Author's note: So I have actually been without the internet for the last two weeks while they set it up at my new house (grrrr!), but I had to find a way to post this as it is a present for Brennan, whose birthday it is today!
So I apologise if anyone reviews this (not a hint btw!) and doesn't get a reply, as I am still technically offline.. But hopefully not for too much longer!
Anyway – happy birthday and I hope you enjoy it!
"So you got any idea where we're heading next?"
Dean glanced over at Sam and shrugged.
"Why, you got a preference?" he said and Sam schooled his face to look as nonchalant as possible.
"Not really. There's a town about 50 miles from here I thought maybe we could take a look at. Seems pretty big, could be a good place to stop for the night."
"You read something about a job there?" said Dean and Sam shook his head.
"Not every place we go has to have a job attached to it, Dean. I thought it might be nice to stop, that's all. You gotta admit we've been kinda busy the last couple of weeks."
Dean said nothing, appearing to concentrate on driving for a minute. In truth he was glad they'd been so busy.
It took his mind off what day it was tomorrow.
It was funny how he always felt in a weird mood this time of year, usually for about a week leading up to the day itself. It had been bad enough before but over the last couple of years it had got worse, and this year he was really struggling not to let it show.
He didn't want Sam to know how he was feeling.
He'd been hoping that their last gig would carry on a couple of days longer, then he could ignore it completely, but as always fate had other ideas and they'd finally got rid of the poltergeist that morning. Which of course meant he now had no excuse not to slow down for a moment.
He jumped, annoyed with himself for getting lost in thought, and realised Sam was still waiting for an answer.
"Ok, fine - we'll stop there for the night. At least it might have a bar and we can top up the funds for this month. We're getting kinda low."
Sam bit back the comment he was about to make. They'd argued about this enough times for him to know it was pointless – they were never going to agree on just how their lives were funded. It was bad enough with the fake credit cards but with the hustling his brother did, Sam was always afraid that one day Dean would get out of his depth and take on the wrong people. It only took one mistake, one miscalculation of the 'victims', and it could all turn into a disaster. Sam knew Dean could talk his way out of pretty much any situation, and fight his way out of those he couldn't, but it still didn't make him feel any better. All it would take was for one disgruntled player to pull a knife or a gun and Dean could end up in the ER, or worse.
Of course pointing this out to his brother would simply result in the indignant reply that Dean knew what he was doing and could take care of himself. So Sam simply had to bite his tongue and cross his fingers every time Dean hit the bars.
It would be a wonder if he wasn't grey or bald by the time he was thirty.
He looked over at Dean as his brother reached out and switched the radio on, turning it up as the tape began to play although thankfully not to ear-splitting level for once. He had his full concentration on the road but Sam could see there was something on his mind. He'd noticed a distinct change in Dean's mood over the last week, even though his brother probably thought he was hiding it well. Sam thought Dean forgot sometimes just how well he knew him. Even now, when they'd only been travelling together again for slightly less than eight months, it was as if the time apart had never happened.
If he was truthful, Sam hadn't realised quite how much he'd missed his brother until they'd been together again.
Of course he'd also forgotten just what a minefield it was trying to get him to open up about pretty much anything.
The words 'frustrating' and 'stubborn' could have been invented just for Dean Winchester.
Still, Sam had become something of an expert at handling Dean over the years and he could bide his time for now. As it happened he had more important things on his mind anyway, like how he was going to handle tomorrow and what plans he could make without Dean finding out. It wouldn't be easy, especially given the fact they were travelling again. It was just their luck that the last job hadn't lasted a little longer – that would have made things much easier.
Just under two hours later, Dean pulled the Impala into the Motel parking lot. He got out and went to check them in while Sam stretched after being sat in the car for so long. He leant against the hood and looked round, taking in what he could see of the town from there. It seemed nice enough, if slightly generic, and certainly a lot better than some places they'd stayed in.
He spotted Dean heading back, keys dangling from his hand, and pushed himself off the car.
"Any problems?" he said and Dean shook his head.
"Aside from the old woman at Reception wanting to talk forever, no. You're taking the key back when we check out by the way." he said, unlocking the trunk and reaching in for their bags.
Sam grinned, knowing how Dean hated getting trapped by sweet old dears who wanted to mother him and wouldn't shut up.
"How long did you book us in for?" he asked casually, taking his bag, and Dean looked at him.
