The bell on the bakery door jingles behind Lisa, and the proprietor flips the sign to "Closed 'til December 29th" behind her. Dean straightens up from the bus stop sign he's been leaning against, looking expectant. The dog at the end of the leash he's holding wears a similar expression.
"No," says Lisa firmly, holding the white bag protectively. "This is for tonight. And besides, you've already had donuts."
She brushes away the powdered sugar that dusts his jacket and leans in for a kiss. "I'm going to guess the two stale jelly donuts from the bread drawer. I'm just surprised they lasted that long." Dean grins at her and plucks the sack from her unwary hand. "No! Get out of there! That stollen is for tonight! Dean!"
"It smells good," he says, opening the bag and inhaling the fragrance of buttery almond stollen. Alarmed, Lisa imagines years of holiday tradition being devoured on the way home.
"Trade!" she offers, pulling a snickerdoodle wrapped in waxed paper from the pocket of her parka.
"I knew you were holding out on me!" he says, making the exchange. He breaks off a piece of the cookie. "Hey, Angus! Up!"
The shaggy gray dog balances precariously on his back legs and whines He's reliably housebroken, not too yappy, and he has the wide-eyed soul of a born con-artist. He is, theoretically, Ben's dog.
"Every boy should have a dog!" Dean had proclaimed when he brought the dog home in June, although Ben's never asked for a pet, never been one of those kids who pestered for a puppy with the promise of taking care of it. After a couple months of full-time Dean Winchester, Lisa knew what child Angus really belonged to.
He's thrown himself into Christmas preparations with enthusiasm, putting the lights and decorations up, helping her bake. Most years she and Ben had baked gingerbread, but this year they have six different varieties of cookies AND Dean's made three batches of toll house with nuts. From scratch.
He's also consumed an incredible quality of those same goodies and still had an appetite at mealtime. How the hell does he do it? Lisa wonders. She works out daily, but her intake is a lot more cautious. Now he's got one arm around her shoulders, that snickerdoodle -- which was supposed to be hers, darn it!-- is right there in her face. She gets one bite and Dean yanks his hand away. The cookie crumbles, and Angus dives for it.
The look on Dean's face is priceless as he watches the dog snuffle through the remains of yesterday's snowfall for the cookie pieces. The ten-second rule doesn't apply when Angus is around.
It's five blocks back to the house, and she doesn't want to skirmish over the stollen the whole way. "We still have cookies at home," she says to forestall him.
"But not snickerdoodles," he protests with an epic pout. He sighs mightily. "Okay, so I'll have to bake some snickerdoodles. They're sugar cookies with cinnamon, how hard can it be?"He's looking at Angus and not where he's going, and collides with Joe Stensell from the barber shop.
"Cas?" she hears Dean exclaim. He gets a closer look, shakes his head. "Sorry, Joe, my mistake."
"No problem. Hey, thanks for helping me put those chains on my tires. I'm gonna need 'em the way the weather is looking. It's going to be a white Christmas for sure."
"It looks that way," Dean agrees.
Lisa greets Joe and they exchange holiday pleasantries for a moment. "Who did you think that was?" she asks as they go their separate ways.
"Just…a guy I used to know. It was the coat that threw me." Joe was wearing a plain beige trenchcoat, the same kind a million other guys probably bought at Sears. But then, Dean isn't exactly Mr. GQ about the latest trends for men, either. "He's probably a million miles away now." The corners of his mouth twitch, and he catches her free hand with his as they walk.
Lisa smiles as they stroll homeward, hand-in-hand. He'd arrived on her doorstep in April, a weary refugee who'd thrown his arms around her almost before she'd recognized him. "The war is over," was all he said, and knowing what she did about his life, she thought it better not to ask. Whatever war he'd fought left its mark in nightmares and cat-quick reflexes, but he's getting better.
"What time is that thing tonight?" Dean asks as Angus pauses to christen one of the benches at the perimeter of the park.
