. There were Christmas tree salt and pepper shakers, towels with holiday scenes on them, placemats showing a snowy, winter wonderland, and even coffee cups with Santa and snowmen on them. He sighed heavily as he grabbed the coffee pot to fill with water to make coffee. Once he had it going, he leaned back against the counter and waited for it to make. Dean mulled it over in his mind on how to convince Sam that he was taking this decorating thing a little too far. He did not want to crush him or hurt his feelings, but this was starting to get out of hand.
"Hey, you're up," Sam greeted him making Dean jump slightly as he strolled into the kitchen with bags in each hand.
"Where have you been?" Dean questioned eyeing the bags and praying they did not have more decorations. His cheeks were red from the chilly temperatures outside and his eyes glistened excitedly with almost a manic hint. Something was definitely wrong with his brother, but he did not know what.
"I ran into town to get the food for our Christmas lunch. I got a turkey breast, sweet potatoes, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, fresh green beans, corn, rolls, and pie crust. I figured that would be easier than trying to make my own crust," Sam rambled as he started putting things away, stepping around Dean.
"Did you get any sleep last night Sammy?" Dean asked cautiously.
"Don't know, guess I did," he shrugged. "I thought we'd go find a tree today so I can decorate it. It wouldn't be Christmas without a tree."
"Yeah, a real one where we go out into the woods and cut it down. I already know what I'm looking for; it'll be fun."
"You do know it's winter out there and cold and snowy?"
"That makes it all the more fun. And I have a surprise for you when we get back, you're going to love it." With that said, Sam put away the last food item and hurried from the room leaving Dean standing there confused and worried. He did not like the picture of Sam with an ax in his hand trying to chop down a freaking tree. Oh, the things that could happen. He turned back to the kitchen and decided to fix breakfast for them, so they would at least be fueled for this excursion of Sam's. He pulled eggs, milk and butter from the fridge and started preparing a quick meal. His mind was whirling as he tried to think about the change in Sam and if it could be something supernatural. It was odd and strange and most spells or curses always meant something bad was going to happen, but Sam was almost giddy with holiday cheer. It was like the opposite of what those might cause.
"I found an ax," Sam announced happily coming back into the kitchen holding a long handled ax.
"Whoa, we're not cutting down a redwood dude. I think a tree saw would be more suited for the job. Why don't you go find one of those while I finish breakfast? You know it's the most important meal of the day."
Sam looked at Dean for a moment, blinking slowly before smiling widely and nodding his head.
"You're right, I'll go find one." He turned and went scurrying back toward the garage.
"Don't take too long, breakfast is almost done," Dean called letting out a long sigh. He was going to have to watch Sam closely over the next few days to see if anything else popped up. He pulled a bowl of fruit from the fridge and sat it on the counter near the Christmas placemats, grimacing at them. Dean was not sure how much more cheer he was going to be able to take and hoped Sam toned it down since Christmas was getting closer.
"Come on Sammy, you've looked at two dozen trees now and any of them would have worked," Dean complained as he trudged through the snow behind his brother.
"I want it to be perfect Dean. I want this to be the best Christmas ever," Sam insisted as he huffed out cold breaths. He looked ahead of him and saw some trees that looked promising.
Dean swore under his breath as he wiped his face before following his brother who had disappeared among a small grove of trees. He did not want to lose him out here and have to hunt him down. He found him walking around a tree and shaking snow from some of the branches. He could not see any difference in this tree and the last half dozen they had looked at.
"This is it Dean. It's perfect," Sam said as he walked around it again. "The shape is right and the size…I can already see it in the library, decorated and ready for Christmas."
"Thank god," Dean mumbled under his breath as he pulled the tree saw from his pack. "Stand back and let me see if I can get it cut down."
"Be careful, don't want to damage it."