"One night. Why, you wanna stay longer?"
Sam shrugged, as if it was no big deal.
"No, just wondering."
The room itself was fairly pleasant, although whoever had decorated was seriously over enthused about the colour brown. It was everywhere.
Dean grimaced a little as he dropped his bag onto the bed nearest the door.
"Man, it's like an explosion in a chocolate factory in here." he said.
"At least it doesn't look like a 70s disco. We've had worse." said Sam dryly and Dean had to admit, he had a point.
"I'm gonna take a look around, see if I can find somewhere for later. Place like this oughta be big enough for us not to make an impression anyway, which is good. You wanna come?"
"Nah, I might fire up the laptop for a bit. Look for the next job." said Sam casually. Dean raised his eyebrows.
"I thought you were the one complaining about us working too hard?"
"Yeah, well – you're not gonna want to stay here too long so I might as well at least give us an idea where to go next." said Sam, making it sound like he was just being practical.
"Whatever. I'll see you later." said Dean and Sam nodded.
"Ok. Be careful."
It was said out of habit, whether they were on a job or not, and Dean just waved a hand in acknowledgement as he went out the door. Sam walked over to the window and watched his brother cross the parking lot, checking which way he went. When Dean turned left, Sam nodded to himself and quickly went over to the table where some of the Motel stationery and a pen sat. Scribbling a note that said he was 'getting some air' and would be back soon, Sam opened the door and slipped out. He walked cautiously to the street and peered round the corner, aware that he probably looked a little strange even as he was doing it.
There was no sign of Dean and satisfied he wasn't likely to get caught, Sam turned right and walked quickly along the sidewalk. Luckily the main street with its small shops was that way and Sam smiled, pleased that he should be able to get the stuff he wanted without bumping into his brother. Dean was probably just looking for the nearest bar to scope out so hopefully that should take him at least an hour, if he stopped for a beer.
Half an hour later Sam had everything he wanted. He made his way quickly back to the Motel and used his key to open the Impala's trunk and drop the two bags he was carrying inside. He let himself into the room and, seeing he was back before Dean, jogged over to the car again to retrieve the bags. Sliding them under his bed, out of sight, he shrugged off his jacket, screwed up the note and threw it in the bin, and opened the laptop.
He was just checking out the newspaper sites when the door opened and Dean walked in.
"You'll get square eyes you know, Sammy." he said as he took off his coat and draped it over a chair.
Sam rolled his eyes.
"That's TVs, Dean, and I'm not five years old. You find what you were looking for?" he said and Dean nodded with a smirk.
"Yeah, I reckon so. We should be back in the black by the time we leave here tomorrow. What about you – find anything interesting or have you been surfing the adult sites again?"
Sam ignored the comment.
"Nothing so far. Maybe we could stick around another day if I can't find anything? No point just driving off without an idea where we're going." he said hopefully.
Dean frowned. "Wouldn't be the first time. I don't think there's exactly a lot to do here, Sam. We might as well clean up at the pool table and move on. There'll be another place to stop before tomorrow night if we still don't have another job."
Sam hid his disappointment, turning back to the laptop. A day stuck in the car wasn't quite what he'd had in mind but he could hardly protest too much, not without making Dean suspicious. Oh well – he'd just have to work with what he had.
They'd been working through the night on the last case, darkness always making it easier to do what they had to, so Sam wasn't surprised when he looked up about an hour later to see Dean had fallen asleep. He carried on surfing their usual sites, noting a couple of newspaper reports that might be something worth checking out. It would take them about 100 miles north, but Dean always enjoyed long drives in his 'baby' so he'd be unlikely to object. Sam on the other hand didn't enjoy being cooped up in the passenger seat quite as much, but that was par for the course.
When his stomach reminded him they'd skipped lunch, he went out and got some sandwiches for both of them from the deli down the road. He left Dean's on the side and flicking on the TV managed to find a vaguely interesting documentary to watch on Mayan civilisations.
It didn't take long for the sound of the TV and the smell of food to wake Dean. He rolled over, rubbing his eyes, and peered slightly blearily at Sam.
"Hey. What time is it?" he said and Sam glanced at his watch.
"Almost 6:00. There's some food there if you're hungry." he said, indicating the sandwich.
"Thanks." said Dean, sitting up and rubbing his hand over his face to try and wake himself up properly.
