All right, guys. This is it. The final chapter of "All I Really Want." I hope ou enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it. Feel free to leave comments, reviews, constructive criticism, whatever. Thanks again to everyone who bothered to stick with the story. I hope you all had a good cry.
And now, here it is:
Sam Winchester had never been accused of being stupid. He was the smart one, even according to the demons. He knew how to research well, how to memorize long Latin rituals with minimal effort, and how to hack into his brother's Myspace in order to change his sexual orientation.
The one thing that Sam had never been smart about, apparently, was his brother. Dean was a mystery. He was like an onion, with layers upon layers of personality, wants, needs, and issues. He needed help, he needed family, he needed a birthday party. That much, Sam knew for sure.
He wasn't entirely sure what he had been expecting his brother to do when Dean finally returned from wherever he had gone after leaving, but he had expected to see it.
Sam walked out of the bathroom and immediately began cursing his weak bladder as he saw Dean standing in the middle of the room, gazing around at all of the decorations.
"Um, surprise?" Sam attempted, grabbing a couple of handfuls of confetti from a near-by bag of the stuff and tossing it up into the air.
"What is this?" Dean asked, his eyes wide as he took everything in.
"This," Sam explained, spreading his arms wide and making a sweeping motion across the dirty room, "is all you're getting for Christmas this year, so you'd better like it."
Dean cocked an eyebrow and began inspecting the room. He looked up at the large banner that had been hung over the mirror, the confetti that covered every available surface, the small piñata that hung in a corner, the pile of poorly-wrapped gifts that sat below it, and the mess that had been strewn across the table.
"I repeat: what is this?"
"It's a celebration," Sam explained, taking a cautious step closer to the older man, "of your existence." He realized at that precise moment that it sounded cheesier coming his own mouth than it had coming from Dean's, and blushed. "I mean, happy birthday."
"A birthday party?" Dean asked, "Sam, what part of January twenty-fourth don't you understand?"
The younger man shrugged. "Happy early birthday?"
Dean shook his head. "Nice try. Really. But it might have been a little better sooner."
"But I got a piñata," Sam blurted, "and a cake. It's chocolate, just like you like. And those noisy party favors, and doofy hats and presents and Pirates of the Caribbean plates and napkins and-"
"No matter the time period," Dean mused, cutting his brother off with a smirk, "you're easy to mess with."
"Dude, look at this place!" Dean gushed, "it's awesome! You seriously did this?"
The younger man shrugged. "It was the least I could do. I mean, you had a point earlier. You did all that stuff for me and all I did was hang out with my friends. Maybe it's time I give a little back."
"Does this mean you're gonna stay?"
Sam grinned. "Yeah. I'm gonna spend Christmas with you, Dean."
"No," the older man said slowly, his voice holding that old tone again, making him sound four instead of nearly thirty, "I mean…"
Sam hung his head. "You're seriously asking me this?" Dean took a step back, the color draining from his face. "You honestly have to ask, after everything I just went through?" Another step, with a whimper thrown in for good measure. "I can't believe you. And you say I'm easy to mess with."
Dean looked up at him with hurt, confused eyes. "Come again?"
"Of course I'm staying, Dean. Where else would I go? And why do you have to even ask? You know me."
The older man eyed him suspiciously. "I thought I did," he muttered, "but-"
"I changed," Sammy grinned, "a lot. Thanks to you. You weren't wrong. I was. And I see that now."
Dean blinked. "Sam?"
"Hold me, Sammy. That was beautiful. Hold me and never let me go. I want to stay in your arms forever. And while we're embracing, we can slow dance. Maybe to something by REO Speedwagon. And then we can cry."
Sam scowled. "Funny, Dean, but I'm being serious."
"So am I. Your arms are so warm and welcoming."
The younger hunter couldn't help but laugh. "I hate you."
"Right back atcha, Future Boy. So, what are we having for breakfast?"
"Cake. And it's the last time I'm making anything for you, so don't get used to it."
Dean nodded, heading over to the table and sitting down. "Fine by me. Let's eat."
"Not so fast," Sam cautioned, "we have to get in the mood first."
"Dude, I was joking about the slow dancing thing."
"Not what I was talking about, but it's good to know." Grinning, Sam retreated to the closet, where he had stashed the bags he'd brought everything home in.
"Aw, Sammy, I didn't mean it," Dean called after him, "you can come out of the closet now. I won't judge."
Sam stuck his head out of the small space and glared at the older man. "You're a real comedian today, aren't you, Dean?" he asked, grabbing what he'd been looking for and stalking up to his brother with it hidden behind his back. "Just for that, you get to go first."
Sam practically slammed the Little Mermaid party hat down on his brother's head before taking a quick picture. "Bet that brings back memories, huh?" Sam asked as Dean grabbed the hat and began inspecting it.
"And now you know why I hate Jo," the older man grumbled.
"Well, don't hate her too much, because I invited her."
"Invited her?" Dean asked, placing the hat back on his head, "invited her for what?"
"The party. Duh. And you thought you didn't have any friends."
"We're having a party?"
Sam nodded. "Yep. With Bobby and Ellen and Jo and Josh and everyone else. I thought about inviting Gordon, too, but I was pretty sure he wouldn't show up, what with the twenty-five-to-life and all."
Dean grinned. "And they're coming?"
"Said they would. Might take 'em a while, though. You're not that hungry, are you?"
Sam grinned, retreating back to the closet to grab the rest of the hats. For a while there he'd been worried that he'd done the wrong thing, that he'd just ripped open an old wound, but the disbelief in his brother's voice, the happiness shining out of formerly dull eyes, told him otherwise.
He popped back out of the closet with a hat on his head and the rest in his hands. He grabbed one off the pile and tossed the rest on his bed, turning toward Criss with a malicious glint in his eyes. "Here, boy."
The dog trotted up to him, and, surprisingly, let him put the hat on his head without much hassle. "Good boy," Dean called as the little dog started shaking his head to get the accessory off.
Sighing, Sam sat down across the table from his brother, waiting for their guests to arrive. The sound of ripping cardboard echoed around the room as Criss finally pulled the hat from his head and began mauling the little mermaid and her adorable undersea friends.
"You really did all this for me?" Dean asked, turning from the dog to look at Sam, that tone in his voice no longer sounding so pleading and desperate, but somehow fulfilled.
"Yeah," Sam nodded, "Happy Birthday, Dean."
"Merry Christmas, Sam."
And they all lived happily ever after. The End.