A/N: I wrote this story just before Christmas and posted in on Live Journal. While I know that Christmas is way over for this year, I thought I would post this here anyway. This fic is rated Teen for coarse language. Please read and review!
It Happened One Night
Sam Winchester sat sipping a glass of eggnog, quietly watching snowflakes fall fast and heavy against the windowpane of the motel room that he and his brother Dean were sharing. It was Christmas Eve, and the two brothers had just helped exorcise a particularly nasty demon from a suburban home a few miles away. Dean, exhausted, had passed out on one of the beds without so much as even removing his boots. Sam hated to admit it, but he had felt slightly disappointed. He knew that to Dean, Christmas was just another day in the year; but for Sam, it was something else entirely. Christmas was the one day that he really felt like he could be normal. Like maybe if he followed all the traditions of Christmas just right, he could forget all about demons and ghosts and other things that went bump in the night even if it was just for one day.
It had never worked, of course, no matter how hard Sam tried. Yet he did the same thing every year in the hopes that maybe his luck might change. So when he realized that Dean was out for the night, he decided to go ahead with his rituals alone. Dean had never really liked them anyway.
Sam had driven the Impala through the snow to a gas station, enthralled with all the Christmas lights around him. Jess loved Christmas lights, he had thought to himself as he entered the gas station. Just the year before, she had forced him to drive around town so that she could see the different neighborhood displays. Sam hadn't been too impressed with the lights themselves, but even now he couldn't help but feel a tug in his heart when he thought about the innocent twinkle of awe and wonder in Jess's eyes.
Trying not to think too much about his dead girlfriend, he had scooped up some eggnog and shortbread cookies that were decorated to look like Christmas trees and strode to the counter to make his purchases. A Santa figurine sat upon the register, smiling up at him. Sam had frowned, as another flood of memories washed over him.
He could remember being around eight years old, sitting in the back of the Impala, wrapped up in a denim jacket and a multi-colored scarf, and listening to Christmas music on the radio. He had asked Dean if Santa would be able to find them while they were on the road so that he could deliver their presents. At first Dean had dodged the issue, turning up the radio. But as Sam had pressed on, Dean finally broke. He had told little Sam that Santa wasn't real and neither of them would be receiving a present that year because their father didn't have a job. "Freaks like us aren't supposed to believe in that kind of mushy crap anyway," Dean had growled. It had been in that moment that Sam had realized that he, his father, and his brother would never truly be normal.
When grown-up Sam finally returned to the motel room, Dean had still been out cold. Sam had poured himself a glass of eggnog and seated himself in front of the window, content to watch the snow fall outside while he stuffed his face with cookies. Now, having made his way through half of the bag, he was beginning to feel sick from all the sugar. His stomach churned unpleasantly, and he slumped a bit in his chair. Feeling drowsy, he closed his eyes, ready to let sleep overcome him.
But just as he was drifting off to sleep, he heard a loud noise come from the ceiling above. Sam's eyes flew open, his mind suddenly alert. Someone, or even worse something, was on the roof. He got to his feet and peered out the window. Other than the falling snow, the night seemed quiet and still. Sam bit his lip. Maybe he had just imagined the noise. Or perhaps it was just all the sugar from his cookie binge going to his head?
But then he heard distinct footsteps from overhead. His heart racing, he grabbed one of the shotguns that Dean had left at the end of his bed. "Dean!" he hissed, kicking his brother hard in the shins.
Dean howled in pain, the sound slightly muffled by his pillow. "What the hell did you do that for?" he asked, sitting up in bed, his hair sticking straight up and his eyes still half closed.
Sam used the shotgun to gesture to the ceiling. "There's something on the roof," he whispered. Dean opened his mouth to respond, but the sound of more footsteps from above interrupted him.
Dean's eyes widened as he got swiftly to his feet. "You see anything?" he whispered back, grabbing his handgun from the bedside table and putting in down the back of his jeans. Sam shook his head silently, his eyes never leaving the ceiling. Dean grabbed the other shotgun from the end of the bed and began filling it with rock salt. Sam couldn't help but feel slightly angry. It would figure that they were going to have to go hunting on Christmas freaking Eve.
The two brothers pulled on their coats. "What's the plan?" Sam asked, buttoning his denim jacket.
"I'll go around the other side of the motel, you stay on this side. Try to get a good look at whatever's up there. If you see anything...abnormal...just send the son of a bitch right back to hell, got it?"
Sam rolled his eyes. It's Christmas...Winchester style, he thought to himself as he and Dean trudged out into the freezing snow. It was still snowing heavily, and snowflakes clung to their eyelashes and hair. He could hear Dean doing his best to tromp silently through the foot of snow that already laid on the ground. His shotgun ready, Sam looked up at the roof. Through the darkness, he could vaguely see a figure moving around stealthily, and after a few moments, Sam realized that the soft tinkling sound of bells could be heard.