As he finished the first one in two bites, he picked up the second and squinted at the screen.
"What the hell are you watching?"
"It's a documentary. It's pretty interesting actually." said Sam and Dean smirked.
"You and I have seriously different ideas about what's interesting." he said and Sam just turned it up a little, taking a sip from his soda.
It didn't take Dean long to finish the rest of his food and he stood up, stretching to work the kinks out of his back. The bed wasn't exactly the most comfortable he'd ever slept on.
"I'm gonna take a walk before we head to the bar. I won't be long." he said.
Sam looked at him, frowning a little. Dean wasn't exactly the type for walks and he could see the same tenseness in his brother's posture that had been there for the last few days.
"You ok?" he said, knowing what the answer would be but having to ask anyway.
"Yeah, of course." said Dean, putting on his coat.
He was aware of Sam's gaze following as he went through the door and he would have bet money that his brother was still watching him out of the window. With that in mind he forced himself to walk normally, casually striding past the Impala and crossing the street. There was a path just down on the right that lead into some woods and Dean decided to go that way.
As soon as he was out of sight of the Motel he let his shoulders slump slightly. He knew the feeling would pass, it always did, but that didn't make it anymore fun when he was smack in the middle of it.
He wondered if he was the only one who ever felt like this. He was pretty sure he probably was. To most people it was a time of excitement and fun, a time for catching up with friends and family, and enjoying yourself. But it was different for him.
Their lifestyles meant he didn't exactly get the chance to make friends and Sam was the only family he had right now. Who knew where John was or if he would get in touch. Dean doubted it, given the fact they'd had no luck getting hold of him so far. Not even when Dean had been electrocuted and about to breathe his last, and he knew Sam had called him then.
No, as far as he was concerned the whole thing was seriously overrated and generally only served to remind you what you didn't have. He'd be glad when the whole thing was over.
He ended up walking further than he intended and he only turned round to head back when he realised the sky was getting dark. A quick glance at his watch told him he'd been out nearly an hour and he hurried his pace, not wanting to deal with Sam freaking out because he was gone for ages for what was supposed to be a quick walk.
Sure enough when he opened the door to the Motel room Sam was sitting on the edge of the bed, trying not to look like he'd been glued to the window for the last half hour.
Which of course he had.
"Nice walk?" he asked, keeping his tone casual, and Dean tried not to grin. It had to be costing Sam, staying calm like that.
"Not bad. You ready to go?" he said and Sam stood up, grabbing his coat.
Dean's prediction about them increasing their stash of funds turned out to be accurate. He spent the next two hours hustling like a pro and Sam had to admit it was impressive to watch, however much he hated the fact Dean had had to get so good at it in the first place. None of the guys Dean was parting from their cash appeared the type to hold a grudge, so Sam relaxed a little and enjoyed his beer while he waited.
By the time Dean wandered back over to the table it was almost 10:30. He'd managed to make more than enough to see them through the next few weeks, and he always knew when to quit. It was better to walk away before there was any trouble than risk drawing attention to yourself.
"Ready to hit the road?" he said as he reached the table, taking a final swig from his beer.
Sam nodded and finished his own drink. It was a little cold as they stepped outside and Sam shivered, pulling up the zip on his coat.
"Good night?" he asked and Dean gave a cocky grin.
"You have to ask?" he said and Sam just shook his head.
"Well in that case, dinner's on you. I'm starving." he said and Dean chuckled. It wasn't often Sam was the one in more of a rush for food than him.
Something else he could blame on his black mood.
There was an old fashioned Pizzeria just down from the bar and they queued along with the rest of the post-bar crowd. It wasn't a long wait though and less than twenty minutes later they were back at the Motel and eating hungrily.
"Man, this is good pizza." said Dean, nearly spraying Sam with pizza base and pepperoni.
"Dude, do you mind? That's not something I need to see, Dean." said Sam, making a disgusted face. Dean just grinned.
By the time they'd finished eating it was pretty late. Dean could barely keep his eyes open, having had more beer than Sam, and he didn't even bother folding his clothes, just dropping them on the floor as he crawled under the covers in shorts and a tee shirt.
"Night, Sammy." he mumbled and Sam turned off the light so that only the lamp by his own bed was on.