"Right, damage it," Dean replied sarcastically as he knelt at the base of the tree and worked his way to the trunk with the saw. After twisting and turning, he started sawing in a back and forth motion, grunting with each swipe. It was not long before the tree started leaning and finally fell to the side as Sam eased it to the ground. "Alright, let's get this thing out of here and back to the warm bunker. I could use a steaming cup of coffee to warm me up."
"Dean, heads up," Sam suddenly called to him as he threw a snowball, smacking Dean on the chest.
"You're going to pay for that," Dean growled as he dropped the saw and scooped up enough wet snow to make a ball. He aimed at his brother who was backing away and arming himself again. Dean's throw was accurate as the wet ball of snow found its target, the back of Sam's head, only to get one thrown back at him.
The brothers bombarded each other for about twenty minutes, even having Dean tackle Sam and they ended up in a snow drift covered with snow. Getting damp and cold was enough for Dean to end their battle. He had snow down the back of his jacket, and it was making him shiver with the chill.
"Enough!" Dean announced loudly, his voice echoing through the clearing only to get smacked in the side of the head by another snowball. He turned and gave his brother a death glare as he gritted his teeth and snorted.
"Sorry, didn't want to waste it," Sam shrugged innocently as he did his best not to laugh.
"Let's get this damn tree and head back to the bunker. I'm ready for a long hot bath and a cup of steaming coffee."
"Alright, you get one end and I'll get the other," Sam offered walking back toward the downed tree.
"Now you're talking," Dean nodded stepping to the cut end of the tree and leaning down to grasp the trunk glancing around for the tree saw. He picked it up and waited as Sam got a good grip on the top. They started hiking back to the truck they had brought to transport the tree. Dean gave it a good shake to rid the branches of any loose needles or leaves before sliding it into the bed of the truck.
"Thanks for coming with me Dean," Sam offered randomly on the drive back. "It's new memories for us, good memories."
Dean glanced over at Sam and saw the content and serene look on his face as he gazed out the windshield not saying anything else. He did not say anything to him about his remark as he though it over. It would be nice to have some better memories than what they had from their past. The inside of the cab of the truck was silent as Dean drove back to the bunker and into the garage to park. They got the tree out and carried it into the library where Sam already had a tree stand waiting in a corner to set it up.
"You hold it and I'll tighten the screws to hold it in place," Sam told Dean as he stretched out on the floor and scooted under the lower branches to reach the stand.
"Hurry it up, I want to get out of these damp, cold clothes and into a hot shower."
"I have to be sure it's straight," Sam replied moving back and looking at the tree. "Tilt it to the right, slowly…"
Dean huffed a breath as he did as Sam asked and moved the tree to the right.
"Hold it, right there, perfect. I just need to tighten them a little more." He slid back under the tree and finished up before pushing himself to his feet to circle around the tree to make sure it was to his liking. "This is good. I'm going to go change clothes and water the tree before I start decorating."
"Go for it bro, the shower is calling me," Dean waved him off as he headed down the hall to his bedroom to get clean clothes and on to the bathroom for his shower.
Soft Christmas music was drifting down the hall as Dean made his way back to the library to see what Sam was doing. He was going to make some fresh coffee and find something to eat. He slowed his steps when he heard singing from behind the tree and watched as Sam moved around it with a box of ornaments in his hand. He was hanging them on the tree as he went and stopped when he saw Dean standing watching him.
"Good you're back," Sam said. "I have an early present for you," he continued turning and looking around for the bag.
"What in the hell do you have on?" Dean asked when he saw the sweater Sam had on. It was Christmas red with a tree on the front that was decorated to the hilt.
"A Christmas sweater and I have one for you too," Sam offered holding out the bag. "Go on take it."
Dean gingerly reached out with two fingers and hooked the loop of the bag afraid to look inside for fear of what he would find. He let it fall open and reached inside to pull out a red sweater but this one had a large picture of Santa's face on the front.