"Seven, but we'll need to get to the church by six-thirty if we want decent seats. Don't worry, it only lasts about two hours."
Dean shakes his head a little as they move on, a patch of yellow snow marking Angus's passing. "Watching my kid's Christmas pageant. Y'know, the whole pageant business is one of about ten million things I never did when I was a kid. Sammy got to be a shepherd one year; we got to Pastor Jim's church the day before their Christmas show and shepherd number two came down with strep throat…."
It amazes her that he hasn't made more of a fuss about her lie -- the last time she tried to make an issue about Ben's paternity, he'd shut her up her with, "You know, they sell DIY paternity tests at Walgreens. They didn't have those twelve years ago…and where did you get my DNA sample from, anyway?" Dean seems to understand the fear behind the lie: She'd come too near to losing her son to the Changelings to risk losing him to an accident of paternity.
What's the saying? It's a wise man who knows his own child? Lisa guesses that now he's parenting Ben the way he wishes he'd been parented, with hiking and camping for recreation rather than survival, late nights spent watching scary movies instead of confronting scary creatures.
In the distance, a group of kids are having a snowball fight, laughter drifting back to the waiting adults. "You had snowball fights, didn't you?" she asks, mock-teasing.
"Sure did. Even built a few snowmen -- and women." He leers. "Anatomically correct, too."
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" There's no sting in her tone. With his childhood full of horrors, it's bittersweet to think of all the normal things he's never done.
On impulse, Lisa skips into the park, leaving a bemused Dean on the sidewalk. "Have you ever done this?" Clamping her teeth onto the bakery bag -- she knows better than to leave it to Dean's mercy -- she reclines in an untouched expanse of snow, flapping her arms and frog-kicking her legs.
"Are you okay?" Dean asks when she gets up to survey the results. "Looked like you were having a fit."
"A fit? Honestly, you've never made snow angels?"
He glances from her to the impression in the snow. "That's supposed to be an angel?"
"Of course. Look, those are the wings, and that's the long, flowing robe."
Dean guffaws. "I've got news for you, their wingspans are a LOT bigger, and I've never seen one in a poufy nightgown."
"You've seen angels?" she blurts before she can stop herself.
"No harps, either, FYI."
"Are you sure they were really angels?"
"It was a little hard to tell sometimes, but yeah, angels of the Lord, the whole nine yards." As they continue homeward, Dean glances back over his shoulder. "Angel. Right."
Lisa's starting to shiver by the time they get back to the house. They enter through the mudroom, stomping the snow from their feet. What was she thinking, pulling that stunt in jeans? Her ass is freezing and she probably looks like she's wet her pants. "I'm going to change into dry clothes," she tells him as she hangs up her parka beside his leather jacket.
By the time she returns to the kitchen, warm and dry, the counter is covered with baking supplies, and Lisa feels a moment's panic. "Where's the stollen?" she demands as Dean measures flour into a large mixing bowl.
"Relax," he says, measuring baking soda into the flour. "I put it out of the way." He gestures, and she sees the precious bag on top of the microwave. "What's the big deal with that stuff?"
"It's tradition." And? his look asks. "When Ben was little, three or four, we were at a Christmas party and someone brought stollen. He had a bite, and very earnestly declared that that was what angels ate in Heaven, and he was just so cute---" Dean's giving her a Look, humoring her. "After that, every year I've made sure to get on the list -- they only make them the week before Christmas -- and on Christmas Eve we have stollen."
"Aww," says Dean, smirking slightly as he creams together butter, sugar and eggs. "So I guess what you're telling me is that next year I need to concentrate on acquiring mad pastry skills?"
For the first few months, he'd been restless at night, and Lisa couldn't begin to count how many nights she'd gone into the living room at three a.m. and found Dean huddled on the couch intently watching the Food Network. It was educational, he'd said once, and not scary. For a little while, he'd been fanatical about Tivo'ing Alton Brown, although so far, it's only manifested in marathon cookie baking.
