The Impala skidded to a halt outside the Winchester's motel room, the tyres protesting loudly at the sudden stop as John killed the engine and threw open the car door. He hurried around to the backseat and opened the door. He reached forward and took Sam out of Dean's arms, the blankets and coats bundled around the skinny, young boy and ran towards their door.
He fumbled with the keys; hands shaking as he unlocked the door and pushed it open with his foot. Sam felt like a block of ice in his arms, the cold radiating even through the thick layers they had piled on top of him. Entering the room he immediately lay Sam down on the bed and he heard the door close behind him as Dean entered, looking wet, tired and exhausted with worry as his wide eyes gazed at the small figure on the bed.
"Dean, I need you to run a bath of lukewarm water…now!" John barked at his eldest son, not meaning to snap at him but he needed to get him moving and Dean appeared to be in shock, unable to tear his eyes away from his brother.
Dean, flinching at his father's hard voice immediately sprang to action, hurrying to the small bathroom and turning on the taps. He swallowed hard as he placed a hand under the flowing water, testing the temperature. He couldn't get the image of Sam, lying motionless, pale and still on the bed. His brother, so usually full of life and movement, who never stood still was just lying there. This was his fault. He needed Sam to be okay, he was his little brother and Dean was supposed to be his big brother, it was his job, his job to look out for him and make sure nothing happened to him. He had bee entrusted with this role and he had failed and Sam was the one suffering because of it.
Dean knew about the dangers of hypothermia, hearts could just stop beating because of the cold, brain damage. He knew how important it was to warm the person up gradually but it didn't stop him from wanting to just engulf Sam in warmth, warm him up now so he could have his brother back and not have to sit here and watch and wait, feeling completely and utterly useless.
He'd always had control over the situation, been able to do something to make Sam feel better, when he was younger he'd be able to just make him laugh so Sam would forget that he'd scraped his knees, reading him a book would make him feel better when he was sick but this, this Dean had no control over, he couldn't do anything to make Sam feel better and it was killing him that Sam was suffering.
But most of all, he just wanted Sam to wake up and be okay so he could say sorry, tell him that he wasn't selfish because the thought of Sam thinking that Dean had meant those words was worse than anything else.
John tightened the blankets around Sam and stroked his hair softly. Sam didn't move or make a sound beneath his touch. He placed his hand underneath his head and gently probed the large bump and the tacky blood on the back of his son's head and he swore softly under his breath. How could he have let things get this far?
What kind of father was he? What would Mary think of him now? It was Christmas day and rather than his kids looking forward to a day with family and presents and all the things they used to do, here he was sitting in a dingy motel room, his youngest son injured and freezing and probably thinking that his father hated him.
John's eyes burned and his vision blurred as he stroked Sam's too long hair. Sam's hair had just been another one of their constant battle, Sam refusing to get it cut short the way Dean's was, just another way to defy John. But John knew it wasn't just insolent defiance, it was independence, Sam was sick of being compared to Dean, having to live up to Dean which was a weight that John had put on his shoulders and this was just a way of being different, not being Dean and Sam craving the attention that he never really received.
Where had it all started to go wrong? When had John started to put the hunt over the welfare of his own children, the only part of Mary he had left?
Well maybe it would be better if you were more like Dean, then you wouldn't screw up so much
Since Mary died his temper was always so close to the surface, his slow burn fuse had turned into a short one and he lashed out without thinkingSam was, it was just that Sam was so different to Dean. He understood Dean but Sam, Sam was so complicated and he just…he just didn't know how to deal with him. Sam was…he was too much like Mary for his own good.
Dean gave a shout from the other room that the bath was ready and John bundled Sam back into his arms and carried him over to the bathroom. Once Sam was warmed up and stitched up, he'd make things right.
Somewhere from the recesses of his muddled mind, Sam was aware of a tingling sensation, starting at his toes and working its way up his body. He didn't want to open his eyes, his head was pounding and his eyelids felt like lead.
The tingling sensation grew more pronounced and began to feel uncomfortable, liking something was prickling all over his skin. His stomach was churning and his head was throbbing, he needed to wake up but his eyes didn't seem to co-operate.
