Disclaimer: Supernatural and all its characters belong to Kripke and the CW.
We made it to the last chapter! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this story.
Previously on Supernatural-"No!" John cried glancing from his boys' hats to the hole in the ice.
"Dean! Sammy!" John cried as he started toward the icy lake intent on rescuing his two boys. He had only gone a few steps when hands locked onto his shoulders and arms wrapped around his waist. Fighting against the vice-like grip he struggled to break free but found that he was unable to escape. John turned and glared at his two captors yelling, "Let me go! I've gotta get to the boys!"
Bobby held tight as John bucked and squirmed cursing at him and Caleb the whole time. Motioning for the sheriff to give them a minute he took a deep breath and put aside his own broken heart before turning back to John and scowling. In his best drill sergeant voice he hollered, "Cool it John! The boys need you!"
"Don't you think I know that, Bobby! Now let me go, dammit! My boys are down there and I've gotta get them!" John screamed struggling even harder.
"John, shut up and listen!" Joshua broke in as he walked up to stand directly in front of the angry man. "You go down there right now and the only thing that will happen is that you will cause the police to divert their attention from the boys to you. Is that what you want? To have the police looking after your sorry a$$ instead of searching for those boys?"
John ceased struggling and dropped his head. "I can't lose'em Josh. They're all I've got." He whispered.
"You haven't and you won't." Caleb declared releasing his hold on John. "There's no way Snoopy and Woodstock are in that lake."
"Snoopy and Woodstock?" Joshua repeated. "Uh, Caleb, are you feeling okay?"
"That's what I call them, alright." Caleb replied. Seeing Josh motion for more he rolled his eyes and explained. "Look it fits. Snoopy's Joe Cool. He's a natural leader and he always figures out a way to get the gang out of trouble. And little Woodstock is always following Snoopy around, doing whatever Snoopy does, and talking up a storm about who knows what. Sounds just like Dean and Sammy to me. Come on, you can't tell me you don't see it? Guys? Hey, wait up!"
At Vonnie's house
Dean and Sammy walked back upstairs and threw their plates in the garbage can. Picking up the phone Dean dialed Bobby's number once more hoping that his uncle would be home. After letting it ring several times, he sadly hung up the phone. "Let's go back downstairs" Dean said turning to face an empty kitchen. "Sammy? Sammy!" he hollered racing out of the room. He checked the dining room and then ran into the living room where he found his little brother standing in the middle of the room gazing up at a huge Christmas tree. Sighing he walked over and took his brother's hand. "Sammy, what are you doing in here? I told you to stay with me." He scolded.
"Look, Dean. Isn't it beautiful?" Sammy whispered without taking his eyes off the tree.
"Yeah, it's great." Dean replied glancing from his brother to the clock. Knowing they didn't have much time before the family came back he made a quick decision. "Listen Sammy, I'm gonna go in the other room and get us some snacks. You stay right here and look at the tree. Okay?"
"Sure Dean" Sammy mumbled still staring at the tree in awe.
Dean ruffled Sammy's hair and then hurried into the dining room to check out the desserts.
Jim popped the trunk of his car and began carefully getting the presents out and placing them in the backseat of the car. Once he had the last present in his hand he slammed the trunk closed and shuffled over to the open back car door. Gathering an armful of presents he slowly made his way back into the house. Jim set the presents under the tree and then trudged back out to get the rest. He grabbed the last of the presents, shut the door with his foot, and began the trip to the house. Hearing the phone ringing he rushed up the porch steps and into the house. Throwing the presents on the couch he dashed over to the phone just as it stopped ringing. Checking the phone's caller id he smiled recalling the sweet young nurse who had taken care of John after a hunt gone bad. "Probably just calling to wish Bobby a Merry Christmas." He muttered. He replaced the phone and went back to stuffing presents under the tree.
"Dean, can we play a game? Please?" Sammy whispered as he ran circles around his big brother. "I'll be real quiet. Please? Can we?"
"Okay, so letting Sammy eat all that candy was a very bad idea." Dean thought as he scrubbed a weary hand across his face. Glancing at his watch he groaned. It was already after eleven o'clock. No wonder he was so tired. His little brother, on the other hand, was more hyped up than Bobby's lab puppy. "Sammy! Be still!" Dean quietly ordered putting a hand out to stop his little brother. "You're gonna wake everybody up."
Sammy stopped and stared up at Dean. "Why can't we just go up there and ask that man to take us home?"
"Cause I don't know him, that's why." Dean replied taking Sammy's hand and leading him to the couch. "Now come on. It's time for bed."
"But I'm not tired." Sammy whined.
"Tough" Dean told him. Seeing his brother's lower lip begin to tremble Dean rolled his eyes. "Sammy, you have to go to sleep or Santa won't come."