"Oh, hell no. This is not going to happen. I'd rather go fight a nest of vamps than be caught dead in this thing," Dean complained vehemently while shaking his head no. "I let you turn the bunker into a…Christmas card. But I draw the line with this. I won't wear it. End of discussion." Dean dropped the sweater back into the bag and turned on his heels to go to the kitchen. "I'm going out after I grab something to eat."
"You don't want to help with the tree?"
"Yep," he called as he walked away. Dean started a pot of coffee and went to the fridge to see what they had. He found it full of different kinds of food and rummaged around until finding some deli meat and cheese. A sandwich would hold him over until dinner. He had decided since Sam was going all out for the holiday, he needed to do a little shopping himself and find Sam a few gifts. Dean quickly made a sandwich and poured a cup of coffee to go with it. Once he was finished, Dean went to his bedroom for his jacket and keys to head into town. "I'll be back before dinner," he called but did not get a response from Sam who was being sure the ornaments were spaced out and colors were spread evenly on the tree.
Sam was engrossed with decorating tree and did not answer Dean. He had tested the lights before stringing them on the tree, being careful to get them positioned to his liking so they were evenly spaced. He was going to put tinsel on last and had found an angel for the top of the tree. Sam was being a perfectionist and his OCD was showing. Halfway through the decorating, Sam froze and frowned as his eyes wandered around wondering why he was going to all this trouble. They never really did anything this big for a holiday. The notion only lasted for a few minutes and he was back at it, the thoughts forgotten. He started back with his task, humming along with the music. He was content and in his own little world, not noticing when Dean got back a few hours later or that he had started their dinner.
"Okay Sammy, you need to eat. You can finish the tree afterwards," Dean ordered once he had dinner ready.
"I'm almost done," Sam mumbled as he pulled another piece of tinsel from the pack and placed it on the tree. He was doing it one strand at a time working from top to bottom.
"Really Sammy, I'm not joking, you need to eat before it gets cold. Don't make me go big brother on you," Dean insisted sternly, crossing his arms over his chest for effect.
"Fine," Sam pouted as he looked down at the package and back at the tree. He still had about a third of the tree to finish for it to be done.
"C'mon bro, it'll be here after you eat," Dean assured Sam patting him on the back and taking the package from his hand to place on the library table. He steered Sam toward the kitchen and the waiting food. He wanted to be sure Sam ate at least one good meal a day since he was neglecting himself. "And another thing, you need to take a shower; you're starting to reek."
"Are you ready?" Sam asked as he squatted by the breaker bar ready to turn the lights of the tree on.
"Go ahead Sammy, let's see what you have," Dean replied leaning against the wall and giving his brother a twitch of a smile.
Sam reached down and turned on the breaker bar, making the tree come to life. The lights came on and after a couple of minutes they began to blink on and off, sending a rainbow of colors across the walls and on the ceiling. He stood up and looked on with childlike wonder at the beauty of the tree.
"I have one more thing to put on the tree," Dean said. He stepped to the tree and pulled out a green air freshener shaped like a tree. Dean looked the tree over and found a spot to hang it at eye level where it could be seen.
"What is it?" San asked, stepping closer to see the addition. He gazed at the air freshener and a wave of memories washed over him of a motel room and a tree made out of air fresheners tacked to one wall. Sam could not stop the tears that made his vision blurry and quickly turned to his brother to embrace him in a tight hug. "That made it perfect," he whispered wiping his eyes as he pulled away and looked over the tree again. He didn't see Dean wipe at his eyes too as his emotions got the best of him.
"You did good bro, we'll have some great memories this year. I for one am going to hit the bed early, tree hunting wore me out. You should do the same. No use wearing yourself out before the big day gets here." Dean yawned widely before stepping away and heading down the hall to his bedroom. He had some gifts to wrap and was going to get up early to pick up the rest of the surprise in the morning. Dean did not think Sam would notice what he was doing since he was going to be caught up in his own tasks.