Knowing that the figure hadn't spotted him yet, Sam quietly watched the figure move about on the roof. The figure seemed corporeal, which had Sam breathing slightly easier. Through the thick snow, he caught a glimpse of a red coat. And a white beard.
It can't be, Sam thought, suddenly feeling faint. Can it? Lowering his shotgun to his side, he stood frozen. He needed to get to Dean and tell him what he had just seen before--
The sound of a shotgun rang through the frigid night air, followed by a man moaning in pain. The figure on the roof faltered, losing his balance. Sam watched, horrified, as the man fell from the roof and landed in the snow just ten feet in front of him.
From the other side of the building, Sam could hear Dean whooping with glee. "I got it, Sam! I got the son of a bitch!"
Sam still couldn't move. He was too stunned by the image in front of him. Dean came bounding around the side of the building, looking like a gleeful little kid. "Did you see, Sammy? I got it square in the chest! Bastard didn't even see it coming!" Seeing the look on Sam's face, Dean's eyebrows furrowed. "What's the matter with you anyway?"
"Dean," Sam whispered. His eyes never left the unconscious man in front of him.
"What?" Dean asked, looking annoyed. "Why are you acting so weird?" After a few seconds, Dean got his answer.
"You fucking killed Santa Claus, dumbass."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Santa Claus? Yeah rig-" He broke off, his mouth hanging open as he stared at the man lying just a few feet away. Sure enough, the man before them was white-haired, bearded, heavyset, and wearing a red coat. The duo stood shoulder to shoulder looking down at the motionless Santa for several minutes before Dean was finally able to speak.
"Oh...shit..." he murmured, crouching over Santa. He placed his hand against the old man's neck. Dean could feel a pulse and fell backwards with relief. "It's okay, he's still alive. I just knocked him unconscious."
"I've told you rock salt hurts like hell," Sam muttered, moving closer to Dean and the Santa Claus.
"It's not my fault the old fart was wandering around on the roof!" Dean exclaimed. "He deserved what he got! What the hell was he doing up there anyway?"
Sam shrugged and glanced up at the roof again. What he saw there made him grab Dean's shoulder. "Dean! Look!"
Dean got to his feet and tilted his head back so to get a good look at the roof. Eight reindeer, who were attached to a gilded green sleigh, stared back at him with contemptuous looks in their eyes. "The fuck?" Dean exclaimed, taking a few steps back in disbelief. He felt as if someone had just punched him in the gut.
Meanwhile, Sam was grinning. "I told you he was real, didn't I? I told you that if ghosts could exist that Santa existed too. But you wouldn't listen. You said--"
"SAM!" Dean yelled, interrupting his younger brother. "Are you ten years old? Have you lost your freakin mind? Santa does not exist!"
Sam glared at him. "Then who did you nearly kill, and how in the hell did he get a sleigh and eight reindeer on the roof of our motel?"
Dean bit his lip and ran a shaking hand through his hair. "Uh..."
Sam looked triumphant. "Santa Claus. And you're a big fat liar."
Dean opened his mouth to respond when a muffled groan came from the ground below. "Owwww," Santa moaned, clutching his chest and sitting up. "God damn it," he muttered. "Stupid gun-toting hicks..." His eyes slid in and out of focus, but finally, his gaze came to rest on the two Winchester brothers. A smile spread over his face. "Well, well, well, what do we have here?" he asked, chuckling. Sam couldn't help but notice that his stomach really did shake like a bowl full of jelly when he laughed.
"Listen, sir," Dean said, in his most mature voice, as Santa got clumsily to his feet. "I'm sorry about shooting you off the roof, but you really shouldn't be sneaking around in the middle of the night. You're lucky I didn't call the cops. In fact, I may just call them right now and--"
"Dean Winchester," Santa said, his eyes narrowing. "If you do, I will see to it that you never get laid ever again. Do you understand me?"
Sam had to bite down on his hand to keep from laughing aloud. Dean tilted his head, staring at Santa as if he had just sprouted another head. "Can you do that?" he asked.
Santa nodded gravely. "I have connections."
Dean shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket looking chagrined. "Well, uh, then forget the cops." His eyes narrowed. "And how do you know my name?"
Santa rolled his eyes. "I'm Santa Claus, Dean. It's my job to know these things. Nice to see you again, Samuel," he added, nodding kindly at Sam. "You grew up to be quite handsome. I'll have to tell the missus. She's been worried about you ever since I told her that you stopped believing in me. She always said, 'If there was ever a boy who needs to believe in Santa Claus, it's Sammy Winchester.' She didn't exactly approve of this hunting evil business that your father got the two of you into."
"What did she think of me?" Dean asked, grinning arrogantly.