"But we're not at home." Sammy pointed out.
"Doesn't matter kiddo. You don't go to sleep. Santa won't leave you any presents." Dean explained sitting down on the couch beside his brother.
"But how will he know I'm not asleep?" Sammy questioned.
"He just does. Now lay down and go to sleep." Dean ordered. He took the throw off the back of the couch and settled it and their blanket over both of them.
"But how, Dean?" Sammy prodded sitting back up. "And how come he doesn't leave anything if you're awake?"
"Sammy" Dean warned pushing his little brother back down on the couch.
"Night Dean" Sammy huffed. He tossed and turned and fidgeted and squirmed. "Dean?"
"What is it, Sammy?" Dean tiredly questioned.
"Will you read me a story?" Sammy asked as he continued to wiggle.
"I don't have any books, Sammy." Dean told him with a yawn.
"You could make one up. You're really, really good at making them up." Sammy praised.
Shaking his head at the obvious stalling tactics Dean stood and slowly walked over to his book bag. It was time to break out his dad's secret weapon; the Dimetapp.
December 25- Early morning
Pastor Jim glanced around the hunters sitting around the room and sighed. The men had stayed at the lake watching the police until the search was called off for the night. And they had barely spoken or moved since their return. Deciding he needed to do something Jim stood. "I think I'll put a pot of coffee on." He offered heading for the kitchen.
Bobby stood staring out the front window at the tire swing he'd fixed for the boys years ago. He'd lost track of how many times he'd seen one or both of the boys playing around that old tree. It was one of the boys' favorite places to play in the yard. He couldn't believe that he'd never look out and see them out there again. Suddenly needing to get away Bobby grabbed his jacket and walked to the door. "I'm just gonna go out to the workshop for awhile." He muttered before leaving the house.
John followed moments later.
Dean awoke to the sounds of loud voices and running feet above him. He sat up and stretched before standing and walking over to the basement door. Looking out the window he noticed that the sun was already up and shining brightly despite the cold. And best of all it wasn't snowing. Smiling Dean went back to the couch and grabbed his shoes. He knew Bobby's house was only a little over a mile down the road. And while he didn't really like the idea of Sammy having to walk that far in the cold, he didn't think they had much choice. Nurse Vonnie hadn't made it home yet from the muffled complaints and groans he was hearing, and they couldn't risk staying with the family awake. They had to leave. Dean quickly and quietly gathered up their few belongings and turned to wake Sammy.
John stood staring at the tire swing. Flashes of afternoons spent pushing one or both of the boys in the swing until his arms hurt rolled through his mind. He reached out a shaking hand and grabbed the rope before giving it a little push. He couldn't remember the last time he had been out here with Dean and Sammy. They didn't even ask him to come push them anymore. Frowning he recalled memory after memory of telling Sammy "Not now Sammy, daddy's too busy" not even noticing the hurt look on his baby boy's face when he walked away. Now he'd never have the chance to make it up to him. "Oh God Mary, our babies are gone!" he cried dropping to his knees.
On the road
Vonnie carefully drove down the road singing along with the Christmas carols playing on the radio. After the double shift from Hell, she was finally on her way back to her family. Just a little farther and she'd be there. She was taking a sip of her coffee when some movement on the other side of the road up ahead caught her attention. Focusing her gaze on that area she was able to make out two figures walking along the road; two very small, familiar figures. Seeing no vehicles Vonnie pulled over to the other side of the road and stopped the car. Throwing open her door she ran over to the two boys and enveloped them in a hug. "Dean! Sammy! What on Earth are you doing walking out here in the cold?" She asked taking the boys by the hands. "Come on and get in my car before you freeze."
Dean followed Nurse Vonnie to her car and helped his brother climb inside before getting in himself. Closing the door he relaxed into the warmth of the car. "Nurse Vonnie, could you take us to Uncle Bobby's house?" he asked.
"Sure sweetie" Vonnie replied as she turned the car around. "Want to tell me what you two are doing out here alone?"
Dean spent the next few minutes filling his friend in on the past few days starting with the apartment fire. He had just finished telling her about staying in her basement when they started down Bobby's driveway.
"Look! There's daddy!" Sammy hollered pointing out the window.
Vonnie honked the horn a couple of times before stopping and climbing out of the car. "Morning Mr. Winchester. I think I found something that belongs to you." She called out.
John was so caught up in his grief that he didn't even hear the car pull up or the nurse call out to him.
Sammy yanked the seatbelt off, threw open his door, and jumped out of the car. "Daddy! Daddy!" he yelled running to his father.