The tingling became a burning that now felt like fire erupting over the surface of his skin and Sam let out a moan and tried to move, to get away from the pain stabbing at him all over his body. His eyes burst open and light flooded his vision causing his a spike of agony to shoot through his head, he screwed his eyes shut and felt tears seeping from underneath, hot on his face and burning like the rest of his body as he cried.
Who was doing this to him? He wanted Dad, he wanted Dean.
Dean resisted the urge to pry Sam out of his father's grip and pull him out of the water as he watched Sam's weak struggles, heard his moans of pains and saw the tears leaking from his eyes. Sam was hurting.
He blinked the moisture from his eyes and leant forward and placed a hand on Sam's forehead and whispered soothingly to him, trying to calm Sam down as John held him up in the water.
"It's okay Sammy…It's okay it's nearly over." He whispered as Sam stilled, slipping back into sleep or unconsciousness.
"Dean, get some towels." John said and Dean complied, bringing them over to John who began to get Sam out of the bath, stripping off his wet clothes and wrapping him in warm towels. Sam would have been embarrassed if he had been aware for the whole process.
Once John had pulled a thick jumper and some sweatpants over Sam he placed him on the bed under the blankets from the other beds. The head wound wouldn't need stitching which was the only stroke of luck. They'd just have to sit and wait for Sammy to wake up.
John glanced at the clock on the nightstand and frowned as he saw it was already morning, Sam was probably going to sleep right through Christmas Day. Another Happy Winchester Christmas he thought bitterly and looked across at Dean who was sitting on the other bed, yawning.
"Dean, why don't you get some sleep kid?" He said softly. Dean looked up and shook his head.
"No, I'll watch Sammy it's okay." He said, blinking forcefully to try and erase the tiredness and ease the heaviness of his eyelids.
"Dean, Sam's not going to be awake for a while. You won't be any good to him if you pass out, get some sleep and I'll watch him. I'll tell you when he wakes up okay?" John said and Dean stared at him, thinking before finally nodding.
"Merry Christmas Dad." Dean said with a small smile. John winced and swallowed the lump settling in his throat.
"Merry Christmas Dean."
Sam was distinctly aware of feeling extremely heavy. He couldn't really move properly, it felt like a weight was resting on top of him. Swallowing with difficulty, he slowly opened his eyes and found himself staring up at a stained, off-white ceiling.
The Motel Room, he thought. His mind seemed to be turning slowly, it felt like his head was full of cotton wool. He felt like roadkill, what the hell had happened?
Then he remembered, the hunt, the ice…shit Dad was going to be pissed. He'd screwed up again. He turned his head and saw the clock glowing in the semi-darkness. 9am. Sam sighed, great so he'd spend Christmas Day getting chewed out by his Dad for screwing up on a hunt, putting himself and everyone else in danger…the usual. Not that he should expect anything different, it's not like Christmas meant the same thing to the Winchesters as it did to everyone else.
He let out a soft sigh, he didn't want to face Dean and Dad. He didn't want to see their disappointment, their words still rang in his head. He struggled to sit up and realised the heaviness was coming from the pile of blankets that lay on top of him. His head swam as he sat up and he stopped to catch his breath, the spots disappearing from his vision before attempting to swing his legs around and get out of bed.
"Hey Sammy, what are you doing?" Dean said, suddenly appearing from the kitchenette and startling Sam.
"I was going to get a drink," Sam said.
"I'll get you one before you fall on your face. You feeling okay? You got knocked around a bit last night, not to mention the impromptu trip into the lake you took. Not your wisest move." Dean said with a smile, handing Sam a glass of water.
"How's your head?" He asked as he saw Sam frown with pain.
"It's not that bad." Sam lied and Dean frowned dubiously.
"Fine, it hurts, happy?" Sam relented, sitting against the pillows. Dean disappeared and reappeared with some pills which he passed to Sam and watched as he swallowed them.
"Where's Dad?" Sam asked, suppressing a yawn and shivering slightly. Dean seeing his brother's shiver pulled the blankets higher over his brother.
"Stay under those, I don't want to relive Sam the human popsicle okay?" Dean said with a weak smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
"Dad's gone to go pick up a few things, he'll be back soon."
Sam nodded and winced when a sharp pain flared through his head. How could Dad have gone to pick stuff up? Wasn't everything closed on Christmas Day?
"Is he mad? About the hunt?" Sam ventured. Dean looked up in surprise.