The next morning Sam was awake first. He got up, shivering a little as he realised the Motel heating wasn't exactly the best, and was glad to warm up under the hot shower. When he came out Dean was still asleep, so he sat on his bed and switched the TV on. For once he didn't turn the volume down, wanting his brother to wake up so he could put his plan into action.
Sure enough a few minutes later there was some movement from the other bed and the sound of grumbling underneath the covers. A hand emerged, shoving the blankets back, and Dean's disgruntled expression appeared.
"Do you think you could make a little more noise?" he muttered and Sam grinned at him.
"I can try if you want." he said cheerfully.
Dean muttered something else that Sam was glad he couldn't understand and shoved the covers back properly. Grabbing some clothes he stumbled towards the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
As soon as Sam heard the lock click in place he leapt to his feet. As he pulled the two bags out from under his bed he felt a slight pang of apprehension but he dismissed it. Dean might complain to begin with but he'd appreciate the gesture in the end.
Assuming of course he didn't kill Sam first.
Maybe he'd put the weapons back in the car, just in case.
Dean took a little longer than usual in the shower, trying to ease some of the tension in his shoulders with the hot water. If anything he felt worse than he had yesterday, and he really wished this day would hurry up and pass.
Feeling the water start to get cooler, he finished washing quickly and got dressed. The steam he'd generated clouded his vision for a moment when he opened the door so it wasn't until he'd taken a couple of steps that he saw the room properly.
He stopped dead.
"What the.." he tailed off, literally speechless for what was possibly the first time ever.
On the small table by the window there were two plates piled high with pancakes. He could smell them from there, along with the enticing aroma of coffee coming from the mugs that were also on the table. Hanging on the wall above the two beds was a banner, with balloons attached either side. And in front of one of the plates was a carefully wrapped box, card, and a cupcake.
With a candle in it.
He stared incomprehensively, his gaze shifting to Sam. His brother ducked his head, looking slightly nervous, and gave him a small smile.
"Happy birthday, Dean."
It was the first thing that came to mind but Dean still cursed himself for blurting it out. Sam looked pained for a moment, his eyes sad as he looked at him.
"Of course I remembered. I never forgot."
Dean swallowed, not sure what he was supposed to do next.
"You might want to blow that candle out before it sets fire to the table." said Sam, dryly, trying to lighten the moment.
Dean somehow managed to get his feet to move and he dropped his stuff on the bed, walking slowly over to the table. He looked down at the food, the present, and the mini birthday cake with a look of almost wonder on his face. He couldn't believe Sam had done this.
"It helps if you use actual air to put out the flame, Dean, or are you trying to will it into submission?"
Pausing briefly to glare at his brother, Dean leant forward and with a quick, hard blow put out the flame. He straightened up, looking at Sam again.
"How the hell did you get all this stuff?" he said and Sam grinned, looking pleased with himself.
"That would be telling. You're not the only one who can be sneaky you know."
Dean wondered if he should be worried by that statement.
Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder, pushing him down into the chair.
"Eat up before they get cold. They're fresh, and so is the coffee." he said.
Dean did as he was told, mainly because his brain seemed to have upped and left without leaving a forwarding address.
His eyes lit up appreciatively when he took the first bite of the pancakes.
"These are really good. Where did you get them?" he said and Sam was relieved that for once Dean waited till he stopped chewing before he spoke.
"There's a café just down the road. They open early for the pre-work crowd so I was first in line as soon as you went in the bathroom. I'm just glad you took so long this morning, I wasn't sure I'd be done before you came out."
Dean looked at him, his expression surprised.
"Just how long have you been planning this, Sammy?"
Letting the name thing go, as it was a special occasion, Sam shrugged.
"A while. I was hoping we'd still be on the last job but since we finished it early I was trying to think of a way to get you to stop so we wouldn't be on the road for today. You didn't really think I'd forget, did you?" he said softly and Dean looked away, covering his discomfort by taking a sip of his coffee.
"It's no big deal. It's not like I'm a kid anymore, Sam. You kinda get past the whole birthday thing when you hit puberty." he said lightly.
Sam frowned. "That's not true. Everyone likes birthdays. Jess used to get so excited on hers. I managed to get us into this new restaurant last year, she'd been wanting to go there for ages. Cost me nearly an entire term's loan but it was worth it for the look on her face." said Sam, a wistful look in his eyes.
Dean watched him sympathetically, wishing he could turn back the clock.
Sam looked up and saw, giving his brother a small smile. This wasn't the time for getting lost in painful memories – it was Dean's day.