"Sammy?" John thought turning and noticing the car for the first time. His eyes widened when he saw his youngest. "Sammy!" he shouted. Leaping to his feet he sprinted toward the car. Reaching out he easily caught the little bundle of energy that jumped into his arms. Hugging Sammy tightly he glanced back at the car in time to see his eldest son step out. Clutching Sammy to him John raced over and pulled Dean into a one-armed hug. "Thank you Vonnie." He said.
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Winchester." Vonnie whispered. Sensing that the Winchesters needed some time alone she got back in her car. She waved at the small family and then slowly backed out of the driveway.
Caleb walked back into the living room with a mug of coffee in his hands. Hearing someone honk he quickly made his way to the window and looked out.
The sound of something shattering brought Jim out of the kitchen in a hurry. Spying the broken mug at Caleb's feet he asked, "Caleb, what's wrong?"
Caleb shot a mega watt smile at the Pastor. "It's Dean and Sammy, Jim! They're home!" he hollered as he dashed to the door.
"Thank God." Jim praised following his friend outside.
John walked onto the porch keeping one arm on Dean's shoulder while he carried Sammy in his other arm. He smiled as he watched their eyes light up when they saw Jim and Caleb. Not wanting to let go of his sons just yet but knowing that his friends needed the contact he reluctantly released his hold on Dean and Sammy long enough for Jim and Caleb to greet them. He then scooped Sammy back up and placing a hand on Dean's head steered them inside to find Joshua just waking up. He walked over to the couch, sat down next to the injured hunter, and set Sammy in his lap.
"Merry Christmas Uncle Josh!" Sammy shouted reaching out to his uncle.
Forgetting all about his ribs Josh pulled Sammy into his lap and hugged him. "Merry Christmas Sammy." He said before kissing the little boy on his forehead.
All heads turned as the kitchen door slammed shut. "Thought I'd make us some breakfast." Bobby hollered from the other room.
Sammy hopped off Joshua's lap and ran to the kitchen doorway. "Can we have pancakes?" he called out.
"Sure Sammy. We can have pan…" Bobby began. Spinning around he glanced down to see Sammy and Dean grinning back at him. "Dean? Sammy?" he said before returning the grin with a smile of his own. Dropping to one knee he held out his arms for his boys. He hugged both boys tightly not letting go until he heard Dean's stomach growl. "Sounds like somebody's hungry." He chuckled. Standing he quickly got out the pancake mix and a bowl and began stirring up breakfast while listening to the boys' account of the last few days.
"So you didn't drive the snowmobile in the lake?" Caleb asked once Dean finished his story.
"Dude, do I look like a moron to you?" Dean asked with a scowl.
"Do you really want me to answer that?" Caleb replied with a mischievous grin.
"Jim, think you could take over for me for a minute?" Bobby asked. "I need to call the sheriff and let him know the boys are safe."
"Go ahead. I've got this." Jim assured taking the spatula from his friend.
Breakfast was soon ready and the room was filled with happy voices and laughter as the family enjoyed just being together again. Once everyone had had their fill the whole crew helped with the clean up before moving into the living room and gathering around the tree.
Just as the first presents were passed out the phone rang. Excusing himself Bobby walked over to the phone. He talked for a few minutes and then hung up and went back over to the tree. "That was the sheriff. Seems two boys that live near the lake found the snowmobile and decided to take it for a spin. One of 'em went home and got his dad's gas can. Once they got it running, they took off but neither one of the idgits knew how to drive the thing. When they saw they were headed for the lake, they panicked. Jumped off and ran home."
"How did the sheriff find them that fast?" Caleb asked.
"One of the boys accidently let something slip this morning. His parents managed to drag the whole story out of him and they called the sheriff to report it. They didn't know about what happened last night." Bobby explained.
"Well, what's gonna…" Josh started.
"Can we open our presents now?" Sammy loudly asked John. "Please?"
"Go for it, kiddo." John replied laughing as his son quickly tore into his gift.
The rest of the morning was a blur of presents and wrapping paper wars. Once the last battle had been fought the men cleaned up the floor while the boys quietly played with their new toys. As lunchtime neared Jim and Bobby made their way to the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" Sammy asked. "We just started having fun!"
"We're got to get lunch ready, champ." Bobby replied. "Aren't you hungry?"
Sammy eagerly nodded his head. "Can we have casserole?" he questioned licking his lips.
"I think I have all the fixings for a hash brown casserole." Bobby told the youngster.
"Not that one. The other casserole." Sammy clarified.
"Other casserole? What other one?" Bobby asked scratching his head.
"I'll help Uncle Bobby." Dean offered. "I remember how you make it."
"Oh, alright" Bobby agreed wondering what he'd missed. He smiled at Sammy and then followed Dean and Jim into the kitchen.
The small family spent the rest of the day eating, playing, and just enjoying each other's company. This was a Christmas none of them would ever forget.