"Why would he be mad?"
"Because I screwed up…again, because I can't be more like you and…" Sam trailed off, a painful lump forming in his throat and he blinked quickly.
"You know what Sam, for someone who is supposed to be smart, you can be amazingly stupid sometimes. Of course he isn't angry, it wasn't your fault. If anything it was mine, I was the one leading us in the wrong direction. He was worried about Sam, I've never seen him that worried and this bullshit about being like me? I mean I can understand you wanting to look like me but…Dad was just in a bad mood and he took it out on you, you know he doesn't mean half the stuff he says." Dean said, sitting next to Sam on the bed as Sam looked down, fiddling with a loose thread in the blankets.
"Everyone was in a bad mood yesterday, it's just the holidays and Sam…I didn't mean what I said either you know?" Dean said softly and Sam swallowed hard, his eyes burning. He nodded, ignoring the throb behind his eyes as he did so.
"Anyway Sammy, Happy Christmas and all that. Now this giant chick-flick moment is over, I think Dad said something about a new hunt so I think he's looking into that and he'll probably want our help with research later." Dean said and Sam's face fell. They were going to spend the day stuck in a motel room probably watching crap TV whilst their Dad looked for another hunt and then stuck researching, trawling through newspapers etc. He knew better than to make a fuss, look where it had gotten him last time so he stayed quiet, merely made a noise of assent and burrowed deeper under the covers and within moments, he had slipped back to sleep.
When Sam awoke again it was one o'clock in the afternoon and it was the sound of the front door closing that had startled him awake. Looking up he saw his Dad walk through the door with several bags which he set down on the floor.
"Hey Sammy, how are you feeling kiddo?" John said as he slipped off his shoes and padded over to the bed and placed a hand on Sam's forehead. Sam blinked, surprised at the affection his dad was showing him, where was the yelling? The disappointment and the speech about screwing up?
"Um…okay I guess." He stammered out and John nodded.
"You hungry?" He asked and Sam nodded, his stomach felt completely empty. He was starving. Maybe Dad was trying to butter him up because they were moving again…Sam didn't get it, especially after what Dad had said to him before.
"Good because I got us some turkey sandwiches and some pie." John said motioning to the bags by the door.
"Sounds good." Sam said, a smile splitting across his face as Dean came over and sat on the other bed and John took the sandwiches from the bag and passed them one each. Dean ripped off the wrapping and immediately took a huge bite, his mouth bulging with food. Sam made a face of mock disgust.
"Pig." He muttered as he took a normal sized bite of his own sandwich. Dean grinned, food hanging out of his mouth.
"That's gross! Dean you're disgusting." Sam said resisting the urge to smile.
"I aim to please Samantha." Dean replied with an infectious grin.
"Happy Christmas Boys." John said and Sam smiled.
"Happy Christmas." Sam replied, feeling warm. Maybe Dad and Dean understood that it wasn't the whole spread, the presents at Christmas that he wanted. He just wanted a day away from the hunting, the constant training and moving around where they could just sit together and be a family, a dysfunctional family but a family nonetheless.
Sam sat on the bed as the credits to the movie they'd rented rolled across the screen, Dean was snoring to the right of him and John was sleeping soundly to the left. They'd finished their Winchester style Christmas dinner and their Dad had given them a few small presents, Dean got a new hunting knife and few Metallica tapes and Sam had been given a copy of The Lord of The Rings to replace the one he'd left in Oregon and a Swiss army knife.
Sam grabbed the remote and turned off the film, flicking briefly through the channels. He caught a glimpse of the news and left it on, pulling the blankets up around him.
"It's Friday the 26th December and this is the eight o'clock news…"
Sam stopped and frowned, he must have heard wrong. The 26th? But it was Christmas day...
He stopped and realised. He'd slept through Christmas day, not surprising with a concussion and he'd completely missed Christmas. Dean and Dad hadn't said anything, pretending that he hadn't missed anything.
Sam grinned and turned off the TV. He could leave it a few days before letting them know that he'd found out, in the mean time he just wanted to enjoy one of the few moments of normalcy that his family got.
A/N The End! Hope you enjoyed the fic and thanks for the support and reviews and everything! I'll be updating Missing soon and then Gone which I have a huge case of Writer's Block for...anyway, thanks! Sorry for the cheese