"Anyway, my point is birthdays are supposed to be fun. It's kind of how it works."
Dean didn't look convinced. "Yeah, well. It's not exactly high on the list of priorities in our line of work, is it? It's just another day, Sam. That's all." he said, hoping to end the discussion there.
Sam wasn't about to be put off though.
"No, that's not it. Come on, Dean – I know we're not exactly the Brady Bunch but even Dad used to make some kind of effort on our birthdays. What did you do while I was at Stanford?"
Dean toyed with his food, suddenly no longer hungry.
"I don't remember." he said and Sam looked at him, a stricken expression on his face.
"You didn't do anything, did you? And Dad didn't do anything either."
"We were busy, Sam. I told you – it's not a big deal." said Dean defensively.
"I remembered you know. Last year and the year before. I wanted to call, but I didn't know how to. I wasn't sure you'd want to speak to me, honestly. And I could hardly send you something. I thought about you though. Wished I was there. Even if only for one day."
Dean told himself it was the residual smoke from the candle that was making his eyes water.
"Thanks. For the thought, I mean. But to be honest, I went off birthdays a long time ago. It's just a reminder of things you don't have, that another year's gone by. I'd rather just get on with it and forget the date." he said.
"That's one of the saddest things I think I've ever heard - what do you mean it's a reminder of what you don't have? I know it can make you think about Mom, and I know Dad's missing now too, but you still have me. That's why I wanted to do all this – to say thank you for everything you've done since Jess died and to say sorry for missing the last two years. I just wanted you to have a nice day, Dean." said Sam, softly.
Dean looked at Sam and saw that his brother really did mean it. He thought about his last two birthdays, both spent on a job and both unmarked by either him or John. He'd celebrated those occasions by drinking too much and trying to ignore how much he missed having his brother around.
But maybe it was time to get over that, to move past the disappointments and hurt that he always associated with his birthday. True, it did serve as a reminder of what he'd lost, of things he'd never had in the first place, but maybe it was time to concentrate on what he did have.
A brother who'd gone to the trouble of decorating a crappy Motel room in the middle of nowhere and sneaking out at the crack of dawn to get him a special breakfast.
Not to mention cake, candles and balloons.
"You do know I'm not six, don't you?" he said, unable to resist a small dig at the slightly over the top decorations.
Sam looked slightly exasperated.
"It was a small shop and that was the only banner they had. Just be grateful it didn't have teddy bears on it." he said and Dean almost choked on the pancake he'd been swallowing.
Sam managed to wait patiently while Dean finished his food, but by the time his brother was chewing the last mouthful he was practically bouncing.
"Open your present." he said and Dean raised his eyebrows, looking amused.
"Could you be a little more geeky about this?" he said and Sam nudged his leg with his knee.
"Don't be so annoying and open the damn thing, would you?"
Dean smirked and picked up the package, taking his time as he examined it from all angles. To be fair he didn't push it though, appreciating all the trouble Sam had gone to and not really wanting to ruin the mood by having his brother strangle him before he could open it.
He tore off the wrapping paper, feeling excitement bubbling in his chest. He genuinely couldn't remember the last time someone had given him a present. It was probably Sam, before he'd left for College.
The Impala didn't really count as John hadn't exactly been able to gift wrap her before he'd handed over the keys.
Seeing Sam leaning forward enthusiastically out of the corner of his eye, Dean concentrated on the box in front of him. It wasn't that big, and was made of brown leather.
Putting the wrapping paper to one side, Dean carefully opened the box and his eyes widened as he looked inside.
Lying on a velvet background was a large Bowie knife. It was in a smart, black, leather sheath and it had a carved wood handle that was edged in gold at the top. Dean picked it up and unclipped the strap that kept it in place, pulling out the blade and whistling appreciatively at the finely crafted – and extremely sharp – edges.
He looked up and met Sam's anxious gaze, his face lighting up as he smiled with genuine pleasure.
"It's beautiful, Sam. Thank you." he said, and Sam's smile matched his own.
"You're welcome. I figured I might as well get you something that just might save your life as well as being nice." he said, his tone serious despite the smile.
"It should certainly make anything think twice, that's for sure." Dean replied, testing the weight of the blade and feeling how comfortably the handle fit in his hand.