Dean had found Sam a tablet to use in researching, a couple of t-shirts and a gift card for the used bookstore in town. He knew Sam would make good use of each gift. His last gift was really for both of them, if he got it set up in time. Christmas Eve was only a few days away and he was going to have to do the heavy lifting on his own if he was going to surprise his brother. Dean stopped by the bathroom to do his routine before heading to his bedroom to wrap the gifts he had bought in town and then he was going to bed.
Sam listened to Dean's footsteps fade away and turned his attention back to the tree. He could not take his eyes off Dean's contribution as it glowed in the blinking lights. He stepped back from the tree to get the full affect and nodded to himself, thinking he had done a good job of it. The lights seemed to mesmerize him as they sparkled in his eyes. Sam turned off the other lights so only the tree glowed in the room and took a seat at the library table so he could just stare at it for a while. He would follow Dean soon, but for now this was all he wanted to do.
Dean was up early the next morning and took his gifts to put under the tree. He made sure Sam was not up yet and slid the wrapped items under the tree. He stopped long enough to write Sam a quick note about needing to run into town for a part for his Baby and left it on the table. With that taken care of, he headed for the garage and the Impala to pick up the other items he had purchased the day before. He was borrowing a truck to bring them back and would return it to the store when he was done.
The store had agreed to open earlier so Dean could do the pickup and have the truck back for normal hours of business. Dean made sure he had a dolly to make it easier to move things. Once the truck was loaded, he headed back to the bunker and unloaded the boxes in the garage and covered them with a tarp before taking the truck back to town.
Sam woke and when to take a shower before putting on clean clothes and taking the list he had made the night before so he would be sure to not miss anything that needed to be done. He was walking down the hall reading his list when Dean suddenly appeared at the other end and shuffled to a halt as Sam looked up at him.
"Hey," Sam greeted him.
"Hi ya Sammy. You got a busy day planned?" Dean asked wanting to be sure Sam would be out of the way for a few hours.
"I'm going to be sure I have everything for our Christmas lunch in case I need to run back into town. Tomorrow I'll prepare some of the food and have it ready to cook Christmas morning. I need to review a few recipes, so I know how to fix them."
"Sounds good Sammy. There is going to be pie on the menu I hope."
"Of course, I wouldn't forget about that. Have you had breakfast?"
"Yeah, was up early. I've got a couple of things to do in the garage today so if you need me, text me."
"Sure, I'll fix us some lunch later."
"Fine by me." Dean passed Sam and headed down the hall to a bedroom that was not used that he had moved the bed and furniture out of. He stopped at the supply closet to grab a broom, bucket and some rags to do a quick cleaning before bringing any of his purchases to it. He made sure to check for cobwebs in the corners and once it was clean, surveyed the room, picturing the layout and where things would go. Satisfied that it was useable now, Dean headed to the garage to start bringing the boxes and wrapped furniture to the room.
The first thing Dean did was roll out a large area rug and positioned it in the center of the room. He then moved two recliners onto the rug and cut the plastic covering off. He opened the box for a small fridge that he positioned against one wall at a plug and pulled all the labels off before plugging it in. He had an entertainment center to put together for the flat screen television that would go on top. There was also a DVD player to hook up and he had found a couple of movies to start their collection. He had two end tables to go by each recliner and a lamp that would go near the door. Dean gathered the empty boxes and plastic to get rid of and headed for the garage to get what tools he would need to put the entertainment center together. Once he was done, this would be their movie room where they could shut out the outside world and just chill. It would be their man cave.
Sam ate a yogurt and apple for breakfast before looking at recipes on his laptop. He found ones that looked simply, and he thought could be prepared easily. Once he saw what was needed, he began to go through the cabinets to check that he had all the ingredients for them and had pans and pots to prepare the food in. He did a new list of what could be prepared on Christmas Eve and what would need to wait until the following morning. With that done, he checked the time and decided to make lunch before starting anything else. He heard noises in the other room and figured it was Dean doing his thing and did not think anything of it. He was too preoccupied with his mission to worry about Dean.