"Of course," she says, grinning. "Next Thanksgiving, you get to make the pies!"
"Sounds good to me." He spoons in cinnamon, stirs the thick batter, dumps in some more. "You're smirking."
"You're so cute when you're being domestic." She's really looking forward to the look on his face when he unwraps the deluxe Kitchen-Aid mixer she's gotten him for Christmas. He's into tools and gadgets, he should have fun with it. She's serious about the pies.
"I'm always cute." He flutters his eyelashes at her as he dumps the cookie dough onto a sheet of waxed paper and wraps it into a tube to chill.
"And so modest, too."
"Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way…!" Dean warbles, off-key. Angus whimpers from his bed in the laundry room and Lisa rolls her eyes. "You don't like my singing? I'm wounded!" He does a theatrical hand-on-heart gesture that leaves a floury white handprint on his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sweatshirt.
"There are a lot of things I like about you, Dean," she tells him as he chucks the dough into the refrigerator. "Including your mad cookie skills and your shapely ass. Your taste in music, on the other hand, is a little hit-or-miss."
"I'm too sexy for my shirt," he croons. He's not even in the vicinity of the right key, but makes up for it in showmanship by pulling the bottom ribbing up to flash his abs.
Lisa giggles, because while old country-western is off-kilter, George Michael is even more unlikely --although he can definitely get away with sexy. "Yes, you are," she agrees, and he smiles and presses her back against the counter, his kiss tasting of cinnamon.
Tapping on the back door interrupts the moment. It's Mrs. Lane from down the block, carrying something the shape of a brick, wrapped in aluminum foil. Frustrated, Lisa forces a smile, but the older woman isn't there to see her.
"This is for you, dear," she says, offering the silver brick to Dean. "I made some fudge because the children are coming tomorrow, and I thought, 'That nice young man from the gas station should have some fudge, too.' He's been so sweet every time I come in," she tells Lisa. "He always checks my tires and washes my windshield, and he's been sharing home-made cookies with all his customers." She beams.
So that's where all the cookies have been going. It explains why Dean hasn't put on twenty pounds since Thanksgiving.
"Oh, fudge!" he says, and winks at their neighbor, who titters like a teenager. He gives the dowager a bright smile, accompanied by the kind of look Angus uses when he scents a ham sandwich.
"You two have a lovely Christmas," Mrs. Lane says as she departs.
"Where were we?" Dean asks as the door closes behind her.
The phone rings. It's Ben, wanting to know if he can go for pizza after the rehearsal with the rest of the choir. "If you bring my clothes to the auditorium, I won't have to come home to change," he cajoles. "Miss Custer is paying, because she says we're the best group she's ever had. Please?"
Since that means one less distraction to come between her and Dean and some fun under the mistletoe -- and right now the mistletoe is definitely what she's in the mood for -- Lisa agrees. Dean is rubbing his crotch against her rump as she talks, and it's all she can do to stay in mom-mode until Ben hangs up. As soon as the receiver meets the cradle, she turns to kiss him and run her hands up under his shirt.
Then they're stumbling into the living room, tugging at each other's clothing. Dean's sweatshirt lands near the foyer. Lisa's green cashmere cardigan comes to rest nearby.
She pushes him into a sitting position on the ottoman while she wrestles with his boots. Getting them unlaced enough to remove isn't made any easier by the way he's cupping her breasts, fingers coaxing her nipples into pert little peaks beneath her knit dress.
As soon as the second boot hits the carpet, Dean's on his feet again, unbuttoning his jeans and sliding them down his muscled thighs and calves. He steps out of them as she licks her lips. "Hey little girl, want a taste of my candy cane?" he teases.
Lisa pounces, and they sprawl on the couch, mistletoe dangling from the light fixture overhead and the tree twinkling in the corner.