"She didn't," Santa said, a mischievous grin pulling at his rosy cheeks. When Dean's face fell, Santa started chuckling again. "Just joking, my boy, just joking. She's always been proud of you. Says she thinks you're 'a rock' and that you've always done your best to..." He glanced at Sam, "take care of things." Dean smiled wryly, his eyes seeming to glaze over. Santa turned back to Sam and placed a gloved hand on his arm.
"Oh, and Sam, I would just like to offer you my condolences for Jessica's death. Such a sweet girl. Always left me peanut-butter cookies and chocolate milk. As you can imagine, it was quite a nice change from the average sugar cookies and white milk I usually find. But then, Jessica was far from average."
Sam smiled weakly. "She sure was. Thanks," he said, his voice practically a whisper. Santa nodded and glanced up at the roof.
"Well, boys, I would love to stay and chat, but as I'm sure you know, I have a few other places to be tonight," he said, winking. "But before I go, I have something to give you. It's the entire reason I came here tonight." He reached for the red sack that had fallen off the roof with him. He rummaged around in it for a few moments before turning back to the two brothers, who were watching him warily. In one hand, Santa held a teddy bear and in the other a child's baseball glove.
"Your mother...before she died...she had asked me to give you these. But after...her death...your father..." He seemed to be having trouble finding the right words. He swallowed and took a moment before speaking again. "You boys had other things on your mind, and he didn't think it was appropriate so I tried to respect his wishes. And then, of course, you both stopped believing in me. So I'm sorry that these are over twenty years late, but you're mother wanted you to have them so..." He trailed off and handed Sam the teddy bear and Dean the baseball glove.
Both boys were speechless. Sam's eyes stung with tears as he cradled the teddy bear in his arms. He had never had one, but he could remember a time when he had been young and had longed to have something that would keep him company during the night when the things that lived in the closet and underneath the bed were most active. A lump grew in his throat as he struggled not to cry.
Meanwhile, tears rolled freely down Dean's face as he caressed the soft leather of the tiny baseball glove. He could still remember his four-year-old self, following his mother around the house, begging for a baseball glove. As if it had happened yesterday, he vividly saw her mischievous grin and the twinkle in her sparkling blue eyes as she told him to ask Santa to bring him one for Christmas. Even then he had been skeptical about Santa's existence, but he had never said anything, afraid to hurt his mother's feelings. Now, his heart ached at the memory.
"Thank you," Dean whispered, wiping the tears from his face and looking up. "I-" He stopped when he realized that Santa had gone. One look at the roof proved that his sleigh and reindeer had disappeared with him. Dean spun in a circle to make sure he had really gone and even tilted his head back to check the sky. Not a trace of the old man in the red suit. He turned back to Sam, who was still staring at his bear, seemingly frozen. The big brother in Dean took over, and he grabbed Sam by the arm. "Come on, Sammy," he whispered. "Let's go inside."
The Winchester brothers reentered their motel room and took off their coats without a word. Several minutes passed before Dean, feeling the need to break the tense and unpleasant silence, finally said, "So...Santa turned out to be a bit of a wise-ass, didn't he?"
Sam couldn't help but grin as he collapsed onto his bed, hugging his teddy bear to his chest. "Yeah, a bit. You're lucky he had such a good sense of humor, though. If you had shot me off the roof with rock salt? I would have beaten you senseless."
Dean snorted. "You wish, loser."
"I don't wish. I know."
"Whatever." Dean grabbed his bag from the floor and carefully nestled his baseball glove in one of its pockets, making sure that it was not being crushed in any way.
Sam studied his bear intently. "Want some eggnog?" he asked, not looking up. He expected Dean to say no. Expected him to announce that he was ready for bed or that he needed to clean the guns again.
So he was surprised when Dean shrugged and said, "Sure."
"Really?" Sam asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"Yeah," Dean said, flopping onto his bed and turning on the television. "And did you eat all of those cookies?" he asked, nodding at the open bag that laid beside the carton of eggnog.
Sam grinned and hopped out of bed, gingerly setting his teddy bear on his pillow. "No, I think there's a few left."
"Good. I want some."
Sam handed his brother a napkin full of cookies and a cup of eggnog. He was getting his own snack when Dean found "A Christmas Story" on television.
"You could shoot your eye out!" the brothers exclaimed in unison.
"I love this movie," Sam said happily, settling down on his bed and pulling his teddy bear into his lap.
Dean nodded. "Best. Christmas movie. Ever," he said through a mouthful of cookies.
Sam smiled. As usual, this Christmas had not been as normal as he would have liked; but as he held tightly to his mother's gift and listened to his brother's amusing "Christmas Story" commentary, he decided that "normal" was highly overrated. He would take a Winchester Christmas any day.
Thanks for reading, and reviews are greatly appreciated!