After pulling out a couple cans of vegetable soup, Sam opened them and poured the contents into a pot to heat. He decided to do a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches to go with the soup and got out the bread, butter, and sliced cheese to put them together. He heated a frying pan before placing one sandwich into it to brown. While the food was cooking, Sam took his cell and sent a text to Dean that lunch would be ready shortly. With that done, he flipped the first sandwich and stirred the soup.
Dean wandered into the kitchen fifteen minutes later and breathed deeply catching the scent of cooked food.
"What ya been cooking Sammy? Smells good," Dean greeted him seeing the bar had been set so they could eat there.
"Soup and grilled cheese," Sam replied taking up the last sandwich and placing it on a plate. He took the pot of soup and divided it between two bowls before sitting it and a plate with the grilled cheese in front of Dean. "Enjoy."
"Not bad Sammy, I'm going to have to let you cook more often," Dean teased as he picked up half of his sandwich to take a bite. He hummed to himself letting the flavors of several different cheeses coat his taste buds. "Just how I like it."
"What have you been doing?" Sam asked as he put his food at the other stool and sat down.
"Nothing important," Dean shrugged as he scooped up a spoon of soup. He blew across the top of it before taking a bite.
"It is good," Sam mumbled as he took another bite of his sandwich that he had dipped in his soup.
They finished their meal making small talk and parted ways once they were done. Dean offered to clean the kitchen and Sam headed to his bedroom to wrap the gifts he had gotten for Dean. He was mulling over if he needed more decorations or needed to rearrange some of the ones he had put up. His mind was fully focused on creating the perfect Christmas day for them.
Dean woke up on Christmas Eve and lay in bed wondering what his brother was going to do today. It took him an hour to convince Sam yesterday that he did not need to put any more decorations up or go out and buy more. He would be happy when tomorrow came and went, hoping Sam would be over this obsession he seemed to have. He sighed and pushed himself from the bed to go to the bathroom before getting dressed. He glanced toward the tree and saw more gifts under it, thinking Sam had been busy.
"Good you're up," Sam greeted him when Dean walked into the kitchen. "I've made a special breakfast for us."
"You did?" Dean asked arching an eyebrow as he poured a cup of coffee.
"Waffles, bacon, hash browns, fresh fruit, and maple syrup."
"You are going all out Sammy."
"I want everything to be perfect. I'm going to do most of the preparing of the food today, so it won't be so crazy tomorrow."
"Need some help?"
"No, I've got this," Sam said with confidence as he served their breakfast. He sat down by Dean and they ate their meal, enjoying the time together.
Dean burped softly as he wiped his mouth as he sighed.
"Want me to clean up since you cooked?" he asked Sam.
"No that's fine, I'm going to start cooking I'll get them."
"Suit yourself." Dean shrugged getting up and leaving. He was going to finish setting up the movie room so it would be ready for tomorrow. He knew Sam could set the television up to receive the wireless service the bunker had and then they could stream movies and programs. Dean knew Sam would enjoy that.
Sam put on an apron, pulled his hair back into a loose ponytail, and sat his laptop on the bar where he could see it before pulling the items to start preparing the food for tomorrow. He was going to get the yams ready to cook, make a couple of pies, put the stuffing together, fix a salad, get the turkey breast ready to cook, make some spiked eggnog for Dean, fix the fresh green beans and wash the potatoes. He read the recipe for yams and pulled the sweet potatoes from the bag looking at them for a moment before going to the sink to wash them. He took out a pot and placed the potatoes with water on the stove to cook.