A dozen years ago, their relationship was all about voracious physicality, but they've both changed. When he'd reappeared last spring, Lisa had been hesitant to let Dean back into her bed, but she'd soon discovered that he, too, was older and calmer. Tender wasn't a word I would have used to describe him before, Lisa thinks as she cuddles against him in the afterglow, but now? He has his moments.
Dean is under her, eyes closed, breathing slowed…has he nodded off? A faint snore answers her question.
It's still a welcome occurrence, for him to sleep without restlessness. At first, he'd wakened her several times a night, until he'd taken to frequenting the couch and the cooking channel. She'd come downstairs a couple mornings after Halloween to find him sobbing into a pillow. He'd clutched her fiercely, lamenting, long-buried grief about his parents and the war he refuses to talk about. She held him and soothed him, and near dawn, he'd been exhausted enough to sleep again.
Going into the kitchen to brew some coffee, Lisa had worried that he was a danger to himself -- to them. Only the episode with the Changelings kept her from labeling him as crazy -- she'd lived through that, and he'd saved Ben and the other children -- so she couldn't automatically write off the things he let slip, like today when he talked about seeing angels.
Maybe that's what that was, she thinks, remembering what else had happened. The carafe of coffee was about half-full when she'd become aware of light coming from the living room. For a moment, she'd thought he'd turned on a lamp, or opened the curtains, but that couldn't be right. The living room faced west, it was never that bright at this time of day, and no mere light bulb could create such an intense radiance.
Her panic-stricken thought was that he'd snapped, set a fire, but when she hurried into the dining room, looking through to the front room, what she saw was a glowing, prismatic light that seemed to envelop the couch.
It's crazy to think that the light looked at her -- it was formless, after all, so how could it? Then it was gone, and Dean was snoring uninhibitedly. She crept forward to look at him, and his face was peaceful. When he'd strolled into the kitchen twenty minutes later, looking for coffee, he was yawning but relaxed, and he hadn't had any nightmares since.
Outside, the light is fading. It must be nearly five o'clock, they both need showers, something resembling dinner, they have an hour to get out the door to make it across town, but when Lisa shifts herself to get up, the snoring stops and Dean's arms tighten around her waist.
"The clock is ticking," she reminds him. "I'll grab a shower first, get dressed and start dinner while you're cleaning up."
"Yes, Mother," he sasses her, and she yanks the pillow out from under his head.
"Do not go back to sleep!" she warns him on her way up the stairs.
Naked, he's waiting for her with a towel when she gets out of the shower, drying her off, which is pleasant. She stands there, enjoying the soft-rough texture of the towel as it buffs its way down her torso. As Dean works his way down to her thighs, he descends to crouch in front of her, backing her up to the vanity and burying his face against her pubes.
"We don't have time for this," she wants to say, but the only sound that emerges is a little peep as his tongue darts out to tantalize her. She's vaguely aware that the towel is still busy drying her calves, her ankles---
"There, all dry!" Dean exclaims, and stands up, licking his lips. A grin. "Well, almost."
Lisa takes a deep breath. "Wear your suit," she says, getting out of there before he starts something else. There's a groan of complaint behind her. Too bad. This is a dressy occasion.
She preens before the mirror in a long-sleeved paisley dress in cranberry red and brown knee-high boots with matching tights. Collecting her son's dress clothes from his room, she heads downstairs, getting her good coat from the closet, everything ready to go. On the bodice of her tweed swing coat is a pin that Ben made for her in second grade-- a round, felt snowman, another holiday tradition.
There's leftover spaghetti in the fridge, and she doesn't think about the wisdom of serving marinara sauce until it's too late. She looks at the orange blotch on Dean's shirt with dismay.
"It's okay, I'll button my jacket, no one will ever notice."
Lisa rolls her eyes. "Guess again."
"It's the only dress shirt I've got," he persists as she leaves the kitchen. "Seriously."
Instead of going upstairs to rummage through his wardrobe, she hangs a left and burrows through the packages under the tree. "Merry Christmas. Open it."