Slipping it back into its sheath carefully, Dean stood up and went over to his bed. Taking out his old knife from under his pillow he put that in the side pocket of his bag and slid the new knife into the back of his jeans where he usually kept the other one. He put the box in the bottom of his bag too, wanting to keep everything to do with Sam's gift.
Sam watched all this with an affectionate smile on his face, leaning back in his chair as he drank the last of his coffee.
Dean came back over and sat down, picking up the card. He opened it slightly apprehensively but was relieved to see Sam had gone with humour. He read the front and then laughed out loud as he opened it and read the punch line. Knowing his brother as well as he did Sam had kept it simple and underneath had just scrawled 'happy birthday, Dean. Love, Sam'. He could just about get away with the 'L' word given it was a special occasion and it was in writing rather than being said out loud.
Dean put the card on the table and turned his attention to the cupcake. Carefully retrieving the candle he peeled away the case and broke it in half, reaching over and dropping one piece on Sam's plate.
"Dean.." Sam began to protest but Dean just held up his hand.
"It's my cake, Sammy, so I get to say who has some. Now eat it before the icing melts."
Sighing but touched by the gesture – although he was keeping that to himself – Sam picked up his half and ate it quickly. He laughed as he saw Dean had somehow got a good portion of his icing on his face and Dean's indignant frown only made it worse. He as able to gesture what the problem was, being unable to get enough breath for words, and his brother pulled a slightly suspect looking handkerchief from his pocket and wiped away the mess Sam was finding so amusing.
"Better?" he said and Sam nodded, still chuckling to himself. For a second Dean really had looked like he was in fact six years old.
Standing up Sam cleared the rubbish from the table and took the mugs to rinse out in the bathroom. When he came out Dean was looking at the card again, a soft smile on his face, and Sam cleared his throat giving Dean enough time to put it down and look casual, so that he could pretend not to have seen.
"So we'd better get going before the old dear comes looking for us." said Dean, standing up and grabbing the card and candle to put in his bag.
"Are you sure you don't want to hang around? We could maybe go for dinner later." said Sam and Dean shook his head.
"I don't think so. We don't want to outstay our welcome after I cleaned up so royally last night. Besides, driving my baby is my idea of a good time and since it's my birthday, you can't bitch about the music." he said with a smirk.
Sam sighed but knew that he would indeed put up with it without protest, just this once.
"Ok, well in that case I think I found something that might be worth checking out. We should get back on the Highway and head North. I'll give you directions from there."
"Sounds good to me." said Dean, putting his stuff in his bag and straightening the bed clothes.
"What do you want to do with those?" said Sam suddenly, indicating the banner and the balloons.
Dean looked up at them and ducked his head a little, looking awkward. Without a word he reached up and carefully took the banner down, folding it neatly and sliding it into the front pocket of his bag. He glanced up at Sam, almost daring his brother to say something, but Sam stayed silent. He was just pleased it clearly meant enough to Dean that he wanted to save it.
Dean eyed the balloons with a slightly embarrassed expression but he nonetheless took those down carefully too, handing one bunch to Sam.
"If I have to look an idiot taking these to the car, you're joining me." he said and Sam tried to keep a straight face, being only slightly successful.
He wasn't sure he'd seen Dean move so fast, even on a hunt. The balloons were safely in the back seat, out of sight, within about 3 seconds flat. Dean started the engine while Sam took the keys back to reception, smirking as he saw the old lady corner his brother even as Sam tried to back towards the door.
He glanced over his shoulder at the balloons on the back seat and his face softened.
He really hadn't expected Sam to remember, not after everything that had been going on, and the fact that he had meant almost more than the present and all the other stuff. It also meant a lot to know he hadn't been completely out of mind while Sam was at Stanford, and it eased some of the hurt that still lingered from that time.
But more than anything the simple gestures Sam had made lifted the black cloud that had been hanging over him for the last week, and it made him see his birthday in a different light again. Maybe he didn't have dozens of friends showering him with gifts and cards, maybe he didn't have a Mom to share it with, or even a Dad right now, but he still had something pretty special. He had a brother who not only remembered, even when he himself was trying to forget, but who went out of his way to make it special.
And that was something that was definitely worth treasuring.
As he watched Sam make a hasty exit at last and practically run back towards the Impala, Dean smiled. Maybe he would let his brother take him out for a special dinner when they reached their next destination.
Because perhaps it was time to start celebrating again.