His next chore was to make pies. Sam wanted to make two of Dean's favorite ones, apple and pecan. He was smart enough to buy the pie crust and not try to make it. Sam pulled up the apple pie recipe and read through so he could set everything he would need out before starting. He turned on the oven to preheat. He peeled apples and put them in some lemon water so they would turn brown. Once he had enough peeled, he drained them and began to add the other ingredients, mixing as he went. When the apple mixture was ready, Sam unrolled a pie crust and fit it into a deep dish pie pan and added the apples. He dotted it with butter before placing the top crust on and using a fork to seal the edge. Sam brushed the top with milk and sprinkled sugar over it to make the crust crunchy. He took a knife to cut slits so the steam could escape and sat it on a baking sheet before sliding the pie into the oven.
One pie down and one to go. Sam switched recipes and read it twice since it was a little more complicated. He cleaned up the mess from the first pie and got out ingredients for the pecan one. He poured the pecan halves into a bowl and looked through them for any shells or bad ones before sitting them aside. He took a bowl to mix in the corn syrup, vanilla, eggs, flour, and brown sugar to make the filling. Once he had the mixture ready, Sam added the amount of pecans and coated them evenly before pouring them into the pie crust he had ready. He licked his fingers of the sticky substance and though it tasted good and hoped the pie would too. Sam sat it aside until the apple pie finished cooking so he could put it in the oven to bake.
Sam took the time to clean up the dirty dishes that he had so far before continuing with his preparation. Once he had the dishes cleaned, he decided to make the spiked eggnog. He looked up as Dean came back to the kitchen.
"Hey, since you're doing all this cooking, I thought I'd run into town and get us lunch. What's your pleasure?" Dean asked tossing his keys absently in the air and catching them. "What smells so good?" he questioned sniffing the air.
"The apple pie is in the oven."
"Oh, Sammy, if you don't do anything else you've made my day," Dean cooed taking another deep breath.
"Here taste this, see if I got enough extra zip in it," Sam insisted holding out a small cup with his mixture in it.
Dean accepted the cup and looked at the white liquid and smelled it before taking a sip. He choked slightly as the strong tasting liquid ran down his throat. Once he cleared his throat and blinked back the tears, he looked at his brother.
"Does it need more?"
"No, no, I think that's enough Sammy," Dean chuckled. "I wouldn't drink to many of those while you're cooking."
"Is it bad? I can start again?" Sam questioned. "I want it to be just right."
"It's good Sammy, let it chill in the fridge and we'll have some tonight. Any preferences for lunch?"
"How 'bout a sub and chips?"
"That I can do. I'll be back shortly, just don't go overboard on the nog," Dean cautioned him before leaving.
"Alright," Sam shrugged taking another sip of his mixture before putting the container in the fridge to chill. He pulled out the makings for a salad and found a bowl to put it in. Once the vegetables were washed, he began to assemble the salad. He would add cheese tomorrow so it would not get soggy or stick together in a gooey mess. He made it to his liking adding what he wanted since he knew Dean would not have any. With the salad made and stored in the fridge, Sam pulled the fresh green beans out to wash, string, break and cook. He did not think it would hurt to reheat them tomorrow for the meal. That would be one less thing to cook tomorrow. He was going to do the stuffing and have it ready to cook too. The gravy and mashed potatoes he would do tomorrow so they would be hot for the meal. Sam looked at his list and marked off what he had done and checked to see what needed to be finished. He was starting to get overly excited as Christmas morning drew closer. He had seen the packages under the tree and knew Dean had put them there. This was going to be huge and he hoped he could pull it off.
"You sure that pie doesn't need sampling to be sure it's good?" Dean asked as he eyed the pies on the bar. He took another sip of the overly spiked eggnog and grimaced slightly but hiding it when Sam looked at him.
"No Dean, you have to wait until tomorrow for it," Sam stated rolling his eyes at his brother. Dean had been trying to beg, sneak, or steal a slice of pie since he had taken them out of the oven to cool.
"Spoil sport," Dean pouted settling on a sugar cookie instead. He stared longingly at the pies until Sam covered one and put it in the fridge and put the other in a plastic pie carrier for storage.
"You know Dean, we need to go to bed early tonight."
"Because it's Christmas Eve and, and, it's tradition."