"You're good," he says appreciatively as he opens the box to reveal a blue shirt and tie that will pop with the plain dark suit. He hugs her, looking suddenly shy -- not an expression she's used to seeing on him. "I've got something for you, too."
Dean pulls a little white box out of the pocket of his suit jacket. "Lisa, I, I want you to have this."
Her hands shake as she accepts the box. Oh my God. A ring. He got a ring, he's proposing under the mistletoe---how romantic is that?
It's not a ring.
It's a key. She stares at it for a moment, then realizes he's given her something that means more to him than any diamond-- a key to his precious Impala.
"Does this mean I get to drive tonight?" she says lightly when the lump in her throat recedes.
Dean looks at her, horrified. "Are you nuts? They've been salting the roads! Do you know what that slop does to sheet metal? No, Baby's going to stay safe in the garage 'til spring."
Lisa chuckles, amused by the limit to Dean's romanticism. "Come on, change your shirt and let's go. We can take my car, and I'll even let you drive." That's fun, too, because he's so used to the Impala that he frowns with as much concentration maneuvering her Mazda as if he was flying a 747, but they arrive at the auditorium successfully.
Almost immediately, someone stops Dean to ask him about a car that keeps stalling out. Lisa delivers Ben's performance clothes to the choir mistress, and when she returns, Dean is chatting with Mr. Simpkins, who owns the garage where he's been working. He's gotten so old, she realizes as Dean says something about an antifreeze special. His face is pleated with wrinkles and the skin is parchment-thin, but he's smiling and nodding at Dean's suggestions.
The gas station on Pine Street has been a town fixture for as long as she can remember. When she was a child, her dad always took the family car there for work. Dave Simpkins was a few years ahead of her in school, and he'd joined his dad in the business after graduation. They made enough of a living for Dave to marry and start a family, then he'd been struck by a car when he stopped to help someone fix a flat. His dad had stopped offering service and just pumped gas…until Dean came along. Part time? Right. For the first two weeks, maybe.
As they take their seats, Lisa reflects on how much pleasure Dean derives from what he's been doing. For months now, he's been regaling them at dinner with stories of high drama at the garage. Repairing cars and pumping gas may not seem like a rewarding career to everyone, but he's taken it on with enthusiasm. He's been greeted by as many people as she has this evening, and she's lived here her whole life. She wonders what's going to happen when Mr. Simpkins retires or passes away….
It's the usual small town Christmas pageant; what the grade-school children lack in musicality they make up for in enthusiasm. There are dancing snowflakes with bells on their costumes (jingling backstage after their exit), a elf who forgets his lines is prompted loudly from the orchestra, and when the Christmas story is told, Katie Simpkins is the Virgin Mary. Dean, visibly restraining mirth, has to be elbowed in the ribs when the angel appears to the shepherds.
Ben's choir group is the final act, and the lights dim for a moment as they shuffle into place. Only a silver Star of Bethlehem is illuminated over the stage, and gradually the lights come up, trained on the ranks of singers. Ben is in the back row; one of the tallest boys there; he's had a growth spurt over the summer, and it's all his mother can do to keep his wrists and ankles covered.
A soprano begins singing "O Holy Night." There's real talent here, and Miss Custer has given each member of her choir an opportunity to shine. Ben's contribution is "Silent Night," and the lights dim again, with the Star above shining brighter than ever. In the silence as the last night fades away, the audience begins clapping, and the applause is thunderous.
Dean reaches into his jacket, and Lisa catches his arm. "If you pull out a lighter," she mutters, "I'm going to gag you with my scarf before you can say 'Freebird'."
His hand emerges, empty, and he applauds instead. "Sometimes, babe, you're downright scary."
The groups of young performers get curtain calls, and as the audience begins to mill around, Lisa is busy trading congratulations with other parents on their offspring's prowess. When she finally catches up with her child and her man-child in the lobby, she hears Ben grousing, "But it's so cheesy!"
