Disclaimer: It all belongs to Mr Kripke. *Jealous*

A/N: I'd been thinking about this for a while after watching the Christmas ep. We kinda know what their Christmases were like as kids, but I wondered what Sam did after he left, and this popped out. Hope it's not too cheesy.

Also, I know its a little weird writing a Christmas themed fic near the end of July, but humour me and blame the fever.

Set pre-series, Christmas 2004.

Please leave reviews. They make me do a happy dance.


A Very Normal Christmas

It had never been his favourite time of year. All the cheer, and family togetherness, and normality, only served to highlight how far from normal his own life was.

Growing up they'd never had a real Christmas. Sure, there had been a couple of times when their Dad had tried, when they were really little. But as they got older, they'd given up the pretence. It was just another day.

Sam had dreaded the run up to the holiday season every year, the kids at Whichever High, Anywhereville, would all be excited, talking about the presents they'd asked for and if they'd get them. About the plans they had to visit family, all the special Christmas food their Moms made every year. Sam became talented at playing along; knowing that presents were unlikely, they had no family to visit, and Christmas dinner was probably going to be a depressing affair at some diner.

He also would remember to carry this though after the holidays, making up stories about where their family had gone and the presents they'd received. Nobody ever seemed particularly suspicious. After all, he was a shy boy anyway, with few friends. No point making them when you knew you'd be moving on in a few weeks. And he'd learnt that people tended to prefer talking about themselves anyway, never really listening just waiting for their turn to speak. It made it easier.

It had gotten harder though once he got to college. Stanford was the first place he'd felt settled enough to make friends, to let people in. It made it all the more difficult to lie. Although he knew he could be more honest, to a degree, he could never be completely open. It was hard, knowing that some of these people actually cared, and wanted to know about him, about his family, his childhood. His stock answer was that he and his Dad didn't get along, hadn't spoken since he'd left for Stanford, and that the argument was about Sam refusing to go into the family business. The family business was his Dad's garage, which some people thought was a strange thing to kick your son out for, wanting a career in Law over being a mechanic, but hey, families are weird right?

It got even more difficult once he started dating Jessica, and even more so when it got serious. She was close to her own family, and couldn't understand how Sam's family could treat him that way. And of course, Sam couldn't tell her without telling her the truth, and that was something he hoped he'd never have to do. Besides, a part of him agreed with her.

So after a few early attempts at getting him to open up, Jess had accepted she wouldn't be meeting the rest of the Winchesters, and that if Sam ever wanted to let her in she'd be there, but she wasn't going to push it. Of course, as their relationship progressed, and she naturally started to think ahead to their future, she couldn't help but be a little concerned that at their (hypothetical) wedding the guest list might come up a little light on Sam's side. But, no matter. Sam may not have a real family to speak of, but that's what she was for.

This year was going to be their first Christmas as a couple. They'd been together now for nearly a year, after they'd started dating in the January. They'd been acquaintances for a little while, had mutual friends and been to a lot of the same parties.

Jess had liked Sam immediately. Had liked his reserve and initial shyness. Noticed how despite his size, he still tried his best to blend in, to remain unnoticed. Not much chance of that when you were as tall as he was and looked like that.

So when her friends announced they were throwing her a birthday party for her 20th, she'd casually-but-not-really mentioned they should ask Sam to come along. And when Sam was invited, their friends had made it perfectly clear that Jessica was the one who'd requested his presence, and Sam allowed himself a little glimmer of hope that the beautiful girl he'd kept running into might actually like him. Little Sammy Winchester, who until Stanford had always been at least metaphorically in his brother's shadow. Geeky side-kick to his super-confident older sibling. And now a girl who, from what he'd experienced so far, was not only beautiful, but clever and funny, might just be interested in him.

He went to the party. Jess had noticed he seemed a little down that night, kept pulling out his phone only to quickly shove it back in his pocket, but he'd just mumbled something about his brother, shrugging off her concern. Several beers, and much flirting later he'd started to enjoy himself, the cloud lifting a little. That night he'd walked her back to her dorm, but politely declined "coffee" despite Jessica's best efforts. He liked this girl. A lot. After their second date there was no question of declining, and they'd pretty much been living together since.

So, he wasn't looking forward to the Christmas vacation from school. Nearly two weeks of mooching round campus alone, his friends off to spend the holidays back home with their families, Jess included. At least that had been the plan, until Jess had realised that Sam had nowhere to go.

"You're coming home with me." she'd announced, "You can't stay here all by yourself, it's too depressing! Besides, I'll miss you. And I want you to meet my folks." She gave him her pleading eyes.

Sam looked unsure for a moment.

"You sure they won't mind?" he asked, an uneasy look on his face.

"Are you kidding me? My Mom loves Christmas and the more people there the happier she is. They're gonna love you. Honestly!" she grinned

So because he really couldn't think of a reasonable excuse, and he really would miss Jess, he agreed. Now all he had to worry about was playing happy holidays when he'd never actually had one himself.