"You know we're not kids Sammy. Santa's not real."
"But we have to Dean, I want this to be like all the Christmas Eves we never got to celebrate so we need to do it right," Sam begged. "Please for me," he whispered turning on all the Sammy charm he could and looking at Dean with that look.
Dean snorted before getting up and going to the sink to rinse his dirty cup.
"Fine, turn off the begging. When do we need to go to bed?" Dean asked giving in to Sam.
"Great! Thanks Dean, you're the best. In about thirty minutes. That will give us time to get ready for bed."
"Okay, well, then good night Sammy. I'll see you in the morning."
"Night Dean, bright and early so we can open gifts."
Dean strolled from the kitchen feeling a little tipsy from the spiked eggnog and toward the hallway that led to the bedrooms. He stopped long enough to make sure the door to the bedroom he remodeled was locked since he did not want Sam finding the surprise until tomorrow. When he saw it was locked, he went to the bathroom to do his routine before heading to his bedroom.
Not sleepy, Dean changed into sleep clothes and grabbed his laptop to see if he could find something to watch on it until he did feel like going to sleep. He found an old western and settled on the bed with the laptop beside him to watch the movie. He heard his brother walking down the hall toward his bedroom and hoped once tomorrow got here Sam would be his normal self again. One thing he knew, Sam was going to have fun taking all the crap he had put up down and storing it again. Maybe if Sam was nice, he would help him. It was not long before he was dozing and finally closed his laptop to go to sleep.
"Wake up! It's here!" Sam cried out as he barged into Dean's room and crouched on the bed as he shook his brother awake.
Dean jerked and threw back a fist to defend himself until he realized it was his brother jumping on the bed and waking him up.
"Damn Sammy, what time is it?" Dean groaned as he wiped sleep from his eyes and squinted at the clock. "Hell," he sighed seeing it was not even six am. "Do we have to do this now? Can't we wait another couple of hours?"
"No, come on, it's Christmas," Sam insisted pulling on him to get him up. "This is it! We have to make to most of it."
"Can I at least get a cup of coffee?"
"I'll go make a pot and meet you in the library." Sam scrambled from the bed and hurried from the room anxious to start the day.
"Glad this only comes once a year," Dean mumbled as he lay there for a couple of minutes before finally forcing himself to get up. He trudged to the bathroom to use it and splash cold water on his face to finish waking him up. After drying his face and hands, Dean went in search of his brother. He looked toward the kitchen and then the library to find Sam had turned on the lights for the tree and Christmas music was playing in the background. He jumped when Sam appeared beside him with two cups of coffee.
"Here we go," Sam said holding up two cups of coffee. "Shall we?" Sam led the way into the library where he had moved a small sofa in front of the tree so they could sit. He handed Dean a cup and sat down to drink a few sips of his coffee.
Dean did not say anything as he settled beside Sam on the sofa. He had to admit this felt right and for once they could have some fond memories of the holiday. He blew across his cup before taking a tentative sip to see if it was cool enough to drink.
"Why don't we do the gifts and then have a light breakfast?"
"It's your show Sammy, we'll do it your way."
"Great!" Sam sat his coffee aside and knelt by the tree to pull brightly wrapped gifts from under it. He separated them into two stacks before returning the sofa.
"Go ahead Sammy, open yours first," Dean told him.
"Okay," Sam nodded and picked up the first gift. He carefully removed the wrapping paper and laid it aside before opening the box to find a tablet. "Wow, Dean this is great!" Sam praised him. "I love it. I can use this."
"You're welcome Sammy."
Sam opened the second one to find a gift card for the used bookstore and smiled happily. The third one held two t-shirts with a design on the front.
"This is perfect. I can use these. Now you, open your gifts."