"No, it's not," Dean says firmly. "Remember when we talked about the difference between really cool and stupid cool?"
Stupid cool? This ought to be interesting. She's encouraged Dean to take a leadership role in Ben's life, because he's at an age where mothering is getting old, but parenting is still essential -- and she's curious to hear what life lessons he's passing along in addition to motor vehicle maintenance. Ben probably thinks the pageant is cheesy, which it is, but she'll miss it when he's not involved anymore.
"Look, I lost my mom when I was younger than you were when you made that pin you think is so cheesy. You'd miss her if she wasn't there. So, ragging on your mom for acting like your mom? Is stupid, no matter how lame your friends think their parents are. I've got news for you -- your mom is pretty cool."
"Yeah, but you have to say that, you're hot for her!" Ben protests, and Dean laughs out loud.
"Believe me, Ben -- you've got it good. Your mom doesn't leave you on your own for days at a time, doesn't ride your ass all the time when she is around, and she's made a good home for you. You've never had to worry about moving around all the time -- hell, you've never had to worry because she's done all that for you. I'm not saying that because I'm hot for her, I'm saying it because it's true."
"Did you have to walk to school five miles uphill through the snow, too?" Ben asks with feigned innocence, and Dean swats him with a program.
Lisa chooses that moment to join them. "You did a great job, Ben," she says, with a brief hug. Hugs are a mom's prerogative, no matter how jaded the 12-year old on the other end may be. Dean gets a hug, too, for defending her motherhood. "Are we ready to go home and have some stollen?"
The program has lasted a little longer than usual. It's past nine-thirty, and it started snowing again while they were in the auditorium. As Dean eases them out of their parking spot, Lisa starts to sing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know -- what comes next?"
"Don't ask me," says Ben from the back seat. "I think the fourth graders did that one."
"No idea," says Dean, "but I do know all the words to 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer'."
"You would," she says as they cackle. As Dean pilots them home, she feels a wonderful contentedness. The weather outside may be frightful, but the company is certainly delightful. Even when, like now, it's like having two children….
Easing down their street, Lisa can see that they have company. There's a big pick-up truck parked in front of the house, hubcap-deep -- practical in this weather, she decides as they glide down the driveway. On top of the four inches of snow they already had, two more inches have fallen, and heaven only knows how much more is to come.
Dean hurries back to the street to greet the truck's occupants. The driver towers over him as they hug and thump each other on the back. "Cool, Sam came!" Ben says. He sounds pleased, but not surprised. It's no use being miffed that no one's mentioned visitors to her; Lisa is resigned to it. It's Christmas, he's family, and what the hell---at least we have plenty of cookies.
Sam's companion slides out of the passenger seat, and the young woman is so petite, Lisa can imagine her using a step-ladder to get up there. She's a pretty little thing, dark hair spilling from under a knitted red cap, hugging herself inside a buffalo plaid coat.
"Ruby!" Dean exclaims. "Well, well!" He looks back at his brother. "I thought you were bringing Bobby."
"I did!" Sam responds defensively. "He drove down here behind us. We got here, and said he was going to go grab a bottle as to spike the coffee with."
"How've you been, Dean?" Ruby asks. Dean's keeping his distance, not unfriendly, exactly, but making no move to hug her, either. Lisa isn't sure what the story is -- Did they ever have something going on? Is Sam jealous? Or is Lisa projecting her own insecurities? Not that she thinks Dean's been fooling around on her, but she knows his proclivities all too well.
"Good. You? Still, ah, sanctified?"
"Yeah, peachy, thanks for asking." Her eyes flick from him to Lisa. "Hi, I'm Ruby, Sam's friend." She extends a mittened hand -- they match the knit cap -- and Lisa accepts it.
"Nice to meet you, Ruby. You too, Sam. I'm Lisa. Let's take this inside, before we all freeze solid, huh?"