"Sure," Dean replied. He picked up a card and opened it to find a gift card for the local bakery that had opened a month after they moved into the bunker and had the best baked goods. It was for 'Pie of the Month Club', giving Dean a free pie every month for a year. "This is great Sammy. You know me so well." He laid the card aside and tore the paper off a box to find a t-shirt that had a picture of the Impala air brushed onto it. "Nice Sammy, my Baby." The last one was smaller and when he had the paper off, Dean sat back and grinned widely. "No way, this is awesome Sammy." He turned a set of DVDs over in his hand looking at the complete seasons of Dr. Sexy, MD. "There's one more thing I couldn't wrap that's for both of us. C'mon Sammy."
Dean got up and waited as Sam pushed himself from the sofa to follow him. Dean led the way down the hall to the bedroom and unlocked the door. He reached in and turned on the light before stepping back to allow Sam entrance.
Sam was not sure where Dean was taking him and was puzzled when he stopped at one of the bedroom doors and unlocked it. When he stepped into the room, his mouth dropped open as he gazed around the room. On one wall was an entertainment center with a large flat screen television. He could see a DVD player sitting on one shelf and some DVDs sitting on another. In the middle of the room were two recliners facing the screen and behind them was a small fridge. This was unbelievable.
"How did you do all this?" Sam asked in disbelief.
"Well, you had your obsession and I had mine. Welcome to the man cave. I thought this was a start and we can add other things later like maybe a microwave and coffee pot."
"This is amazing Dean. I don't know what to say."
"I hope you can hook the tube to the wireless connection and we can stream sports and movies."
"That I can do."
"Now I have the perfect thing to watch on the screen," Dean said holding up his DVDs before sitting them on the entertainment center. "Why don't we go have some breakfast and you can do your cooking thing for lunch. Then we'll try the system out."
"Yeah, sounds good. I have everything ready to cook so it won't take long," Sam agreed with a nod.
They headed back to the kitchen and Dean put together breakfast while Sam worked on lunch. Dean found a tablecloth and covered one of the library tables so he could set the table and got it ready for lunch. He snapped a few photos of the tree and the decorations to have for Sam. His cell began ringing and he answered it.
"Hello," Dean said.
"Merry Christmas Dean. Are you and Sam having a good day?" a familiar voice asked him.
"Garth, the same to you. Is something wrong?"
"No, no. I was just checking to see if you got my box."
"Oh, the one I mailed to you and Sam a couple of weeks ago."
"Hold on. Sammy," Dean called.
"Yeah?" Sam asked sticking his head around the corner.
"Did we get something from Garth?"
"Yeah, but there wasn't anything in it but dust."
"Garth, what was in the box?" Dean asked slowly when he realized Sam started acting strange around that time.
"Crap, you mean Sam opened it alone?"
"What did you do?"
"I just wanted you guys to have a good Christmas and well, I mailed a little spell to help give you both the holiday spirit. You guys have not had the best of times and wanted to give you some good memories."
"So that is why Sammy is OCDing about today? And why the bunker looks like a freaking Christmas display?"
"Don't worry; the affects will wear off in another day or so with no side effects. Why don't you sit back and enjoy it? Be honest now Dean, hasn't this been a memorable holiday?"
Dean huffed his disbelief and shook his head not believing what Garth was telling him.
"Are we good Dean?"
"Yeah Garth, we're good, and thanks."
"No problem amigo. Oh, I gotta run, need to check the turkey. Tell Sam Merry Christmas for me."
Dean looked at his cell as the call was disconnected and chuckled to himself. At least now he knew what was wrong with Sam and it would not last much longer. Relief swept over him and he looked to the kitchen when he heard Sam's voice singing a Christmas song. He had to admit that not all the spell did to Sam was bad and wondered if he should tell him what happened. He was not sure if he would be pissed or get a kick out of it. Enticing aromas drifted in from the kitchen and Dean headed that way to see if Sam needed any help. They would enjoy the rest of the day and pig out on the food and maybe watch a few episodes of Dr. Sexy, MD before the football game came on.
This was a perfect holiday and he could not have asked for a better one.