Dean helps his brother grab bags from the truck. They form a little procession, marching up the walk thorough the new snow, and filing into the house as Ben holds the door for them. The dog is there, frantic with greeting. He inspects the newcomers, snuffling their knees and shoes and outstretched hands, accepting their pats and caresses with no dignity whatever.
"That's Angus," Ben tells their guests as luggage piles up by the stairs.
Sam looks at Dean and snickers. "Let me guess, Angus Young?"
Dean grins back. "Or MacGyver. Whatever."
Great. Now I have three of them on my hands. She catches Ruby's eye, and they both laugh. It'll be nice to have another gal around when the testosterone gets too strong. Fortunately, she's gotten a few things from her clients at the gym that she can regift for Ruby, and for Sam…a DVD, maybe that after-shave set? And this Bobby guy---she has an impression that he's an older man, has something to do with cars---there's a flat of motor oil out in the garage, thanks to Dean, but that's not her idea of a proper gift. If worse comes to worse, there's always a bottle from the wine rack.
Dean leads the way to the kitchen and puts on coffee. "Hey, am I crazy, or is that Dad's truck?" he asks Sam as he measures Gevalia into the filter.
"You're not crazy. We were working a job in Lincoln, and ran into the guy who bought it at public auction. Turned out he was looking to downsize, and we did a little horse-trading." Sam laughs. "I never thought Dad had that much of a sense of humor, but I found out he had it registered to Claude Behr."
"Well, he did always like bear claws with his coffee." He and Sam share matching grins and high-five each other. Dean slaps a bah-DUM-boom on the countertop, the happiest she's ever seen him.
Lisa warms the stollen and passes it around when the coffee is ready. Ben's more enthusiastic about Mrs. Lane's fudge than the pastry, and she's aghast when she sees him slip a chunk to Angus. He'd probably be embarrassed if she told the "angel food" story -- maybe she should tell it just to watch him squirm with the uncoolness of it all.
Dean tastes his slice with a thoughtful expression -- he's probably contemplating how to reproduce it. Meanwhile, he's preheated an oven and gotten out the snickerdoodle dough he made earlier.
"Dude, you're baking?" Sam blurts, staring at him.
"Are you sure that's really your brother?" Ruby asks, giggling.
"I'm starting to wonder. Christo!"
Dean is slicing rounds of dough from the roll and shakes his head. "No, snickerdoodles."
Lisa doesn't get the joke, and she's going to commit child abuse if she sees that four-legged con artist get any more of the stollen, so she slips out of the kitchen while the Winchesters and Ruby have their heads together. This is a good chance for her to hunt up gifts for their visitors. She can retag this one and that one, and the bag with the bunny slippers that she'll never wear is over there, a spa basket with body scrub and lotion…okay, that was easy enough.
The doorbell rings, and she hurries into the foyer. The man on her doorstep with the frost-tinged beard could play Santa convincingly, although she's never seen Santa in a trucker cap. This must be Bobby. Angus sniffs his boots and rolls belly-up, tail wagging wildly.
"Merry Christmas, ma'am," the man says, extending a no-frills brown bag shaped like a fifth of booze. "I'm Bobby Singer, and you must be Lisa. Pleased to meet you. I'm guessing if I follow my nose to the coffee, I'll find Sam and Dean?"
"It's good to meet you, too, Bobby. They're back in the kitchen -- just follow the dog."
As sounds of reunion echo from the kitchen, Lisa peeks out the front door one last time to make sure no one else is about to descend on them tonight. Through the flurries, she notices something she's sure wasn't there when they arrived home: a snow angel imprinted in the pristine whiteness of their front yard. The twinkling lights festooning the porch cast an aurora borealis of color upon it.
Whoever made it must have been wearing a coat, because she can see the print of that, distinctly different from the legs, which weren't fanned out in the usual way. Although she stands there for a moment longer with the door open, she can't see where the maker crossed the lawn to reach the perfect patch of snow. Huh, good trick.
And, Lisa thinks as she closes the door to return to her guests, it does have a really impressive wingspan.